Thursday, November 20, 2008

California Salad...

I thought I better through something green and raw in the mix, in case we are getting tired of soups and stews!! This is a classic and works well with big groups- like showers, parties, or potlucks!

2 Heads of Romaine
2 avocados
1 cup candies pecans
1/2 cup cranberries
2 green apples or bosh pairs
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 cans mandarin oranges
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese 
1/3 chicken breast per person

Dressing: 2 options
1. Store Bought: Marston's Dressing
2. Refreshing Dressing:
     6 TBSP olive oil
     6 TBSP red wine
     2 TBSP lemon juice (fresh is best)
     1/2 tsp. salt
     1/4 tsp. pepper
     1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
     honey to taste
Pretty self explainatory... Wash the chicken, cube it, add some olive oil to a pan, brown it, season it with S&P. Cut and wash the lettuce, chop the onions, apples/pairs, slice the avocados, throw in the cranberries, pecans, blue cheese (if desired), and mandarin oranges! Toss it all together with the dressing right before you serve it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Crock Pot)

The little saying, "Crock pots: Cooks all day while the cooks away" is enough to put a smile on anyone's tired face. How wonderful is it to come home to a yummy meal that YOU did not spend time preparing- instead- you dumped things in a pot, turned it on, and magically, when you came home, it was calling your name.... check out this simple recipe....

4 large chicken breasts, no skin, no bones
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
* 2 serrano chilies, minced (optional)
1 49 oz. carton chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice

Options for toppings:
tortilla chips
shredded cheese

Real simple: put the washed chicken breasts in the crock pot with the diced tomatoes (don't drain them, use the juice), onion, garlic, cumin, chilies, and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, add it back to the crock pot, add your lime juice- let it sit for a few minutes. Then place your tortilla chips (if desired) in the bottom of your bowls, ladle soup on top, add any other toppings you desire!

Minestrone Soup...

This is right up there in the top favorites of mine!! It has a truck load of yummy vegetables, great flavor, and is perfect for a cold winters day. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you, this soup is well worth it!  Thanks to Jennifer Stewart for sharing it with me!

2 TBSP expeller pressed coconut oil
3/4 cup onion
1/2 cup leeks
1 cup carrots
1/3 head green cabbage
1 cup celery
2 cloves garlic
2 qts. chicken broth
1 small jar spagetti sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups potatoes (diced)
3/4 cup peas
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup small pasta
1 cup parmesan cheese

OK, here we go. First you are going to saute over low-med. heat your "purple highlighted ingredients"- your oil, onion, leak, carrots, cabbage, celery, and garlic (assuming they have all been washed and chopped!).  Saute those for 5-7 minutes or so. Next add your chicken broth and spaghetti sauce. Bring that to a boil for 10 minutes. Add your salt, pepper, and potatoes next and cook for 10 minutes. Then you will add the "pink highlighted ingredients" from above- your peas, tomatoes, beans, parsley, pasta, and parmesan. Cook that until it's tender on medium heat. *Let your noodles be your guide, when they are ready, your soup is ready! ** One more side note, I used a can of white & a can of red kidney beans to beef it up even more, de-licious!

Serve with: warm french bread, crackers, or nothing at all!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

This is a great way to serve fish, it has TONS of good flavor and a great sauce that goes well over rice... you have to at least try it! For the record, it's one of my all-time favorite meals!

4 (6oz) Mahi Mahi Steaks ( I get 'em frozen at Trader Joe's)

Marinate ingredients:
3 TBSP honey
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ginger (comes in a jar already pureed, at Trader's or any grocery store)
1 clove garlic
2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the "Marinate Ingredients" together in a shallow dish, season the mahi mahi steaks with a little s & p, then lay them in the dish to marinate for 15- 20 minutes in the fridge. When ready, put 1 TBSP olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat up, then lay the steaks in the pan and cook for 4-6 minutes over med.-high heat until they are slightly browned. Use the remaining juice that the steaks were marinating in- put it in a small sauce pan and let it cook over medium heat until until it reduces to a glaze. You will use this as your sauce to spoon over your fish. * For the record, mine never gets super "glazey" just so you know :)

Serve with: My favorite thing to serve over is a bed of brown rice. I put a serving of brown rice, a steak of fish, and then a few spoonfuls of the fabulous sauce on top of it all. I will also serve it with artichokes, asparagus, or a crisp, green salad.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cocky Chocolate Chip Cookies...

These cookies got their "Cocky" name because they are really that delicious- even they know it! I also need to clarify, these are not healthy and nutritious, they are down right scrumptous! The original recipe is from this William Sonoma cookie cook book with a few tweaks!

