The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. August 13, 2015

Filed under: Chicken,Dinner — Jessica @ 4:05 pm
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Fresh pineapple is one of those things that I often buy and we either eat it within a day or we don’t eat it at all and it goes in the compost. After throwing away two whole pineapples, I was optimistic that we would actually get around to eating this one. Well, we didn’t- at least not in the traditional way alongside breakfast or lunch. I came home from work and noticed it was still sitting on the baker’s rack and needed to be used. I thought about making some kind of dessert but really, I just needed to get dinner on the table. So, I decided I would work the pineapple into our meal. (I should clarify that I am not generally a fan of fruit in my dinner). This is what I came up with based on the chicken I had thawed and some veggies we had in our refrigerator. It was a winner for both of us & perfect served with coconut rice for a complete meal.

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Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Serves 6

Ingredients-

Marinade

1 fresh pineapple- peeled, cored and diced into large chunks- RESERVE HALF

1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)

1/4 c packed brown sugar

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

3 TBLS olive oil

1 bunch green onions- sliced (I use scissors)

Everything Else

1 lb chicken cut into large chunks (I used boneless skinless chicken breasts)

8 oz mushrooms

1 lb mini sweet peppers

1 large red onion- quartered and seperated

Remaining pineapple chunks that you reserved from the marinade

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1.Place first 6 items in food processor and blend until pineapple is broken down into very small pieces.

2. Add green onions

3.Reserve 3/4 cup marinade for basting while on grill

4. Add chicken and mushrooms to marinade and let sit in refrigerator for 2-12 hrs.

5. Using kabob sticks that you have soaked in water, alternate ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple and onion). Place on foil lined cookie sheets until you get them all done.

6, Cook on grill (grilling times will vary). Ours took about 35 minutes. Rotate every 10-15 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade when you place on grill and every time you rotate them.

7. Remove from grill and let cool slightly.

8. Enjoy!

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Loaded Nachos. June 10, 2015

Filed under: Dinner — Jessica @ 7:00 am
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This is not really a recipe. It is more of a point of inspiration for your own creation. There are no measurements, just a suggestion of ingredients and a method. You can adjust to the size and preferences of your family. We eat these Loaded Nachos a couple of times a month. They are one of the few meatless meals I can sneak past Tiffany. (You could easily add some meat if you wanted). I love that it is an all in one dish that requires no extra side dishes to be complete. Something about this meal is always so satisfying. They are also gorgeous!

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Loaded Nachos

Servings Vary

Ingredients

Tortilla Chips (we prefer the organic blue corn ones from Aldi)

Black Beans (or leftover taco meat, shredded chicken, pulled pork etc)

Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese- shredded

Lettuce- chopped

Tomato- diced

Red Onion-diced

Sweet Peppers- diced

Avacodo- diced

Black Olives

Salsa

Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

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1. Spread single layer of tortilla chips on cookie sheet. Try to leave as few “holes” as possible.

2. Sprinkle with beans or protein of choice. (Be sure to rinse and drain beans very well or chips will get soggy)

3. Top with Shredded Cheese.

4. Bake at 375° for 7-10 minutes (until cheese is melted)

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5. Use spatula to scoop nachos on to plate and top as desired.

6. Enjoy!

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Easy Pesto Grill Pizzas. May 12, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,grilling — Jessica @ 9:41 am
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We do a lot of grilling in the summer. Dinner is often some kind of meat and whatever veggies need to get used up thrown on the grill while we work in the garden or enjoy a cocktail in the backyard. These grill pizzas are a nice change in the meat and veggies routine. Using pre-made Naan makes things much easier than using pizza dough (especially when cooking on a charcoal grill). The toppings can be switched out to your own taste but this combination is always a winner for us.

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Pesto Grill Pizzas

serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 pre-made Naan Bread

4 Tbls Pesto

4 oz Fresh Mozzarella (thinly sliced)

1/2 each red, yellow and green pepper ( I slice off the entire half and cut into two pieces for grilling)

1/2 red onion (thick sliced rings)

4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms

3 Tbls olive oil

2 Sausage Links (these are turkey Italian but I have used chicken & pork Italian as well)

Fresh grated Parmesan for garnish

Medium Tomato- diced (optional)

1. Get your grill ready. We use charcoal and there is not a lot of temperature control, so we just start when it is ready. While grill is heating, chop pepper and onion and toss with  2 Tbls olive oil. Be careful with the onions because you want them to stay together as best as possible. Toss mushrooms with remaining olive oil and wrap in foil.

