Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Recipes

I've heard that America consumes more food on Super Bowl Sunday than Christmas, making it #2 after Thanksgiving!  Whoa.... that's a bunch of chips, huh?

I'm not going to lie... I have no intention of watching the Super Bowl.
But, I would be happy to make things for people to eat! As usual.
Luckily my guy likes to do something else on Super Bowl Sunday instead, like take me to the spa. Don't be jealous, or anything.
If HE was a fan, I would happily host a party, here's some recipes that I would consider for feeding lots of fans!

Every single recipe can be made ahead. 
Isn't that nice?
So YOU can enjoy the game too!
I've got some DIPS, because everyone knows it's all about the chips, right?
But, you need more than chips and dips.
So, I've got some soups and chili to consider.
Maybe guys don't always reach for salads, but these are the kind that I know that guys will eat, and girls love too.

Have fun watching the game!

Three Dips
Four Soups/Stews or Chili's
Three Salads that guys will eat, and so will the gals

Easy Sesame Dip, which is good for chips, but also might be good to slip some veggies in the mix too.

I really wish that I didn't want to eat this ALL day long, Prawn Queso Dip

Takes about 5 minutes to make, and so much easier to do than nachos!  
Chipotle Black Bean dip

Make a pot of soup ahead of time, and serve it in mugs.  It's more healthy than most people will realize, plus Mexican Albondigas Meatball soup is SO DANG good~


Can you say EASY? I thought so...
Black Bean Chili

Maybe more of an entree than a soup or chili, but HEY, you could serve this with CHIPS!
Lazy Girl Salsa Chicken

It's low fat chili, but don't tell them.  They probably aren't listening anyways...
White Bean Chicken Chili


Since it's not green, it's not really a salad...  tell them that!
Couscous Black Bean Salad

Make this one on Saturday and serve it during the game.
This stuff is addicting!  Whole Wheat Asian Noodle Salad
Hey, you don't even have to use whole wheat noodles... but, heck, maybe you should.

This one is my FAVORITE and everyone likes it too.
Perfect way to get some veggies in everyone, and perfect with soup or chili!
Spicy Coleslaw

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lazy Girl Cake Mix Cookies

Laziest cookies ever!

I saw this on Pinterest and scoffed.
Yes, I scoffed in disdainment.
And then I went back.
I had to look again. I couldn't look away.
Someone stop me, I'm about to embarrass myself.

But, Heck, I had some cake mixes in my pantry that I never use.
Why not?
This intrigued me, what if it was really good?
What if I missed telling you about something great, and easy too???

Think of the possibilities with this idea:
  • Yellow cake mix and regular chocolate chips
  • Chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips
  • Chocolate cake mix with mint chocolate chips
  • Yellow cake with white chocolate chips and sprinkles? 
  • White cake with dried cranberries and nuts
  • Chocolate cake with M & M's
Please stop me, I could go on and on...

I settled on Lemon cake mix with white chocolate chips.  I added a couple additional flavor components (extract, zest, juice) but those weren't in the original recipe.  It's up to you.
But use your imagination, this might be the perfect cookie/bar to make when  you have zero inspiration and zero time.

I'm not saying that this will win you ribbon at the state fair, but it does put cookies on the counter in record time. It made people happy at work today. Isn't happy what it's all about?

Makes one 9x13 pan

1 box of lemon cake mix
2 eggs,  beaten
5T melted butter
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp lemon juice and little lemon vest (optional)
1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional)

Mix together and bake in 9X13 pan on 350 for 20-25 min.
I let mine rest for 20-30 minutes before cutting into bars. 

Ummm... mixing took me like 10 seconds.  Really though, I might hit the cake mix with a whisk before adding the liquid, because cake mixes can be kind of lumpy.

What it looks like after pressing into a 9x13 pan.  I must admit, I sprayed my hands with Pam cooking spray and patted it down.  I really hate sticky things on me.

After baking, I probably could have baked it 5 more minutes, but I liked the fudgy texture.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mango Salsa

My inspiration was another rainy day.
I'm really getting to be done with all that, when does spring arrive?
Two months... gawd, I hope I make it.

Driving home I was thinking of dinner, as I know many of you do too.
I wanted something fresh, bright, colorful and zippy.... and low calorie.
That's kind of a tall order, eh?  And...
I didn't really have to much to work with, I've been needing to get to the store.
I did have frozen mango, which I normally use for smoothies.  
Could I use frozen mango in salsa?
Why not?
It worked perfectly for our pan seared salmon, but would be great on chicken or pork too.
And heck, don't forget CHIPS!  Of course it's good for chips.
I will even admit that I took the leftovers to work and ate it like a salad.
Because that's that the spicy kind of gal I am!

Makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup tomato, diced
3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
2 jalapenos, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or fresh minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
Salt and Pepper, to taste

If using frozen mango, let it sit out for 15minutes, or zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds.
Chop it all up and stir to combine.  Adjust the seasonings to your liking and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to develop the flavors.

Note- If you want a juicier salsa, you could add a couple tablespoons of orange, or pineapple, juice too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lazy Girl Crockpot 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken

I've been seeing this recipe for years, but geez, 40 garlic cloves???
Apparently James Beard, culinary guru, made it famous years ago.  
There's lots of recipes out there for it, almost all the same.  
Here's another... but I chose to use chicken thighs and use my crock pot for another take on easy. Any type of chicken would work, but I do recommend that you use bone-in and skin on to make sure it stays tender. Don't be afraid of cooking this in your crock pot, I was amazed how much liquid was in there when it was done, even though I didn't add any liquid before turning on the crock pot.

Don't be afraid of this much garlic.... really, because I am NOT a huge garlic lover and I liked this a lot.  Next time, I might try a bit of white wine while cooking it, or a big squeeze of lemon.  Something to brighten it up a bit.  But, it was really, really, good, tender and easy chicken to make for a weekday dinner.  The house smelled terrific when we got home.

I'm so lazy, I bought my garlic already peeled. 
Do it...
It's awesome; saves time, keeps your hands smellin' sweet.
And wow, that "easy" button is off the charts. It was $2 for a whole tub, and I used about 1/3 of it in my recipe.

Most recipes don't say anything about using the cooked onions and garlic for a sauce, but I thought it smelled and tasted too good to throw out. So, I skimmed off the fat and blended it until smooth. It was the perfect sauce to serve with potatoes, noodles or rice served with your chicken.

Serves 3-4

6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
1 onion, sliced
30-40 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Pat dry your chicken thighs, trimming off any excess chicken skin.  Season each thigh with salt and pepper on both sides. Slice the onions, and prep your garlic (if you have to peel it).

In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the chicken skin side down until it gets a little brown.  Do the same thing on the other side, if you want to, but it's not that important.

While your chicken is browning, add a tablespoon of oil to your crockpot, add in the sliced onions, garlic cloves, topping with the browned chicken thighs. 

Turn on your crockpot to low and cook for 8 hours. I think you could do this on High heat in 4-5 hours, but since I was at work all day, I opted for the slow cooking method. This is what it looked like when I got home.  NOTE:  There is a fair amount of chicken fat in here, but it's easy to skim off.

Skim off as much chicken fat as you can, add in 1/4 cup wine white and blend until smooth.  Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, as needed. 

More from a Lazy Girl Crock Pot recipes:
Black Bean Chili
Mamacita's Mexican Chicken and Dumplings
Tuscan Pot Roast
All Veggie (Vegan) Chili
Chicken with Coconut, Lime & Peanut Sauce
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Hot Links, Red Beans and Rice
Salsa Chicken
Sesame Chicken

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baked Orzo with Spinach, Bacon and Feta

This could be breakfast, or a gloriously comforting dinner on a cold foggy night. We opted for the latter, mainly because it was cold and foggy, and I had all these ingredients ready to go for dinner in front of the fire watching a movie. Nice.... sigh.

I lifted this recipe from my newest Food & WIne magazine, Feb 2013.  
It was called "Custardy Baked Orzo with Spinach, Bacon and Feta". 
I loved the sound of it, except that "custardy" part...
I mean, really, it sounds kind of Ewww.
Except this dish is anything BUT ewww. It is SO good.

I didn't set out to change this recipe, it caught my eye specifically because I almost always have these ingredients hanging around.Or thought I did...
I buy eggs in the two dozen pack (times two) at Costco.  We almost always have tons of eggs on hand. Uh oh, except tonight. 
Oh, and milk, we don't drink much milk... but frankly I was amazed that Christmas was so long ago.  Can you say past pull date of Jan 5th?  Ick.... 

Oh well, I made some changes to the recipe, and would encourage you to make changes too.

Don't have any milk?  Use extra yogurt.
Don't have 4 eggs? Use 3 eggs.
Don't have leeks?  Use green onions or white diced onions. 
Don't have bacon? Use ham.
   Vegetarian?  Leave out all the meat...
Don't like spinach? Use kale, or mushrooms.
Don't have orzo pasta?  Use broken up spaghetti or some other small pasta.
Feta... personally, I think you need feta in everything, but maybe it would be good with whatever cheese you have on hand.
Really, this dish is so yummy.  

