Monday, June 13, 2011

Asian-Glazed Drumsticks

When I was younger, raw chicken was possibly the most disgusting thing in the entire world. I remember my mom prepping a whole chicken for dinner and looking on in horror as she touched - OMG she touched it! - that slimy, sticky bird that somehow turned into something oh-so-delicious for our evening meal. And if she requested my help? Forget about it. I would have no part in such morbid activities and I certainly made my opinion of partaking in such activities well-known.

Why do I bring up such a memory? I had to laugh this evening as I was preparing tonight's dinner. The recipe called for removing the skin from the drumsticks... No easy feat. As I'm pulling and yanking and wrestling with each piece, I could just sense my 10-year old self staring at my now 27-year old self with wonder and disbelief. Who have I become!

Lucky for me, such activities are not off-limits these days, and I'm able to whip together a nice weeknight meal of Asian-glazed drumsticks and Chinese fried rice without batting an eye. Because I don't think I could live without these drumsticks in my life. Sticky, sweet, spicy and delicious. And surprisingly healthy at only around 115 calories per drumstick. Score!

7-8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
2/3 c. water
1 tsp. Srirachi hot sauce
5 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
5 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 tsp. white sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp. fresh, grated ginger
2 Tbs. chives and/or scallions, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine water, Srirachi, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Lightly salt and pepper the drumsticks. In a large cast iron skillet, brown chicken over high heat for three to four minutes. Add sauce and cook on high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove cover, bring heat back to high to reduce sauce, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning chicken occasionally. With about two minutes left, remove chicken to a platter and continue to reduce sauce until it becomes a thick glaze. Pour over chicken. Top with chives, scallions and/or sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted slightly from Gina's Skinny Taste. Thanks Gina!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Open-Faced Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

Hey there. Hello. Hola. It's been a while. A long while. But don't fret, I've still been eating - and eating well every single day. I just haven't gotten around to posting much. I know, I'm selfish... Keeping all those good recipes to myself. Well, here's to changing that.

Although I value protein highly in my diet, sometimes I just crave a meatless meal (not that all meatless meals are low in protein, but it is more difficult to get a decent amount in a meatless meal). I have always liked the idea of one meatless meal a week, and with Gabe back to the grind stone and taking classes twice weekly, I have two great opportunities to satisfy this craving.

On the menu this week? Grilled eggplant open-faced sandwiches. Piled high with vegetables and cheese, each bite is packed with flavor. And the best part? It all comes together in less than 15 (10?) minutes. Enjoy!

2 slices of hearty bread
4 eggplant rounds, approximately 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
1/2 Tbs. olive oil + more for brushing bread
1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Herbs de Provence, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbs. mayonnaise
Spinach and tomato slices
1 oz. mozzarella cheese

Fire up the outdoor grill or inside grill pan, and preheat oven to the broil setting.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brush over both sides of eggplant rounds, then sprinkle with Herbs de Provence, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Grill until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Additionally, brush bread with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Assemble open-faced sandwiches by spreading mayo on each piece of toasted bread, then layering on spinach and tomato slices. Top with grilled eggplant and cheese (Note: I had to slice eggplant rounds in half). Pop sandwiches into the oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and serve.

Note: If you're interested in other meatless meals, check out Ezra Pound Cake blog. She hosts a great Meatless Monday feature with some really great recipe ideas.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

Nothing pairs with Saturday football better than chili and cornbread. The whole house permeates with the bubbly aroma of the spicy chili, making my mouth water and taste buds jump to attention. Now if only I could enjoy my chili and cornbread while watching my hometown team dominate the playoffs... Oh well, there's always next year, right?!

But this post is specifically about the cornbread. Chili by itself is certainly delicious. But paired with chewy, moist cornbread seasoned with jalapenos, cheddar cheese and scallions? Out of this world. I happened across this cornbread recipe via Let's Dish. It had all the qualities I was looking for: Super moist and fluffy (not dense), and extra flavors that pair well with a big ole pot of chili. And guess what? The bread even pairs well with a scrambled eggs breakfast as well. I know, I just had it. Yum.

