Category Archives: dinner

Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter

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Who doesn’t love the Pioneer Woman? Seriously. All of her recipes seem so picturesque, so western, so delicious. I just happened to find this recipe while randomly searching through Yummly’s recipe bank. And oh. My. Goodness. I don’t know how she got fresh scallops wherever she lives, but she obviously knows what she’s doing with seafood. This dish is a perfect appetizer- or even a weeknight dinner! Bacon. Scallops. Chili. Butter.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs of large scallops
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cut into thirds or half
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • dash of cayenne

Here’s what you’ll do:

Wrap bacon pieces around the outside of the scallops, then attach with a toothpick.

Now you have three options:

Either:

  • Cook in a 425 degree oven (on a drip pan) for 20 minutes, or until bacon is sizzling and brown
  • Cook under the broiler for 15 minutes, or until bacon is sizzling and brown
  • Grill until bacon is sizzling and brown.

Melt butter and stir in chili powder and cayenne. Drizzle over scallops before serving.

Careful not to eat too many, safe room for dinner! Unless it is dinner. Then eat as many as you want!

Here’s the link to the original recipe:

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/01/bacon-wrapped-scallops-with-chili-butter/

 

Confetti Sweet Potatoes

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I love sweet potatoes. They are a miracle food I swear to gosh. It’s like having part of dessert in your dinner, when really sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, especially Vitamin A (which is very good for vision, bones, teeth, and internal tissues )! So what do you do when you want a spin on classic mashed potatoes?

Confetti sweet potatoes. It’s mashed potatoes, but it’s not bad for you at all! While it isn’t advertised as a healthy thing, when you look at the recipe, you can see there isn’t anything that’s super bad for you. Just lots of veggies, spices, and sweet potato all whipped together in an illusion of mashed potatoes. Omnomnomnomnom.

Okay, so I have no idea where this recipe came from. My mom made it a couple of years ago to bring to a party, and she stuck this recipe in her book of foodiness (which is a book of all the recipes she’s ever printed out. I put it together for her for mother’s day like four years ago). I actually modified this recipe so much that it resembles the original only in ingredients used; way different proportions. But whoever came up with this recipe: THANK YOU!

Ingredients:

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 small carrot, finely diced
  • about 1/2 tsp olive oil, more if needed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbs oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled/grated
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tbs parsley, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place scrubbed potatoes in oven and bake 40-45 minutes, or until they are super soft to the touch. Set aside to cool. Keep oven at 375.

While the potatoes are cooling, place a pan over medium high heat and sauté the onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until the onion is slightly browned. Add the oregano and garlic and cook an additional minute. Transfer to a bowl and add the chipotle powder, goat cheese, egg whites, and parsley.

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The potatoes should be okay to handle. Peel the potatoes (get rid of all them ears and brown spots and shnazz). Chop them in big chunks into the bowl with all the other ingredients. Whip ingredients together until smooth. Season with pepper to taste. Put in an oven-safe bowl (maybe a casserole bowl?) and cook for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

Traditional Pesto

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Italy.

I miss it. I miss the language. Sometimes while doing summer work I’ll find myself writing bits and pieces of a sentence in Italian. Ha, if my teachers check my notes, they’ll be so confused. I miss the people; they posses endless hospitality and affection. I miss my cousin Emilia who is legitimately the spunkiest woman I’ve ever met. I miss the amazing landscape, whether it be the rolling hills and gardens in Grottaferrata, or the sharp cliffs of the Amalfi. And of course, of COURSE, I miss the food. It’s interesting, I never had true Italian pesto while in Italy. But the other night, I needed a taste of something full of summer but also full of culture.

=Pesto.

Pesto is amazing because it can go on anything (marinade, topping, my friend even uses it as a salad dressing), and it has a long freezer-life. So this recipe I came up with makes a lot of pesto, but since you freeze it, you can just get it out and thaw it whenever you want a bite of Italy! Plus, it’s supper easy. All you need is a food processor.

