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.