Monday, August 31, 2015

Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce

One of the best chicken dishes you'll make at home - and it's done in just 30 minutes! Simply browned boneless chicken breasts are topped with a mushroom cream sauce that's bursting with sweet shallots and rich saffron. It'll soon become a family favorite!

I am thrilled to be back on the blog! Two months is a long time to just disappear, especially since back in June I promised myself I wouldn't disappear again this summer. Obviously, life had other plans. I just wrapped up another fantastic activity packed summer and am itching to slow down a bit - and cook a lot more! Man alive, we ate out a LOT this summer.

My file is loaded up with recipes to share with you and this one was right at the top of the stack. It's not only elegant enough to be guest worthy, but it's weeknight friendly! Start to finish, it took me about 20-25 minutes to make it.

Saffron is pricey, I know, but a little goes a LONG way and it lasts forever! It lends such a unique flavor (not to mention hue) that's worth investing in. Plus you'll feel super fancy pulling it out of your pantry :)

This chicken is lovely paired with pasta, creamy polenta, or even wild rice pilaf. Go simple with your side dishes and really let that cream sauce shine.

Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 shallots, thinly sliced
8 ounce mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

On a sturdy cutting board, cover a chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound until thin. Cut into large pieces (about the size of a deck of cards), season well with salt and pepper, and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom to release the browned bits. Cook until the wine is almost evaporated. Add the chicken broth and saffron threads, bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the cream, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.

Simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites by Giada De Laurentiis

Monday, June 29, 2015

Artichoke Chicken

Easy, one skillet dinner that's loaded with tomatoes and artichokes! A one bowl meal for my low-carb friends but also delicious over pasta or rice. Budget and weeknight friendly!

If you are a "briny" fan, you'll love this dish. Capers, artichokes, green olives = I'm a fan. Artichokes, especially, are delicious alongside tomato and chicken. For this dish. you just quickly brown thin chicken breasts in a large skillet, then saute your tomatoes and artichokes, before simmering it all together for 15 minutes.

Psst - do all your draining, chopping, and zesting while the chicken cooks and you can have this on the table - start to finish - in 30 minutes or less!

Artichoke Chicken
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken out to an even, ½ inch thickness. Cut the chicken breasts into pieces about the size of a deck of cards. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of each piece and set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 min. per side). Be careful to not overcrowd the pan (cook them in batches if needed). Once browned on both sides, remove chicken to plate.

Add the second tablespoon of olive oil and the minced garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds, or until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes (with juices), dried basil, lemon zest, and about ⅛ tsp of salt. Stir to combine.

Return the browned chicken to the skillet and nestle it down into the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Allow the skillet to come up to a simmer, then let the chicken simmer in the skillet for 15 minutes, flipping it once half way through.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley over top then serve over rice or pasta.

Source: slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meatball and Ziti Bake

A delicious classic! This tasty pasta is loaded with meatballs and weeknight easy!

I love pasta - particularly because most pasta dishes are easily a one pot meal! I'm all about easy on a busy weeknight. This particular pasta is not loaded with cream, cheese, or even empty carbs so I had no guilt chowing down on a big bowlful.

Most households with children would especially love it. It's even easy enough for kids to help cook!

Meatball & Ziti Bake
6 ounces uncooked whole-wheat ziti
1/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler to high.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the panko, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, ground beef, and egg. Mix until just combined - don't overmix. Shape into 1 inch meatballs and set aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Add remaining 1 tablespoon garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add reserved 1/2 cup cooking water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons basil, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir pasta into tomato mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle cheese over top. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil before serving.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Breakfast Enchiladas

Fluffy eggs are baked around tortillas stuffed with sausage, bacon, and cheese, then topped with more bacon and cheese! This super easy dish is perfect for breakfast or dinner!

Can you tell from the radio silence on the blog that it's summer? Every year, I struggle to maintain regular postings thanks to my crazy workload. I've contemplated taking a blog sabbatical every summer but then I'd miss out on so many delicious summer recipes! So, I've resolved to try harder :)

This twist on a classic breakfast taco was a huge hit in our house. Unlike tacos, which are served somewhat assembly line style, these enchiladas bake up in one dish so they're easy to serve to a crowd. They could also be assembled ahead of time, refrigerated, and baked later!

Breakfast Enchiladas
1/2 lb bacon
1 lb breakfast sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
6 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay bacon in an even layer on the pan and place in cold oven. Set oven temp to 400 and timer to 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Crumble bacon and set aside. Lower oven temp to 350.

Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large skillet until cooked through, then drain off grease. Gently stir in half the crumbled bacon and 1 cup cheese until it's well combined.

Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish. Divide the sausage mixture between the tortillas, spooning it down the center of each and rolling tightly. Place each seam side down in the prepared baking dish. 

