Showing posts with label quick and easy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick and easy. Show all posts

Monday, May 5, 2014

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

Everyone loves quinoa, right? Wrong.

For a very long time I regarded quinoa with a healthy dose of disdain, and believed that its only purpose on this earth was to be health food, not delicious, desirable food.

Then, one day last month I was wandering around DC on an unseasonably frigid day trying to find some lunch, and on a whim I ordered a bowl of turkey chili served atop quinoa from a place near my office. It was shockingly delicious, so I acquiesced and said something that I rarely admit: I was wrong. Quinoa is delicious as long as it's mixed with with stuff like chili, or in this case, tomato sauce, basil, and loads of cheese.

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

I made this for lunch yesterday, and it was so good we already added it to the dinner menu for this week. It's fast, easy, and fairly healthy - everything I look for in a weeknight dinner.

I served this as a main course, but I think it would make a great side dish to some grilled chicken breasts. If you want to bulk it up with some meat, I bet cooked Italian sausage would be a great addition (add it in when mixing up the sauce!)

For my fellow quinoa skeptics out there, give this recipe a chance. For non-quinoa skeptics, well, you were right. Gloat away.

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Tomato, Garlic, and Herbs

Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Tomato, Garlic, and Herbs

I'm beginning to think there should be a support group for boyfriends and spouses of food bloggers.

I know you think you're just looking at an overly staged photo of shrimp, but let me paint you a little picture of what's occurring mere inches outside this photo...

It's 30 degrees and windy. James and I are standing on my balcony. I'm taking 23438735 photos of these shrimp, attempting to capture one or two acceptable enough to post here. To my left, James has kindly offered to hold my "light reflector", and by light reflector I mean a giant piece of white foam board that some person who knows about photography once told me to use.

My photo set up is so busted...

Meanwhile, our lunch gets cold while I snap away. Did I mention lunch was at 3:30 since we didn't grocery shop until early afternoon?

Grilled Shrimp Kabobs with Tomato, Garlic, and Herbs

I'm sure fellow food bloggers' significant others can empathize. Lukewarm food, photo shoots in freezing temperatures, and props clogging up closets are an unfortunate fact of life.

Fortunately, this weird hobby of mine has edible rewards. James and I loooooved these shrimp, and ate this whole recipe between the two of us in a single sitting.

I may be channeling warm weather a bit with this recipe since it contains fresh basil and calls for grilling. Usually, I like cold weather, but I'm kind of over it right now. All I want to do is sit outside in a sundress with a bottle of rosé and eat a bunch of these shrimp.

Also, I don't actually have a grill since I live in an apartment, so I broke out my trusty Cuisinart Griddler, which worked just splendidly.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

I've extolled the virtues of tacos approximately ten million times.

I'm about to do it again.

Not only are these tacos crazy delicious and packed with flavor, they're super quick to make. Listen you guys. I am seriously the slowest human being on the planet in the kitchen. My knives are about as sharp as Kim Kardashian, and my slightly OCD nature means I spend way too much time doing things like scrubbing vegetables, and cleaning and cutting the nasty bits from chicken. I saw this earlier today, and #15 totally spoke to me.

Despite all that, I still managed to make this recipe in 20 minutes flat. A normal person will probably make it in 15 minutes.

One final item unrelated to tacos: I'm typing this post in public, and someone near me just sprayed himself with half a bottle of Axe body spray. Since it's kind of illegal to physical harm strangers for being stupid, I'm complaining to you guys. If I never blog here again it's because I'm in jail for spraying him in the eyes while informing him that Axe is for prepubescent boys and Jersey Shore cast members.

Rant over. Go forth and make tacos.

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad from A Bitchin' Kitchen

My name is Maggie, and I am a taco-holic.

This is the sixth taco recipe that I've posted on A Bitchin' Kitchen. If I could open a restaurant or a food truck that exclusively sold tacos, I would. In addition to being insanely delicious, they're one of the most versatile foods ever. Do you want a quick and healthy taco? You're looking at them in this post. Do you want a slow-cooked and indulgent taco? Allow me to refer you to my barbacoa recipe. Do you want to show your hippie vegetarian friends some love? Black bean and sweet potato tacos make them happy.