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbs. seeded and minced jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" by 8" baking dish liberally with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated (may still be lumpy). Fold in 1 c. cheddar cheese, scallions and jalapenos. Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Once rested, spread mixture evenly into greased baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Baking for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Summery Couscous Salad

Dreaming of spring already? This girl is, for sure. As much as I love winter sports (looking forward to our annual snowboarding trip just next week), I'll never get used to the frigid temperatures and biting wind that accompanies winter each year here in the Midwest.

So I gave myself a little taste of spring with this fresh-tasting, light salad (adapted from Ezra Pound Cake). Paired with a grilled chicken sandwich, it was the perfect way to forget about the subzero temperatures and blustery winds outside. And, as an added bonus, this healthful salad takes the guilt out of that extra Christmas cookie or two you might be snagging as an after-dinner snacky. 'Tis the season!

1 (7.6 oz.) box couscous, cooked according to package directions
1 (15 oz.) can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 c. Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c. fresh (or 1 Tbs. dried) parsley, chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbs. lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, lime juice, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix to incorporate. Toss with olive oil mixture. Tastes great right away or chilled, your choice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

After a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas this past week for work, I came home to a refrigerator sorely in need of cleaning out. Nothing to throw out quite yet, but definitely some cheeses, produce and other items quite near 'the edge,' if you catch my drift.

So I took to the web, and found an inspiring pizza recipe via This Week for Dinner. Pizza is versatile like that - take a little extra of this, and some leftover that, arrange it on some dough and voila! A delicious and flavorful pizza pie. Because really, so little can go wrong when you start with a base of cheese and bread.

Oh, and how was Vegas you ask? It was actually my first trip to Sin City and I suppose my best one-word description would be "interesting." I didn't actually do any gambling (who has the extra $$ for that these days, anyway), but I did get to enjoy a few of the sights. The water and light show at the Bellagio was breathtaking, and the view from Mandalay Bay's Foundation Room was tres magnifique. Plus, it's amazing how much time, effort and money is invested in creating these amazingly opulent hotels. I could have spent the whole three-day trip just wandering around and snapping pictures of the hotel lobbies. I didn't have quite enough time to truly experience Vegas, but alas, perhaps I will head back soon again.

1 pizza crust (my favorite recipe here)
1 c. cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 c. caramelized onions (approx. 1 1/2 medium onion, sliced, to start)
Handful of fresh spinach, chopped
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. fresh Parmesan Reggiano, shredded
3 oz. goat cheese
2 Tbs. honey
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out pizza dough to your desired thickness. Drizzle some olive oil on the dough, and top with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Top with 2 oz. of mozzarella cheese, then the chicken, caramelized onions and spinach. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan and goat cheese. Drizzle on the honey.

Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Note: Topping amounts are approximate. Feel free to alter depending on what you have.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blog Update

After nearly two years of a standard blog look, I've finally taken the time to update with a personalized header and colors.

I hope you like the new look... I do!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eggs Havana

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, more so on the weekends because we have more time to make something delicious and filling to fuel us through the day. While I love the basics - pancakes, French toast, fried or scrambled eggs - I'm always looking for variations to shake things up.

Enter eggs Havana (via The Little Teochow). These delicious eggs are nestled atop a flavorful tomato sauce in a ramekin and baked to desired egg doneness (Gabe likes his eggs a little more runny than I do). I would have loved some nice wheat toast for dipping in the eggs, but had to settle for half a bagel since that was all we had.

It may be a little time-consuming for a breakfast meal, especially if you're starving in the morning like me. But well worth the wait, I assure you.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 c. canned tomatoes
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
dash of sugar (if needed)

6 large eggs
1 Tbs. butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste
parsley and red pepper flakes (optional, garnish)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil 3 ramekins with olive oil. Set aside momentarily.

Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (sugar, too, if needed). Cook until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.

Discard bay leaf, and divide tomato sauce equally among the 3 ramekins. Crack two eggs per ramekin, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle with melted butter.

Place ramekins in a small casserole dish, and and add 1 c. boiling water to the dish to create a water bath. Bake until whites are set, and yolks are still soft (this took approximately 20-23 minutes for me). Check frequently towards end, and remove from oven when desired egg doneness is achieved. Top with parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately in ramekins.