Friday Favorites

Well that was an interesting (and cold) week.  I’m so happy to be back to my regular schedule today.  As much as I love catching a few extra zzzzz’s, I do love my 5 am workouts and the tone they set for my day.  Our original weekend plans fell through because of the weather but we’re going to make use of a “free” Saturday to do a little searching for wallpaper and furniture.  #welcometoyour30s

Favorite Colorful:  Winter Chopped Salad.  There are officially 28 days left of winter.  And this bright salad could possibly take away my winter blues.

Favorite Bite:  Mini Lasagna Cups.  How stinkin’ cute are these little two-bite appetizers?  Cheesy, saucy, crunchy, and handheld.

Favorite Truth: 

Favorite Obsession:  Thibaut Wallpaper.  How am I ever going to choose one?

Favorite Take-Out Fake-Out:  Spicy Sesame Basil Noodles.  Noodles are having a moment in my life right now.  And can we walk about all.the.flavors in this dish?

Favorite Inspiration:  {link to photo}

Favorite Sunday Dinner:  Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder on Flatbreads with Minty Yogurt Sauce.

Favorite Sip:  Blood Orange Gin and Tonic.  Last weekend Big Guy squeeze some blood orange juice for a mimosa bar.  The color was stunning and now I want to mix it up with a little gin.

Stay warm out there!

Curried Coconut Soup with Chicken

I’m in a funk.  I haven’t had work for the past two days.  I haven’t been able to go to be gym for three days.  And I’m about to lose it.

This is why I hate snow/ice.

And I hate it with a passion.

But there’s nothing I can do except keep warm.  Because even though the snow is going to disappear, the cold weather is only getting colder.  I’m talking record low temperatures around our parts.

Brrrrrr.

Curried Coconut Soup with Chicken will not only warm your tummy but it will warm your soul.  And that’s kind of what I need this week.

The soup comes together pretty quickly thanks to a short-cut item from your local grocery store:  a rotisserie chicken.

The broth is made first by combining chicken broth and coconut milk with a sauteed mixture of onion, garlic and red curry paste.  The broth is brought to a boil and then simmered for 20 minutes.

While the broth simmers, shred your chicken (though I typically go ahead and shred my chicken the day I buy it – it seems to shred better when warm), prep your other ingredients and bring another pot of water to a boil so you can cook your noodles.

Combine the shredded chicken, your sliced cukes, torn basil, sambal oelek, and sesame oil.

The noodles take NO time to cook.  Simply drop into the boiling water and stir to separate.  Remove from the heat and allow them to cook for 5 minutes.

In each serving bowl, a little noddles, a little bit of the chicken mixture and a whole lot of warming broth along with a squeeze of lime.

Comfort.

That’s what this is.

Friday Favorites

Happy {almost} Valentine’s Day!  We don’t have any crazy plans for this weekend as we keep our Valentine’s Day celebration pretty simple and low-key.  But as usual, I’m very glad to see Friday has arrived.  I hope that you all have a weekend full of love and laughter!

Favorite Stuffed:  Thai Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Red Curry Peanut Sauce.  How beautiful are these purple sweet potatoes?  I’m thinking that’s what we need to plant this year.  And the peanut sauce sounds incredible.

Favorite Project:  Preserved Meyer Lemons.  This will require patience, seeing as though it takes 30 days to enjoy, but I’m intrigued.  And I already know what recipe I’d use them in.

Favorite Twist:  Messy but put-together.  If only I was talented enough to make this happen.

Favorite Drool:  Coconut Oil Brownies. These might just be little bites of Heaven.  And after thinking about brownies for more than a month, they’re happening this weekend.  My favorite brownie is fudgy and rich.  No cake-like brownies for me.

Favorite Meatless Monday:  Panko Baked Avocado Tacos.   Creamy on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  Yes.  Just yes.

Favorite Adorable:  Valentine’s Day Pepperoni Pizza.  Let’s be honest, food is way more romantic than flowers.

Favorite Flavors:  Coconut-Curry Mussels.  We’ve never cooked with mussels in our kitchen but something about this recipe makes me want to change that.  That broth is just begging for a hunk of crispy bread.

  Favorite Upgrade:  After seeing this, our front door seems so boring.

Favorite Brunch:  Mini Cream Cheese and Green Onions Biscuits with Spicy Sausage Gravy.  I love all things tiny and I think a Bloody Mary would complete this meal for Sunday Brunch.

Favorite Bubbly:  Blueberry Bellini.  Berry beautiful and berry delicious.

Cheers!

Black Bean Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Remember our homegrown sweet potatoes?

Well, some of them are still up in the attic and ready to be cooked.  (p.s. I had NO idea sweet potatoes could hang out for that long.)

Black Bean Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are the perfect way to use up sweet potatoes.  And if you don’t have any hanging out in your attic, it’s the perfect excuse to grab a few at the store.

Though the potatoes need a little time in the oven – the rest of the recipe is easy-peasy and takes no time at all.

First, rinse your potatoes.  Ours were extra dirty.  Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil and spraying with cooking spray (I used a coconut oil spray – but any will work).  Pierce the potatoes a few times with a fork or knife and place on the baking sheet.  (I am not missing a step here – I did not wrap the potatoes.)  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your potatoes.

When the potatoes are almost finished baking, prepare the chili.  Diced onion and bell pepper along with garlic are sauteed in a small about of oil until soft.  Add in the spices:  cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper.  Finally the tomato sauce and undrained black beans are added.  The chili is brought to a boil and then simmered until thickened.

