Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cooking for 3+2+1

Things have been a bit slow on the blog lately - partly because I've been too busy to post and partly because I've been too sick to cook or eat.  Baby #2 is expected to bless our family with his/her appearance February 2013!  It's so very exciting and we are all thrilled.  I'm just so sick!  It's a silly time to have a food blog.  I'm eating chicken broth, oyster crackers, gatorade, and all the Mexican food I can get my hands on.  Not a lot of photo ops coming out of that.

We've had some other changes in the household recently.  Tim, Sophie and I are the three; the two in the title refers to two of my sisters living with us for a while.  We are all having a great time together and I'm glad to have them around (they have been picking up some of my slack on cooking - which is so helpful!).  The +1 is little baby.  Not cooking specifically for the new one yet, but I'm already feeling the impact.  So, we are a household of 5, soon to be 6.  Hopefully cooking will be more interesting again soon and I'll get some more posts up.  I'm ready for better food and a healthier appetite, for sure.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicken Tricolore

I know I've made this before and probably even posted a picture, but this time it just turned out so beautiful! I used a medley of cherry and pear tomatoes (sunburst maybe) so it's more of multicolore than tricolore :)  It was delicious too!

This photo is taken right before it was popped into the oven.  I love the flavors and it's really simple to make.  It's chicken breasts - just cut into portion sizes and put in the pan, then topped with a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, green olives, grape tomatoes (or cherry and the pear tomatoes like I have here), salt, pepper, dried parsley.  Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes (check the chicken to make sure it's cooked through).  The flavors are straightforward and they are present, but not overpowering.  If you like the flavor of green olives, I suggest dishing them up onto your plate with your portion.  Otherwise, if you leave them behind in the pan, you will just have a pleasant, mild flavor from them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken Caesar Salad

I started with our classic romaine and added some mixed greens - just to give some added flavor.  I think this mix had baby red chard in it.  Delicious and beautiful!  Gluten-free croutons and Cardini's Caesar finished it up. We topped it with onion-garlic-basil-parsley-lemon-pepper chicken.  It was wonderful.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meals: 29 April-5 May

I can tell that I've been having too much sugar lately, because I am craving it ALL the time.  I wake up and my first thought is, "What can I munch?"  I think some of this might come from the leftover cake pops from baby Sophie's first birthday.  They were the best cake I've ever had in my whole life!!  We are down to just a couple remaining leftovers and I will be sad to see them go, but I put together a solid meal plan for next week to help distract me.  It has just enough sugar in it to let me down easily.

Mongolian Grill - we were planning to do this last week and it's been stuck in my brain ever since.  We have a lot of work planned for Sunday, so I'm sure I'll want a break by dinner time.

chicken caesar salad - love the standbys

Gussied up Viking Hash from Best Paleo Recipes.  Aunt Steph is making it too.  We'll see if I can stick to the meal plan and actually co-cook this week!  I'm planning to cut up some apples and steam some zucchini spears to go with the hash.  I might pick up rice pudding for dessert.  Just a tiny bit of sugar :)

Community Group - I'm not sure yet what the theme will be, but I'm looking forward to seeing our group.  It's been a long time!

hamburger patty, stuffed zucchini boats

Crock Pot Chicken Curry with Peppers and Cabbage from PaleoPot.

lemon rosemary chicken on a salad (bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, probably romaine lettuce) and probably some of the crispy onion salad topping.  I am crazy for that stuff right now.

At this point I've planned to make a caramelized onion tart with apples for a snack/lunch on Saturday.  We'll see if I talk my self out of it before then since I'm pretty sure puff pastry is not the best idea.  But if the weather is the pleasant, gray, chilly battle of Winter hoping to hold Spring off forever that today is - I am making an apple onion tart!  End of story!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Slow-Cooker Chipotle Beef on Radish Slaw (again!)

I made this meal again and took some photos of prep and final result.  It's easily one of my favorites and it's pretty easy to make.  The original write-up has the link to the recipe and details on prep.  I used kale this time instead of bok choy.  I think this gets better every time I make it.

I love these vibrant radishes that I picked up at Whole Foods.  Purple radish, white radish.  Love it!

Slaw - a little extra lime juice this time, and it was delicious.

I tossed some red peppers in the slow-cooker.  They paled a bit in color, but they had great flavor.


