Monday, September 30, 2013

Honey Mustard Glazed Baby-Back Ribs

A few years ago, Jason and I traveled to Memphis as part of a road trip vacation. On the menu? Ribs, of course! Probably our favorite ribs there were at Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous. His ribs are "dry" ~ they have a great crust on them thanks to a flavorful dry rub but there is no sauce. They are SO good, and definitely don't need a sauce!

Most Texas BBQ joints will serve them up saucy. A dry rub is used while they smoke and then a thick sauce is brushed on as they are grilled. Messy, and not usually suitable for eating in mixed company, but finger lickin' good.

To be honest, I don't have a preference with dry versus wet. If it's a tender rib, loaded with flavor, I'm a fan. Period. But when making ribs at home without a smoker, I think the best option is to go with both-and. The dry rub + sauce is my favorite technique and ensures loads of flavor, even without the smoker.

I've tried making ribs at home many times and we keep coming back to this recipe (which I originally shared over 3 years ago!). The spice rub really gives the meat a ton of flavor and they are practically fall off the bone tender when they are finishing baking. But wait! Don't be tempted to just dig in after they finish in the oven - they really need that char that only a grill can give. Throw it on the grill and slather it in the homemade honey mustard sauce before serving.

It's so good, y'all. Truly the best homemade ribs we've had to date!

Honey Mustard Glazed Baby-Back Ribs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and ground pepper
4 pounds baby-back ribs (2-3 racks)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 honey

Heat oven to 275. 

Make the rub: in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, dry mustard, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Places the ribs on a large ribbed baking sheet. Rub the ribs with the spice mixture and tightly cover with foil. Bake until tender and the meat easily pulls away from the bone, 2 - 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl combine the Dijon mustard, vinegar, and honey. Save 1/2 cup for serving.

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill the ribs, basting with the sauce and turning occasionally, until just beginning to char, 4-5 minutes. Serve with reserved sauce.

Source: Real Simple

Friday, September 27, 2013

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars

My coworkers are fantastic guinea pigs.

It's not uncommon for me to whip something up late at night long after Jason heads to bed and take the whole pan to work the next day to be taste tested.

One night a few weeks back, I made three different recipes (all sweets) and brought them with me to the office.

{let me take a minute and assure you that there are never complaints raised about being guinea pigs when it comes to food!}

Out of the three, these were by the far the biggest hit. Not only did Jason and I think they were amazing, the entire office did too!

What they didn't know is just how darn EASY they were! While the other two recipes took a few steps, multiple dishes, and lots of time, this one took 5 minutes and one bowl.

Yup, 5 minutes. One bowl.

This is the first time I've made granola bars and I sure wish I had tried making them sooner! Storebought granola bars aren't cheap and we buy them often. These? Cheap! Easy! And SO much tastier. I can't wait to try other variations. But in the meantime, we will gladly nosh on snickerdoodle flavored granola bars.

This weekend, take 5 minutes and whip these up. You'll thank me later!

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup or honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3 1/2 cups quick cook oats
3/4 cup plus up to 4 tablespoons all purpose flour

Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil and allow for some overhang (to help with removal later). Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the butter, corn syrup or honey, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Heat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes total, stopping every minute to stir. Keep an eye on it the final minute and make sure it doesn't bubble over.

To the bowl, add the vanilla, cinnamon, cream of tarter, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the oats and stir to combine. Add the 3/4 cup flour slowly, stirring constantly to incorporate it. Add up to 4 more tablespoons flour if your mixture seems very wet - it should be thick and moist. Be careful to not dry it out.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread it into a flat layer, pressing down firmly with a spatula and smoothing it out. Place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or in the freezer for at least an hour, until the bars are set. Once set, lift the bars out by the foil overhang and onto a cutting board. Slice into desired size and shape.

Store bars in either an airtight container, individually wrapped in plastic wrap, or in a Ziplock. At room temp they will keep up to a week, in the refrigerator for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Source: Averie Cooks

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Charred Corn and Chicken Tacos

What is about tacos that makes them so darn tasty? You could pretty much wrap a tortilla around anything and I'd eat it.

