Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finger food!

Not only did I make homemade salsa for the Superbowl, but we also indulged in some finger-foods. These chicken strips were really delicious, although I made the mistake of pairing them with Sweet & Sour sauce, when it needs something with a little kick to balance out the sweetness of the coconut. These would even be good with barbecue sauce, smoky would balance the coconut flavor really well.

Baked Coconut Chicken Strips

from Back to Her Roots

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • White flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Equal parts unsweetened coconut and panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil spray (can sub other cooking spray)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag and pound down to about 1/2″ thickness. Slice into 3/4″ strips.
  3. Mix panko and coconut in one bowl, season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and splash of milk. In a third bowl, add the flour.
  4. Dredge the chicken strips starting in the flour, then the egg mixture and then ending by pressing into the coconut/panko mixture. Lay onto a greased baking sheet. Spritz tops of strips with olive oil spray.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time, or until cooked through. Serve with sweet chili sauce to dip.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mexican Quinoa Soup

I loved this soup! It wasn't the fastest to make, but it's perfect for a weekend meal. I thought the leftovers tasted just as great, but a friend didn't like the green-pepper flavor in the leftovers. Just keep that in mind, and consider substituting another red pepper in for the poblano one. This recipe is so tasty you won't even realize it's vegan! :)

Mexican Quinoa Soup
from PreventionRD

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed for less spice
1 cup dry quinoa
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges


Set your oven to broil at 550 F.

Cut the poblano, red bell pepper, and jalapeno in half, removing the stem and seeds. Place peppers on a baking sheet cut side down and roast 2-3 minutes or until charred and black. Check frequently to avoid over-burning. Once charred, place peppers in plastic baggie, close, and allow to steam. **I skipped this, and just peeled without steaming.** Peel the charred skin by hand and dice the peppers.

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil. Add diced onions and stir. Keep stirring until the onions start to stick and add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable stock. Repeat this step, stirring often for 30 minutes, deglazing pan every so often with a small amount of vegetable stock. Cook onions for 30 minutes or until onions are dark in color with the desired caramelized flavor.

While onions are caramelizing, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for ~30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

To the dutch oven, add remaining vegetable stock, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, red bell pepper, paprika, coriander, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, and chipotle chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Add cooked quinoa and stir to combine.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with diced avocado. Serve with lime wedges.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PB Cookie Dough Balls

This is a very simple dessert, but it does hit the spot if you don't feel like actually baking cookies. I wasn't blown away by this recipe but I'm still glad I tried it and it's very easy to make vegan or even gluten-free!

PB/CC Cookie Dough Bites
from Averie Cooks


1/4 cup peanut butter

1/8 cup butter, softened (2 tablespoons)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whole rolled old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

pinch salt, optional

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or regular size chips are fine)


In a small bowl, whip the peanut butter and butter until creamy. Add the sugars and whip until creamy. Add the vanilla extract, salt, oats, flour (add the flour slowly in case you need slightly less than recipe indicates) and stir until just combined.

The dough should be easy to work with and form into balls at this point, but if the dough is too dry or crumbly and not coming together, add a touch more peanut butter until desired consistency is achieved. Conversely, it dough is too wet or sticky, add slightly more oats or flour. Also, chilling the dough in the freezer or refrigerator for 20 minutes prior to shaping it into balls can be helpful if the dough is a little wet or sticky.

After appropriate dough consistency is reached, fold in the chocolate chips and then roll the dough into balls.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I received a food processor for Christmas from my wonderful mother, and for a good couple of weeks I was too afraid of it to use it! I had never before seen one used in my whole life - everyone I knew used blenders. I was a bit nervous to use it with all of its various attachments but once I got over that it's been incredibly useful!! At this point I barely remember what it was like to not have a food processor, I think everyone should buy one!

I made this salsa for Super Bowl Sunday, and it really does taste just like the salsa at a Mexican restaurant!! The Husband and I don't like chunky salsa, so I made sure to process it until it was super smooth!

Restaurant Style Salsa
from Iowa Girl Eats


1-14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes

1/4 large red onion, roughly chopped

1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped


1 teaspoon dried cilantro, or a large handful of fresh cilantro

juice of half a lime

Place tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and garlic cloves into a food processor. Pulse until chunky. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then taste and adjust salt and lime juice levels, if necessary.

Monday, April 2, 2012

One-Pot Wonder Meal!

This is a wonderfully easy meal that comes together in a snap. I used precooked sausage to make it even quicker, and it's so nice to just cook the pasta in with everything else. I didn't have wine so I just used a little more broth and I omitted the pine nuts. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Skillet Penne with Chicken Sausage and Spinach
from Smells Like Home

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb hot or sweet Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 8 oz (2 1/2 cups) penne, ziti, or rotini pasta
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, dried, and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in wine, water, pasta, tomatoes, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender and liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup of cream or half-and-half; increase the amount up to 1 cup if the dish needs a little thinning after you add the spinach in the next step.
  3. Stir in spinach, one handful at time, and cook until wilted. Off heat, stir in Parmesan and nuts (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.