March 25, 2015

Baked Sweet & Spicy Cajun Chicken Drumsticks

Let's not talk about how long it's been since I've shared a recipe.  The wheels in the kitchen have certainly been turning, but my motivation wheels for blogging... not so much.  Don't get me wrong, food blogging is one of my biggest passions.  It's just that I've been spread so thin with lots of "things" over the past few months.  I'm not complaining, though.  I wouldn't change a thing about the life that God has blessed me with. 

Now on to the food - my favorite part!  I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this cold weather!  Uncle!  I've recently been craving picnic foods like potato salad, corn on the cob, drumsticks, etc.  Since it's not quite grilling season yet, I decided to bake some drumsticks in a delicious honey and Cajun seasoning sauce.  You have to try these!  They're juicy, sweet, spicy, Cajun-y (yes, I made that word up), sticky, and they fall right off the bone! 



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, combine the honey, butter, and Cajun seasoning.  Coat the drumsticks on all sides with the mixture.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Turn the drumsticks over and spoon the juices on top.  Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.  Bake uncovered for another 25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

Spoon the juices on top.  If you'd like crispier skin, broil for 5 minutes. 

Garnish with green onions.


February 27, 2015

Skillet Balsamic Chicken & Rotini

Happy Friday!  Here is another quick and easy weeknight meal to add to your rotation.  It's a skillet version of my Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken over Pasta.  There is a lovely hint of sweet and tangy flavor, but it's not overpowering.  I served this with some freshly steamed broccoli.

February 25, 2015

Busy Weeknight Shrimp & Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Peas

Wednesdays have turned out to be quite the busy day for us this year.  Once school lets out for the day, it's Girls on the Run until 5:00 followed by a mad rush to finish homework.  We then prepare & eat dinner all before dance practice from 6:30 to 8:00.  This is one of my favorite meals for busy week nights.  While soaking the noodles in hot water, the rest of the ingredients are prepped and then sauteed in a skillet.  It's fast and easy, and it tastes delicious!

Note:  I always keep a 2 lb. bag of frozen raw easy peel shrimp in my freezer.  To quickly thaw the shrimp out, place however much shrimp your recipe calls for in a Ziplock bag.  Submerge the shrimp in a large pot of warm water for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.  

February 20, 2015

Pan-Fried Cod with Farro Salad in Champagne Vinaigrette

My husband and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this past Valentine's Day!  We look forward to a romantic getaway every year, but once the celebrating is over, we come to the grim realization that we have to endure the long, bitter winter that just seems to go on and on... and on and on... like a bad run-on sentence.  You know it's brutal out when the school districts are closed because of the low temperatures.  The frigid weather sends me into complete hibernation mode, and all I want to do is bundle up all day with a hot cup of tea.  I'm happy to report that I've already gained my usual 5-pound winter weight, and I justify it by telling myself that the only practical thing to do is embrace the extra layer of insulation.  It takes everything in me to muster up motivation for exercise this time of year.  My daydreams have ever increasingly consisted of playing tennis under the hot son, or running on the trail next to my little sous chef.  

Speaking of running, I enrolled my daughter in Girls on the Run!  It's a program that "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  Once it's completed, she and I will run our first 5K together!  More about that another time.

Because my exercise routine is rather unstable this time of year, eating healthy is a must.  Once a week, I incorporate fish into our meal rotation, and I'm always looking for different ways to present it to my family.  I've been experimenting with farro recently, and I decided to pair the two for dinner.  Farro is a wonderfully chewy and hearty grain that has a delicious nutty flavor.  It holds up well in soups and stews, and is a great substitute for pasta.  Farro is high in fiber, a rich source of vitamins B and E, and can stimulate your immune system and lower cholesterol.

This farro salad is dressed in a delicious champagne vinaigrette and seasoned with thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  A touch of freshly squeezed orange juice is added to brighten up the flavor.  Fresh tomato and artichoke are tossed in along with some minced onion for a little crunch factor.  This is a delicious salad that's hearty, healthy, and full of flavor.  It can can be enjoyed warm or cold.  I can't wait to use farro in my Tuscan Soup next time!    

