Monday, May 26, 2014

52 Recipes: Slow Cooker Korean Beef Tacos [Week #19]

It's Memorial Day!

Today is one of those days when I sorely miss having a backyard and a grill. I'd be grilling up some mean burgers right now, let me tell you (ok - I'd probably have Danny grilling up some mean burgers..same thing). 

As it is, we have no special plans - but it's just nice to have the day off from work. I'm trying my best not to waste it away by re-reading Harry Potter or any nonsense like that (ha).

Now, these tacos - these tacos are VERY good. And so unbelievably easy. I followed the recipe from Baked Bree and didn't change anything, except I wasn't able to find kimchi in the grocery store so I made a simple slaw instead with shredded cabbage, equal parts greek yogurt and sour cream, lime juice, and diced green onions. I definitely plan on making these again - so I encourage you to head on over to Baked Bree to try the recipe.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

52 Recipes: Quinoa Black Bean Tacos [Week #18]

It's one of those days where the rain is a constant drizzle and the sun never makes an appearance, but it's a good kind of dreary and gray, the kind that makes you want to whittle away your time in a funky coffee shop with some singer-songwriter playing softly in the background - which so happens to be exactly what I'm doing.

I don't think I'm one of those people who can write, I mean really write, in a coffee shop. I get so distracted by the people around me, and the music, and the gorgeous original art hanging on the walls. And then I can't really focus on anything because I've just consumed a gallon of caffeine, and all I can really think about now is what am I going to eat for lunch?

Speaking of lunch - or dinner - or really any meal, these tacos absolutely must make your weekly menu. I love the consistency and the taste is amazing. I've already made them twice since the first time.

I used this recipe from Damn Delicious - followed it exactly, except I opted for putting the avocado in my taco instead of chopping it and mixing it into the dish (didn't want the leftovers to turn brown). 

We ate the filling on corn tortillas with sour cream, avocado, cheddar cheese, and Cholula. Give it a try!

Monday, May 12, 2014

52 Recipes: Double Chocolate Cake Doughnuts [Week #17]

[So, I wrote this draft last week before THE WEATHER TURNED COLD AGAIN. I'm keeping the text for posterity's sake, and the temperatures are supposed to go back up later this week anyway.] :)

The days are warming up here in Utah and I am convinced that my happiness is directly correlated with the weather. Sunshine is good for the soul. The mornings are still cool and crisp, but the afternoons have been nearly perfect.

I want to drink up every day because before I know it, it'll be winter again. The bane of my existence.

Time has a way of doing that. In a few months I'll be turning 28 years old, and that, more than anything else, is mind-boggling to me.

At any rate, these doughnuts can be made rain or shine, hot or cold, and they'll be just as delicious either way.

I took this recipe from Joy the Baker but changed a few things, so I'll list the recipe below rather than just linking to it.

These won't taste like regular yeasted/fried doughnuts, to be sure, but they're tasty in their own way. I've loved using my doughnut pan, and the price is too good not to buy one ($7.50!). So I urge you to go buy one and try this recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Double Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
Slightly adapted from: Joy the Baker
Yield: 8 doughnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (mine was daaaaark, Guittard brand)
Scant 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted until almost browned, then cooled slightly
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used my regular Hershey's Special Dark for this)
pinch of salt
3-4 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
color sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your doughnut pan (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar.

In a glass measuring cup (or small bowl) whisk together buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula until well combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all the flour folded in.

Spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan, filling each mold about 2/3 full. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into one of the doughnuts comes out clean.

Remove from oven, let cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert doughnuts onto a wire rack to cool completely. Don't glaze until they are completely cool.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add 2 Tbsp. milk and the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. The mixture will be thick, so continue adding milk one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is thick, but still slightly pourable.

Dip each doughnut into the glaze, shake off the excess, and return to the wire rack. Immediately top with sprinkles. Allow to rest until the glaze hardens.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

52 Recipes: Pesto Bacon Goat Cheese Pizza [Week #16]

I'm fully aware that this is not the prettiest pizza in existence. But what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste

The idea for this pizza presented itself when I bought a piece of pizza from Whole Foods for dinner that had a pesto base, goat cheese, spinach, and balsamic glaze - it ended up being SO delicious but all I could think the entire time I was eating it was "this really needs some bacon and caramelized onions."

