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Monday, November 30, 2015

Arabic Saffron Rice

I absolutely love saffron rice. I have so many memories of my grandmother making this dish every holiday. I would eat plate fulls of it at a time. She was an incredible cook and estimated all her recipe measurements by hand. Unfortunately, her recipes are often difficult to recreate (at least for those of us who are amateur cooks) because she rarely wrote down her recipes. My dad was on a mission though to make saffron rice for thanksgiving, and it turned out pretty darn good. I liked it so much that I decided to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of saffron (usually comes in 1 gram or .03 ounce boxes)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth 
  • Slivered almonds
  • Raisins  
  • Olive oil
Recipe:
  • Place saffron in a pestle and mortar. Add a pinch of sugar. Grind until the saffron is in powder form (or grind it as fine as you can). 
  • Pour saffron mixture into a mug, add 1 cup of hot water, cover, and let it sit for approximately 20 minutes until you see the dark rich saffaron color.
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with water to remove any excess starch.
  • Soak the rice with plenty of water for about 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water.
  • Add the soaked rice to the pot.
  • Add the liquid to the pot with the rice: 1 cup of the saffron water and 5 cups of chicken broth. 
  • Bring to a boil under medium-high heat, uncovered.
  • When it starts boiling, cover and lower the heat to low.
  • Keep the top of the pot on at all times, but stir the rice occasionally to make sure you have enough liquid. If you don't, add more liquid as needed. 
  • After fifteen minutes, take the lid off. If there is any excess water, allow it to boil off. Fluff with a fork.
  • Place about two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add slivered almonds. Fry the slivered almond at low temperature. Once they start browning, take it off the stove top. Repeat with raisins. 
  • Add salt as needed. 
  • Serve the rice garnished with almonds and raisins. 

 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Steak and Roasted Asparagas

There is nothing that makes me happier than natural night. I always know on bright sunny days that I can capture a great photo like this. I made this dinner the other night, and it was super yummy and easy. I've been sticking with protein and veggies for my meals lately to keep things light before the holidays get here. The trick to this meal is that there is no grill required. Sometimes I find it easier to cook steak on the stove versus my grill especially with the cold weather coming. If I had a cast iron pan, I'd probably finish the steak off in the oven, but you deal with what you have! Here are my tips and tricks for this simple and light dinner!

Ingredients:
  • Steak
  • Pam (I used pam instead of butter to keep things light)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Asparagas
  • Minced garlic  
  • Blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, or your other favorite toppings!
Recipe:
  • Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cook time to allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut off the ends of the asparagus.
  • Spray a baking sheet with Pam, place the asparagus on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the asparagus in the oven for about 25 minutes. 
  • While the asparagus is cooking, heat a pan on maximum heat and spray with pam. 
  • Season the steak with salt. 
  • Add the steak to the pan, and flip the steak to sear on both sides. You should only flip once, so I would say about 3 minutes on each side. It usually takes 6-7 minutes total to cook the steak medium rare. If you want to be sure, its best to use a meat thermometer. I don't have one, so I've just fine tuned my cooking time as time has went on. If you don't have a meat thermometer either, 6 minutes is a great place to start. 
  • After the steak is done cooking, place the steak on a cutting board and let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting. 
  • Serve the steak with your favorite toppings.
 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lottery Ticket and Liquor Birthday Bouquet

I was on the fence whether or not to post this. First, the picture isn't the best quality, and second, I made this literally 4 months ago (around the same time that I disappeared from the blogging world whooooops.....).  I figured I would post this anyways because one..I LOVE IT and two...these posts seem to be very popular. It's really such a great DIY gift. I made something similar for my brother's 21st birthday three years ago and it remains one of my most popular blog posts yet. You can see that here. I had so much fun making this birthday gift. I love making bouquets/baskets (or whatever you call it) for birthdays or other special events because you can personalize it and decorate it based on the their favorite things. It also looks so darn good.

What you'll need:
  1. Some type of pot or can
  2. Styrofoam ball or block to fit in can 
  3. Wooden skewers 
  4. Tape
  5. Lottery Tickets, Liquor, Decorations (your choice!)
It is really quite easy to assemble! Place the styrofoam ball or block into the can. You can cut around the edges to ensure that it fits. Tape the lottery tickets and liquor bottles to the skewers. Stick the skewers into the styrofoam, arranging it so that small items are in the front and large items are in the back. Decorate around the bouquet with ribbons and other decorations.