Paleo Chilaquiles with Tostones

Check this out!!  Tostones - plantains fried in coconut oil and dusted in Adobo seasoning (recipe from paleoeffect.com) topped with lettuce, shredded chicken (also from Paleo Effect), then guacamole (Whole Foods - delicious) and an over-medium egg.  The whole recipe was from Paleo Effect - Paleo Chilaquiles).

I used plantains that were a little riper than recommended, but I thought they tasted great.  The sweetness of the plantains pairs well with the Adobo seasoning, and the spicy chicken in enchilada sauce is perfect.  I love eggs and I love Mexican food.  I thought this meal was great!  I made this along with my Aunt Steph (the long-distance cooking project) and even when I have to delay for a day or things don't turn out perfectly, it's wonderful to be cooking together.

We actually had this a couple of weeks ago and I think it's time to put it on the meal plan again soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meals: 23-28 April

tilapia, steamed carrots, salad

hamburger patty, pickles, apples, mozzarella


chicken caesar salad

apple and pork stir-fry with ginger

taco salad

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meals: 9-15 April

Meal planning lately has been very last minute, which has kind of a fun, go with the moment feeling - but I'm ready for more stability.  Normally I prefer to plan the Wednesday before, but today will work.  We're finishing the plan and then Sophie and I are headed to the grocery store!

I was planning to do hamburger patties, but Tim called and suggested we go out for Indian food.  I'm all for that!!

Paleo Chilaquiles - new recipe!  I pulled this down from Paleo Effect and we are going to pair it with their Paleo Tostones.  Aunt Steph and I are still cooking "together" on Tuesdays (we make the same meal the same night - even though she is in MN and I am in OR) so I'm looking forward to comparing notes with her on how this comes out.

Our hockey team is in the playoffs and Community Group meets on Wednesdays, so we are either doing something quick and easy while we watch the game, or quick and easy to take to Community Group.

Rosemary Chicken on Salad - we had this for dinner last night and I might even have it for lunch today.  It's super simple: romaine lettuce, dried cranberries, maybe some feta, bell pepper, Annie's Shitake Sesame dressing - all topped with chicken cooked in lemon juice and rosemary.  So good.

Crock Peppered Beef - new recipe! I got this from one of the people sharing recipes through Plan to Eat.  I think I'll do steamed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon on the side.  And maybe some broccoli too.

Bacon-Feta stuffed Chicken, side of Stuffed Zucchini Boats - we have a busy morning/afternoon on Saturday, but I'm hoping to make it back in time to put all of this together.

Chicken Sausage with Onions, Peppers, paired with Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - new recipe!) - this is SUCH a fall recipe, but I'm going to hope the weather holds for one last comfort-food fall meal.

Friday, March 23, 2012

food food food

Food has lately been a little in the background for me.  I have a couple of pictures that I can post about dinners, but nothing too exciting - for the most part I've been making some standard meals (hamburger patties and pickles, or chicken sausage with bell peppers, lots of caesar salads and taco salads.)  We're in a good spot with meal-planning where I'm usually two or three days ahead of the game, not quite the weekly planning that I like to do, but enough to keep us eating with some balance and usually (usually) at home.  It means I have to go to the grocery store more often than my ideal, but Sophie is a fun co-shopper, so it's not too much hassle.

House projects and visiting family have shifted some of my focus.  I'm also finding that the cost of ingredients is keeping me tied to the basics for the most part - just for a couple of budget cycles.  There are exceptions, like buffalo steaks the other night :)  I'm looking forward to building further on our foundation of meals and planning it out in the future, but I'm not in a rush.  It's nice sometimes not to be rushing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I made lettuce wraps for dinner earlier in the week and they were a big hit.  I used this recipe from Everyday Paleo and I loved how they turned out.  I used romaine leaves instead of iceberg for a little more flavor.  

delicious chicken, zucchini, cabbage, red pepper, green onion filling

chicken filling wrapped in lettuce
I made a sauce to go with it, made from almond butter - flavored a lot like a Thai peanut sauce.  I used this recipe - and subbed coconut crystals in for coconut aminos.  It was such a great sauce!  Tim has the leftovers at work with him, or I would be munching a spoonful right now. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

I < 3 hamburgers

I do *heart* hamburgers, but that is not why there is a <3 in the post title.  The hamburger patty is in the shape of a heart!  It's a heart-shaped blue cheese and beef patty from Whole Foods in honor of Cupid Day tomorrow.  It was slightly pretty, but excessively delicious.