The great thing about tacos is that they are so customizable and perfect for a crowd (or picky eaters). These particular tacos are probably one our absolute faves. The corn is sweet so it works well with the jalapeno, lime, and sour cream. You'll want to grab a fork and just dig into the skillet but hold off long enough to stuff it into a flour tortilla and top with some cheese and cumin crema. It totally takes them to the next level.

Y'all, these are so so good. Make them soon. Please?

Charred Corn & Chicken Tacos
For the skillet:
3 ears sweet corn or 2.5 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice

For the cumin crema:
1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch of salt

For serving:
Cumin crema
Cotija cheese
Chopped cilantro
Flour tortillas

In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the corn and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to lightly char. Add the jalapeno, onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and let cook until the onions and jalapeno are soft. Stir in the chopped chicken, lime juice, salt, and pepper and let cook until the chicken is warmed through.

While it cooks, make the cumin crema by stirring together the Mexican crema, cumin, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Fold chicken/corn mixture into warm flour tortillas and top with desired toppings.

Source: slightly adapted from Macheesmo

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers

Have you noticed that food blogs everywhere have gone fall crazy?

I started a fall Pinterest board and right now, those pins are the ones getting the most repinning action. I know, we are all looking forward to the changing seasons and ALL THINGS PUMPKIN but hold off just until you get a chance to make these burgers.

Chicken burgers (and turkey burgers, for that matter) can often be really bland and dry. Unlike ground beef, they need a lot of flavor and moisture added in order to taste really good. But when you find that perfect balance of moisture and flavor, I would argue that a chicken burger trumps a beef one.

Don't believe me? Try these. Really. They are lean, full of flavor, and delicious!

We liked these best with a thick slather of guacamole and a drizzle of creamy jalapeno ranch (the Chuy's copycat I recently posted!). Yum! 

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers
For the burgers:
1.5 pounds ground chicken
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
cooking spray

For serving:
Burger buns
Your choice of toppings: Guacamole, sour cream, ranch dressing (this creamy jalapeno dip was AMAZING on it), extra cheese, extra cilantro, salsa, etc. 

Heat the grill to medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, lime juice, cheddar, salt, and pepper. Mix together until well blended. Shape into four 1/2 inch thick patties.

Grill patties 5-6 minutes per side. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving alongside your desired toppings.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chicken Tetrazzini

Casseroles get a bad rap sometimes.

I think they are often thought of as calorie bombs loaded with cream soups and mystery meats. And sometimes they are... but they don't have to be! Casseroles = comfort, which is why they are the go-to meal brought to new parents, those recovering from illness, or grieving families.

I love a creamy dish of comfort as much as the next girl so I was stoked to find this lightened up version of a traditional chicken tetrazzini. This recipe makes two pans - you can either freeze one for a later date or pass it on to another family in need of a big pan of comfort.

Chicken Tetrazzini
cooking spray
1 pound pasta, any shape you prefer
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup flour
3 (14.5 ounce) cans fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, divided
1/2 cup 1/3 less fat cream cheese
4 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie works well)
1 slice white bread

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat two 8x8 square glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, pepper, salt, and mushrooms. Saute for 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry and cook 1 minute.

Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Gradually add the flour to the pan and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. 

Add 1 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the cream cheese melts. Add the cooked pasta and chicken, stir until blended. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans. 

Place the slice of bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Combine the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta.**

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes. 

**If wanting to freeze for a later date: after assembling the casserole, do not bake. Instead, let cool completely in the fridge then wrap well with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy duty foil and store in freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, thaw completely in the fridge (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 350. Remove foil and set aside. Remove plastic wrap and discard. Cover casserole again with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes.

Source: Cooking Light 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Today, I'm guest posting over at The Best Blog Recipes again and this time I'm sharing a Tex Mex staple dish - Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas! I shared a more complicated recipe for this a couple of years ago and was determined to make it weeknight friendly. Thankfully, I was successful as we find ourselves craving Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas on a regular basis now that we're in a state that doesn't have them on every menu!