Because really, when doesn't bacon and caramelized onions make everything better?

In other news, I am such a slacker. I'm two weeks behind on this little ol' blog of mine. I've been cooking and trying new recipes, I just haven't been posting them in a timely manner. 

I don't know what the deal is. I feel constantly - constantly - motivated to write ALL THE THINGS. Except...when I come home from work. Except...after we've hiked for two hours and I'm tired. Except...on the weekends when all I want to do is READ ALL THE THINGS. (Who am I kidding, that's a 24/7 occurrence.)

You guys, I even started looking into the Creative Writing MFA program here at the U. 

WHAT THE WHAT. Clearly I need some motivation. 

When I find it, you'll be the first to know. 

Until then: pizza.

Pesto Bacon Goat Cheese Pizza
Inspired by: Whole Foods
Serves: 4

1 whole grain pizza dough ball (we are lazy and buy ours from Whole Foods; plus their dough is amazingly delicious!)
1/2 cup pesto (I used the store bought kind, but fresh would be WAY better here)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided in half
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1 whole onion, sliced and cooked until caramelized
4 slices bacon (I used a brand that was uncured and applewood smoked)
1-2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar over high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and let cook for 15-20 minutes, until it reduces in volume and becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool. Set aside.

While the vinegar is cooking, begin caramelizing the onions. This will take at least 30 minutes, and I am still not an expert, so I'd highly recommend following the tutorial I linked to above if you have any questions.

Preheat your oven to 425 F and place your pizza stone in the oven to get nice and hot (alternatively, if you don’t have a pizza stone, simply preheat your oven at this point). 

When you have about 10 minutes left on the onions, start prepping your other ingredients. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the bacon slices to the pan, turning occasionally until they are about halfway cooked through - they’ll finish cooking in the oven. Remove from heat, dab off excess grease with a paper towel, and cut each slice into thirds. Set aside.

Gather the rest of your ingredients together (mozzarella, tomatoes, goat cheese, spinach, romano): it's time to build the pizza!
-Roll out the dough until it’s the correct size to fit your pan or stone. At this point I usually take the hot pizza stone out of the oven (using oven mits!) and build my pizza directly on top of it. I'm terrible at trying to transfer the pizza with all its toppings directly into the oven, haha.
-Layer all your ingredients evenly over the pizza dough (half of the mozzarella cheese over the pesto, then the rest of your ingredients, then end with the remaining mozzarella and romano cheese). Top with freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste. 
-Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until crust begins to lightly brown and the cheese is nice and melted. (note: shredded romano won't really melt. so don't wait for that to happen, ha.)

Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the pizza as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

52 Recipes: Honey Thyme Salmon Cobb Salads [Week #15]

Here is what I know:

When a grocery store in landlocked Utah has fresh salmon on sale for $6.99/lb, you don't ask questions. You simply buy.

The idea for salmon cobb salads has been kicking around in my head for a while now, and I realize this isn't a "true" cobb salad but I'm still calling it that. You get to make your own rules when you have your own blog.

Whatever you want to call it, these salads were simply fantastic. We ate these on a weeknight right before doing a pretty intense hour and a half hike up Mt. Olympus, and we both felt great afterwards. If you're looking to lighten up your menu this week, and salmon happens to be on sale, I HIGHLY recommend trying these.

Honey Thyme Salmon Cobb Salads
Serves: as many as you want it to!

Recipe found here: Damn Delicious (note: I had to bake my two 4.5-oz filets about 5 minutes longer than she recommended)

Honey Dijon vinaigrette
Recipe found here: Annie's Eats

Everything else
Spring greens
Boiled eggs
Grape/cherry tomatoes
Red onion
Red bell pepper
Whatever else you want! It's your salad, after all. ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

52 Recipes: Meatball Subs [Week #14]

I KNOW, I know. I'm a week behind in posts...I spent some time in Nashville last week hanging with family and eating delicious food (duh) and that totally threw me off schedule. But have no fear, I'll do a make-up post in a few days.

So. Meatball subs. There's nothing fancy about these, but they're a heck of a lot better than anything you'd get at Subway, the land of barely ripe tomatoes and wilted lettuce. It's comfort food, to be sure, but something that's totally forgivable if only consumed on occasion. Danny and I both agree that we would make/eat these again.

