Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

Last night was one of those times where the fridge was bare and I had to make magic with the random items I had left in the fridge and pantry. I had 4 sweet potatoes, 2 ears of corn and a few random cheeses.
I wasn't sure if they would notice that it was a meatless meal, but no one did and I got clean plates and two thumbs up all around. I served it with this Mexican Quinoa- sorta like Mexican rice but using quinoa instead and the changes I made to the recipe were: using salsa instead of chopped tomatoes, ancho chile powder instead of chipotle, added some roasted corn kernels and I topped it with cilantro and green onion. Luckily, my family loved these and I had several requests for the recipe so here it goes!
Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
4 small/ medium sweet potatoes
2 ears of corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon butter
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup light sour cream (you could use greek yogurt too)
1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
1 tablespoon pampered chef tex-mex rub (you could sub taco seasoning)
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar-jack cheese
1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scrape the flesh of the sweet potatoes out and place in a mixing bowl, leaving a thin layer of potato inside of the skins. Mash the sweet potato until almost completely smooth.
While sweet potatoes are baking, cut the kernels off the cobs and place it in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and other Mexican seasoning (as much as you want). Do not stir! Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside. Pour the roasted corn in the bowl with the mashed sweet potato.
In the same skillet you roasted the corn in, sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Pour the onions into the mixing bowl with the sweet potato mixture.
Stir the black beans, cream cheese spread, sour cream, salt, seasoning mix, cilantro and cheddar jack cheese. Mix well and then TASTE IT. Add more seasoning if needed and taste it again. Once you like the filling, scoop it into the skins and top each with the pepperjack cheese.
 Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
If I wasn't making this for my kids, I would have added some pickled jalapenos to the mix, but that would have been too spicy for them. These would be great topped with guacamole too!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Chicken Soup

Asian Chopped Chicken Soup
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large clove garlic, cut in half
1 inch thick slice of fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
               1 teaspoon sriracha                  
Place the chicken broth, chicken, garlic, ginger and salad dressing packet in a 3 quart pot over low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the salad mixture and sauté for 8 minutes, until vegetables are wilted. Once the chicken is cooked, strain the broth from the chicken and add it to the soup pot. Discard the garlic and ginger and shred the chicken. Add the shredded chicken, soy sauce, lime juice and sriracha to the soup pot and stir to combine. Top each bowl of soup with the wonton crisps and slivered almond mixture.1 package Taylor Farms Southwest Chopped Salad 1 package Taylor Farms Southwest Chopped Salad

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Curry Crunch Chicken Tenders with Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

As simple as this meal looks and as easy as it is to throw together it is a complete show stopper. It looks totally unassuming and simplistic.
Chicken tenders and mashed sweet potatoes; right?
Red curry Thai chicken fingers coated in toasty coconut granola served with coconut milk mashed sweet potatoes. Those silky creamy sweet potatoes are topped with more of the crunchy granola which reminds me a little of sweet potato casserole minus the sickeningly sweet sugar and marshmallows that typically ruin Thanksgiving sweet potatoes for me.
The flavors are bold, unexpected and earned two thumbs up from everyone at the table!
I just love when that happens.
When I first saw that Golden Girl Granola was hosting a recipe contest it was a no brainer for me to sign up. I brainstormed, settled on what I was going to make, went to the store for all of my ingredients......and then saw on twitter another contestant had made almost the exact same dish I was planning on making.
 Game over. Or so I thought.
Now I'm happier than ever that I did go to plan B because this is even better than my first idea!
When I saw the selection of granolas to choose from, the Home Sweet Honey flavor really stood out to me. I really enjoy taking sweet and savory combos to the next level and that is exactly what I did.
The first thing I noticed when tasting this granola is how toasty it is- it smells like freshly toasted oats, coconut and honey. Why isn't there a candle that smells like that yet?
 Curry Crunch Chicken Tenders with Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4 inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup Home Sweet Honey Golden Girl Granola
1 pound chicken tenders
2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3/4 cup low fat coconut milk
2 Tablespoons Home Sweet Honey Golden Girl Granola
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the water is boiling, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, place the granola in a small food processor. Pulse 8-10 times until the granola is the consistency of breadcrumbs (a few larger pieces are ok, but the majority should be fine). Pour the crumbs into a pie plate.
Season the chicken tenders with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and then brush them evenly with the red Thai curry paste. Coat the chicken in the crumbs, pressing to help it adhere. Lay the coated chicken tenders on a parchment lined cookie sheet and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is crisp and browned.
While the chicken is baking and once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain them, add them back to the hot pan and mash them until smooth. Add the coconut milk and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until smooth.
Top each serving of sweet potatoes with granola and cilantro.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Monday, June 1, 2015

Little's Lunches 23 and the Giveaway Winner!

