The Tale of Two Raviolis

I’m a huge fan of easy and fast dinners during the week, however on the weekends, all bets are off. If a complex recipe sounds good I’ll attempt to make it no matter how time-consuming, praying in the process that all my work pays off and it comes out as good as I hoped it would, if not, pizza delivery is only a phone call away.

We usually wouldn’t have ravioli twice in one week, unless it was leftovers, which as you know we hardly ever have.  This past week I made a super fast and easy skillet ravioli dish that was pretty awesome.  I found the recipe in this months Food Network, along with a million other recipes I can’t wait to try.

Skillet Chicken and Ravioli (Food Network Magazine)

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 9-ounce package small cheese ravioli
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes ( I used grape tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs; drain, then drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Season with salt and continue to cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and vinegar and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, then add the ravioli, broth and parmesan; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Top with the basil.

skilletravioli

Verdict:  So good.  Again, the best part is its super fast and great for a week night meal.  I only added one chicken breast since I’m still not able to chew too well since my crown.  Even though Eric ate two pieces of leftover pizza as an appetizer (he told me this after dinner)  he did end of eating most of it himself.   I’d say a pretty successful meal.

So that was the fast recipe, now for the more time-consuming project.  This weekend we actually made our own ravioli, from scratch.   A few months ago we took a ravioli making class, which was fueled by receiving a KitchenAid pasta attachment for Christmas.   In all actuality making  ravioli doesn’t take all that long, it’s not quick, I’d say it took maybe an hour and half, maybe two, definitely less than 5, but totally worth the end result.

Here is the dough recipe I used.  You can use this dough for any kind of pasta you’d like.  The key is to find “00” flour.  We found some at a local specialty cooking shop, but you can buy it online or use regular all-purpose flour.   I found that my dough was a little bit on the dry side, so I just added another egg.  Not sure if that is what you’re supposed to do, but it worked great.  I’ll probably half the recipe next time, unless we’re having a dinner guests.   Also, be sure to keep the dough you’re not using covered, it will dry out.

Basic Pasta Dough

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups (12 oz.) all-purpose or “00” flour, plus more for dusting

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place four and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Make a “well” in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs and oil.  Using your fingers, blend the eggs into the flour mixture, stirring the flour in from the sides of the well and working outward.  When the pasta dough is thoroughly mixed, turn it out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead dough until it is smooth and flexible but not sticky, adding small amounts of flour as needed, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Cover in plastic wrap and allow dough to rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour at room temp.   You can keep dough for 24 hours in the fridge or freeze up to 1 month in an airtight container.

The process is pretty tedious to write out, but I found that the directions that come with your pasta machine (either the hand crank or KitchenAid) are the same, so just follow those.

I made a sausage and spinach filling.  I had a lot left over so I’m keeping that for this week’s round two recipe, sausage and spinach stuffed shells.

Sausage and Spinach Ravioli Filling

Ingredients

4 ounces bulk Italian sausage
3/4 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
1/8 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg

Directions

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until brown, using a wooden spoon to break up sausage as it cooks. Stir in spinach; cook and stir until wilted. Drain off fat. If mixture is too coarse to stuff ravioli, transfer to a food processor or blender; cover and process or blend with several on/off pulses until chopped.

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolk, ricotta cheese, sage, and nutmeg. Stir in sausage mixture.  Fill the ravioli, I used a ravioli mold but feel free to freestyle it.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook ravioli in batches for about 3-4 minutes until al dente.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

rollingpasta

fillingraviolis

rollingraviolis

poppinRavioli

raviolidinner

I think it took so long to make this dinner because I also made the sauce.  If you’re going to go to all the effort of making homemade pasta, might as well make the sauce yourself.  Though if you don’t make your own sauce and use a jar, I won’t judge you…maybe a little…

This would be a fun meal to make with kids, dough is just like Play-Doh, except tastes better (so I hear).

