Monday, November 28, 2011

Maple-Orange Chicken

Chicken, as we all probably know by now, is our go-to weeknight food. Generally, I'm tired, lazy, and unmotivated by dinner time, so the faster the recipe -- and the fewer the ingredients -- the more likely I am to make the dish. So, it should be no surprise that maple-orange chicken was destined for our table sooner or later.

Maple-Orange Chicken

Monday, November 21, 2011

Asparagus with Mustard

One of the first vegetables I ever learned to cook was asparagus. My parents would always make asparagus in a quick mustard-sugar dressing, and I couldn't get over how deliciously savory-sweet it was. This recipe therefore became one of the few I actually made during college, given my limited access to a kitchen and ingredients at the time.

Asparagus with Mustard

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amazing Pumpkin Biscuits

After including pumpkin in a number of dinners and sides, it occurred to me that I might want to branch out into a pumpkin recipe could be consumed for breakfast. As a simple experiment that would last the week, I opted to try my hand at making spiced pumpkin biscuits.

Pumpkin biscuits

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin-sage Polenta

So, as some readers already know, the boy and I reasonably recently got engaged. While it's exciting, apparently this whole planning a wedding thing is super hard work. Who knew! I mean, besides everyone who's ever gotten married, ever . . . Anyway, that whole engagement thing threw me off my healthy game for awhile, but I'm -- as always -- hoping to get back on track.
Beyond that fabulousness, we're still trying to keep up with our pumpkin consumption, and I've recently become particularly enamored of this pumpkin-sage polenta (and variants thereof).

Pumpkin-sage Polenta

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gingerbread french toast

When the boy took his LSATs (the first time -- second coming up in December!), I got up extra early to make him a ginormous breakfast that would keep him full through the long test. In addition to delicious sausage, I made him gingerbread french toast. This recipe--especially the orange fake-butter--was inspired by this recipe from And All the Trimmings, a cooking blog I have begun following.

Gingerbread french toast

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Even Is This

So I usually have recipes and photos on hold for weeks or even months before I take the time to write them up. I know this is a terrible policy, but I just struggle with finding the time to convey how truly delicious these dishes were. Today, I could not wait. Today, I am sharing a very "fresh" recipe with you: tonight's dinner. Why am I totally abandoning my general policy on this one? Because it isn't even finished yet (still cooking on the stove), and I already deeply, deeply regret making this dinner.

To begin with, it's important to know that I strongly dislike seafood. More accurately, I dislike eating anything that looks like it did when it was alive. It makes me feel oh, so guilty. Unfortunately, seafood tends to do this more than other meats. However, I've been reading a lot about how seafood is super good for you and how you should have 2 meals a week that incorporate it. As I believe I've written before, we aim for 2 meals every other week. Well, this week, I attempted to make dill-salmon croquettes with horseradish sauce. I figured, hey, I love dill and also horseradish, so how bad can it be? Little did I know, horror lurked secretly in the primary ingrediant.

dill-salmon croquettes with horseradish sauce

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breakfast Burrito

It has been a busy week, but I'm catching a break and using the time to update. So, we visited my sister in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. Like any good member of my family, she has loads of great cheese, eggs, and vegetables in her refrigerator -- all of the necessary ingredients for a breakfast tortilla (well, minus the wrap, which fortunately she had as well)! So, one of the mornings, the boy and I split a delicious breakfast tortilla.

Breakfast burrito

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Herbed Stuffed Chicken Breasts

For an easy weeknight meal that is fairly hands-off, I usually turn to my favorite meat: Chicken. Stuffed chicken breasts are a particularly nice way to have an easy, delicious meal that seems way fancier than it actually is. I tend to use this recipe for herbed stuffed chicken breasts as a base for these dishes.

Herbed Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chain and Scale Maille

I thought I'd feature a creation I did not do today. The boy does a lot of crafting, including leatherwork, chain mail, and scale mail. He created a black-and-blue outfit for me out of chain maile and scale mail, including a corset, skirt, arm pieces, necklace, earrings, and headdress. Here it is in all of its glory!
Scale mail corset, chain mail skirt

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce

Today, I'm trying something completely new: play-by-play cooking! This could be awesome, or it could be a complete disaster. If I were a betting type, I'd definitely put my money on the latter.