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

You name it, I've probably tried to stuff it in a tortilla. Chicken. Vegetables. Donuts. Soup. Cans of beer. Okay, the last 3 didn't happen. I'd never disrespect a beer like that.

Today, our tortillas are stuffed with seasoned tilapia, a spicy jalapeno and cilantro onion salad, and fresh slices of ripe avocado. I mixed up a quick black bean salad to go on the side, which, incidentally, would also be great stuffed in a taco. If you're into planning ahead, make the salad the day before you want to eat it - it gets better with age.

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad

One more thing - I know a lot of you follow this blog via Google Reader. As you may have heard, Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st, and I don't want to lose you guys as readers! I recommend switching over to BlogLovin' or Feedly as a replacement. I always update Facebook with new posts, so following me over there will keep you up to date as well. Thanks in advance for taking the time to make the switch!

Healthy Mexican Dinner: Tilapia Tacos + Black Bean Salad


Monday, March 4, 2013

Chicken Quesadilla Pie


I *just* made this chicken quesadilla pie yesterday afternoon, and it was so delicious that my planned cookie post for today is being postponed until later this week. The cookies are amazing too, but Mexican food beats cookies any day, at least in my world. I wanted to share this as quickly as possible, so that every single one of you can add it to your dinner plans this week. Seriously. Do it.

Not only is this pie delicious, it's quick and incredibly easy. All you do is fashion a makeshift crust out of a tortilla, dump in a bunch of shredded rotisserie chicken, cheese, jalapenos, and cilantro, whisk together a quick batter that gets poured on top, and bake it for about 20 minutes. It's kind of like a quesadilla crossed with a quiche.

Blammo. You just made yourself an awesome dinner. 


This isn't very spicy with the specified amount of jalapenos, so feel free to toss in more if you like your food with a kick. I think that pepper-jack cheese would be a great sub for cheddar if you feel like mixing things up!

Also, a quick Public Service Announcement: I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Best Simple Recipes. I've been using this thing like crazy over the past couple months, and every single thing I've tried from it has turned out perfectly. If you're in the market for quick dinner ideas I could not recommend it more.

Okay. Time to go get my weekly dose of secondhand embarrassment and watch Girls. Have a happy Monday, friends!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Creamy Beer Cheese Soup with Salsa Verde

Creamy Beer Cheese Soup with Salsa Verde

Those of you who have been around for awhile may remember that I explained my complicated relationship with football last year. By complicated relationship, I mean that I want to like it. I really, really do. I just don't. I love the camaraderie of rooting for a team, the fact that football signifies the start of fall, and the excuse to drink beer and eat wings.

I was a marching band geek in high school, and therefore attended about 50 high school football games over my years at Ocean Township High School. Most of my time during those games was spent eating nachos, trying to avoid dropping my flute below the bleachers, and annoying/awkwardly attempting to flirt with the drummers who had the misfortune of being seated in front of me. Unfortunately none of that time was spent cultivating a love for the sport.

Fortunately, I did cultivate a love for game foods of all kinds, and wanted to share a recipe that would be appropriate for Superbowl Sunday. I decided to do something different than the standard dips and wings this year, and I turned to Pam Anderson's (no, not THAT Pam Anderson) Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals.I decided that this recipe would be perfect - and it's a good way to make sure your vegetarian friends don't get left out of the food festivities!

This was my first time making or tasting beer cheese soup, so my Wisconsinite readers will have to tell me if this is even remotely authentic. Authentic or not, it was really tasty, and would be a fantastic addition to a Superbowl spread! I mean, its two main ingredients are beer and cheese. Totally football appropriate. Leftovers reheat surprisingly well for a cheese-based soup, and I have a feeling that keeping this warm in a slow cooker would work splendidly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vegetarian Bean Chili

25-Minute, Healthy Vegetarian Bean Chili

Happy New Year everyone! The past 2 years I've kicked off January with a healthy recipe, so I'm continuing the tradition in 2013 with this awesome vegetarian chili. I would seriously cry and go on a hunger-strike if the only way to eat healthy was to eat a plain nasty chicken breast and some steamed broccoli. Eating boring, flavorless food is no way to go through life.

