recipe 9/52 – whole wheat chicken pot pie with kale

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yes, i’m definitely back on track with posts this week. in celebration of pi day (3/14) i made chicken pot pie! well if we’re being honest here, i had acknowledged pi day earlier in the week but i didn’t deliberately make pie on pi day…it was a random coincidence! i only realized it after our landlords shared some berry pie with us. (yes, my landlords are awesome.)

i found this recipe in the most recent copy of anthology, but it’s originally from the yellow table. i really love getting anthology in the mail – it is truly a delight when a copy arrives. i only wish it happened more than four times a year.

anyway, onto the pie: i chose this recipe mostly because 1) it’s a tiny version of something, and everyone should know by now that i love miniatures, 2) it looked pretty darn delicious in the photographs, and 3) i have been looking for an excuse to buy ramekins. the prep wasn’t too difficult. i made the simple buttery whole wheat crust the night before to lessen prep time on meal day. i also picked up a rotisserie chicken from whole foods instead of cooking the chicken from scratch, and that saved a lot of time. now i’m inspired to try other types of pie in this form. imagine blueberry pie made like this, and then once out of the oven you poke a hole in the crust and drop in a scoop of vanilla ice cream. HELLO.

i think this would be a great meal for a small (or large!) group of friends. i guess it depends on how many ramekins you have…friends, beware! hah, i’m just kidding. but on a serious note, i can’t get over the cute muffin-top crusts. now i want to cover everything i eat with a thin layer of crust and bake it to perfection.

recipe 8/52: jeff’s drunken noodles

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i have a treat for you all! this week i’ve got a recipe made by my boyfriend, jeff! he’s a devoted lover of anything spicy, which usually doesn’t mesh well with my taste buds – i’m very sensitive to spicy food. but since i’ve known him he’s helped me build up a tolerance to some mildly spicy dishes. what can i say? i grew up on polish and italian food. spicy sausage was as far as i’d go up until a few years ago.

lately jeff’s been on a thai food kick, specifically drunken noodles (pad kee mao). he tried out a few variations until he found a combination he liked. and he toned the spice factor WAY down for me. (the first incarnation he cooked had TWELVE thai chiles in it, and he downright TOLD me NOT to eat it.) so this recipe below is for those of us with sensitive palettes. feel free to add more thai chiles based on how spicy you like your food, though even jeff recommends not adding twelve thai chiles. ;)

jeff’s drunken noodles: (adapted from epicurious, makes 4-6 servings)

ingredients:

  • 2 14-ounce packages of 1/4-inch-wide flat rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper infused olive oil (we did this ourselves a while ago- you can just use regular olive oil)
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 thai chile
  • 1/2 pound beef bottom round, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup golden mountain sauce (might also be called thai sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 cubanelle pepper or 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup romaine or basil leaves

tools:

  • medium pot
  • large wok
  • wooden spoon

steps:

1. cook the noodles in a pot of boiling water until tender but firm, stirring frequently. drain.

2. with all your ingredients prepared and ready to go, heat oil over medium heat.

3. add garlic and thai chile(s) and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. add beef, all three sauces and sugar and sauté until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. add cooked noodles, tomatoes and peppers until just warmed.

4. on individual plates, lay down a bed of romaine or basil. transfer individual servings of the mixture on top of the bed of greens and serve.

recipe 7/52 – giada’s chicken scaloppine with saffron cream sauce

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hey all! today i’m sharing with you another delicious giada de laurentiis recipe. seriously, that girl knows what’s goin’ on. here we’ve got chicken scallopine with saffron cream sauce. sounds fancy, right? it’s actually really easy – cook chicken in olive oil, and then transfer it to a plate to keep warm while you make the sauce.

the sauce consists of just combining things in a sauté pan and letting them simmer. after about 20 minutes, you magically have an amazing sauce to serve with your chicken. best thing of all: you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already, save for the saffron threads. (though you might be surprised – i discovered saffron threads hiding in the back of our spice cabinet!) they can be expensive, but they’re worth the cost if you know you’re going to use them.

