Monday, July 6, 2015

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Onion Gravy

I found this Paleo recipe on Stalkerville and was intrigued by the ingredients. The word "gravy" at least in the typical sense does not lend itself to a Paleo lifestyle so I was really curious to see how these ingredients were going to work together to create a gravy and if it would taste anything at all like gravy.

Plus, how can you say no to anything wrapped in bacon?

Bacon Wrapped Chicken & Onion Gravy
Source: Balancing Paleo
Servings: 4
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    for the chicken:
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon 
    • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    • pinch of kosher salt 
    • pepper, to taste
    for the gravy:
    • 1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 sweet apple thinly sliced, peel on
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
    • pinch of dried thyme 
    • salt and pepper 
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Toss the onion and apple slices together with the olive oil, salt and pepper and then place in a glass 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
3. Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon, securing it with a toothpick if necessary.
4. Remove the apple and onion mixture from the oven and place the chicken breasts on top. Bake for 25 minutes then increase the oven temperature for 425 and bake for 10 more minutes.
5. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil.
6. Transfer the onion and apple mixture and any juices to a food processor or blender. Add the dijon mustard and thyme. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
7. Spread onion gravy onto the plate and place the bacon wrapped chicken breast on top. Serve immediately.

It actually tastes like gravy. I was not expecting that at all. Of course its not your typically white gravy or beef gravy, but it's still really good. Apples and onions pair so nicely chicken and pork that it's really a no brainer for how delicious this recipe is. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip

Do you have plans for this holiday weekend? Tom and I are going to be in D.C. for a concert. Late last year or earlier this year I just so happened to catch on the radio that the Foo Fighters were going to have a concert. Tom has wanted to see them in concert forever so I knew there was no way we were going to pass up this opportunity.

Since the concert is on the Fourth of July and it is their twentieth anniversary tour, the concert is all day long and they're going to have fireworks at night. Not wanting to deal with holiday and concert traffic, we're going to take the Marc train down today and then we'll come home Sunday night.

We're trying to fit in a bit of sight seeing in DC as well, but we don't have definite plans for anything, so we'll see how that goes!

If you're looking for a pretty quick dip to bring to any cookouts that you might be attending, I highly suggest this one. You should refrigerate it overnight to let the flavors really sink in and meld together, but if you only have a few hours I promise it will still be a tasty concoction. (And I know this because I was impatient and tried some a few hours after refrigerating it!)

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip
Inspired by various Pinterest recipes
Servings: about 2 1/2 cups
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    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 8 oz. sour cream (light or full fat)
    • 1 packet ranch dip mix
    • 3 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a seal-able container and refrigerate overnight.
2. If desired, cook additional bacon and crumble on top just before serving with chips, crackers, or veggies.

I actually had extra bacon and even cheese that I planned on topping this with before I served it. Except, I served it at my moms house after I transported it from home. And where was the extra bacon and cheese? In my fridge, an hour away. And then as proof for how good this is, I didn't even get to bring any home so I could haven't taken a better picture without making more. And believe me, this is not the type of dip you want to leave around.

Unless you're cool with downing an entire bag of chips and all of this dip yourself. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Honey Banana Smoothie

Last (?) year I bought a Vitamix. She's plum colored and I named her Vivi. I figured if I was going to spend that much money on an appliance, it deserved a name. However, poor Vivi doesn't get as much use as she should. When we first got her, there were lots and lots of milkshakes happening in this house.

But as time went on, apparently Vivi lost her appeal to my milkshake drinking husband. I do have to say, I'm not a huge fan of soups in the Vitamix because I think it makes them too smooth and almost frothy, which is just kind of weird, but I'm entirely off topic now.

Last week I was trying to figure out what to have for breakfast and Vivi caught my eye. She looked lonely sitting there on the counter, unused so I decided to give her a workout by having smoothies for breakfast all that week.

Honey Banana Smoothie
Source: Cookaholic Wife
Servings: 1
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    • 2 ripe bananas 
    • 1 cup milk (I used almond)
    • 2 tbsp. honey
    • 2 cups ice 
1. Place ingredients into Vitamix (or blender) and blend on high speed until smooth.

Four simple ingredients and lots of flavor! I ended up making more of these to drink at night instead of just for breakfast they were so tasty. You could also add in protein powder or fiber power if you were looking for a heartier version. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chinese Pork Sliders with Pineapple Slaw

Is ground pork really cheap in your area? I seriously thought the grocery store had made a mistake when they were weighing and packaging the meat. Each package was marked as $1.17 per pound which is pretty impressive compared to the costs of just about any other meat product in the store.