1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chocolate chips
**2/3 c shredded coconut (optional, not so much for flavor, but for chewiness!)

 Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt) in a bowl. In a second bowl, beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy (don't skip this step, it's what makes the cookies so cocky!). Then add both sugars, egg, and vanilla to the fluffy butter. Beat again with hand mixer. Add the dry mixture to the bowl slowly and continue to beat until it is all mixed together.  Last, add the chocolate chips and coconut. Hand mix one last time. Scoop 1 inch balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Take cookies off sheet and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve with a class of milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Crisp Chicken Casear Salad

This is a quick and easy dinner that you can make in a pinch! You can cook the chicken how ever you like- brown it on the stove top with S & P, grill it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder- or give it a little kick with this quick marinate that's got great flavor! 

Ingredients for the Quick Chicken Marinate:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic (I use the frozen cubes from TJ's)
2 TBSP grill seasoning (I use Lawry's Seasoning Salt)
2 tsp. hot sauce
3 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
** Marinate chicken breasts or strips in this and grill it, or bake it- I like it grilled best!

Ingredients for Salad:
Hearts of Romaine (pack of 3 from TJ's will feed 4 people)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Croutons or Parmesan Crisps (from TJ's)
Caesar Dressing (refrigerated section in TJ's)
**optional: baby grape tomatoes
Chicken- either 2 breasts or a package of chicken tenders

Take care of your chicken first, brown it or grill it depending on what you choose or what time allows. Obviously wash your lettuce, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, chop the chicken into bite size pieces, toss on the tomatoes, then pour on the dressing and toss all ingredients. Serve in individual bowls with 2-3 parmesan crisps tucked on the side.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turkey Chili....

This is a fabulous and hardy meal for a cool, fall day. Compliments of my momma... Debs!

2 lbs. ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can undrained tomatoes (diced or whole)
2 cups tomato juice
1 TBSP mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained
* 1 16 oz. can white kidney beans, drained (optional, to make it a little hardier)

*Pull out your big pot for this guy, you can saute and cook all in one pan. *First, chop your onion and bell pepper and throw it in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil and your garlic (I use the frozen cubes from Trader Joe's, they are great to keep on hand!) and let saute for a few minutes. Then add in your ground turkey and cook until browned. (Here's a helpful hint, when you first put your turkey in, break it up with a spoon or spatula, and then leave it to brown on one side, don't go turning it over and over, it won't ever get that good brown color that way. Once one side it browned completely, then turn it over for the next side to do it's thing). Next add your tomatoes and tomato juice, seasonings, and mustard. Give it a good mix-a -roo. Bring that to a boil, cover it up, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour. Last, stir in the beans (drained of course) and let it simmer for 15 more minutes. After that, it is ready to serve and your whole house is full of the delicious smell of homemade chili!

Serve with: I would like to recommend my favorite corn bread that is NOT homemade, heck, you just made the chili homemade, so give yourself a break already! It's from Trader Joe's and it comes in a box, you add an egg, oil, and water, and wha-la! it's done! It does take 35 minutes or so, so don't wait until the last minute! If you are feeling green, you could add a salad or some asparagus to go with it!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Simple Asparagus

Asparagus (as many as you need to feed the fam)
Grape Seed Oil
Sea Salt
Garlic Powder
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Wash your asparagus, trim off the bottoms, and if you have an extra minute, use your peeler to peel the last inch of the asparagus so that it stays tender. After they are prepped, drizzle grape seed oil over them (I put them in a bowl or shallow dish, and roll them around so they all get a light coat of olive oil) then lay them flat on a roasting pan and sprinkle the sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your liking and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, test them with a fork, if they are close to your liking for tenderness, sprinkle on a handful of shredded parmesan cheese, put them back in the oven for 3-5 minutes to let the cheese melt. Delicious!

Options to serve with:
They are a great compliment to any meal as the veggie dish, I personally like them along side of the sweet potato fries!

Sweet Potato Fries...

Sweet Potatoes (anywhere from 2-5)
Grape Seed Oil
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly wash the sweet potato skins, cut them into slices (cut them in half or thirds depending on how big they are, then cut them in half again, then slice them into wedges). Put them in a bowl, drizzle grape seed oil, sea salt, and pepper and toss. Pour them out onto a roasting pan or cookie sheet (for easy clean up use parchment paper). Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how brown you like them. To test them, poke them with a fork, until desired softness. Enjoy!

Options to Serve with:
Chicken or fish with a green veggie or salad. (See Mahi Mahi recipes)