August 31, 2015

Prepared and non planned impromptu dinner (mascarpone stuffed chicken with pan sauce and poor man's macque choux)

My sweet friend and her boyfriend wanted to take me out on the town Friday night so before we did that, I had them over for dinner. I made tiramisu for my ladies night a few weeks ago and had some leftover mascarpone cheese in the fridge that was set to expire.  I hate wasting food so I was determined to find something to do with it. I have a freezer full of boneless skinless chicken thighs so I decided to stuff them.  I found this recipe  and decided to make a version of it. I had corn and tomatoes leftover from the lunch recipe I hadn't made the week before so I decided to make what I like to call poor man's macque choux.   It did not disappoint!  Full recipe after the step by step.

The cast, corn, basil and rosemary from my herb garden, onion, spinach, cherry tomatoes, chicken broth, dijon mustard, chicken thighs, garlic,jalapeno and mascarpone cheese. Not shown, breadcrumbs, decided on those later.
Finely chop herbs and add to mascarpone cheese, season with salt and pepper.
I had about a 1/4 cup of homemade breadcrumbs in my freezer so I mixed that with a 1/4 cup flour to dredge the chicken. 
Pound that chicken into submission! 
Spread a layer of mascarpone mixture on your chicken with a few pieces of spinach.
Roll it up and tie with string.  Or secure with toothpicks (reminds self to purchase some!) 
Dredge them in the flour mixture (you can dip in an egg wash as well if you like) and place in preheated pan with melted fat.  I used bacon grease because I was feeling gluttonous.
Flip them halfway through  so you can brown on all sides. 
If I had a normal size oven I would have stuck the pan in there but at least I can use non stick foil so there aren't more dishes to wash!
Add chopped onion and garlic to your pan drippings to start a sauce.
Meanwhile chop your veggies
Add chicken stock and mustard to pan and cook over low to medium heat until thick.  Like 10 minutes, stir often.
Saute your veggies until they look nice and browned.  Make sure you season with salt and pepper. 
Serve your chicken with some sauce on top with some veggies.  Delish!
I need to have guests over more often, they did the dishes for me!
Chicken with herby mascarpone stuffing: 

Boneless skinless Chicken breasts or thighs, one breast or two thighs per person
1/2 container mascarpone cheese
handful of basil and rosemary chopped finely
1/2 cup flour
1/cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375.  Pound your chicken thin.  Mix mascarpone and chopped herbs together well in a small bowl.  Spread about a tablespoon of the mixture on the chicken.  Place a few spinach leaves on top the cheese.  Roll up to cover the filling and secure with string or toothpicks. Continue for all pieces of chicken. Mix flour and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Dip each chicken bundle in the flour mixture to coat.  Season the bundles with salt and pepper.  Add to a heated pan with melted fat (olive oil, bacon grease, butter whatever you feel) an brown on both sides, about 3 minutes a side.  Transfer to a foiled baking sheet and place in preheated oven and cook chicken for 10 more minutes or until cooked through.

Pan Sauce:
Drippings from chicken browning pan
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. dijon mustard

Add onion and garlic to drippings and cook for 5 minutes, stirring repeatedly.  Add more fat if there isn't enough.  Add chicken broth and mustard to the pan and stir well.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Salt and pepper to taste. serve over the chicken.

Poor Man's Macque Choux:

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
one jalapeno, most of the seeds removed, diced 
one onion, diced (I just used the rest of the onion that I used for the pan sauce)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. bacon grease (or cook two pieces of bacon, use the drippings and cut up the bacon to add)

Heat grease in a cast iron skillet.  Add you veggies and saute  for 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness.  Season with salt and pepper.

I love entertaining and don't exactly have the space for it anymore, but if I can make a fancy meal like this in my shitty kitchen, why not entertain in it!

Happy cooking!


