Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Sweet potato and Farro Bowls


 I love grain bowls for a few reasons. 1) They are delicious and 2) It's easy for each person to adjust toppings to their liking which means less complaining at dinner time! One ingredient all my kids can agree on is a sweet potato which also makes this grain bowl appealing. With a yummy citrus dressing and cranberries it also has enough sweet to convince some of my kids to eat arugula. 

Sweet Potato and Farro Bowls

1 lemon (zested and quartered)

1 T. sugar

1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries) 

3 large sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into 1 in. cubes)

1 large yellow onion (chopped into thick wedges)

2-3 large sweet potatoes

2 T. olive oil

2 tsp. chili powder

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups farro

6 cups chicken stock 

2 T. butter

4 cups arugula

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

pepitas or pine nuts (to taste) 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Juice the lemon into a small bowl and combine juice with lemon zest, cranberries and sugar. Allow to marinate while preparing the rest of the meal. 

Chop and dice sweet potatoes and onions and mix with olive oil, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out flat on a large baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until tender and lightly roasted. 

While veggies roast, combine farro and chicken stock in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 25 minutes (most liquid should be absorbed). Stir in butter and fluff with fork. 

In a medium bowl mix cranberry mixture with arugula. Serve in bowls by adding farro and roasted veggies first and then topping with arugula mixture, parmesan and pepitas (or pine nutes). Enjoy!







Monday, May 13, 2024

Chicken Bagels


 

Forgive the less than perfect picture and the paper plate! I didn't have time to take a better one but these are worth a post so that I have them for next time. These come together quickly thanks to rotisserie chicken! The picture shows the sandwhich with all the fixings listed below but we did have several kids who opted out of some of the toppings and they enjoyed it too. 

Chicken Bagel Sandwiches

8 cheddar jalapeno bagels (or bagels of your choosing)

Chipotle Mayo

1 rotisserie chicken (removed from bones and chopped)

1 jar of roasted red peppers

1 lb. cooked bacon (I used precooked bacon)

8 slices sharp cheddar

Dijon mustard

Instructions:

Preheat broiler. Slice bagels in half and place bottom halfs on a large baking sheet. Spread with chipotle mail and top with rotisserie chicken, red bell peppers, bacon and cheddar cheese. Broil on low for 5-6 minutes (checking occasionally) until bagel is slightly toasty and cheese is melted. Spread top bagels with dijon mustard and place on top. Enjoy!

Caprese Chicken

 


This recipe was born out of several other recipes that I already had and a need to use up some cherry tomatoes I had forgotten about. As we've been working on eating healthier we've relied pretty heavily on our grill for giving the food some flavor. Serve this with a caprese salad and some veggies of your choosing. 

Caprese Chicken

6 chicken breasts (cut into strips)

1 bottle caesar dressing

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1-2 T. olive oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar (I used a white apricot balsamic)

1 recipe caprese salad and balsamic glaze (for recipe click here)


Combine chicken strips and caesar dressing in a large bowl and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hr. 

Prepare caprese salad and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Grill chicken on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through (reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Discard any leftover marinade. 

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet and add cherry tomatoes and garlic. Cook about 1 minute until tomatoes are slightly blistered and garlic is fragrant and lightly browned. Add balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook over low heat until reduced and slightly thickened. 

Serve tomato mixture over grilled chicken and serve with prepared caprese salad. Top with extra glaze if desired. (You can use the glaze recipe from the salad or to speed things up a bit I use nonna pia's from costco).




Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sushi

 


Several of my kiddos (and myself) love sushi but it can be expensive for a family of 7. We decided to try our hand at making it ourselves and it's gone really well!  These are far from the beautiful rolls you'll get in a restaurant by someone trained to make it but we're getting better all the time. One thing that has helped with the process is this sushi making kit from Amazon: Sushi Making Kit. At the time of posting this it's on sale for $18 and it was well worth the price! If you don't want the whole kit, at the very least you'll need a bamboo roller mat, a good bamboo spoon to work with the rice, and a good sharp nice to slice it without smashing the roll. 


