Who doesn't LOVE tacos? They are fun, easy to make, and they can be as healthy or as decadent as you want.
Last week, I decided it had been too long since I had some yummy fish tacos, so I went all out.
You can use any kind of fish. I used cod because it was what I had in my freezer. So, take your fish of choice, drizzle it with olive oil and a lime juice and bake it for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
While the fish is baking, it is time to prepare all the yummy goodness that will fill your taco shells. I chopped up a vidalia onion, some grape tomatoes, a few radishes, a bit of red cabbage, a bunch of cilantro, and one avocado. Then I mixed up sour cream with some Mexican seasoning... mmm mmm mmm!
Once the fish is cooked, give it another squeeze of lime and sprinkle on some finely chopped cilantro. Then chop the fish into bite-size chunks so they fit easily into your taco shell.
Fill your shells, fish first, then pile on all the delicious ingredients, topping it off with the sour cream. Make sure to keep a little extra sour cream on the side so you can dip as you eat.
The Chicken tender Challenge
Since Lucy was born back in May, I have been on a kind of eating free-for-all, and I am finally starting to get myself back under control. I'd love to be a slimmer, fitter version of myself in the near future, so in addition to exercising (having dance parties in the living room with Lucy at lunchtime) more regularly, I am trying to regulate my diet a bit more during the day. I am eating cottage cheese and tomatoes every morning for breakfast (instead of these doughnuts... yum) , snacking on fruits and veggies (instead of my FAVORITE chips) between meals, and over the past week I gave myself a little something that I like to call "The Chicken Tender Challenge."
Those little 2.5 oz strips of chicken are fairly inexpensive, really good for you, and the perfect size for lunch, but they can be pretty boring. Luckily, a couple of months ago my darling friend, Jarnell, brought me this really cool 8 pack of mixed spices from touroftheworldcafe.com. Each little cup, which interlocks to the others so it is easier to store in a column in the corner of your spice cabinet, represents a different country or region.
For each day, I slathered a chicken tender in a teaspoon of olive oil, coated it in the spices and baked for about 8 minutes at 375 degrees.
The spice packs are numbered, so I decided to try them in the order they came... So here they are... days 1-8 of the chicken tender challenge.
1. French Made Easy- I served the spiced, baked chicken simply with some honey mustard and a pile of chopped up carrots. Really tasty and I was totally full for a few hours.
2. Curry in a Hurry- I am generally not a big fan of Indian food, but this "Indian Spice" pack was surprisingly good. Spicy and curry-ish but not overwhelming. This time, I added the baked, spiced chicken to some light mayo also seasoned with the Indian spice, and mixed it up with some chopped celery to make an Indian chicken sandwich on wheat bread. I served it with a chopped salad of tomatoes, radishes, arugula and vidalia onions with champagne vinegar. It was completely delicious and I wasn't hungry again until dinner.
3. Mexican in a Minute - I just served the spiced baked chicken with an heap of this amazing fresh salsa I picked up in the prepared food section at Harris Teeter the other day. The chicken and the salsa were both completely delish!
4. Italiano Pronto - I cooked a cup of penne, and dressed it with a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and parsley. Then I added the baked, spiced chicken and a couple halved tomatoes to the bowl and dug in. mmm mmm mmm.
5. Go Greek - I served the baked, spiced chicken with roasted potatoes garlic, and lemons dressed in olive oil with parsley. This one took a bit more time (about 15 minutes for roasting) but was well worth it. Sooo good.
6. American Bounty - I placed the spiced, baked chicken on wheat with brown, spicy mustard and swiss cheese and ate it with a handful of red grapes. Classic, easy, and tasty.
7. Mediterranean Magic - I sauteed some onions, mushrooms and tomatoes in olive oil and served it on top of the spiced, baked chicken. I was happy and full until dinner.
8. Sassy Salad (ok, so this one is not a country or region) - Made a quick, little salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, robusto cheese and celery. Then I added some of the spice to olive oil and red wine vinegar to make the dressing. I added the baked, spiced chicken in chunks and tossed it all together and poured on the dressing. This was refreshing and zesty.
I have to say, I really liked all of them, but Mediterranean Magic was the stand out.
It really made my boring little baked chicken tender totally delicious and interesting.
And my jeans are fitting a little bit better this week... woo hoo!
Pork with Sauteed Apples and Onions
I just couldn't resist those sweet Gala apples at the grocery the other day, and what goes better with an apple than pork? There is a reason you always see a big old piggy with an apple jammed in it's mouth when the show some sort of medieval feast in a movie.