I grilled it on the George, along with the zucchini spears.  I steamed some apples in my stovetop steamer and then sprinkled them with cinnamon.  Avocado slices with the burger, fresh raspberries on the side.  

Side note: I got two burgers.  One for each adult in the house.  Sophie can have a few bites of mine, right?  She probably doesn't even like blue cheese, right?  Few bites - HA.  Try 60%.  We might have become a three-entree family when no one was looking. :)

Chipotle Chile Crockpot Chicken

Another creation from Chef Steph!  Grauntie Steph to the Little Miss :)  Tim had a gig at a coffee shop on Friday which made it the perfect night to have a crockpot meal that was filling, easy to eat before the show, but nothing that needed a lot of careful timing and planning for prep. 

We started with a splash of water in the bottom of the pot and then some semi-thawed chicken.  I seized the opportunity to use the boneless skinless chicken thighs that I have, since we don't like them plain, but they hold up great in casseroles and dishes like this.  Next we added sliced and de-seeded dried chipotles (five, where three might have done, but bravely we charged forth), tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic, and sprinkles of salt and pepper.

After cooking it on low for about 5 hours we pulled the chicken apart with forks and added leftover steamed carrots, as well as some fresh mushrooms.  It was the perfect time to add them so that they had time to warm up and blend with the flavor, but they weren't too mushy.

It was smoky, slightly spicy, but had an excellent overall flavor.  It did not have that unfortunate flat taste that so often comes from a crockpot that is overfilled with a starch and some sort of creamy soup.  It tasted like a fiesta (cha cha cha).  I had the leftovers for lunch a couple of days and it was even tastier.  It had that fully bonded flavor that a leftover lasagna has.  I need to load this into Plan to Eat and queue it up for the near future.

One-Eyed Marthas, Portobellos, Zucchini, Sirloin and Bacon

This is a Kiersten and Aunt Steph meal from last week.  There were a lot of things happening at once in the kitchen, but we handled it with our natural grace and talent and it turned out to be completely worth it.  We knew we wanted to grill portobello mushrooms, so we picked up one of those and marinated it in some red wine.  I also had some zucchini that I wanted to have with the meal.  From there, we got creative.  We browsed the meat counter at Whole Foods and came up with Bacon-Wrapped Sirloin skewers.  These got unskewered so that we could cook them in a pan with green onions, but the flavors still blended together well and they were delicious.

Now for the main attraction.  I grew up with an "egg in the hole" sometimes called a "one-eyed Jack."  It's basically a piece of bread with a whole cut out (I usually just pressed a glass into the center of the bread) and then fried in lots of butter with an egg in the center.  Bread is out, veggies are in these days, so I was thrilled to see this idea from the Novice Chef about making the same basic dish with a bell pepper instead of bread.

Here is a closeup of the egg.  It's an over-medium egg housed in a slice of red bell pepper that is being fried in coconut oil.  We omitted the asiago cheese, but kept the balsamic glaze.  I think next time I make them I would just skip the glaze since the egg alone doesn't really need the glaze and it doesn't have the cheese to balance out the vinegar.  Overall, it was very tasty.  And we had fun making them.  This is the showpiece One-Eyed Martha.  The rest of them were pretty comically spread out.  But still tasty.

Chicken on a Salad

It's simple, delicious, and quick.  Chicken on a salad.  Not to be confused with chicken salad.  Romaine lettuce, oven-roasted chicken, walnuts, dried cranberries, tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, balsamic and oil dressing.  No fuss. No muss.  Dinner.

Spinach Salad Palooza - with leftovers

I whipped this up for lunch the other day.  I put a bed of fresh spinach in a bowl and started tossing in ingredients.  Feta cheese, Dried Steak Strips (kind of like beef jerky, but thicker and a bit more tender), Steamed Asparagus, Blueberries - tasty.  No dressing needed, but I splashed a little lime juice on to give it some zip.  I totally love the colors in this salad.

Koi Fusion Chicken Tacos

Sometimes, I get a night off from cooking.  Actually, frequently.  :)  We recently skipped off the plan and got tacos from Koi Fusion - a delicious traveling cart of Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine (think: bulgogi burrito).  They have a permanent spot at Bridgeport Village now, so Tim can easily run up and get us some food.  Way too easily.  Cucumber and cabbage slaw with cilantro and korean spicy chicken in a corn tortilla.  It is perfect.

