Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weekday Meal

When I look at recipes on blogs or otherwise, I usually think "wow that sounds delicious, but what should I make with it?" I had an impromptu dinner party last night, and thought I would share a protein, vegetable, and side dish for a complete meal. It's very easy to make and cooks in under 1 hour. The best part about this meal is that everything cooks at the same oven temperature! I suggest putting the potatoes first, put in the chicken 15 minutes later, and put the asparagus in 20 minutes after that. That way, everything will be done at the same time!

Chicken, Asparagus, and Roasted Potatoes
Photo Credit: Caitlin Brewer

Chicken Ingredients:
5 chicken breasts (or 1 per person)
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
5 Tbl of brown sugar
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl olive oil

Chicken Directions:
Heat oil over medium low and cook your garlic until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and add your brown sugar. Whisk well, and add the soy sauce. Place the chicken in a deep, greased casserole dish, and pour the sauce on top. Bake at 400º for 35 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 227 per chicken
Total Fat: 5.9g
Cholesterol: 73.1mg
Sodium: 308mg
Carbohydrates: 15.1g
Sugars: 13.5g
Protein: 27.3g

Asparagus Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, bottoms snapped off
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or an Italian blend)
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese

Asparagus Directions:
Place asparagus in a large plastic bag (like Ziploc) and add the oil, salt, and pepper. Shake the bag to mix well and then spread the asparagus on a large, flat, baking sheet and bake at 400º for 10 minutes. Take the asparagus out and sprinkle on the two cheeses. Bake for an additional 2 minutes at the same temperature, or until all the cheese has melted.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 79 per 8 spears
Total Fat: 5.7g
Cholesterol: 8.1mg
Sodium: 591.8mg
Carbohydrates: 3.5g
Fiber: 1.6g
Sugars: 1.1g
Protein: 5.8g

Potato Ingredients (serves 6):
1-1 1/2lbs of red bliss potatoes, quartered
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl rosemary, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper

Potato Directions:
Toss the potatoes on a large baking tray with all of the other ingredients. Bake at 400º for 45 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 120 per 1/2 cup
Total Fat: 4.8g
Sodium: 788.1mg
Carbohydrates: 17.5g
Fiber: 1.7g
Sugars: 1.2g
Protein: 2.1g

Enjoy :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Easy Enchilada Pasta

Since I pretty much live on Pinterest, I have seen a lot of recipes for baked enchilada pasta dishes. I was in the grocery store the other day and happened to pick up some enchilada sauce and diced green chilies. Ideas started forming in my head so I also picked up a box of pasta. I had a dilemma with what kind of protein to use in the dish. Most of the ones I have seen use ground turkey, ground beef, or shredded chicken. I dare to be different so I picked up some Al Fresco chicken sausage (you could use any of the proteins previously listed though). Boom. Easy dish, takes barely any time, and it's delicious.

Easy Enchilada Pasta
Photo Credit: Me

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 13.25 box of Rotini (I used Dreamfields)
1 10oz can of medium heat enchilada sauce
1 package of Al Fresco chipotle chorizo chicken sausage
1 4.5oz can of green chilies (I accidentally bought them whole but it took 2 seconds to dice)
4oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl oil
1/4 cup finely diced scallions
1/4 cup shredded jack cheese, just to cover dish
Sour cream to top each bowl with

Set your oven to broil. Cook the pasta according the box. Meanwhile, heat your oil in a medium sized skillet on medium heat. Brown the sausage all the way around. Remove the sausage and dice into 1/4 inch circular pieces. Melt the butter in the still hot pan and add the enchilada sauce. Add the room temp cream cheese and whisk until it is blended well. Add the diced sausage and diced green chilies into the sauce mixture. Drain the pasta and add to a deep baking dish (I used an 11-cup one). Add the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Top the dish with your scallions, followed by your shredded cheese. Pop the dish in the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden (anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes). Serve yourself a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream!

Nutrition Facts (with sour cream):
Calories: 486 per serving
Total Fat: 17.2g
Cholesterol: 72.1mg
Sodium: 830.5mg
Carbohydrates: 63.8g
Fiber: 7.4g
Sugars: 5.9g
Protein: 22.4g

Enjoy :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quick and easy crock pot mac and cheese

My roommate and I finally busted open the new crock pot. We thought the best thing to make as our first crock pot meal was mac and cheese. There were so many recipes floating around and making our mouths water that we decided we couldn't wait any longer. We had tons of different cheeses and bacon left over from a dinner party (as well as a spare box of pasta) and we thought we would not get a better opportunity than this!

