Friday, January 6, 2017

Smoothie Bowl

After spending the past several months bankrupting my family using the Favor delivery service so I could eat my beloved smoothie bowl every day, I came to a very enlightening realization. I can make my own smoothie bowl. And guess what? I LIKE MINE BETTER. 
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Handful of chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 cup or so of almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • Coconut flakes 
  • Granola
In a food processor combine the blueberries, 1.5 of the bananas, pineapple and milk until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and top with remaining banana, coconut and granola. 

I guess this isn't really a recipe because you could throw anything into a smoothie and make it delicious, so consider this post lunch inspiration - which we could all use.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Perfect Roast Turkey

I've done loooooots of turkey research over the past few years (yes I have, because the millions of variations implies that no one has truly cracked the code), and though I have only made two turkeys in my whole life I am fairly confident that this is the combination that works: brined, breast-down, breast 155. Just remember the 3 B's. Sort of.

I bought my turkey brined because I don't have room for all of that stuff in my fridge, but you can easily create an easy brine of salt and water, and marinate the turkey in it for a couple days. This essentially infuses the turkey with lots of salt so that it retains its own moisture during the cooking process. Because the brine is so salty, you won't want to salt the turkey again before cooking.  

The next key to cooking this turkey is BREAST DOWN.  I followed Elise's instructions here, and I believe it really made a difference. The theory is that as the juices/fat releases from the turkey it flows down to the breast, the driest part of the bird. I did turn the turkey over the last several minutes to create a nice browned breast, but you could skip this.

And finally, and probably the most important key, is that you must take out the turkey when the breast reaches 155. This requires a lot of attention the last hour of cooking so that you take it out at the perfect time (hard to do when you're cocktailing and chatting). As soon as the breast hits 155, take the bird out, tent it with foil for 20-30 minutes, and by the time you eat it the breast will be 165.  I use a Thermapen thermometer and love it.

  • 1 16 lb fresh brined turkey
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 1 carrot (quartered or halved)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 2 large lemons
  • 1  stick butter
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
Heat oven to 425.  Rinse turkey out, then pat dry inside and out. Place in large roasting pan, breast side down. Stuff the inside of the turkey with the onion, carrot, 1 lemon (halved), and several sprigs thyme.  Close up the opening and truss the turkey if you want. 

Using a food processor (or just finely chop), create a paste with several sprigs of thyme, rosemary, zest of the other lemon, and a little olive oil.  Melt the butter in a bowl and add the lemon-herb paste.  Brush 3/4 of it all over the turkey, top and bottom. Sprinkle the turkey with some fresh ground pepper. Reserve the remaining butter for browning the breast later on.

Place the turkey in the 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Decrease oven temp to 325 for the next 2 hours. Decrease to 250 until done, checking the temperature regularly.  Typically they say 13-15 minutes per pound. When the breast reaches about 145-150, turn the turkey over. Brush with remaining butter mixture, and either turn the broiler on or increase oven to 400.  Brown breast until it reaches 155.  You can skip the browning process if you want to, especially if you have a giant turkey.  Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil for 20-30 min before carving.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Best Chicken Salad Sandwich

Warning! This recipe is for one. Warning! This chicken salad is sooooo good. Exactly what I like in a chicken salad - slightly sweet, slightly tangy, slightly crunchy. If you like a more savory salad, move along.

  • 1 heaping cup of shredded chicken (I use rotisserie)
  • 3 tablespoons light mayo
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
  • Dash salt
  • Handful craisins
  • Handful slivered almonds
  • Handful diced grapes or celery (I used green grapes I had in the fridge)

Mix the mayo, sugar, milk, vinegar and salt together to create the dressing. Mix together with remaining ingredients, and voila! Chicken salad. Serve on some hearty wheat bread and you've got one delicious lunch or dinner.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Healthy Weeknight Broccoli Mac N Cheese

My cravings for mac n' cheese lately are out of hand.  I really wanted it last week for dinner, but felt like I should eat something a tad more nutritious than the Kraft version (though I loooove the Kraft version).  So,  I made a few substitutions and wound up with a very tasty mac n' cheese that does offer some nutritional value. I kept it pretty cheesy because I needed it to be, but if you wanted to trim that down you could cut back on calories there. My husband loved this!

  • 3 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash dry mustard
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar
  • 2/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli

Cook pasta according to directions in generously salted water. Meanwhile, steam broccoli (you want 2 cups AFTER the broccoli is cooked).

In another pot, bring 1 1/2 cups of the milk to a simmer. Whisk the corn starch in the remaining milk, and stir into the simmering milk until thickened. Add salt and seasonings. Turn off heat, and add in the cheddar and cottage cheese.