So what's on the menu today? As it turns out, the boy found some roasted butternut squash at the grocery store and thought I'd love to play with it -- how right he was! While I sat staring at my delicious, pre-roasted squash, I noticed some left-over wonton skins sitting sadly on the bottom of the fridge and inspiration struck. So, I've cobbled together a franken-recipe from bits of the recently-featured pumpkin ravioli, parts of a butternut squash wonton recipe, courtesy of our good friends at cooking light, and the squash-loving madness that lies within my brain. Let's see how this goes.

Butternut Squash Wontons with Cheese Sauce

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce

I absolutely adore the recipe featured today. It is amazingly delicious and comforting, yet oh-so-healthy. Plus, it is an absolutely perfect recipe for fall. The fabulous recipe of which I speak? Pumpkin ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce.

Pumpkin ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweet and Savory Butternut

It is officially the fall (and, according to me, very nearly Christmas), and thus, it is time for butternut squash to make frequent appearances in our diet. Now that I've finally figured out how to peel and chop up butternut squash (hint: big knife!), I am no longer terrified of it and can revel in its complete deliciousness.

For this week's experiment, I decided to try a mashed butternut squash recipe. Here's the delicious result that I came up with.

Mashed butternut squash

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Black-eyed pea cakes

We're pretty much a meal = meat household. It can be especially difficult to convince the boy to eat a dinner that does not include some form of animal. However, we did find an incredibly delicious and easy recipe for black-eyed pea cakes that both of us adore.

Black-eyed pea cakes

Friday, September 9, 2011

Halibut meuniere

So apparently "they" are now recommending that we should be eating seafood two meals a week. Blegh, I am NOT a seafood fan. Not only am I terrified of food that looks at me (poor crablies! poor shrimpies!), but I generally do not love the taste of seafood and I'm nuts about sustainable fishing (for more on sustainable fishing, check out Monterey Bay -- great info!). That particular combination makes it brutally difficult to squeeze in seafood to my diet. For now, the boy and I have decided to try 2 meals a week, every other week, with seafood. We'll see how we do . . .

Halibut meuniere

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fake Egg Scramble

Usually, we just have super-quick eggs in baskets for breakfasts. On occasion, I feel inspired to make a breakfast involving somewhat more prep. Usually, my week-day go-to is a fake egg scramble.

Egg white scramble

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Roll-ups

Many of you have full-time jobs -- or full time student engagements -- and can likely empathize with the difficulty of assembling weeknight dinners in either a timely or budget friendly fashion. This is one of the reasons that I am in love with: a) chicken, b) low-ingredient recipes, and c) low-time recipes. The recipe featured today falls into categories a and b: Southwestern chicken roll-ups

Southwestern Chicken Roll-ups

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Fries

I just am not a big fan of vegetables. However, salty vegetables dipped in things -- yum! Hungry Girl's butternut squash fries are perfect. These involve few ingredients but still take some time, largely because cutting up a butternut squash can be pretty painful.

Butternut squash fries

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Brown Sugar Meringues

Ready for a failure? I thought that Hungry Girl's brown sugar meringues would be delicious, low calorie (25 calories a cookie??), and relatively simple to make. Alas, my dreams of yummy low-cal cookies were not to be realized. I guess I just am not yet on the right level to make meringues. After beating the "dough" for an inordinate amount of time, I finally got it to peak. However, I had to cook them way longer than 30 minutes, and even then, they were smooshy, not crisp. They tasted fine on day one, but the day after was a disaster. So, I figure I must have not beaten them well enough. I will probably not make these again, but I might someday try the "lighter lemon bars", also listed on that page. When I'm feeling brave again, that is!

Brown Sugar Meringues
Ease: 5
Taste: 3
Comfort: 4

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Turkey with Spinach-Feta Stuffing

One of my major weaknesses is meat stuffed with cheese of some kind. Another major weakness is shallots -- mmmm! So, this turkey breast recipe is irresistible to me.