Fortunately, this chili is made up of major health foods like veggies and beans, but it's so hearty and flavorful that you completely forget you're getting a huge dose of nutrition.

25-Minute, Healthy Vegetarian Bean Chili

Right now, many of you reading are probably nursing champagne hangovers from last night, and want nothing more than to faceplant into a sack of Five Guys cheeseburgers. Do that today, make this tomorrow. This chili takes 25 minutes to throw together, makes delicious leftovers, and is made with pantry staples. I bet many of you have all the ingredients on hand right now!

25-Minute, Healthy Vegetarian Bean Chili

Friday, December 14, 2012

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifles

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifles with Graham Cracker Streusel

So, remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was going to Mixed Conference courtesy of the nice people at Lucky Leaf? Due to a last minute work obligation, I sadly couldn't make it to the conference, however, I still wanted to share what I created with one of Lucky Leaf's tasty products.

Blueberry and lemon is probably my favorite flavor combination next to peanut butter and chocolate. I know blueberries are a bit out of season right now, but I couldn't resist using them in conjunction with some of Lucky Leaf's lemon pie filling. I came up with this insanely easy trifle recipe, and you don't even need to turn on your oven to make it.  What you're looking at here is a layer of crunchy, cinnamon and almond graham cracker streusel, fresh blueberries, a super-lemony no-bake cheesecake filling, and cubes of moist pound cake. All of these flavors and textures work together so deliciously that I inhaled my jar of trifle in about 90 seconds flat.

No-Bake Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Trifles with Graham Cracker Streusel

I have a minor obsession with consuming food and drinks from mason jars. Beer, iced tea, and all kinds of desserts simply taste better when consumed from one. It's science. Depending on the size of your mason jars, this makes about 8 servings. You can also make it a full-sized dessert in a regular trifle dish if desired, but it will be less delicious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Penne Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

I'm alive!!

It's been a busy couple weeks in Maggie-land, but I am back with a stupidly easy pasta recipe for you today. I'm the absolute worst at cooking dinner for myself when things get busy, but this takes 15 minutes of your life, and makes two perfect and super-cheesy portions.

Speaking of cheese, I got in a fight involving a plate of cheese fries this weekend. I'm not usually a fighter. When people are jerks to me, I typically don't know how I want to react to the situation until 3 hours later, at which point it's way too late to give the person a piece of my mind. This weekend, that all changed.

On Saturday, my group of friends and I did a Christmas-themed bar crawl through Arlington, VA. We go every December, and it's possibly one of the most fun events we do all year. People get super into it with ugly sweaters and Christmas costumes (including Ralphie in the pink bunny suit from A Christmas Story and Cousin Eddie, bathrobe and all.)

Annie comes down from New Jersey every year for this event, and at some point on Saturday we randomly decided that we wanted cheese fries. We were at the last bar on the crawl, and finally order a plate of the delicious snack we've been jonesing for all day. There was no server for the bar tables we were standing at with Ralphie and Cousin Eddie, so I went up to the bar myself to retrieve the fries and deposit them at our table, and then ran back to the bar to grab plates and napkins. When I return, two dudes who I have never met before in my life are standing there chowing down on our fries. I will call them Lutz, because cheese-fry thief #1 looked like Lutz from 30 Rock, and Jacques, because cheese-fry thief #2 happened to be French.


Now, I didn't jump right into yelling at Lutz and Jacques without first making it explicitly clear that a) I did not know them, b) have no interest in sharing my food with grubby-fingered strangers, and c) wanted them to stop eating immediately. Well, Jacques made the grave error of informing me that they would order a second round. I informed them that the fries weren't the point. The point was, I thought it was weird and rude that they would come up to a stranger's table and start eating their food. Meanwhile, Lutz continued to hoover my fries like a crazed wildebeest. In the interest of brevity, here's a video loosely depicting what occurred next:


As it turns out, yelling finally clarified my stance on strangers eating my bar snack, and Lutz and Jacques skulked off to another table. 