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture around the tortillas (it will cook up around the tortillas).

Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese and bacon over top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Source: adapted from A Chick Who Can Cook

Monday, June 8, 2015

Asparagus and Cheese Tart

A tasty way to enjoy one of summer's best vegetables! This tart is crispy, cheesy, and addictively delicious. Easy enough to whip up for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for guests.

I nearly squeal when asparagus hits the grocery store each summer - especially when the price drops! We eat a lot of it, though most of the time I grill or roast it. I was looking for something a little different, and most substantial, and this tart was perfect! It works as a side dish but would also be great for brunch or a party appetizer!

You can use a variety of cheeses; I used mozzarella as it's inexpensive and always in my fridge. It also melts well and most people like the flavor. Gruyere would be especially delicious!

The next morning, top a leftover square with a over easy egg and you have breakfast!

Asparagus & Cheese Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 cups shredded cheese, such as mozzarella, Gruyere, or fontina
1 pound medium asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
flour for workspace

Preheat oven to 400.

Carefully roll the thawed pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Trim any uneven edges then transfer the pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife, score the dough one inch in around the edges to create a border. Use a fork and pierce the rest of the dough, about an inch apart, to help avoid it puffing up too much. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. 

Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus so they'll fit in between the borders of the pastry shell. Layer the asparagus, alternating ends and tips, and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper then bake until spears are tender, about 20 minutes.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Goat Cheese Orzo

This tangy orzo is super creamy, thanks to the Greek yogurt and goat cheese. When paired with flavorful grilled chicken and fresh herbs, it's perfect for a healthy spring dinner!

If you love goat cheese, you will love this dish! Goat cheese is creamy, tangy, relatively low calorie and perfect paired with orzo pasta. A little goes a long way; those 2 ounces provide a ton of flavor!

We loved this dinner, especially since it was easy and weeknight friendly. However, if you aren't a fan of tangy food (or goat cheese) you may not love it. For the rest of us, it's the perfect weeknight dinner!

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Goat Cheese Orzo
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temp
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
1 cup orzo
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese, room temp
4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat a grill to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. 

Rub the chicken with 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until well marked and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes a side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.

Meanwhile, stir the drained orzo into the reserved yogurt mixture along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, and at least 3/4 cup pasta water until well combined. Add more pasta water if needed to achieve preferred creaminess. Transfer the orzo to a serving platter.

Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with lemon zest and remaining 1 tablespoons herbs. 

Source: adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Eleven 30-Minute-or-Less Boneless Chicken Breast Recipes

Always on the hunt for a fresh way to (quickly) cook boneless/skinless chicken breasts? Me too! I collected 11 of our FAVORITE recipes that call for them, and they are all done in 30 minutes or less! There are no boring chicken recipes here :)

Happy cooking!

Blackened Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

Monday, May 18, 2015

Creamy Skillet Corn

This corn is the best of both worlds! Creamy, yet the corn still retains it's crisp texture. This buttery side may be your new family favorite!

I get so excited when spring produce starts showing up in the grocery store. Butternut squash and pumpkins are nice and all but I am all about the fruits and vegetables that spring and summer bring. While I love throwing them on the grill this time of year, there is nothing like serving up fresh veggies straight from the cast iron skillet.

This corn isn't done quickly but it's almost completely hands off cooking. Get it started then work on your main course; it'll happily simmer on your stove while you work on other things.

This is perfect with burgers, ribs, or grilled chicken - or you can double up the amount and serve it at your next picnic!

Creamy Skillet Corn
6 ears corn
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1.5 cups water
3 tablespoons butter

Shuck the corn, pull off the silks, and rinse under running water. Use a sharp knife and cut the corn from the cob, collecting it in a large bowl. Scrape the cob with a spoon to collect the milk.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and water. Set aside.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large cast iron skillet. Once melted, add the corn and flour mixture; stir well. Continue to cook over medium-low for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed (we like lots of pepper!).

Source: adapted from Kevin & Amanda

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crispy Oven Fried Fish

Crispy fish without the mess and calories of frying!

Just a few weeks ago, we visited London and Dublin for the first time. Both cities were not lacking in fish 'n chips! We ate it several times while on the trip, remembering just how delicious good fried fish can be.

Back at home, I'm not keen on trying to recreate our fried fish adventures because of the sheer mess involved. But I do love crispy fish! This recipe promises super crispy fish, but made in the oven! A simple breading of panko and herbs is well coated then placed on a rack. The rack is key in making sure you get a super crispy breading.

You can either use panko or make your own breadcrumbs. Store bought breadcrumbs are not quite coarse enough to get the best texture.

Crispy Oven Fried Fish
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (see note above)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 (6-ounce) firm white fish fillets (like cod or haddock) 1-1 1/2 inches thick
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 and generously coat a wire rack with cooking spray. Place the rack over a baking sheet.

