Monday, September 30, 2013

Egg White Frittata

Clean eating is going great so far and I have been super busy already this morning trying to prep everything for this week.  I decided to make something for Jack so that he would have something to eat for breakfast.

I have made these egg muffins before, so I decided to make them this morning for jack, but the clean version. NO CHEESE! I have made 1 batch which made 6 muffins. 2 muffins/day for Jack.

You can really put anything you want in these, but since Jack isn't as adventurous as I am with food, I kept his simple. Bacon and Spinach with Egg Whites. Now if I was making this for myself, I would've thrown in pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. I love crazy amounts of veggies in my eggs. I feel like I'm just being that much healthier.

Well, the frittatas were a success and he has something to eat for breakfast through Thursday.

 


 




First what I did was browned the bacon and set it aside. You want to bacon to be semi-cooled so that it doesn't begin to cook the eggs when you throw it in the egg mixture.

 
Roughly Chop 1/4 cup spinach.
 
 
Add Bacon and Spinach to Egg whites and divide among muffin cups.
 

 
Bake for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees until egg has set
 
This is a great breakfast to prepare for the week ahead of time so you don't have to cook every morning. Just refrigerate and warm in microwave for 1 minute. Easy breakfast when you're on the go.

 
Ingredients:
12 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup spinach, chopped
3 slices bacon, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease muffin pan.

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside on a plate lined with napkin to catch oil drippings from bacon.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs until beaten, but not frothy.  Add bacon and spinach to eggs, salt and pepper, and combine.

Divide egg mixture evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 35-45 minutes until egg has set. Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before diving in. Enjoy!

Variations: Try adding cheese, pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms, or chives to this recipe to spice it up bit. Trust me, its amazing!

Clean Eating - Some Staples

Jack started this Biggest Loser Challenge  with his family and the poor guy has been  tempted by sweets because of all these yummy muffins I've been baking lately.

We do our grocery shopping Sundays, so it's our time to get back on the bandwagon. Clean eating is what we need to be doing. It's so easy to get off track sometimes, but once you tell yourself it's ok to be bad a few times, you fall deeper and deeper off the eating healthy path.

We don't think of eating clean as a diet, it's more of a living and eating healthier lifestyle. 

As I was shopping, I looked in my cart and $300 later for the next two weeks of food. My cart is filled with mostly fruit and veggies and meats. Keep in mind I do still have some carbs like brown rice, potatoes and quinoa, but for the most part, it's the fruit and veggies.

Part of the clean eating will also consist of doing some paleo meals. Even for the kids I'm going to try making some paleo pancakes! 

So as far as shopping when you're planning for 2 weeks of clean eating, I like to plan the menu for the next two weeks, for dinner at least. For breakfast i usually do egg white omelets and lunch I usually do leftovers, or morning star burgers with roasted veggies. 

There are a few staples I always get for shopping though for clean eating. Staples that the entire family loves. Here are a few I usually always have on hand.

-spinach- big bags of spinach. There's so much you can do with spinach. Salads. Sautéed. In a casserole. Omelets. In smoothies.
-spaghetti squash- not only is this great for you, but you can use this as a substitute instead of using noodles
-butternut squash- roast this veggie in some coconut oil and fresh thyme. Perfect side to go with dinner.
-romaine lettuce- change it up. Don't just eat a plain salad, cut romaine in half and grill it on one side for 2 minutes. The grill creates an amazing taste on this lettuce.
-tomatoes- great in salads, dinner meals to create a light healthy sauce and a healthy snack.
-carrots- carrots are great snack, side and in smoothies. It's a universal veggie. Who can pass this one up!

Those are just a few of the many staples I have for clean eating.