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2. Put peppers, onions and sausage links directly on grill. Put foil packet on grill. Cook until peppers are blistered and sausage are cooked. Onions may still have a little “bite” to them and that’s ok. Cooking times will vary based on your grill.

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3. While items are grilling, place Naan bread on grill safe pan. Top each Naan bread with 2 Tbls Pesto and 2 oz of mozzarella. You can place bread directly on grill but I find it easier to use a pan.

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4. Once items are cooked, remove from grill and slice all into bite size pieces. Pile grilled veggies and sausage on Naan. Top with fresh Parmesan. Return to grill and cook with cover closed until the cheese melts (again, times will vary based on your grill).

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5. Remove from grill, Top with diced tomatoes and cut each Naan into 4 pieces.

6. Enjoy!

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Empanadas. May 6, 2015

Filed under: Appetizer,Dinner — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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I was hoping to share my grocery haul video today but I am having some trouble getting the video to upload. I am hoping to get it up when I have hours to sit and let it upload etc- hopefully Friday since it is a half day of school. In the meantime, I have one of our favorite recipes to share with you. This is not my recipe, it came with Tiffany and I have not changed a single thing about it. These are definitely not healthy, but they are great for an occasional treat or a party. The shell crisps up into flaky perfection while the seasoned meat, melty cheese and salty olives wait inside. Worth every calorie. DSC02334Empanadas Makes 10 Ingredients DSC02321Canola oil- enough to fill a large deep pan about 1 inch deep (the oil should be about 1in to 1.5in deep in the pan)

1 lb ground beef

1 packet sazon

12 oz jar of sofrito

3/4 cup green olives- diced

1 (10 ct) package Goya Empanada shells

4-6 oz Extra sharp Cheddar Cheese – shredded DSC023251. Pour canola oil into fryer pan and heat over medium heat. 2. Cook ground beef in skillet until browned. Add Sazon, Sofrito and diced olives and stir until combined. 3. Lay out one shell. (Keep wax paper underneath). Generously scoop meat mixture onto one half of shell. Top with cheese. DSC023294. Fold shell in half and crimp edges with a fork to seal. I always flip it over and do the other side too. DSC023265. Repeat with remaining shells. Be sure to keep wax paper between the shells while they are waiting to be fried so they do not stick together. 6. Once oil is hot enough, Place empanadas in, being sure not to crowd them. The oil needs to move freely around each one. Cook until the shell begins to “bubble up” and then flip to cook the other side. This takes 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat until all empanadas are cooked. DSC02331 7. Let cool!!! The filling will be very hot if you do not give it time to cool. 8. Enjoy! DSC02338

 

Panko Crusted Dijon Salmon. April 29, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,Seafood — Jessica @ 4:42 pm
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You may have noticed that there was no meal plan post this week, sorry about that. It is actually written, but unedited in my drafts, but it seems kind of late now. I accidentally discovered the final season of Sons of Anarchy was on Hulu and Netflix on Sunday night and that is pretty much all I have done in my free time since then. We finished the season last night, so hopefully the rest of the week is more productive. It wasn’t a very exciting meal plan anyways. I am trying to use up some of the leftovers in our freezer.

So on to the recipe. One of my favorite blogs, Katheats.com, recently did a video featuring a Blue Apron meal she prepared. There wasn’t an actual recipe but the idea was simple enough, coat some salmon in dijon mustard, coat in panko bread crumbs and crisp it up in a skillet. I tried it out and we both really loved it. Tiff is not always a fan of salmon filets and she has already asked if I could make this again. Simple everyday ingredients come together to create something that I would be excited to order in a restaurant. It is kind of like a grown up version of a fish filet- but much healthier and tastier. I think this could most definitely convert one of those people who “don’t like salmon”.

