Fruit, Chocolate & Bacon Belgian Waffles

lol.. I have to giggle at myself.. because there really is nothing THAT special about this, except that I was so excited I got a new Belgian waffle maker!!! And how exciting is it, to be able to make 4 different kinds of waffles, with ONE BIG WAFFLE! This would definitely feed 2.. Any waffle recipe will work, but I used a basic one that I found on cooks.com Here

I put chocolate chips on 1/4 of the waffle, then blueberries, then bacon, yes BACON in the waffle! And for strawberries section i added them after (not a fan of strawberries cooked into waffles/pancakes, but you might be!) garnished with a lil whipped cream, because, c’mon.. you have to have whipped cream with waffles ..right?… oh.. wait.. is that only at I-Hop? :) Enjoy your waffles!

ps.. you can use this as a panini press or to cook hash browns, experiment with it!

Tamra <3

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Chicken & Spinach Chimichangas with Spanish Quinoa

Yes yes.. it is another Quinoa dish! But that isn’t the highlight here ;) Ok, well maybe one of the highlights as I absolutely love this combination. I love Mexican food, better yet, I love those chimichangas that are way too big for one person and covered in lots of cheese ;)

But alas, I had to find a healthier version, and when done, I actually preferred this one!

You will need: (Adjust to how many you are feeding)

Chimi’s

  • Chicken Breast
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Onion, sliced
  • Fresh Spinach
  • black olives (optional)
  • Tortilla shells * I prefer flour* You can use low-carb or low fat, but they don’t hold up as well – still perfectly good to use though!
  • Monterrey Jack cheese

Chilled Avocado/Sour cream sauce

  • 1 avocado
  • Sour cream to taste – about 1/4 cup
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice (I only used half a lime, use to taste)
  • dash of salt and pepper.. I always use a pepper mill, love the cracked pepper taste!

Spanish Quinoa

  • 1-2 cups of quinoa (follow directions on your box)
  • olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Chives
  • Grape tomatoes (or cherry)

Lets start throwing this together shall we? :)

First things first, make your sour cream/avocado topping/sauce, simply mash the ripe avocado, add the rest of the ingredients.. if you like.. add a dash of cumin to give that more authentic Mexican taste.. please in fridge – tightly covered!!!

Pan sear your chicken, grill it, bake it, just cook it however you like! I personally pan seared mine because I wanted to use the same pan to cook my sweet red peppers and onions in just as the chicken was starting to finish up.  As you can see in one of the photographs, I like to keep my ingredients separate as I finish them then “build” the finale ! So we have our pan seared chicken, sweet red pepper, onion, .. ahh! Toss a BIG handful of fresh baby spinach in and saute until just starting to cook down.. it will continue to “wilt” after you remove it from the heat.

Here is where it gets tricky ;)  I’m just kidding, grab another pan, big enough to fry your chimichanga  and toss about 2 T of olive oil in, does not take much, these are not deep fried like our good friends at the local yummy Mexican restaurant !

In the mean time, toss your quinoa, chives (or green onions), about a teaspoon of cumin, handful of grape tomatoes cut in half and about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan that you had just cooked your chicken in. Toss every once in a while and let the flavors blend together while you wrap your chimchanga’s

Simple take your flower tortilla, place a bit of chicken, some spinach.. peppers.. onions.. jack cheese.. be careful, you still have to fold this completely! You will want the sides tucked in and begin roll as you would a burrito, with both ends closed.. make sure your oil is hot, about medium high and place seam side down.. while you wait 2 minutes, toss your  quinoa around .. flip the chimichanga over.. browning both sides.. Turn heat off the quinoa and move to a cool burner or serving dish.   Plate your chimi, quinoa, toss a few olives on the side and don’t forget your cool avocado/sourcream/lime sauce!

Enjoy! Tamra <3

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Shrimp Tacos, Spanish Rice, Unfried Ice-Cream

This was one of those dishes that made you go mmmmmmmmmmm after every bite. And I do mean every. single. bite.

I have to admit up front, I am not great with the grill, I get a little freaked out at things catching on fire.. but I put on my big girl chef hat and turned that gas on and grilled me some shrimp and corn! It was a very proud moment ;)

And that was the start of our wonderful meal of Grilled Shrimp Tacos, Spanish Rice, and “Unfried” Ice Cream.  Lets start backwards, prepare your desert first because if you do it last it doesn’t have time to firm up and look pretty :) However, get your grill going and start your corn while you work on these.. It’s ok, I felt like I was running a triathlon too!

Un-Fried Ice Cream

  • 5-6 flour tortillas, cut into strips
  • Cinnamon Sugar – I started with about 1 1/2 cups of sugar and just kept adding cinnamon to taste, I would say a couple of tablespoons
  • Enough oil to deep fry the tortillas strips (never said this was healthy!!)
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Butterscotch topping (traditionally, honey is used in fried ice cream)
  • Whipped cream – I found a cool new cinnamon flavored cool whip!!!

Toss your tortilla strips in the heated oil till golden brown, remove to a towel and drain. While still hot, place them in your bowl of cinnamon sugar till well coated then transfer to another bowl.  You will be “milling” or crushing them in this bowl so make it a good size :)

This is the tricky party, you must work fast! Scoop your desired amount of ice cream into your hand.. yes your hand! I used about a baseball size. Form it as quickly as possible into a round ball and roll in the crushed cinnamon sugar tortillas and place in the serving bowl or on a parchment paper lined panned and quickly place in the freezer, repeat until you have enough servings.  At serving time, place in desired bowl, toss a bit more of the cinnamon sugar mix on top, drizzle with desired sauce, garnish with whipped cream and serve.. *so good*  Now, lets get back to our main dish!

