Sunday, June 26, 2016

No Mayo Broccoli Salad

It's a summer bbq side dish that doesn't have mayonnaise in it!  If this delights you as much as it delighted me, keep reading.

Hi, my name is KTC and I refuse to eat mayo in any shape or form.  Here is a broccoli salad that is actually good for you- no mayo, no bacon- and it's delicious!

That's me blending the dressing up.  Feel free to use a blender or a food processor, I find the immersion blender easiest to clean. 

Mix and match the vegetables/nuts/dried fruit you'd like to include.  I got a cole slaw mix, almonds, and craisins to go along with the broccoli and scallions.

Broccoli Salad
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
3 scallions, sliced
1 cup cabbage
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
1/2 cup craisins
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tbsp miso paste* (no miso? just double up on the nut butter and add some salt)
2 tbsp nut butter of your choice (I used peanut)
1 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp canola oil

1. Get all your salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Put orange juice, miso paste, nut butter, shallot, and canola oil in blending mechanism of your choice.  I used the immersion blender because it is the simplest to clean in this non-dishwasher household.
3. Pour that luscious salad dressing over your anxiously awaiting ingredients and toss. 

I cannot wait to make this again for a larger audience!  It will be the perfect addition to your next event this summer.

Lightlife Product Review

Lucky me, I was chosen to review Lightlife veggie dogs by the gang at Mom's Meet!  Lightlife makes  a delicious line of plant protein foods like hot dogs, veggie burgers, sausages, and bacon.

Although I am not a vegetarian, I often make the choice to go meatless several times a week so I was very excited to try some new vegetarian food products.  I have several friends and family members that are vegetarian and they were psyched to get a chance to taste something new.

I tried the smart dogs with some quick pickled cucumber and carrot.  They were great on the grill!

I also tasted the bacon with my egg for breakfast this morning. It was definitely a "less mess" option to frying actual bacon!

I also took this opportunity to try their veggie burger with quinoa.  I topped my burger with tomato jack cheese and broccoli pesto.  Yum!

In the past I have had mostly frozen vegetarian options. Lightlife sells it's product in the produce section of the supermarket.  This made me feel like I was going with a fresher option, which is always more appealing.  My friends and family were excited to be armed with coupons so they can go test out more of what Lightlife has to offer!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap Salad

Hi, it's summer and it's hot.  Here is a salad to solve those "it's too darn hot to cook" woes that are surely coming your way.

A little bit of hot and a little bit of cold. It is summer dinner perfection.

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap Salad
Adapted From Skinny Taste

1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 carrots, shredded with a vegetable peeler
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
cooking spray
1 lb ground chicken
8 oz water chestnuts, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 scallions, sliced

1. Get your lettuce and carrots set up in a salad bowl. Mix vinegar, oils, honey, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside to dress the salad with  later.
2. Mix hoisin, vinegar, sriracha, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl.  Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add almonds, water chestnuts, and hoisin sauce mixture.  Cook until heated through.  Top with scallions.
3.  To serve, you can dress the whole salad or allow everyone to to do their own bowl.  Top with the chicken mixture and enjoy!

This is exactly what you need as the temperature starts rising. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta - With homemade BBQ Sauce!

I'll just start off by saying you totally don't need to make this specific bbq sauce for this pasta recipe.  You can just use your favorite bottled version, but this recipe really is tasty.  Plus, it makes a lot so you'll have plenty left over to use all summer long!

BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups ketchup
2 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, and red pepper. Stir until paste is a dark brick red. Add in remaining ingredients. Cook at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes.
2. This last step is optional:  Use an immersion blender to smooth the consistency of the bbq sauce.

One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb rotini pasta
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup corn
1 tbsp dried cilantro, or a nice bunch of fresh
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
crispy onions, for serving

1. Heat oil, broth, and bbq sauce in a large pot. Add pasta, chicken, corn, and cilantro.  Cook at a low simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Top with cheddar cheese and let sit while the cheese melts on top of the pasta. Serve topped with crispy onions.

