Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Southwestern Sriracha Chicken Salad

My new favorite way to make grilled chicken is coating it in Sriracha Chili Sauce just before cooking. It gives the chicken SO much flavor with a hint of spiciness. You can use this sauce on a variety of different things such as: hot dogs, sauces, pastas, soups, chicken etc..

I made a large batch of grilled chicken with Sriracha this week and used it on a salad and nachos (as seen below) and we used the leftovers to make sandwiches for lunch.
**The recipe below calls for 1 package of chicken but you can double that if you would like leftover chicken for another use

Southwestern Sriracha Chicken Salad 
Makes 2 servings (plus extra chicken)

1 package of thin sliced chicken breasts (use high quality natural chicken such as Murray's or Harvestland, it makes a difference in taste and texture)
1/4 cup Sriracha Chili Sauce
1 large head of romaine lettuce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes-halved
1/2 avocado- diced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn (boil fresh corn for 5-10 minutes and defrost frozen corn)
1/4 - 1/3 cup canned black beans-rinsed well
3 scallions-cut into 1/2 inch pieces-both light and dark green parts
1/2 cup shredded or cubed cheddar cheese

1. Brush all sides of the chicken breast with Sriracha sauce. Coat a large no stick skillet with canola oil and bring to med-high heat. Cook chicken about 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. (I like to place a lid or something heavy on top of chicken to ensure its browning evenly.) Remove chicken and set aside.

2. To prepare the salad: chop 1 large head of romaine lettuce and place in a large serving bowl. Add cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, corn, scallions, black beans and cheese. (I like to roast my scallions in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until they start to turn slightly brown. Just make sure to coat them in a little olive oil before roasting. Allow to cool before adding to salad)

3. Slice chicken into strips and place on top of salad. Toss with dressing and serve.

For the dressing: I used the juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3-4 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. You can use any dressing you like with this salad. A creamy avocado dressing would be great as well.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

I came up with this recipe the other day when I was trying to use my abundance of spinach. These mushrooms have a lot of flavor and work great as an appetizer or side dish. I love how the spinach and Parmesan cheese became crispy on top and the Greek Cream Cheese made the center nice and creamy. If the tops start to brown too much before the mushrooms are soft, tent loosely with tin foil and remove the last few minutes of cooking. This recipe would also be great stuffed inside a Portobello mushroom cap for a vegetarian entree. Enjoy!!!

Check out the Greek Cream Cheese Below:

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms 
Makes 12 Large Mushrooms 

12 large stuffing button mushrooms-stems removed
Olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese
2 handfuls of chopped fresh spinach
1 oz Greek Cream Cheese (or regular cream cheese)

1. In a non stick skillet over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs (pulse day old bread in food processor to create fresh bread crumbs, I used frozen gluten free bread and it worked great). Cook bread crumbs, stirring frequently until golden brown; about 7 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, using the same skillet, coat pan with oil and saute 2 large handfuls of chopped spinach until wilted. Add to bread crumbs, along with Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. Mix together well.

3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray, arrange mushrooms stem side facing up. Brush mushrooms with olive oil and fill with stuffing.

Bake at 400 degrees F until mushrooms are soft and the topping is crispy; this can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on size of mushrooms and your oven. If they are browning too quickly, loosely tent with foil. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

D.I.Y Jewelry Hanger

Here is a D.I.Y. project to organize your jewelry in a appealing way. All you need is a frame, thick study board for the background, burlap or fabric of choice, decorative knobs (I found these at Anthropologie), hot glue or staple gun.

I was able to puncture the holes for the knobs using a sharp knife but you may need a drill. I also needed a special saw to cut the back of the screws to the correct size so they didn't protrude too much. Try to look for knobs with short screws.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pizza with Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Asparagus and Lemon

This pizza is the best I have ever made or eaten so far in my culinary adventures. I was inspired by a pizza my husband Tom and I use to eat in NYC at a little place called Waldy's on 26th street and 6th ave. Although I do not have the wood burning oven, this pizza still comes out amazing in my oven at home. I am really proud of the recipe and I hope you will enjoy this one. 

