Roasted Pepper Pesto (with no nuts)

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Though pestos traditionally have nuts (and usually pine nuts,) I forgot to buy nuts this week for this pesto. As a result, I had zero nuts in my house. I decided to make the pesto anyway, sans the nuts. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light with a slight kick to it (thanks peppers!)

To roast your peppers, heat your oven up to 500. Cut you peppers in half and seed them. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the peppers are turning black. Remove them and put them in a ziplock. Let them cool off and then the skins will peel off nice and easy.

This dish was made specifically for the Pasta Please challenge from Tinned Tomatoes, hosted this month by simply.food.

pasta please

Roasted Pepper Pesto Sauce (with no nuts)

Ingredients
1 roasted jalapeno, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 roasted poblano pepper, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

1. Process the peppers, garlic, and cilantro together in a food processor. Add the olive oil slowly and continue to process. Add cheese and pulse a few times until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times.

2. Serve over your favorite noodle.

* Besides Pasta Please, I’m sharing this recipe with Wednesday Whatsits & Cast Party Wednesday

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Spicy Fish Stew

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Before I start talking about food, I have a huge announcement to make. On Friday I found out I passed the California bar exam. 😀 😀 😀

My life has been pretty excellent this last year. It’s been stressful, no doubt, but I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Anyway, this year I also started the Pantry Party. Pantry Party is a monthly round-up, where dishes are made from the ingredients in our pantries. Every month I give a theme. This month’s theme has been perfect for this crazy month (or really, this crazy year) I’ve been having. The theme? A recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

The month is almost over – I hope more people join.

This was an easy dish. It was flavorful. And for a cold evening, it was great! PS – it was the first dish I made as a lawyer. This dish took me about 20 minutes to prepare.

pantry

Spicy Fish Stew

Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb swai, cut into pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp a spice mix from Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack (I got this from a past Foodie Pen Pals)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can garbanzo beans

Directions

1. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil. Add the spice mix and the oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions, garbanzo beans, and garlic. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water. Arrange the swai between the vegetables. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

* serves 2
* this dish is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Sriacha Mac and Cheese

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If you may or may not know, this month’s Pantry Party theme is cheese. The goal for this month is to open that pantry of yours, see what needs to be used in there, and make something cheesy! And I realize cheese doesn’t fit a vegan diet, so I’m also including dishes using vegan cheese.

When I started thinking cheese this month my brain automatically went to mac and cheese. Rather than trying to be horribly creative, I went the mac and cheese route. I decided to use something more than just pasta from my pantry and found a bottle of sriacha. After googling around I found the perfect recipe: Sriacha Mac and Cheese.

This is probably the easiest mac and cheese I’ve ever made. It doesn’t use a roux, like many do. Rather, you kind of just mix everything in there and let it bake. The flavor of the sriacha and the cheese was a great combination. Loved it.

This pantry party really used my pantry. I used:

Noodles
Sriacha
Breadcrumbs
Red chili flakes

I may make another recipe this month for the party . . . We’ll see! I do love my cheese.

smaller

Sriacha Mac and Cheese

Ingredients
1/2 lb dry pasta
2 cup breadcrumbs
3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2 tbsp sriacha, divided
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Boil a large pot of water. Cook the pasta to package directions until al dente. Set aside and let drain.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Melt 3 tbsp of the butter.

3. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 the cheese, 1/2 the sriacha, and the melted butter. Add half of this mixture to the bottom of a baking dish.

4. With your cooked pasta, stir in the remaining cheese, sriacha, butter, and red chili flakes. The cheese will strt to melt around the pasta, stir until everything is well coated. Next pour in the beaten egg and the cream. Stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish over the breadcrumbs. Top the pasta with the remaining breadcrumbs. Spray the top with a cooking spray.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

* serves 4
* Besides Pantry Party, this dish is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

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This month’s Pasta Please theme was chilies and was hosted by Shaheen.

I’m looking at the picture of this dish, and I’m realizing there is way too many breadcrumbs on the dish. Once scooped out of the dish, they obviously got lost in the noodles – but oh my goodness – this picture looks like a breadcrumb dish.