And I should know.  I think I've had 12 of these tacos in the last two weeks :)  Did I mention that they are $2 each?  :)

Meals: 13-18 February

Meals for this week are intentionally simple, mostly stuff I've done before, using what we have on hand where possible.

Hamburger Patties, Cottage Cheese, Pickles, Steamed Apples with Cinnamon

Chicken Lettuce Wraps - I've never made them before, but I think it will go well.  I have a filling recipe that looks good and I've been buying little artisan romaine bunches which I think will work for the wraps.  As far as I'm concerned, it's hard to go wrong with chicken and water chestnuts.

Chicken Caesar Salad, dried mangoes and cherries

Slow-cooker Chipotle Beef with Cabbage Radish Slaw, Darling Clementines, Celery with dabs of Almond Butter

Chicken, Zucchini, Prosciutto - new recipe!
Lemon and lime jello parfaits (if this turns out as awesome as I think it will, I will definitely post a picture).

Tilapia, Turkey Bacon, Steamed Broccoli

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Farmer's Markets

I am starting to feel the boredom and budget strain of trying to cook with fresh veggies in the winter.  I just returned from a trip to Costco and the freshest thing I bought was romaine lettuce and raspberries from who-knows-where - probably Mexico.  I bought beef jerky, dried mangoes, dried coconut, and cashews.  Tasty snacks, but not the veggies that we've been eating for most of our meals.  I've got more shopping to do and Whole Foods has beautiful produce, but I miss the stall shopping.  Our local farmer's markets start up around May, so long to wait.  I wish we could do a CSA, but it's really not cost effective since we are eating so selectively that I would worry about wasting too much of the produce.  I miss supporting a farm on the front end - buying into a share of the farm and weathering the corp success or failure with them.

So, farmer's markets it is!!  I've got a nice one really close, and a couple others nearby (some bigger, some with better music, more flavors of honey).  It's one of my favorite things about spring/summer and we have just a few more months to wait.  In the meantime, I'll keep recipe hunting to prepare for the fresh veg explosion that is coming our way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hamburger, Chicken Chorizo, Stuffed Mushroom, Asparagus

Dinner last night was an Angus beef hamburger patty and a grilled chicken chorizo sausage from Whole Foods.  I steamed some asparagus to go with it and sauteed a mushroom stuffed with a pork fennel sausage (also from WF).  I added a few slices of Darling Clementine to give it all a sweet finish.  Such a tasty meal!  A couple of sisters were over for dinner and it received thumbs up from everyone.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cranberry + Herbs Pork Roast, Italian Kale, Steamed Carrots

Dinner tonight was fabulous!!  Steph and I made something similar the last time she was out for a visit, and we made a few slight modifications this time, but kept the delicious, perfect heart of the meal.  We made a cranberry and orange infused pork roast, with a side of Italian Kale, and steamed carrots.

For the pork roast we started with about a cup of dried cranberries and soaked them in orange juice and some hard apple cider for a couple of hours before starting the roast.  Then we rubbed dried rosemary, thyme, some cloves, salt, and pepper into the roast and let that sit for a while.  When we put the roast in the baking dish we packed onions around it, stuffed some of the cranberries into it, layered jellied cranberries on top of it, and poured the oj/cider/cranberry mix over it.  Flavor.explosion.yum.

I would make a couple of changes to the kale.  I overcooked it, so I'll adjust that a bit next time.  I would also adjust the recipe by reducing the balsamic vinegar (maybe even down to 1/2 T) and I tossed in some extra garlic.

It was a lovely dinner and part of a fun trend (twice is a trend, three times is a tradition?) of cooking pork roast with Aunt Steph.  We subbed the veggies in for the previous starch of potatoes and I thought the flavors all worked well together.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ginger Citrus Salmon, Apples, Asparagus

My Aunt Steph is here for a visit and we are having so much fun cooking together.  She has been so helpful in figuring out new and fun plans for the basic meat, vegetables, a little fruit that we've been eating lately.  I had a salmon filet that my grandparents had shared with me, so we thawed that out and put it in a ginger citrus marinade overnight.  The next day we cooked the salmon on the George, and sauteed some zucchini in the remaining juice, which was delicious.  We steamed some asparagus and apples to finish off the meal.  It was wonderful - easily a recipe to repeat.  