Here's a look at what our refrigerator looks like for a 2 week shopping trip. As you can see its loaded with veggies and fruit. I ran out of room in my veggie drawer and had to take up a shelf.


don't know about you fellow moms out there, but I have one child who eats everything and one who refuses to eat veggies except for peas and corn. I had to get creative with his food in order for him to get his daily veggies. Fruit and Veggie smoothies! Kids will love them! Just try it! Stay tuned cause ill be making them today for my kids. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bacon Peanut Butter Banana Browned Butter Muffins

About a week ago I made Jack The Elvis Presley Sandwich and it got me to thinking a different dish with these ingredients.

Bacon. Peanut Butter. Banana.

The other day I made muffins with browned butter and decided to alter the muffin recipe and add The Elvis Presley ingredients to the muffins and alter recipe a bit.

I decided on mini muffins because I wanted to share these with friends and family to try one of my new concoctions. 

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
5 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, melted and browned
6 slices cooked bacon, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

To brown butter, Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that.  Keep a close eye.  Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, combine bananas, eggs, peanut butter and sugar over medium speed until smooth. Slowly add browned butter and beat until batter is well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture 1/4 cup at a time on low speed.  Fold in bacon.

For mini muffins, measure 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup.

For regular muffins, measure 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Lobster Benedict

A friend of Jack & mine posted a picture of Crab Benedict from a restaurant a couple of days ago and that got me to thinking about making a yummy Benedict breakfast. 

I have never made the perfect hollandaise, but I knew Julia Child wouldn't steer me wrong, so I attempted to make her recipe. I was right! It was that perfect rich, buttery, creamy goodness. I don't know why I hadn't tried her recipe sooner.

I've tried several times to make hollandaise and failed every time, but this morning, every bit of the hollandaise was just perfect. I couldn't believe it! I DID IT! I made homemade hollandaise! 

For the rest of the Benedict, I decided to use lobster rather than crab cause lets face it, lobster is so richer than crab and would go perfect with that richness of the hollandaise. 

As my husband took a bite, he said, "Oh my God that's good!" I then asked if he liked this better than the regular eggs Benedict and of course he did. 

I hope you all try this one!

for the hollandaise sauce:

from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

makes about 1-1/2 cups sauce

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided

3 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon cold water

1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra to taste 

kosher salt

ground white pepper

Cut 6 ounces of butter into pieces and melt in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside.

In a medium-weight saucepan, beat the egg yolks for about 1 minute, or until they become thick and sticky.

Add the water, lemon juice, and a large pinch of salt, and beat for half a minute more.

Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter, but do not beat it in. Place the saucepan over very low heat and stir the egg yolks with a whisk until they slowly thicken into a smooth cream. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. If they seem to be thickening too quickly, immediately plunge the bottom of the pan in cold water, beating the yolks to cool them. Then continue beating over heat. The egg yolks have thickened enough when you can begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes, and the mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whisk.

Immediately remove from heat and beat in the remaining tablespoon of cold butter, which will cool the egg yolks and stop their cooking.

While beating the egg yolks with a whisk, slowly add the melted butter, a few drops at a time, until the sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then add the butter a little more rapidly and continue beating. Omit the milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan.

Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve warm.

To keep the sauce warm before serving, place in a pan of lukewarm water.

for the eggs benedict: 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

kosher salt 

2 english muffins, split in half (I didn't have English muffins, so I used sourdough bread slices I had on hand)

4 large eggs 

a few drops of white vinegar 

8 ounce lobster tail, chopped

hollandaise sauce 

chives (for garnish) 

In a shallow sauce pan, warm lobster in butter over low heat. 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes.

Fill a wide, shallow saucepan with 2 inches of water. Add a few drops of vinegar to the water. Bring the water to a simmer. Crack one egg into a bowl. When the water is simmering, hold the bowl closely over the water and let it fall in. Immediately and gently push the white over the yolk with a spoon. Maintain the water at the barest simmer and proceed with the other eggs in the same manner.

After 3 minutes, remove the first egg with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. The white should be set, the yolk still soft to the touch. Remove the rest of the eggs as they are done.