Anyway, after poking around different corners of the internet and looking for something that would work for this challenge, I found a delicious looking mac and cheese. I didn’t venture out as much as I could have with this challenge. I should have bought a red chili to substitute the crushed red chili flakes – but alas, I did not. I like spicy food. I just really hate cutting chilies. Without a doubt, for as careful as I try to be, I touch my eyes or rub my nose or get the chili juices somewhere that just doesn’t feel great – and oh my goodness, it’s hard to get rid of it once you do it. Even when I wear gloves, I somehow manage to just create so much pain for myself. I love the taste, I just hate the process.

Because of this, I rely on red chili flakes to add the heat from a fresh chili (though.. obviously not the same, I know.)

Anyway, this was a yummy mac and cheese. It created a lot of dirty dishes, but was delicious!

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into pieces
1 yellow squash, diced
1 orange bellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups elbow pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chili flakes
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Set a medium pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil covering it. Toss the broccoli, squash, bell pepper, and carrots on a baking sheet. Coat with half the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar, allowing to melt. Add the red chili flakes and cayenne. Add the macaroni and vegetables.

4. Place the mixture in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler for 4 minutes.

* serves 6
* Besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

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

Chicken with Spicy Onions

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This is a different curry than I’ve ever tasted before. It was pretty easy also.

This dish was made for two reasons (or three actually):

1. I like curry.
2. I watched the Food ‘n Flix movie of the month, Today’s Special. This month the movie is being sponsored by Kahakai Kitchen. Today’s Special is a movie about a trained French chef who takes over his family’s Indian restaurant, Tandoori Palace.
3. The random cookbook I grabbed off my shelf this month for Random Recipes was Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I got it on sale at Border’s (back when they existed) and use it quite frequently. I hadn’t made this dish before, it was the recipe I randomly opened the book to. It’s one I definitely would make again.

Since I watched Today’s Special and picked my random cookbook on the same day, it seemed to make sense to use the recipe for two different food round-ups since it was an Indian recipe and I was going to make Indian food for the movie.

This recipe called for a lot of onion. I love onions, so that was not a problem. The sauce was delicious. It wasn’t quite the same flavor of curry I usually have. It was slightly sweeter.

In other news, I realized I forgot to participate in Food ‘n Flix last month. That makes me sad.

Chicken with Spicy Onions
(from Best Ever Indian Cookbook)

Ingredients
2 chicken thighs, bone in
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, shredded
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp plain yogurt
2 1/2 tsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp cornstarch

Directions

1. Rub the chicken thighs with turmeric, chili powder, and salt. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet and fry until both sides of the chicken are sealed. At this point you don’t need to cook the chicken all the way through. Remove and set on a plate.

2. In the remaining oil add 3/4 of the onions, most of the cilantro, half of the ginger, and half of the jalapeno. Fry until the onions are translucent.

3. Return the chicken to the skillet. Mix well and cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

4. In a small dish stir together the yogurt, cream, and cornstarch. Stir the yogurt mixture into the chicken.

5. Cook on low heat for several minutes. Add the remaining onions, jalapeno, ginger, and cilantro. Cook for several more minutes.

6. Serve over rice if you desire.

* serves 2
* Besides Random Recipes and Food ‘n Flix, this dish is being shared with Weekend Cooking

Slow Cooker Machaca

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Every Tuesday this semester it’s looking like I’m going to have to rely on my slow cooker. I work from 9 – 5 and then have class from 6:15-8:15. Wednesdays and Thursdays also have night classes, but I’ve been able to cook dinner at lunch time and just heat it up when I get home. This week’s slow cooker dinner was great and is going to make some lunches and breakfasts also.

This is absolutely not a traditional machaca preparation. Machaca typically is dried pork or beef which has been reconstituted. It can be used in a variety of dishes: tacos, flautas, burritos, con juevos, and more. I decided to serve this slow cooker version of the popular Mexican dish over a very Americanized Spanish rice.

My only issue was that I didn’t chop the chipotle peppers up enough. Whoops.

It also is nice that this month Cooking Around The World is cooking Mexican food. This dish is definitely getting shared!

Bloggers Around the World Logo

Slow Cooker Machaca
(source)

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 – 4 lbs chuck roast, cut into large pieces
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined, and minced
1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
4 cups beef broth
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin

Directions

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Place the pieces of beef into the skillet, browning the outsides. Place the meat into the slow cooker.