i paired this rich and decadent dish with giada’s spicy parmesan green beans and kale. it’s a colorful meal filled with much variety. the chicken can be whipped up within a half hour, so even if you don’t want to take the time to prepare the green beans, just steam some broccoli and you’ve still got an awesome meal! you’ll have barely spent 30 minutes cooking and those you share this meal with will be wondering just how you made this so tasty. it’s all in the sauce, friends.

recipe 6/52 – real simple’s gouda burger with fennel onion relish

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i was a bit defeated after my real simple recipe from last week wasn’t a hit, so i thought i’d give them a go again. i needed to prove to myself that real simple is awesome! and boy, they did not disappoint! this is another recipe pulled from my binder of to-try recipes. yeah, it’s a keeper. yes, it’s red meat and yes, it’s sweet potatoes slathered in olive oil…not the healthiest. but i bought lean ground beef and whole wheat burger buns, so it kind of evens out. right? right.

gouda burgers with fennel onion relish. that just SOUNDS good, doesn’t it? the fennel onion relish is a really unique touch. it’s all just tossed in lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. i had actually never touched let alone cooked a fennel in my life, so it was fun to figure it out and use a totally new ingredient. it’s amazing how much they smell like licorice (but they don’t taste like it…otherwise i would hate them with a fiery passion). all the flavors complement each other really well and the sweet potato fries are just perfect. i didn’t peel the skin off because i love when sweet potato fries in restaurants still have their skin…it makes them extra crunchy.

so besides this meal being AWESOME, guess how long it took me? from start to finish, including all the vegetable cutting and ingredient measuring, it took me exactly 30 minutes. talk about fast. and talk about how i’m gonna make burgers more often. oh yes please.

note: i didn’t realize how similar the styling of my photo was to theirs…whoops! i promise i wasn’t trying to copy, i was just trying to get the best angle to feature the juicy burger! i’ll be more careful with that next time. :)

 

recipe 5/52 – asparagus ricotta pizza

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if i ever want to make a recipe that i KNOW is going to be good, i immediately go to the well-known magazine real simple. i can’t complain about a single meal i’ve made using their recipes, and my favorite vegetarian chili hails from their pages. i’ve ripped out a number of pages to save for future meals, and their asparagus ricotta pizza is one of them.

surprise: honestly, i can’t say this was my favorite. although i love each ingredient individually, it wasn’t too memorable when put all together. in my opinion it was missing one vital thing: sauce. the recipe didn’t call for anything of the sort- just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. i’ve tried making pizza a few different times without sauce and i never seem to be satisfied…i guess i just love red sauce way too much! to remedy this disappointment my boyfriend suggested adding whole peeled tomatoes, and that did the trick. it added that trademark acidy tang. the topping of arugula drizzled with lemon juice did help in the flavor department…but i think next time i’ll add some red sauce.

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but i can’t say it was BAD either. i mean, how tasty and fresh does that look? and my boyfriend made whole-wheat pizza dough from scratch. can’t go wrong there.

veredict: the recipe is a great base — elevate it with your own personal touches and enjoy some darn tootin’ good pizza! if you try it out, let me know what different ingredients you add!

recipe 4/52 – lemon raspberry cupcakes

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hello there! i hope everyone had a great weekend. i turned a year older and with that, naturally, comes cupcakes. cake pops have kinda been my thing since i got a cake pop maker last christmas, but this year i wanted to kick it old school with a bite sized treat that uses real frosting instead of melted white chocolate. (although i can never complain about melted white chocolate.) plus i love picking out cute cupcake liners and figuring out how to coordinate the decoration. it’s the domestic girl in me…

i perused the internet for a while and ended up on martha stewart’s website…again, although the recipe was provided by the vanilla bake shop. these lemon raspberry cupcakes are simply wonderful. the cake part itself is a classic white vanilla cake with egg whites folded into the batter, giving the muffin top a pleasant sugary crunch. there’s a little gem hidden inside the cake though…a dollop of lemon curd! (i knew that i was meant to make these cupcakes when i saw the ingredients list and realized that i had bought lemon curd earlier this week on a whim) it makes for a delightfully surprising tang. the icing is homemade vanilla buttercream. it’s a bit horrific how much butter goes into these babies…but they’re an excellently decadent birthday treat. and the raspberry on top seals the deal.

