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!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

52 Recipes: Skinny Chicken Alfredo [Week #9]

The past two weeks have been...rough. You may have noticed that I completely forgot to blog last week. Ha, ha. How time flies when you're having fun working all day and all night. Thankfully, the extra job is over and my hard work is hopefully going to get us a trip to Hawaii! If you know me at all, then you know how stoked I am about this. If only August could come a little sooner...

...but I digress. Let me tell you about this pasta.

If you're a fan of easy, lightened up recipes that still taste great, then this recipe is for you. I've never attempted to make "real" chicken alfredo, but this one tasted just about as good as the real thing, with fewer calories/less guilt (but let's be honest - there are still quite a few calories, haha). As usual, the recipe originated from one of my favorite bloggers - I just added chicken to it.

Skinny Chicken Alfredo
Just barely adapted from: Damn Delicious
Serves: 4

1 large chicken breast
Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. fettuccine
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk (I used whole because that's what we had on hand, but 1% would be a much healthier choice)
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cubed (you can find this next to the cream cheese at the grocery store)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped

Cut the chicken breast into thin slices (like you would for stir-fry). Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. flour over the chicken and toss to help prevent the pieces from sticking together. Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken on all sides until cooked through (this will take about 5 minutes). Place chicken into a bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add pasta and cook according to the directions (usually about 12 minutes of boiling). Drain well.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter to the pan. Once melted, whisk in the flour until lightly browned (about 1 minute). Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes until incorporated. Stir in heavy cream and garlic powder. Mixture should thicken.

Whisk in both cheeses until melted. You may need to add a little more milk if the mixture is too thick (and remember that it will thicken the longer it sits). Add salt & pepper to taste. Once you achieve your desired consistency, add the noodles and cooked chicken to the pan and stir until everything is well coated. Serve with a little parsley on top!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Recipes: Monster Cookie Marshmallow Sandwiches [Week 8]

Yesterday when I meal planned for the week, I legitimately listed "frozen pizza" as one of our meals. And yes, there is now a frozen pizza sitting in our freezer. I am just not feeling it for some reason. It could have something to do with the fact that I've turned into a slight insomniac. 

Typical night:
- Go to bed at decent hour (around 10PMish)
- Wake up at 1:30AM
- Be irritated, eventually go back to sleep
- Wake up at 4AM
- Fume
- Just barely get to sleep before alarm goes off at 6AM


On the bright side, I have a new workspace thanks to IKEA (along with $40 worth of other things I probably didn't need...) and I'm so excited to have somewhere else to sit besides the couch. 

When I'm sleepy or don't feel well, a cookie always makes me feel better (that's the fat kid in me talking). And these cookies are no exception. The only adaptation I made to the recipe was using creamy peanut butter instead of crunchy, so head on over to Yammie's Noshery for the full recipe.

A few notes:
- The cookies seem a little hard right out of the oven. They do tend to soften up after they cool and are sandwiched and packed away, but I'd suggest baking on the low side of the recommended bake time just to make sure they aren't overdone. NO ONE likes a hard cookie, amiright?
- For me at least, it felt like the marshmallow cream was never going to get thick enough to sandwich between the cookies. TRUST ME, it does - just stick with it! A stand mixer is very helpful to have for this kind of thing. 
- Next time I make these (oh, there WILL be a next time) I might experiment by making smaller sized cookies. Eating one of these was a feat all by itself, just from the sheer size of the cookies once they're sandwiched together with the cream. Not that I had any trouble consuming an entire sandwich, but, I'm just sayin'. ;)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

52 Recipes: Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Lime Quinoa [Week #7]

You guys. This is, hands down, my new favorite meal. AND IT'S HEALTHY! Shut up. I know what you're thinking. But I'm totally serious.

We start with a bed of spring greens tossed in a honey/lime/olive oil dressing. Add some green onions, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and last but not least the two stars of the show: lime quinoa and honey chipotle chicken. Seriously, this chicken blew my mind. I had no idea you could make such flavorful and moist (ugh, that word) chicken without a grill. Granted, I nearly set off my smoke alarm due to the high heat you have to cook it at, but it was SO WORTH IT. The marinade caramelizes and blackens and turns into something downright heavenly, and mixed with the lime quinoa, the texture and flavors are so complex that before you know it you've eaten it all and are already planning the next time you can make it for dinner again.

How Sweet Eats deserves all the credit for this recipe, as I didn't change it up one bit (aside from using red quinoa in lieu of white). She always develops the most unique recipes, and everything I've tried from her blog has been nothing short of amazing. So go here and check out the recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Recipes: Biscuit Pot Pie [Week #6]

Sometimes, you just need comfort food.

Chicken pot pie is one of my guilty pleasures. My mom makes her version of it every time I visit Nashville, and I love it so so much.

This version from Damn Delicious changes things up a bit from the traditional southern method, using real ingredients (no cream of chicken soup here!) and homemade biscuits in lieu of crust. While I think I'll always love my mom's chicken pot pie the most, I really enjoyed this version and the biscuits on top were a fun change. I especially loved that it calls for all real ingredients. Cream of chicken/mushroom/etc. soup is just so mysterious, and NOT in a good way.

Anyways, I didn't change up the recipe AT ALL other than halving it (and I'm feeling rather lazy), so go visit Damn Delicious for the recipe. While you're there, take a peek at her other recipes - she's seriously become one of my favorite food bloggers. If you follow me on Pinterest, then you've probably noticed how many recipes I pin from her blog, haha. What can I say? I appreciate good food!

Hope you've all had a great weekend...see you next week!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

52 Recipes: One Layer Hummingbird Cake [Week #5]

If you are engaged, know this: cake testing is one of the funnest experiences during wedding planning, hands down. While planning our wedding, we tasted probably a dozen different cake samples from multiple bakeries. One of our tastings took place at the cutest little tea house in downtown Nashville. Each cake sample was divine, but one flavor - hummingbird - stood out far above the rest. Bursting with pineapple, coconut, bananas and cinnamon, and covered in a deliciously thick cream cheese frosting, it was unlike any cake I'd ever had before. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

As it happens, one of the food bloggers I follow, Sweetapolita, has a hummingbird cake recipe that I've been dying to try for quite some time now. Oddly enough, the recipe is no longer available on her website, but thankfully, it was posted back when I was using Evernote to save all my recipes instead of Pinterest - so I still have a copy! I made a few adjustments to make it a simple one layer cake, and it turned out amazing, if I do say so myself.

Ultimately, we ended up going with another bakery for our wedding cake, because the aforementioned hummingbird cake would've cost somewhere in the range of $500. Even I can't pay that much for cake. Right?

One Layer Hummingbird Cake
Adapted from Sweetapolita (recipe no longer available)
Serves: 8

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 jumbo egg OR 1 1/2 large eggs, lightly beaten*
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. canned crushed pineapple (including juice)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

*I halved the original recipe, which calls for 3 large eggs. Whenever I need to halve an egg, I crack it into a measuring glass, whisk until the white & yolk are combined, and use a tablespoon to measure out what looks like half of the original amount (I just eyeball this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan, then line with a parchment circle, then grease and flour again. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the egg(s), oil, vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and coconut until combined. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir again until combined. Pour into your prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Try not to overbake - no one likes a dry cake!

Let cool in the pan, on wire racks, for about 20 minutes. Invert the cake out of the pan onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and leave on rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Martha Stewart

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 Tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth and well blended. Add confectioner's sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Frost cake as desired.