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Photo Credit: Me

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 13.25oz box of Dreamfields pasta (either elbow or penne)
1 cup light cream
1 cup low fat milk (whatever you have on hand)
1 egg
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, cubed
1/2 cup gruyere, cubed
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
6 slices of bacon
1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the box. Cook the bacon in a frying pan and chop after it is cooled. Mix together your cream, milk, egg, and spices with a whisk. Add everything to the crock pot and mix well. Set the crock pot on high and let cook for one hour. Stir well, and turn the heat down to low for another hour. You may need to add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk depending on  how tight the mac and cheese gets. In the last 10 minutes of your cook time, toast up some seasoned panko bread crumbs to top your mac and cheese with on low heat in a small frying pan.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 654 per serving
Total Fat: 31.8g
Cholesterol: 135.3mg
Sodium: 766.7mg
Carbohydrates: 63.4g
Fiber: 5.2g
Sugars: 4.7g
Protein: 32.5g

Enjoy :)

Photo Credit: Me

Mini Quiche

The holidays are arriving fast, which means you may be in the position where you will have to make food to bring to parties. Over the weekend I tried out a new recipe that ended up being a crowd pleaser. You could make multiple varieties of this dish, depending on who your audience is and what they like to eat! I got the recipe from, and changed it up a bit per usual.

Mini Quiche

Ingredients (makes 36 mini quiche in 2 flavors):
1 cup light cream
3 eggs
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 strips of low sodium bacon
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1/2 of a small yellow onion
1/2 of a 17.3 oz package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 400º. On a lightly floured surface, roll your puff pastry until it is a 12x12" square. Cut the pastry into 36 2x2" squares. place each puff pastry square into a well greased mini muffin/cupcake tin. Cook the bacon in the microwave (fastest way) for 2 minutes on each side and then finely chop or crumble once it has cooled. Cut your onion and pepper into very finely diced even pieces. Mix together the cream, eggs, and spices with a whisk. In the bottom of half of the puff pastries, add your chopped bacon, about a tablespoon of the egg mixture, and a dollop of the sharp cheddar. In the other half of the puff pastries, add the peppers and onions, about a tablespoon of the egg mixture, and a dollop of the gruyere cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the puff pastry is golden brown. 

Nutrition Facts for 1 quiche piece:
Calories: 52
Total fat: 10.5g
Cholesterol: 26.1mg
Sodium: 64.8mg
Carbohydrates: 0.2g
Protein: 2.9g

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday Night Meal: Buffalo Turkey Tacos

Mmmmm. Tacos. Seriously who doesn't like tacos? They are so versatile and are a great entertaining food. I love to make chicken tacos, pulled pork tacos, shrimp tacos, and turkey tacos. You could even throw a taco party where you make all of those meats and have the toppings and tortillas on the side like a build your own taco bar! Last night (a Monday) I was seriously in the mood for tacos but wanted to keep it on the healthy side so I cooked one of my favorites:

Buffalo Turkey Tacos

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 lb of lean ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
1 serving of taco seasoning**
1/4-1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot Wing sauce (depending on how hot you like it)
8 6" flour tortillas
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1/4 cup water
Optional Toppings:
Cheese (I love these with sharp sheddar)
Sour cream
Extra hot sauce
Ranch dressing (or blue cheese if you are into that)
Fresh cilantro

Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium high heat. Add your oil and your onions and cook until almost translucent. Add your ground turkey and butter and cook until there is no pink left. Add your spice blend and mix well. If it looks too dry, add the 1/4 cup of water. Finally, add your hot sauce and stir everything together. Two tacos per person. 

It's as easy as that!

I like to assemble mine as follows: Toast the flour tortilla over a gas flame, about 10 seconds per side. Lay down some sharp cheddar, followed by the meat. Then add scallions, sour cream, and extra hot sauce as the toppings. YUM.

Enjoy :)

Nutrition Facts (for just the meat):
Calories: 208
Total Fat: 11.6g
Cholesterol: 80mg
Sodium: 1,007mg
Carbohydrates: 4.2g
Fiber: .8g
Sugars: 1.8g
Protein: 22.6g

**Taco Seasoning (so much better for you than the store bought stuff!):
1 Tbl chili powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kielbasa, Rice, and Everything Nice

I grew up with having kielbasa (Polish sausage) as a staple meat in my house. My mom would always make kielbasa with onions and potatoes, and since I don't like potatoes I thought I'd put my own spin on it. For some reason kielbasa to me is an ultimate comfort food and is perfect for cold nights in the fall and winter. I paired mine with instant cook brown rice and a light and easy cream sauce. You could use pasta or potatoes with this, and if you don't like kielbasa, this sauce is great with steak and chicken as well.