I was still perturbed about the interaction, but ready to move on, when one of my friends stops by the table to inquire what happened. She says, "umm, Lutz says to tell you you're a bitch."

No me gusta.

I marched over to their table and proceeded to yell at them for a good 3 minutes while they cowered in terror. I was so furious that I don't remember specific details of what I yelled, but Annie informed me after the fact that she could tell by my articulate yelling that I was an English major. 

Lessons to take from this story:

a. Don't eat a stranger's cheese fries. 
b. Don't argue with an English major; she will destroy you using only her words. 
c. Don't call a girl a bitch unless you want to experience the true definition of the word.
d. Standing up for yourself and not letting jerks walk all over you feels awesome.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Spiced Black Bean, Avocado, and Queso Fresco Tacos

Spiced Black Bean, Avocado, and Queso Fresco Tacos by A Bitchin' Kitchen

Umm...please excuse the giant bruised piece of avocado front and center in this photo. Somehow, I didn't notice it while photographing these, and by the time I uploaded the pics, the tacos were long gone and I couldn't re-photograph. Oh well. A bruised avocado is still a tasty avocado! Maybe if I got my act together and learned how to use Photoshop I could have figured out a way to turn that brown spot green, but my photo editing skills are basically limited to iPhoto. Between bruised avocados and the end of daylight saving time leaving me no light for dinnertime pics, my already limited food photography skills have taken quite a hit this past week.

After posting a cake and cookie recipe back to back, I had a feeling that some of you would perhaps be interested in some lighter fare. These tacos come together in about 15 minutes, and make a perfect quick, flavorful, and healthy weeknight dinner!

I actually hesitated to post these, because Mexican food always just screams summertime to me, and here we are just a week and a half from Thanksgiving. Then I realized that the impending food fest is even more of a reason to share a nice, light recipe before we're all stuffing our faces with mashed potatoes and pie!

Here's what you'll need:

1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup black beans, with liquid
1/2 avocado
Extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest from 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled
3-4 small flour or corn tortillas, warmed (My tortillas were the Mission brand small fajita sized tortillas, which are slightly larger than a typical corn tortilla. I made 3 pretty stuffed tacos, but with a corn tortilla you'd have plenty of filling for 4 tacos.)

In a medium frying pan over medium heat, combine the coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, and black beans.  Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquids have cooked out - about 5 minutes. Transfer the beans to a small bowl.

Brush avocado half with olive oil, and place flesh side down in the same pan. Let cook until slightly charred, and remove from heat. Slice and peel avocado.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, and honey.

Divide black bean mixture and avocado slices evenly between your tortillas. Top with queso fresco, and drizzle lightly with honey-lime sauce. Serve immediately.

You may also like: Tacos de Barbacoa, Crispy Chipotle Shrimp Tacos, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Tacos with Chipotle Crema, and White Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

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Source: Adapted from Naturally Ella

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peanut Butter Chicken

peanut butter chicken

Sometimes my brain feels blocked. I have been sitting at my laptop, staring at a blank screen for longer than I care to admit, wracking racking my brain trying to think of an interesting anecdote, or words of wisdom to share. I've got nothing. I did read up on the difference between wracking and racking. So there's that.

I was up in New Jersey all weekend visiting my sister and mom, and had a relaxing few days filled with lots of wine, pumpkin ice cream, good bagels, and great burritos. I intentionally confused a young man at the wine store when I asked him what wine he recommended to accompany hot dogs. I should cut the sarcasm and be nicer to easily flustered wine store clerks. I also bought a deep dish pie plate, and am extremely psyched to make a pie and share it here. Such an exciting life I lead, right?