August 30, 2015

Prepping for the week (August 31-Sept 6)

Happy Weekend!  Hope it was a great one for all.  As usual I had a great one, I could get used to this! Oh wait, I will, football season officially starts next weekend! I cooked a fancy meal Friday night that will appear on the blog soon as well as a real flop of an appetizer that will come later.  Saw the tried and true Bonerama Friday night and another fabulous band, Where Y'acht Saturday.  Forgot how much I missed going to see live music on the regular! 

Was also excited to see long lost family while celebrating my grandfather turning 85 years young.  

Tonight I am making cauliflower tabouli and greek chicken. I'll be eating leftovers of that tomorrow night as I have kickball and a fantasy draft, so no time for cooking and blogging. Making an old fave tuesday that is tried and true and will be posting that soon.  Trying a new carby lunch for the week. Allowing myself that since I am going to try and go to Pure Barre everyday for the #backtothebarre challenge running the month of September.  And of course, my make ahead green smoothies for breakfast after class.

Happy Sunday y'all!


August 26, 2015

Noodles are sometimes overrated in my book! (Chicken yakisoba)

I have been living the little to no carb lifestyle since January.  That combined with Pure Barre has helped me lose 10 pounds and 2 sizes and keep it off.  It's easier to do than being on a strict diet.  I just try not to purchase carbs or cook them during the week and then I can eat what I want on the weekends (as long as I go to class at least 5 times a week). I decided to give myself a treat and have some noodles since I am having such a hard week.  I pinned this recipe for Chicken Yakisoba back when I was living in Texas and never made it.  It looked so good so I decided to try it out.  I got some fancy noodles back when I went to Hong Kong market for my fancy pants enchiladas so it was time to make it.  I ended up not wanting the noodles and only eating the meat and veggies out of it.  I have trained myself well!  Full recipe after the step by step.

The cast of characters.  Lots of chopping followed.

I'll stir fry you in my wok!

As usual I had to get myself a second pan as it was too crowded in the wok!

Memories!  Ramen was my jam in college.

The finished product, looks yummy! This was one serving, I stored all components separately for leftovers. Which is good because I won't be having noodles!

Chicken Yakisoba (loosely adapted from Budget Bytes


Stir fry:
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. Sesame oil (I didn't have any so I did vegetable oil and seasoned the chicken with sesame seeds)
2 carrots cut into matchsticks
1 onion cut into slices
3 cloves minced garlic
1 crown of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
half a head of cabbage cut into strips (or you can just get a bag of coleslaw in lieu of this and the carrots)
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 packages of Ramen noodles, seasoning discarded.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. Ketchup
1 tbsp. Sriracha (I like it spicy, use less if you don't)
I wish I would have added 1 tsp. dijon mustard.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut your veggies and then cut chicken into strips. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to wok. Stir fry chicken until no longer pink. Add your veggies and stir fry until wilted, about 7 minutes. While that is happening, boil noodles for 3 minutes. Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Drain noodles and mix noodles, stir fry and sauce in a large bowl. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

The sauce was kind of sweet for my taste that's why I wanted to add mustard. the noodles were good, but too much for me. It may have been the combined sweetness of sauce and carb overload. Stir fry is always my favorite but not my specialty. Getting better with time though!

Happy Cooking!

August 23, 2015

Prepping for the week (August 24-30)

Hope everyone had a phenomenal weekend.  I did as usual.  I am really getting the hang of being single again, wish I could send this  perspective to my 30 year old self!  The highlight was a ladies only 90's prom Saturday night put on by a local mom's blog.  I got to do the dance to my high school favorite, the get it ready song sung by the DJ that created it!  I made a fool of myself and am sore!  If you are friends with me on Facebook you saw a little of the shenanigans.

Tonight I am making a "late night" pot roast. I went to Pure Barre in the afternoon and got sidetracked with visiting so I'll be eating late!  I will have that recipe as well as two leftover creations from it on the blog this week.  Also making Chicken Yakisoba from Budget Bytes (a fellow New Orleanian!) this week and plan on leftovers for lunch. Dinner  with the parents this week and a recipe is still undetermined for what I should make for them.  Any ideas?  Happy Week!  The weekend was just the right length for me!