Sushi 

Fillings:

1 recipe of sushi rice (recipe below is enough rice for 5-6 rolls)

1 pkg. nori wraps

2 avocado (sliced)

1 cucumber (seeded and julienned)

cream cheese

meat of your choice (we used smoked salmon, shrimp tempura and imitation crab)

Toppings: 

Sesame seeds (black and white)

Ponzu sauce 

Spicy Mayo 

Crunchy fried onion or panko crumbs 

Rice Recipe:

3 cups sushi rice (we used Jasmine which is a longer grain)

4.5 cups water

1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2-3 T. sugar

Instructions:

Begin by making the sushi by combining rice, water and rice vinegar in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes).  Once cooked, mix in sugar well and spread the rice out flat on a baking sheet and allow to cool. 

While rice cools prepare your vegetables and meats as indicated above. If you are using the sushi press place rice in the press and fill with the fillings of your choice. I've included a few good pairings below. Press the rice together around the filling and place in the nori and roll. Using a small cup of water, dip you fingers in the water and spread it across the top of the nori to seal the edge. If you are not using the sushi press, follow instructions as written with whichever type of mat you are using. 

Top with whichever toppings you like and enjoy!


* Ideas for filling combos

Philly roll: Smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado

Cali roll: imitation crab, avocado, cucumber

Shrimp tembura roll: cooked shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber

Spicy Cruch roll: meat of your choice, avocado, cucumber, panzo sauce, spicy mayo and crunchy onion

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Spicy Ramen



 

One of my kiddos loves ramen and wanted to try our hand at making our own.  We used precooked chicken to make this a 20 minute meal and it turned out great. We made it a bit too spicy our first time so we all agreed to leave the sriracha out next time and let each person add it to their own preferred level. Give it a try!

Spicy Ramen

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 T. butter

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tsp. fresh ginger minced (I love the frozen ginger cubes from trader joes)

6 cups chicken stock

4 T. reduced sodium soy sauce

1 T. cooking sherry

1 T. brown sugar

1 cup shredded carrots

2 cups chicken (we used thinly sliced rotisserie chicken)

8 oz. ramen noodles (I bought some at World Market, but you could also use chicken ramen packets and discard the seasoning)

1/2 cup chopped green onion 

6 hard boiled eggs (cut in half)

Sesame seeds (We used Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader joes- DELICIOUS!)

sriracha (to taste)

Instructions:

Heat oil and butter in a large stock pot and cook garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, sherry, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add ramen noodles and cook until al dente. Add chicken and shredded carrots and continue cooking until the meat is heated. 

Top with green onion, hard boiled eggs and "Everything but the Bagel" seasoning. Add sriracha to taste and enjoy!




Layered Salad


 

A coworker brought in a layered salad the other day and it was so yummy I decided to make my own take on it. I bet most people's grandmas have a similar salad recipe so this is comfort food. My favorite part is how it gets less and less healthy as you work your way to the top! I will say that although it looked pretty in this trifle dish it probably needed a bigger bowl to serve it from. We ended up making it a tossed salad so that people could get everything. Enjoy!

Layered Salad

5-6 cups iceburg or romaine lettuce

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1 can water chestnuts (chopped)

4 stalks celery (finely chopped)

16 oz. bag frozen peas

2 cups sharp cheddar

6 strips thick cut bacon (cooked and crumbled)

Dressing:

1.5 cups miracle whip

3 T. sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


Instructions:

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients and set aside. 

In a trifle bowl or large glass bowl, layer lettuce, bell pepper, water chestnuts, celery, and frozen peas. Top with prepared dressing, cheese and bacon. 




Creamy Dijon Chicken



 

We've been working hard on not eating out so I've been trying to appease my family with some new recipes! This was a crowd pleaser so I'm adding it here so I can remember it for next time. I used a large electric skillet to cook a big enough portion for everyone here but you could easily split the recipe into two pans or cut the recipe in half for your needs.  

Dijon Chicken
4 lg. chicken breasts (pounded to 1 in. and cut into two equal portions)
salt and pepper
2 T. olive oil 
4 T. butter
6 cloves garlic
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T. dijon mustard
splash of soy sauce
Fresh thyme

Instructions:
Pound chicken breasts to 1 in. flat. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken for about 6 minutes on each side, getting a good sear on all side and heating to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. When chicken is cooked through, remove from pan and set aside to rest.

Melt butter in the pan just used to cook the chicken, scraping the bits from the pan.  Saute the garlic in the pan for 1 minute until golden. Add the white wine and chicken broth and cook until reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and dijon mustard and cook until thickened. Return meat and juices to the pan and continue to cook for 2 minutes to reheat the meat and spooning the sauce on top. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice or something to mix with the delicious extra sauce!