Turkey with Spinach-Feta Stuffing

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BBQ Blitz

We had some of our good friends over to dinner a little while back. Generally, when we have company for dinner, we try to pull together a number of dishes around a theme, rather than just feature one or two dishes at random--which is the usual tactic when feeding only ourselves. At first, we struggled on deciding a theme for the dinner. However, after a great deal of--unnecessary--consideration, we realized that: a) their dog's name is "Brisket", and b) they served BBQ at their wedding. Thus, the perfect theme occurred to us: BBQ! The boy handled the meat (which, unfortunately, I have no pictures of), and I took care of two side dishes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Black and Blue Quesadillas

I love quesadillas. They are so easy, cheesy, and delicious. But unfortunately, quesadillas are also usually not as healthy as they might be. Fortunately, Cooking Light has a few phenomenal quesadilla recipes. One, for black and blue quesadillas, was surprisingly delicious for a recipe employing lunch meat (hrrm). Very quick, and very few ingredients required. Even though I did use pre-packed lunch meat instead of fancy deli counter meat, they were still tasty. As a very slight twist, I cooked the roast beef lunch meat with onions and balsamic vinegar before assembling the quesadillas in order to ensure that everything was heated prior to assembly, as well as to help boost the flavor. If you're in the market for balsamic glaze, I recommend a citrus balsamic glaze--Earth & Vine has a ridiculously delicious Blood Orange Balsamic that I am in love with. Pro-tip for the Blood Orange Balsamic: Best salad dressing ever!
Black and Blue Quesadillas

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

I love caramel popcorn -- even though it hardly can be classified as a diet food. Here's a simple, quick recipe for delicious caramel popcorn. Beware, though, long cooking times or different proportions of ingredients can result in hard or overly chewy caramel. Recipe largely inspired by, and only slightly adapted from, the following recipe for caramel popcorn.

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pea soup with crab flan

Apparently I have a wealth of poorly lit food photos from meals I haven't yet shared! For the past year, I have slowly been trying to get myself to a place where I can eat seafood. I have spent the majority of my life thus far being too disturbed by seafood looking at me to eat it without a metric ton of cheese involved. So, when I saw this recipe for a pea soup with a crab flan, I knew I had to give it a shot.

Pea soup with crab flan

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Orange ginger-glazed Cornish hens

But in my defense, my computer died in that time.

I'll share an old meal today, although it is one of my favorites: Orange ginger-glazed Cornish hens (pictured below)

Orange ginger-glazed Cornish hens

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eggplant and Avocado-Tomatillo Chicken

We ended up shopping at a different grocery store today a little farther from where we live. While we were in the produce section, I noticed that they carried three types of eggplants. The wicked ones (the big ones with yucky skin), baby eggplants, and an eggplant called the "graffiti" eggplant. Even though our initial plans for the week had not included eggplant, I was excited to do a side-by-side taste-test of two types of eggplants with this recipe, which was initially reviewed in an earlier blog entry.

Seared chicken with tomatillo-avocado salsa

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brie and Peach Quesadilla

Tonight, I made some quick and tasty Brie and Peach Quesadillas. Instead of eating 2/3 of one, as cooking light recommends as an appetizer, we had 1 each (so, close to 236 calories). This is a great, quick summer meal. Very light and tasty. I used light Brie in this, and used only the recommended amount. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to use a little more Brie -- the Brie in today's meal got overwhelmed by the peaches. By the way, the sauce that goes with this is a "must". The lime-honey (or in our case, lime-agave nectar) sauce adds a little life to the otherwise pretty solid quesadillas.

Brie and Peach Quesadilla

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Creme Fraiche Feast

In the past month, I have defended my dissertation, graduated from my PhD program, moved, begun my new job, and gone to a conference for my new job. Promise, I'm not slacking, I just haven't been focusing on creations for some time! Tonight, to celebrate the first day back on my healthy lifestyle (we hope!), I made the boy and I what turned out to be a 4-course meal. Two salads, a main dish, and a dessert. YUM! The following is the deliciousness that has been the past hour and 45 minutes (seriously, that's all the time it took to cook and eat four courses).

Seared peaches with balsamic reduction

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wontons with Citrus Soy Sauce

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been swamped with interviews and getting my dissertation in to committee, so I have been taking less "me" time (oh no!). I've finally caught a break, so I wanted to share with you a delicious meal that the boy made for us a few weeks ago: wontons with citrus soy sauce. Technically, these were supposed to be gyoza, but our local grocery does not carry gyoza. Ah well, wontons work just fine.