These enchiladas come together quickly so they are perfect for a weeknight meal.

If you've never had the deliciousness that is Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, do yourself a favor and hop over for the recipe!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Softbatch Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies use cream cheese in them.

I didn't include them in the title because I was afraid it would scare off cream cheese haters.

{did you know there are actually people out there that don't like cream cheese? strange, right?}

When used in a cookie, the cream cheese is almost magical. You can't taste the flavor but it creates this incredibly soft and rich chocolate chip cookies. This is pretty much the best CCC I've ever made.

Who knew that swapping out some of the butter for cream cheese would make such a difference!

These are super simple to whip up. I've made them three times now - they turn out perfect each time and I always get rave reviews. For this batch I used mint chocolate chips but the other times, I just used semi-sweet. Feel free to adjust the chocolate chip amount to your preference (as written gives you a lot of chocolate!).

They will stay soft for a week - though I promise they won't last that long!

Softbatch Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (don't use fat free, light, or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed for 7 minutes, until well-creamed, light, and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, about 1 minutes.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoons on a large plate and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 5 days) before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with cooking spray. Place dough on the sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges have set and top is beginning to set. Don't overcook! Cookies will firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.

Store cookies in airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

Source: Averie Cooks

Friday, September 13, 2013

Foil Pack Jambalaya

I made this dish twice in one month.

{that's pretty much completely unheard of around here}

In an effort to avoid dirtying a measuring spoon I eyeballed the Cajun seasoning.

Let's pause here for a second.

There is a good lesson to be learned at this point. Some spices should not just be eyeballed unless you have a pretty fantastic eyeball. Which I evidently do not. Spices such as cayenne and Cajun seasoning would fall into that category. Others, like my BFF garlic, are probably okay being eyeballed with a poorly functioning eyeball.

Because of my dysfunctional eyeball, we couldn't eat more than a few bites. I choked down a couple, tears streaming down my face, determined to not waste perfectly good food. Jason had long since abandoned his serving. Unfortunately, 90% of it went in the trash.

The idea was great - it's easy, no mess, and low calorie - so it went back on the menu. And this time I used a measuring spoon.

And it was grand.

Foil Pack Jambalaya
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 turkey sausages, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and discarded, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 cup instant brown rice
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together all ingredients except cooking spray. Mix well.

On a baking sheet, place two pieces of foil and spray each with cooking spray. Divide the mixture evenly between the pieces and seal well.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until rice and meats are fully cooked. 

Serve immediately. 

Each packet is two servings.

Source: adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spinach & Smoked Gouda Stuffed Chicken

This is probably our favorite chicken recipe and I rarely make it! It was actually one of the first recipes I shared back in 2010 so I thought it deserved another day in the spotlight.

Back when when we were first married, we had a lot of fun trying new recipes and cooking together. Neither one of us were great cooks but with practice, we started eating really well. I was in recipe scavenge mode - and since it was way before Pinterest (and food blogs, too, really), I picked up lots of recipes along the way from friends, family, and magazines.

One night we splurged on smoked gouda (we were poor newlyweds!) and made this chicken. It's been a favorite since! It was the meal we made my mom when she visited us the first time and it became our one "guest worthy" dish. While I'm now comfortable making many other things for guests, too, this chicken is still one of our top choices. Everyone I've made it for asks for the recipe and I have to admit to them how easy it is!

This chicken is weeknight (or guest!) worthy. The stuffing is quickly mixed together in a bowl and stuffed into chicken breasts before baking. Simple and no fess!

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Stuffed Chicken
1 box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, spinach, smoked gouda, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Cut a slit in the thick side of each chicken breast piece, being careful to not cut through the other side, in order to create a pocket. 

Stuff each pocket with the cream cheese mixture and place in a greased baking dish. Drizzle the melted butter over top and then salt and pepper each piece well. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Source: a friend

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip

We've been living in the great state of North Carolina for a bit over a year and we started missing our beloved Tex Mex approximately 3 days after arriving here.