Chop up a large crisp apple and add it to a pan with halved pearl onions. Drizzle on some melted butter and sprinkle on thyme, sea salt and pepper. Saute everything on high heat so the apples get a bit soft and the flavor of the thyme gets infused throughout.
Now, give your pork chops a light dusting with whole wheat flour, sprinkle them with thyme, salt and pepper and then cook them in a pan on high heat with a couple of pats of butter.
Plate it all up and you have the perfect October dinner. So delish!
Seared Tuna Salad
This salad is hearty, delicious and takes less than five minutes to make... perfect for when you get home from a long day out in the world and are SOO hungry but you still want something healthy.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan. I like to use sesame oil with my tuna, but any oil will do. Get a nice thick tuna steak and coat both sides in salt and pepper (and sesame seeds if you have them). Here is a quick guide on how to tell if the tuna is fresh which is useful for this recipe where the fish is only seared and not cooked through.
While the oil is heating, dress some greens, some carrots amd some chopped mushrooms in a sesame ginger dressing. I really like this one.
Once the oil is sizzling hot, put your tuna into the pan and let it sear on one side for about 30 seconds. Flip it over and sear the other side for thirty more seconds. Remove the fish from the oil an let it rest for a minute. Slice it up and place it on top of your salad and there you go.
A gourmet salad with minimal time and effort!
Lunch for One - Pioneer Style
Do any of you LOVE the Pioneer Woman as much as I do? Some of her recipes look so good that I immediately report to the grocery store as soon as I read them to get the ingredients I need like it is an emergency.
Such was the case with this incredible Pioneer Woman patty melt that I made for myself a few weeks ago.
I was feeling a little lonely because Lucy and Goalie were both snoozing, Patton was working, and my Mom had gone home a couple days before. I checked PW's site, saw this recipe and ran right down to the grocery to buy some beef and some bread (i already had the cheese, onions, and butter). This delicious sandwich was so cheesy, and beefy, and yummy that it cheered me right up.
Do you have any favorite cooking blog recipes that you love?
Rainy Day Pasta
For some reason, this pasta dish just tastes better on a soggy, foggy, rainy day. I made this for lunch a couple of weeks ago and was dancing Lucy around the kitchen while I cooked so I didn't have a chance to snap photos as I cooked... just the ingredients I started with and the delicious end result.
To make this yummy, comfy dish you need linguini, olive oil, Italian bread crumbs, an egg, garlic, basil, onion, red pepper flakes and dried oregano.
Prepare the pasta in boiling, salted water.
In a separate pot, poach your egg (a teaspoon of white vinegar in the poaching water helps keep your egg an egg-sh shape as it poaches). Once your egg has cooked (about 3 minutes) remove from the water and put the egg to the side... it will eventually top the dish.
Finely chop your onions and saute them over medium high heat in some sizzling olive oil. Once the onions have started cooking add your garlic, red pepper and oregano.
When your pasta is cooked, drain and toss in the pan with the onions and olive oil. Add a couple tablespoons of bread crumbs and scoot the pasta around the pan like one of those big mops so it gets coated in oil and bread crumbs, and the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano get all mixed in. Now add some coarsely chopped basil and give the contents of the pan a couple of flips.
Plate it up and add your egg to the top of the pile. I added a sprinkle or parmesan cheese to mine, as well. This dish is hearty and has a bit of a kick from the pepper. Really tasty!
Balsamic Pork & Peaches
This is another quick and easy dinner recipe. Start by marinating pork chops and canned peaches in balsamic vinegar. I actually drain the liquid from a can of peaches and then fill it up with balsamic vinegar and let them sit for about an hour or so. Once the chops and peaches have soaked in the vinegar long enough to get some of that great flavor, it is time to start cooking.
Places the peaches in a pan over medium high heat and flip them every few minutes to get them a little brown on each side. The sugar in the peaches should start caramelizing and really smelling great.
At the same time, throw your chops in a second pan, also on medium high heat. I cut my chops into smaller chunks to make them cook faster (I was HUNGRY). Flip the pork every few minutes until all sides are nice and brown and the pork is pretty firm to the touch.
Now throw your cooked peaches in with the pork, reduce the heat to low and toss in some chopped green onions, bacon bits, salt and pepper. Stir the bacon and onions around a bit to release some flavor, and so they can soak up some of the balsamic.
After a minute or two, remove the pan from the heat, and add your pork and a nice heap of peaches, bacon, and onions to a dish and dig in!