February 14, 2015

Perfect Crispy Homemade Hash Browns

Every Saturday morning, I cook a big breakfast for my family.  It's one of my favorite parts of the week.  The smell of bacon, the sound of dishes clanging, the warm mug of coffee in my hands, the sight of my family in their PJs... and as an added bonus, the scene of snowflakes falling silently outside the back door.  When I asked my family what sounded good for breakfast this morning, my husband suggested hash browns.  As I got to work on the potatoes, I quickly realized that I've never shared my hash browns recipe.  They aren't the prettiest things in the world to photograph, but they sure are delicious!  This method yields perfectly crispy hash browns... or as my little sous chef mistakenly called them this morning, hashtags!  The potatoes are sliced, squeezed of as much liquid as possible, par-cooked in the microwave, and then fried in a skillet.            

February 1, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hands down, my favorite part about the super bowl is the naughty food.  Well, unless the Eagles are playing - then it's a whole other story!  Last year, my little sous chef discovered the puppy bowl, which was thee perfect distraction for her while we were watching the big game.  This year, it's the kitten bowl that she's amped up about.  I have to admit - my inner creepy cat lady will claw its way out, and I know I'll be sneaking away to watch it with her quite frequently.  The kittens are seriously adorable.  And the names that they come up with are so cute.  Richard Purrman anyone?  Hilarious!  Okay.  Enough about cats.  You have to try this easy appetizer.  It's so delicious and perfect for your Super Bowl festivities. 

January 26, 2015

Vegetarian Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

We're expected to get about a foot of snow between today and tomorrow!  Since my little sous chef and I were snowed in today and I was able to finish work early, I decided to venture into the kitchen and try something different.  I've been noticing cauliflower being used in place of rice in recipes, and I've wanted to try it for myself for quite some time now.  Today was the day.  I was definitely skeptical at first, but now that I've tried it, I'm a believer.  When seasoned properly, you really can't taste a difference between the two!  This is a delicious, healthy, and satisfying version of fried "rice" that's both low in calories and low in carbs.  It can also be made in under 30 minutes!  

January 16, 2015

Homemade Almond Milk (Step-By-Step Instructions)

Making your own almond milk is so easy!  You just need to plan ahead for it.  It's raw, lactose-free, unprocessed, and healthy.  It's also creamy and delicious!  Simply soak the almonds in water for 12 hours, drain them, and then process the almonds in the blender with fresh water.  You can also add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon and honey.  It's so easy!  

Note:  Homemade almond milk lasts covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.  Use the best quality almonds that you can find for the best results.  Hot water makes the almond milk more creamy.  Also, the longer you soak the almonds, the more creamy your results will be.  

January 14, 2015

Skinny Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds, Blueberries & Bananas

My little sous chef was home sick yesterday with a yucky cold.  The only thing that she wanted to eat all day was oatmeal.  I get it.  It's comforting, it's tasty, and it warms the soul.  There are also so many wonderful health benefits to eating oats, and I have been trying to incorporate them more into my diet.  

Overnight oats have become one of my favorite things to look forward to in the morning.  When I stumbled across Skinny Taste's skinny version, I knew I had to try them immediately.  The oats are soaked in milk overnight in the fridge along with chia seeds and fruit.  When you wake up the next morning, you have a delicious, creamy, and healthy breakfast to enjoy before starting your day.  Give it a try!  If you decide you're not a fan of cold oatmeal, you could always just heat it up.  

Notes:  If you don't like chia seeds, you can leave them out and add an extra 1/4 cup of oats.  The general rule of thumb is equal parts liquid to oats.  Also, I don't typically add the honey called for in the ingredients because the blueberries and banana add just the right amount of sweetness for me, but you can certainly use any of your favorite sweeteners such as agave nectar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.  Enjoy!  

January 12, 2015

Superfood Quinoa & Three-Bean Chili (Vegetarian)

Oh, to be a kid again and wake up to find you have a two-hour delay from school!  When I was a kid, winter was my favorite time of year, and everything seemed to be magically followed by a hot cup of cocoa.  Now?  Not so much.  Right now, you could ice skate on my driveway, my car is covered in ice, the air hurts my face, and I really don't want to know what my electric heat is doing to my electric bill.  It's days like these that I am so thankful I work out of home.  After about the second week of January, I'm daydreaming about spring.  

Enough with the negative talk.  One of my favorite things about winter is all of the hearty soups and stews that we get to enjoy.  Now that it's the New Year, my husband and I have resolved to eat healthier than we did in 2014.  For dinner last night, I decided to make chili sans meat.  Instead of beef, I used quinoa and three different types of beans to make it healthy and hearty.  This chili is packed with flavor and rich in protein and fiber, so it will fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer.  My non-vegetarian husband loved it and said he didn't miss the meat at all.  Score!

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