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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Two for One Attempt

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I’ve started my Master’s program on Tuesday, August 21. It has been extremely eye opening. For one, it’s a lot of reading and references that are necessary for my field, which I am totally new to. All the scientific articles I have to keep track of and the vocabulary that I have get down, immediately, for fluency checks. It’s a little daunting, but nonetheless, exciting, and I’m feeling VERY good odds about this challenge.

As you can imagine however, I’ve been very busy. Not only did I start school myself but my client started high school. And I’ve been trying to get a lay of the land there, making new friends, seeing how teachers do things over there, checking out the dress code and what’s deemed “appropriate” ¬†(a lot!).

In any case this means that I have been neglecting my readers, as well as my stomach. Although the minimal posts will probably continue for a good two years (length of my lovely Master’s Program) I’ll try to give you what you rightfully deserve. Yums!

As the title might hint, I was going to try for two easy-peasy recipes. I thought to myself I could just use up all four of my chicken breasts into one recipe, but then I’d be eating the same thing for lunch for four days, and that’s not okay with me. Too boring, and I’m anything if not boring. So I thought, splitting up the recipes would be a great way to use up all four chicken breasts (by the time they go bad), and also entertaining my stomach during the week. The first, was a white chicken chili, and the second was a chicken piccata.

I quickly learned my time wasn’t that flexible. Therefore, I could only make one, the chili, before the other chicken sadly, went bad. Anyway, live and learn… now I know to make two recipes, same day, and not to squaller about with homework, and chores. Silly girl ūüėÄ

White Chicken Chili

  • 2 thin chicken breasts, organic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil, or any oil of your choosing
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drains and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen sweet corn kernels (because I love me some corn)
  • 1/2 block of cream cheese (use low-fat if you prefer, but I think those things are plain disgusting)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock, low sodium**
  • 2 tbsp course sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper, white or black (I used black to offset the creaminess of the corn)
  • 1 ¬†tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder (add more or less depending on your taste)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • a dash of nutmeg
Boil chicken for 30 minutes. You might want to check it at 30 and add more time if your chicken is thicker, but I used the thinly sliced breasts at the market, so 30 minutes was just enough time*. Take out of the water and shred with two forks.

In a dutch oven, about 3-4 qts large, add in the oil and cook the onion. Cook for 5 minutes without stirring. When the onions have gotten some brown bits at the bottom of the pan (brown, but not quite burnt), add in the wine to deglaze the pan. Cook down for another 2 minutes then add the spices, salt and pepper.

 

 

Make sure the onions are coated in the spices before adding the chicken, beans, stock, corn, and cream cheese. Everything in one pot, how convenient for later clean up.

Stir to break up the half-block of cream cheese, then cover, cooking for 10 minutes. Uncover, and turn the heat up the med-high, and cook another 13 minutes or so, till some of the liquid evaporates.

Serve with my cilantro- lime rice, or any rice you’ve got prepared for a filling lunch. Or without any side, it’s delicious either way!

Yields roughly 4-6 servings, depending on hunger.

*Remember that we’ll be cooking it further with the rest of the ingredients so if it’s a little pink in the center it’s okay.

**This is a runnier chili because I like adding my own liquid to the dish depending on taste. If you like it thicker, add more beans, or use less stock, about 1/2 cup.

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Eggplant Parmesan

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One of the best things ever to make that’s easy and fulfills the¬†vegetable¬†quotient for the day.¬†I didn’t use traditional methods, but of course, it still turned out wonderfully well. In my opinion, nothing is as wonderfully cheesy, salty, and creamy than a great plate of eggplant parmesan.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced 1/6 inch thick
  • course sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • panko breadcrumbs, about 2 cups
  • 2 cans of roasted tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 cups mozerella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese

Make sure to salt the eggplant slices generously and let sit in colander for 20 minutes or so so they become mushy and most juices leave them. Pat down slices when enough time has passed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover the bottom of an 8×8 in dish with roasted tomatoes. Now you’re ready for dunking. Whisk an egg with pepper in a bowl. In another plate, spread out your breadcrumbs. In assembly line format: dunk eggplant in egg, then panko, and layer in the prepared oven dish. between each layer of eggplant add some tomato sauce (I only had two layers). Cover top with mozerella cheese, and sprinkle parmesan on top of that.

Bake for 40 minutes till bubbling and juices are flowing at bottom of pan.

Enjoy hot.

Chipotle’s Cilantro-Lime Rice

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Since I’m starting my usual work schedule tomorrow I’m going to be working on packing a lunch again, and making sure I have all of my snack items in order. My problem last year when I started this work schedule, and I that I assumed I’d buy my lunch or break food, and that was not only expensive but horribly¬†unappetizing. Most of the food served by LAUSD is just… overseasoned, underseasoned, or cold.

What faster, and better side dish to anything I feel like making for lunch than rice? As I’m a fan of Chipotle’s rice in general, I decided to give my hand at replicating it. Apparently, there are tons of recipes for this online, as I’m not their only fan. But for this I followed steps that I thought were logical and more or less got the desired result.

Rice

  • approx 2 1/2 -3 cups basmatic rice, cooked
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 2 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt, to taste

Add oil to a skillet (I used garlic oil for more flavor but it’s up to you), about 2 tbsp on average, but you can add more or less depending on how you like your oil content. Remember, you are trying to coat 3 cups of rice.

 

 

Add in the pepper flakes and cilantro and stir in hot oil for 30 seconds. Add the rice and coat in the oil. Mix in the zest and juice of one lemon. Warm all the way through on the skillet so everything marinades properly, about 4 minutes. And you’re ready to eat!

Easy Peasy Snickerdoodles

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These are Boyfriend’s favorite cookies. There aren’t many desserts he likes so I figured I’d give him a treat.

This recipe isn’t my first choice; I usually follow the one that’s in my Betty Crocker:¬†Best of Baking¬†cookbook. However, this one was¬†infinitely¬†easier. I did learn something about this recipe, while sometimes they say to space appropriately because the cookies will flatten and widen while baking (but barely do), they really do!

What I learned was that a 2 inch diameter ball was the best, spread about 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. The smaller balls melted too much, therefore were almost cracker-like, they were so crispy! Of course, everything is to taste, and if you like the thinner, crispier cookies, by all means make your balls of dough small.

Snickerdoodles

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • tsp salt
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cups sugar
  • 2 ¬Ĺ cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • Cinnamon-Sugar Mix
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees (I had mine on 325).
Cream the butter and the sugar. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and roll the cookie dough into balls*.
Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place the rolled balls on a greased baking sheet.
Leave as balls because they will flatten as they bake. Bake the cookies  for 10 to 15 minutes (I baked mine at about 12 minutes). The bottoms should be light golden. They will set a little as they cool.
*note: As you can see the dough is made quickly, therefore there was really one chance to slow down long enough to take a photo during this cookie making post. The dough will form quickly as well. I used my stand mixer and once the rest of the ingredients (ie. the flour) were added and mixed into the creamed sugar-butter mixture, it formed into a dough in less than 15 seconds! Therefore, don’t¬†over beat!