Let's just move on and talk about this chicken before I bore you to tears. I'm a big fan of peanut butter in savory dishes. I know the ingredients below might seem a little odd (I totally get that combining peanut butter and salsa sounds slightly cray-cray) but they totally work. Best of all, I bet you have at least half of the ingredients on hand already. I am the worst at maintaining a pantry full of staples, and even I only needed to pick up chicken, peanuts, and orange juice to make this amazing dinner happen.

P.S. If this recipe strikes your fancy, you might also like these Thai Peanut Butter Noodles

Here's what you'll need:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup medium salsa
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 large chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into 4 or 5 strips each
2 tablespoons olive oil
Peanuts and green onions, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, salsa, soy sauce, honey, orange juice, ginger, and curry powder. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add the chicken to the oil, and brown on both sides, but don't cook through. Turn the heat to low, and pour in the sauce. Cover the pan, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced, and the chicken is cooked through. 

Serve over rice, sprinkled with peanuts and green onions.

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Source: Adapted from Kristina Kuzmic

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage Pasta

When you were a kid, did you ever eat cut up hot dogs mixed with a box of Kraft mac & cheese? 

Me too. Actually, I may have actually eaten that concoction as recently as a few months ago, so I don't know who I'm trying to fool with the whole "when you were a kid" qualifier. 

This reminds me of a grownup version of that! However, instead of hot dogs you have delicious smoked turkey sausage, and instead of Kraft you have penne with Monterey Jack cheese and Ro-Tel. The best part? You only need one pan, and 25 minutes to make this dinner. You don't even cook the pasta in a separate pan!

On a spiciness scale of 1-10, with 1 being mild salsa, and 10 being a ghost pepper dipped in sriracha sauce, this pasta is about a 3. If you want it spicier, use the hot version of Ro-Tel, and maybe Pepper-Jack cheese instead of Monterey-Jack. Some crushed red pepper flakes would be delicious too. This is a very forgiving recipe - you really can't mess up cheesy pasta!

Spicy Sausage Pasta

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Here's what you'll need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-ounce package smoked turkey sausage, sliced into rounds (I used Butterball brand)
1 1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles, Original Style
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Thinly sliced scallions
Salt, to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet(or other oven-safe skillet) until smoking. 

Add the sausage and onion, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the broth, Ro-Tel, heavy cream, uncooked pasta, and pepper, and give the mixture a good stir. Bring to a boil, cover the skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking. Preheat the broiler while the pasta is cooking.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Taste, and add salt as needed. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned - about 3 minutes.

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Adapted from The Best Simple Recipesvia Kevin & Amanda

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Crispy Chipotle Shrimp Tacos


Once upon a time, I was repulsed at the idea of seafood in a taco. I had the ridiculous notion that tacos should be filled with one of two things: beef or chicken. Fortunately, I came to my senses several years ago, partially thanks to one of my favorite restaurants in DC, Ceiba.

Ceiba has this amazing happy hour menu with stuff like shrimp and crab nachos, ceviche, queso fundido, and pig-shaped molcajetes full of guacamole. Oh, and sangria. I can't forget the sangria. They also have the seafood tacos that officially sealed my conversion from a person who was wary of the concept, to a person who was in love with it. I haven't been there in quite some time since they are located across from the 10th Circle of Hell my old office, and I like to stay safely in my beautiful current building a full mile away.

P.S. Ceiba, if you're reading this, there's a crappy Au Bon Pain kitty-corner from my office. Please commandeer it, throw their nasty food away, and open another Ceiba location. You make DC a tastier place.

By the way, if Ceiba knows me, it's only as "often tipsy girl who frequently forgets to close her bar tab" so no, they did not make me write about my adoration for their food.

Anyway, back to seafood tacos. These don't really resemble Ceiba's tacos in any way, except for the fact that they both contain seafood, and they're both delicious. These have a good kick to them, and even this spice fiend had to take a swig of milk to cool my mouth. I try not to say this too often, because when I say it I want you guys to know I mean it: this is one of my favorite recipes on the blog. Out of 200+ recipes, this is top 10 material. Serve this with some tortilla chips and tomatillo salsa (which I'm aware looks like pickle relish in the photo), and you have a stupendously scrumptious meal for two.

