Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: February

FPP-post

Once again I received another wonderful box in the mail full of food. I love participating in this program and foresee continuing in it so long as it exists.

This month I received a box from Alyson at Simply Nutricising. In the email I sent Alyson with my likes I told her I liked hazelnuts, chocolate, candy, and spices. I also told her that I rely on snacks during the week when I have my late night classes but that I love to cook. The box Alyson sent me hit the mark perfectly. I love everything in the box.

The box I sent this month was sent to Kiersten. I sent her some Annie’s Mac & Cheese, some jam, some herbal coffee, and some other things.

So if you haven’t heard about it already, I’m assuming now you’re wondering “WHAT IS FOODIE PEN PALS!?” I mean, when I first read a blog post about it that’s exactly what I thought. So here, let me tell you.

Foodie Pen Pals is a program that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean put together, where she pairs people together to send boxes of food to each other, based on likes and dislikes.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

So.. What did I get this month?

IMG_8632I had opened my box so late on Tuesday night. I have class Tuesdays until almost 9:30 p.m. I got home and I shoved some food into my face and realized there was a box sitting on the counter that I hadn’t seen when I walked in. After shoving food into my face I tore the box open like a ravenous dog.

IMG_8637Among the food varieties packed in the box, Alyson sent me a super cute kitchen towel. I’m always in need of these, so this was excellent.

IMG_8638Whenever I get a FPP box I can’t resist but chowing down on something immediately. I obviously don’t eat everything in the box in one sitting, but I always have to have something. Considering I had just finished dinner Matt and I shared this ka-ka-o milk chocolate peanut butter bark. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. And I have an even bigger love for chocolate. I probably should have made this bark last longer than the minute it took to eat it so I could have savored it a lot more than I did, but it was excellent and was a perfect way to start the February FPP box.

IMG_8639Speaking of chocolate, Alyson sent me a handful of chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day. I did restrain myself a little bit – I haven’t eaten them all yet.

IMG_8640Alyson really listened when I said that there are some days when I could really use some snacks. She sent me multiple 100-calorie snack packs in three different varieties: chocolate pomegranate, dark chocolate roasted almonds, and dark chocolate blueberry. I’ve tried the almonds and the blueberries so far. I’m actually going to need to find these on my own because they are really satisfying when sitting in a class that feels like it’ll never end and your stomach is rumbling. On top of that, chocolate!

IMG_8641I haven’t had a Dum-Dum in forever. When I was in elementary school I recall having them a lot. I vaguely recall a teacher handing them out as rewards. I love the bouquet she created with the lollipops. They bring me right back to childhood!

IMG_8633Alyson also included this box of instant oatmeal called OatFit. I brought the box to work because when I get hungry after court it’s super easy to pop this in the microwave and have a big bowl of oatmeal. The coolest part about this is the convenience factor. The packet that the oatmeal comes in is also the measuring cup for water. Such a great product!

IMG_8635I’m feeling like this is the endless box of goodies! Alyson also sent me these flavored vinegars in calamansi (citrus) and cherry. Though I haven’t used them yet, I have found several ideas online for things I’m going to make with them. I plan on using the calamansi on roast salmon. Alyson also suggested using it in a salad dressing.

IMG_8636Last but not least, Alyson sent me two Penzey’s spices. One was in Bold Taco and the other is cinnamon. I love spices (and told Alyson that) so I was very excited for these. Also, I’ve been wanting to order Penzey’s for some time now, but I just hadn’t been able to justify the cost of their spices to myself plus shipping. But after trying the Bold Taco spice (I haven’t opened the cinnamon yet) I think I’m going to have to change that and start exclusively buying Penzey’s.

With the Bold Taco spice I made a pasta dish. It was delicious.

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Enchilada Pasta Casserole
(inspiration)

Ingredients
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp Penzey’s Bold Taco spice
3 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 can diced green chiles
6 oz egg noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot boil water. Cook the egg noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook the chicken until no longer pink. Stir in the Bold Taco spice until the chicken is all covered.