Sorta Fancy Fish Sticks
I never had fish sticks as a kid... that just wasn't my Mom's scene. We ate delicious broiled flounder and lots of shellfish and really didn't have too much of the ubiquitous-in-America frozen fish stick thing going on in our house. So, I don't even know things like is fish sticks supposed to be one word... Fishsticks??? Not sure. Anyway, I decided to try my hand at making my own fish sticks, and they turned out even better than I hoped.
Here's my recipe for Sorta Fancy Fish Sticks
You'll need a couple of fish fillets (I used cod), whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs (I used Italian style), salt and pepper, a couple of lemon wedges and a dipping sauce. Some people make their own... I just used this delicious store bought Remoulade that I found downstairs in the Potomac Gourmet Market.
First you preheat the oven to 425 degrees , then you cut your fillets into sticks... mine are about an inch and half thick.
Next, crack open the eggs and mix the whites and yolk together on a plate. Dredge each fish stick through the egg. On a separate plate, dust the fillet with a little whole wheat flour, then on a third plate, thoroughly cover the fish with a mixture of shredded parmesan cheese and flavored bread crumbs. Then put them in a pan and bake them for about 15 minutes.
Once they are nice and crispy, remove them from the oven, give them a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper and squeeze a lemon wedge over them for some citrus-iness and serve them up. I put the sticks in my beloved ceramic cones and served them with a side of Remoulade for dipping, a simple salad of chopped celery, grape tomatoes, and white onions with a vinaigrette, and some salty, buttery peas. The peas were frozen... unlike the fish sticks.
Sesame Carrot Spaghetti
Perhaps you are in the mood for something noodle-ish but you've somehow gotten involved in a bet where you have to be a vegan for an entire year or else you owe some Wall Street trader ten grand? Carrots to the rescue!
Sesame Carrot Spaghetti
Julienne three large carrots, thinly slice a heap of mushrooms and a quarter of a large white onion.
Next, throw these all in a skillet of sizzling sesame oil and garlic (and butter, if you are not a vegan).
Toss the veggies around the pan until the carrots go all soft , the onions get slippery and the mushrooms have soaked up the sesame oil and butter flavor like good little sponges.
Serve it in a big heap like it's spaghetti, liberally sprinkled with sesame seeds.
I was lucky enough to spend my Sunday afternoon in one of my favorite ways... eating steamed blue crabs loaded with old bay with my family on the porch. These particularly delicious crabs came from Gadeleto's in West Chester, PA... a family favorite. I've been picking and eating crabs since I was in first grade so I consider myself a bit of an expert. For those of you without a lifetime of crab eating experience, here's my step by step guide so you can join in the delicious fun.
Step one - pick a crab that feels heavy for it's size. This means it will be packed full of that sweet, sweet meat and make your meticulous picking efforts worth the time.
Step two - grab your crab by it's boy bits, pry it up and use this as a handle to rip off the crab's back (brutal, I know). PS... boy crabs are for steaming and girl crabs make the most delicious soup.
Step three - now rip off each of the small legs and pull them apart joint by joint.
There is a small amount of delicious meat in each segment of the leg and the taste is too good to skip.
You can use a knife to pry out the meat, or if you are like me, you can scrape it out using your teeth... the shell on the small legs is pretty soft and flexible. Remember that some of the best things in the world come in small packages... these little bits of leg meat are worth the work.
Step four - Now move on to those YUMMY claws. Tear them away from the body and crack them open (my family has always used nut crackers to eat crabs. I know lots of people like the mallets but I find the crackers make things a little more precise).
Use the crackers to crush open each section of the claw including the knuckle. I like to eat the section closest to the body first, then the knuckle, then finish by grabbing each pincher and splitting them open. You can usually pull out the bit of meat that goes all the way down into the claw this way.
Step five - Time to take it to the body. I always split the body in half, making sure to remove the lungs (the sort of greyish pieces on the outside) and the intestines (the whitish coiled pieces in the center).
Then split the halves in half and start removing the succulent white meat from the chambers of the body. This is "lump" crab meat like you'll find in the best crab cakes. This is super sweet and tasty, which is why I like to leave it for last.
Now grab another crab and start all over again.
We've been sorta laying off the hard stuff lately, so our bottle of 1800 was looking a little sad and lonely on the bar cart and I decided it needed to make friends with these gorgeously thick lamb chops.
This is a fun one:
Mojito Lamb Chops
Ok, I know the classic mojito has rum in it, but tequila is so much naughtier.
Start out by putting a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a couple hunks of butter, the juice from half a lime, and some chopped mint into a skillet on medium/high heat.
