Category Archives: Cooking

Tiny Things are Better

Mostly. The only time this sentiment is untrue is with dogs. Big dogs are better.

Okay, maybe tiny things aren’t always better, but when it comes to food… they usually are.

Cupcakes > Cake

Mini quiches > Regular quiches

Chicken fingers > Chicken breast

Red Onion Close UP

They taste better. They’re more fun. There’s less clean-up. You have an excuse to lick your fingers. The tiny serving size means you don’t have to share. And usually, they mean less calories. (That last one might be a stretch.)

ingredients

Enter: Tiny Pizzas! This is a really fun, fast meal that you can make with ingredients you have on-hand. It’s great for busy work nights or lazy Saturdays. We make ours on pocket-less Pitas, which provide just enough crust, with enough density to support allllll that cheesy, saucy, vegetably goodness. Load it up! If your pita can’t support it, you can use a fork. I won’t tell the other tiny foods you needed a hand with this one.

pre-bake 1

  • Enough pitas for each person to have (at least) one. I use whole wheat.
  • Marinara or pizza sauce – you can go home made here, but for a quick meal I use store bought
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Bleu Cheese
  • Feta Cheese (are you catching on? CHEEEEESE!)
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Turkey sausage
  • Whatever you want! Tiny pizza doesn’t discriminate.

What You Do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Put 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each pita.
  3. Load up with toppings!
  4. Bake at 350 until cheese is melty, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Switch your oven from bake to broil (high) and broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  6. Cut into quarters and enjoy!

baked

 

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Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

You guys. I told you. I have an addiction.

Finished SoupI can’t stop making soup. And therefore I can’t stop eating soup. I’d say it’s bad, but it’s really just so, so good.

Acorn SquashThis recipe is adapted from Tartlette. I’m sure I’ll be making it again, although I will admit it was missing… something. I still can’t put my finger on it. More maple syrup? Apples? Bacon? Probably bacon. But I don’t eat pigs anymore, so that idea’s shot. Suggestions, please?

Sweet Potatoes & OnionBut other than the missing ingredient, this soup was pretty good. I ate it for about a week after I made it, so it couldn’t have been terrible, right? It did pack a lot of flavor. Squash based soups are always so deliciously creamy without all the extra calories. Plus, they’re chock-full-o-nutsvegetables so they’re like, healthy or something.

What You Need:

  • 2 mini acorn squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
  • a little more than 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • dried spices to taste (thyme, rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, whatever you can find!)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

What you Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Put cubed squash in a baking dish, drizzle with one teaspoon of olive oil (or use your handy dandy MISTO!!!) and roast until soft – 20-30 minutes.

3. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot over med-hi heat. (le sigh, someday I will have my Le Cruset cookware…). Add the onion and curry powder and cook until onion is soft and almost translucent.

Onion & Curry Powder4. Add sweet potatoes, stock, syrup, spices, and cooked squash. Bring to a boil for a moment, then simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are soft. (This should take about 30 minutes.)

Simmering Soup

5. Let the soup cool a bit, and then blend the ish out of it with your immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender or food processor.

Blended Soup

 

What’s your favorite winter soup? Any I should try to recreate here?

Finished Soup 2

 

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Chicken Schnitzel and Brussel Sprouts

Full Meal

Growing up, we had a pretty standard list of dinner options that we cycled through weekly: Spaghetti (with sauce from a can usually), Stouffer’s Lasagna, meatloaf, baked chicken with bar-b-que sauce, and my favorite – chicken schnitzel. I’m pretty sure that traditionally, schnitzel is made with pork, but my dad grew up in Israel, where pork is hard to come by. Jewish schnitzel = 100% chicken.

Schnitzel Cooking

This is one of those recipes that you could make your own, this is just my family’s take on it. It’s still one of my favorites, and is up there with spaghetti as one of my go-tos in the kitchen.  It’s one of the only ones I make regularly that I don’t use a recipe for 🙂 This is alllll from my memory baby. This meal can be made in about 30 minutes, and tastes like it’s out of a restaurant kitchen. (Maybe it’s all the oil? Who knows.) I dip mine in honey. I have no idea why, but it’s delicious. Dan uses ranch. My brothers have been known to use ketchup. Whatever you do, it’s okay to make it your own!

Schnitzel Cooked

What You Need (Schnitzel):

  • 1 lb of chicken breast, thinly sliced 
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil

What You Do (Schnitzel):

  1. Heat oil in large skillet on med-hi heat.
  2. Lightly beat the chicken with a meat tenderizer. (If you don’t have one of these, or if you’re lazy like me, it’s okay to skip this step.)
  3. Dredge chicken first in egg, then in bread crumbs. Be sure to thoroughly – this is what gives your chicken that beautiful brown crispiness!
  4. Place chicken (carefully!) in HOT oil, it should sizzle as you put it down, and cook until golden brown on one side. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Place on a plate with a paper towel underneath to catch the excess oil.
  6. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes with a vegetable.

What You Need (Brussel Sprouts):

Sprinkled Sprouts

  • As many brussel sprouts as you can eat, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp of Olive oil

What You Do (Brussel Sprouts):

Cooked Sprouts

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place quartered sprouts on a baking sheet – I line mine with tin foil for easy clean up
  3. Mist or pour olive oil on sprouts, coating evenly – I use my Misto and I LOVE IT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE GO GET ONE RIGHT NOW!
  4. Salt and pepper to taste – you can play with the spices. I also use garlic powder occasionally
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until edges start to turn brown and crispy

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My New Obsession

Does it count as an obsession if I’ve only made it twice?