Serves 4-6

 Salt for water
 1 cup orzo
 8 to 12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
 1 1/2 pounds leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
 10 ounces baby spinach
 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
 Freshly ground pepper
 4 large eggs
 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
 1/2 cup milk

 Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned, 8 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until tender, 8 minutes. Add the leek mixture to the orzo, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook until wilted; transfer to a colander and press out the excess liquid. Add the spinach to the orzo, fold in the feta and season with pepper.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the yogurt and milk, season with pepper and stir into the orzo. Scrape the mixture into an oiled 12-by-8-inch baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes, until the eggs are set and the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
*I used only 1/2 lb of bacon of regular thickness in this dish, 3/4 of a lb sounded like a bit too much to me!

I also did two small baking dishes (4x6) and two individual ramekins, and baked it about 35 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Personal Top 10 Favorite Posts - 2012

It's not hard for me to name favorites.  
These are MY favorites. The ones I want to make, again and again.
I thought I would share, but really this post is about ME and what I like.
If you like it, that makes me happy.
If you don't, they are still my favorite.
Simple, huh?

Hey, if you want to know what was most popular on my blog last year, check out this!

Weeping Tiger Thai Salad
Call it Crying Tiger, or Weeping Tiger, it's the same thing.
I had this salad with a friend at a Thai restaurant, I wasn't too impressed the place but I loved, loved the salad. Or, at least the idea of the salad. I knew this one would be easy to re-create at home and be a healthy option for us too. The fun thing about it is that you can use any kinds of veggies that you like, I had it recently at another Thai restaurant where they made it with romaine lettuce, purple cabbage and carrots. Either way you make it, it IS GOOD.

Chicken with Bacon and Prunes
There was something magical about this. Tender chicken, salty bacon and sweet prunes.  Don't turn up your nose at those prunes, we could eat this dish every week.

Caprese Skillet Eggs

Saucy, easy and delicious for breakfast.  It's like pizza eggs or something.... I love everything about this, with meat or bacon, or without.

Baked Parmesan Salmon

This recipe totally debunks all the seafood and cheese poo-poo'ers.  Loved this, and it was easy to make after work one night.  I have made it again, and again.

Mexican Chilled Prawn Salad 
Maybe it's the salad, maybe it was the fantastic company that I first ate it with. I love this make ahead salad that travels well too.  Healthy and great- I want the weather to improve so I can eat this on the deck.
Heck, maybe I will crank up the heat and eat it inside dreaming of Summer days...

Peanut Butter Fudge

So easy and incredibly addictive. Make it and share it. 
It's even good frozen.
Dipping it in chocolate would be fabulous if you want to take it to a 'ho 'nother level.

Nordy Bars 

A fast trip down memory lane, and fast trip up the sugar highway.
Love these for a party, or to make your work place feel special.

Hot n' Sour Soup

My most memorable soup as my Mom has been making this for me as long as I can remember.  It's not the chicken noodle soup that most people think of with their Mom, but this one is special to me.

What the Pho Martini

I make a lot of martinis, many of them sweet, but sweet is not always my favorite.  This one is weird, I know that.  But it is spicy, delicious and different.  Not for everyone, but certainly for me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Easy Sesame Dip for Veggies

I was on another food blog the other day called "Everyone loves Sandwiches" from Vancouver, BC, one I happen to like a whole bunch, reading her Top 10 personal favorite recipes.  Now, for a food blogger, your personal Top 10 fave's is often radically different from your popular Top 10, so of course, I stopped to check it out. One of these days I need to post my personal Top 10, which is totally different from the Top 10 posts from last year.

One recipe caught my eye, Sesame Dip of Goodness.  It had four ingredients, and since it was so simple, I needed to try it.  I just wasn't convinced that four ingredients was really going to be that great.  So, I made it... and of course, I changed it up a bit.  It's still simple, but I think this one just has to be better, ummm, because I think so.  Hahaha.

I made it for a party at our house last weekend.
I didn't say anything to anyone about it. 
Just put it out on the counter with the other appetizers.  
The interesting thing about this was, at the party mid-point the veggies were all gone. 
I mean all of them.  
How many parties have you been to where there was lots of meats and cheeses remaining when the veggie tray was empty?   
Yeah, like never.

I think this recipe IS a keeper, and I would suggest playing with the ratios of yogurt and mayo to fit your ingredients on hand, and your waistline.  

This might be the perfect easy recipe for Winter football games, including that Big Day coming up. 
I'm just playing at knowing football, you know that, right? 
But, I am not playing at knowing eating, okay?

(not pictured, Sriracha hot sauce)

Makes about 2 cups

1 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
2/3 cup mayonaise
2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp sesame oil
2-3 Tbsp minced green onions
1-2 tsp sriracha hot sauce, if desired
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and taste to adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and/or Sriracha to your liking.

Serve with fresh cut veggies, or chips.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jambalaya Soup

I have this habit of freezing a cup or two of stuff in ziploc freezer bags, smashed flat.  It makes it so easy to reach in there and have something to add to a dinner, or a last minute soup. Well, my freezer was getting a bit full so I was looking through those bags, thinking what to do.

