simple roasted chicken This past week I was on a 3 day juice cleanse so needless to say I didn’t do much cooking. I drank vegetable juices from 9-5 and then at 6 pm had a small dinner with protein and vegetables. 2 of the nights I opted to make simple roasted chicken breast and it was actually really good even though it didn’t have the usual amount of spices that I like to use or any sauces.

This simple roasted chicken is great to have on it’s own, or it can be used as a base for other recipes such as chicken salad.

Simple Roasted Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Lemon pepper spice mix
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 375
  2. Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and tenderize a bit.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and lemon pepper spice mix.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, turning half way through.

 

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jeweled rice with apricots and raisins I bought a whole lot of dried fruits…I mean a whole lot. I brought home dried figs, dates, cranberries,  raisins and apricots. I love snacking on these guys since they’re healthy and have enough natural sugar to give me my sugar fix. I can’t eat all of these dried fruits so I decided to make some jeweled rice with apricots and raisins.

Jeweled rice with dried fruit is the perfect spin on traditional rice and its much more flavorful and a bit of sweetness. You could add other dried fruit to this recipe like cranberries or just stick to raisins – either way you can go wrong. The key to perfectly fluffy rice is to wrap a dish towel around the saucepan lid to keep the condensation from dipping back into the rice.

jeweled rice with apricots and raisins

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 strips lemon zest
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Black pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Put the apricots, raisins and lemon zest in the 2 cups of cold water.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the garam masala, cook for about a minute.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes then add the 2 cups of water, dried fruit, lemon zest. bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Wrap a clean dish towel around the saucepan lid, cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes then set aside for 5 minutes before fluffing and serving. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/basmati-rice-pilaf-with-apricots-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

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spiced chicken kabobsIt’s been snowing quite a bit in the east coast, it’s beyond cold and I’ve been craving comfort food. Typically when you think of comfort food you think of mac and cheese, biscuits, pie, chili, etc. but for some reason I wanted nothing more than some spiced chicken kabobs.  I don’t know many people who consider kabobs comfort food, typically I don’t either, but I was feeling nostalgic and thought of my family. Many times when my family gets together we go out to middle eastern restaurants and get none other than kabobs, so I guess that’s where the craving stemmed from.

Anyhow, we usually make kabobs on the grill but thanks to the snow that wasn’t an option, so I found a recipe that uses an oven. These spiced chicken kabobs really hit the spot; they were so flavorful and juicy and I literally couldn’t stop eating them. They aren’t too spicy but if you’re heat adverse you can always tone it down.

making spiced chicken kabobs making spiced chicken kabobs spiced chicken kabobs

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dashi beef with mushrooms Remember how I mentioned that I loved the menu magazine that Wegmans puts out in it’s stores? Well I’m still obsessing over this month’s Asian inspired dishes and made dashi beef with mushrooms.  It’s very similar in taste to a beef and pepper dish that I made but it’s a little bit different due to the flavor of the dashi sauce. For this dish I used pre-made dashi sauce since I was in a bit of a time crunch but you could easily make your own and use it instead….which is what I’ll try next time around.

Not only is the beef tender and flavorful but there are so many delicious vegetables to accompany it like onions, peppers and of course mushrooms. This would pair well with some basmati or brown rice but I decided to make a vegetable side dish of bok choy. All in all, I would definitely make dashi beef with mushrooms again!

cooking dashi beef with mushrooms cooking dashi beef with mushrooms

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shredded brussels sproutsI love grocery shopping at Wegmans – they have a great selection of produce and interesting foods and condiments that you wouldn’t be able to find at your local grocery store. Each month they release a menu booklet with lots of great recipes and ways to incorporate their foods, and I never pass the opportunity to scoop one up. Now,  I think I’ve mentioned before that we love Brussels sprouts around here so when I came across this shaved Brussels sprout recipe I was excited to try it.

This recipe calls for a bag of pre-shredded Brussels sprouts but you could easily shred your own, although it might be more time consuming. The shaved Brussels sprouts are both lightly fried with the shallots and steam with but they don’t taste steam at all – they just take perfect.

cooking shredded brussels sprouts shredded brussels sprouts

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scrambled egg breakfast sandwitch Breakfast is my favorite meal to the point that I could eat it for dinner…which sometimes happens. I love alternating between oatmeal, toast with avocado and eggs. Eggs are always my go to and lately I’ve been making breakfast sandwiches with over hard eggs, but this weekend I decided to switch things up and use scrambled eggs.