Throw in 2 shots of tequila (don't let your eyebrows catch on fire) and take a shot for good luck.
When it looks nice and sizzly, add your chops to the pan.
You cook the first side for three minutes then I like to swish the chops across the pan making sure they soak up all that butter, boozy, minty goodness before flipping them over. Cook the other side for about three minutes, and then move the chops to a plate to rest for at least 4 minutes. This is a very important step in sealing in all those tasty juices.
Now, the sugar from the mojito comes in when you cook the corn. I boil the ears of sweet white corn for about 9 minutes in some very sugary water, just like my Momma taught me.
Grab some plates, slap down the chops, put a nice side of salted tomatoes, an ear of corn with plenty of butter, salt and pepper and you're rolling.
Dinner in Seven
Ready for a super speedy, super healthy, super summery dinner? This is a quick and easy one for ya.
Baked Tilapia with Watermelon Mint Salad
Drizzle Tilapia fillets with a teaspoon of olive and a wedge's worth of lemon juice and bake at 375 degrees for about six minutes.
When the fish is finished, season with salt, pepper and top with some chopped greens (parsley, spinach, butter lettuce, arugula.. whatever you like) and some halved grape tomatoes and serve with a lemon wedge.
Now the real star of the show is this salad.
Cut up a watermelon (I like to use a melon baller.. it's just fun) and toss with mint, goat cheese, chopped red onions and drizzle with some red wine vinaigrette.
Tastes like Summer in Just about Seven Minutes!
Patton LOOOVES pesto pasta with sauteed beef. so every now and then I gotta make the guy happy.
Here's my recipe for
Garlicky, Lemony, Yummy Pesto
Add 2 cups of fresh basil, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of pinenuts, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, the juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of pepper into a blender or food processor and let it blend until you get the desired texture.
Use as a fresh topping to pasta, chicken, fish, beef, whatever.
Super easy and fast... the blender does all the work for you!
Love, love, LOVE making these for dinner.
Loaded Baked Potato
Slather olive oil onto and rub sea salt into an extra large jacket potato and bake on 425 until you can easily puncture the potato with a fork. Remove from the oven and let the fun begin.
I like to load up my baked potatoes with all sorts of yummy things... chicken, veggies, cheeses, various sauces ... but this version is favorite. Here is the list of what I jammed into these potatoes.
Smoked Salmon drizzled in Lemon Juice
Chopped Raw Green Beans
Shredded Baby Spinach
Chopped Grape Tomatoes
This is a very easy to make, very hearty meal. Patton is a huge fan and I think it is something kids would enjoy (and an easy way to hide veggies amid the kid friendly things like butter, cheese, and potatoes).
American Way - Part Two - Pommes Frites
Continuing my exploration of the American Way kiosks at National Harbor, I made my second stop at Pommes Frites where the fries are crispy, salty and incredibly fresh. So fresh that when you place your order first thing that happens is that the guy behind the counter grabs a couple of potatoes. The potatoes are cut into perfect skin-on, shoe string fries, doused in olive oil, seasoned and then tossed into the fryer until they reach crispy perfection. They serve them up in a paper cone with plenty of sea salt.
I whipped up a little Old Bay mayo to dip them in a shared my frites with Goalie, who is a french fry connoisseur. He loved them almost as much as I did (and i love fries so much I own a few of these ceramic fry cones).
These frites are totally delicious... fresh, crispy and salty ... exactly the way they should be!
No Electricity, No Problem
I whipped this baby up when we had no electricity a couple of weeks ago . A great summer dish.
Pineapple, Crab and Avocado Tower
Place a ring of pineapple on a plate and top with about 3 ounces of blue crab meat (you can get little cans of backfin, claw, or jumbo lump crabmeat at most seafood counters) mixed with a teaspoon of dijon mustard.
Chop up half an avocado, a few grape tomatoes and some arugula and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Place the mixture on top of the crabmeat and pineapple and ... voila ... a little tower of tastiness in just a few minutes!
American Way - Part One - Beckie's Bag O' Donuts
At National Harbor there is a street called "American Way," which is closed to traffic every Saturday of summer for a great farmer's market. Additionally, there are permanent kiosks which house mini restaurants, snack shops, and even a psychic and a cigar bar. This summer, I am going to try each of them.
I decided to start my tour at the one that smelled best... Beckie's Bag O' Donuts.
For $4 I got a dozen piping hot mini donuts, deliciously coated in cinnamon and sugar... seriously good, as in, I need to avoid this place like the plague or else I will look like a hippo by the end of the summer. Wait, maybe since they are "mini" donuts they can't make me fat... I will test that theory, I think.