Happy Monday! I hope y'all had a great weekend!
Here's what was in our lunchboxes this week:
 Monday: Black Beans, sandwich thin wedges, green bean salad, ranch, shredded carrots, cucumbers and pickles
 Tuesday: Carrot Apple Bread, baby carrots, olives, chicken salad, crackers, ranch, dried cranberries and coconut bites
 Wednesday: Pita wedges, cheese, sunflower seeds, chicken salad, green beans and yogurt
 Thursday: Pita wedges, cheese, hard boiled egg, green beans and yogurt
Friday: Hard boiled egg, Mini-letta Swirls, cucumbers and red bell peppers with basil (right now, M is obsessed with basil and is literally putting it on everything), peaches, mixed nuts and chicken salad
And now for the giveaway!! Thanks so much to everyone that entered!
The winner is Michelle Kusma!! Congratulations!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Caponata Empanadas

I love caponata- it's a little sweet, a little salty and loaded with veggies.
I am all in!
 Spread on crostini, on a sandwich, on pizza- I love it all. In a perfect world, I would be making caponata to use up all of the extra veggies from my garden before they go bad. In reality, plants wither at the sight of me and my garden consists of a large bed of mint leaves and one gigantic rosemary plant.
 So, if you're like me and can only grow weeds, take advantage of the summer sales at your grocery store and make some caponata. And then stuff it into adorable little hand pies to impress your last minute guests with!
These mini hand pies are delicious and the perfect thing to serve with a glass of wine as an appetizer or as dinner along a salad. The caponata can easily be made in advance and the baked pies reheat beautifully!
Caponata Empanadas
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups worth)
½ teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Fresno chili, minced
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup diced roasted red bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green olives
2 Tablespoons capers
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons raisins
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
2 boxes prepared pie dough (4 pie shells total)
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat, cook the oil, onion, eggplant and salt for 10 minutes or until the onion and eggplant are softened. Add the garlic and Fresno chili and sauté 5 minutes.  Add the next 8 ingredients and allow to cook for 10-20 minutes, or until the chicken broth has evaporated and the vegetables are softened. Remove from heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour a work surface and unroll the pie crusts. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter or glass, cut out 40 circles of pie dough, re-rolling the scraps to use it all up.
Brush the edges of the dough circles with beaten egg. Mound about 1 Tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle. Carefully fold circle over to form a half moon shape. Using a fork, dipped lightly in flour, press tines along the open edge to seal. Transfer to the parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
 So flaky and delicious!
Serve warm. Makes 40 mini hand pies.
Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway so you can win a selection of delicious Saucy Mama products! All you need to do is leave me a comment or share the post on facebook to enter. Winner will be picked Monday!
Click HERE to enter

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Saucy Mama Entry and a Giveaway!

When I saw that Saucy Mama was hosting a recipe contest and that the prize was entry and spending money to be a competitor in this year's World Food Championship I jumped at the chance! I was floored when 6 bottles of their delicious sauces and mustards were delivered to my door just a few days later. Y'all, they are DELICIOUS! It was hard for me to narrow down which of them I would use in my entry but I think you'll love what I came up with!
I ended up brushing the Apricot Ginger Mustard on the tuna steaks to help the sesame seeds stick to it. Then I made a super fresh herb slaw and used the Miso Orange Dressing to bring it to the next level of goodness. I wanted something crunchy on top kind of like French fried onions but a little different......that's where the beer battered nori comes in! A bit of crunch and richness that pairs perfectly with how light and fresh the rest of the dish is.
Sesame Seared Tuna with Saucy Mama Slaw and Beer Battered Nori
For the Slaw:
1 cup julienned Asian pear
1/2 cup julienned daikon
1 cup shredded carrot
1 small fresno chile, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons chopped thai basil
2 Tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Saucy Mama Miso Orange Sesame Dressing