Place 2 muffin halves on each plate. Divide the crab among the muffins.  Place one egg on each muffin. Top each egg with a generous amount of hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

 

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I've been cooking all these sweets lately and they're not exactly healthy, so I wanted to try some creative healthy sweets, or healthier I should say.

Jack and the kids ate the loaf of peanut butter banana bread in a day, so I wanted to create a healthier version. 

My little helper Nicholas was right there with me helping me prepare these muffins. 

I decided to make a pan of mini muffins and a pan of regular sized muffins.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup of old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used natural)

3 medium overripe bananas

1 large egg

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used coconut milk)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.

In another large bowl, smash the bananas and beat in the peanut butter and egg till well combined. Then add brown sugar, and milk. Stir until blended.

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and stir. Batter will be a little thin and a little lumpy.

Fill prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.



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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

Woke up this morning wanting to bake something. I needed some inspiration, so as I flipped through my Joy The Baker cookbook, I came across her brown butter blueberry muffins.  They looked so good I wanted to bake these with my little sous chef.  

I looked in the fridge to take out 2 sticks of butter and RATS!!!! I only had 1 stick left! I guess I didn't realize how much I've been going through butter with all this baking I've been doing. 

I sat their contemplating whether or not to load the kids up and head to the store to get more butter. I fed them their breakfast first so that they would hopefully be content in the store. 

Luckily they're both in good moods this am, so I decided to venture out. Those of you who have young kids, you know it's not always easy shopping with two toddlers.

Going to the store was a success. I love that Bel Air walks you to your car and unloads your groceries. It makes things easier with the kids.

I got everything I needed for muffins. I ended up getting an extra package of blueberries because I knew Nicholas would want to eat some. After washing, I gave him a package of blueberries and he gobbled them up. This kid loves his berries!

I went on to prepare these amazing looking muffins. I decided to get to baking. Joy the Baker has never let me down before so I just knew these muffins would be a success.

Ingredients:

makes 12 glorious muffins

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

For the Topping

3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter.  Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan.  The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that.  Keep a close eye.  Remove from heat.

Whisk milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.  Add the brown butter and stir to combine.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl  Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Growing up I remember cooking with my mom in the kitchen. My favorite was always making sugar cookies because I got to decorate them.

I'm so happy Nicholas (2) is so into helping me cook in the kitchen. 

I've been cooking so much lately, my egg supply is dwindling down. 

This morning when I was getting breakfast ready for my kiddos, I looked at the ripe bananas on the counter and realized I needed to do something with them before they became too ripe. 

Jack loves peanut butter & banana sandwiches, so I figured why not make some peanut butter banana bread. 

I was on a mission! My little sous chef, Nicholas was standing on a chair right next to me with a look of excitement on his face. This kid loves to cook just as much as mommy does.

Our peanut butter banana bread came out great!!!

Ingredients:
3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add in the sour cream, peanut butter,  and melted butter. Once it's all combined add in the eggs and sugar.

In a separate bowl stir together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients stirring just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for a bit before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Slice and serve. 


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Easy Peanut Butter Rice Crispy treats

This was the easiest type of rice crispy treats I have ever made, not that rice crispy treats are hard to make. 

I didn't have marshmallows on hand, so I had to get a little creative.

Jack and the kids devoured these.

Ingredients:
3 cups rice crispy cereal
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey

Directions:
In a large bowl, measure out your cereal.  Set aside.  Next, in a small saucepan, melt together the peanut butter and honey over medium heat.  Once melted, pour over your cereal and mix until everything is coated and there are no dry spots.  Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper.  Pour your peanut butter and rice crispy mixture into the pan and press down firmly until flat.  Place pan in refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting and serving your Rice Crispy Treats.  Store any extra bars in refrigerator.


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Tri-Tip dinner with Squash, Potatoes & Spinach

Today I have been feeling a little under the weather, so I wanted to keep it pretty simple for dinner so that I wouldn't be on my feet for a long period of time.