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Panko Crusted Dijon Salmon

serves 4

Ingredients

4 salmon filets

Salt & Pepper to taste

4 TBLS Dijon Mustard

1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

3 TBLS Olive Oil

1. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Salt & Pepper both sides of salmon filets.

2. Put panko bread crumbs in shallow dish

3. Spread 1/2 TBLS of dijon mustard on one side of salmon, lay mustard side down in panko and press down.

4. Slater other side of filet with 1/2 TBLS dijon and flip over. Press into panko. Repeat with remaining 3 filets.

5. Add to pan with hot oil and cook 4-5 minutes per side, until crispy and salmon is cooked.

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6. Enjoy!

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Ricotta & Herb Stuffed Meatballs. March 24, 2015

Filed under: Dinner — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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This is one of those recipes I have been thinking about for a long time but never quite got around to making. Last weekend, when cleaning out the refrigerator on garbage night I noticed I had some fresh herbs and a tub of ricotta both nearing their expiration and decided it was time. The recipe takes a little while because you need to let the filling freeze for an hour or so but actual hands on time is minimal and totally worth it. I served these over “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) with sauce and fresh Parmesan and it was one of the best meals we have had in awhile. I made them on my prep cooking day and just added them to some sauce to reheat the night they were on the meal plan. I think they would freeze quite beautifully too.

DSC02264Ricotta & Herb Stuffed Meatballs

makes 16

Ingredients~

Filling-

8 oz ricotta cheese

1 tsp each fresh thyme, basil, parsley and oregano (if using dried decrease to 1/2 tsp)

3 cloves garlic- minced

Meat Mixture-

1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)

1/2 c Panko (gluten free for me)

Salt & Pepper

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1. Combine filling ingredients and drop by rounded 1/2 tsp onto foil lined plate. Make 16 “drops”. There will be extra filling. It works great as a cracker spread or a grilled sandwich with some fresh spinach and tomato.

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2. Place in freezer for 1 hr or until frozen.

3. Once ricotta is frozen, Preheat oven to 375°. Combine meat mixture ingredients and combine thoroughly.

4. Take 1 oz of meat and flatten it in hand like a mini burger.

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5. Place frozen ricotta ball in center and fold the meat around the ricotta. Roll between hands to smooth out.

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6. Place on foil lined baking sheet.

7. Repeat 15 times

8. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and cool  at least 10 minutes. Serve with sauce over pasta, zoodles or as a meatball sub! (or any other way you would like)

10. Enjoy!

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Pulled Pork & Black Bean Tacos. March 20, 2015

Filed under: Dinner,pork — Jessica @ 8:00 am
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I easily have over 100 cookbooks but my darling partner insists on using just one. It is a Men’s Health Nutrition Guide that happens to have some recipes in it. Most of the recipes we have tried from it have been quite good but it still seems ridiculous that it is the only cookbook she’ll even look at.  This is inspired by one of the recipes in there, although pretty much entirely different besides the pulled pork part. I don’t think I would have ever thought to use pulled pork in tacos on my own though. I am glad I did! The pork cooks up with little crispy bits and the combination of textures and flavors is pretty much perfect. I did not get a picture of the actual taco because I tried cramming too many toppings in and ended up with more of taco pile but I am sure you can imagine it. If pork is not your thing, I have a turkey and black bean taco recipe or a shrimp taco recipe you might be interested in.

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Pulled Pork & Black Bean Tacos

2 Tbls Olive Oil

2 cups pulled pork

1.5 cups (or 1 can) Black Beans

2 Limes (1 for juicing & 1 cut into wedges)

1 Tbls Cumin

1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika

Salt & Pepper

Taco Shells

Topping of Choice- cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa, avacado, red onion, salsa, greek yogurt/sour cream, black olives, banana peppers etc

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1. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add pulled pork and spread out over bottom of pan. Cook 4-5 minutes before stirring. You want it to get a little crispy. Add Cumin, Paprika, Salt, Pepper and Black Beans & juice of one lime and stir together. Cook 7-8 minutes until warm.

2. While Pork is cooking prepare shells as directed on box and cup up veggies for topping.

3. Fill taco shells with pork and squeeze a lime wedge over each. Add toppings as desired.

4. Enjoy!