Monthly Archives: August 2014

Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego

I might as well chalk my diet up to a lost cause this week. I only have two more days at my current job and I can’t help but take advantage of my favorite Philadelphia eats (like the obsessive chicken over rice from the Halal food truck on the corner, the peanut butter cup popcorn at Go Popcorn, and the chicken tinga tacos at El Vez) while I still work downtown. Since I’ll be moving to Atlanta, I’m trying to get this great food in while I still can (luckily Go Popcorn ships nationwide!). While my taste buds are in heaven, my belly is feeling like a fat puffy gray cloud. Since I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a bite of anything green, it’s time to make some veggies. Both asparagus and red peppers were on sale at the grocery store this past weekend so this Asparagus with Red Pepper and Manchego seemed like the perfect recipe to make in between my not-so-healthy meals.

Asparagus is cooked with red pepper slices, smoked paprika, salt and pepper before being topped with thin shavings of buttery Manchego cheese. Amazing! The asparagus is perfectly crisp, the red pepper is slightly sweet and the smoked paprika is a smoky little cherry on top. Smoked paprika is my favorite thing in my kitchen but I’d never considered using it to jazz up some vegetables. I knew I would like this recipe because what’s not to like but I seriously didn’t expect to inhale it the way I did. This doesn’t feel like a side dish but a healthy little meal in itself. It may not be Halal’s chicken over rice but I think it’s a new obsession.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add bell pepper, paprika, black pepper, and salt; cook 2 minutes.

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Top with Manchego cheese.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Quick Banana and Milk Chocolate S’Mores

A little over three years ago, I bought my first home, a condo. A month later, this blog was born. I was so excited to finally own a place after renting so many apartments. I searched design blogs and poured over websites looking at furniture and paint colors. Well, this past weekend, I spent every minute cleaning every nook and cranny because I’ll be putting my sweet little condo on the market. I accepted a job in Atlanta about three weeks ago which I’m really excited about but getting a home ready to list for sale is purely exhausting. I passed up on a concert, barely ate any meals and drank way too much coffee. Late Saturday after realizing I’d eaten nothing all day, I picked up Chinese food and almost fell asleep eating it. Yesterday I decided I needed to make something for the blog so instead of making something healthy and sustaining, I made these Quick Banana and Milk Chocolate S’Mores. Only because they were quick.

Graham crackers are topped with milk chocolate, banana slices and marshmallow which is then toasted under the broiler for a quick minute and a half when everything becomes soft and gooey. Eating these s’mores reminded me of when my friend Lori and I used to make s’mores in the toaster oven at work. The smell would waft throughout the office and at one point our CFO came over and asked what we made that smelled so good. Everything about these s’mores takes me back to that time. The milk chocolate is creamy, the marshmallow is oozing, and the banana is toasted and mellowed out. Yes, this was my dinner last night. And considering I still have a little more to do, it just might be my dinner tonight.

Have some left over marshmallows? Try this Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake!

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Preheat broiler to high. Place graham cracker squares on a foil-lined baking sheet. Divide chocolate evenly among 4 squares; top evenly with banana slices. Spread 1 tablespoon marshmallow crème (or place 1 marshmallow) on each of 4 remaining squares.

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Broil 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate just begins to melt and marshmallow creme lightly browns.

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Carefully top banana with the marshmallow-topped squares.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole marshmallows

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Seaside Sunrise

I spent all of last week in Chicago and, despite battling an allergic eye infection that forced me to wear my glasses all week, I used the opportunity to rest, relax, and read. I took long walks along the water and spent the warm (and warm-ish) days at the beach on the lake. I slept in a lot which was different from my last trip to Chicago in May where I was awoken every morning at 6am by a happy dog named Abigail eager to go outside. Watching the sun come up over Lake Michigan is enchanting and I was able to get up early enough once last week to catch it. The way the sun glistens over the water, making the lake look silver and glossy, is a sight that I never tire of. This Seaside Sunrise seems appropriate.

Pineapple, orange-mango, and cranberry juices are mixed with passion fruit rum, a little grenadine (which I left out) and topped with sparkling wine and fruit slices. Any of your favorite rum could be added here but the flavor of the passion fruit combined with the different fruit juices really makes this a perfect little summer cocktail. Whether you are seaside or landlocked, make a batch of this and enjoy our last days of summer.

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Combine pineapple juice, mango-orange juice, passion fruit rum, cranberry juice, and grenadine in a large pitcher.

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Pour into ice-filled glasses, and top with sparkling wine, if desired.

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Garnish, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Grenadine

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living magazine

Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers

I’m in a fruit and veggies state of mind (sorry I just saw Billy Joel in concert over the weekend). I used to be diligent about going to the local produce stand (which isn’t all that close to me) each weekend and stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies. Up until this past weekend, I don’t think I’ve been there all year. Pathetic. And then when I go to my sad grocery store, I complain each and every time because the produce section is inevitably out of something I specifically went there to get and I wonder why I didn’t go the extra few miles to the produce stand. The peppers in these Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers were one such missing item from my grocery store after having seen bags of them for weeks. Then poof! They were gone.  Along with the purple cauliflower and the bags of cherries the store had advertised as being a special price in their circular. But I had my heart set on making these little snacks so I hopped in Zelda (my car) and drove to another grocery store farther away which I knew had a better produce department. The store stinks (literally, P.U.) …but the produce is good. And I walked away, satisfied, with a huge bag of these baby bells.

Baby bell peppers are blistered in a skillet before being halved and stuffed with a mixture of cooked ground meat (I used turkey but the recipe calls for pork), poblano pepper, onion, garlic, spices, fresh cilantro and Muenster cheese. After a quick trip to the oven, the cheese melts and these guys are ready to go. Sure, stuffing the peppers is the most time consuming part but when it’s all said and done, these peppers are the perfect one or two bites. The poblano gives a subtle kick and the ancho and chile powders add a punch of flavor. Make these as an appetizer or as a unique little lunch. People will walk by and wonder what colorful lunch you are having.

If you like these, definitely try Sausage-and-Feta Cheese-Stuffed Peppers.

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Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the baby bell peppers in a single layer and cook, turning, until the skins blister and start browning, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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Add the onion, poblano, garlic, cumin, oregano, ancho and chipotle chile powders and 1 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the onion and poblano are tender, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and add the turkey. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and thoroughly cooked. Remove from the heat; let cool.

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Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make a slit in each baby bell pepper with a paring knife, cutting from stem to tip. Crumble the meat mixture into small bits, then stir in the cilantro and cheese. Stuff 2 to 3 teaspoons of the meat mixture into each pepper using your fingers or a small spoon; transfer to a baking sheet.

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Bake until the peppers are hot and the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Ground turkey

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network magazine

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