Kielbasa with Rice and Mushroom Cream Sauce
Photo Credit (my picture looked like mush)

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):
2 cups of instant brown rice (you can do the real stuff if you have 45 minutes)
1lb turkey or light kielbasa* (check note on bottom if you are unsure on how to cut the meat)
1 package of button mushrooms, sliced thin
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%...whatever you have on hand is fine)
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tbl garlic powder, separated
1 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan. Add the kielbasa and cook until golden brown on either side. Remove from pan and slice into small pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Keeping the heat of the pan at medium, add your butter and let it melt. Then, add the diced onions and mushrooms and cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are much smaller in size and golden brown. At this point you should cook your rice according to the package in either the microwave or on the stove top. Add half of the garlic powder and all of the remaining spices to your onion and mushroom mixture. Turn up the heat to medium high, add the wine, and let cook for about 3 minutes (it should be at a slight boil). Turn the heat down to medium low and add your milk. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add your cheese and remaining garlic powder. Let the sauce cook 2-5 minutes longer until it has reached your desired thickness. 1 pound of kielbasa serves 7, so you only want to use a little more than half of what you have (yay leftovers!). You can add the rice and meat directly to the sauce or have everyone create their own bowls.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 410 per serving
Total Fat: 19.1g
Cholesterol: 66.7mg
Sodium: 1,084mg
Carbohydrates: 29.4g
Fiber: 2.5g
Sugars: 9.4g
Protein: 22.1g

Enjoy :)

*How to cut the kielbasa: The kielbasa will be shaped like a horseshoe, so start by cutting it directly in the middle. You now have two evenly sized pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise so that you have four pieces each with casing on the outside and meat on the inside.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

I'm starting to get into soup. I think it's because of the weather and foliage and whatnot. I was on Food Gawker the other day just browsing for an easy fall soup recipe and stumbled upon one that looked pretty delicious. It's a smoky/spicy black bean soup with pumpkin in it as well. I made it last night and it was incredibly easy and yummy too! This recipe is not mine, my only adjustment was replacing the ground chipotle pepper with cayenne pepper (since I had it on hand) and using more than suggested. If you are the type of person who needs meat in their soup, I'd suggest chorizo since it has that smoky and spicy flavor already in it.

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

2 15oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Tbl olive oil
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp S+P
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp balsamic vinegar

Heat a dutch oven/large pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook until almost translucent. Add the garlic and cook until onions are completely translucent. Add the spices to the onions and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.While these are cooking, puree your beans, tomatoes, and half of the chicken broth in a blender or food processor. Add the mixture along with the rest of the broth and the pureed pumpkin to the pot. Turn the heat down to low and let cook for about 15-20 minutes. Add the balsamic at the very end and serve. You can garnish with anything from sour cream, to shredded cheese, to tortilla strips. 

Nutrition Facts (for 1 cup):
Calories: 184 per serving
Total Fat: 3.6g
Sodium: 360.4g
Carbohydrates: 34.4g
Fiber: 9.2g
Sugars: 2.2g
Protein: 5.2g

Enjoy :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Baked Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

I have an obsession with turkey burgers. I never order them at restaurants since they always seem to mess them up, but if you like to cook, and are looking for a way to make a burger that wont leave you feeling 10 pounds heavier, turkey burgers are the way to go. My mom started making turkey burgers about 2 years ago and decided to make them taste like thanksgiving. This recipe is stolen from her, with her permission, and tweaked a bit (since she pan sears them). Delicious and nutritious! Also, I'm going to let you know my secret to making the leftover burgers taste amazing, Rachel style :)

Baked Turkey Burgers

Recipe (makes 6 turkey burgers):
1-1.25lbs of lean ground turkey
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced (the smaller the better)
1-2 tablespoons Bell's seasoning (depending on how much you want it to taste like Thanksgiving)
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (plain, panko, or Italian, they all work)
2 Tbl fat free milk
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Add all your ingredients for the turkey burgers in a large bowl. Get down and dirty with your hands and mix all of the ingredients together (I usually crack the egg in a separate bowl to make sure there are no shells). Spray a large shallow pan with cooking spray. Form 6 evenly sized patties and place them on the tray. Spray each burger with just a spritz of cooking spray and if you want, top with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Bell's seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes. I usually eat mine with a fork but feel free to make it like a real burger with a bun, lettuce, tomato, and the condiments of your choice! Gravy or cranberry sauce would work great!

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 249 per burger
Total Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 132.9mg
Sodium: 423mg
Carbohydrates: 13.9g
Fiber: 1.5g
Sugars: 2.9g
Protein: 35.9g

Enjoy :)

Spicing it up for leftovers:
Since I love spicy food, I formed a habit for what to do with the leftovers every time my mom made turkey burgers. I like to mash up the burger in a bowl so it becomes loose ground turkey. I then a little over a tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot Wing sauce. I dice up about 10 pickled jalapenos and throw those in too. Finally, I melt a few slices of Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar cheese on top. I like to either eat it directly out of the bowl or add to nachos or tacos! YUM.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New, Healthier Take on Chicken, Broccoli and Ziti

I love pasta. I love sauce more. Most people I know grew up eating chicken broccoli and ziti as a main pasta staple. It was heavy, creamy, cheesy, and absolutely delicious. Since I try to eat healthy but still want to consume flavorful food, I decided to make this dish my way and under 500 calories per serving.

Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs and Broccoli

Ingredients (serves 4):
8oz whole wheat spaghetti
1 medium sized head of broccoli
1-2 cups of your favorite tomato basil sauce (try to get low sodium)
1 package of Al Fresco Tomato and Basil Chicken Meatballs (or 16 homemade chicken meatballs)
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Tbl EVOO
Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (if you want)

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes in a double boiler/steamer. Add your broccoli into the pasta after you drain it. Keep it in the pasta pot on low heat (add some oil if it starts to get sticky or dry). Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil to a saute pan along with your diced garlic and meatballs (there are 16 to a pack). Cook the meatballs for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Add your tomato basil sauce to the meatballs and bring down to low heat. The amount of sauce you add depends on your preference. After about 2 minutes, you are ready for the finishing touches! Combine your pasta and broccoli into the saute pan of sauce and meatballs. Add in a 1/4 cup of cheese and as much of the red pepper flakes as you'd like. You can finish off the dish with fresh basil, or just eat it as is.

Nutrition facts:
Calories: 497 per serving
Total Fat: 17.5g
Cholesterol: 70mg
Sodium: 937.2mg
Carbohydrates: 59.1g
Fiber: 9.4g
Sugars: 10.1g
Protein: 28.5g

Enjoy :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Local Sushi

Since I still live in the suburbs of Boston (for two more weeks!!), I typically have to drive 10-15 minutes to other towns to find good quality sushi. And I really really love sushi. If I don't have sushi once a week, I will honestly go to Market Basket and buy theirs just to satisfy my craving.

However, after trying about a half dozen places in my area, I thought I would share, compare, and rank them in order of least favorite to favorite.

#5 The Ginger Pad in Burlington

The Experience: The first time I went here was probably not the best experience at a restaurant. This used to be a bistro where you purchase your food at the counter, and then go find a place to sit (like Panera). Since they changed it to a restaurant with a full service bar, I think they went down a bit in ratings. Worst. Service. Ever. I went with a few of my friends on a Tuesday night and it was surprisingly busy. Surprising for the staff, that is. It took about 10 minutes for our waitress to even greet us, then another 10-15 to bring over drinks. Add another 10 after our drinks came to even order our meals. We we hungry to say the least.

The Food: I ordered Wonton soup to start and shared two sushi rolls with my friend. The soup was fine, nothing special, seeing as how it is hard to mess up Wonton soup I had no complaints. I also inhaled it since we had been waiting for so long. We had the Hoppin' Jalapeno roll and the Phoenix roll next, neither of which we were overly impressed with. I'd give them 2 1/2 stars on those. However, one day when I was craving sushi, I was right next door at Nails and Co. I called and ordered for pick up and decided to just play it safe. I ordered the Unagi Avocado maki (eel and avocado) and asked them to add spicy mayo. Seriously, one of the best sushi rolls I've ever had. SHOCKED. It melted in my mouth and I never wanted it to end. My suggestion for Ginger Pad? Get take out and make it simple. 

#4 Bamboo in Bedford
Photo Credit=me!

The Experience: The atmosphere at Bamboo is one of my favorites of any restaurant. The staff is always friendly and on point, and the decor is very calming. They have multiple rooms, all themed differently, and all so interesting. I've been here a bunch of times since it was the only sushi place close to my house for a while, and back when I ate Chinese food it was my go to. Service is good, and the little mints you grab on the way out are awesome!

The Food: While they have amazing non-sushi dishes, I'm here to talk about the good stuff. Bamboo was the first place I tried eel at, and I have never loved a fish so much in my life. I got a caterpillar roll and it was delicious (and adorable)! I went back for sushi a few months ago and we got quite the assortment. I definitely had a better eating experience with more options. Compared to other sushi restaurants, Bamboo is a bit expensive for what you get. I've had better tasting sushi for lower prices, which is why it is number four on my list. While the fish is fresh, the options are lacking and the rolls really don't come together as much as I would like. One thing that sets Bamboo apart though is the fact that they give you chocolate fortune cookies!

#3 Tulip in Stoneham

The Experience: Tulip is brand new and I've only been twice. It offers hibachi as well as a full menu, and it has been doing very well since it opened. The hosts are very friendly, but the staff has a little trouble in the English department. The first time I went the waitress really had no idea what I was saying to her so I had to point to everything on the menu. Their drinks are surprisingly cheap and EXTREMELY strong. It took me an hour to finish a Mai Tai. The other weird thing about Tulip? I've only been twice, as I mentioned, and both times I got the same fortune! "Now is a good time to make new friends."

The Food: We were quite pleased with the food. The Peking ravioli were scrumptious, as was the dipping sauce they came with. I tried my first scallion pancake but I really don't think they are for me. I know we ordered the Red Sox maki, but I honestly have no idea what the second roll was. I didn't dislike their sushi, but there was some strange substance on top of it that we just could not figure out. The second time I went I tried their Wonton soup which had a strange flavor to it. I also got a simple spicy yellow tail roll which was very very good! I'm starting to learn that the more simple the roll, the higher the chance is that I will like it. I'll definitely go again and try more rolls here since I haven't been enough!