Drain pasta and mix with sauce and broccoli.  Place in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Taco Dip

I loooove dip. I love the chips, I love the endless options, I love appetizers, and I love the act of dipping. This dip is a combination of all the things I've loved about various taco dips throughout my life. It's MY perfect taco dip, and my husband's I supposed too because he's in love. And, it's super easy!

  • 2 cans Fritos bean dip
  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/2 envelope taco seasoning
  • Taco sauce
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 diced roma tomatoes

Spread the bean dip in the serving dish of your choice (I halved the recipe and used a 9 inch pan). Heat in the microwave until warm or bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese and taco seasoning together. Layer over the warm bean dip. Drizzle with taco sauce (amount up to you...I did a generous drizzle), then top with cheese, lettuce (enough to get a little crunch in each bite, but don't over do it), and tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Now that my pregnancy nausea has sort of ceased (I'm convinced it will never totally go away), the best thing has been very distinct cravings. Like I never just want a salad, or a sandwich,  I want an oriental salad with sesame dressing and wonton strips or a turkey sandwich with pickle and honey mustard.  This casserole was a product of that. I wanted a creamy chicken casserole with wild rice and teeny tiny chopped vegetables. Done.

  • 1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice (small box - 6 oz I think)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (I got a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups chopped/small frozen vegetables (I used peas, carrots, and chopped broccoli)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced
  • salt (at least 1/2 tsp, more to taste)
  • pepper

Cook the rice according to instructions.  In a separate pan, cook the onion and celery in 1 tablespoon butter for about 5-10 minutes until tender. In a bowl, combine the cooked rice, chicken, soup, half & half, onion mixture, and S&P.  Pour into a casserole dish, cover, and bake at 300 for 30 minutes (or until warm). You could serve this with a salad, but preferred a warm, buttery, crusty piece of bread.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Baby Shower

I'm back! Sorry for the looooong hiatus. I have an excuse. I am pregnant with twins and despite being over halfway in my pregnancy these little nuggets still insist on reminding me they're in there each day with a nice dose of nausea. I hope this isn't an indication of future behavior, because if it is these are DEVIL CHILDREN.

Anyway, cooking? No way. I've been lucky if I can stomach a PB sandwich.  I'm starting to turn the corner (I think) stay tuned for some recipes in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to post about a baby shower I held for my great friend Annie.  We have been friends since pretty much the very moment I moved to Dallas (we picked each other up at a bar - how romantic is that?), and it's been such a joy seeing her transition from our days at dance clubs and pool parties to baby bellies and bottles.  ...did I just say 'it's been such a joy'?? It's happening already! I'm a mom!

Anyway, I had her baby shower all the way back in September but am just getting around to posting it now. Hopefully this helps you with ideas for future showers on food, decor, flowers, and most importantly - dessert. (yes that's a separate category from food).

First, the flowers.  Bright yellow flowers to symbolize new life and opportunities (just kidding, gender-neutral shower and the yellow flowers were the prettiest)
More yellow flowers in a lemon-lined vase (super easy and pretty!). Also, a clothesline of sweet little baby onesies and stuffed animals over the fireplace.
And more beautiful yellow floating flowers on the patio. And some mums in the back that my husband insisted on.
A cute little 'Sweet Baby Banner' over the other fireplace
Now, the drinks. Champagne! Lots of champagne for everyone but the mom-to-be.
And mini champagnes for everyone to take with them (with a tag that reads 'ready to pop')
Now for the food! I often make this Wild Rice Chicken Salad for gatherings such as these. Always a hit, easy to make ahead, always pretty. Especially in my beautiful punch bowl courtesy of my MIL.
Next, caramelized onion and goat cheese flatbreads (and some with roasted red pepper). Guess I haven't posted about these before, but they're AMAZING. Naan bread, drizzled with olive oil, topped with onions that you've caramelized with a touch of sugar and butter, and sliced goat cheese. And roasted red pepper if you want some color. Oh and a sprinkle of fresh basil.
A colorful Kale Salad. I added fresh raspberries on this one for a pretty pop of pink.
And one of my all-time favorite appetizers, Bacon Wrapped Dates.  Hint - these are super easy if you buy a balsamic glaze instead of make your own, ditch the apricot jelly (don't need it with the sweet glaze), and assemble up to a day ahead so all you have to do is pop them in the oven.
Lots of fun, easy food.
And finally, the drum roll please....the dessert table. My favorite cake of all time, decorated with light yellow icing and yellow sprinkles (I wanted to keep it classy rather than top it with everything in the chocolate candy aisle like I typically do- we're moms now), cupcakes from Society bakery, and of course - cake balls.
Hopefully this gives you ideas if you have a shower looming in front of you, but most importantly this post will remind me what I did next time I host another shower so I don't have to spend another 462 hours making decisions (there's so many good recipes out there! and pinterest! and blogs! and food network!!).  

Happy Spring! Stay tuned...