I used How Sweet Eat's recipe for the meatballs (doubled the red pepper flakes for extra spiciness), but winged the rest of it (read: bought some pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese) and it turned out deliciously! The recipe was quick and easy; such a great weeknight meal. I'm a fan of meals that take < 30 minutes, and I'm sure you are too.

Meatball Subs
Serves: 3-4

Meatballs (source: How Sweet Eats)
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup shredded romano cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parlsey
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Everything else
3-4 whole wheat 6 or 8-inch sub rolls
1 24-oz. jar of your favorite pasta/marinara sauce (I think I used Bertolli because it was on sale)
appx. 1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
freshly ground black pepper for topping, optional
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, optional

Combine all ingredients for the meatballs, excluding the olive oil, in a big bowl. Don't be afraid to get dirty - use your hands! Mix until just combined, then form into 1.5-inch meatballs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it get warm for a few seconds, then add the meatballs. Cook, turning them occasionally, until they are brown on all sides.

Keeping the heat on medium-high, pour the entire jar of marinara over the meatballs and give it a good stir. Put a lid over the skillet, bring it to a simmer, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so until the meatballs are cooked through.

While the meatballs are simmering, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice open your sub rolls, but be sure you don't slice all the way through, and place these on the baking sheet. Layer about 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese on the bottom of each sub, then 4-5 meatballs with a bit of sauce. Pop these in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Top with freshly ground black pepper and parmesan cheese as desired.

Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Recipes: Chili Garlic Beef Stir Fry with Coconut Jasmine Rice [Week #13]

This is one of those meals that I've started making on an almost weekly basis.

1. It's unbelievably easy and quick
2. I'm a fan of barely cooked steak
3. The coconut jasmine rice is insanely addicting (don't skip this step and make regular white rice or you'll regret it forever)

The recipe comes from How Sweet Eats and it's fantastic.

Try it! You won't be disappointed. [I have no words to write at the moment, apologies for the less than brief post]

Monday, March 24, 2014

52 Recipes: One Pot Andouille Sausage Skillet Pasta [Week #12]

Ok, so I know I've featured a couple different recipes from Damn Delicious already, but I just can't help myself - her recipes are so good and easy!

This andouille pasta has been on our weekly menu rotation for quite some time. I just can't seem to stop making it.

The recipe is pretty simple as is, but it's easily adaptable to whatever you want it to be. We, however, like it exactly as it is. So. Flipping. Good.

Head on over to Damn Delicious for the recipe. Hope you all had a happy Monday! (Is there such a thing?)

Monday, March 17, 2014

52 Recipes: 5-Ingredient Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas [Week #11]

If you need a super easy weeknight meal, THIS IS IT. The original recipe is only four ingredients, but I added a 4 oz. can of chopped green chiles. Seriously - rotisserie chicken, tortillas, salsa verde, pepper jack cheese, and green chiles. Wrap it all up in a tortilla and throw it in the oven! Unbelievably easy.

As usual, the recipe comes from another one of my favorite blogs - Kevin & Amanda. Since all I did was add in a can of green chiles, just head on over to their blog for the recipe. Maybe one of these days I'll start coming up with my own original recipes, but I don't feel like I'm good enough in the kitchen for that yet (although I did come up with some pretty fantastic Hawaiian pancakes over the weekend).

Aaaand I don't really have a clever way to end this post. Hope you all had a great Monday!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

52 Recipes: Dark Chocolate Brownies [Week #10]

Make up post! Since I'm one week behind and all.

So, these brownies are INTENSE.

Heavy in a good way. Dark, delicious chocolate.

The Pioneer Woman is THE resource I go to whenever I need a good, no-fail recipe. She always comes through, and these brownies were no exception. You can find the recipe here, since I didn't change it at all. The next time I make these, I will probably throw in an 1/8 or 1/4 tsp. of salt just because they were so rich, I think a tiny pinch of salt might've helped balance it out (and it honestly feels weird to me to make a baked good without any salt in it!). Other than that, the recipe is pure gold, and so, so easy.

Seriously. Next time you want to make brownies, skip the box mix aisle and make them homemade instead. I guarantee you'll be happy you did!