The potatoes are split (and fluffed) before adding a generous portion of chili along with any topping you desire.  We topped ours with white cheddar cheese, green onions, Greek yogurt and cilantro.

I love how the skin was a little crispy from the direct heat of the oven but the inside of the potato was soft and sweet.  The cheese melted from the heat of the potato and the chili while the Greek yogurt cooled it all down.  A little freshness from the cilantro and green onions rounded out this incredibly filling vegetarian (and gluten-free) dinner.

What your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

Chicken and Basil Rice Bowl with Peanuts

Big Guy thinks he’s the King of rice making these days.

I’m not really sure who’s he’s King of but I’m guessing he’s trying to tell me that he makes better rice than I do.

I beg to differ.  But we’ll save that domestic dispute for another day.

I can say that Big Guy helped tremendously with getting our Chicken and Basil Rice Bowls on the table last Wednesday night.

I simply prepped all the ingredients possible (chopping the bell peppers, pulling out the ingredients from the pantry, etc.) and had the recipe sitting next to the cutting board.

And what do you know, I walked in the door that evening and he had prepped the remaining ingredients, prepared the rice perfect rice, and all we had to do was cook the chicken and bring the dish together.

I adore rice bowls and we simply don’t eat them enough.  Especially now that I’m married to the Rice King.

I loved how the basil perfumed the entire dish and my favorite bites included crunchy peanuts and the lime-scented rice.

I used chicken thighs which gave the dish so much more flavor than chicken breasts (I know there are some chicken thigh haters out there…and well, I’m sorry).

So good!  Carbs, check!  Veggies, check!  Protein, check!  Flavor and deliciousness, check!

 

Mexican Chorizo Hash

What do the following four foods have in common?

Sweet potatoes.
Asparagus.
Brussels sprouts.

Stumped?  They’re foods that Big Guy didn’t really eat until we started dating.  It wasn’t that he didn’t like sweet potatoes, asparagus or Brussels, he claims he just wasn’t exposed to them (Terri and Carolyn – correct me if he’s wrong.)

Now what do these have in common?

Eggs.
Coffee.
Fish.

If you guessed these are foods that Big Guy doesn’t like, you would be correct.  These have always been on my list of “things not to prepare for dinner.”  But I must note that he’s a great eater – if he were to be served any of the above items (which he has been), he will eat them.  It’s not that he doesn’t like the taste of eggs and fish – he doesn’t like the texture.

But something happened in Sonoma.  Not only did we eat an egg at least once a day in some form or fashion but Big Guy started to enjoy the eggs.  Even the runny yolk eggs.

This is a game-changer.  I didn’t waste any time whipping up a dinner that incorporated a runny yolk egg.

 

Not only are eggs a great source of protein but they’re fairly inexpensive (though for our household I purchase cage-free, organic eggs since I do eat the yolks not cooked through).  The cholesterol in eggs gets a bad rap but unless you have high cholesterol, two eggs a day (including the yolk) is perfectly healthy.

Mexican Chorizo Hash is an incredibly simple dish that comes together in no time thanks to the limited list of ingredients and needing only one cooking pan.

Mexican chorizo is crumbled and browned in a skillet before adding in the chopped onion, roasted red pepper, salt and pepper.  A bag of fresh spinach is stirred in and cooked until wilted.

Once wilted, the chorizo mixture is removed from the pan and refrigerated pre-shredded hash brown potatoes (found near the eggs, if you’re curious) are added to the pan and cooked until crisp.

Stir in the sausage mixture and crack four eggs on top.  Cover and cook until the eggs are set.

Dinner’s ready!

The chorizo and roasted red pepper add just the right amount of flavor to the dish while the spinach amps up the nutritional value.  I loved the silkiness of the egg once the yolk cracked and smoothered the hash.  Runny eggs for the win.

So what food have you started eating because of a significant other?

I definitely did not drink red wine before Big Guy and I have to say I’ve started eating things from the backyard since we didn’t garden growing up.

 

Picadillo Sloppy Joes

When most people think of Sloppy Joes, they think of Manwich.  You know, “the taste that makes everyone smile.”

And while I have most certainly eaten a Manwich before, I don’t think it’s been since middle school.

Picadillo Sloppy Joes require a little more work than just opening up a can and mixing with cooked ground beef but the result is insane.

I literally have never tasted a Sloppy Joe this delicious in my life.  But I’m not really sure I’ve ever had a gourmet Sloppy Joe.

If a gourmet Sloppy Joe exists, this is it.

Since I keep a fairly well stocked kitchen, I had almost all of the pantry ingredients on hand.

Ground beef is browned in a sauteed mixture of onions and garlic.  Then comes the flavor.  A spice mixture of cinnamon, cumin and oregano is added to the mixture and the aroma fills the room.  Once the spices wake-up (cook for a minute or so), crushed tomatoes, raisins (instead of currants), capers and olives are added.  The capers and olives add a wonderful briny flavor.  After that simmers for 20 minutes, cilantro, pickled jalapeno and red wine vinegar finishes the Sloppy Joe mixture.

The mixture is served on a bun with Bibb lettuce, complete with grilled red onions.  A sandwich fit for a king.

Not only was this sandwich delicious but it was incredibly sloppy.  Be prepared – you’ll need two napkins.  And perhaps a fork.

I’m sorry, Manwich.  It’s not you, it’s me.