I scrambled some eggs with red onion, toasted an English muffin, added cherry tomatoes, cheese and toasted everything and enjoyed my scrambled eggs breakfast sandwitch. Originally I used shredded Mexican cheese as that’s all I had on hand, but this would pair perfectly with cheddar or even better, munster cheese.

making scrambled egg breakfast sandwiches

Scrambled Egg Breakfast Sandwitch
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 whole grain English muffins
  • 3 eggs
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved - can use whole tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • ¼ red onion, chopped - can also use scallions
  • 4 slices of cheddar or munster cheeses
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Toast English muffin to your liking.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add red onion, cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  3. In the meantime wisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and add eggs to the skillet and mix together with the onions. The trick is to keep moving the eggs around until cooked.
  4. Set broiler to low. Add eggs to and English muffin half, top with tomatoes and cheese. Place in oven until cheese is melted.

 

 

 

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mushroom mac & cheeseWho can resist gooey mac & cheese? I know I can’t. I’ve made Alton Brown’s mac & cheese before but this time around I had left over mushrooms and added them to the mix – my only regret was that I didn’t add more! This  mushroom mac & cheese dish is so hearty and it makes great leftovers so you can eat it for another day or two without loosing the flavor. You can add any type of cheese here but I used mild cheddar that I hand shredded and a Mexican cheese blend.

making mushroom mac & cheese baking mushroom mac & cheese mushroom mac & cheese

 

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cashew chicken with mushrooms Cashew chicken is a typical Chinese carry out item for us and it never disappoints. I don’t know what those carry out places do but the sauce is always on point, but I can’t imagine it being healthy and as far as the quality of the chicken…I’d rather not think about it.

I decided to make my own cashew chicken with mushrooms and not only was it good, the ingredients were nothing short of fresh. This dish didn’t taste like the carry out version but I dare to say that I liked it even more! I had a green pepper on hand so I decided to add some to the dish and I served it with green beans and rice.

cashew chicken with mushrooms cashew chicken with mushrooms

Cashew Chicken with Mushrooms
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 5½ Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 pkg (8oz) mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted whole cashews
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • Sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into 1 in strips and place into a bowl. Add water to the bowl 1 Tbsp at a time until absorbed. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of oil over chicken and mix until absorbed (use EVOO or olive oil if sunflower oil isn't on hand). Sprinkle chicken with cornstarch and mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil on high and add the chicken. Cook until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer chicken to clean dish.
  3. In the meantime, mix together sauce ingredients.
  4. Add additional oil to the pan, add mushrooms and cook until brown. Add cashews and cook for an additional 1 min. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 1 min. Add chicken, green beans, bell pepper and sauce to pan, cook until sauce has absorbed into the chicken and it's cooked through.
Notes
Adapted from: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=830155

 

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glazed salmon with vegetables As you already know I don’t often cook fish as it doesn’t always turn out so great for me. Most of the time it’s not flavorful and kind of fishy but I finally found a recipe that turned out so so good: glazed salmon with vegetables. The salmon is sweet with a hint of tangy lemon and the vegetables turned out better than ever thanks to the lemon. I’m still trying to figure out the best cook time for fish since most recipes call for 10-15 minutes but I always find that the fish isn’t fully cooked during that time frame – 20-25 minutes seem’s to be the magic number.

I made a few adjustments to the glazed salmon with vegetables recipe which enhanced the flavor:

– season salmon with salt, pepper and a lemon pepper seasoning

– toss vegetables in basting oil

– bake for 30 minutes

glazed salmon baking glazed salmon with vegetables

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Everyone knows of my sweet potato obsession. I always throw some basting oil, salt and pepper on it and simply bake it but when I came across this smoky roasted sweet potato alternative I jumped to make it.

It’s not too different from regular roasted sweet potatoes aside from the spices. The kicker here is the smoked paprika which adds a really interesting and smoky flavor – hence “smoky roasted sweet potatoes”.  Since the potatoes are baked under foil for the first 30 minutes it really makes them soft and then the last 15 uncovered minutes crisp them up – perfect combination.

smoky roasted sweet potatoes smoky roasted sweet potatoes

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