Ingredienti-

  • 8 cups basil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (depends on the size of the cloves and how garlicky you like it. I used 4 smallish ones but then needed some more garlic salt)
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 2/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, depending on how cheesy you like your pesto.

Procedure:

Throw the basil, garlic, and pine nuts into the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil and lemon zest and blend until smooth. Taste to see how much salt and pepper you want. If freezing, transfer to airtight container and throw in the freezer. If using immediately, transfer to bowl and stir in cheese.

Enjoy the basil while you can, fall is coming!

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Parmesan Bread Pudding with Spinach and Prosciutto

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So this recipe was originally “Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta” from Epicurious. But, as it turned out, I like spinach more than broccoli rabe, and my grandma accidentally got prosciutto. So it turned into this lovely savory bread pudding. It’s a complete dinner; it has your protein (eggs and prosciutto) veggies (spinach) and carbs (bread)! Ha. You can use it as a side dish as well; my family had it with a night full of BBQ. And last but not least, this is the PERFECT breakfast. Eggs. Cheese. Meat. Spinach. It’s like an omelet. But it’s not. The bread soaks up the eggs, giving it a really fluffy texture as the cheese oozes out. Then the spinach really compliments the whole thing because it’s a change of texture but it’s not out of place with crazy crunch or a weird slickness. It’s just perfect. Alright. Recipe. Right.

This was originally from Epicurious, which got it from Bon Appetit’s April 2013 edition from Mary-Frances Heck

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups of loosely packed baby spinach
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 pound country-style white bread, cut into 1″ pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • Enough prosciutto to cover the top of your pudding; I’d say 5-6 slices

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly. Don’t want to curdle them eggs.

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In the mean time, whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add spinach mixture, bread, and  Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with Prosciutto.

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Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.

Enjoy!

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How to: Poach Chicken

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Poached chicken is a wonderful alternative to baking it in a load of butter or olive oil. All it requires is chicken breasts, water, and some spices.

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless 4 oz chicken breasts
  • spices you want! (I use a sprinkle of each: cumin, ground red pepper, chipotle, salt, onion powder, and pepper)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 cups of water or chicken broth  (depends on your pan)

How to:

Get out a heavy bottom metal pan. It needs to be big enough to fit three chicken breasts snugly onto the bottom. Fill the pan with water so that the tops of the chicken are covered by about an inch. Add the spices. Heat, bringing to a boil, then reduce the heat until barely simmering. Partially cover and leave barely simmering for 10 minutes. Remove from heat completely and let the chicken remain in the water for 10-15 minutes, or until you can cut a chicken breast and it is completely white in the middle. Shred, chop, or serve as is! Calories for one breast: I’d say 130/140ish based off of various sources. If you use broth it’ll be a bit more but not too much.

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Mexican-inspired Chicken Casserole

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Let me tell you a story about this dinner…

It was a Thursday night. And I wanted Mexican food. Also note that I use the term Mexican food very loosely; this is by no means the awesomeness of true Mexican food, but it’s the best I can do. But back to the point. I wanted something I could douse in salsa and jalapeños and sour cream. But it wasn’t a Friday night. So I could not make nachos. That would be against the rules of the household; no binging on unhealthy foods until Friday night! How would I ever get passed this dilemma?! Answer: a casserole! A casserole packed with yes, a couple of tortilla layers, more so with veggies and chicken and yummy sauces! So I did it. And it was fabulous. So I will share it.

Note that you can really make this recipe as healthy or as unhealthy as you like. Tonight for example, I made it a tad on the unhealthy side because I was having a cheese craving. But honestly, it doesn’t require a very many tortillas, and it only requires as much cheese as you want. So without further ado:

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 shredded poached chicken breasts (if you don’t know how to poach chicken, see my how-to on poaching chicken! Link is at the bottom)
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas, 5 to 6 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite cheese (if you want a healthier meal, I’d say use a cup of reduced fat cheddar. If not, a cup of jalapeño jack and a cup of cheddar works well)
  • 2 diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  •  pinch of salt
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • toppings like jalapeños, sour cream, more salsa…

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sauté mushrooms and bell peppers in olive oil with a pinch of salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. It makes it a lot easier and quicker if you cover the pan, just make sure to mix up the veggies every once in a while so that all veggies remain equally sautéd! They’re done when the peppers are softer and the mushrooms are brown.