#2 3 Country Bistro in Woburn
Photo Credit= me!

The Experience: This place is itty bitty. It's a complete hole in the wall in a giant rotary, but it's seriously worth it. I was referred by a friend and went last night with two of my go-to sushi girls and we were seriously impressed. They were busy, which is easy since they only have seven tables and four seats at the sushi bar. We saw a lot of people coming in for take-out, which I'm guessing is the preferred method of dining. Although they do not serve alcohol here, anyone is welcome to bring their own! We were confused at first since the table behind us had beer and there was none listed, but eventually we put two and two together. 

The Food: Since I only went last night, I'm still in a bit of a food coma from 3 Country Bistro. The best thing about this place is the menu. They have SO many delicious options. Usually when it comes to eel you can only get one or two specialty roles. These people know what's up considering the fact that they had eight specialty roles with eel in them (I counted)! We shared Crab Rangoon, which were fine, and then dove into the sushi. We split the Hawaii Spicy Maki, Rattle Snake Maki, and the Main Street Maki (rattle snake pictured on the left and main street on the right). I could have licked the plates clean. Every thing came together so wonderfully and even though we were full early on, we powered through because I never wanted the flavors to end. The sushi chef is absolutely amazing and not only does he make delicious foo, but he makes cute little dragons out of sauce on the plates! Can I go back now?

#1 Oye's in Reading

The Experience: I love going to Oye's. Clearly, seeing as how it is my number one. My friends and I pronounce it like "Oi-yay's," but I learned that it's really "oo-ee's." Back on track though, I love everything about this place from the decor to the service to the drinks. If you go, you HAVE to get the Passion fruit Bellini. My favorite ever. If you don't like pulp, get a Zombie, but otherwise order like four of these. You never have to wait too long for a table here since they have many, and the service is prompt and attentive. It also has more of a fine dining feel since they have table cloths and candles at every table! My only suggestion is to try not to sit near the fire place since it can get a bit hot.

The Food: Clearly the food has to be amazing for it to be my number one. Well it absolutely is. They haven't updated their online menu in a while, but if you go you need to order the Bruins maki. It has eel and two types of tuna and who knows what else, but I live for this roll. I seriously stopped ordering other sushi rolls to try here because it is absolutely phenomenal. Before I discovered this, I tried the Kiss the Fire roll, as well as the Sushi Pizza (also not on the old menu). Both we delicious and unique. The sushi pizza was probably the most interesting thing I've had. It wasn't a roll but on a crispy bed of deliciousness and even had onions and tomatoes on top! Don't knock it til you try it. A great thing about Oye's is that they also have amazing Chinese cuisine as well. Best Peking Ravioli I've ever had! I'm starting to crave it right now. Oye's makes everything with love and really wants their customers to have a wonderful dining experience every time. They do take out as well and it isn't disappointing!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mexican Pork and Beans

I love Guy Fieri. His food looks delicious, he has a great personality, and I envy the crap out of his job on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I was watching Guy's Big Bite a few Sundays ago, and in the episode "Surf and Turf Tacos," he made Mexican pork and beans as a side dish. My mouth watered, so I decided that making his dish would be added to my to-do list. I finally got a chance last night and I loved it! Super easy, tons of flavor, and very filling.

Mexican Pork and Beans

Ingredients (serves 4):
4oz Mexican Chorizo (I actually used Portuguese Chourico which is very similar)
Canola Oil for greasing pan (about 2 Tbl)
½ cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeno, minced (I took the seeds and veins out so my dad could eat it)
1 Tbl Cumin
2 15.5oz cans black beans (keep the water from 1 can)
Juice of ½ a lime
½ C crumbled cotija cheese

Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the canola oil. Remove the casings from the chorizo and cut or crumble into smaller pieces. Add the chorizo and use a spoon to break into even smaller bites as it heats. Add the minced garlic and jalapeno. Allow the chorizo to cook and render for 4-5 minutes. When the oil is fragrant and red, add the cumin and black beans, including the liquid from 1 can. Add ½ cup of water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and season with S+P to finish. Serve in a bowl and top with cotija cheese (my dad put shredded Mexican blend cheese on his...still.

The original recipe calls for  cilantro as an additional garnish but our house is a cilantro-free zone (my mom has that common issue where it tastes like soap to her). You can serve this as a side dish by itself, with chips, wrapped in a tortilla, or over a bed of rice. 

Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 467
Total fat: 25.9g
Cholesterol: 50mg
Sodium: 633mg
Carbohydrates: 37.2g
Fiber: 9.3g
Sugars: 1.7g
Protein: 21.4g

Enjoy :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tilapia Burgers

Last night was my night to cook and I wanted to try something new. Originally I was going to make tuna burgers (since I had one from Naked Fish and was inspired to make it taste better), but the nice guy behind the seafood counter at the store said that there are currently problems with the tuna in Massachusetts. I settled for tilapia instead (since eating tilapia is good for the environment!). 