Happy Cooking!


August 20, 2015

Remind me again why I wanted to stop making my own pizza? (Hatch onionand bacon pizza on semi whole wheat crust)

I love pizza almost as much as I love Mexican food.  But like Mexican food, pizza is way fattening! It's good to make at home and cut some calories.  I am not the best at pizza making, which was pointed out to me by my ex every time we did.  I can make a good dough and pick ingredients, but when it comes to stretching out said dough and cooking it, lets just say I should file that under steaks and have someone else make it for me.  Now that I have lost my pizza cooking companion, I decided to try again.  This time not too bad!

Not pictured, sugar and water as it was in my kettle
Homemade semi whole wheat pizza dough: (makes two medium sized pizzas)

1 and 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast (I used Hodgson Mill)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot water divided
olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

This version uses a stand mixer.  I based it off this Food Network recipe that did not use one.

Place flours, yeast sugar and salt in stand mixer with dough hook attachment.  Mix on low for 2 minutes.
While it is running, add 2/3 cup hot water
Mix for a minute, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil
When it gets crumbly, add remaining 1/3 cup hot water and scrape down the sides.  Add more oil if it looks dry.
Keep mixer running until dough forms a ball.  After five minutes of that, stop mixer.
Place dough in an oiled boil and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a dark warm place (I put it in the pantry) for a half hour.
Preheat oven to 475 and place a pizza stone or two in the oven.
After a half hour of rising, divide into two equal portions and flatten each out on a cornmeal dusted board to roll out into a pizza.
Place crust onto preheated pizza stone.  Place desired toppings on crust and bake for 7-10 minutes or until desired doneness.

I decided to be creative and make a hatch chile (tis the season) caramelized onion and bacon pizza.

Slow caramelized onions:
1 onion sliced
1 tbsp fat
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add fat (butter, oil or bacon grease) and melt. Add sliced onion.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I roasted my chiles, you can find the other time I did this here for a full tutorial.

Here is before it went in the oven

And here is when I took it out 15 minutes later as I lost track of time doing laundry.

The hatches were hella hot (Whole foods had hot and mild I decided to be tough and get hot!)

The crust was good in a rush, but as usual I was bad at pulling into a proper crust.  What really made the pizza a semi fail was overcooking and the too hot chiles.

One day I will make a perfect pizza!

Make your own pizza dough  It's not as hard as it sounds, there are several on the internet that may be even easier.

Happy Cooking!


August 19, 2015

Cheap, filling and easy (cabbage stir fry)

This week is super busy, kickball, birthday dinner, moms night out and sorority alum happy hour.  All of those things cost money and the budget is tight.  They also tempt me to eat something bad after drinking.  I figured a filling stir fry with lots of leftovers would be good in the fridge to solve these problems!  I made this recipe up, I had everything on hand but the cabbage and since that is so inexpensive and low carb it was perfect! Written recipe after the play by play!

The ingredients: salt & pepper, ground meat, can of diced
tomatoes and chiles, cabbage, pepper jack, 1/4 an onion and garlic

Chop the onions and garlic

Chop your cabbage into small pieces

Brown ground meat with onions and garlic

Until meat is cooked

add cabbage

add tomatoes

grate less cheese than you want so there's more room for wine 

throw cheese on top and voila!

Cabbage stir fry (serves 4)

salt & pepper

olive oil
1/4 an onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound of ground meat  (I used 93/7)
1 can of diced tomatoes and chiles (a normal sized can from Trader Joe's is what I used so if you are using rotel you will need two cans)
3/4 a head of cabbage chopped into small pieces
1 cup grated pepper jack

Heat a large skillet with a cover over medium heat.  Add a few swirls of oil and heat until shimmering  Throw in the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or two more.  Add  the ground beef and some salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until meat is browned.  Add in cabbage and stir to mix with the beef and veggies.  Cook for 5 minutes uncovered.  Add in the diced tomatoes and half a can of water.  Stir to combine.  Cover and cook 20 minutes.  Release the cover after that for five minutes to evaporate some liquid.  Cover with cheese and return cover and remove from heat.  Serve once cheese is melted.

