Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Herb Pasta and Meatballs (one pot!)

Incredible flavor made in just 1 pot - pasta included! Meatballs are browned and then nestled in a creamy herb based sauce and cooked alongside egg noodles. This recipe is quick, easy, and perfect for busy weeknights!

Spring usually means longer days spent outside - whether it's yardwork, ball practice, or just enjoying the sun. I always find that I hibernate in the winter evenings but am anxious to get out of the house when it's so beautiful outside! Charlotte in the spring is especially lovely so I've been reaching for quick and easy weeknight meals. Who wants to stay inside and cook or do dishes? This recipe is perfect!

You quickly mix together Boursin cheese and ground beef to create small meatballs. Brown the meatballs in your pan, remove, then make the creamy herb sauce. Once it's going, you add the quick cooking egg noodles and browned meatballs back in the pan to finish cooking. Add a little more Boursin and some chives and you've got dinner!

Boursin cheese is a soft cheese - often flavored - found in your specialty cheese section of the grocery store. I used garlic and herb but you could switch it up. 

Herb Pasta & Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package garlic and herb Boursin cheese
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
8 ounces egg noodles
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Combine beef, 5 tablespoons Boursin cheese, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl and gently combine. Form mixture into 1 inch meatballs. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.

Add the onion to the reserved fat and cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and stir, cooking until golden, about 1 minute. Add the broth, noodles, and wine and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and cook, stirring often, until pasta begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, until meatballs are cooked through and noodles are al dente, about 4 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the  remaining Boursin cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: adapted from Cooks Country Magazine

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Charred Eggplant with Chermoula

Quick charred eggplant slices are topped with a complex, bright, and flavorful sauce. The perfect side dish for your spring grilling, or paired with your favorite kebab recipe!

I don't use eggplant much, and for that reason, I'm not overly comfortable with it. I wasn't even sure this recipe would be a winner, though I knew the sauce sounded right up our alley.

Thankfully, the eggplant was easy to cook and tasted amazing with the sauce! The char on the eggplant gives great flavor and the sauce takes it over the top. It's bright, fresh, and perfect for spring. Chermoula is a traditionally Moroccan marinade or sauce typically comprised of fresh herbs, spices, and oil. Though chermoula sounds super fancy, it's embarrassingly easy to make thanks to your food processor. You can even whip it up a day or two ahead of time if that makes your meal prep even easier!

Charred Eggplant with Chermoula
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup cilantro
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray
2 medium eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices

Add the cumin, coriander, rind, salt, paprika, red pepper, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With the processor on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until just blended.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add a layer of eggplant slices to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes per side, or until tender and slightly charred. Remove to a platter and repeat the process with the remaining slices.

Drizzle the prepared sauce over the eggplant and serve.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light April 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wingstop Copycat Lemon Pepper Boneless Wings

You can easily make lemon pepper boneless wings that taste just like the ones you love at Wingstop! Crispy, buttery, and loaded with lemon pepper, these zesty boneless wings will disappear before you know it!

Wingstop is our favorite wing spot, though they have been hard to find here in North Carolina! While all their flavors are tasty, the lemon pepper is out of this world good! Instead of driving nearly 30 minutes away to get our lemon pepper fix, I decided to try and recreate it at home!

Boneless wings are easier to make than you'd think. You're essentially making chicken nuggets and then coating them in a sauce. I like to double coat my chicken and then let it rest in the fridge to really help that breading stick throughout the frying process. It works like a charm - I didn't lose the coating on any of my pieces! Once they are browned, you're ready to simply toss them in a buttery lemon pepper sauce before serving.

They are crispy, juicy, and bursting with lemon pepper flavor. This will be your family's favorite meal of the week!

Wingstop Copycat Lemon Pepper Boneless Wings
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Flour (I use several cups)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and pepper
10 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate shallow bowl, add a few cups flour and lots of salt and pepper.

Using tongs, coat each chicken piece in the egg first, followed by flour, and again in egg, and a second coat of flour. Place all the battered chicken on a plate and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Once ready to fry, add 2 inches of oil to a deep pan like a Dutch oven and heat to 350 degrees. Add the chicken and fry in batches for 5-6 minutes, or until well browned on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

In a large bowl, melt 10 tablespoons butter in the microwave at 20 second increments or until melted. Whisk in the lemon pepper seasoning. Add the chicken and toss gently to coat all the pieces.

