Posts Tagged ‘balsamic vinegar’
I don’t cook side dishes very often because when cooking for one it is hard enough to eat all the leftover entree let alone a side dish too. But every now and then I find a special side dish that ends up being more of an entree, as it steals the show of the meal. This farro salad is one such recipe. I served it with a small chicken breast that had only been seasoned with salt and pepper because I did not want to distract my taste buds away from the farro. The sweet cranberries and tangy goat cheese are joined together with the balsamic dressing and earthy herbs for a comforting effect. I could definitely see this being a great side dish for thanksgiving.
Never had or heard of farro? This was actually my first experience with farro. Texturally it reminded me of wheat berries and cooks like rice.
Meanwhile, several of my friends are on their way to Memphis at this very moment for a belated Ph.D. celebration. And yes all 5 are staying with me in my 1 bedroom 800 square foot apartment. It’s going to be one big weekend-long slumber party and I am so excited! Most of them have not been here in over 4 years so I have a lot more to show them now that I’ve become more acquainted with this city. Just in time for me to move and leave right?
One year ago: Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes
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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
A couple days ago I sent out a meeting request to my graduate committee in order to schedule my dissertation defense. Commence total freak out/panic attack. 4 of the 5 have responded thus far and it looks like it may be either Sept 23 or 24th, assuming the 5th person has no conflicts those days. It’s a little over 2 months away but just thinking about it gets my heart racing in nervous anticipation. I feel as though I have so much to do still! You may not notice by looking at me but inside I am screaming. Once I know the date for sure I’ll be in desperate need of food blogging friend-guest posts the week or two beforehand. Until then I’ll do my best not to neglect the spiffyness.
After what I just shared, you’d think that I would be posting a crazy comfort food dish today for Single Serving Sunday. It almost happened and I am sure it will in the future but for now I chose an easy recipe that took less time and ingredients to prepare. You simply bake a chicken breast with fresh peach slices and then top with a balsamic reduction. The peaches help keep the chicken moist and the balsamic seals the deal.
I am currently battling some sort of cold. I call in sick to work but yesterday was one of those days. I’ve slept over 12 hours the past two days and I’m still not feeling any better today. However, being sick is kind of boring, especially without the internet, so I actually did run into work quick to get some things to work on at home (and to post this).
Sometimes I don’t read ingredient lists properly. I either screw up writing down the correct amount needed or the ingredient itself. Take this recipe for example: I bought orzo instead of arborio rice. So viola I made orzo intead of risotto, and it still tasted great. The fried sage and balsamic drizzle are must haves for this dish. Never thought that fried sage would be so wonderful. They turn into crispy little flavor wonders.
After the Secret Recipe Club took a break in December I was excited to get back into it this month! To start out the new year, I was assigned to Life on Food and I really wanted to make the Garlic Lover’s Pizza, but since it was made from another SRC member I decided to pick something that hasn’t been featured on a SRC reveal day yet.
Brussels are in season so I knew I had to make this recipe once I saw it. Side dishes are not things I regularly think about past heating up some frozen vegetables, so it was quite a treat to have these instead. I could have eaten an entire plate of these Brussels as the main course.
In case you were wondering about that chicken in the background, it’s Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken made with Meyer lemons.
Tonight marks the end college football until fall. The BCS National Championship Game is my version of the Superbowl, since I don’t have a pro team that I am completely faithful to (I tend to lean towards the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys). Although both are great reasons to bust out a lot of great food, which I definitely am faithful to.
Unfortunately, my Ohio State Buckeyes were ineligible for any BCS bowl game this year. If this were not the case, the 12-0 season would’ve lined up Ohio State to battle for the title against Notre Dame instead of Alabama. Boo hiss. Hopefully they will continue to play well next season when the ban is lifted. Until then… down with the SEC tyranny!
For those of you looking for a less glutinous choice while watching football tonight, try these quesadillas. The whole wheat tortillas are packed with chicken, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado and mozzarella cheese. Then dip to your hearts content into the honey-balsamic sauce and be prepared to not want to share.
Exploring alternative pizza toppings is fun. Sometimes the toppings become so creative that the essence of pizza only remains in the crust upon which it all sits. This is one of those times, but you know what? I am perfectly okay with a completely unconventional pizza, especially after the revelation of kale and balsamic vinegar together. There’s just something about crispy kale and sweet & tangy balsamic that just get me.
Even went ahead and served it with a drizzle of balsamic reduction leftover from making a Caprese Pizza at the same time. Is there such a thing as too much balsamic? Of course, one cannot forget the presence of the seasonally appropriate sweet potato on this pizza. (I promise I have not forgotten about you, pumpkin.)
It’s official. Not only am I broke (after paying fees for grad school, car repairs, and new contacts), but I am also low on time. In a little over a week I will be packing up and moving to Knoxville for a month to work with a collaborating lab to do mouse studies for my research.The list of things I need to get done before then is ridiculous. And I don’t think the stress is allowing me to sleep properly at night still because I wake up exhausted even after 8 hours. So what does that mean for you? Hopefully nothing other than hearing me complain or freak out from time to time. I don’t plan on letting my blog suffer but just in case I don’t post one day, blame my stress.