As the title says, its cheap, easy and filling!  And tastes even better leftover!

Happy cooking!


I linked this up for Meal Planning Monday with Southern Plate and Southern Bite.  Go visit them and see what else you find!

Grilling and Chilling temps and times (grilled chicken and steakfajitas with homemade salsa and cebollitas)

That's a mouthful!  I needed some coolant in my car and my sweet Daddy offered to do it for me in exchange for dinner.  My mom has an obsession with my homemade salsa and requested that so I decided to enjoy this beautiful weather and grill some fajitas.  My mom is a carnivore who loves red meat and dad and I are a little more healthy and like chicken.  I have used this marinade  more recently for fajitas but I decided to kick it old school and use the simple marinade my pal Chef Kelly English taught me when I was in law school.

The salsa is loosely based on a lot of recipes, the Pioneer Woman's mostly.  The cebollitas are an attempt to copy the amazing ones from Taqueria Corona.  I just kept it simple with salt and lime.

You don't have to grill the fajitas if you aren't a griller.  I have made it before on a grill pan like this, you just have to do it in batches.  Recipes follow after the step by step.  My new camera and my parents renovated kitchen make the name of the blog seem a little silly for this post!

Cast of characters for all three recipes.  That miller light seems so retro, probably because it was expired! So used to the white can now!
The marinade ingredients 
Time to infuse flavor! 
Throw all the salsa ingredients in a blender.
Yes this blender is older than me, mom got it as a wedding present!
Finished product, and another beautiful shot of that blender...may have to trade her my ninja for it...nah!
Soaking the future cebollitas 
Ready for the grill!  That's tortillas in the foil, corn for me, wheat for the parents.
Veggies on the fancy grill pan.
Mom wanted her steak rare so that went on later.  Love the Beat Bama Again cup!  Too bad we didn't :(
Looking good with some grill marks! 
Oops a little burnt!
Again a little burnt, should have cut the onion in bigger pieces!
Ready to assemble!
My plate before
And after!  Hated it!
Fajita Marinade:

2 lbs of skirt steak, or boneless skinless chicken thighs or a mixture of the two

Juice of six limes
handful of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
one jalapeno, roughly chopped
two red onions (I only had white) roughly chopped
one beer
salt and pepper

Place all of the above things in a ziploc (Oh let's be honest, you know how I work, two ziplocs!) and rub around to mix.  Put in fridge and marinade for a minimum of a half hour.

Homemade salsa:

One large can of whole tomatoes

handful of cilantro
half an onion chopped roughly
3 cloves garlic
one jalapeno roughly chopped, half of seeds removed
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
juice of one lime

Take the tomatoes out of the can by hand and place them in blender one by one.  Add 1/4 cup of the remaining tomato juice to blender.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until desired consistency.  Place in fridge to let flavors meld for at least 10 minutes.


One bunch green onions

1/4 cup olive oil
juice of two limes
1 tbsp salt

Marinate the above ingredients in a ziploc for 10 minutes. 

Fajitas with Cebollitas:

Grill your meat, some veggies and green onions until meat is cooked through for chicken or to your desired sear for steak.  Serve on tortillas with usual garnishes of avocado, sour cream, cheese, lettuce etc, whatever tickles your fancy.

Had a lovely meal with my parents and got to enjoy some nice weather on the back porch with some wine after dinner. (and Michelob Ultra for my mom of course!)  I hope this weather lasts, it is so pleasant!  Take time to make and enjoy meals with your family, it certainly won't be the last time I do!  I just wish they lived a tiny bit closer!

Happy Cooking!