Serve hot.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Chili-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and incredibly delicious! This easy recipe results in unbelievably moist and tender pork which can be cooked either inside or outside on the grill.

Pork tenderloin is probably one of my favorite cuts of meat, thanks to it's moist flavor and lean meat. While easy to prepare, I tend to get in a rut and reach for the same ol' recipes. Pork tenderloin is perfect on it's own, without being buried under sauces or other ingredients. Unlike chicken, it needs just a good crust of flavor to make it shine. Which makes it perfect for an easy weeknight meal!

This rub needs no time to marinade and uses staple pantry items. Depending on the weather, you can either toss it on the grill or make it in house. It was a particularly rainy evening when I made it so I did it in the house and it was perfect!

Serve it alongside two of your favorite veggies and dinner is made!

Chili-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
vegetable oil

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the pork and oil. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 450. 

Rub the pork with about 1 teaspoon oil and then rub and press the spices to all sides of the pork. 

Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the hot skillet and drizzle in some oil. Add the pork and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the pork and reduce heat to 400; cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 155F.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

***IF GRILLING: Preheat your gas or charcoal grill. Once the pork is well coated with the spice mixture, place the pork on the grill. Cover and let cook over medium-heat for 17-20 minutes, turning several times, or until the internal temperature reads 155F. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Source: adapted from Betty Crocker

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie (1 pan - no bowls!)

This cookie will change your {baking} life! A gooey, chocolately, warm cookie is prepared and baked in the same skillet! You know what that means? No bowls, no mixer, no mess - yes!

I love baked goods... and I like the idea of baking until I get to the pile of dishes spread all over my kitchen. And can we talk about the flour that gets everywhere? All that sifting and stirring... mixing and resting... it just begs for me to stop by Costco and grab something sweet there instead. If you love that part of baking, you'll be sad making this cookie. But for those like me, that really just enjoy the eating part of baking, this will change your life.

You literally mix the ingredients right in the pan, press it down, and bake. 20 minutes later, you're noshing on hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie. You can mix in other kinds of chips, nuts, sprinkles, whatever floats your boat. My husband drowns his in ice cream while I like to eat it in it's purest form. Regardless of your method, you won't regret trying it.

I blogged this recipe nearly 5 years ago (!!!) and, while I've made it dozens of times since, neglected to give it a better pic and more love (typically because my husband is already slicing it up before I can grab the camera!). Regardless of what I throw in, it's consistently good.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. While it's preheating, add the butter to an 8 inch cast iron skillet and place it in the oven. Watch carefully and remove once the butter has just melted; leave oven on.

To the melted butter, add both sugars and vanilla and stir until well combined. Let rest for 5 minutes, or until the pan is warm but not very hot.

Crack the egg into the butter/sugar mixture and use a fork to whisk until well combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the pan; carefully mix together until it starts to become a thick dough. Add the chocolate chips and continue stirring to combine.

Using a spatula, press the dough into the bottom of the pan, making sure it's even.

Bake in preheat oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are browned and set and the center is soft. Allow to cool slightly before slicing into wedges. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Beef with Broccoli

An easy version of a favorite Chinese take-out dish! Tender beef is marinated then quickly cooked along with fresh broccoli. Restaurant quality... at home!

I love love love Chinese food! I tend to rotate between several different dishes but, if I trust the restaurant's meat quality, beef with broccoli is one of my top choices. Have you ever ordered beef at a restaurant and gotten chewy, cheap cuts of meat instead? Yeah, that's why I love making things at home!

Beef with broccoli is super simple to make. This recipe uses a quick marinade to ensure your beef is fork tender and quick cooking helps the broccoli from being overcooked and limp. The sauce? Flavorful, not runny, and enough in the pan for you to smother your rice in.

I'm not the only one scooping out sauce to drizzle all over my rice, am I?

Put down the take-out menu and whip this up instead!

Beef with Broccoli
For the marinade:
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 lbs flank steak, cut into thin strips against the grain

For the rest of the dish:
1 cup low sodium soy sauce 
4 tablespoons brown sugar
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sherry
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb broccoli florets

In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place the sliced steak into a gallon size ziplock and pour the marinade ingredients over top. Seal, toss gently, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 

When ready to cook, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour, and sherry. Set aside.

In a large wok or pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the broccoli and saute for 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high and carefully add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the marinated steak and half of the prepared sauce. Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Add the broccoli and remaining sauce and saute another minute.

Serve hot.

Source: adapted from Rainy Day Gal

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