The only real problem with making your own pasta is when it’s all done you’ll never want to buy pasta again, guess what? You don’t have to!  I have a feeling that once I get more experience with the dough and machine I’ll be busting out different pastas left and right.   We take reservations, just give us 24 hour notice 🙂

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Chicken, Again?

If you ask my mom what she thinks Eric and I eat every night for dinner, I would bet you $100 that she would say chicken.  We do eat a lot of chicken, but we don’t eat it everyday…for the most part.  There was a time in my life when I had chicken and a salad every night, those were my single days when I was lazy and didn’t feel like making copious amounts of food.  Oh how the times have changed.  Granted chicken is a main staple in our house, we buy it in bulk and for good reason, its easy, versatile and delicious.

The other night I found a recipe for avocado orzo and garlicky shrimp.   I thought it sounded interesting, especially since I’m obsessed with anything avocado.  I wasn’t quite sure how Eric would like the orzo, he’s more of a red sauce on pasta kind of guy and doesn’t really like any “salad” that’s cold or room temp, well except tuna salad, but he’s even picky about that.   Surprisingly he said that we should try the recipe, I think it was the shrimp that sold him.   In addition to always having chicken in the freezer, I also always keep a bag of frozen raw shrimp.  For some reason  I feel like I’ve been eating a lot of shrimp lately, so I convinced Eric that we should use the marinade in the recipe and just swap in chicken.  I’m so glad I did!  The chicken came out amazing and I’ll definitely be making it again, maybe over a salad.  As for the avocado orzo, I think I’ll pass on it next time.  It tasted really good if you ate with the chicken, not so much when it was eaten alone.  Eric pretended it was guacamole and ate it with chips, can we say carb-overload?

Avocado Orzo with Garlicky Shrimp (or Chicken)-(Heather Christo Cooks blog)

Ingredients

Garlicky Grilled Prawns
6 large prawns in shell
2-3 cloves garlic
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp chipotle pepper powder
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt

Avocado Orzo
1lb orzo (I used 1/2 lb.)
2 avocados, spilt, pitted and peeled ( I used one avocado)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Lime, zest and juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt to taste
Extra lime wedge for serving

Directions

Slice the prawns up the front and pull the prawn apart, leaving the shell on the back and the belly open and exposed. If you are going to skewer them, shove the skewer in the back to keep the prawns flat- this makes grilling evenly easy. In a dish, combine the garlic, red pepper, chipotle, cilantro and vegetable oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Let the prawns (or chicken) marinate (on both sides) in this combination. I let it go for like 1.5 hours.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook it to al dente according to the manufacturers directions.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the avocado.

In a large bowl, combine the flesh of the avocados, the garlic, lime juice and zest and vegetable oil.  Mix it really well until the mixture is fairly smooth, season with kosher salt.

Drain the pasta and rinse. When the pasta is drained add it to the avocado mixture.  Mix together well and season one more time with Kosher salt if needed.

Prepare the grill to medium-high. Grill the prawns, shell side down for about 1 minute. Flip and repeat until the flesh is barely opaque in the center.  Gently peel the shell off of the prawns and discard. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a grill pan or a frying pan (that’s what I did)  I cooked the chicken about 2-3 minutes per side (I butterflied them so they were pretty thin)

Dish up the avocado orzo and serve with one or two prawns draped over the top.  Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top before eating

Chicken and AvocadoVerdict:  We loved the chicken.  The marinade give a wonderful flavor, I’m sure it would have been awesome with shrimp.  I can take or leave the orzo, not too flavorful and basically tasted like bland guacamole and pasta.  However, if you put parmesan cheese on it, it wasn’t so bad…duh, cheese can make anything good.

Tonight we’re not doing anything fancy, probably leftover lasagna.  I’m making Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes tonight so I’ll need all the kitchen space I can get.  This is a new recipe, I’ll let you know how they turn out..I’m thinking AWESOME!