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to combine and place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

For the Beer Battered Nori:
3 cups canola oil
1 (8x8 inch sheet) Nori
1/2 cup self-rising flour
6 oz beer
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a high sided deep sauce pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Using kitchen scissors, cut the nori into 2 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch strips. Place the flour in a medium mixing bowl. Dredge the nori strips through the flour then set aside. Add the beer to the flour and whisk, forming a lumpy batter. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees, coat the nori strips in the beer batter and fry, in batches, for 2-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the nori strips from the oil once they are browned and crisp and season with salt.

For the Seared Tuna:
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 10-ounce tuna steaks
2 Tablespoons Saucy Mama's Apricot Ginger Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Brush the tuna steaks with the mustard, sprinkle with salt and then press the sesame seeds onto the mustard. Sear the tuna steaks for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove form the pan and slice into 1/4 inch slices.

To serve:
Place an equal amount of the slaw on 4 plates, top with sliced tuna and top the tuna with the fried nori. Serve immediately. Serves 4
Seeing as though it wouldn't be fair to tell you how delicious their products are and then to tempt you with my creation but not let you taste it, Saucy Mama has offered to send one lucky reader a selection of 3 sauces or mustards of their choice! All you have to do to enter is go to their website HERE and tell me which products you'd pick if you win in a comment on this post. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so. Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Monday, June 1st. Good luck!

Little's Lunches 22

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! For us, we had some very scary weather and ended up needing to clean up the storm damage on our property in between taking shelter in the closet from what felt like the constant ringing of tornado warnings. No Bueno.
Even though what we had to deal with was no fun, I know many in the surrounding communities fared much worse than we did. The stories that are trickling in are heart wrenching and it makes you just want to grab your kids and hug them and never let them go!
OK, no more depressing talk- there are only 7 days of school left!!!!! That statement gives me a mixture of excitement and terror. What do you have planned for summer?
Here's what I packed in our lunchboxes last week:
 Monday: sliced ham, potato salad, veggies and ranch, fruit salad and a pickle
 Tuesday: Peanut butter on raisin bread, mixed veggies and ranch. I know this doesn't look like much, but the raisin bread I had was really thick, so I knew that a good smear of PB would fill the kids up!
 Wednesday: Cheese quesadillas and guacamole, veggies and chocolate berry granola. I am on a huge granola kick lately, and this stuff is delicious! I got a big bag from Costco and have been snacking on it all week!
 Thursday: sliced ham, potato salad, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, baby tomato, honeydew and granola
Friday: Ham sandwiches on honey wheat bagels, veggies and granola
I also got my prize from the Bai smoothie contest delivered this week! I think we will be set for drinks for a long time. If the other flavors are half as good as the coconut I'm in for a treat!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bai's Bunny Patch Smoothie

Friday morning I was having my coffee and browsing facebook when I noticed that Bai had posted the winners of their smoothie contest on their home page. Lucky for me I was one of them! I won the Most Creative prize with my carrot cake inspired smoothie. When I tasted Bai for the first time I really loved the coconut flavor and I immediately started thinking of how I could transform it into a smoothie with the flavors of my son's favorite dessert- Carrot Cake 
They sent me the cutest email too:
After sorting through over 150 winners, we just could not ignore your recipe. Congratulations on winning "Most Creative" in our Bai 5 Smoothie Challenge.
Along with eternal glory, you've also won:
$100 gift card to Whole Food's and 10 cases of Bai (booya!)
Nothing like finding out you're a blending champion to kick off the weekend right?
Georgie & the Bai Team
Bai's Bunny Patch
 1 bottle Bai5 Molokai Coconut
1/4 cup pitted dates
1 Tablespoon wholemeal flax seed
1/2 cup baby carrots
2/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 frozen banana
2 cups ice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

1 Tablespoon toasted coconut for topping

Top with toasted coconut. Serves 2.

If you'd like to see the other winning recipes follow this link