It’s official, my cold-resistant Northern-raised skin has grown weak and I am already tired of temperature below 40. It doesn’t help that our office at lab is below 70 every day. I actually put my gloves on (winter gloves, not lab gloves) to work at my desk yesterday. Yet on the other end of the spectrum I still cannot handle high humidity and heat, resulting in a narrower range of tolerable temperatures. Southern California weather is looking mighty appealing.
If the temperatures refuse to keep me warm, them I will just warm myself up from the inside with yummy food. Stephanie and I recently cooked two meals together so that we could have two different kinds of leftovers to eat for lunches or dinners. She made a meatballs with a great pork sausage marinara sauce and I made stuffed shells. Remember the Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls? These stuffed shells reminded me of those lasagna rolls stuffed into a different pasta shape, being just as flavorful and comforting.
One year ago: Sugar Cookie Spoons for Hot Cocoa
The other day I was looking through my disseration to double-check on some information and I found a silly typo. There is a “he” where it should have been “the”. Oh well too late now, it was sent off for printing two weeks ago! I have a feeling I will find more than just one minor typo in there as time progresses. It’s difficult to find every little thing when you are staring at 187 pages of glorious information. Blinded by the light!
While we are on the subject of errors, I specifically bought scallions to garnish this dish and totally forgot. Apparently I was so hungry while taking photos that I didn’t stop to notice or care because all I wanted to to was devour it! With its beautiful colors, creaminess and crunchy topping staring at me, you could hardly blame me. There was also plenty of kick. Mild-taste buds beware: you may way to omit the chipotle and use a mild salsa.
One year ago: Applesauce-Sweet Potato Pancakes
Two years ago: Crème Brulee
Whenever I go to a Mexican restaurant, I tend to gravitate towards certain items every time. One particular thing I enjoy ordering is a cheesy spinach and chicken dish (usually called Pollo Adobe). Inspired by a craving I decided to make single serving enchiladas stuffed with a similar blend of ingredients.
I made them slightly healthier by using whole wheat tortillas and Laughing cow cheese instead of queso and they hit the spot. I actually wish I had made a full-sized batch to have leftovers to enjoy, but thankfully it’s easy enough to make for the next time the craving strikes!
Like many food bloggers, before I started my own I followed and cooked from many food blogs. But of course none of them were documented other than a printed copy of the recipe with my changes or thoughts written around the margins. While digging through said stack of printed recipes (before I discovered the glory of saving recipes as PDFs), I rediscovered this recipe for sweet and sour chicken.
Growing up, sweet and sour chicken was my absolute favorite Chinese option. Probably because it had pineapple and no icky vegetables – oh how much my tastes have changed! Later down the road, when I found this recipe it had been quite a while since I had had a plate of my childhood favorite. Both then and the most recent time I’ve cooked it I really enjoy that it does not require a vat of hot oil to fry the chicken. You do first fry it in a little canola oil but then let the oven to the rest. The sauce caramelizes a bit over the chicken giving you a tender center and a slightly crispy exterior – just the way it should be.
Need further validation? Qing asked me where I got it from when I brought the leftovers in for lunch. She couldn’t believe I made it and after letting her try it she said it tasted authentic too!
Also some fun news. Yesterday my dissertation finally cleared all it’s checks and was approved for publishing. Additionally I’ve completed all my Ph.D. requirements (aka paperwork) and have been approved for graduation! Not that I didn’t think it would happen but what a relief that it’s all done. Now all I have to do is clean up a couple new experiments to appease the reviewers of my research paper submission to be published (oh and find that thing called a J-O-B). Don’t worry I’ll let you know when I’m pubmed-able .
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With the holidays fast approaching, Baker’s Secret gave me an early holiday present of two of products in order to create two different festive recipes to share with you. I received their 9-inch pie pan and 12-cup muffin pan. Today I am sharing a savory recipe using the pie pan because your pie pan has more utility than just making sweet, delicious pies. How about POTpie? But not just any potpie, a potpie with sweet potato and a lattice crust!