Combine the panko, parsley, and shallot in a shallow bowl. Place 3 tablespoons of flour into another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. To the egg dish, whisk in the remaining flour until a smooth, thick batter is formed.

Pat each piece of fish completely dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of fish at a time, dredge into the flour, then dip it into egg batter, and finally coat it with the bread crumbs, pressing to adhere. Lay the breaded fish on the prepared wire rack. Repeat until all pieces are coated.

Bake the fish until the coating is golden and it flakes easily when gently poked with a fork, about 18-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it if it's thinner.

Gently transfer the fish to individuals plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Source: adapted from Gourmet: Day to Day

Saturday, May 9, 2015

PF Chang Copycat Mongolian Beef

This salty/sweet beef dish is a favorite at PF Changs - and many other Chinese-American restaurants - and this one-pan copycat recipe is spot on! Save yourself the time (and big bucks) and make it at home instead!

I adore Chinese-American cuisine, and PF Changs is one of those restaurants that serves up consistently good versions of all my favorites. Right on the top of the list is Mongolian beef. It's sweet and savory, and the tender beef can be eaten like candy! Since PF Changs always has a long wait for a table, I love being able to whip up my favorite at home instead. Not having to change out of my yoga pants is a bonus!

This version takes around 30 minutes to whip up and uses pantry items that you likely already have on hand. Steam a pot of rice and you have a take-out quality meal on the table in no time.

Mongolian Beef
For the beef:
2 lb flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the sauce:
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
Green onions, thinly sliced

In a large ziplock bag, combine the sliced beef and cornstarch. Seal and shake to coat the pieces. 

Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic then immediately add the water, soy sauce, and brown sugar; stir well. Cook about 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl.

Increase the heat and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Once hot, add the beef pieces and cook until browned, working in batches if needed. Pour the reserved sauce in the pan alongside the beef. Shake the remaining cornstarch from the ziplock bag into the pan. Let cook until thickened to your liking.

Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

Source: adapted from Pink Bites

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Chiles Rellenos Casserole

Traditional roasted chile flavor, hearty filling, and crisp fried shell flavor without all the work! This Tex-Mex casserole is perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Are you celebrating today with Mexican food? We eat Mexican food (read: Tex Mex) a lot at our house so any excuse to enjoy it is good with us!

Chile rellenos is a popular Mexican dish. Traditionally, a poblano pepper is roasted, stuffed, dipped in an egg based batter, and fried. It's cheesy, creamy, and has a delicious crispy "shell" around it. Stuffing and frying individual peppers at home can be a drag so this recipe feeds your craving without all the work!

Browned lean beef is mixed with poblano peppers, tomatoes, and spices before being layered in a casserole dish with heaps of cheese. You whip up a simple egg batter to layer on top then bake!

Chiles Rellenos Casserole
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
4 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained (such as Rotel brand)
2.5 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
2 large egg whites
salt and pepper

Adjust an oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer beef mixture to a paper towel lined plate. 

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat left in skillet, add poblanos, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in beef mixture, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in drained tomatoes and cook until the beef mixture is dry, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups cheese. Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and press into an even layer.

Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth; set aside. In a second bowl, add the egg whites. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture, then gently fold in remaining egg whites until combined.

Pour batter over beef mixture. Bake until topping is light golden and puffed, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and continue to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Sunday, May 3, 2015

(Lightened Up) Cheesecake Factory Louisiana Chicken Pasta

Even better than the original! This creamy chicken pasta is bursting with Cajun flavor that can easily be adjusted to suit your taste. It'll quickly become a new family favorite!

Cheesecake Factory and their novel sized menu is not known for being healthy. Instead, they are known for huge portions, delicious food, and cheesecake! While lots of their dishes are popular, the Louisiana Chicken Pasta is one of the most popular - and for good reason! It's creamy, a tad spicy, and downright sinful.

The original calls for deep frying the chicken. Delicious? Yes! But messy for a home cook to make and loaded with calories. This version is (very) lightened up compared to the original but please don't think that means this version is health food - it's not - but it's definitely splurge worthy!

Dare I say it's better than the original version?

I hesitated from making this recipe years ago due to my fear of spice. I scaled back the cayenne a tad but really found it to be perfect. Feel free to adjust to your taste!

Louisiana Chicken Pasta
For the chicken:
2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning

For the pasta:
8 oz. bowtie pasta
Kosher salt 

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1.5 cups half-and-half
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water 
3 scallions, chopped 

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.

Heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat and heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until the butter has melted. Add the bell pepper, onion, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne pepper to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble. Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan. Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through. 

Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your tastes. Stir in the scallions. Serve immediately and top with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Thursday, April 30, 2015

One Pan Teriyaki Meatloaf and Green Beans

A teriyaki twist on classic meatloaf and green beans! The two bake together on one sheet pan resulting in serious flavor and less mess!