There just weren't many any great options. They have great Mexican food here - don't get me wrong - but it's not Tex Mex.

And then Chuy's announced they'd be opening a location here and I danced a jig. Is it my favorite Tex Mex restaurant ever? Nah, there were a couple awesome homegrown family run spots in Fort Worth that hold that spot but for a chain they're darn tasty.

It opened a couple months ago and we've been there often, even dragging others with us in our attempt to convert the natives into Tex Mex loving peeps.

The hit at the table is always ALWAYS their creamy jalapeno dip. They put something in it that makes you want to sit in the corner with a spoon and just shovel in it. It's ridiculously addicting and really, one of my favorite things about Chuy's.

We recently had enchiladas for dinner and I tried out a Chuy's copycat recipe to serve alongside chips. Y'all, this recipe is pretty darn close. And it'll be your newest addiction. Perfect for a party when you want something other than a traditional ranch dip or... just for dinner :) No prep needed, just throw it into your food processor and let it do it's thing!

A note on the heat: as written,  I think it's very mild. Taste and adjust as needed; we dumped more jalapenos just for grins but I did not include those in the amounts below.

Happy dipping!

Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dip
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 buttermilk
1/2 cup mild tomatillo salsa
1 handful cilantro
1 dry ranch dressing packet
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos  

Toss all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust as desired. 

Source: slightly adapted from Heritage Schoolhouse

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Last week was Jason's birthday. And just like a really well prepared food blogging wife, I made all his favorite dishes plus made a homemade cake to celebrate with.

Or not.

I really am impressed by people who can make that happen but it rarely works out well for me.

His birthday was mid-week. I was out of town the days prior and worked an extra long day on his actual birthday. The best he got was reservations for dinner when I got off work, which I admit is fairly pitiful. We didn't even order dessert.

By the weekend, when my schedule cleared up, I realized just how pitiful it was and decided that it's never too late for birthday cake. The man loves ice cream cake (who doesn't?!) so that's what he got. Oreos. Ice cream. Chocolate cake. Hot fudge. Topped with more Oreos and more hot fudge.

It's turned out pretty amazing and he seemed quite pleased, even if it was a few days late.

This week he was responsible for taking the birthday cake to work for a colleague and he whipped up this cake for his office. He came home with raves about how delicious it was. And that birthday boy was pretty pleased, too.

But enough about birthdays. I think that ice cream cake is something that is a year round, any day of the week, for absolutely no reason treat. And because of that, I think you should make one soon :)

This cake has two layers: bottom layer is a mixture of chocolate cake, Oreos, hot fudge, and ice cream. The top layer is ice cream and Oreos. You whip them up in two bowls then just layer them in your springform pan and top it all with more Oreos and fudge. Easy peasy! 

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream Cake
13 ounce package of Oreos (or generic brand), roughly chopped
2 cups roughly chopped chocolate cake, see note below
1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream, very soft
1 cup hot fudge sauce
cooking spray

Lightly spray a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside. Divide the chopped Oreos into three equal parts and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the chopped chocolate cake and 1/3 of the Oreos. Add 1/3 of the ice cream (make sure it's very soft) and stir gently until the cake, Oreos, and ice cream are well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 2/3 of the ice cream with another 1/3 of the Oreos. Swirl in about 1/2 cup of the hot fudge sauce. Press this on top of the cake mixture in the pan.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 Oreos and drizzle the remaining sauce over top.

Lightly cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to serve, let the pan sit at room temp for about 5 minutes then run a knife around the inside of the pan. Open the mold gently to remove the cake. Enjoy!

Note: You can use a store-bought chocolate cake, like a chocolate pound cake or bundt cake. I opted to just whip up a basic chocolate cake and save the expense. This is the recipe I used - it will make enough for 3 of these ice cream cakes so feel free to cut it in half (or eat lots of cake!).