I looked at Food Network's website, as well as some random links that Google led me too, and picked some flavors and ingredients that I wanted to incorporate in my burgers. As an added bonus, for the first time, I actually took pictures of the process and the final result of my meal! My mom and I loved these, and even my dad, who does not like fish, said I did a great job!

Tilapia Burgers (makes 6)

Burger Ingredients (makes 6 burgers):
1 1/2 lbs tilapia, diced into very small pieces (you can use tuna, flounder, or cod)
1/4 cup scallions, diced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard 
1 egg, beaten in separate container
1/2 C plain bread crumbs
2 tbl olive oil (I use extra light)
6 whole wheat burger buns

Sriracha Mayo:
1/3 C light mayo
2 tbl Sriracha
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
Dice your fish and scallions, beat your egg in a separate container, and 
combine all of your burger ingredients (except for the oil and buns) into a large mixing bowl.

Mix it all up by hand until you get this nice mixture, just as if you were making meatballs.

Heat a large skillet to medium and add your oil. Form 6 evenly sized 
burger patties and cook 3 at a time for 4 minutes on each side.

While your burgers are cooking, mix together your ingredients to make
 the Sriracha mayo which will top all of your burgers.

Your patties should be a nice golden brown on each side when they are done. Spread a tablespoon of mayo on each burger top and assemble those burgers! Feel free to get creative with the toppings. Lettuce, tomato, or caramelized onions are just a few that would make this burger even more delicious!

Nutrition Facts for 1 burger (not including bun or toppings):
Calories: 246
Total fat: 9g
Cholesterol: 100.2mg
Sodium: 539.3mg
Carbohydrates: 9.5g
Fiber: 0.6g
Sugars: 1.7g
Protein: 32.4g

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Banana Nutella Toast

I'm not really a breakfast person. Well, what I should really say is I'm not really a going out for breakfast/brunch person. I grew up having my dad as the master of all breakfast foods, so when I go out to breakfast I am always disappointed.

Since I have about 10-12 minutes to make and eat breakfast every weekday morning, I usually rotate between cereal (I only eat Honey Bunches of Oats: Cinnamon Bunches), egg whites with jalapenos and hot sauce (never too early for spice), and a protein shake (chocolate peanut butter protein, water, ice, and half a banana).

I really try to stay away from donuts or anything overly sugared and overly sweet. However, when I do crave something that resembles this description, I have an easy, semi-healthy, go-to breakfast.

Cinnamon Sugar Banana Nutella Toast

2 Slices of multi-grain bread (or 1 multi-grain Arnold Sandwich Thin, as I prefer)
2 Tbl Nutella
1 Banana
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

Spread 1 tablespoon of Nutella on each slice of bread and place on top of the toaster oven, not inside (you want it warm and soft, not actually toasted). Slice a banana into 1/4 inch thick circular pieces (like in the picture) and place on a piece of tin foil. Sprinkle the bananas with the cinnamon followed by the sugar. Put the bananas in a toaster oven (with the bread still on top) and toast on medium or for about 4-5 minutes. If you do not have a toaster oven, you can take a regular toaster, turn it on it's side, and boom you have something very similar to a toaster oven! As soon as the time has passed, place the banana slices evenly on top of the toast. You can make it into a sandwich if you'd like, but I prefer to eat it open faced.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 425 (worth it)
Total fat: 12.4g
Sodium: 241g
Carbohydrates: 75.8g
Fiber: 10.3g
Sugars: 41.6g
Protein: 9.3g

Enjoy :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two easy side dishes

Sometimes the hardest part of making a meal is what to serve on the side as opposed to the main attraction. I was lucky enough to be born with a love for pretty much every vegetable, so I like to play around with them to create easy and yummy side dishes.

Per usual, this Sunday involved me cooking a few things to put on the blog! Here are two side dishes that I've made before and are always delicious!

Rainbow Corn Salad
Ingredients (serves 6): 
2 16oz bags of frozen corn
1-2 large white onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 scallions, diced
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black or white pepper

Put olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and add your diced onions. Cook them until they are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add your peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add your corn, scallions, and spices, and stir. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let sit for 15 minutes or until the corn is heated through. Can be served hot or cold!

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 143 per serving
Total fat: 3.3g
Sodium: 394.6mg
Carbohydrates: 29g
Fiber: 4.1g
Sugars: 2.8g
Protein: 4.2g

Lightly Creamed Garlic Spinach
Ingredients (serves 4):
2 bags of fresh spinach
1 medium white onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup light cream
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbl butter

Heat your butter in a skillet over medium-high and add the onion. Let cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an addition 2 minutes. Add the spinach, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook until all the spinach has wilted. Add your cream, cheese, and spices, and stir. 