First of all, the donuts are created out of thin air on this mini-donut making machine. I loved watching the whole process and kind of expected extra small Oompah Loompah's to come out and start singing as the tiny donuts were pressed out of the dough machine and floated their way down the hot oil river and then finally flipped onto to the sugaring station. How fun!
I decided to execute what little self control I have and share them with my hubby up in my condo. By the time I got up there, they had cooled just enough for me to jam 5 or 6 of these little sugary bites of heaven into my mouth in less than a minute.
The Uptowner & A Bloody Mary Salad
So, this is my fanciest sandwich (hence the name) accompanied by a deliciously spicy salad. It takes a little longer to make then some of my other recipes (but still less than 25 minutes) but the taste is worth the time.
Begin by tossing some coarsely chopped green onions with arugula in a tablespoon of olive oil mixed with the juice of half a lemon, sea salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix mayo, dijon mustard and a tablespoon of horseradish and set aside to be added to the sandwich later.
Cut a nice section of crusty french bread in half, coat the bread in french herb vinaigrette (Whole Foods has a good private label version) and heat in the oven at about 400 degrees. I like to let it bake until the bread gets toasty on the inside and crunchier on the outside.
While the bread is heating cut 3 oz of beef from a nice roast or london broil. Heat french herb vinaigrette in a medium pan and quickly sear beef so it is brown on the outside and nice and rare in the center. Put the meat aside to rest for a minute or two and then cut into bite size strips.
By now the bread will be nice and hot and toasted so remove from the oven and spread one piece with brie, top with the rare beef, and the arugula and green onion mix.
Slather the other piece of bread with the horsey dijonaise, add that slice to the top and get ready for a totally delicious, fancy-pants sandwich!
Bloody Mary Salad
Halve a handful of grape tomatoes, chop a stalk of celery, cut celery leaves (the sweet yellowy ones from the center of the bunch) and toss together with a dressing made of red wine vinegar, chopped garlic, horseradish, lemon juice, lime juice, a splash of Tabasco, salt & pepper, and a hint of Old Bay. A yummy salad with a kick.
Simply Delish Baby Food
One of my loveliest and dearest friends, Jill Conlin, is so sweet to share her fantastic and simple homemade organic baby food recipes on Harbor Love. Jill is a loving mother to an adorable seven month old cutie pie of a baby girl named Cassidy, who, judging from these recipes below, gets to eat like baby royalty. I can't wait to try these recipes out on Lucy a few months down the road!
Before Cassidy came into my world, I registered for all sorts of ridiculous things. Among them, a fancy baby food maker and recipe book, for the endless hours I imagined would be spent making her nutritious, wholesome baby food.
Now, only 7 short months later, I have returned the fancy baby food maker, and have found that the availability of organic food packets, made by brands like Sprout, Plum Organics and Ella's Kitchen, make it easy to give her quick and nutritious meals.
However, when I am feeling ambitious, I find that these simple recipes coupled with my trusty blender, are just as easy:
Apples and Oatmeal:
Wash the apples and cut into quarters. Place apples in pot with just a little bit of water (not enough to cover apples). Bring to a boil and cook until applese are tender. Remove apples from pot and let cool. After they cool, remove the apples from their skin and use potato masher or blender to create desired consistency- Add a little water if necessary. Prepare oatmeal according to box instructions- I like Earth's Best Organic. Add the two together and serve with a little cinnamon.
Bananas and Blueberries:
Use frozen bag of organic blueberries (Cascadian Farms are a favorite of mine), and thaw completely. Place berries directly into blender and blend until smooth. Remove berries and run through strainer to remove any excess berry skin. Put strained blueberries back into the blender along with a cut-up, very ripe banana. Blend to desired consistency and serve.
Pears and Peas:
Cook pears according to apple instructions. Remove skin and blend when cooled. Take frozen organic peas (or fresh peas) and thaw completely. Add directly to blender with pear chunks and blend. Use water as needed to reach desired consistency.
All of these recipes freeze very well, so make a lot at once and freeze! I like Green Sprouts Baby Food Glass Storage Cubes and the BEABA multiportions for freezing.
A Helpful Link: The EWG puts out a 'dirty dozen' list of produce that are best bought organic:
Happy Eating, Little Ones!
Felt like making my man an extra manly dinner the other night so I went for it with this really easy to make meal.
Pan Fried Bone-In Pork Chop and Iceberg Salad
Get some juicy, thick pork chops on the bone from the butcher. I like to make sure they have a good amount of fat around the edges.. tastes sooo good when it gets a bit crispy and crunchy.