Here's what you'll need:

For the Shrimp:

2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

For the Chipotle-Lime Drizzle:

1 cup fat-free greek yogurt
2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo
3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon lime juice

For the Fixin's:

1 ripe avocado, chopped
Purple cabbage, shredded (Tip: get it from the grocery store salad bar! Super easy.)
1 Jalapeno, sliced (remove the seeds if you like your food less spicy)
4 Small Flour tortillas, warmed

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and chipotle powder with a fork. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Rinse and dry shrimp. Place in a large bowl, and toss with the flour mixture until all of the shrimp is thoroughly coated. You might have a bit of flour mixture left over, which is a-okay.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Cook the shrimp for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through and opaque.

While your shrimp are cooking, place the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and lime juice in the bowl of a mini-food processor. Puree until smooth, and fold mixture into the greek yogurt. Season to taste with salt.

As soon as your shrimp are done, remove from the heat and assemble your tacos. Serve immediately with chips and salsa!

Source: A Bitchin' Kitchen original
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers


Posted by: Maggie

Surely some of you are thinking, "Chicken fingers? Has Maggie regressed to childhood?" I assure you that I have not, and I'm here to tell you how to turn a traditional kid's meal into a fancy grown-lady meal in 4 easy steps:

1) Make it from scratch. Who needs dinosaur-shaped mystery chicken? Not you! I made these last night after only eating a granola bar all day, and was really tempted to just buy frozen chicken fingers. I'm so glad I didn't. These take about 20 minutes worth of effort, and the results are a million times tastier than the frozen kind.

2) Serve with a snazzy dipping sauce - not ketchup. I like ketchup as much as the next gal, but my favorite honey mustard or some homemade BBQ sauce will elevate chicken fingers from kid food, to fancy grown-lady cuisine.

3) Enjoy your chicken fingers while watching something wildly inappropriate, and meant for grown-ladies on TV. 20 years ago, I would've eaten chicken fingers while watching Full House or Clarissa Explains it all. Last night, I enjoyed them while finally watching the first two episodes of Girls. You think Clarissa Darling had problems? Girlfriend had nothing on Hannah Horvath.

4) Last but not least, wash your chicken fingers down with a beer. Duh.

Here's what you'll need:

2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Cooking spray
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch wide strips (I trimmed the excess fat off mine, sliced off about an inch from the flat, narrow end of the breast, and cut into 4 even strips.)

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. In a large skillet, combine the panko and canola oil. Turn the heat on to medium-high, and toast breadcrumbs for 8-10 minutes, until golden-brown. Stir frequently to ensure that they don't burn! Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish and set aside.

In a separate shallow dish, mix together flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne, and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, Dijon mustard, and thyme.

Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet, and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Dredge one chicken strip in flour, then egg mixture, and lastly in the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between steps. Place coated chicken on prepared rack, and repeat with remaining strips.

If you're like me and find breading food to be a colossal pain in the tookus, here are some tips:

- Leave the water slowly running while you bread the chicken. Yes, it's wasteful, but it really helps if you rinse the egg and panko clumps from your fingers in between breading each piece. The reason I suggest leaving the sink on is to avoid cross contamination between the chicken and the faucet.

- Use 2 dishes for the breadcrumbs. Keep the majority of the breadcrumbs in a larger dish, and before breading each strip, transfer a small handful to a saucer, and bread the strip there. That way, you can avoid getting big clumps of egg mixed in with all the breadcrumbs.

After all the chicken is breaded, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven to 12-16 minutes, and serve immediately.

(Update on 5/1: These are excellent leftover! Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Flip over halfway through.)

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Source: Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, via Annie's Eats

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blackened Tilapia


Posted by: Maggie

When I made this recipe Tuesday night, I wasn't entirely sure that I was going to post it. I snapped a quick photo before digging in, and almost immediately regretted that I didn't try harder to get a great picture. It's hard to believe that something so simple could taste so incredibly delicious. 

Tilapia has never been my first choice when it comes to seafood - give me salmon, cod, or shrimp any day. This has made a tilapia lover out of me, and it certainly doesn't hurt that it's far less expensive than salmon!