Back on Track…Sort Of

Now, when I travel I have the mindset that calories don’t count.  Unfortunately this is not true, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was?  I also noticed that I used to buy magazines like Cosmopolitan to flip through while waiting for my flights, nowadays I gravitate towards magazines like Food Network, Southern Living and Food and Wine…oh how the times have changed.

On my most recent trip I picked up the new Food Network Magazine.  This months issue is probably one the best, full of delicious looking recipes, lots of pictures which will make you hungry and the main feature is cheese, you can never go wrong with cheese.

As soon as I got home from my trip I handed Eric the magazine and within 2 minutes he marked a bunch of recipes.  We narrowed it down to two for this week, as we are traveling to NY tomorrow.  Both recipes were so good and the best part, pretty healthy which is nice considering I’ve eaten out for the last week.

I don’t usually like to post more than one recipe, but today is your lucky day, you get two fantastic recipes.

Recipe #1

Greek Shrimp and Couscous (courtesy of Food Network Magazine)

Ingredients

1 cup whole-wheat couscous (I used regular couscous but added onions for more flavor)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
1 small bulb fennel, halved, cored and sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 15-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 scallions, sliced (I forgot to add these..oops)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces) (I’m not a fan of Feta, but I found tomato and basil feta, OMG, I think it made the dish better)

Directions

Prepare the couscous as the label directs. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Preheat the broiler. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add the tomatoes, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, then add the chickpeas and 1/3 cup water; cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Return the shrimp to the skillet and add the scallions and 1 tablespoon dill. Top with the feta, transfer to the broiler and broil until golden, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon dill. Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve with the shrimp mixture.

ShrimpandFeta

Verdict:  We both loved this.  There weren’t any leftovers, which was pretty sad because I would have loved to have it for lunch.  Best part of the recipe is that you don’t even need to add the shrimp, I think it would be great as a vegetarian meal.  I would suggest using the tomato-basil feta, it really added more flavor.

Recipe #2

Chicken Fajitas (Food Network Magazine)

Ingredients

1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus wedges for serving
8 corn tortillas (I like to use whole wheat and corn blend tortillas….delish)
1/2 cup prepared pico de gallo or fresh salsa
1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and rub on the chicken breasts.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, reserving the skillet, and bake until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to rest, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 8 minutes. Stir in the lime zest and 2 tablespoons water. Season with salt.

Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in the oven, 5 minutes, then divide among plates. Slice the chicken. Top the tortillas with the chicken, bell pepper mixture, pico de gallo and cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

Fajitas

Verdict:  Probably going to add this to the list of recurring recipes.  I added avocado (big surprise, right?)  The cheese took it over the top and added an extra layer of texture and flavor.  Eric loved it.  I feel we have tacos a lot, but they’re easy, can be made healthy and are pretty quick for a weeknight meal.

Tonight we have a hockey game, so we’ll be eating out.  This week will be another culinary adventure, destination western NY.  I’ll keep you posted on the many delicious food finds.  I’m really looking forward to Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich and probably a cheeseburger from Bill Gray’s.  I’m pretty sure my diet re-starts next week.

Happy Mardi Gras!

It’s Mardi Gras today or Fat Tuesday, which is what I call it since I want to indulge in all the yummy food I love before I give it up for Lent.  I haven’t figured out what to give up, but I still have a few more hours before I have to make that decision.   I would love to say it would be desserts, treats, chocolate and the like, but I’ve tried that for the last twelve years but haven’t been able to last the full 40 days.

This weekend when I was planning the weekly menu I forgot that Mardi Gras was this week so I didn’t really plan on anything special, in fact tonight was going to be some sort of leftover pasta recipe, which would have been a sad way to celebrate Mardi Gras.  So, on the way home we picked up some sausage and a box of Zatarain’s…don’t judge, I was limited on time.   Now I try not to buy boxed foods, especially if I know I can make a homemade version better, but Zatarain’s has a new lower sodium mix that is pretty good, especially  when I add a few extra ingredients to make it more delicious.

