Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blackened Chicken with Lime Spiked Quinoa

This simple and very healthy meal comes from the blog Sarcastic Cooking. The spice seasoning on the chicken gave the breasts a little kick, but, not too much so that my kids didn't eat it. If you want the chicken hotter, by all means add more cayenne pepper! Not only was the chicken delicious, but we also enjoyed the quinoa in place of regular rice! It has a yummy texture that pops in your mouth.  The addition of the creamy avocado on top was perfect! Eating healthy never tasted so good! Enjoy!

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded gently with a meat mallet
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa
Juice and zest from one small lime
Dash of salt and pepper
1 Tbl cilantro, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, sliced

Combine paprika through cumin in a small bowl. Mix together then season both sides of each chicken breast. 

Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a large pan or skillet. Heat the olive oil for a minute over medium/high heat. Add the seasoned chicken breasts to the pan. Cook for seven minutes on each side. After chicken has cooked, remove the pan from the burner, cover with a tight fitting lid and wait at least 10 minutes before slicing chicken. This is a really great way to cook chicken.....if you under-cook it just slightly in the pan, it will continue to cook off the heat with the lid on. I guarantee your chicken will be tender and juicy!!
Look at that beautiful piece of chicken!
Add the chicken broth and quinoa to a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid on, until all the broth has been absorbed.  Add the warm quinoa to a large bowl. Toss in the lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and chopped cilantro. Mix well to combine.

Serve the sliced chicken breast on top of the quinoa. Lay sliced avocados on top of the chicken. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Oh boy, this homemade ice cream is super yum!!! This recipe comes from the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book. If you love to make homemade ice cream than you must buy this book (and by the way, if you don't already have an ice cream maker, think about getting one...they are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and let's face it, there is nothing like homemade ice cream to WOW friends and family)! I did add 1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips to the ice cream only because I didn't think it had enough calories as is...HA! Did I already mention this ice cream is super yum!? Oh, I did? Well, I'm saying it again- SUPER YUM! Go make some!

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
8 Reeses peanut butter cups, chopped
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (totally optional- that's my own addition)

Whisk the eggs until light and frothy. Add the sugar slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate. Add the whipping cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into a separate bowl and add the peanut butter to that bowl. Mix well and pour peanut butter mixture into the cream mixture. Whisk in until fully incorporated.

Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Two minutes before the ice cream is due to be done add the peanut butter cup pieces.

Pour into a tupperware or similar container and freeze until hard (it should take about 5-6 hours).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Orange Juice Muffins

Oh my! I think this is my new favorite muffin.  I found the recipe on the blog Annie's Eats. I knew I had to try it when I saw the recipe called for sour cream. In my experience, baked goods containing sour cream are super moist.  And I wasn't disappointed in the least! This muffin is delicate and fluffy and the orange juice glaze just takes the whole thing to another level of yummy-ness! I will definitely make these again for my family (FYI the kids went bonkers for them) and I would certainly serve them at a brunch or ladies' luncheon.

*Please note Annie's Eats says this recipe yields 16 muffins. I was able to make 24 muffins no problem at all!

For the muffins:
1 cup milk
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 sticks butter, melted
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1½ Tbl baking powder
½ tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange

For the glaze:
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tsp. orange zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Line 16 wells of a muffin pan (or pans) with paper liners.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, sour cream, eggs and melted butter.  Whisk together to blend.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir to blend.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the orange zest with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.

To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth, adding more juice if necessary to achieve your preferred consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins while they are still warm.  Allow the glaze to set before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rainbow Pasta Salad

This bright, colorful salad is a summer-time staple in my house. My husband and I do not eat meat every night for dinner. Still, this veggie-packed pasta is filling and satisfying! Please do not let the raw sweet potato scare you away! It is absolutely delicious! It has a mild, sweet flavor similar to a carrot, but not quite as crunchy. I serve this with a yummy, crusty bread. Enjoy!

1 lb of pasta such as penne, spirals or bowtie
1 zucchini, chopped
1 c. frozen edamame (without shells), thawed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, grated
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 c. sliced black olives (optional)

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. olive oil
2 to 3 Tbl soy sauce (to your taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar
2 to 3 Tbl fresh dill, chopped (my husband likes even more than this- I end up putting about a 1/3 c. chopped fresh dill in our salad...but, just keep trying it to see if you want to add more)

Cook the pasta according to directions on box. Rinse hot pasta with cold water to stop the cooking.

Mix all the dressing ingredients with a whisk until completely combined.

Combine cooked pasta and veggies in a very large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. This salad must be chilled at least three hours in the refrigerator before eating so plan accordingly! There is no way two people alone can eat this all at one sitting, so, plan to have left overs some time later in the week. It tastes even better on day two because all the flavors have really melded together!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

Oh this was good! It was a bit involved, though, I must be honest. But, the end result was flavorful and rich and creamy and tasted every bit as good as a meal out at a fancy Italian restaurant! Another great recipe from the Pioneer Woman's blog (can you tell her blog is my absolute favorite!!)? Serve with a nice crusty bread! Enjoy!!

12 ounces, weight Pasta, Any Variety
8 pieces Thick Cut Bacon (diced Small)
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Diced Small
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
3 whole Eggs
3/4 cups Finely Grated Parmesan
3/4 cups Heavy Cream
Salt & Plenty Of Black Pepper
1/2 cup Peas

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until just barely crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the bacon grease, but don't clean the pan. Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper until smooth.

When the pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl. While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if needed for consistency.

Halfway through, add the peas, bacon, and sauteed onion/garlic. Finish adding the sauce, stirring until it's all combined.

Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.