 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cheesy Pizza Dip

I love football Sundays. It gives me the excuse to hang out in my sweatpants and indulge in my favorite comfort foods. Even though you may not like football...I know you love cheese..and pizza..and yummy goodness. Voila....pizza dip. It is so delicious and requires minimal effort..the best of both worlds. I've been making this dip for a while now. In fact, it was one of the first recipes that I posted on this blog. Back in the day, my pictures were not the prettiest, so I decided to respost this yummy creation again. It's crazy what a DSLR camera and some good lighting can do. Now excuse me while I get back to this......
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • pepperoni slices 
  • tortilla chips 
  • french bread
Recipe: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cream cheese, oregano, basil, cheddar cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture into casserole dish, and top with tomato sauce.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheeses followed by pepperoni.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is browned.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips and chopped bread.
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Creamy Baked Gnocchi

It's hard to believe that its been almost 2 months since I last posted. I have been so busy this summer and it is just flying by!! After a busy long weekend with ongoing activities the only thing I wanted to do on Sunday was to rent a couple movies, enjoy some comfort food, and relax. I came up with this amazing baked gnocchi recipe. It's the next best thing, if not better, than mac and cheese. This recipe is especially creamy, cheesy, and indulgent. I'm telling you, the best thing I ever learned to make is a good cheese sauce. This girl loves her cheese, and I use it as a base for so many things!! I usually take the general gist of the recipe and use whatever cheese I have on hand. You can also add so many things to it (like the ham and peas I used in this recipe!). Hope you like it (actually I know you will !!)


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 ham steak, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (i used pepper jack)
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onions, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Panko bread crumbs
Recipe:
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a pan with nonstick spray.
  • Place chopped onions, cubed ham, and half a bag of frozen peas into a skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sautee on medium heat until onions are sauteed and ham is browned.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 2 minutes . Drain the gnocchi, toss with olive oil, then set aside. Return the pot to the stove.
  • In the large pot, melt the butter then add the flour. Wisk until combined. Add milk and cream gradually, whisking to incorporate. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cheese gradually, whisking until the cheese is melted.
  • Once cheese sauce is thickened to your liking, add the ham, onion, and pea mixture. Then, stir in gnocchi until everything is coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Place gnocchi cheese mixture in the greased pan.
  • Coat the top of the gnocchi with panko bread crumbs.
  • Drizzle olive oil on the top of the panko bread crumbs.
  • Bake in oven for 15 minutes, then place the dish under broiler for a couple minutes to brown the top.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Enchilada Quinoa Casserole

True or False...I should just make this a mexican food blog? Sorry for the similar recipes lately but I warned you that I L-O-V-E mexican food. Plus, I had leftover ingredients from the flautas I made on Thursday. Sometimes you just need to work with what you got!

I have to admit..I've never been a huge fan of quinoa. I've always found it kinda tasteless and boring. Its probably because I only make it when I'm on a diet and diet food just makes me sad. I've never had quinoa with enchilada sauce though, and now I'm kinda in love with it. The enchilada sauce, chiles, and everything else gave it so much flavor. Crazy goodness! Who would have thought quinoa could taste so good?!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (I used green sauce because its my favorite)
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained 
  • 1/2 cup canned corn
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded taco cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
Recipe:
  • Cook quinoa according to the package instructions; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chiles, corn, pinto beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Pour quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and melted. 
  • Garnish with diced tomato and avocado

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cheesy Baked Chicken Flautas with Greek Yogurt Guacamole Dip

I found this recipe on pinterest and made it not even knowing what chicken flautas were. In case you're wondering, its a mexican dish (duh!) usually served fried...oh and they are delicious. My eyes saw a creamy cheesy filling wrapped in a tortilla and guacamole and I was like DONE and DONE.  I decided to bake them instead of frying them to make them a little healthier. I also swapped out sour cream for greek yogurt like I normally do. Believe me, you can not tell the difference. Its just as creamy and tasty! I also used greek yogurt in the guacamole. My friend Lindsey made this guacamole last weekend and I became obsessed. I figured the guacamole would be perfect to have with the flautas and it was!!
Guacamole Ingredients:
  • 4 avocados
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced with the seeds removed
  • 2 big spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt (you're welcome for the exact measurement!)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 lime
Guacamole Recipe:
  • Mix avocados and greek yogurt together until smooth. 
  • Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapenos. 
  • Add lime juice from one lime -this will help prevent the avocados from browning. 
  • Add salt and pepper as needed.

 Chicken Flautas Ingredients:
  • 16 tortillas
  • 3 chicken breasts, shredded 
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 8 oz bag of taco shredded cheese
  • 1 15 oz can of corn
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
*Note..this is going to make enough for two 9x13 baking dishes. You can easily make one for dinner and freeze the other!

Chicken Flautas Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 400 F degrees
  • Heat a skillet with olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Add corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Then, add shredded chicken, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. Stir and cook until combined and cheese is melted. (This will only take a 3-4 minutes.)
  • Spray two 9x13 baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place some filling in each tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla and place in the baking dish. 
  • Bake for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cucumber Salad

This salad is perfect for grilling season and warm weather! I'm so happy that its that time of the year again!! It definitely puts a smile on my face. This salad was perfect with some grilled chicken that I made this week. I made it as a side salad, but next time I might try to cut the cucumbers and onions with a mandoline slicer to use it as a topping for chicken, fish or anything really! Since its such a simple recipe I'm sure I'll be making it a lot the next few months. It's so colorful, fresh, and yummy too!! It also takes a mere 5 minutes to make which is usually all the time I have to put something together to eat during the week. Its finals time...which means studying comes first, sleeping comes second, and takeout comes third... Cooking is nonexistent unless it takes under 10 minutes, so I am always on the lookout for healthy easy things to make! Hope you enjoy!!
Ingredients:
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 sliced cucumbers
  • 2 medium sized limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Recipe:
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well, taste, and season as needed.
  2. Serve immediately or let it rest in the refrigerator before serving.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ground Turkey Enchiladas



 
I'm kinda obsessed with Mexican food. In fact, I love Mexican food so much that I swear I don't have taco seasoning running through my blood. That, and queso...but that's a whole other story. These enchiladas are a staple recipe for me. When my Mexican food craving hits, I whip up these bad boys. I've made this recipe so many times that I could probably make it in my sleep. I usually make variations of it depending on what ingredients I have in my fridge. These enchiladas are just as delicious with ground chicken or beef, or even shredded chicken.
 