I LOVE a meatloaf - we both do, really! Growing up on mom's meatloaf only introduced me to the classic, All American version. Over the years, I've tried several different kinds and they have all been fantastic. If you love teriyaki sauce, you'll love this version!

This recipe is so simple it's ridiculous, really. Just a few pantry staples formed together into a loaf and baked. But don't miss the green beans, because they are really the star! As the meatloaf bakes, the juices flavor the green beans into a truly addictive side dish. We couldn't get enough of them!

One pan means less dishes to clean before bed; make life even easier on yourself and try these crockpot mashed potatoes to go alongside the meatloaf and green beans. Meatloaf + mashed potatoes are the perfect pair!

Teriyaki Meatloaf & Green Beans
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, shape into loaf. Drizzle with half of the teriyaki sauce and bake for 20 minutes. 

In a bowl, toss the green beans with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Pull the baking sheet from the oven and pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over top. Add the beans to the baking sheet, surrounding the meatloaf in a single layer, and place it back in the oven. Bake until the meatloaf edges are browned and the beans are tender, around 20 minutes.

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine

Monday, April 27, 2015

Herb Roasted Fish

A deliciously easy way to enjoy fish! Light, healthy, and finished in minutes. Simple enough for a weeknight but delicious enough for guests.

I was introduced to foil packs by my husband when we first started dating. We went camping with friends a few times and it was always on the menu. And while foil packs are perfect for camping, they are also perfect for weeknight meals! No fuss, very few dishes are used, and it cooks food perfectly - especially fish.

This dish really lets the herbs permeate the fish resulting in a delicious and healthy meal. Be sure you use fresh thyme, fresh lemon juice, and a good quality olive oil - it makes a big difference in a dish with so few ingredients.

Herb Roasted Fish
4 6-8 ounce fish fillets, such as cod, tilapia, or snapper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 large green olives with pits

Preheat oven to 400. 

Lay each fillet in the center of it's own piece of foil that extends a couple of inches beyond the fillet. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Place 2 olives alongside the fish.

Carefully seal all edges of the foil to form enclosed packets. 

Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully open before serving.

Source: adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cold Brew Iced Coffee + DIY Coffee Station

How to set up an easy coffee station at home, plus an easy recipe for cold brew iced coffee! Cold brew coffee is smooth, flavorful, and inexpensive to make. Perfect for warm spring days!

I'm quite addicted to iced coffee, and though I'll be the first to admit Starbucks is not the best coffee on the market, they are the only ones I've found to make my iced coffee "right". So between that, and their gold star rewards, I find myself there multiple times a week.

Since there is no Starbucks close to my house, I often make up a batch of cold brew coffee to keep on hand for those occasions when leaving the house seems like way too much work. It's super easy, stores well, and I can make it "right" myself - and save money in the process!

Cold brew coffee is better than simply refrigerating brewed coffee until chilled. It's much stronger, to to handle the ice melting, and smoother in taste. 

While I typically drink hot coffee black, I love adding flavored creamers and syrups to the iced version. Try this homemade maple vanilla coffee creamer or homemade rosemary simple syrup for a delicious twist! 

Scroll down below recipe to see details on the DIY coffee station!

Cold Brew Iced Coffee
1/2 lb bag coffee beans, coarsely ground
6 cups water

Place the coffee in a gallon sized container/pitcher. Slowly pour the water over top and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours).

Line a mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and place over a medium bowl. Slowly pour the coffee over the strainer until most of the liquid is gone from the pitcher. If using paper towels, you'll need to change out the towel frequently.

Store coverd in the fridge for about a week.


While iced coffee is typically my first choice, I'm an equal opportunity coffee fan. Having all the "makings" for a hot beverage in one spot makes getting my hands on a cup of coffee early in the morning that much easier, and it comes in handy when we have house guests! This easy coffee station has become the perfect addition to our kitchen.

In the galvanized tray, you'll find:
  • cinnamon sticks
  • sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • tea bags
  • hot chocolate mix
  • stir sticks
  • mugs
  • selection of K-Cups
I hit up the Dollar Tree and bought small glass dessert shot glasses that were perfect for storing cinnamon sticks and stir sticks {I put the 3rd in the guest bath and stocked it with q-tips!}. I also picked up a pack of salt and pepper shakers, which were perfect for sugar and cinnamon. The white metal pail that the tea bags are in is from Target dollar spot. They seem to have a steady stream of great containers there. 

Of course, I just point house guests to the iced coffee and coffee creamers/milk in the fridge before heading to bed so they can help themselves. We put the coffee station right next to the fridge so it's all easy to access. 

Now who's ready for a big cup of coffee?

See Aimee Cook

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