This is a great weeknight recipe, since it literally takes minutes to prepare. I actually measured out all the seasonings and stuck them in a sandwich bag Monday night, so they were all ready to go when I fixed dinner on Tuesday. Easy-peasy.

Here's what you'll need:

For the blackening seasoning:

3 tablespoons smoked paprika (don't sub regular paprika)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For the fish:

1 pound tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another oil with a high smoke point if you can't find it)
Lemon slices

Mix together ingredients for blackening seasoning in a sandwich bag, and shake to thoroughly combine.

Rinse and thoroughly pat dry tilapia. Press a heaping tablespoon of the seasoning over both sides of the fillets, until liberally coated (you will probably have some seasoning left over.) Let the fish to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.

In a large skillet, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. When the oil barely starts to smoke, add the fish. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Squeeze lemon over each piece of fish, and serve immediately with lots of tartar sauce, extra lemon, and coleslaw!

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Source: Adapted from The Food Network

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Maple-Glazed Salmon with Pineapple


Posted by: Maggie

The weather has been insanely gorgeous here in Virginia over the past several days. Temperatures have been in the low 70s, with bright sunny skies and no humidity to speak of.

I'm trying really hard to enjoy this weather, and to ignore the thoughts of the 95-degree days and humidity that await this area of the country in just a couple short months. For those of you who don't know, I live in Northern Virginia, a few miles outside of Washington, DC. There is a popular misconception that our lovely city was built on a swamp, and while it's technically untrue, it certainly feels accurate from May through September each year. You literally can't walk a block before you start sweating like a whore in church. It's terrible. After 5 summers here, my coping mechanisms include sundresses, ponytails, and copious amounts of cold showering, whining, and complaining. I'm a delight to be around - believe me.

In the interest of celebrating this brief period of nice weather, I wanted to make something light and fresh, instead of the soup recipe that I'd planned to make. I pinned this recipe from Real Simple several weeks ago, and thought it fit the bill perfectly. The original recipe suggests serving this with white rice, which was part of my plan, until I burnt it to an inedible crisp. Oops.

Here's what you'll need:

1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not pancake syrup!)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

Preheat your broiler.

Add maple syrup and mustard to a small saucepan, and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool and thicken for 10 minutes.

Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, and place salmon fillets in the pan, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter pineapple and jalapeño around the fish.

Transfer half of the maple dijon glaze to a small container, and brush the remaining half over the fish, discarding any that is leftover. Broil fish for 7-10 minutes, or until it flakes easily and is cooked throughout. My fish was still slightly frozen in the center when I started to cook, so mine took longer than 10 minutes. Start checking for doneness around 7 minutes, because overcooked salmon is dry and icky!

Serve the salmon with the reserved glaze for drizzling.

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Source: Real Simple

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes for Two



Posted by: Maggie


I kind of wish I never made this recipe...

Now that I know how easy it is to make two perfect little cupcakes, I'm concerned that I'll do it way too often. Since there is no waiting for the butter to soften, these cakes were mixed up and baked in a matter of 20 minutes. Amazing. And addicting.

I topped these with cream cheese frosting since I had a little bit of cream cheese leftover from the blueberry lemon cheesecake bars, but you can use whatever you want. Even canned frosting...your secret is safe with me!



Here's what you'll need:

For the cupcakes...

1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your muffin tin with two liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white and sugar until thoroughly combined. Whisk in butter and vanilla until fully incorporated. Add in flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until completely incorporated. Stir in milk.

Divide the batter between the two liners, and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cake is set. (Note: The original recipe said to bake for 10-12 minutes, but mine took 16. You may want to keep an eye on things starting around 10 minutes just in case my oven was running cool or something.)

Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

2 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/4 block)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and creamy. Color with gel food color if desired.

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Source: How Sweet It Is (cupcakes)
Muh Brain (frosting)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Seared Salmon with Dill Dijon Sauce



Posted by: Maggie

It's time for something healthy. I give away or share the majority of the baked goods you see on here, but that doesn't change the fact that I had two slices of the peach pie, and two of the cheesecake bars over the past week and a half.