So the first time, I bought 4 packages and froze them. Not too long later, after I had only used two packages, I was in the same store and saw they were still marked at $1.17 per pound, so I picked up 5 more packages. And then I needed to do some searching to figure out what to do with 7 pounds of ground pork.

And then this recipe came along.

Chinese Pork Sliders with Pineapple Slaw
Source: Food Network Magazine
Servings: 4
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    for the chinese pork sliders:
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • shredded romaine lettuce
  • for the pineapple slaw:
  • 1 cup coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, remaining tablespoon of hoisin, tablespoons of rice vinegar,bread crumbs, green onion, ginger, salt and pepper. Form into 12 evenly sized meatballs.
4. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes per side and flip once while cooking.
5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the coleslaw mix, pineapple, mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. When the meatballs are done, brush the hoisin/rice vinegar glaze over them.
7. Prepare the sliders by slathering mayo on the top and bottom of each hawaiian sweet roll. Place shredded romaine lettuce on the bottom and the meatball on top of that. Place the top of the roll on the meatball. Serve with the slaw.

I really liked these little sliders and with pretty minimal ingredients and a short cook time, you could easily whip these up for a party. I think I would prefer the meatballs to be grilled or pan fried to get a bit of a crusted outer edge to them to add some texture to the soft sweet roll. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekly Menu 6/28 - 7/2

Hi strangers! I haven't posted the weekly menu in quite some time because I feel like I need to have something to say to go along with it and lately I haven't had anything interesting worth sharing lately.

I still don't, actually but I figured I'd just check in and let you all know I'm still alive and these posts aren't just going up on their own.

I can't believe its almost July. I haven't even been to the beach yet! And there aren't any free weekends in the near future to make that happen either! We're going to D.C. for the holiday weekend because of a concert. Then the following weekend I'm having my wisdom teeth out. I'm actually in denial that it's happening and that I'll need to eat soft foods for a while. Complete denial actually. And then the weekend after that is my mom's big pool party. I suppose I could go to the beach after that, which is probably a good time for us to visit Tom's parents.

At least I do have one long weekend planned at my aunts house in August.

Anyway, food. :)

Sunday: ham and cheese gnocchi skillet 

Monday: spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread

Tuesday: tacos from Taco Love Grill 

Wednesday: chili 

Thursday: pepperoni pizza 

For lunch this week I'm having prosciutto egg cups with bell peppers and lunch will be cobb salads. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's Baking: Orange Cream Cupcakes

The theme for What's Baking this month is baking with fruit. I had a really hard time choosing a recipe. There were just so many things that I wanted to make, but when I realized that I had almost all of the ingredients for this recipe already hanging around, it only made sense to choose it.

I was hoping these cupcakes would taste like a creamsicle.

Orange Cream Cupcakes
Source: Le Creme de la Crumb
Servings: 20
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    for the cupcakes:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup oil 
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest 
for the frosting:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream 
  • 4 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. cheesecake flavor instant pudding mix (or vanilla)
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, optional 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer add all of the ingredients for the cake and mix together with the paddle attachment until smooth.
3. Fill each line 3/4 of the way with the batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
4. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by combining the butter, cream cheese and heavy cream together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined. Then add in the orange juice, pudding mix, zest and vanilla until combined.
6. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the icing reaches the desired consistency. Add the salt if the frosting is too sweet. (To pipe on the frosting you'll need a thick consistency of icing.)
7. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

And they do! They taste like creamsicle cupcakes which is just incredible!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fried Chicken and Cheddar-Scallion Waffle Sandwich

This is a really in depth recipe since you are making the fried chicken and waffles from scratch, but I promise you this is more than worth the wait and all of the ingredients it takes to make it. Chicken and waffles is a pretty popular dish, but this is definitely a variety that you don't want to miss trying out.