Hmmm.... a bag of chopped chicken leftover from some roast chicken dinner. 
Oh, hey!  There's another bag of sliced sausage, not sure if it's Andouille or some sort of hot link.  No matter, either works for what I am thinking of.

You know how some days are just for "chillin', well, it was a grey and drizzly Sunday, perfect for an easy pot of soup.  I've made Jambalaya that's super for a crowd, and I've made a Jambalaya Sandwich that was really good too, so really, why not have a Jambalaya soup recipe too? I've purposely kept the seasonings very simple, but you could add thyme, oregano or basil if you wanted to.  Make it your own.

This came together in under 30 minutes, mainly because I already had the meat cooked and sliced, but even if you don't, this is really, really simple to make. I also think this soup would work very well in the crock pot too.  I'd cook it on high was about 2 1/2-3 hours, adding the prawns at the very end.

I didn't get a picture of the ingredients this time.... frozen quart bags of meat pressed flat do not make a very good photo, just sayin'.
Makes about 12 cups soup, enough for 5-6 people

1-2 Tbsp oil 1/2 cup white onion chopped small
1/2 bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 cup celery, chopped small (use the inner stalks & leaves)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped andouille, hotlinks or other sausage, or ham
1-2 cup small prawns or shrimp, fresh or frozen
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes and their juice
8 cups water (or stock, if you use stock, omit the bouillon or soup base below)
3-4 tbsp chicken or beef soup base, preferably a bit of both, or bouillon cubes
3 bay leaves
6-7 shakes of hot pepper sauce, like Frank's Red Hot
1/2 cup long grain rice, uncooked
Salt and Pepper to taste

Over medium high heat in a large soup pot, saute your onions, peppers and celery until they start to soften.  Add the crushed garlic and continue to stir.  

Add the canned tomatoes and their juice.  Add the water, ( or stock), and the soup base and stir to combine.  Dump in the chicken and the sausage (or ham) and bring to boil.  Add the bay leaves and the uncooked rice and turn the heat down to medium to simmer the soup for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender.  

If you overcook it, the rice tends to kind of 'explode' and get a little mushy, but I even like it like that!  Add the prawns and simmer until they are cooked through and warmed up.  Adjust the seasoning with hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Serve at once. You can enjoy the leftovers tomorrow, if you have any.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Spinach and Feta

Hey.... it's the New Year and all... so I'm not giving you any booze or sugar recipes for a while.
C'mon, you'll make it. Don't cry.
I'm gonna try to be healthy all-l-l-l month.
Don't be a hater if I don't make it, or even if I do.
One way or another, I am bound to piss someone off.

I saw this idea on Pinterest. 
Why YES, I am "one of those" gals.
Love it...
Anyway, I saw this great picture on Pinterest, but when I clicked on it and tried to "pin it" to save it, but it was only an image, not a recipe.
Hmmm... why would anyone 'pin' an image of food, but not the recipe?
THAT is totally unknown to me.

I made it up.
We liked it, and it was healthy too.
It's kind of ugly. 
You know I hate ugly food, but as my hubby says "ugly food is good food", so here you go! 
The above picture is before it was topped with cheese and baked for 45 minutes, and the below picture is after it was baked. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Here's the ingredients...

(I didn't end up using the Olive Oil in this recipe! But, I didn't photograph the Greek Seasoning I did use.)
Serves 2-4
4 Red bell peppers 
1 cup quinoa, dry
2 cups broth, or water
1 8oz bag of fresh spinach, shredded
4 oz feta, crumbled
1 lemon, zested
1 med tomatoes, chopped (or 3 small)
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
Salt & Pepper or seasoning salt, to taste.  *I used my favorite Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1/2 cup cheese (cheddar, jack, provolone or mozzarella)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or stock) to a boil with the 1 cup of quinoa.  Reduce heat to a medium and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until it starts to absorb the liquid and "explode". 

Meanwhile, slice the very tops off of the peppers, removing any seeds or membranes in the lower half.  I used some of what I cut off to add to my finished mixture. Chop the tomatoes, green onions, shred the spinach, and zest the lemon.

Add all the veggies, and lemon zest,  to a bowl.

Add the hot cooked quinoa to the veggies mixture.  Stir to combine and wilt the spinach too. Add the crumbled feta and stir to combine.

Stuff into the peppers and top with a little grated cheese.... some sort of melting variety (cheddar, jack, mozz or provolone) and bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

As you can see, I only had two peppers to fill with the filling, so I added the extra to small individual baking dishes.  If you don't have a bunch of bell peppers, or don't like them that much, you could try this dish very easily in a baking dish instead.If you use individual dishes without the bell peppers the baking time will vary, pull them out when the cheese is melted and bubbly.