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!
Even though it was warm here yesterday, it rained most of the day (poor trick-or-treaters) and rain definitely puts me in a soup mood. Specifically tomato soup with grilled cheese to dip into it. And even better when it’s a slow cooker recipe, filling your home with wonderful aromas to come home to at the end of the day. Granted you cannot eat it immediately as it requires an additional step at the end, but you won’t hear me complaining.
Despite the 70-degree weather, I made this soup earlier this week and have been enjoying it ever since. However I do wish I would start to feel like fall for more than 2 days. I was so excited to finally bust out my jackets and boots last weekend but they have been put on hold once again. It’s difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit when I am still wearing short sleeves and flats! Alas, I just have to continue preparing meals as if it were a brisk fall day outside.
P.S. Stayed tuned for Monday’s post to hear about the fat-kid-friendly grilled cheese I served with this soup!
One year ago: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Broccoli
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 .
Pizza for One – most commonly found in the frozen food section at your grocery store but now you can make it at home almost as fast! This pizza dough doesn’t require any rise time or yeast which means you can whip up this little guy in the same amount of time that it takes your oven to preheat. Single-Serving-Sunday-win!
I rolled my dough out thinner than 1/4-inch because I tend to like thin-crust pizzas, so mine ended up being about 6-inches in diameter and therefore used a bit more toppings. In you don’t roll yours out as thin you may not need as much toppings but have fun with it! Maybe even make yourself a single serving calzone?
One year ago: Buckeye Rice Krispies Treats
Choosing from the recipes this month proved to be just as difficult as usual for Pass the Cook Book Club. I almost made the Loaded Puff Pastry Sticky Buns but when push came to shove an entrée was more in demand than a breakfast pastry. I had already made ribs for a previous month so I went with the Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.
After Kita mentioned that she thought there was an uneven proportion of cheese to pasta, I decided to double the pasta instead of reducing the cheese. Because when is there ever too much mac and cheese? Also, the recipe originally called for cayenne pepper and sour cream but I did not have cayenne (apparently forgot to add it to my grocery list after finishing it off), so I used chipotle chile pepper and you all know how much I love substituting things like sour cream with Greek yogurt.
In the end, it was much better than the spicy mac and cheese I’ve made before but it wasn’t quite as creamy as some others. However, the flavors definitely outweighed the slightly less creamy nature. I especially enjoyed the textural addition of croutons on top. I will definitely reheat the leftovers in my toaster-oven to ensure those crunch-factors don’t get chewy!
One year ago: Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce
Mini meatloaves return! After discovering that I actually like meatloaf if prepared in a miniature form (and therefore less squishy), I wondered if it was only due to the texture of if it had something to do with the flavor variations I have tried. So this time I tried out a more classic flavor.
And the verdict? I gobbled these up too! After an entire life of shunning meatloaf, it’s as if a whole new world has been opened up. Sure enough it’s the size that matters.
What’s your favorite kind of meatloaf? I want to try other variations in mini form!
If you follow Steph’s Bite by Bite you know that she is hosting Fit-Ober and a 24 day AdvoCare challenge. Although I am not participating in those specific challenges, I did purchase the AdvoCare 10 day herbal cleanse after being lured in by the amazing results Steph has already been seeing. My day one belly looks similar to Steph’s (we’re the same weight too) so we shall see how it goes! Although I have to admit, reading the guidelines about eating 8 cups of veggies/fruit a day, at least 8 cups of water, only whole grains, little to no fat, and no processed sugar makes me wonder how much the cleanse is doing versus the healthy eating. I eat pretty healthy already but need to work on eating more veggies, less fat and no sugar (goodbye cookies fort 10 days = sadness). Either way, if I am a bit leaner in time for being a bridesmaid in Amber’s wedding this weekend I’ll be a happy camper.
Speaking of healthier eating, how about a veggie burger? When it comes to meatless burgers, black bean is typically the first kind people think of. Yet, for some reason I shied away from this version and tried every other kind first. I have no legitimate reason for this other than it simply did not appeal to me. But that all changed when this burger came into my life. It should come as no surprise that part of the reason this burger was so appealing to me was the addition of avocado slices on top. But I also liked that jalapeno and corn were mixed into the patty as well.
I made these burgers before the cleanse began, but to meet the guidelines given by AdvoCare I should have substituted the oil with broth, the bun for whole wheat (although I normally do), and the fries for veggies. Next time .
If you’ve ever shopped for bakeware or have spent any time in the kitchen you have probably heard of Baker’s Secret. Not only do many bakers depend on Baker’s Secret, all Baker’s Secret Essentials products have a premium non-stick coating, are durable & long lasting, are metal spatula safe, are dishwasher safe, and have a full lifetime warranty. What’s your favorite fall recipe using your Baker’s Secret products? Tell me about it in the comments section and then enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post!
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.
Olive oil is one of those things that I typically buy the generic store brand of. Mostly because it’s less expensive, and also because I generally cannot tell the difference unless using in a recipe where it is the main attraction. So when I received a bottle of Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to try out, I made sure to pick out recipes where I would be able to taste the difference.
The first thing I decided to make with my bottle of Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil was herb infused olive oil. I got excited thinking about what I would cook with the infused oil once it was prepared, but to my disappointment it grew mold in the air-tight container stored in the refrigerator! Next time I’ll use a different method that doesn’t require leaving the herbs in the bottle. Thankfully I still had half a bottle remaining to try something else in the meantime.
After my failure to make infused olive oil, I decided to prepare something a little safer – homemade pesto. My basil plant had been growing out of control and it seemed fortuitous. This olive oil made me fall in love with my homemade pesto all over again. Pesto is definitely one of those things where the quality of the olive oil matters.
With the remaining small amount of olive oil, I decided to make crispy gnocchi by pan-frying cooked gnocchi in olive oil. This results in what you would expect – gnocchi with a crispy exterior. Served along with the Lighter Chicken Parmesan I shared yesterday, this meal was a hit!
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