Jambalaya

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 package of Turkey Kielbasa, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
1 garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups of beef broth
1 pkg. Jambalaya Mix (I used Zatarain’s)

Directions

Heat a 3 quart sauce pan over medium-high with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add onions, garlic, chicken and sausage and cook until chicken browned and onions are translucent. Add beef broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add Jambalaya mix, stir.  Return to a boil then reduce to low.  Cover pot and simmer for 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving…it will be piping hot, just FYI.

Jambalaya

Verdict:  Eric really liked it, especially since it’s way less salty than the regular mix.  I agree, it was pretty tasty and low sodium is always good.  I don’t usually cook with salt so when there is a little more sodium than what we’re used to we tend to notice it.   I’d make this again, especially on  weeknight.

Again, we had a huge salad, with avocado’s since I’m still obsessed with them.  I really wish I had some King Cake, that would top off the night.  Instead, I think I’ll make a quick pear tart, Jacques Pepin style.

Hope you had a festive Mardi Gras! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Chinese Stay In

Night 3 of Eric’s menu included two Chinese classics, chicken lo mein and veggie pot stickers.   I tend to find Asian recipes tedious as there is usually a ton of chopping and prep work.  Knowing this I left work a tad bit early so I wouldn’t be cooking until midnight.  I was pretty proud of myself, I made record time prepping for both the lo mein and pot stickers.  I figured I would assemble the pot stickers a head of time so they would be ready to go when Eric got home from work, tonight is his late day so I had ample time, however when I went to the fridge for the won ton wrappers, they were nowhere to be found.   I must have taken the whole fridge apart twice and even looked in the cabinets (why they would be there I have no idea), then I remembered Eric put them away and I found them in the freezer, needless to say, we’re not having pot stickers tonight, they’ll be appetizers for tomorrow.

The lo mein however, we did have tonight and it was really delicious.  I found a basic recipe and added my own veggies to it, most of them were left overs from the weekend which I was glad to get rid of and not throw away.  I hate wasting food.

Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts

10 oz. dried Chinese egg noodles or angel hair pasta (Wegmans has lo mein noodles, so I used those, they’re in the freezer case if you’re wondering were to find them)

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce-reduced sodium

2 Tbsp. rice wine or dry sherry

1 Tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, sliced

1/2 head of broccoli (or as much as you want)

1/2 head of Napa cabbage, shredded

Directions

Cut chicken into bite-size chunks; set aside.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain noodles, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a small bowl mix oyster sauce, soy sauce and rice wine.  Set aside.

Pour oil and sesame oil in skillet or wok.  Heat over medium heat.  Add ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add onion; cook 2 minutes. add broccoli and cabbage, cook 3 minutes.  Remove veggies from pan, set aside.

Add chicken to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add noodles, veggies and sauce to the chicken.  Lightly toss and cook 3 minutes until heated through.

LoMein

 

Verdict:  Eric loved it.  It’s a good thing I ate before he got home because he finished the whole thing, no leftovers…again.  I love lo mein, it’s probably one of my favorite dishes to order.  This was nothing like Hong Wah’s lo mein, but it passed the tasty test.  I’ll definitely be making this again (confession, it’s not the first time I’ve made this)  I just need to get more noodles from Wegmans.

I can’t wait for this week of doing dishes is over.  I can’t believe how much of a mess I make when I cook.  Plus, since I’ve been cooking and cleaning I haven’t had time to sit down and do any of my needlepoint.

Tomorrow is lamb, well Eric is having lamb, I’m not sure what I’m having yet.  I’ve already made the marinade and the chops are getting infused with deliciousness as we speak.