Continuing on with quick dinners for my life-style as of late, enter this caprese-style chicken. This recipe is very similar to the Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto but instead of pesto you use fresh basil leaves and then add a tomato. Maybe next time I’ll mesh the two recipes together and use Mozzarella, pesto AND tomato – watch out for me I’m a risk taker (note sarcasm).
Speaking of fresh basil, I have started growing my own in pots on my porch! They are cute little things at the moment, but I still have to resist the urge to pluck off their tiny leaves to eat. Which reminds me I need to take those with me when I leave…
The House of Mews Bake Sale is now complete = $890!
What a great turn out! To see who won each item refer to the original bake sale post. And if you happen to be one of the lucky winners, please check your e-mail box as I have already e-mailed all of the winners to request addresses and give payment details. You have 24 hours to provide this information, otherwise that goodie will go to the next highest bidder. As soon as I have all the information necessary, I will pass it along for the shipment of your winnings.
Thanks so much to the exciting bidders, the food bloggers who donated the baked goods! Because of you tons of furry kitty bellies will be very happy. And also thanks to HelloGiggles.com for their kitten cam and The House of Mews for being a superb organization!
Additionally, a few people have asked if there is a way to directly donate without bidding (since the bake sale is now over). And yes you certainly can! To donate, please refer to The House of Mews donation page where you will find their Paypal link.
Since finally discovering that I liked them, every brussels sprouts recipe I see, I want to try. So when deciding on the vegetable side dish to go along with ham this past Sunday, I decided that nothing goes better with ham than bacon… and brussels sprouts!
Oh and these brussels sprouts arn’t just mixed up with bacon, but I also went ahead and caramelized them in the bacon grease as well instead of dumping it out and using olive oil. It seemed like such a shame to waste.
One year ago: Garlic Rolls
CARAMELIZED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON, BALSAMIC & BROWN SUGAR
Makes 4-6 side servings
1 lb brussels sprouts
4 slices bacon
2 Tbsp brown sugar, not packed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
- Cut off the bottom of each sprout, then slice in half vertically. Rinse.
- Dice bacon. Saute bacon in large skillet over medium heat until just crisp. Remove bacon, and keep remaining oil heated.
- Place sprouts in skillet, cut sides down. Sprinkle with sugar. Saute over medium low heat for about 3 minutes or until bottoms start to caramelize and tops start turning bright green.
- Pour vinegar over sprouts and shake pan to distribute. Cook for 30 seconds. Turn all sprouts over and cook for another minute.
- Add reserved bacon to sprouts. Toss and cook for 30 seconds. Salt to taste if necessary. Serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Miss Make.
Yesterday morning I ventured to the DMV exactly when they opened, and sure enough there was already a line of 30-some people. It took me an hour and a half to get out of there but for the DMV that’s like speed dating. Afterwards, I was very tempted to play hookey because it was a gorgeously sunny mid-70 degree day. Somehow I managed to drive into lab anyway, only to convince the rest of my lab members to go somewhere we could sit outside for lunch. It felt good to check the DMV off my to-do list and then unwind outside for a bit. Don’t you wish you could pause life sometimes?
Unfortunately this story has zero to do with the chicken dish I am sharing with you today, I just felt the need to share.
Planning meals ahead of time is not a skill I have mastered. Which is why I was so excited to discover that not only does this chicken only have to marinate for an hour, but it actually cannot be marinated longer/overnight because the balsamic vinegar will start to break down the chicken. Perfect for the poor-planner like me! And to make things even better, with the addition of two other simple ingredients you end up with a pretty fancy looking plate of chicken. Fast, easy, flavorful AND pretty – I love it all.
Also, the brussels sprouts couscous posted yesterday was a perfect match for this chicken.
One year ago: Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas
GRILLED BALSAMIC CHICKEN WITH MOZZARELLA AND PESTO
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 large ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into four thick slices
Pesto (homemade or store-bought)
- Place chicken and one cup of balsamic vinegar in a large plastic bag. Seal bag tightly and place in fridge to marinate for one hour. (Don’t marinate this recipe overnight because over a long period of time, the acid in the vinegar may break down the chicken breast, forming a mushy texture.)
- Place the other cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove and bring to simmer. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, until vinegar has reduced and is thick like syrup. Take off stove and let cool while you cook the chicken breasts.
- After chicken breasts have finished marinating, preheat grill (or prepare grill pan on the stove). Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about eight minutes per side. Remove chicken and place on a plate.
- Turn broiler on high and place one slice of mozzarella on each chicken breast. Place chicken breasts on a foil-covered sheet tray and broil for three-four minutes until cheese melts.
- Top each chicken breast with a dollop of pesto and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.