Tag Archives: recipe

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush is a Middle Eastern spread made of roasted eggplant and tiny bits of Heaven. It is also really fun to say. I have no more words—just make it, eat it, love it.

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

1 large eggplant
¼ cup tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat, and preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill 4 to 5 inches from the fire. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.
  4. Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste. Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well. Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley.
Baba Ghanoush

Summer Rolls

Summer rolls are an easy and refreshing appetizer that are fun to make, so this is a great recipe to get your little ones involved in the kitchen. This recipe uses lots of “leaves” as my three year old would say, so feel free to modify your filling to suit your family’s tastes. You can fill these with mango, crispy rice vermicelli noodles, julienned carrots, cucumber … get creative!

Summer Rolls

You can find the rice paper rounds at most international supermarkets if you don’t have any luck at your local grocery store. Keep in mind that you’ll get a bunch in the package, so you won’t use them all in one go (unless you are making these for a party or something along those lines).

A huge THANK YOU to my brother, Josh, for this recipe and for teaching me how to make these—definitely easier than I ever imagined!

Summer Rolls

1 package of 8-inch rice paper rounds
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh basil
1 bunch scallions
1 head of romaine lettuce
½ lb small shrimp
Peanut sauce for dipping

 

1. Steam shrimp and set aside.

2. Slice scallions into 3-inch pieces. Clean and separate lettuce leaves. Pull mint leaves and discard the stems.

3. Fill a large pie plate with water. Submerge one rice paper round in the water for 5-10 seconds. Place on a clean surface and place a lettuce leaf, 2-4 scallions, a few mint leaves, and 4-6 shrimp.

4. Carefully lift the edge of the rice paper and fold over, pulling back gently towards you to tuck in the fillings. Fold in the edges and continue rolling, burrito-style.

5. Allow the roll to sit for a minute before slicing in half. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Summer Rolls


Edamame Orzo Salad

My mom first made this dish for my brother and sister-in-law’s family wedding shower last summer. I promised in that post that I would share the recipe soon. Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of the dish during the shower, so I had to make it again (twist my arm) to photograph it for this post. Fast forward eight months and I have FINALLY gotten around to it. The good news is that you now have the recipe just in time to make it for your summer cookouts—enjoy!

Note: The picture below does not include the olives. The ones I had on hand were not pitted and I just don’t have that much patience.

Edamame Orzo Salad

Mediterranean Edamame Orzo Salad

Vinaigrette:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Pasta:
1/3 box orzo pasta
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
¼ cup diced red onion
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup feta cheese

1. For vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.

2. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box and drain.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the vinaigrette, to the pasta and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (the longer it refrigerates, the better).


Carrot Cake Mini Whoopie Pies

I made these carrot cake mini whoopie pies for Easter dessert, and they were a huge hit! The original Cooking Light recipe calls them sandwich cookies, but for all intents and purposes, they’re whoppie pies. The kids gobbled them up, despite the fact that they were very obviously full of veggies. The fact that there was delicious cream cheese frosting oozing out from the middle probably didn’t hurt. I will absolutely be making these again (though next time I am doubling the recipe)!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

2 cups shredded carrot
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp grated orange rind
3/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg
4.5 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/8 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Combine carrot and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a bowl; toss to coat. Place carrot mixture in a fine mesh sieve; let stand to drain for 10 minutes. Discard liquid.

3. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until melted. Add oil, rind, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and egg; stir with a whisk until well combined.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar (about 1/2 cup), cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add carrot mixture and butter mixture; stir until just combined. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets for a total of 28 cookies (14 per baking sheet); gently pat dough down to form 2-inch circles. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until set. Remove pans from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Combine cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat at low speed 1 minute or until well combined (do not overbeat). Spread about 1 tablespoon icing on flat side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie, flat side down. Repeat the procedure with remaining cookies and filling.


Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich

I was flipping channels the other day and came across an episode of Sandwich King on the Food Network that was all about the brunchwich, a hearty gourmet version of your average breakfast sandwich that blends both breakfast and lunch flavors … hence the name.

Call it inspiration or just plain hunger, but I practically ran to the kitchen and got to work on my own variation. I give you the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich, one of the best sandwiches I have ever made! And the possibilities are endless—I can’t wait to see what other combinations I can come up with.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunchwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 eggs
6 slices thick-cut bacon
4 slices provolone cheese
1 small tomato, sliced
1 cup spring mix greens
2 hamburger buns
1 tbsp butter
Salt
Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the buns open faced on a cookie sheet and butter each half. Top each side with a slice of cheese. Toast buns in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess grease.

3. Pour grease from the skillet into a coffee mug and set aside for disposal once cooled. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.

4. Using the same skillet that you used for the bacon, fry each egg over medium (solid whites and a still liquid but thicker yolk).