The Tri-Tip I threw in the marinade around 9am this morning and began cooking it around 5pm so that dinner would be ready when Jack walked through the door from work.

For the fixin's to go with the meat, I decided to roast some potatoes and butternut squash in the oven and sautéed a blend of spinach, Swiss chard, and bok choy with garlic.

It was a great healthy meal. Brooklyn (1) had two helpings of dinner. She loved it! Nicholas (2), my picky eater ate his dinner, after I put ketchup on plate to dip his potatoes in.

All in all, dinner was a huge success and Jack and the kids loved it!

Ingredients:
3-4lbs tri-tip
1 (12oz) bottle beer (I used corona)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cayenne
2 limes, cut into wedges
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup spinach
1 cup red swiss chard leaves
1 cup bok choy leaves
2 garlic cloves minced
4 tbs butter, divided

Directions:

For meat:Combine beer, onions, limes, pepper and salt in a plastic bag. Add tri-tip to marinade and marinate 4 hours to overnight. 
Drain marinade, reserving onions and meat. Over high heat, brown meat 4-5 minutes on each side. Place meat on a roasting pan and bake in a 350 for 15-20  minutes for medium. 
With reserved onions, in a small skillet, sauté in 2 tbs butter over medium-low until onions have softened and browned to a caramel color.

For potatoes & squash:
Combine potatoes, squash, oil, & thyme. Place on a large baking sheet, season with a dash of salt and pepper. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway. Potatoes and squash should be fork tender.

For vegetables:
In a deep skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add spinach, chard, and bok choy. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


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Healthy Fruit & Nut Pancakes

As a stay at home mom, I need to change it up with breakfast for my kids. Mine love these pancakes, and they're healthy too! You can't beat that. 

I don't even need to put syrup on them. That's how good these pancakes are. 

This morning, Nicholas(2), wanted to help mommy makes these yummy breakfast pancakes, and what a great helper he was. Of course he kept trying to eat the batter, but he was a good listener when I explained to him we cannot eat it because of the raw eggs. 

Typically I use almond or coconut flour, however I was all out, so decided to use whole wheat. They still came out great. 

Healthy Fruit and Nut Pancakes

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 banana
1 egg
1 1/2 cups coconut or almond milk
1 tsp maple extract
1 cup berries

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, nuts, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine banana, egg and milk with an electric mixer for 1 minute to combine.  Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in berries and maple extract. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat, or melt butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Make pancakes using 1/3 c. batter each.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the batter is bubbling on the top of the pancake and the bottom is golden brown, then flip and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side. Repeat until batter is gone.

Place any extra cooked pancakes in plastic bags and refrigerate or freezer to store.


These are great for the kids and I do the maple extract so the pancakes have that maple flavor and don't need syrup covering them. 

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Succulent Seared Scallops

I think scallops are one of the hardest things to cook. My mom and I have tried cooking scallops several different ways and we could never nail them spot on.

One day the kids and I were visiting my grandma and she just happened to be cooking scallops. The sear she had on the scallops was perfect. I had to try one.

I took a bite of a scallop and it seemed to just melt in my mouth. This was definitely a restaurant quality scallop. I then of course ate about 3 more of them. They were so delicious!

For those of you who cook scallops, or even those who don't, temperature is everything. If your temp is too low, it's not going to get that good sear and you will most likely end up over cooking them. So just remember one thing..... High Heat!

Ingredients:
8 sea scallops
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Prepare the scallops by removing the side muscle, if necessary. Rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Sear scallops for about 1 1/2 minutes per side, until a brown crust forms.
 
That's it! Sounds simple right! After years of trial and error, I finally got it right. They turned out delicious!

I served mine with brown rice and yellow squash sautéed with garlic and butter.


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Korean Style Quinoa

The first time I made Korean style meat was with ground beef and it was delicious. I wanted to try a vegetarian version of this and I liked it even better. 

I decided to make this for lunch one day and both kids and I loved this creation. The perfect balance of spice and sweet.