This pizza has a crispy thin crust, which is the perfect canvas for the rich and salty Italian Prosciutto. It is topped with mozzarella cheese, fresh asparagus spears  and slices of roasted lemons. I season it with cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The combination of all the fresh ingredients makes for a perfect thin crust pizza. 

Pizza with Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Asparagus and Lemon 
Serves 8 

For the Crust:  
1 package of active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup of warm water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting 

1. Prepare the pizza dough: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, sugar and warm water, stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand 5- 10 mins until it starts to foam. 

2. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tbsps of olive oil. Add in the flour a little at a time, mixing on lowest speed, until flour is incorporated. Keep mixing on medium speed, if it feels really sticky add a little more flour, if it is dry and crumbly add a little more water.Keep mixing for 5 minutes until the dough comes to a ball and become elastic. 

3. Coat the dough with a little oil and place it back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. 

4. Once the dough has doubled in size, divide dough into 2 balls. Cover and let rest for 10 mins to make it easy to roll out. (If the dough is not rolling easily, let it rest a little while longer.)

5. At this point you can use the dough immediately, wrap the balls of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, or you can freeze the dough for later use.

6. When you are ready to use the dough, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with baking sheet in the oven.

7. Roll each section out into a 16-20" circle or oval shape. Place the dough on parchment paper.

8.Place the toppings on the dough (all the way to the edge) and brush crust with a little olive oil

9. Once the baking sheets are preheated place the parchment paper on the sheet (one pizza per baking sheet) and bake for 10-15 mins. Check at 10 mins and make sure it is not burning on the bottom.  You can serve one pizza while the others are baking in the oven, or bake all the pizzas and reheat before serving.

For the toppings: (These are for two 16" size pizzas)
Olive oil  8 oz good quality Proscuitto-thinly sliced
1 head of asparagus: cut into 2 inch pieces,  blanched until barely cooked 
lemons: peeled and sliced into 12 slices
16 oz of whole milk mozzarella cheese- shredded or sliced thin
1 oz Pecorino Romano Cheese: shaved with a vegetable peeler
Fresh cracked pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes 

1. Once the dough has been rolled out thin brush edges with a little olive oil. Lay the slices of Prosciutto onto the dough. Add mozzarella cheese, slices of lemon (6 per pizza), scatter asparagus, and top with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

2. Continue with recipe above and bake are directed: about 10 minutes at 500 degrees F. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Egg Sandwich

There are a few things I really miss since having to go completely gluten free. One being, a egg sandwich from the deli. On the weekends my husband and I take our daughter out to breakfast and it is usually hard for me to find something I want to eat at a deli. That being said, we were at Se-port deli yesterday morning (I already ate breakfast at home) and my husband ordered a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich that looked SOOO good! Seeing the runny eggs and bread put me in the mood for one, so I made my own version for dinner. Now, this isn't a bacon, egg and cheese but in my opinion it is a perfect healthy sandwich for lunch or dinner. As a matter of fact, I am probably going to eat this again for dinner tonight.

This sandwich consists of a variety of roasted vegetables, egg and balsamic glaze (which you can find at the grocery store). You could also add cheese, maybe mozzarella or provolone would go well. The recipe below makes A LOT of vegetables, way more than one sandwich needs but they are great left over and you can use them on sandwiches the rest of the week or as a side dish to dinner. I used gluten free bread but any type of bread, English muffins or rolls will work. Enjoy!

Olive oil
1 head of asparagus: 2 inch dice
8 oz package of mushrooms- sliced
1 small zucchini-thinly sliced
1 bell pepper-red or green-sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 small onion-thinly sliced
2 sliced of bread or an English muffin
1 egg
Salt and pepper-to taste
Balsamic glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. One a baking sheet, place diced asparagus, sliced mushrooms, sliced zucchini, sliced pepper and sliced onion. Coat all the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn brown in spots and are cooked though. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. In a small non-stick pan coated with cooking spray or oil, add egg and cook over easy or over medium.

