Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bake

Where would my inspiration be without Pinterest? 
Granted, my photos weren't as beautiful, but the result was delicious despite the ho-hum appearance. 

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bake
Original Recipe by Gingerbread Bagels
1 1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 large banana, mashed

1. In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 
2. Add vanilla, milk, and egg to mixture and stir through. 
3. Add peanut butter and banana. Mix.
4. Spread into an 8x8 cake pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. To my surprise, I don't own an 8x8 square pan. I used a round cake pan and a small glass dish for baking.

You can't go wrong when peanut butter is involved. 

June 30- Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

A friend recently mentioned making stuffed peppers, and raved about how easy and delicious they were. I'd been wanted to try stuffed bell peppers for a while and was inspired to give it a shot. 

Turkey Stuffed Peppers
4 large peppers
1 lb ground turkey 

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 onion, chopped
1 15oz can tomato sauce, divided
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
garlic power (as desired)

1. Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. Place in a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Drain and place peppers in ice water. Remove from water and place on paper towel to dry.
2. In a skillet, cook turkey and onion over medium heat until there is no more pink. Drain any excess grease and remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup tomato sauce, rice, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
3. Place in a baking dish. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
4. Serve. I discovered that they tasted pretty good with ketchup!

When I made these, I used 1.5lb of meat simply because I had that much leftover from a 3 lb package I had bought earlier this week. I had bought a large package of bell peppers, but not all of them were very good. To improvise, I took the good pieces of the flawed pepper (along with parts from the tops of the good ones) and chopped them into small pieces. I scattered them across the bottom of a small baking pan and topped them with the remaining filling and tomato sauce, and baked this concoction alongside the peppers. It turned out good and is a great improvisation if you have too much filling. (My hubby prefers the filling over the bell pepper shell, so this was actually a blessing in disguise!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21- Fiery Fish Tacos

Fish tacos instantly make me think of summer, riding beach cruisers through Huntington Beach, stopping at Wahoo's, and watching the waves crash onto the shore. Ahhh yes. 
Tonight I prepared my own version of fish tacos, complete with cream sauce. 
Fiery Fish Tacos
6 tilapia fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
1tbsp chili pepper
onion powder, to taste
salt, to taste
1 lime (or lime juice)
Corn tortillas

1. In a nonstick skillet, heat olive oil. Add tilapia fillets and season with cumin, chili pepper, onion powder, and salt. Cut lime in half and squeeze juice generously over fillets. 
2. Cook tilapia about 10 minutes, flipping fillets occasionally. 
3. Warm corn tortillas over stove.
4. Top tortillas with fish and any toppings you like!

Cream Sauce
1/2 cup Light Miracle Whip
1/4 cup skim milk
lemon juice
garlic salt
Mix ingredients until smooth. Adjust Miracle Whip and milk for desired consistency, and lemon juice and garlic salt for desired flavor.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18-Chicken Couscous

Tonight I decided to try something different and learned a few lessons in the process.
1. Following a recipe from an iPhone is difficult. Print it out.
2. It's okay to make a mess sometimes (I was a splattering mess tonight!)
3. Couscous is delicious.

It was a nice meal to try for a change, but we both came to the conclusion that it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. We liked it, but neither of us loved it.
Chicken Couscous
(Original recipe by Family Circle
Recipe seen below is my version based on preferences and what ingredients we had in the kitchen)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
8oz shredded carrot
1 cup couscous

1. In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion 3 minutes. Remove.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in skillet. 
3. When chicken is cooked through, add broth, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Add carrots and simmer another 3 minutes. 
4. Stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
5. Serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14-Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Hooray for easy weeknight suppers. Stir fry is a perfect choice for a quick, simple, and fresh meal. Tonight I hadn't prepared anything in advance, but I knew that I had everything on hand that I needed to whip up our own DIY version of this classic takeout dish.    
June 14- Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice
Sorry that there aren't any measurements or cook times...
I just improvised along the way, with what we had. Have fun and do the same!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Mixed stir fry vegetables (green beans, water chestnuts, snap peas, carrots, red pepper, asparagus, etc)
Fresh garlic, minced
Dried onion
Soy Sauce
Brown Rice

1. Cut chicken into small pieces and cook in a nonstick skillet. Generously drizzle soy sauce over chicken. When chicken is close to done, add dried onion. 
2. In a large wok, cook vegetables and garlic. I added the garlic after the other veggies had been cooking for a little while, so that it would not overcook. 
3. Meanwhile, prepare brown rice as directed.
4. When chicken and vegetables are done, add chicken to wok with the vegetables and heat through. 
5. Serve over rice. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12-Food Truck Frenzy

I've noticed the ever-growing popularity of the food truck frenzy in movies and on television, but I had yet to try one of these tasty eateries-on-wheels myself until this past week. When my husband and I heard that about 35 food trucks would be rolling by, we decided that an afternoon downtown was a must.  