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before and after

Get a glass baking pan (2x9x13) . Spread 1/3-1/2 of salsa on the bottom (depends on the thickness of your salsa). And how salsa-y you want it. Layer 2.5 tortillas on the bottom. Spread half of the poached chicken over the tortillas. Spread half of the veggie mixture on top of the chicken. Spread a cup of baby spinach on top of the veggie mix. Spread half of cheese on top of spinach. Layer rest of tortillas on top of cheese. Spread 1/3-1/2 of salsa on the tortillas. Spread the rest of the chicken on top. Spread the rest of the veggies on top of the chicken. Spread 1 cup of the spinach on top of the veggies. Spread the rest of the cheese on top. Stick in the oven for 8 minutes, cut, and enjoy! I can’t really do a calorie count on this one because it really depends on the size of the chicken breasts, the types of cheese, how much of it you use, and the types of tortillas. But if you use 3 medium sized chicken breasts, only 1 cup of reduced fat cheese, and whole wheat tortillas, it’s can’t be that bad for you.

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How-to: poach chicken

https://neeksnotes.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/how-to-poach-chicken/

 

Bell Peppers stuffed with Ground Turkey

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I love bell peppers. They. are. the. best. Because you can cut them up as a snack and totally layer them with hummus or sauté them or use them as a very good bowl-like mechanism, which is what I did here. So quick back story- when I was little, I used to eat so much. I mean not that it’s a bad thing at all food is great I love food but I mean, my family used to have red meat 4 or 5 times a week at least. Not too healthy. I mean I like magnesium as much as the next person but thats a bit of overkill. So, then as many young gals do, I grew taller and I also went on to eat healthier. Not as much red meat, more things like chicken and turkey and salad (however, friday nights are mandatory binge-fests my household and it’s not like I don’t eat junk food. I just don’t eat as much) Now, as a rower, I must eat healthily. This also makes my family eat healthier. With my newfound love of peppers and my VERY newfound love of ground turkey, what could be better than stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey? Answer: Not much! This recipe is awesome because 1. it’s very healthy (around 180 calories for a half pepper, but it’s pretty stuffed so it’s actually very filling.) 2. It’s fun to make and 3. it’s delicious.

This recipe was inspired by Skinnytaste, but I changed a lot of it when it comes to the spices and just some additives 🙂

Ingredients:

  • about 1 lb of lean ground turkey
  • about 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • about 1 tbs chopped scallions
  • about 1 tbs chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 3 washed large bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 4.5 oz canned green chili peppers
  • olive oil
  • about 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatos

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Get a baking pan out and spray it with Pam cooking spray or olive oil.

Start off with the rice. Put the rice and the water over medium-low heat and cover until cooked. That is literally all you have to do to make rice. Just make sure that when you cover it, you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. If you see water coming out the sides, turn the heat down!

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Sauté the chopped chives, scallions, and parsley in olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the ground turkey (make sure there are no big clumps!), and season with cumin, salt, garlic salt, and cook. All you really have to do to cook a ground meat is to mix it around every once and a while, make sure there are no big chunks of meat. Once the turkey is cooked, add the green chili peppers and cherry tomatoes and mix. Add the cooked rice and mix together.

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Remove the stems of the peppers and slice in half, removing the seeds. Stuff the peppers with turkey mixture. Top each pepper with about 1.5-2 tbs of shredded cheese. Stick in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges of the peppers are slightly brown. A good indicator is when the cheese is melted and lightly browned on the top.

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Enjoy!