3. While the egg is cooking toast the bread. When the bread is toasted, add as much vegetables as you would like and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Top with egg and season with salt, pepper and more glaze.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Greek Cream Cheese

This is a new product on the market. Greek Cream Cheese. It tastes almost exactly like regular cream cheese with slightly less "tang" but still just as creamy and delicious. This cream cheese has 2X more protein than regular cream cheese, 50% less fat, 25% less calories, 25% less sodium and live and active cultures. You can use Greek cream cheese as you would any regular cream cheese.

What I love most about this product is that it is a "lighter: version without any additives or ingredients to compromise the product. Both Layla and I love eating Greek cream cheese with jelly on toast or a bagel for lunch. 

Layla especially loves it when I cut her sandwich into her FAVORITE shape...a bunny! It is a great way to get toddlers excited about their food. See below a picture of Layla's Bunny French Toast. I use the same cutter for sandwiches. 

I would definitely recommend picking up this product next time you are at the store (I found it at Stop and Shop) enjoy!!!  For more info check out their website http://www.franklinfoods.com/greek-cream-cheese

Friday, April 5, 2013

40 Ways to Distract and Entertain a Toddler

Happy Friday Everyone! Here is a link a friend sent to me a while ago (before I had a toddler in the house) I saved the website knowing that I would be interested in checking it out once Layla got older. I am definitely going to have to give some of these a try. Especially the Zip-Lock bag painting...that looks like fun!

40 ways to distract and entertain a toddler

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Double Blueberry Muffins with Citrus Topping

Here is another muffin recipe from Better Homes and Garden's latest issue. The muffins are full of fresh blueberries with a hidden blueberry surprise in the center. The lemon and orange sugar topping gives these muffins bright flavor and a little crunch.

Double Blueberry Muffins with Citrus Topping
Makes 12 regular muffins and 6 large

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk or milk
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries **if using frozen blueberries, do not defrost ahead of time.
1/2 blueberry preserves
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tbsp sugar (use raw turbinado sugar for more crunch)
2 tbsp butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffins cups with paper liners. Set aside.

2. Stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium size mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, 6 Tbsp melted butter; add mixture all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy) Fold in 1 cup blueberries. Remove 1 cup of batter.

4. Spoon remaining batter into prepared muffins cups. Spoon 2 tsp. of blueberry preserves into the center of each muffin. Top with reserved 1 cup of batter to cover preserves, filling cups 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Meanwhile, stir together, grated orange and lemon peel with the 2 Tbsp of sugar. Remove muffins from the oven, brush with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and sprinkle the citrus sugar on top of each muffin. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lamb Burger with Arugula, Feta and Cucumber

There is not much to say about this other than these burgers are delicious. This recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs Michael Simon. If you are ever in Cleveland, you have to try his restaurants Lolita and Lola. The food is some of the best I have ever had. This recipe serves 10 but can easily be made in smaller amounts.

I served these burgers on English Muffins but any good hamburger bun will do. Oven baked french fries were the perfect compliment to this burger.

Lamb Burger with Arugula, Feta and Cucumber (Recipe from Carnivore by Michael Simon)
Serves 10

5 lbs of ground lamb (Michael recommends to ask your butcher for 2/3 shoulder meat and 1/3 belly meat)
1 tbsp coriander seeds-toasted and ground
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (I did a combination of mint and basil)
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta
10 hamburger buns
1 English cucumber, sliced
2 cups arugula

1. Mix the ground lamb with coriander, mint and lemon zest. Form the meat into 10 patties, making sure you don't compress them too tightly. Try to make the patties slightly larger than the buns, since they will shrink when they cook.

2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high.

3. Season the patties with salt and put on the grill. Cook 4-5 minutes per side, depending on your temperature preference. (We enjoyed these burgers medium-rare to medium) When they are almost done, put some feta on each patty to melt and toast the buns on the grill.

4. Put one burger on each of the bottom buns and top with cucumber, arugula and a squeeze of lemon juice.

**I cooked these burgers inside on a grill pan because of  bad weather and melted the feta quickly under the broiler.