This is a very simple, fast meal to cook. You can even cook the night before and you'll have something for lunch the next few days. 

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1 8oz pkg firm tofu, cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, minced.
5 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced

Directions:
Cook quinoa in a pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions.

While quinoa is cooking, add heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown tofu with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. when tofu has browned, remove from pan. Sauté peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. 

Mix with cooked quinoa and top with green onions.




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Soft Pretzels

So today I got to spend part of my day baking with my mom. Last night I received a text from her asking if I wanted to come over and make pretzels.... Um YEAH!!! 

I could already taste the pretzels and began craving some homemade pretzels.

This was such a fun cooking experience and bonding time with my mom and kiddos. We of course took shifts rolling out the pretzels and chasing kids around the house.

I love these fun bonding moments with my momma. They came out great! 

Ingredients:
1 pkg of yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 -1/2 cups of like warm water (105-110 degrees)
3-4 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 egg

Mix water, yeast and sugar in glass dish. Let sit till foamy (5 min). If mixture does not foam throw away and start over. 
Mix three and a half cups of flour and salt in bowl. I put in my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, add yeast mixture and mix with dough hook on medium until mixture turns into a dough 
Turn dough onto working surface and dust with enough of the remaining flour to form a sticky dough. Form dough into a ball and return back to bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until dough doubles. About 45-60 minutes.

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into a 15-20 inch rope, shape like a pretzel and place on a baking sheet.



Let pretzels sit for ten minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375 and get a big pot of water boiling. Pick up pretzels with fingers and gently place in boiling water, turn after a 1 1/2 minutes and cook for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.


Place pretzel on cookie rack to cool. 


Place pretzels on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on cookie rack.



If you want cinnamon sugar pretzels skip sprinkling with salt and bake. When done baking brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture while still hot. Remove to cookie rack to cool

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The Elvis Presley

A couple of days ago, Jack shared with me a combination of his 3 favorite things... Bacon. Bananas. Peanut Butter. This sandwich was Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich.

I of course wanted to jump at this new breakfast meal for him. I will probably stick to my egg white omelet this morning, but as I've said before, what my hubby wants, my hubby gets.

This will be my first attempt at this meal. Fingers crossed it will be a success.

Ingredients:
6 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 banana, sliced
2 tbs. creamy Peanut butter

Directions:
To make a bacon weave, interlace the strips of bacon as you would a lattice top for a pie. 



Bake the weaves in a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes, flipping halfway to cook bacon evenly on both sides.

When bacon is fully cooked on both sides, remove from oven and place on a plate covered with a napkin  to catch all those fat drippings and cover top of bacon with an additional napkin


After bacon has cooled, spread peanut butter on both sides, add sliced banana to one side of sandwich and assemble sandwich.





I made this sandwich for jack and I had to at least take a bite. All I can say is OMG! AMAZING!!!!! It has the perfect combination of salty and sweet. A must try in the kitchen if you haven't. Elvis sure did know a good sandwich! The King was spot on with this one.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Margarita Marinated Chicken

I was debating on what to cook for dinner tonight. Chicken, Steak, Fish. There are so many different things you can do with these ingredients. I decided to go with chicken. We just happened to have some chicken thighs in the fridge and Jack and I love how tender chicken thighs are compared to breasts.

I don't want to knock eating chicken breast though. We typically eat chicken breasts, but it's nice to change things up every once in awhile with a different cut of meat.

Well, thanks to my cousin Tabitha, chicken won! She wanted a healthy chicken recipe and I just happened to have this one up my sleeve.

I usually marinate the chicken and cook on the BBQ, however we ran out of propane! DANG IT! Its too hard for me to run to the store with Nicholas and Brooklyn to pickup more propane, or I would've done it, but I was trying to figure it out and I hold each kid on each hip.... Where would the propane go? And those tanks aren't exactly light. So, next best thing, I decided to give the chicken a quick brown and finish it in the oven.