5. Assemble each brunchwich: 3 slices of bacon, 2-3 slices of tomato, ½ cup, fried egg, salt and pepper to taste.


Southwestern Chicken Soup

It’s amazing the dishes you can create from cleaning out your pantry. My Stepmom threw a bunch of ingredients in a pot one day, and the result was a Southwestern Chicken Soup that has quickly become one of our family favorites. The best part about this dish is that it’s largely made from pantry staples, which makes it super easy to make on the fly.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup

3 large chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp dried cilantro (fresh is great if you have it)
1 can salsa verde
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 bag frozen corn
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

1. Boil the chicken for 30-45 minutes or until done. Allow to cool on a plate and then shred each piece of chicken with a fork.

2. In a large pot, combine all ingredients through frozen corn and cook on medium for 45 minutes to an hour (you can also cook on medium-low for 2 hours).

3. Laddle soup into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.


Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles

The best part about this peanut chicken recipe from Cooking Light is that you can control the amount of heat that goes into the peanut sauce. I love the flavor of peanut sauce, but it can sometimes get a little spicy even for me, let alone my three year old. If spice isn’t an issue for you, you can always use store-bought peanut sauce to save a bit of time.

The cucumber soba noodles are a fantastic, light side to go along with the chicken, though I have to admit that I preferred the soba noodles I made a while back to these—still, these were tasty, just a bit less flavorful.

Peanut Chicken Soba Noodles

Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles

7 oz uncooked soba noodles
3 tbsp rice vinegar, divided
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 tbsp honey, divided
¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 medium cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Cooking spray
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp water
2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) or chile garlic paste
Chopped fresh cilantro

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine 2 tbsp vinegar, sesame oil, 1 tbsp honey, and sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the noodles, onions, and cucumber; toss to combine.

2. Combine remaining 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and peanut oil in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Thread chicken evenly onto 4 (10-inch) skewers.

3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add kebabs to pan; cook 12 minutes or until done, turning to brown all sides.

4. Combine remaining 1 tbsp vinegar, remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce, peanut butter, 2 tbsp water, and sambal oelek in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle mixture over chicken. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with noodles.


Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago, we had lunch at Ray’s to the Third in Arlington and split a milkshake for dessert. The “Elvis” milkshake is a blend of banana, peanut butter, butterfingers and bacon (yes, bacon) … and it is AMAZING.

So in honor of my husband’s birthday today (Happy Birthday!!), I decided to try and recreate this ridiculously good combination in the form of a cupcake—though I did decide to leave off the bacon simply because I wasn’t up for making my own candied bacon this weekend.

But seriously, if you’re in Northern Virginia and happen to be near Ray’s to the Third, you need to try that milkshake.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 cup water
1/3 cup applesauce (I use this in place of oil)
5 oz peanut butter chips
1 tbsp flour
Chocolate Frosting (store-bought works too)
1 Butterfingers candy bar, crushed

 

1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 cupcake cups with silicone or paper liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, water and applesauce and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, add peanut butter chips and flour. Toss to coat the chips and then discard the excess flour.

4. Slowly fold in the peanut butter chips to the cake batter, mixing well.

5. Fill liners ¾ of the way with cake batter and bake for 19-23 minutes.

6. Allow to cool completely before frosting and topping with a sprinkle of Butterfingers.


Hearty Beef Stew

I am always looking for ways to make recipes easier, faster, and more weeknight-doable. I won’t say that I never make complicated or time consuming recipes, but it’s just not realistic for me to do it on a regular basis and especially not in the 30 minutes I am allotted during the week to get dinner on the table.

So I decided to take this multi-step recipe for Hearty Beef Stew from Cooking Light and just toss everything in the Crock Pot, crank it up, and cross my fingers that I’d end up with something edible. Could the beef have been a bit more tender had I followed the actual recipe? Yeah, probably. But considering how quickly I was able to throw this together in the morning, not bad … not bad at all. The fact that all I had to do when I got home was toast some bread and ladle the stew into bowls certainly didn’t hurt either. So it’s up to you. Follow the recipe at the link above or follow my shortcut and just wing it. You pretty much can’t lose either way.

Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

16 oz boneless beef chuck
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
1 ½ cups baby carrots
6 oz sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
2 lbs new potatoes
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ cup Guinness beer
4 cups unsalted beef stock
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a large Crock Pot and stir well. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

I recently made these frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites from Fabulessly Frugal. I liked the idea that they were a two-bite, healthier dessert option that I could easily store in the freezer. So one Saturday, I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and went to work. Once the little bites were frozen, I popped them off the sheet and put them in a freezer bag for easy storage.

While I don’t think my husband was a huge fan, both my three year old and I loved them! I do recommend letting them sit out for a few minutes before eating them so they thaw just a bit. That way, they’re soft and creamy, just like banana ice cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

3 large bananas
½ cup chocolate chips (either semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
Toppings (optional- peanuts, coconut, etc.)

1. Line a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment or wax paper.

2. Cut up the bananas into ½-inch pieces. Each banana should give you around 6-8 pieces.

3. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for about a minute. Then stir until smooth.

4. Dip the banana pieces in the chocolate-peanut butter mixture, being sure to coat all sides.

5. Place them evenly on the parchment or wax paper.

6. Top with toppings if desired.

7. Transfer to the freezer for about an hour until hardened. Once frozen, you can store them in a freezer bag or an air-tight container.