Nov 18, 2009

Avgolemono I love you

I can barely pronounce this soup, but I sure did learn how to shovel it into my mouth. I bought a box of Orzo because, well, it's so similar to my last name that it makes me smile. I knew I wanted to eat it. 

Avgolemono is a Greek soup made with egg, lemon juice, and broth. It literally translates to "egg-lemon." Rice, pasta and strips of chicken or meat are cooked in the broth, then the egg-lemon mixture is slowly incorporated so that the egg does not boil.  

Speaking of Greek things, I'm convinced Brandon is of Greek descent. I've always been fascinated with different nationalities' physical traits and being able to tell someone's heritage based on them. One day I actually told B I thought he was Greek and compared him to pictures of men I found by googling "Greek Men." Haha. Here are some examples of what I found: 

Woooooooo. Especially #4. Rarrrrrr!


This Cooking Light recipe for Avgolemono was so awesome. We devoured it on Sunday night, had leftovers for lunch on Monday, and then I decided to make it again so we could eat it during the week. It's that good. 

Side note: I bought this grater because 1. orange is cute, and 2. the attachment catches everything it grates. LIE! Look what happens!

I didn't realize I grated double the amount I needed, but I'm glad I did because it was a perfect amount for the soup. Besides using twice as much grated carrot and omitting added salt, I followed the recipe exactly.


Nov 16, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Prosciutto , Couscous, and Veggies

This dinner was inspired by a bunch of random things I found in the fridge -- a bit of goat cheese, spinach, and leftover prosciutto from last week's pizza. So why not stuff chicken breasts with cheese and spinach then wrap them with prosciutto! Very simple and delicious. I split the chicken breasts in half and loaded them up with the herbed goat cheese:

Then lots of fresh spinach:

Then I wrapped each with 3-4 pieces of very thinly sliced prosciutto.

I baked them at 350* for about 22 minutes. Weird time, I know. I took them out at 20 and B tried to convince me they were done, but I wasn't so sure. We compromised by putting them for an additional 2 minutes. Perfect. On the side I made some Near East wheat couscous in the roasted garlic & olive oil flavor. That couscous is soooooo delicious and soft! We also had some steamed vegetables.

This was very simple to make and a great way to to incorporate the random ingredients I found. Happy Monday!

Nov 10, 2009

Baked Apples with Barley Sausage Pilaf

It's been over a year since I found this recipe on Serious Eats. It seemed like such a warm and fuzzy cold weather meal. Too bad it was 76 degrees today. I've officially renamed November as Junevember because we are currently experiencing summery weather in South Carolina. Oh well, apples are in season and I'm determined to use them! Granny Smith apples aren't a favorite of mine or Brandon's, but I didn't want to screw around with this recipe. Certain apples are good for baking and some will explode! I don't need another cooking mishap. Burns all over my hands and arms are enough.

I used the Al Fresco chicken sausage again. It's so good.
I was worried that this recipe wouldn't have much flavor with cinnamon being the only added spice, but the sausage did the trick. Cooking the barley wasn't bad - it took about 25 minutes to completely absorb the chicken broth. The difficult part was scooping the barley mixture atop the apples without it falling all over the place. It kind of looked like a disaster going in the oven.

But it tasted really good! The barley was a bit chewy which went well with the sausage, and the cinnamon really paired well with the apples. I'm glad I chose chicken sausage because I was using chicken broth to cook the barley. If I made this recipe again, I would not scoop the barley over the apples before baking them. I'd just bake the apples separately, then plate it together.

 In other news, I have a new obsession. I've always loved Stacy's pita chips -- Multigrain being my favorite flavor. I never thought the Cinnamon Sugar would be good because I couldn't imagine a pita chip being sweet. While at Nikki's house this weekend, I gave them a try.........woah woah woah I could not stop eating them! They go on sale at Publix tomorrow and I am stocking up! YES!

Nov 2, 2009

Honey Ginger Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Soooooooo yesterday we went to B's mom's house for a lunch/dinner/linner.....dunch? Ok, that's enough. She made a roast with asparagus and RICE. I only spooned out a little bit of this rice because a. I don't need mom thinking I'm a savage and b. I do enough carb unloading in my mouth as it is. But once I put a spoonful of those white, fluffy grains in my mouth, I knew I had made the wrong decision. I grew eyes in the back of my head that faced the stove where more rice was sitting. I know, I know, it's just rice, but I am a carb queen, errr princess. It was so light and fluffy and reminded me of the rice I had in Hawaii. Of course I asked her how she made it, and she simply replied that she had used 2 cups of water instead of the recommended 1 1/2. Mom is a genius. More water --> more moisture --> softer rice. It's just science. So all day Monday I was thinking about RICE. RICE RICE RICE. The little Asian inside of me was begging me to find a recipe that involved rice so I could finally make it the right way. I found this Cooking Light recipe for Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites.

I adapted it a little and used the following ingredients:

  • 2/3  cup  honey
  • 2  tablespoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  rice wine vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2  teaspoons  cornstarch
  • 2  teaspoons  water
  • sesame seeds

First I made a marinade with the first nine ingredients. Brandon cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces (or should I say *nuggets*?) and then added them to the marinade. The chicken marinaded in the fridge for about 30 minutes while I tried to whoop Brandon's *(&%@(W&%^(*^& at Wheel of Fortune. 