Spanish Rice – Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mexican-rice-ii/

  • 1 Cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 3 Tb. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1/4 Cup diced onion
  • 1/2 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp cumin

Heat oil in a large skillet, add rice and stir constantly until golden brown and slightly puffy, add cumin and onion while cooking rice in oil. When browned, add sauce and chicken broth, bring to boil, turn to simmer, cover and cook about 25 min. Fluff with a fork when done!

Shrimp Tacos – I originally saw this post on pinterest, this recipe is adapted from http://cleananddelicious.com/2011/01/22/shrimp_tacos-2/

  • 1  lb of shrimp (I grilled mine, you can use any kind you like)
  • 6 oz of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tb. of fresh lime juice
  • 2 Ears of fresh corn, grilled and cut from the cob
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 8  corn or flour tortillas, your taste

Mix sour cream, cilantro, ground pepper, and lime juice together, set aside (in fridge) and let the flavors mingle :)

Mix your grilled corn and black beans together or keep them separate in case someone doesn’t like one or the other.  Heat the tortillas, grab your shrimp off the grill and you are done, so simple but full of wonderful flavor. I will say.. that the original recipe asked for cabbage.. I had it.. in the fridge.. and forgot to use it! You are to slice thinly and heat in oil to soften it slightly and use as a condiment. Don’t forget your un-fried ice cream in the freezer!

<3 Tamra

 

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“Deconstructed” Sushi (without Nori)

I know I know.. first look and you think… that is NOT sushi.. and you are partly right. However, while I love “real” sushi, I’m not a fan of Nori (the seaweed wraps around it) . And  hey call me redneck, but I kinda like those little bites of rice with imitation crab from your local Chinese restaurant every now and then.  The single most important part of this recipe is making sure you use REAL SUSHI RICE – about 3-4 cups, cooked and cooled. Mix 2 T. of rice vinegar and 2 T. of sugar on low heat – Mix this into your sushi rice to taste.. Mmm mmm.. love love love sticky sushi rice!!

So what I did was mix  4 oz cream cheese, 1/3 cup of imitation crab (use more or less), about 1/4 C of diced carrots (very thin) and 1/4 C of diced cucumber. Place this in the fridge while you prepare your cucumbers.  If you notice I hollowed out one, and made a little cucumber “cup”.  Right before use I added the avocados so they would not get mushy and turn my mixture green.

With half my mixture I combined it with sushi rice and used this as the filling for the cucumber, then slicing it in approximately 1/4 in pieces.  For the cucumber cup I filled it with sushi rice, topped it with the mixture and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Sushi balls!! This was quite an experiment, it ended up just just grabbing a little rice, a little sushi mixture and (making sure hands are wet) rolling it into a ball and then in sesame seeds!

Serve with soy sauce and wasabi (and those wasabi peas if you dare!! Boy those are HOT)

<3 Tamra

 

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Pad Thai Peanut Chicken

Patience paid off with this dish.. cooking the noodles, chicken and veggies separate made all the difference in the world. Timing is key to keep it all fresh and warm and bring it back together.  I apologize, but I failed to get the number of oz. on the Pad Thai noodles, but I would guess it was about 10 oz dried.

  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Peanut Sauce
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup diced/sliced carrots
  • 1 can bean sprouts or 1 cup fresh
  • 1 box of Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1/3 Cup of peanuts, unsalted or salted

Heat approximately 1 T. of sesame oil in your wok and add chicken. Add 1-2 T. of soy sauce and cook until no longer pink and outside is golden brown. While your chicken is cooking heat a pan of water to boiling turn off heat and remove from burner – soak noodles for about 15 minutes until tender and drain.

Remove chicken from pan and quickly add peanuts, cabbage and carrots. Pour peanut sauce over the vegetables to taste – I think we used about 1/3 of a cup, but I do remember adding more to taste! Don’t over cook your veggies, they need a little crunch :)  Add bean sprouts at the end of cooking. Remove veggies from pan and quickly stir in noodles – they will soak up the left over peanut sauce and oil and should come out tender.  If they begin to stick together, add a bit more sesame oil.

At this point it is up to you if you would like to mix it all together or layer it for serving. It is wonderful any way you put it on a dish! (Oh yah! Don’t forget to throw on a few green onions to top it off ;) )

<3 Tamra

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Broiled Tomatoes with Mozzarella

I’ve decided there are as many recipes out there for baked tomatoes as there are for your “family’s homemade apple pie”. So I decided to take a little from each and make my own! What I would change the next time is use Panko Flakes instead of Ritz and perhaps Balsamic Vinegar for a bit of flavor.

  • 5 Slices 1/4 inch slices of beefsteak tomatoes (Homegrown if you can get them!)
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella
  • 1/4 Cup finely crushed cracker crumbs, panko, or bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning (fresh if you have them)
  • Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Preheat oven to 350

Combine cheese, cracker crumbs, garlic powder, salt & pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Place tomato slices on foil lined pan. I like to use a light spray of EVOO to avoid sticking. Top equally with cheese mixture, drizzle with EVOO – At this point  you can either add your  fresh Oregano before or after cooking – I did both. Place in 350 degree oven for approximately 5-10 min, keep an eye on this it cooks quick! When cheese is just starting to melt and tomatoes are warm, turn your broiler on and cook 6 inches from heat for 1-2 minutes until you get a nice crisp from your crumbs and the cheese starts to brown slightly. Serve with your favorite pasta or vegetables – I used fresh spinach and served with   skinny bread sticks. A light quick meal :)

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