This whole cooking pasta in one pot and not draining it has really captured my heart. 

You cook it all in one pot, you probably have all the ingredients already, and it's ready in less than 30 minutes! Doesn't get much better than that!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Low Country Boil

I have always dreamed of a shrimp boil where everyone is eating with their bare hands off a newspaper lined table.  I was gifted a extra large Old Bay container for my birthday and so with a little editing, I made this dream a reality.  See kids, dreams really do come true!

Low Country Boil

2 ears of corn, halved
1 lb small red potatoes*
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
1/4-1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning (YES!!)
1 lemon, sliced
1 lb shrimp, with shells

1. Place potatoes, corn, Old Bay, and lemon slices in a slow cooker.  Fill with water until vegetables are mostly covered. Cook on low for 7 hours.
2. Add shrimp and cook an additional 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through.
3. Remove from slow cooker with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, or if you are bold enough, on to a newspaper lined table.

*I did not halve my potatoes because they were very small, but I regretted this because they did not soak up the delicious Old Bay flavors.  I hesitate to tell you to cut them because I didn't do it this way, but think about it.

Loved it! 

This is such a fun and easy dinner to make this summer.  You can easily make this for a crowd.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Ok, I know it's been a while between posts these days, but I do feel the need to apologize for the Mexican-centric posts that I can't seem to stop making.  Sorry, these meals are weeks apart I assure you that much.

Moving right along....

Sometimes you find yourself home alone and you've got some time off of work and you are running out of ways to entertain yourself and you really need dinner to be a project to soak up some time.  This is why I took it upon myself to whip up a batch of homemade tortillas.

Corn Tortillas- Makes 20 6 inch tortillas
From The Kitchn

2 cups masa harina
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup hot water

1. Mix the masa, salt, and water together.  Knead the dough for a minute or 2. The dough should be smooth and be able to form a ball.  Mine was a bit sticky, but it turned out fine.  If your dough is too crumbly add water, a little at a time. Let your dough sit for 15-30 minutes while you get the rest of your stuff set up.

2. Take a ziplock bag and cut it down the 3 closed sides.  You will use this to roll your tortilla between.  You will also need a heavy skillet and a rolling pin.

3. Once the dough has rested take about 2 tablespoons of dough (think ping-pong ball size) roll it into a ball. Place the dough ball between the prepared ziplock bag.  Use a skillet to evenly flatten the dough.  Flatten tortilla further with the rolling pin until it's about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Just make it as thin as you think is tortilla thin-ness, don't get out the ruler.

4. To cook the tortillas heat a griddle or skillet over high heat.  The tortillas take 1-2 minutes per side. When a tortilla is finished cooking, place it in under a clean kitchen towel to keep warm while you cook up the rest.

*I halved this recipe and it worked out well.

I filled these corn tortillas with fried fish, lettuce, carrot, onion, and this delightful chipotle cream sauce (recipe here).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mexican Pasta Salad

I had an abundance of cilantro left over from a few recipes (quesadilla pie being one of them) that I didn't want to go to waste.  That led me me make cilantro pesto. Which then led to a need to put said pesto to use. Which then brings us to the creation of a pasta salad the likes of which you have never before experienced!

Mexican Pasta Salad


for the pesto:
2 cups cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil (you can just add more olive oil)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

for the chipotle cream: (totally optional, but I was using it for another recipe that week)
2 chipotle peppers
1 cup sour cream

for the pasta salad
1 lb pasta, your choice
1 cup corn
1 cup cheddar, grated
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1 cup olives, sliced

1. Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Place pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Place pesto in a bowl until pasta is ready.  Don't bother cleaning out the blender to make the chipotle cream.  Blend peppers and sour cream until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, or the drained pasta pot, mix pasta, pesto, and about a tablespoon of chipotle cream (save the rest of taco night). Stir in remaining pasta salad ingredients.

This is a totally customize-able recipe.  Want meat in there? Perhaps, some shredded chicken? Go for it.  A fan of beans? By all means bean it up! Throw in a dash of salsa. Toss in an avocado.  Get nuts!