Source: Adapted from The Kitchn

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Turkey, Mushroom, and Spinach Lasagna

I don't typically mess with lasagna at home.

It's a a bit fussy and usually pretty expensive to make. Definitely a special occasion meal in this house.

So I definitely broke my own rule when I made this lasagna. I was searching for lower calorie pasta meals (hard to do!) and came across this healthier version of a traditional lasagna that also came with just a 20 minute prep time and minimal pricey ingredients. At just 390 calories a serving, I was sold!

This was actually whipped up on a weeknight without much effort and it may possibly be my favorite lasagna recipe to date. It makes a large amount but we had no issues polishing it off within a few days. Even my traditional lasagna loving husband LOVED this version.

Ground turkey, spinach, and mushrooms add loads of flavor along with a secret ingredient of turkey pepperoni! I don't usually like pepperoni but I rolled with it and am glad I did. It adds a spicy unique flavor in the background that you can't quite pinpoint... unless you made it, of course.

Make sure you hold onto a full cup of marinara sauce to cover the top layer or you'll end up with not quite cooked through noodles on top like mine!

Turkey, Mushroom, and Spinach Lasagna
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cups baby spinach
32 ounce jar of marinara sauce
4 ounces turkey pepperoni, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
15 ounces fat free ricotta
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, fennel, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and mix together. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl.

Add oil to the same skillet. When hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft - about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted - about 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey and remove from heat. 

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping if needed. Layer half of the turkey filling on top, then add half the ricotta. Top with 1 cup of marinara, half the pepperoni, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Add another layer of 4 noodles, then turkey filling, the rest of the ricotta, 1 cup of marinara, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and the rest of the pepperoni. Top with 4 more lasagna noodles and the remaining cup of marinara sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and basil.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 more minutes, or until the noodles are soft and mozzarella has browned. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Green Olive Chicken Salad

Saying that I like green olives is a bit of an understatement.

I looooooooooooooooove them.

In high school, one of my favorite lunches was scrambled eggs with sliced green olives.

My favorite pizza is cheese and lots of green olives.

A burger topped with sauteed green olives? Obviously my favorite.

So why hadn't I thought to use them in my chicken salad? Thankfully, I have now seen the light and my favorite chicken salad recipe wavers between curry chicken salad and this green olive chicken salad.

If you like the salty briny taste of green olives, you'll LOVE this chicken salad. I promise!

Green Olive Chicken Salad
2 cups roughly chopped or shredded cooked chicken 
1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
1 cup large green olives with pimento, sliced 
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup light mayo
2 teaspoons green olive brine (from jar)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper, to taste  

Combine mayo, light mayo, green olive brine, lemon juice, Dijon, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to mix together.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the chicken and celery. Stir in dressing until desired consistency (you may not need it all). Fold in sliced olives until well combined. 

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Source: Kalyn's Kitchen

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Creamy Avocado Linguine with Lemon & Arugula

Oh y'all.

This pasta?


It's bright, fresh, creamy, and done in less than 15 minutes!

I made it one night when Jason would be home late and I didn't think he'd be eating dinner with me. You see, it has no meat. None. And none should be added. I whipped it up, stuffed my face, and thought gloriously of the leftovers I'd have for lunch the next day. And you know what happened?

He came home hungry.

I tried to discourage him from eating it. Just the fact it had no meat should have been a deterrent in itself. But alas, he was hungry enough to consider a completely vegan dinner.

Much to my chagrin, he loved it.

And that's how Aimee lost her tasty leftovers...

On the other hand, it tells you just how good this meal is.

You're 15 minutes from a glorious bowl of pasta. Just be sure and hide the leftovers!

Creamy Avocado Linguine with Lemon & Arugula
8 ounces linguine
2 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
2 whole garlic cloves
generous handful arugula
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Cook linguine according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, puree the avocados, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

In a large bowl, toss together the pureed avocado mixture, hot pasta, and arugula until well mixed. Taste and add more salt and cracked pepper as needed. Top with lemon zest before serving. 

See Aimee Cook

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