Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dijon Pasta with Chicken

I have been a complete and utter failure at regular grocery shopping lately. Unfortunately, this means that I've been eating poorly (I can neither confirm nor deny that I ate cereal and cheese for dinner the other night). It also means that my normally well-stocked kitchen is pretty darn empty. Months ago, I read a recipe somewhere similar to this one and mentally stored it away for a night when I couldn't afford to spend a lot of money on various recipe ingredients. The great thing about this rich pasta is that you likely have most of the ingredients on hand, which makes for an easy (and cheap!) dinner.

You will need: 
1/2 box spaghetti or linguini 
4-6 chicken tenderloins
1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms (I used shiitake mushrooms because they're my favorite)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 oz white wine
2 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

While your noodles are cooking, heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add in garlic and tenderloins, season with salt and pepper. Fry chicken until it is cooked all the way through and set it aside. 

Add wine into sauté pan you just removed the chicken from and simmer until it is reduced by about half. Then add the whipping cream and mustard and stir until thoroughly combined. Simmer until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, add in the chicken, mushrooms and pasta. Toss to coat everything in the sauce and cook 2-3 minutes. 

This dish takes about 15-20 minutes total and is very simple. For a sauce that only requires three ingredients, it's very flavorful! It was hard to not sneak bites between pictures.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whole-grain Mustard Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

Things have continued to be quite busy, I'm still working on settling into my new job. It's been a crazy past month but I feel very lucky to be in my dream position. Plus, working in communications for an animal welfare organization means I get to play with dogs and cats all of the time :)

Roasted vegetables seem like a cold weather side to me, so I suppose it's an appropriate meal for all of this cold weather we've been having in Virginia! It has usually warmed up quite a bit by now but I'm still wearing my winter coat every day. 

These chicken breasts are covered in a whole-grain mustard and soy sauce mixture that is so good! It keeps the chicken moist and has a lot of flavor for a sauce that has only three simple ingredients. 

You will need:
2-3 chicken breasts 
3 tbsp whole-grain mustard (I picked up a garlic mustard that was on sale for this)
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and cut in half
a cup and a half of brussel sprouts, chopped in half
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
6 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°. Combine the brussel sprouts, red onion and thyme in a bowl. Pour in enough olive oil to lightly cover the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste and then stir. Put your vegetables in a roasting pan (or foil-covered cookie sheet if you don't have one) and place them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, dry off the chicken breasts. Combine the mustard, soy sauce and pepper in a bowl. Place the breasts in the bowl and stir to coat them. Once your vegetables have been in the oven for about 20 minutes, stir them and nestle  the chicken breasts among the vegetables. Leave in over for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve immediately. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Balela Salad

So I haven't exactly been updating regularly because the past month has pretty much been a blur. I've been super busy; my boyfriend and I spent the weekend away at our favorite B&B, celebrated his daughter's birthday and last (and certainly not least!) I started a new job last week. Things have been busy, to say the least, but I couldn't be more excited.

In between everything going on, I haven't really been cooking regularly either. In fact, last week I managed to cook only two meals. Making time, even if it's not much, to make dinner for myself really helps me de-stress. For this reason alone, I can't wait to settle into my new routine and get back to making dinner regularly.

In the meantime, though, I've been eating a lot of simple Trader Joe's food. They sometimes stock balela salad in my local Trader Joe's and I am addicted to it. It's filling and so delicious! Instead of waiting for Trader Joe's to stock more, I decided to make it at home in a larger quantity. I definitely prefer to make it at home now; it's super easy, healthy and I love having a fresh salad in the fridge to snack on.

You will need:
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix together the garbanzo beans, black beans, tomatoes, mint, parsley and onion. Place the jalapeño pepper, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar into a blender and blend until it reaches dressing consistency. 

Pour the dressing over the salad and lightly mix. Serve cold.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach

I've always been a big seafood fan, even as a kid. Growing up, I've repeatedly heard the story about how my parents took me to a fancy restaurant when I was still in a high chair. It also happened to be around my bedtime; when they looked over at me, I had fallen asleep with my face in a plate of scallops.

Now that I'm an adult, I prefer to actually eat scallops instead of falling asleep in a plate of them. I came across this recipe for Seared Scallops on Women's Health Magazine and I knew I had to try it. I've never made scallops at home but there's a first time for everything! This makes 2-3 dinner sized portions, depending on the amount of scallops you use. 

You will need: 
2 strips bacon, chopped into small pieces 
1/2 red onion, minced 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 cans white beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannellini beans but any white beans will do)
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach 
4-6 large sea scallops 
Salt and black pepper to taste 
1 tbsp butter 
juice of 1/2 lemon

First, heat a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the bacon until it has begun to crisp. Add the onion and garlic; saute until the onion is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach until wilted, then fold in the white beans and simmer until the beans are hot. Keep warm.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Blot the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the butter and the scallops to the pan and sear the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until deeply caramelized.

To serve, spoon some of the bean mixture onto a plate and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the beans. Season with salt and pepper. Top with scallops.

This recipe is a perfect example of a beautiful, restaurant quality dinner you can make at home in about 20 minutes. Scallops are a great source of lean protein and are incredibly easy to cook. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Life According to My iPhone Pictures




A haircut (seven inches shorter!), a snowy pup, the Madewell boots I bought myself as a late Christmas gift, an 8 year old's to do list, a boyfriend and a viking helmet and my cuddly kitty.