As you can see, I ate my spinach with a blackened tuna steak! I'm attempting to take more pictures of my food before I dive right in and eat so I can stop stealing food pics from other people

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 111 per serving
Total Fat: 7.9g
Cholesterol: 22.5mg
Sodium: 505.7mg
Carbohydrates: 9.3g
Fiber: 2.7g
Sugars: 1.8g
Protein: 4g


Monday, March 5, 2012

How to impress someone a lot by doing a little

Maybe I should have posted this around Valentine's Day, but people need to eat food every day so I guess it doesn't matter. Some people are afraid of cooking. Maybe you've had multiple disasters in the past, think it's too hard/time consuming, or you just don't like it. What those people don't realize is that cooking can be very very easy and still come out delicious and maybe even impress someone you've always wanted to cook for. Yesterday for Sunday night dinner, I roasted a chicken, my mom roasted some veggies, and we both put barely any effort into it. Guess what? It was soooooo good.

Roasted Chicken:
1 whole chicken (I used a 7lb Purdue chicken)
2 Tbl olive oil
Lawry's seasoning salt (or whichever is your favorite)
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of sage

Roasted Vegetables (serves 4):
1 eggplant
1 zucchini
2 large onions
2-3 red bell pepers
salt + pepper
1/2 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl olive oil

Preheat your over to 350º. On the bag the chicken comes in, it should tell you how long to cook your bird based on it's weight. Since I had a 7lb chicken, it cooked for 2 1/2 hours. To prep the chicken, take it out of the bag, remove the giblets, and rinse the chicken with water. Put the oil in a pan with deep sides to hold in the juice, spread it around, and place in the chicken skin side up (pictured above). Tuck the wings underneath the chicken to keep it from sliding around.  Place the herbs in a bundle inside the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with your seasoning salt, as much as you'd like.

The chicken should have a white circular piece of plastic on top of it, which will indicate when the chicken is done by popping up. After the allotted time has passed, take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Cut the chicken by cutting the thighs off first (vertical slice down the thigh using your hand to pull it out at the same time), followed by a horizontal slice on each side of the bird near where the thighs were. Then, cut a vertical line directly in the middle of the chicken and proceed to slice pieces.

Boom you just made a simple roasted chicken.

The veggies are even easier (unless you are dreadful at cutting). Cut all of the veggies to about the same size (we do about 1 inch cubes), and place them in a heavy roasting pan that is thoroughly greased with oil. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast the veggies for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. It will make your life even easier if you put them in during the last 40 minutes of your chicken's roasting time so everything is done together!

The best part is that there will be plenty of leftovers to get creative with! Enjoy :)

Roasted Chicken Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 207 per 4oz
Total Fat: 15.6g
Cholesterol: 66.7mg
Sodium: 451.5mg
Protein: 15.3g

Roasted Vegetables Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 101 per serving
Total Fat: 4g
Sodium: 155.4mg
Carbohydrates: 16.3g
Fiber: 5.8g
Sugars: 7.3g
Protein: 2.8g

Friday, February 17, 2012

Go-To Hot Sauces

Wow, I'm such a slacker! It's been weeks, but I've been busy redoing my room and living life so that's my excuse. However, today I wanted to blog about my 3 go-to hot sauces since I pretty much live for hot sauce.

1. Cholula

This was the first hot sauce I ever liked! I worked at a Tex Mex/Cajun restaurant for 3 years and was surrounded by flavor. One of the servers used to pour so much of this into sour cream and dip chips in it for a snack. As soon as I tried, I was hooked! The best thing about Cholula is that you don't get slapped in the face with spice; the pepper flavor is really bold and delicious with just a hint of spice at the end. I put this on my eggs, in my lean cuisines, and on stir fry. For those afraid to start using hot sauce on a more regular basis, this is a great beginners sauce. They also have chili lime, chipotle, and chili garlic flavors.

2. Sriracha

This is a spicy one, for sure. Too much of this could make you cry, but in a good way! My sister used to keep this in the house and I didn't try it until this past summer. Now, I am an addict. As you can see from a handful of recipes I have posted on the blog, I put Sriracha in a variety of dishes. My favorite use for it is breakfast. Whether it be breakfast sandwiches, huevos rancheros, omelets, or pretty much anything with ketchup, I automatically go for this hot sauce. It has a very strong and distinct chili flavor that is oh so delicious. I make Sriracha sour cream all the time for nachos or plain chips, and I always pair shrimp with this sauce.

3. Frank's Red Hot Wings

Frank's has been the go-to buffalo sauce since 1964 (fun fact, I've been to the bar where buffalo wings were first introduced!). There are 8 varieties of the product including original, original thick, XTRA hot, sweet chili, chili n' lime, buffalo wings, hot buffalo wings, and kickin' BBQ. I usually opt for the wings sauce, since it is spicier than the original. Depending on the crowd, I might even go for the hot buffalo when making my buffalo chicken dip. I often put this right into my egg batter when making scrambles in the morning, and obviously I add it to my chicken stir fry to make it buffalo style. Frank's has a very distinct flavor that others try to copy all the time, but there is only one original!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pulled Beef Enchiladas

Oh hey crock pot, I missed you.