You can never go wrong with oven cooking, plus by browning over high heat and then placing in the oven, all of those delicious chicken juices will stay in the thigh so it's more tender upon taking out of the oven.

As for the paring with this meal, I am just going to roast some red potatoes and carrots.

Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs (or breast)
1 bottle beer
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 tbs pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbs cayenne pepper (add more if you would like spicier)
8 red potatoes, quartered
6 oz. baby carrots

For Marinade:
Combine Beer and Onions. Squeeze lime wedges into marinade and place the rest of lime in marinade. Add spices and stir to combine. Add chicken to marinade and marinate for 2 hours to overnight.

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350.

Place chicken, onions and limes in a large roasting pan. Surround chicken with potatoes and carrots. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil from pan and bake additional 15 minutes until chicken juices run clear and potatoes are golden brown.





Well this did not come out as pretty as I had hoped it would, but it was delicious still. My mom made a roasted chicken with lemon herbs and put the potatoes and carrots in the pan, so I was trying to do something similar with the chicken thighs, but it didn't produce as much juice from the chicken as a whole chicken does when you roast it.

Even so, this was a great meal.  Not all meals are extravagant. Some meals are just simple home cooked meals with a twist.

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Healthy Egg White omelet

Some mornings are easier than others when you have a 2 and 1 year old. I'm always on the go from about 5:30am until I go to bed at 10pm. I have a system down in the mornings so I can feed them and make myself a healthy breakfast as well. Since I try to stay healthy with what I eat, I make myself Egg White Omelets and I change it up a bit with what I put in the omelets, depending on what I have on hand.

My son, Nicholas (2), has decided he wants to be my little helper in the kitchen ever since my TV debut on Good Morning Sacramento.

Every morning when I'm cooking, he wants to assist me. I sit both Nicholas and Brooklyn (1) down at the breakfast table and begin to prepare my breakfast as they're eating theirs. Of course once Nicholas sees me cooking, he quickly gets down from his seat and pushes one of the table chairs to wear I am cooking so that he can help.

This morning he was excited about getting to throw my omelet filling into the pan.

Prep can definitely be time consuming, so if you are usually feeling rushed and don't feel like you have time to prep everything, you can prep the filling the night before and stick in the fridge so all you have to do in the morning is scramble eggs, throw in filling and cook while you're tending to other things, but keeping in mind to just keep an eye on the omelet so you do not burn it.

I am a little picky when it comes to eggs. I cannot eat eggs that are in the least bit uncooked or a pet peeve is when my omelet is overcooked and brown on the outside.  That doesn't mean I don't know how to cook them runny, I just prepare fully cooked eggs, but not burnt. My husband, Jack loves runny eggs and eggs benedict, so I have mastered making those for him. What my hubby wants, my hubby gets.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, I know I do every morning.

Ingredients:
Cooking Spray (I like to use Trader Joe's Coconut Oil Spray)
4 egg whites, beaten
2 mushrooms, chopped
2 mini bell peppers, diced
3 spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1 slice Swiss cheese, diced
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, beat eggs with a fork until combined, but not frothy.  Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until skillet is hot. Spray with cooking spray so egg does not stick to the pan.

Add the egg mixture to skillet. Spoon filling across one side of the egg. Cook 2 minutes, or until the side of egg without filling is slightly cooked. With a spatula lift and fold the edge of the omelet without filling over the side of omelet with filling. Cover and Cook until egg is no longer runny and cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

If you want to get creative, this omelet tastes amazing topped with salsa and fresh sliced avocados. There's just something about salsa and avocados over eggs that seems to just melt in your mouth with yumminess.


 Place Egg and filling in pan as shown above
 
 
Cooked to Perfection Omelet

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Better Than Moms Linguine

Ever since I can remember, linguine and Clams was one of those staples my mom use to make on a pretty regular basis.  It was my favorite meal as a child and one of my favorite meals as an adult. When I first moved out from living with my parents, I use to make this meal for my roommates on a regular basis. I’m talking like a once a week kind of meal. My roommates loved it. Every time I cooked it however it would taste different. I would experiment with different things with this meal always trying to make it better.