Stuck in a Dinner Rut

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been sick, or just stuck in a dinner rut, but lately our dinners have been pretty boring.  Don’t get me wrong, they’ve been delicious, but nothing special.   As much as I would love to make something new every day of week, I have realized that it’s not going to happen.  I’m pretty sure I can commit to at least three new recipes a week, I have enough cookbooks and recipes saved online to be able to do that.  Technically I could do a new recipe a day for about a year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Whenever I get a free moment at work I look up recipes and send Eric the links to see if it’s a yay or nay.  Yesterday I sent him a bunch of chicken recipes, all of which he said looked good but considering I didn’t feel like going to the store after work, I narrowed it down to Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken.  I chose this recipe because it called for ingredients that I knew I already had.  Now, this might not be the healthiest recipe, but it was pretty tasty.  I also have to give Pinterest some props for helping me find this…Pinterest strikes again!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken (from Life as a Lofthouse blog)

Ingredients
The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt + pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten (I used EggBeaters)
1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive oil)
The sweet and sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (I used rice vinegar, I like the flavor better than white vinegar)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
Directions

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Brown Rice and Broccoli

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Brown Rice and Broccoli

Verdict:  Easy, fast-ish (I mean does take an hour and you have to stir it every 15 mins) and delish.  There weren’t any leftovers, so we all know that means Eric loved it.  I’d definitely make this again.  I served it with brown rice and broccoli, you know trying to get some healthy stuff in there.    I have to say I’d rather eat this version than the take out version, its way less greasy and I didn’t feel gross after I ate.

Tonight we just had pasta, it wasn’t anything exciting.  I didn’t even make the sauce 😦   Tomorrow I think I’ll try another new recipe, well it all depends if we’re snowed in or not.  I’m hoping for a snow day.

Oh, that reminds me, has anyone heard of snowcream?  I grew up in Upstate NY where they measure snow by feet, not inches, and today was the first time I’ve heard of this stuff.  Apparently its ice cream made from snow.  I’m not sure how I feel about eating snow, I guess if it’s not yellow or full of dirt it would be ok to eat, but I think I’ll pass.

 

 

Holiday Update

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have posted!  To be honest, we’ve had some pretty lame dinners the last month or so, the holidays put a bit of a damper on any fun culinary experiments.  Even though we didn’t make anything exciting, we did have some wonderful dinners over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My husband and I alternate holidays so this year we spent Thanksgiving in NC with his family and Christmas in NY with family.  It was nice to spend time with the family and have mini vacations, I’m not really looking forward to going back to work on the 2nd, its been nice sleeping in 🙂

Part of the perks of being on vacation is that I have time to look up new recipes to try.  My goal for 2013 is to eat healthier and of course blog more, oh and try to work out on a more regular basis (it will be bathing suit weather before we know it!).  I have found a bunch new recipes that I’m going to try this week.  First up is the Buffalo Chicken Taco.

I found this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen blog .  I love this blog, it has a ton of great recipes.  Of course I modified this recipe a little, as I always do.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos (adapted from Like Mother Like Daughter blog, found on Tinykitchen.com)

Ingredients

4 breaded chicken strips (I breaded my own chicken strips and baked them)
4 tortillas (I used whole wheat, low carb, high fiber tortillas, we actually like them better, try it you’ll like it)
1/4 cup bacon bits (I didn’t use bacon at all and I didn’t miss it)
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup lettuce, shredded
1 avocado sliced
1/3 cup winger’s sauce (I used Buffalo Wing sauce, it was fantastic)
2 TBS ranch dressing

Directions

Cook chicken strips according to package directions, I baked my for about 20 minutes.    Cut chicken strips into chunks, drizzle buffalo sauce over the chicken to coat.Put chicken, bacon, tomato, cheese and lettuce in a tortilla. Spreading evenly between each tortilla. Drizzle ranch dressing over the top.  Enjoy!

ChickentacoBuffaloOpenChickenTacoBuffalo

Verdict:  These were so good.  If you’re looking for something like the chicken tacos from Chilis (like mentioned in the blog)  follow the recipe exactly.  If you’re looking for something delish and full of buffalo chicken flavor, this is the way to go.  Eric inhaled his and wants me to add it to the dinner rotation, I agree.

