Monday, July 30, 2012

Not your usual mac 'n cheese

I like to make healthier versions of old favorites, and I thought this recipe sounded interesting. It was good, but it was nothing like real macaroni and cheese. I might make this again, but I kind of doubt it. If you love quinoa, give this a try. Just don't expect it to taste like your old favorite.

Quinoa Mac 'N Cheese
from Monica Nelson Fitness

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)-OR chives are fine too
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato, or red/green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water (or stock)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk, non-fat milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions (you get the picture)

Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes. Cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque.
Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with salt. Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more, until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (if you feel you need more cheese, add here.) Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt.

Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs, add now. Bake 25-35 mins, (or until browned around edges.) Now you can toss with your toppings. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another one pot wonder!

I love one-pot meals (my dishwasher recently broke and meals like these were life-savers). This dish comes together in a snap and is healthy, too! I've been looking around for quick and easy weeknight meals and most of them incorporate processed ingredients, which I would prefer to avoid. Luckily this meal is full of the good stuff, including lots of veggies (you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, this dish is pretty versatile). I did leave out the anchovies just because I didn't have them, but next time I make this I plan on putting them in.

Pasta Puttanesca
from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped onion (white or red)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 2 minced anchovies), optional
  • salt & pepper
  • 28oz can good quality petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 12oz dry rotini pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley + more for garnish, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons capers

  • Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, red chili pepper flakes, and anchovy paste. Season with salt and pepper then saute until onions soften, about 4 minutes.
  • Add petite diced tomatoes, water, pasta, and salt, then bring the liquid to a boil. Place a lid on top of the skillet then keep the pasta at medium-high heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, or until pasta is al dente. Do not overcook, and do not worry if there is extra liquid still in the skillet.
  • Turn the heat off, add the olives, parsley, and capers to the skillet then stir to combine. Serve topped with freshly chopped parsley.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Like a volcano

Our anniversary was back in May, and I cooked a special meal to celebrate. We had pork tenderloin with baby potatoes and a fresh salad. For dessert I wanted to make something really special but relatively easy, so I settled on Molten Lava Cakes. These little cakes are decadent and will make any event feel extra special. I cooked them a tad too long so they weren't as "molten-y" as I would have liked, but they were still delicious. Next time I'll only cook them for 10 minutes. I also doubled this recipe and in my ramekins it only made 3, so definitely double or triple the recipe if you want more servings.

Molten Lava Cakes
from A Couple Cooks

2 8-ounce ramekins (or 4 5-ounce ramekins)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil (or substitute 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons regular flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoon cocoa powder. Then whisk in 1/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup honey, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon oil. Whisk until smooth
Liberally grease the inside of the ramekins with oil or butter, especially the bottoms. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins.
Bake the ramekins until just hardened on top, but still liquid in the center – between 12 to 15 minutes for larger ramekins, and around 10 minutes for smaller ramekins. When you remove the ramekins from the oven, let them cool for a bit, then run a knife around the edge and carefully invert them onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Restaurant Reviews!

It's been awhile since I've offered up new restaurant reviews. Maybe we're just set in our ways, but we seem to frequent the same restaurants every week (or month) and don't get out to new places very often. Our loss for sure!

One restaurant I tried recently with a few friends. Poquitos is on Capitol Hill in Seattle (close to SCCC for those familiar with the area). It's super cute inside and offered very quick service and good food for a reasonable price. My friends had both been there before and had their favorites - I went with one of their suggestions: Chicken Tinga Tacos.
The menu describes them as "Shredded free range chicken braised in tomato, garlic & chipotle, topped with cilantro, cotija & onion." What first caught my eye was the fact that these are free-range, which is important to me and I like restaurants who support that. The tacos were really flavorful and totally hit the spot. My friends enjoyed their very large selection of tequila but I stuck with just a dry vanilla bean soda. I'd go back to Poquitos any day!

The second restaurant the Hubs and I visited together. Hangar Cafe is located close to Boeing Field in the Georgetown area, and is a tiny converted house.

This restaurant is known for their crepes and brunch foods, and they sure didn't disappoint! We visited around noon on a weekday, and they weren't too busy. I ordered an original mimosa (served in a pint glass!)

and their Triple B Waffles (unfortunately they were out of basil so this became the Double B instead with bacon and brie).

Hubs got the Hangar Crepe (ham, swiss, egg, some veggies and sauce). Both of our meals were outstanding (we shared!) and I wouldn't hesitate to visit again.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ginger & Peach Chicken - a must make!

This recipe was ridiculously good. As in, so good you must make it and then tell all your friends about it. I was a bit hesitant about using peaches in a savory dish, but the flavors really work and both the Hubs and I loved it. I've made this several times already and can't wait to make it again. Fresh peaches would be totally delish in this, but frozen ones work just as well.

Ginger & Peach Chicken
from Iowa Girl Eats


  • 1 bag (1lb) frozen peaches, unthawed
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced 1/4″ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, micro planed or finely minced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • cooked brown or white rice
For the marinade:
  • 1lb chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, micro planed or finely minced
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper. Combine ingredients for marinade in a large zip lock bag. Add chicken and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place frozen peaches and onions in a large bowl then add ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, and red-pepper flakes, and toss to coat. Pour into a non-stick sprayed 9×13 casserole dish. Nestle marinated chicken into the peaches and onions, and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.