Our family sort of repeats the same recipes over and over again (I mean they are delicious, so I'm not complaining). However, I like to switch it up occasionally and try something new that could possibly go into our rotation. I mentioned to my mom that we should make enchiladas since they are easy and yummy.

Here's how I made them:

Pulled Beef Enchiladas
1 1/2 lbs beef (I used London Broil)
1-2 medium onions; chopped (Spanish or white, whatever you have)
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (if you only have the regular kind, that's fine)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 10oz can diced tomatoes
1 10oz can of red or green enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso)
6 whole wheat tortillas (I use Ole' Xtreme Wellness 8")
1 cup of cheese, divided

Mix together all of your spices and rub on both sides of the meat (our meat was divided in two). For better flavor, refrigerate overnight. Add the meat to the bottom of your crock pot, followed by the onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook either on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-5 hours.When it is done, pull apart with two forks to shred.

Use any rectangular pan with high sides to bake your enchiladas. In each tortilla, place meat, some enchilada sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll them up and place each tortilla seam side down in the pan. When all of them are in the pan, spread the remaining sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes or until the cheese gets bubbly and the tortillas turn a golden brown.

Nutrition Facts for 1 enchilada:
Calories: 379 per serving
Total Fat: 13.9g
Cholesterol: 79.8mg
Sodium: 1,466mg
Carbohydrates: 30.9g
Protein: 37.9g

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Shrimpin all over the World

Apparently all I did during my 10 days off from work was cook. It's ok though, it just means I can blog more! I promise to do some non-food related blogs soon since I've been going crazy in the kitchen! For some reason, I eat like a pregnant person. I get weird cravings and eat strange foods all the time. Plus, I REALLY love pickles. One afternoon I had a strange craving for this shrimp curry soup thing that my sister created on a whim, so I made my own shrimp curry dish with what we had in stock.

I call it Shrimp Around the World since it pulls influences from a few different cultures (careful though, it's spicy). We usually have the big bags of frozen, precooked shrimp in our freezer, so I kind of cheated in that aspect. Oh well, it's still delicious! If you aren't a huge fan of curry, don't worry. The curry flavor in this dish is strong enough that you can detect it, but light enough that you aren't over powered by it.

Shrimp Around the World (for 4 people)
24 Frozen shrimp, peeled, deveined, and precooked
8oz whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup Sriracha
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbl oil, separated
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 Tbl cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbl curry powder
1/2 Tbl red pepper flakes
3/4 cup light cream
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano

Boil 6 cups of water and cook and drain the spaghetti.

Mix together the Sriracha, soy sauce, and 1 Tbl oil in a plastic Ziploc bag. Place your defrosted shrimp* without tails into the bag. Mix the bag up so every shrimp is coated. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and curry in a shallow dish.

Heat 1 Tbl oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high. Coat one side of each shrimp in the spice mix, then place in the skillet. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes (remember: the shrimp is already cooked). When the shrimp is done, set aside in a bowl. Turn the heat on the skillet down to low and after 2 minutes, add the light cream. Mix it around with a wisk so you get the flavors and leftover spices from the shrimp. Add the red pepper flakes and the cheese and stir.

Finally, add the pasta into the sauce and mix with tongs. Place the shrimp back into the completed dish and voila! You can now enjoy your Shrimp Around the World :)

*To defrost the shrimp, place in a microwave-safe bowl lined with paper towels and microwave on auto defrost (if you have it) until the shrimp is no longer frozen, just a bit chilled. You can also plan this dish ahead of time and defrost the shrimp in the fridge overnight.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 446 per serving
Total Fat: 21.3g
Cholesterol: 104mg
Sodium: 1,404.4mg
Carbohydrates: 50.5g
Protein: 20.6g

Monday, January 2, 2012

Strogafredo? Alfredonoff?

Cream of Mushroom soup is weird. I accidentally bought some junior year in college (probably thought it was chicken noodle) and decided to make some sort of sauce out of it. It ended up being some weird cross between a Stroganoff and an Alfredo but either way, it was delicious! I made it again tonight to get rid of the leftover roast beast from Christmas. So here is my recipe for Strogafredo/Alfredonoff!

Strogafredo/Alfredonoff Recipe (serves 6):
1 10oz can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Cup milk
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bag of fresh spinach
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano
1 Tbl garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbl olive oil
1-2 cups of any leftover meat (roast beef, chicken, pork, etc.)
1/2 lb of spaghetti

Heat 1 Tbl of olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent. As they cook, boil about 6 cups of water and cook the pasta for about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook until brown. Add the garlic and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted. Add your meat, cook for 2 minutes just to heat through, then add the soup. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the milk (I use 1%). Add the Pecorino, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir, let sit for 10 minutes, then strain the pasta  and add it into the sauce.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 578 (with leftover beef)
Total Fat: 19g
Cholesterol: 106.1mg
Sodium: 1,728.2mg
Carbohydrates: 56.1g
Protein: 54.6g

Serve and Enjoy! :)