On the Menu for the Week {Getting Back Into the Routine}


Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

Eggs over medium with sour cream & green tomatillo salsa at Flying Biscuit

Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix with bell pepper, onions, and sausage

Buffalo chicken crack dip {corn} quesadillas

Ginger & cumin marinated tomatoes

Cool as a cucumber salad

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

Spinach and garlic butter steak pinwheels

Peanut Lime Sauce with Chicken and Rice Noodles

Photo credit

It’s very rare that I actually measure ingredients when I prepare dishes, but I was determined to make this recipe easily replicable. I served it with chicken, rice noodles, and vegetables {see below} but you could also use it as a dipping sauce! Either way, this easy no-cook peanut sauce is adaptable and pretty dang delicious!

Serves 1.

Peanut Lime Sauce
  • 2 tbsp smooth or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tsp soy sauce {I use gluten-free Tamari}
  • 1-2 tbsp peanuts
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • Several dashes of cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients; stir or blend in Magic Bullet until well-mixed. Store in fridge until needed.

Chicken & Rice Noodles
  • Julienned carrots
  • Chopped jalapenos
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sriracha

Prepare chicken using this method or buy a rotisserie chicken if you’re pressed for time! Prepare rice noodles according to package. In a small skillet, saute carrots, onions, and jalapenos over medium with olive oil until tender. If desired, heat peanut sauce in skillet.

Layer rice noodles, chicken, and vegetables in bowl; pour peanut sauce over; and garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds, and sriracha.
Notes
  • For best results, leave sauce in refrigerator overnight. This will allow the flavors to blend completely
  • I bought a rotisserie chicken, tore it into pieces, and let it sit in the sauce overnight to marinate. You could do the same with chicken breasts
  • You could also garnish with basil or mint
  • This dish can be served hot or cold; I prefer it hot
  • Make it vegetarian just by leaving off the chicken

Peach & Tomato Summer Salad

Remember when I mentioned that the July section of my Cooking Light cookbook focuses heavily on peaches? After reading that, I stumbled across flats of peaches at Trader Joe’s for $5.99 and decided to pick one up. Mine has 13 peaches in it, so it equals out to about $.46 per peach- not bad!

Now that I’m a wild child who makes sweet and savory salads {like watermelon & feta!}, I decided to try a peach & tomato summer salad from MyRecipes.com. It turned out so well and I would absolutely make it again. It would be the best salad to take to a July potluck!

For exact measurements, see the recipe or just follow my haphazard winging it approach (serves 1).

  • Chopped red onion
  • 1/2 ripe peach, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 large tomato or a handful or cherry tomatoes
  • A dash of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil
  • A very small spoonful of honey
  • A dash each of sea salt and ground pepper
  • A small handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • A sprinkling of torn basil leaves
Combine all ingredients and let marinate anywhere just a few minutes or overnight.

Next on my peach agenda? Peach salsa!

On the Menu for the Week

It’s the beginning of July, which means I can crack my Cooking Light: Annual Recipes cookbook open to a new month! I picked this cookbook up for $2-$3 at the thrift store and it was the best find. It catalogues every single recipe from a year’s worth of Cooking Light magazine into one hardback book. Though it’s from 2004, it doesn’t really matter because food is timeless 🙂 The July section features recipes based around tomatoes, peaches and dinner at dusk, which will undoubtedly make appearances in my On the Menu posts for July!
Traditional & buffalo chicken gluten-free pizza bites {recipe to come}

Cool as a cucumber salad

Tuna and white bean salad {update: not blown away; will post recipe if I can adapt it!}

Salad with Asian ginger dressing

Potato salad

Rice noodles with peanut lime chicken

Chicken salad

And something with my big flat of peaches!

What are you cooking this week? Any great tomato or peach recipes?

On the Menu: Cleaning out the Freezer & Pantry

I keep apologizing to my roommate for the sad state of our disheveled freezer. It’s filled to the brim with gluten-free bread and buns; chicken breasts; hot dogs and hamburgers; and bags of vegetables. I promised her that this week was “Cleaning Out the Freezer” week, but I added in “& Pantry” at the last minute 🙂 I spent too much on groceries last week, so I’m making up for it by polishing off what I have in my kitchen this week.

Leftover shrimp & grits from Poole’s

Leftover mashed potato vegetable pie

Gluten-free ratatouille pizza based on this recipe

Sausage patties

Kale, cannelli bean, & feta quesadilla

Collard green & kale soup

Jambalaya with New Orleans andouille sausage

Spiced tomato chickpea soup

Greek-style chicken

Hot dogs + Udi’s gluten free buns

Burgers + Udi’s gluten free buns

Mexican pizzas

Navel oranges

Carrot sticks

Mexican Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes


Remember when I made Mexican chocolate bark back in the day? I got the idea to recreate a Mexican chocolate {basically cayenne + cinnamon} recipe as cheesecake. A quick Google search gave me a few recipe options but I liked this one best.