This potpie recipe had been my go-to for many years. The original recipe used canned condensed potato soup, but I like to use cream cheese instead and add in my own potato. This time I decided to use sweet potato (which I peeled and cooked in the microwave for 4 minuets) and some extra seasonings to make it even more fall-appropriate. As for the crust, don’t let the lattice top intimidate you. I simply used a can of crescent dough, sealed the seams and cut into strips. Easy peasy and looks great with the addition of an egg-white wash.
When people find out how much I pay for my gym membership at Life Time Fitness, they gawk. To make it worse, my fee is going up an additional $2 starting November 1st (totaling $64/month). Yes I know it’s expensive, that my apartment has a basic gym, that I have workout DVDs at home, and that I could have internet or cable at home instead of paying for a gym membership – but I think it’s worth it.
I go to at least 3-4 group fitness classes a week which obviously my apartment gym does not have, it’s open 24/7, never has a wait for cardio or weight equipment, has a fantastic cafe which is surprisingly inexpensive, and it just makes me happy which is obviously important (not to mention the water slides!!).
Sure I could have internet at home, but after working out, showering, cooking dinner, and doing whatever else I need to do, I don’t have much time to even notice I don’t have internet. Even less for cable. And I’m not even going to get into my lacking desire for a smart phone - at least not today.
Besides, I have to work off all the food I cook for this blog somehow!
P.S. I served this with easy garlic knots and crispy gnocchi (coming tomorrow).
One year ago: Chicken Gnocchi Soup
The whole finishing one’s PhD is quite anticlimactic. Especially when you still have to go through the month-long formatting review process, complete a couple more experiments per reviewers requests for a paper, fill out scads of paperwork which includes acquiring several signatures from departments around campus (some of which cannot be completed until I am ready to turn in my badge and keys), and don’t have a job lined up yet. So guess what have I been doing post-defense? Don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been celebrations but I don’t feel relieved just yet.
That being said, enjoy this easy, single-serving recipe for orange chicken with a lot of asparagus! Don’t like asparagus? Swap out with snow peas, green beans or broccoli. And as usual, you could also use your multiplication tables to prepare this for multiple people.
One year ago: Buckeye Monkey Bread Muffins
Surprise surprise it’s me posting today! You thought I was going to drop off the face of the blogging-planet post-defense didn’t you? I am taking a couple days off to spend with my family that came into town, but I am back to my regularly scheduled posts. Just make sure to call me Dr. Erin, mmk? Gotta start putting this PhD to work, and hopefully get a job in the process.
A serious amount of gratitude goes out to all the awesome guest bloggers who helped me out during a very intense time of my life, and I hope everyone enjoyed their visits. I also hope you appreciate simple yet delicious meals because that’s what I’ve got for you today. My defense may be over, but the work is not! If for some strange reason you feel like making a meal that takes longer to prepare, feel free to browse my recipe index. But otherwise, continue on for a creamy, healthy, and easy chicken recipe.
This chicken is cooked in a cast iron skillet and then topped with a Greek yogurt sauce that is perfect paired with your favorite side of veggies or pasta. I served mine with roasted balsamic tomatoes and asparagus from Prevention RD’s cookbook which I shared recently. A couple of you wanted to know the recipe for the chicken I mentioned in that post, and here it is to please your belly. Picture was taken in haste pre-defense so cut me a break on that one, I was stressed and hungry.
After drooling over Devon’s guest post on Wednesday, I decided to dig out her balsamic chicken recipe I made and the pictures that I’ve been sitting on since July. Hectic times result is forgotten recipes evidently. Luckily these forgotten gems come in handy now that I have less time and motivation to cook. I barely even have time to work out most days, which combined with my constant urge to survive on boxed mac and cheese is a terrible thing for my health. Especially since I would eat the entire box in one sitting. Thankfully, I still mange to fight that urge most days but I fear my self control won’t be able to hold out for the remaining 2.5 weeks. I will have to remind myself that recipes such as this one are just as easy to prepare!
One year ago: Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Did you really think I was going to forget to post on Single Serving Sunday? Actually, I am quite surprised I managed to pull together a recipe to post today. My time management skills must be ridiculously awesome this week despite the mayhem. So today while I am off enjoying Shiva’s post-wedding brunch, followed by a long haul back to Memphis, enjoy this taco stack!
One year ago: Buckeye “Cheese Ball”