2. In the same skillet, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add to the slow cooker.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.

* serves about 12
* Besides Cooking round The World, this dish is being shared with Wednesday Whatsits & Cast Party Wednesday

Spicy Marinated Pork on top of Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk

 

I have a love affair with mashed sweet potatoes. When I was a little girl I LOVED mashed potatoes. I would eat them and eat them and never stop. As I have grown up, I continue to love mashed potatoes. But recently with my discovery of sweet potatoes, I think they may be even better than a standard mash – well, I guess sometimes at least. This was one of those times though. This dish needed these sweet potatoes. A normal person making this dish would have paired the pork with rice. The pork recipe is actually for Dae Ji Bool Goji (Korean Spicy Marinated Pork). The suggested way to serve the dish was with rice and kimchi.

But sweet potatoes? Why not.

The pork is really spicy. The sweet potatoes helped balance the level of spiciness and made it palatable (otherwise I think the pork would have been too spicy.) The flavors of the pork was wonderful paired with the sweet potatoes/coconut milk. This is a dish I’d make again!

Spicy Marinated Pork

Ingredients
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 onion, sliced
1 lb pork loin, cut into pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

1. Stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic chili sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, green onions, sugar, and yellow onion in a large bowl. Mix in the pork and evenly coat it with the marinade. Put in the refrigerator and marinate for 3 minutes.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork into the skillet in batches and cook until no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes.

* serves 4
* 441 calories per serving

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

1. Fill a large pot with water. Place over high heat until boiling. Add the sweet potato and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and return to the pot.

2. Add the coconut milk, ginger, and salt to the sweet potatoes. Mash until the consistency of mashed potatoes.

* serves 4
* 157 calories per serving

* Shared with Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Saturday & Weekend Cooking

Lime Shrimp Fried Rice

 

I have a thing about lunches. I hate leftovers. I don’t really like sandwiches unless they’re purchased from a deli and the only thing I did in the creation of the sandwich was fork over some money. I really like my lunches to be just as delicious as my dinners – just different from my dinners.

My coworkers go out to eat so often. I really save money eating the way I do and I probably end up being a lot more satisfied than they are. When school starts next week I’m going to make sure I bring lunch with me on those days I’m on campus all day also, because cafeteria food and my stomach don’t always make the best pair.

Lime Shrimp Fried Rice

Ingredients
2 cups rice, uncooked
2 3/4 cups water
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
6 oz shrimp
1/3 cup green onions, minced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 jalapeno, seedeed, devined, and minced
2 tbsp lime juice

Directions

1. Cook the rice in a rice cooker or in a pot with the water. Once cooked remove and allow to cool.

2. Place 3 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Place the 3 tbsp of fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside and finish the rice.

4. Place a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil/sesame oil combination and heat.

5. Add the beaten eggs and create an egg “pool.”

6. Add the garlic on top of the eggs to prevent it from burning. With a spoon, life and stir the egg mixture to break up the eggs.

7. Add the cooked rice and continue to stir-fry until the rice begins to brown.

8. Sprinkle with the fish sauce/sugar combination. Continue to lift and stir the rice.

9. Add the shrimp, continuing to cook for about 8 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked all the way through.

10. Stir in the vegetables.

11. Stir together the jalapeno, lime juice, and remaining fish sauce. Whisk to combine. Stir into the rice mixture.

* serves 4
* 392 calories per serving

Ginger Ale Chicken

I veered off slightly from the recipe I was following to develop this ginger ale chicken. Somehow I managed to forget to buy apple juice at the grocery store. Without apple juice I had to make do with other liquids in my refrigerator for this meal. I had several things to choose from: lemon juice, lime juice, or ginger ale. I considered my options, looked carefully at the recipe, and decided the ginger ale would be my best bet for making something I was in the mood to taste.

I really enjoyed the chicken. I didn’t feel so quite so fond of the mustard greens, so I’m just going to ignore that they’re on my plate.

Ginger Ale Chicken
(inspiration)

Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp ginger ale
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup orange muscat champagne vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

1. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the chicken and cook it all the way through. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the remaining ingredients into the skillet. Heat and mix until well combined. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add the chicken until warmed through.

* serves 2