I eliminated the crust and used a cupcake tin, so I ended up with gluten-free cheesecake bites! But what I’m most proud of is figuring out that you can replace whipping cream with an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt to make the recipe healthier. That means Chobani will be getting even more business from me 🙂

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Make 12 cupcake-sized cheesecakes.

  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 12 oz ( 1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if desired, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cupcake tin.

In saucepan, boil 2 cups of water over medium. Place a heatproof bowl on top and drop in chocolate chips. Melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add in Greek yogurt.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and vanilla with mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Stir in chocolate mixture.

Pour into cupcake tin, leaving room at the top for cheesecake to rise slightly. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon and a dash or two of cayenne pepper over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 until the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly. Turn oven off; open oven door 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes. After removing cake from oven, run a metal spatula around the edge of pan. Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

I’m obsessed! They’re incredibly rich, so I usually eat just half of one at a time.

I’m also loving the interesting combination of chocolate and spiciness- I keep seeing it everywhere. The other day, I read that some celebrity spreads sriracha on her chocolate bars! And Locopops sells Mexican chocolate popsicles and Videri Chocolate Factory sells a chocolate bar with pink peppercorns in it.

Any other Mexican chocolate recipes that you love? What other flavor combinations are you a fan of?

We all know I love salted caramel!

Mexican Casserole Variations

When I saw Fannetastic Food’s super easy and adaptable Mexican Chicken Lasagna, I decided to make it as a part of the four course Mexican-inspired meal I was planning to whip up.

I decided to make two different versions of the casserole- one vegetarian and one with chicken. Both had plenty of beans though!

On the big one:
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded chicken
  • Chopped red onion
  • Black olives
  • Yellow and green sauteed peppers
  • Salsa
  • Canned green chiles (on half)
  • Chopped jalapenos (on other half)
  • Cheddar cheese

On the smaller one:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped red onion
  • Refried beans
  • Black olives
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Salsa
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Corn (cut off the cob)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Enchilada sauce

I lined both pans with corn tortillas (6 in total)

Next up: refried beans for the smaller one; kidney and black beans for the bigger one

Corn and zucchini for the small one; sauteed yellow and green peppers for the large one

Ready for the oven!

Cover the casseroles with tin foil and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes {until the cheese is melted}. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better!

A sample of both versions served with spiced tomato & chickpea soup and watermelon & feta salad

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If I had my choice, I would have used flour tortillas, but the corn tortillas ended up tasting great anyway- and they’re gluten-free.

Pepper jack cheese would be good in addition to or in place of cheddar cheese.

I made the big one with sour cream and the smaller one with plain Greek yogurt- in the future, I would just use Greek yogurt because it’s healthier and you can’t taste a difference!

The chopped jalapenos were a bit intense {even for me!} so I would stick to sauteed jalapenos or the canned green chiles next time.

Tips for Preparing a Multiple Course Meal

The other day, I prepared a four course Mexican-inspired feast. Throughout my four hours of cooking, I wrote down a few valuable tips for maximizing efficiency and minimizing time and stress when preparing such a big meal.

  • Take the lid of your trash can and move it close to your work stations.
  • Read through all of your recipes first so you know how long each thing takes.
  • Set out items that need to be at room temperature {for example, I needed room temperature cream cheese for my Mexican chocolate cheescake}.
  • Likewise, plan ahead for items that need to be defrosted. For last minute defrosting, place item in a Ziploc bag and place in a bowl of warm water. Do this early on in the cooking process so you don’t have to rush the defrosting. Rotate water every 5-10 minutes.
  • Set up separate stations with all of the ingredients needed for each recipe.
  • Check each recipe to see what ingredients you need for more than one. For example, I used red onions for my watermelon feta salad and my enchilada casserole, so I chopped enough for both at the beginning.
  • Likewise, do the same steps at the same time. For example, open all your cans and then put the can opener away.
  • Roast vegetables {like the red pepper I used} in tin foil to minimize clean up.
  • Be comfortable with a mess. Clean up as you go but realize the kitchen will be a wreck until you’re done.
  • That being said, clean your cheese grater right away. Nothing is worse than trying to pry dried cheese off a grater!
  • Think ahead to what you can make with leftovers. Red onions and black olives from a Mexican casserole and feta from a watermelon feta salad can be made into a simple Greek pasta.

Check out Timing a Multi-Course Meal like a Pro for more helpful tips!

Source: westelm.com via Lauren on Pinterest

kim chi cabbage soup

After my trip to the farmers’ market, I found myself with a head of cabbage to use up. I made homemade kim chi with half of it and decided to make an easy kim chi soup with the other half!

In a soup pot, saute chopped onion, garlic, and shaved ginger in olive oil over medium. Add dried red chili peppers and cayenne to taste. Add a cup or two of vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add chopped cabbage and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until cabbage is soft {about 15 minutes}. Garnish with sesame seeds and a dash of sesame oil. 

Granted, this is a bastardized version of any authentic soup but it’s healthy, easy, and pretty filling! You could add chopped green onions, fish sauce, sriracha, and even meat if desired.

P.S. My friend Shelly is Korean so I’m going to make her teach me how to make authentic kim chi!