Recently I prepared this meal for my parents and my mom actually liked it better than hers! I couldn’t believe my ears, something that was my favorite meal as a child; I actually improved it to taste better than my mom’s Linguine! I was shocked and pleased at the same time.  I have now mastered the cooking of my mom’s linguine and made it better!

Every once in a while I will throw peppers in it to give it a different kind of a taste, but this recipe is for the Mastered Version of my mom’s linguine.

Better Than Moms Linguine

Ingredients:
1 Yellow Onion, minced
10 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 (10 oz.) cans whole clams
1 (6.5 oz.) can chopped clams
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
½ cup wine
1 cup milk
1 tbs parsley, chopped
1 tsp. oregano, chopped
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
 
Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, drain clams reserving liquid.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Sauté in pan until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add Flour and stir to combine with onion/garlic mixture. Deglaze pan with wine until combined. Add lemon zest, milk and spices.
Bring to a boil and add clams. Cover and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Toss Pasta with Clam sauce and serve warm.  Top with fresh grated parmesan (optional).


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Spaghetti Squash with Southwest Chicken

After years of cooking and sharing recipes, I have finally put together my blog site.

Its been a long journey in cooking for friends and family. It wasn't until recently that I was given the confidence to actually create a blog and share everything I have learned and am still learning in the kitchen.

I recently was given the opportunity to air on live tv with Good Day Sacramento.  It was quite the experience. Friends and family told me I was a natural on tv, but what they didn't see on tv was how extremely nervous me. My mom and my husband were there calming me down.  After each take, I would let out a big "Whew" and ask how I did.  Apparently my nervousness did not show when the camera was rolling. Thank Goodness!

I would like to share the recipe of my dish on Good Day Sacramento with all of you.

Spaghetti Squash is that ingredient that we all seem to forget about. It's amazing and very good for you to eat. I think when people look at a spaghetti squash, they look and say, "Yuck! I hate squash!" Believe me, I had my doubts before trying it and one day, my mom had me try it. She just cooked in the oven and threw some butter in the squash. She and I were huddled over the counter eating the squash right out of the shell after we had spaghetti-ed it. It was AMAZING! I was hooked. I was on a mission to try making different recipes with it. After trial and error with a lot of recipes, I found one that I just had to make over and over again. My Southwest Chicken over Spaghetti Squash.

Don't get discouraged about trying Squash. Try this recipe and trust me, you'll be hooked like I was.

Southwest Chicken over Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:
1 Spaghetti Squash
8 tbs Butter
1 lb Chicken Breast
1 tbs Old Bay
4 tbs Olive Oil
2 Cans Black Beans
2 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow, Orange - your choice), chopped
1 White Onion, minced
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 cup Frozen Corn
1 jalepeno pepper, minced
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
Cut squash in half and scoop out pulp.
Divide butter among halves and season with salt and pepper.
Roast squash in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs oil in large skillet. Season chicken with Old Bay. Add Chicken to pan and cook on both sides over medium heat until browned on both sides, approximately 10 minutes.  Remove Chicken.  Cube Chicken and set aside.
Add remaining oil to pan.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, bell pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder and some pepper. and season lightly with salt, cooking until translucent.
Stir and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken, beans and corn, stirring to combine.
Remove squash from oven and shred with forks and add butter to squash.
For Plating, Spoon 1 cup of squash onto plates, top with chicken mixture, cilantro and cheese.
For the bad version of this recipe, place shredded squash back in shells, top with chicken mixture and cheese. Return to oven on broil for 2-5 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. Top with a dollop of sour cream.
For the clean eating version, omit butter and cheese.
For cooking tips and directions on cooking and plating:





Bad But So Good Version

Clean Version

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