When I saw the varieties of unique establishments, I was like a kid at a carnival. There were so many tempting trucks to choose from, we decided to walk by each one before we made any decisions (Otherwise, we may have sampled everything...seriously).  

    Stop #1: The Green Truck                                              My husband and I both dubbed The Green Truck our favorite truck of the 35 truck lineup. This little establishment serves only organic food, and the entire kitchen is solar powered. Besides caring for the planet, The Green Truck also offered delicious food!

 Stop # 2: The Hungry Nomad                    One of our signature date nights as a couple is searching for the best Middle-Eastern restaurants that we can find. We've even been known to drive an hour away just to try a new spot that someone suggested. Naturally, we had to stop for a little something from The Hungry Nomad.                                                                                           

Stop #3: The Rolling Sushi Van                At first I was a little leery about sushi from a truck. My love for sushi and my hunger for adventure convinced me to try it out. I'm glad I did...Yum. I love sushi. 
Stop #4: The Mighty Boba Truck                  And finally, to end the adventure, we stopped for boba tea. The Mighty Boba Truck had a lot of great flavors to choose from. We opted for PinaColada and Passion Green Tea. A very refreshing way to battle the 95 degree heat. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11-Pan-Grilled Pork Chops w/Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Tonight we brought a taste of the tropics into our home. (I've been craving a vacation, so I guess you could call that my inspiration.) This fresh, summer time dish was a hit with both my husband and myself. I'd never prepared pork before, so I was a little unsure what to expect, but I was extremely pleased with how it turned out. The salsa was my favorite part and definitely complimented the dish. It was much more filling than I expected, and we probably have about two or three servings leftover for later.

Served with baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli.

Pan-Grilled Pork Chops w/Grilled Pineapple Salsa

4 4oz boneless center cut loin pork chops (I purchased about 2lbs, so it was about double)
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp lime juice, divided (I just cut a lime into two halves)
4 1/2in thick pineapple slices
1 medium red onion, cut into small pieces
1 tsp minced jalapeño pepper (seed jalapeño for a milder salsa)
3/8 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground black petter

1. Combine pork with 1 tbsp lime juice. I just squeezed the lime over the pork. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Coat a skillet with cooking spray. Chop pineapple and onion into small pieces and sauté about 4-6 minutes on medium-high, or until onion is tender. 
3. Combine pineapple and onion with jalapeño, 1/8 tsp salt, and remaining lime juice. 
4. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt and pepper over pork. Cook 4 minutes each side or until done. My pork pieces were much thicker than the suggested 1/2 in, so it took longer to cook. 
5. Top pork with salsa and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6- Dark Chocolate Cherry-Cheesecake Bars

We didn't actually eat this for supper, but I had to share. It is our week to bring treats to small group, so I thought I'd mix up a classic recipe and try something new. 

Dark Chocolate Cherry-Cheesecake Bars
1 box Dark Chocolate brownie mix w/necessary ingredients
2 8oz packages low-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 21oz can cherry pie filling

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Prepare brownie mix as directed. 
3. Combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
4. Pour brownie mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Layer topping mixture over brownie mix. Next, spoon cherry pie filling on top. Run tip of a knife through topping and brownie mix to create a marble effect.
5. Bake at 350 35-45 minutes or until brownie edges begin to pull away from the sides and edges of the cream cheese are slightly browned. 
6. Cool pan and chill 4 hours.
7. Cut into slices. Pour large class of milk. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Friendship & Pizza

How could I forget about Sunday night with the girls? Cooking is always fun when it's a team effort.

June 4- Oven Fried Chicken

A family favorite worth repeating (See original recipe from April). 
Tossed red potatoes in Italian dressing to roast along with the chicken, steamed mixed veggies, and voila. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1- Cherry Berry Summer Smoothie

Once June rolls around, I finally feel like I can celebrate the arrival of summer. Nothing says summer like a light, refreshing fruit smoothie.

My dad got me hooked on smoothies when I was about five or so. When my mom would work late, I used to beg him to make chocolate-banana frappes and perform a puppet show (Who could resist those little puppy dog eyes?). Ever since I was old enough to operate a blender, I started to experiment with different frappe combinations. Every blend seems to turn out different...It's always a surprise.

Tonight I was inspired by blazing heat and produce sales. What a delicious and refreshing way to welcome the month of June.
Cherry Berry Summer Smoothie
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup nonfat cottage cheese
4 strawberries
8 fresh cherries, pitted
5-6 ice cubes
1 tsp vanilla

Blend, pour, enjoy.