Ingredients:
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • enchilada sauce (I used canned)
  • tortillas
  • 8 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
  • scallions, sour cream, and your other favorite toppings
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic on low until soft and translucent. Add ground turkey and taco seasoning packet. Follow directions on seasoning packet. Once turkey is cooked, remove from heat.
  • Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. On the bottom of the baking dish pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce. In each tortilla, put ground turkey mixture, diced green chiles, and cheese. Roll up each tortilla and place in baking dish. 
  • Once all tortillas are rolled up, pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top, then top with more cheese.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with scallions and sour cream.  

 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Almond Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes

Are these just not the cutest cupcakes you have ever seen?! They look like little sundaes, and I just am in love with them. Thank you Amanda for helping me make these last night. Unfortunately, I was plagued by a pesky migraine and our Friday night plans were ruined. We ended up staying in and making these cute cupcakes in our pjs. There was a lot of mess and disaster but also lots of laughter and we ended up having a great time. There is nothing like curing a migraine with cupcakes haha. Also, thanks to Amanda, I got some piping lessons and I think the frosting came out just beautifully.
 
I am so glad that I found this cupcake recipe! Not only are these cupcakes beautiful but they are absolutely delicious. I love anything almond flavored. I'm also pretty sure I could eat maraschino cherries by the handful. These cupcakes also bring me back to my childhood when I used to drink shirley temples by the gallon. Okay, that is an exaggeration but I'm pretty sure I would have if I could!

Recipe source: Your Cup of Cake

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup Maraschino cherries, roughly chopped
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2-3 tsp. almond extract
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • About 20-24 Maraschino cherries with stems for decorations
Recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, milk, sour cream and almond extra. Mix until well combined.
  • Fold in chopped maraschino cherries.
  • Fill cupcake liners with the batter and bake for about 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. 
  • For the frosting, beat butter until creamy. Add almond extract and slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness.
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them generously and top with sprinkles and a cherry on top!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Hi strangers. Yes, I know its been over a month...I missed you too. This breakfast recipe is LIFE. So yummy and delicious. I'm already planning on making it for Christmas morning which is 9 months from now... That in itself must tell you its delicious considering I'm planning a meal 9 months in advance. The nutmeg and cinnamon makes the kitchen smell like the holidays. Of course that didn't stop me from making it on the first day of spring! It is too yummy to pass up. This recipe is definitely going down in the books.
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 Loaf Bread, cut into cubes (I used italian bread and some baguette I had left over...)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup milk
Recipe:
Melt the butter and pour into the bottom of a 13 x 9 in pan.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla in another bowl.  Layer the bottom of the pan with half of the bread.  Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over the bread.  Layer the second half of the bread.  Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top. Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, take off the foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strawberry Cheesecake Belgian Waffle

Happy Valentines Day!!!! My favorite holiday is right around the corner. This is the perfect breakfast to share with your loved one on valentines day morning. It's also super easy to make. The topping is simply strawberry pie filling, vanilla greek yogurt, and a little powdered sugar. I'm sure if you wanted to make it more authentic you could actually make cheesecake filling, but I love the stonyfield organic greek vanilla yogurt. It is so good and much lighter then actual cheesecake filling would be!! It's my favorite out of all vanilla greek yogurts because you can actually see vanilla bean running through it.
Ingredients:
  • Belgian waffle mix (Your waffle mix will also most likely call for egg, oil, and water.)
  • Strawberry Pie Filling
  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • Powdered sugar
Recipe:
  • Follow the directions on your belgian waffle mix. Each waffle will most likely take 3-4 minutes to cook.
  • Top the belgian waffle with strawberry pie filling, vanilla greek yogurt, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

I'm back! I took the past few weeks off to enjoy my vacation. The good news is that I found some great new recipes to share with you all. I can easily see this chicken recipe becoming a new favorite of mine. You can use this chicken in so many different ways. I had it on my salad this afternoon for lunch with some blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of blue cheese dressing. I also made wraps with the chicken last night. Buffalo chicken sliders topped with coleslaw, or baked buffalo chicken taquitos would be great ways to use the chicken too. Have fun with it!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 5.3 oz plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
Recipe:

Place chicken in the crockpot. In a bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Pour 3/4 of the mixture over the chicken. Cook on low for 6 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the crockpot and shred. Drain out the liquid in the crockpot. Place the chicken back into the crockpot and pour the rest of the liquid mixture into the chicken.

 
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