I love tacos, they are so versatile that basically anything goes.  I’m thinking next time I’ll try buffalo shrimp tacos, that would be so good!

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  We’re staying in for a quiet dinner, it will be something really good, I’ll let you know what we decide to do, but I’m sure it will involve some sort of steak.    If you go out, please be careful.

Oh and before I go, GO VIKINGS!!!!

Hurricane Sandy+Cabin Fever=Delicious

hurricane Sandy rolled into town this week and caused probably the worst destruction the east coast has ever seen.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible storm.  I’m very thankful that my friends and family in New York and New Jersey are all ok.  I’m also very thankful that we didn’t lose power and being on the 10th floor, we didn’t experience any flooding.  My office notified all staff that we would be closed Monday and Tuesday, I’d rather have a mini vacation under different circumstances, but I rolled with it.

Eric and I did all our grocery shopping on Sunday, braving the masses who were stock piling bread, milk and water.  Probably a good thing we don’t really buy bread, we have gallons of water already and I drink Lactaid (which wasn’t flying off the shelves at record speed, go figure).  People must have hoarded Halloween candy too, because all that was left was Reese’s and Crunch Bars (lame).  Of course when we got home, Eric realized we have way too much food and I bought doubles of things, subconsciously I was thinking we’d be trapped in our apartment for days.  I think next week will be an experiment to see how many meals we can create just by using what we already have, should be fun, I’ll keep you posted as to how it turns out (that is, if by our shopping day,Sunday, I don’t just say “forget it! We’re going to the store”).

The weather by us wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, don’t get me wrong, it was nasty, but it could have been 10 times worse.  It’s strange, I don’t like snow, I can tolerate it, but I absolutely hate rain.  I hate driving in it, I hate walking in it, I just hate it.  Even Quincy, my dog, hates the rain, though he hates pretty much anything that causes him to get wet.  I have to say, the last few days, Q has been a trooper, he even wore his raincoat outside!

Quincy “Storm Chaser” Peterson

We both were very content staying indoors the last two days, any longer though, I would be totally bored and probably would have run out of ingredients for baking.

Monday was sort of a free for all.  We just hung out and noshed on snacks all day.  I did make sugar cookie cut outs for Halloween, that kept me busy for a while.  After the cookies were done I found a box of brownie mix that I figured I’d get rid of, so I made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies for work.  It’s Halloween today, so I figured brining in two treats was totally warranted, I hope my co-workers agree.  Though I promise that I won’t bring in any more treats for at least two weeks, maybe three…maybe.

Tuesday was full of decorating the sugar cookies.  I can’t imagine being a cookie decorator, I probably already have carpal tunnel syndrome from doing just 24.   They did come out cute and judging from how many Eric ate while my back was turned, they must have been pretty good too. 

You know how I love my Pinterest. Last nights dinner is compliments of Pinterest.  I’ve been slacking on the whole “I’m trying new recipes” thing, so last night I decided to try a recipe from the blog Southern Girl Cooking, Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Creme Penne.   Here’s the recipe, you should try it, like this week.

Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Creme Penne

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

1/2 bottle of Lawrys Herb and Garlic Marinade

2 large spoonfuls of Pesto 2 boneless chicken breasts.

Cut chicken into one inch strips. Using same knife make slits into chicken. Pour Lawrys marinade and pesto over chicken. Marinate over night (I did mine in the morning and had it that same night)

For the Sauce:

8 ounces of your choice of pasta

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

2 spoonfuls of pesto (I like Classico brand, if you don’t have homemade)

1/2 cup of chicken broth

8 ounces of tomato sauce

1 cup of half and half (I used good ole Lactaid, it was fine)

Directions:

Boil water and start on noodles.