In the interest of not giving myself diabeetus, I decided to end my sugar binge and make this easy, healthy, and delicious salmon recipe. This recipe makes enough sauce for about 4-6 servings of salmon, but I just cooked one piece and will probably end up using the rest of the sauce as a dip for carrot sticks or fingers.

I am all about sauce on my food. Oftentimes I will specifically order something at a restaurant because I think the sauce sounds delicious. I recently ordered a patty melt specifically because it was served with chipotle ketchup. Not because I actually wanted a patty melt. This sauce does not disappoint. It is so rich and creamy from the greek yogurt that you will have a hard time believing it's fat free. And the dill...oh yum. I challenge anyone to find an herb that smells better than that stuff.

Make it for dinner tonight - I promise you won't regret it!

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 6-ounce container fat-free Greek yogurt (I swear by the Fage brand - it's the creamiest!)
3-5 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, removed from tough stems

4 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Mix dijon, yogurt, and dill in a small bowl. Set aside in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Rinse salmon fillets and dry thoroughly. Season the non-skin side with salt and pepper. In a non-stick skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Place salmon seasoned side down into pan, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Serve fillets with sauce spooned over the top, and additional dill for garnish.

Source: Adapted from Blue Kitchen

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thai Peanut Butter Noodles



Posted by: Maggie


If you need a quick lunch or dinner that is made with stuff you probably already have in your cabinets, this is the recipe for you. Except for the time it took to boil a pot of water, this meal came together in 10 minutes flat - far less than the time it would take to order a similar dish via takeout. It is much healthier too, since I was able to control the amount of oil and salt added. I used Jif peanut butter and regular pasta, but you could up the health factor by using whole wheat pasta and natural peanut butter if you prefer!

Here's what you'll need:

Half a box of thin spaghetti
1/2 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons water (to thin the sauce if necessary)
3 chopped scallions, for garnish
red pepper flakes and salt, to taste

Cook spaghetti as directed on package, and drain. While the pasta is cooking, combine peanut butter, ginger, garlic, oil, honey, and chicken broth over medium heat. Whisk thoroughly to combine ingredients, and stir frequently until heated through. If the sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and/or additional chicken broth to thin it out. Toss sauce with drained pasta, and season to taste with red pepper flakes and salt. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped scallions.

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Adapted from: Ramshackle Glam

Friday, April 15, 2011

Garlic Shrimp



Posted by: Maggie

I have another quick and easy dinner for you today! 

I wanted something healthy, since DC is going to be unpleasantly hot and humid in approximately one month, and I am in no way ready for anything skin revealing. Much to my dismay, jeans and cozy sweaters cannot be comfortably worn in DC year round. If I had it my way, November weather would last all year, and I'd never have to reveal my pasty appendages in sundresses (I don't do shorts. Seriously, I own zero pairs.) Unfortunately it's not November year round, and if I'm going to wear all the new sundresses I bought I'm going to have to break out some healthy foods for the time being. 

As much as I love food blogs that encourage me to stuff my face with copious amounts of bacon, peanut butter, chocolate, animal fat, and frosting, I also enjoy quite a few health conscious blogs, particularly Gina's Skinny Recipes.  She makes all of her diet friendly fare look and sound so downright delicious I often forget I'm reading a healthy blog. 

I settled on the garlic shrimp from Gina's website, since I ate the leftover lemon linguine for lunch back on Tuesday when I made this, and wanted something a bit more protein heavy for dinner. I ate these shrimp by themselves, but I imagine they'd also be great on a salad, or over rice. 

Here's what you'll need:

1/2 pound large shrimp, washed, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Paprika
Salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
Lime wedges for serving

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until golden, about 1-2 minutes. This will burn really easily, so keep an eye on it. Add shrimp to pan, and season with salt and paprika.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through, stirring frequently. 

Transfer shrimp to a bowl, and stir in parsley. 

Enjoy! 
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