Optional Step...Soak the chops in melted butter for about an hour before you fry them up.
Heat a few tabolespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat until it is completely melted.
Coat both sides of the chops in flour, sea salt and black pepper and add them to the sizzling butter in the frying pan.
Depending on the thickness of the chop (the one's I cooked were a little over an inch thick and I fried 'em for about 5 minutes on each side), fry each side until the flour. salt and pepper coated chops have a nice crispy brown surface.
Remove the chops from the pan and let them rest for three or four minutes to seal in the delicious juices.
While the chops rest, prepare a simple salad of chopped iceberg lettuce, crunchy celery and crumbled bacon tossed with red wine vinaigrette.
Add your super flavorful pork chops to the plate and you're good to go!
To celebrate Patton's triumphant beginning as a new dad, I made him some of his very favorites for dinner... Kraft Mac and Cheese and 2 types of delicious sausages from our local butcher.
Cook Sausages (I made bratwurst and cumberland sausage for Paddy) on griddle on high heat making sure each side of the sausage gets a little bit brown and blistered.
Make sure to put some delicious mustard on the plate for dipping.
Prepare Kraft Mac and Cheese per instructions (I always add a little extra butter).
Serve to the deserving Daddy in your life with a craft beer.
Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich
Smoked Salmon is one of those items that is a little risky to eat during pregnancy for the same reasons ob/gyns recommend that you don't eat lunch meat. I am a HUGE smoked salmon fan and was really excited to have some when I brought Lucy home from the hospital.
Here's a little twist on classic bagel and lox.
Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
Take two slices of crusty Italian bread and spread crumbled goat cheese on each slice. Add a nice heap of smoked salmon and top with a couple slices of nice juicy tomato and some red onion.
Squeeze some lemon juice on top of the salmon, season with salt and pepper and enjoy sandwich style.
Double "S" Dinner
2 of my favorite S words... Sandwich & Salad!!!
This is a fun and quick dinner to make... lots of flavor and easy to enjoy at the end of a long day.
Slather chicken breast tenders (about 2 oz each) in honey mustard dressing and bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes. During the last minute, cover tops of tenders with havarti cheese and remove from the oven when the cheese has melted.
While the chicken tenders are baking, cut 2 small pretzel rolls in half. Spread honey mustard dressing to on the pretzels. Add a couple of strips of zesty bell peppers and a spoonful of chopped green onion to the bottom layer of the pretzel.
The salad pictured above is very simple... a heaping handful of mixed greens, a few halved cherry tomatoes (ideally grown locally), some slivered almonds, sea salt and black pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of poppy seed dressing.
Add the baked chicken, now gooey with melted cheese, to the sandwich and sit down to a fun version of the classic sandwich and salad combo!
A Little Something Spicy
Here's a spicy Thai dinner that anyone can make at home in minutes...
Beef Rice Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce
Chop a steak into bite size pieces
Chop 1/4 of a white onion into strips
Chop 2 Carrots into slivers
Heat Sesame Oil in medium pan over high heat
When the oil begins to sizzle add steak, onion and carrots to the pan
Throw in a heaping handful of peanuts
Bring salted water to a boil and add rice noodles
When the rice noodles are cooked, drain and return to bowl
Stir in Spicy Peanut Sauce (I like this kind best)
Add steak, carrots, onions and peanuts to the noodles
Place onto serving dishes
Top with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds
Finish up with a Fortune Cookie
The cashiers at Harris Teeter ALWAYS look at me like I am crazy when they ring me up and see my selection of frozen, whole, cleaned octopus. It definitely looks a little creepy in the packaging, but really, I think those cashiers are the ones who are a little nuts for NOT taking advantage of this delicious, nutritious, inexpensive and easy to prepare protein.
Lemony Octopus with Red Wine Vinegar, Oil, Garlic
Rinse 2 or 3 whole cleaned octopus (about 4 oz each) in warm water
Put them into a large pot
Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
Add one lemon chopped into wedges and 5-7 garlic cloves
Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper
Bring mixture to boil
Octopus will turn from white to a deep purple as they cook
Check periodically by stabbing octopus with a fork until tines enter with little resistance. When this happens remove octopus from the pot immediately (a few seconds of overcooking turns tender tentacles into rubbery, chewy bands) and chop into small segments.
In a separate pan, saute onions and tomatoes in olive oil.
Add mixture (minus octopus) from pot into saucepan and let it simmer for a 2-3 minutes.