Fried Chicken and Cheddar-Scallion Waffle Sandwich
Source: The Candid Appetite
Servings: 5
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    For the fried chicken:
    • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • canola oil for frying 
    for the cheddar scallion waffles:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 2 tsp. pepper 
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 eggs, at room temperature 
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
    • 2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
    • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 5 green onions, thinly sliced 
    for the mustard maple sauce:
    • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
    • 3 tbsp. yellow mustard
    • 3 tbsp. spicy brown mustard 
    optional toppings:
    • tomato slices
    • lettuce 
for the fried chicken:
1. Place the chicken thighs a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce and mix to coat the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil and place a wire cooking rack on top. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic. Remove the chicken thighs from the buttermilk and dip into the flour. Return to the buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour to get a good, thick coating on the chicken. Once dipped through both twice, place the chicken on the prepared wire rack. Allow the chicken to sit for about 10 minutes to ensure the batter sticks.
4. Add canola oil to a deep skillet (or cast iron pan) over medium high heat. Gently place the chicken into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel to blot excess oil. (Chicken can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven while waffles are prepared.)
for the cheddar-scallion waffles:
1. Preheat the waffle iron. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. (If not already preheated from chicken.)
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.
3. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together. Then pour into the center of the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be lumpy, but no clumps of flour should remain. Gently stir in the crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions.
4. Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop batter onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown. (I use the waffle plates for a Cuisinart Griddler. For 4 waffles, I used a little less than 1/2 cup of batter and cook for 5 minutes before flipping them and cook for 2 more minutes.)
5. Transfer the waffles to the preheated oven until all waffles are cooked.
for the maple mustard sauce:
1. Whisk together the maple syrup with the yellow mustard and spicy brown mustard.
to assemble the sandwich:
1. Place lettuce and sliced tomato onto one of the waffles. Top with a piece of fried chicken. Brush the maple mustard sauce on top and then place another waffle on top, creating a sandwich. Slice in half on the diagonal. Hold together with toothpicks if serving for a crowd.

You know you want one of these!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Paleo Buffalo Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers isn't a dish we have too often. As a kid I wasn't a fan of the texture of the cooked peppers and found the dish to always be dry and overly heavy with rice. I decided to try this Paleo version to see if the lack of rice and few ingredients improved this classic dish.

Paleo Buffalo Ranch Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Source: Primally Inspired
Servings: 5
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for the chicken:
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 onion, sliced 
    • 1 tsp. parsley
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1 tsp. dried chives
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
    • 4 pats butter 
for the stuffed peppers:
    • 5 bell peppers
    • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
2. Combine the herbs and spices together in a small bowl. Arrange the chicken and onion on the baking sheet and sprinkle the herb mixture on top. Place a pat of butter on top of each chicken breast.
3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. While the chicken is cooking, slice the tops off each of the bell peppers and remove the seeds.
5. Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the hot sauce.
6. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Place the chicken, onion and any juices from cooking into a large bowl. Shred the chicken breasts, then stir in the hot sauce until the chicken is fully coated.
7. Place the peppers into a 9x13 baking dish and fill each pepper with the chicken mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender enough for your tastes.

These were pretty tasty! The recipe calls to serve them with guacamole on top, which I did when I had them for lunch that week. I probably could have cooked the bell peppers less since they were going to be reheated in the microwave but otherwise this was good!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Snickers Dip

When my mom invites the family over to come to the pool, I usually make the same things over and over again. I'll bring a watermelon or make a dip for chips or veggies. Nothing too fancy since there aren't that many of us (something I have yet to learn for holidays, since it's typically the same group of family).

But this time I wanted to do something completely different. My mom had mentioned that she didn't make a dessert since it would just be a few of us and I decided to run with that opportunity.

Snickers Dip
Servings: 1 pint
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    • 20 fun-sized snickers bars
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1/8 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup Cool Whip
    • caramel, peanuts, shaved chocolate, etc. for toppings
    • graham crackers or pretzels for dipping
1. Chop the candy into small pieces.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese and brown sugar until combined.
3. Stir in the Cool Whip and chopped candies by hand.
4. Drizzle the top with caramel, chopped peanuts, shaved chocolate, etc. for topping.
5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with graham crackers or pretzels (or both!) for dipping.

You can also just eat this by the spoonful and I won't tell anyone because I maybe kinda did the same thing. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Swedish Meatballs

Would you believe making these Swedish meatballs were the first time I've ever had them? I debated on trying them out at Ikea to see if I would even like them but then remembered Ikea on the weekend is a really trying adventure and I'd probably be safer in my own kitchen just following a recipe.

Swedish Meatballs
Source: Food Network Magazine
Servings: 4
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    • 2 slices white bread
    • 1 tbsp. milk
    • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
    • 1/2 lb. ground pork
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp. onion, grated
    • 3/4 tsp. allspice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • lingonberry jam, for topping
1. In a large bowl, add the two slices of bread and pour the milk on top. Allow the bread to soak up the milk and drain any excess. Tear the bread into small pieces. Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg, onion, allspice and salt to the bowl and form into 16 1-inch meatballs.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
3. Whisk in the flour and then slowly add in the beef broth. Stir in the heavy cream.
4. Return the meatballs to the skillet and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve meatballs topped with lingonberry jam.

I thought these were really good, the combination of beef and pork together makes for a much softer meatball. Tom wasn't a big fan so I had leftovers for lunch.