Wontons with citrus soy sauce

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kumquat Beef

The boy and I have a habit of picking up random things at the grocery store, including, once, prickly pear fruits (hint: don't touch with your bare hands or try to eat straight!). One item the boy purchased recently was kumquats--and he immediately regretted it. I did not try it, so I can't verify the claim, but he said they are all but impossible to eat raw. So, when I found a fairly quick beef dinner that used kumquats, he was happy to relinquish his kumquat rights for the greater, and yummier, good.

Kumquat beef

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakfast of Champions: Cooking for Science

I have the pleasure of being involved in a group that offers statistical consulting services to faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in my department. Since we meet at 8 am (yay! mornings!) on Mondays, someone usually brings in breakfast to help everyone get a kick-start. I insisted on bringing in breakfast today and had an enormously good time designing a menu that involved four of the major food groups: dairy, grain, protein, and fruit. We had three "dishes", and I had my friends and colleagues rate them on their "yum" factor. I computed the average correlation between pairs as an estimate of the yum-reliability, and found that yum-reliability is incredibly low (r = -0.17). This gets to an super important point, though--everyone has different tastes! Some like things sweet, others savory. As such, I'm glad that I made enough dishes that everyone really enjoyed at least one.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Champagne Cocktail: The Best Part of Waking Up

Another holiday tradition in my family is to enjoy some champagne late Christmas/Thanksgiving morning. I have not really liked the taste of orange juice for awhile now, so I decided to make a very easy twist on a mimosa to mask it somewhat. I call it "the best part of waking up", and it is as delicious as it is beautiful.
Champagne cocktail

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Brie" Stuffed French Toast

Aromas in Williamsburg, VA, has a heart-stoppingly delicious breakfast: Brie stuffed french toast. Everything about it is delicious. The cheese: melted and gooey. The overall taste: sweet yet savory. The boy was even kind enough to run out of the hotel and bring some back for me when I developed a hankering the next day.

When we started eating healthfully, I knew I would have to make a slimmed down version of this dish. We started with brie, but when we found out that no grocery store near us carried light brie, we switched to Camembert. I think this actually was a great idea, because the Camembert has more flavor in and of itself. As such, it stands up better in a slimmed-down version of stuffed french toast.

Brie stuffed french toast

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

Somehow, we still had room for dinner. One of the highlights of the evening was the eggplant (classic Thanksgiving dish, yes?). We ended up with eggplant simply because we wanted to try a new vegetable. It was one of our best decisions--the only downside was figuring out what to do with the leftover miso. The boy was in charge of making the "paste", and he got it done quickly and efficiently. The eggplant turned out marvelous. I used to be scared of eggplant, but now I know the trick: get the skinny ones, or Japanese eggplants, and leave the big fat ones alone. A whole lotta eggplant (1/4 of the recipe) is 115 calories.

Miso eggplant

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cranberry Meatballs and Goat Cheese Crisps (Thanksgiving)

Lunch on holidays in our family is always snack-oriented rather than meal-oriented.  This year, in addition to our usual cheese and vegetable assortment, we whipped up some cranberry meatballs and goat cheese crisps.

Cranberry Meatballs and Goat Cheese Crisps

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sour Cream, Cheddar, & Chive Potato Waffles (Thanksgiving)

My sister, myself, and the boy made every meal for the family this past Thanksgiving, and it was unbelievably fun. We started off breakfast with sour cream, cheddar, and chive potato waffles and an omelet stuffed with a mix of vegetables and cheeses (no recipe here, we just got excited). My sister took care of the omelet, and I took care of the waffles. The batter for the waffles did seem a little runny at first, but the final product had a great texture and taste. They were also extra-easy to make, even for a waffle newbie. I'd never actually made waffles myself before (how is that even possible??) and they were a cinch.
Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Chive Potato Waffles

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Olive Oil Ice Cream

I first sampled olive oil ice cream at Zaytinya's in DC. Months prior to this occasion, one of the boy's bosses had encouraged me to try it at Otto's Pizzeria, but I couldn't bring myself to eat it. Finally, at Zaytinya's, I had worked up the courage to sample this concoction--and it was beautiful. The olive oil flavor was fairly subtle, but the ice cream was oh so very rich. I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried to duplicate it at home.

Olive oil ice cream

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