Drain, toss in octopus, and spoon onto plates.
Add another pinch of oregano and sprinkle some more salt and pepper to each serving and
include a lemon wedge to squeeze over octopus as you eat.
Really fresh, really healthy and so summery.
Minimal Effort, Huge Flavor
In anticipation of a lot of friends and family dropping by to meet our new addition to the family it is always good to have some easy but delicious snacks on hand.
I like to serve and enjoy REAL food as often as I can and this is something so simple and so delicious, I use it all the time.
Crusty Bread with Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil , Rosemary and Garlic
Cut some slices of delicious crusty bread from your local bakery and arrange on a large plate around a bowl for dipping
Heat a few cloves of garlic in a splash of olive oil in a pan over high heat for 3 minutes
Fill dipping bowl with a great olive oil. The sign of a GREAT olive oil is that it can stand on it's own flavor wise, and can actually be the focal point of a dish or bite of food.
(On a side note, if you are lucky enough to go to Komi, one of my favorite restaurants EVER, you'll see how Johnny Mannis perfected this concept. I have never encountered another chef who understands olive oil and salt like this guy... truly remarkable).
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil is heart healthy and so delicious used on it's own for dipping (or for cooking) that it has become my favorite choice for this particular snack. (I was so lucky to have received a bottle of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil through my affiliation with BzzAgent and can highly recommend this product.)
Add heated garlic to olive oil
Add sprig of rosemary to olive oil
Season oil with fresh ground black pepper
Start dipping your bread and Enjoy...ideally with a nice glass of wine!
(I was so lucky to have received a bottle of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil through my affiliation with BzzAgent and can highly recommend this product.)
Dinner for My Babysitter
My hubby recently went on a quick out of state business trip and insisted I have a babysitter in case Lucy made an early appearance and I needed someone trustworthy to get me to the hospital. One of my lifelong besties came to stay with me for two nights and I was very happy to make her my favorite pasta & meatballs.
The key is to get the right meatballs. I have periodically prepared home made meatballs but those days ended when I first tried Talluto's meatballs. AMAZING. They are the only kind I use now and they always get rave reviews. (Talluto's stuffed shells and raviolis are also incredible... they use the smoothest ricotto cheese... makes all the difference).
Anyway, the preparation of this dish is simple.
Pasta and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Heat one large can of crushed san marzano tomatoes, about six garlic cloves, two tablespoons of olive, a healthy sprinkle of oregano, some sea salt and black pepper and a pinch of red pepper in a large saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Then add those delicious meatballs and continue to heat for about ten - twelve minutes.
In a separate pot cook pasta in boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain and remove from heat.
Once the meatballs are cooked, stir the drained pasta into the sauce, add some fresh shredded basil and spoon into bowls. Top each bowl with a heaping spoonful of ricotta cheese and a little more more fresh basil and a couple of halved tomatoes.
Serve with a simple salad with an Italian vinaigrette and tuck in to a delicious dinner!
One Dish Lamb Feast
Here is a very simple and delicious lamb dinner recipe with minimal clean-up... all the cooking is done in one dish!
Broiled Lamb with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Garlic and Rosemary
Set your oven to broil on a high temperature (I use the "broil high" setting on my GE oven which, I think, is about 500 degrees)
Chop potatoes into 1/2 inch size pieces and place in your baking dish. I like to pick up one of those little net bags of potatoes from the grocery that are more or less a small potato variety packs.
Add a couple handfuls of coarsly chopped garlic, one pack of whole grape tomatoes and several sprigs of fragrant rosemary.
Douse everything in the dish liberally in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the dish in the middle shelf of your oven and let the veggies broil for 35 to 40 minutes.
When the potatoes start seem crispy on the edges and the tomatoes and garlic have acquired some blisters, remove the dish from the oven and add your lamb loin chops to the mix.
Place the dish on the top shelf of the oven and broil the lamb and veggies for three minutes (for medium rare), remove the dish, flip the chops and return the dish to the oven for another 3 minutes. Remove and let everything rest for about five minutes.
Add a chop and a nice heap of the potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and rosemary to your plate and enjoy this rustic, rich and EASY dinner.
As if having a beautiful new baby isn't enough of a gift, lots of us spoiled Momma's today get a push present. I have friends who have gotten expensive watches, diamond tennis bracelets... even know someone who got a new Mercedes.
Aside from finally getting to hold Lucy in my arms, there is one thing I have been obsessing over for the past 37 weeks. So much so that I have thoroughly coached Patton so he knows exactly what I want and will be able to deliver it to me in the hospital bed within an hour or so of giving birth in just a couple more weeks.