3. Add in the cream cheese until melted.

4. In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, enchilada sauce, half of the cheddar, half of the monterey jack cheese, the corn, and the diced chiles.  Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 3 minutes.

5. Add the pasta to the chicken. Mix well until everything is coated in the sauce.

6. Pour the pasta into a casserole dish. Cover with the remaining cheese.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

* serves 3

Honey-Mustard Chicken and Mustard Mashed Potatoes

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This is the last meal of my 25th year being on the earth. Tomorrow is my 26th birthday. How do I celebrate my birthday? Do I get a cake? Do I spend the day doing lots of fun things? No, no. I get to write a 5,000 word essay. As of this moment, at 10:46 p.m. I have 546 words written. I have to turn in this 5,000 word essay Monday night. I will be doing a lot of writing tomorrow.

But don’t get me wrong. I haven’t entirely been procrastinating. I wrote a 10 page paper today. I started it last night (after trying to type it all day but only getting a few words typed, I went to bed.) I just managed to stack the worst finals schedule ever this semester. I’ll be done by mid-next week. Then I have hearings at work. I’m really looking forward to my break and baking cookies.

The honey I used in this recipe was from my September Foodie Penpal box. We finally finished off the other honey we had in the house, so it was time to make use of the honey from Sara! The combination of the sweet honey and the savory mustard, bacon, chicken, and mushrooms was perfect.

Also, who would have thought of putting mustard in mashed potatoes? It’s delicious. I’m giving you both recipes.

Honey-Mustard Chicken
(source)

Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350. Rub the chicken breasts with salt and garlic powder. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Brown for 4 minutes on each side.

2. Combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise, and dried onion flakes. Remove half of the sauce and set aside.

3. Place the browned chicken in a baking dish sprayed with Pam. Top with honey-mustard sauce. Place bacon slice on top of each piece of chicken. Toss mushrooms over the chicken and cover the whole dish with cheese.

4. Bake for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crunchy. Serve with reserved honey-mustard sauce.

* serves 2

Mustard Mashed Potatoes
(source)

Ingredients
3 medium red potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp margarine
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes, until tender.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in with the potatoes and mash until smooth.

* serves 2

* shared with Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Saturday and Weekend Cooking

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

It’s been so hot here lately that I’ve been staying away from the kitchen. When it’s 100+ outside the last thing I want to turn is stand over a heat source. Unfortunately it’s even too hot to barbecue. I can’t stand for more than a minute outside without wanting to run away inside.
Sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m a vampire.

Regardless, many days as of late I’ve been eating out. I really don’t like eating out all the time because I like what I cook and because I feel like it costs way more than it’s worth so much of the time to eat out. But at least I wasn’t the one sweating over my cooking food.

I’m not sure what then I decided to make a dinner where the oven was turned on – but I did. These enchiladas were delicious. Though they took awhile, I wouldn’t say they were hard.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp Brummel&Brown
1/2 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
dash cayenne
3 oz green enchilada sauce
6 corn tortillas
2 1/2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup onion, diced

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Season chicken with salt and pepper and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, let cool and then shred.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium-heat melt the Brummel&Brown. Add the jalapeno and cook for about 4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour for minute. Whisk in broth, whisking until the liquid thickens, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and enchilada sauce. Mix together. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into a buttered baking dish.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a small amount of oil and cook tortillas in batches soft, about 1 minute per side. Divide the chicken between the 6 tortillas. Place the chicken, 1 tbsp of cheese, and 1 tsp of onion on each tortilla and roll into a cigar shape. Place in the prepared baking dish and cover with the sour cream mixture and cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

* serves 2, 3 enchiladas each
* 654 calories per serving
* Shared with Mealtime Monday, Makin You Crave Monday, & Mix It Up Monday