Pour entire batch of chicken, marinade and all, into skillet and cook chicken fully (the marinade will evaporate/cook down)

Heat olive oil, cook garlic. Add pesto. Simmer in chicken broth until half has cooked down. Add tomato sauce. Then add milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Toss pasta in. Add flour if it needs to be thickened (I actually added a little cornstarch to my milk, but after I did, I thought of adding tomato paste to thicken it a bit) Place chicken on top of pasta when serving.

Verdict:  It was really good, definitely one to put in rotation.  The best part about it is that its super easy and fast.  Eric said he could have kept eating, but wanted to save some for leftovers.  Another good thing about this recipe is that the chicken could be served on its own, I’d suggest maybe grilling it, that would be really yum.

I hope everyone has a very spooktacular Halloween!  I hope we get some Trick or Treaters, we’ll have a lot of candy if we don’t.

Best Burger Joint In Town

Ok, well, that may not be entirely true.  In fact, I have a whole list of places that do great burgers, my house is just not one of the top 5. When I think of a burger, I think of a massive all beef patty with all the fixings and a side of fries or if I’m feeling extra indulgent, onion rings (good beer battered onion rings, not the crunchy pankoish ones).  When I make burgers at home, I tend to go the healthier route and use ground chicken or turkey, whole wheat buns, Vegenaise and if we have bacon, it’s usually low sodium turkey bacon.   I’m getting older, I need to watch the waistline and fat intake. Don’t get me wrong, its still delicious, but it makes me cry a little inside, especially when local burger joints post their burger menu on Facebook every Monday for their 1/2 price burger special (yes, Shooter McGee’s, I’m talking about you).

In college I decided I would try out being a vegetarian for a while, obviously it didn’t stick.  I was pretty good for a few weeks, then I just decided that I wouldn’t eat beef (it was the whole mad cow thing I was afraid of, don’t judge).  That lasted for a few years,  I’m not really sure how long exactly.  I only would go off the “no beef” plan when I was home for breaks, I allowed myself one cheeseburger from Bill Gray’s, with hot sauce on the side and onion rings (best onion rings ever!).   Then I’m not sure what happened, I just started eating beef again.  Like I said, I love a good burger.  I also love a good steak…I’m not really sure why I decided to write this blog before lunch, I’m already starving!

Last night was burger night, yes, a healthy burger.  I like to add different flavors to the chicken to really make it flavorful.  I also let Eric season his own, since he likes different flavors.  I  tend to stick with the basics, a tsp. of Montreal Steak Seasoning and basil and green onions, sounds weird, but it’s really good.  I added some Siracha last night and it was even more awesome.  Surprisingly, Eric wanted the same thing, except extra Siracha, of course.   I’m a huge fan of flavored mayo, I also realize that mayo isn’t great for you, so I use Vegenaise mixed with this wonderful garlic-shallot mix called Vik’s Garlic Fix from The Spice and Tea Exchange, mix in as much as you want and let it sit while you cook the burgers.  This garlic mayo is great on burgers, BLT’s, Salmon BLT’s, and awesome dip for onion rings.  Trust me, if you go the Vegenaise route, you can’t even tell it’s not mayo.

I’m not going to post a recipe, because I think you all know how to make a burger.  If you do make a chicken or turkey burger, just make sure it’s cooked all the way through, no one wants to get salmonella from rare poultry, plus that would just be gross. Oh and obviously the whole “Meatless Monday” thing went down the drain, maybe next week we’ll try again…

Chicken burger with avocado, turkey bacon and garlic “mayo” with a side of baked onion rings.

It’s pasta night, we’re going to be trying out Nadia G’s Penne al Forno recipe.  I hope its good, it looks like it will be, I’ve seen that episode of ‘Bitchin’ Kitchin’ like 3 times in the last two days.   It’s also in her cookbook, so again, if this works out to be as awesome as I think, you’ll just have one more reason to go buy it.

Now, on to more important decisions…what’s for lunch?????