Chopped

I think at this rate, I’m well on my way. I simply cannot stop making and eating soup. Not like from-a-can-Campbell’s-condensed-crap. Good, hearty, home made soup. I think it all started with making Lasagna Soup at Gretchen’s a few weeks ago. Last week I made this delicious Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup from SkinnyTaste.com. And it was. So. Good. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to use my immersion blender for the first time in forever, so, win for kitchen gadget usage! It wasn’t even that hard! The most time consuming bit was the chopping – other than that it could have been ready in less than 45 minutes. Not too shabby for a weeknight meal. And then for lunch a few days as well.

Onions, Carrots, Celery

One quick note about reheating – it does get pretty thick in the fridge from all the potato starch, so adding some milk or water when reheating is not a bad idea.

Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Soup 3

What You Need:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups fat free chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 4 cups (about 2 heads) broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 slices 2% American cheese
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

What You Do:

  1. Chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic in a chopper or mini food processor.
  2. In a large soup pot, melt butter.  Add chopped vegetables and sauté on low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour, salt and pepper to the pot and stir until smooth.
  4. Add broth, milk and potatoes and set heat to high until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli florets, parmesan cheese, and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add cheddar and American cheese, stir well and remove from heat.
  7. Using an immersion blender, quickly blend part of the soup for a quick second or two. If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove about 1-2 cups of potatoes and broccoli, place it in your chopper, then add it back to the soup. This helps thicken it a bit.

Soup done

**Note: The broth adds a lot of salty flavor, so go easy on the salt!

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Fall Is Here

Fall is here and I could not be happier. It is time for jeans and boots, sweaters and scarves, and all things pumpkin. Pumpkin, and squash, and sweet potato, and… well, I think it’s clear that I love fall for its fashion statements, weather, and food. So let’s get right to it shall we?

Last night, something amazing happened.

You probably can’t tell how amazing, because the lighting in my kitchen sucks so my pictures usually do too.

But trust me. Pumpkin. Macaroni. And. Cheese.

You heard (read?) that right. There aren’t even enough words to describe how happy this made me, so I’ll just say I ate it for dinner, and then lunch, and then lunch the next day, too.

This recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.

Pumpkin Spinach Mac and Cheese

What You Need:

For the pasta:

  • 16 oz noodles (I used shells, you can really use whatever you want)
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (If it’s not fall and the cans of pumpkin aren’t in the front of the store, they’re usually found in the baking aisle underneath the pre-made pie crusts with the cherry pie filling.)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups milk (I actually didn’t have enough milk, so I used about 2 cups milk and about a cup of chicken stock I had stored in ice cube form)
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Rinse and drain well.
  2. Heat the milk (or combination of milk and chicken stock) in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Add the mashed pumpkin and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring. Let cook until it starts to thicken a bit, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove the pot form the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar and spinach.

  1. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish or 2 8×8 inch baking dishes.

  1. Melt the 2 tbsp of butter and combine with the bread crumbs and brown sugar; sprinkle on the top.

  1. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is browned.

*Note: You can also freeze this dish before cooking*

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Bandwagons

Let’s talk about bandwagons for a minute. Do you jump on them? Stay off? I’m undecided. Some bandwagons are awesome and you should totally climb aboard. (Hunger Games anyone?!) Others, like quinoa, I keep trying to get on board with, and I just can’t. Maybe I’m just not making it right, but every time I try it it’s just… meh. I don’t hate it, but it would never be my first choice.

Blah blah blah healthy grains blah blah blah. I’ll keep trying it, but for now? Not my go-to. Anyway, for those of you who are totally on board with the whole quinoa thing, here’s my turkey bacon and cheese quinoa cups. (I have about 10 left if anyone wants one…)

This recipe originally brought to you by Iowa Girl Eats.

What You Need:

Ingredients (makes 12 cups)

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 seeded and diced jalepeno
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced turkey bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

What You Do

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.

  • Liberally spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and spoon mixture to the top of each cup.

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cups are golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes in the tin before eating. Do not underbake or they won’t come out of the pan. (I did… not pretty).

In true Lara fashion, I didn’t take any pictures of the finished product. Whoops.

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Hello Kitchen, I’ve Missed You

I’ve been in a bit of a slump. Not just a blogging slump, but also a cooking slump. Which probably partially explains the blogging slump. But I’m back, baby!

Enter Shrimp Burgers with Chipotle Cream and Peach Salsa. From where else? One of my favorite blogs, How Sweet Eats. Seriously, if this girl knew how often I re-blogged her recipes she would either (a) hug me or (b) sue me. I can’t decide. I hope she knows I give credit where credit is due – this is all her genius. I’m just a copy cat!

This meal. This meal was so good. And pretty easy. A tiny bit time consuming, but I have a great Sous Chef. (Thanks D!)

Without further ado. Shrimp Burgers with Chipotle Cream and Peach Salsa.

For The Burgers

What You Need:

makes 6 burgers

  • 1 pound raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 2/3 cup seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used regular yellow because I didn’t have Dijon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 6 whole wheat buns, toasted
  • 1 avocado, sliced for topping

For the Chipotle Cream:

  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

What You Do:

Add shrimp to a food processor and pulse until chopped. (Mine kind of got pureed, but it still worked out.) Transfer to a bowl and add egg, panko, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder and basil. Mix until combined, then form shrimp into patties (form tightly with your hands, trying to prevent cracking). Heat a skillet oven medium heat and add half of the olive oil, then cook patties until golden on each side, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining burgers.

In a bowl, stir together sour cream, chipotle sauce, lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on top of burgers, then layer with avocado and peach salsa!

For the Coconut Peach Salsa

What You Need:

  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt + pepper to taste

What You Do:

Stir ingredients together and serves on top of burgers. This originally called for toasted coconut, but Dan hates coconut so I was going to put it just on mine. I ended up forgetting and it was still amazing.

Thanks, Jessica!

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