The PERFECT Salami Sandwich!
I have been dying for one since late August and I am just a dozen or so days away from finally getting it.
After taking a (medicated!!!) childbirth class a few months ago, Patton and I took a little research trip to the Whole Foods next to the hospital where we are having Lucy and I pointed out the type of rye bread I want with yellow mustard (spread coast to coast... a sandwich must for me), american cheese and a great big heap of salami.
A sweet little baby girl to love and a delicious sandwich from my gorgeous husband... sounds like HEAVEN!
What did you get for your push present?
I just made one of Patton's favorite dinners which is so easy and fast and really yummy.
Simply Scallops with Pasta
Heat 2 tbsp of butter over medium high heat in a pan.
When the butter starts to sizzle, add your scallops to the pan and let them soak up the butter a bit.
Flip the scallops a few times until they are a nice toasty brown on each side.
In the mean time, cook some pasta in salted water.
In a separate sauce pan, add a nice healthy glug of olive oil and heat over medium heat, adding minced garlic, chopped mushrooms (I like to keep them pretty chunky), fresh campari tomatoes and some chopped green onion.
Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your liking and then mix pasta, olive oil & tomatoes/mushrooms/onions/garlic and toss in the scallops.
Plate it up and enjoy!
Toasted Bunny Pie
What Comes First?
The chicken or the egg?
So, my neighborhood has a Peeps Store!!!! A whole store filled with peeps of every color and walls stuffed full of Mike & Ike's... it's like a sugary wonderland on the Potomac River. I decided to take advantage of this magical place and make a simple, cute and delicious dessert.
While I LOVE to cook, I am not much of a baker. I tend to think adding more butter or sugar is always an option, but anyone who bakes knows that it is a precise and exact art form. In general, I buy desserts from the experts at bakeries but here is a fun dessert that anyone can make. It's especially perfect at Easter, however if you love s'mores you will want to enjoy this dessert year round. And it's a good one to make with the kiddies!
Toasted Bunny Pie
Get pre-made individual graham cracker pie crusts
Prepare instant chocolate pudding per the instructions on the box and spoon it into each pie crust
Over medium heat, melt some Peep's Bunnies in a pan, removing from heat once the bunnies start to oooze
Place melted bunny over the pudding in the crust
Toast some more Peeps Bunnies (I used this kind of lighter)
Place crispy toasted bunny on top of the pie.
Make sure to crack the crust with your spoon so you get that genius combo of crunchy graham, smooth chocolate and gooey melted mallow in every bite!
What Comes First?
The chicken or the egg?
This sandwich doesn't provide any answers, but it is really delicious to munch on while you ponder the question.
The What Comes First
3 oz chicken breast
1 Slice of Muenster Cheese
1 Slice of tomato
1 leaf of lettuce
1 tbsp chopped red onion
Salt & Pepper
Salt & Pepper
2 Slices of Ciabatta bread
Slather your chicken breast in mustard and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, toast the bread and then add mustard to both slices. On the bottom slice add lettuce, chopped onions and the tomato slice. During the chicken bake time, prepare an egg sunny-side-up in a buttered frying pan until the yolk has set. This should all take about 9 minutes. Open oven, add cheese slice to the chicken and let bake for a half a minute or so until the cheese begins to melt. Remove chicken and cheese from the oven and place on top of tomato, onion, lettuce and bread. Place sunny side up egg on top of the chicken breast, season with salt & pepper and then cover with the top piece of bread making sure to smash the bread down so the yolk explodes into the sandwich. Yummy.
French Bistro Frisee Salad
There's something so chic and still so hearty about this favorite inspired by the delicious version at Dupont Circle's charming and bustling Bistrot Du Coin, where my husband, Patton, and I once whiled away a blizzard drinking Alsace wines and Belgian beers and sharing mussels, salty frites, and this yummy salad.
|Bistrot Du Coin Photo|
French Bistro Frisee Salad
Generous handful of frisee lettuce
1 poached egg
2 Strips of bacon, crumbled
A few Croutons
1 tbsp Champagne
1 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt & Pepper
Place frisee on a plate, sprinkle with crumbled bacon, chopped cucumbers and croutons and gently place your poached egg on top. To create the dressing, whisk together champagne, champagne vinegar, oil, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over frisee, bacon and egg. Season with salt & pepper. Make sure to break the egg so the yolk runs messily over everything, making the salad properly delicious and enjoy with a nice hunk of crusty french bread. Pin It Now!