I read on the bag of Jasmine rice that you're supposed to rinse the rice in water several times. Ummm what is that!? Apparently you need to rinse off residue from the milling process. Hmm. The only colander he had was one with holes that were way bigger than the rice.  I panicked/whined/moaned to B that it wasn't going to come out right because we couldn't rinse it. His man response was to initially ignore me, forgetting that I am quite persistent. Then Boy Genius (clearly Mom Genius' son) told me to poke tiny holes in a ziploc bag and rinse the rice in it. Wow. 

When the chicken was done marinading, I used a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the bag to cook for about 15-20 minutes at 425*.


While the chicken was cooking, I used the rest of the marinade to make a glaze. I put the marinade in the pan and brought it to a slow boil. In a cup, I mixed the cornstarch with the water, and then added that to the marinade to thicken it. 


After a couple minutes, it thickened perfectly! I took the chicken out and drizzled the glaze over it, topped it with sesame seeds, then roasted it for just another minute or two. 

Finally, I plopped the nuggets over the warm jasmine rice (that came out perfectly by the way) and we ate! The chicken was soooo good. I highly recommend this recipe!

Oct 26, 2009

Christina's Jerk Shrimp, Light & Fluffy Banana Bread

There is a major difference between Brandon and me in the way we find and decide on recipes. I use multiple sites, pour over a ridiculous amount of recipes, obsess over the different ingredients, and maybe decide on one by the end of the day. I'm out of control.

Brandon has a general idea of what he wants for dinner, goes to Food Network online, and finds a recipe in a matter of minutes.


Last night he wanted stir-fry, and like I said, he went online and instantly found a recipe: Christina's Jerk Chicken...That's really the name!

Earlier this morning, I was looking for a better banana bread recipe. It only took me a few minutes (woah) to find this Cooking Light recipe. I kept all of the ingredients the same, except I omitted the chocolate. As much as I love chocolate, I thought it would take away from the banana flavor. I thought this recipe was interesting because it didn't call for vanilla or cinnamon: two ingredients I want to add to eveeerrryyything.

The bread had a perfectly browned crust. At first I thought it appeared too dark, but it was perfect.

It was very light and fluffy, with just the perfect amount of crumble.

The addition of the yogurt really helped create a moist bread. Typical banana breads use a lot of oil - ick - which, in my opinion, weighs it down. I also used very ripe bananas that hadn't been frozen - I think this made a huge difference in the flavor. If you're looking for a light, fluffy, and delicious banana bread, I definitely suggest this one! :)

Oct 25, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

Tonight was a quick and easy chicken parmesan dinner. I took a little bit of aggression out on a chicken breast and pounded it thin before putting it in an egg white wash. I took some bread  crumbs and added crushed red pepper. 


I then coated the chicken breast in the bread crumbs and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil so the outside was crispy. Next, I put the breast in the oven with some four cheese pasta sauce and grated reduced-fat mozzarella on top. While that baked for just a few minutes, I was boiling my faaaavorite angel hair pasta. 

After the cheese melted, I put the chicken on top of the pasta and it was time to eat!  

As a side, Brandon threw together a little salad with homemade dressing. 

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Oct 18, 2009

Homemade Amond Butter and Pumpkin Carving

Yesterday afternoon we decided to finally make our own almond butter. It's super easy to make and definitely cheaper than buying the Marantha almond butter. Brandon put 1 cup of raw almonds in this food processer from um, the 1930s.

He let them grind for about 12-15 minutes total, stopping it every now and then to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Halfway through, he added 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey.

Here it is about halfway done:

It was the perfect amount to store in this leftover jelly jar from the farmer's market:

But of course I had to re-label it!

This evening we decided to be fatties and make nachos! Ahhhh yummy. We used multi-grain chips, reduced fat Mexican blend cheese, black beans, salsa, and shredded chicken cooked in cumin and cayenne pepper.

Then, it was pumpkin carving time! We got these freeeeeee pumpkins from Whole Foods yesterday.

We scraped out tonsssss of flesh. It was kinda fun to play with. 

And I became a little obsessed with getting all the seeds out so I could roast them.

Brandon used a pattern that came with our carving tools...

...but I decided to make an Xtina pumpkin!


Here is B's finished pumpkin:

And both of them together...We forgot to buy candles!

Oct 17, 2009

Braised Pork Loin with Sage, Parsnips & Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach & Mushrooms

Tonight we decided to make the pork recipe that I had at my aunt's a couple weeks ago. I loved it so much, and knew Brandon would too. It's a really simple Williams-Sonoma recipe. You can find it online here.

First, you have to sear the pork loin on all sides to seal in the juices in before braising.

Then you braise it in a mixture of white wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sage, and a bay leaf. For 1lb, it took around 40 minutes.

While Brandon was slicing it with his big man knife, I made a rue with the leftover wine sauce.

Holy moly it was sooooo tasty...Here it is in a super fancy gravy boat. Haha.

As a side, I roasted these monsters with olive oil, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar:

Finished product:

Brandon also sauteed spinach & mushrooms in olive oil:

The sides were perfect with the pork loin. Here it all is on B's plate:

And then my camera died! Grrrrr...