Tilapia, Blueberries, Brocolette, Cottage Cheese

I cooked up some of the frozen Basil Pesto Tilapia filets from Costco (I had a friend convert to these after having one for dinner the night she watched Sophie - they are delicious!)  Steamed brocolette, dollop of cottage cheese, blueberries.  Simple, tasty, awesome.

The portions are small here, but it worked well for dinner.  We had a little white wine with the meal, then had some beef jerky and cashews later in the evening for a snack.

Taco Salad, Asparagus, Blackberries, HAM

I had some lettuce and taco meat leftover from our Community Group contributions, so I fixed that up, steamed some asparagus, rolled up some ham, rinsed some blackberries.  Culinary genius. 


I bought some dried coconut at Costco - it seemed like a nice little snack and I'm liking the coconut oil that I'm cooking with lately.  It looks good, right?!

Then I notice this little gem of a tagline at the top.  Memories of Cebu, you say?  Sign me up!!  A sweet snack and sweet memories.

I should have purchased two bags.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hamburger, Rainbow Chard, Cottage Cheese

This meal is easily a favorite - tasty, filling, and it's so easy to prepare.  I buy frozen Angus hamburger patties at Costco and they are pre-cooked, so I microwave them to thaw and heat a bit and then put them in the oven, or I put them directly on the George.  Love it.  The rainbow chard is sauteed in coconut oil with garlic and just a hint of ginger and it turned out great.  Tim had a bunch of pickles; I had just a few and the glob at the top of the plate is some avocado.  A little cottage cheese to finish it off!  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Skewers, Turkey Bacon, Spinach with Lemon Juice, Grilled Zucchini

Dinner tonight was an A, A+, A, and a B-.  The B- is the spinach - too much lemon juice!  I was going to cook up the rest of my spinach, but realized at the last minute that it would be good to have some for a scramble in the morning and I held out some spinach, but should have reduced the lemon juice already added to the pan.  It was still edible (and pretty) - just too lemony.

The turkey bacon was great - loved it grilled.  Grilled zucchini is always good.  The chicken skewers were amazing.  I picked them up at Whole Foods, already skewered, and in a chili garlic marinade.  They had a little heat on them, which tasted great.  They were labeled as "great for satay" which I think would involve peanut sauce, which would have been a great combination and I'd love to try it some day.  They were great on their own too though.

Sophie got the last of the rotisserie chicken and some more green beans and banana.  She was completely not into the banana tonight - no idea what that was about.  She had a little of the spinach too, but I think she also found it to be too lemony.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak, Grilled Onions, Sauteed Spinach

Dinner tonight was tri-tip steak, with sauteed spinach and grilled onions.  Success!  I picked up 4 oz steaks at Whole Foods and cooked up an onion to go with them.  I sauteed spinach with a little grapeseed oil - something new that I was trying out in place of my olive oil standby.  I thought it was great.  Really mild and light - the spinach shone through with no problem.  I put a steak rub on one side of the meat and pepper on the other side and cooked it on our George Foreman grill.  It turned out to be a great dinner.

The carrots and chicken on the side are for Sophie.  She got to have a little bit of everything from our dinner tonight, except for steak, which she can't chew with her three little teeth, and she also got the steamed carrots and grilled chicken from last night's dinner.  Then she at an .entire. baby yogurt.  Without stopping.  Lot's of good food to help our girl grow!

Friday, January 13, 2012

no photo: fish, asparagus, broccoli, apples

I wish I had taken a picture of dinner last night, but I was too hungry!  Down the hatch it went.  Really, I just forgot.

We had pesto basil tilapia, steamed asparagus, steamed broccoli, and steamed apples with cinnamon and cloves and a little banana.  It was amazing.

I'm working on revamping some food ideas, continuing to cut out grains and looking at reducing/eliminating dairy.  I'm loosening up a bit on some veggies and fruit like carrots, but still keeping an eye over all-over carb intake.  I looked for some new blogs to freshen things up and I'm enjoying the influx of ideas.  I'm amazed though at how much info is out there.  I could easily spend entire days sitting and reading what people have to say about food and exercise, health and wellness.  I have to budget my time, as well as budgeting my focus and attentiveness, so that I don't become obsessed with appearance or the physical over other concerns. The inward is always more important to me.  But I've neglected the outside for a while - so it's time!

Tonight is chicken caesar salads, light on the dressing, and no croutons!  I bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco and Sophie and I had some for lunch, but there is lots left - I'll add some lemon juice and pepper, then re-chill it before adding it to the salad.