recipe 3/52: giada’s spicy parmesan green beans and kale

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yes, it’s another giada de laurentiis recipe. yes, i will try recipes from different sources…eventually. her cookbook is just so good! i can’t get enough.

what i like so much about this dish is that you don’t sacrifice flavor for healthfulness. this is packed with a CRAZY amount of goodness: crunchy green beans, meaty mushrooms, leafy kale, spicy red pepper flakes, chardonnay AND cheese. i mean, come on.

it’s a side dish so you’ll want to plan a main dish (i made a chicken recipe also from giada, which i will be sharing in a separate post on another day) to complement it. i think this would pair well with any meat, but mixing it with pasta might be a nice vegetarian option.

as delicious as it is, i wouldn’t plan to make this part of my weekly repertoire- it requires a lot of prep work! but if you’re having friends over for dinner or going to a potluck, i would definitely recommend this. your friends and your mouth will thank you.

you can find the recipe here.

recipe 2/52: martha stewart’s banana nutmeg smoothie

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so i got an ipad mini for christmas, and one of my favorite new apps is martha stewart’s “smoothies.” she also has recipe apps for cookies and cocktails — which i will certainly delve into at some point — but since this is the healthiest this is where we’re starting!

the recipe can also be found here on martha stewart’s official website, although the yield size is different. if you’ve got a smaller household and only want to make two servings, halve all of the ingredients listed but use two whole bananas.

this has been my go-to breakfast for the week. it takes 3 minutes to make and it’s very filling (especially if your boyfriend is at work and you have to drink the two servings on your own). two servings — which calculates to 336 calories — keeps me full until lunch time.

customizations to consider: i substituted almond milk (bought for another smoothie recipe, which was not quite as delicious) for the skim milk, and that was super yummy. get creative and try some other non-dairy milks! i also tend to use a little more ice in my smoothies, but that’s a personal preference.

recipe 1/52: giada’s hearty tomato soup

the recipe portion of my 52 weeks project is a product of a few things. one: obviously the desire to learn more recipes and to expand my repertoire. two: the realization that i own a handful of great cookbooks and i don’t use them very often. three: the fact that i have kept up a fitness routine for the better part of four months, and i want to complement it by cooking healthfully for myself. though i can’t promise that every recipe will be healthy…i love baking and cheese way too much…

anyway, onto the first recipe of the year!

out of the half dozen cookbooks i own, my favorite is giada de laurentiis’ giada’s kitchen: new italian favorites. i have like every other page flagged with a sticky note because everything sounds and looks DELICIOUS. i’ve made three or four recipes out of it (fig + cheese wontons, brie + pear paninis…oh my goodness) since i’ve owned it and it’s all been incredible. but i guess i should start tackling some of those sticky notes, huh?

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which brings us to the hearty tomato soup with lemon and rosemary. check it out here! this was actually a very simple and quick recipe. since you only need to chop an onion and a couple carrots, there’s very little prep work. there was even less prep work for me because i forgot to buy carrots…whoops! honestly, i didn’t miss them. this soup already has so much wonderful flavor – it’s the tangy, zesty older sister of a classic tomato soup, complemented by the addition of red pepper flakes, rosemary and fresh lemon zest. bonus point: the red pepper flakes i used were produced by my boyfriend’s hot pepper plant.

i decided to forgo the whipped cream topping and instead make grilled cheese with homemade bread baked by my boyfriend. and the cheese is none other than kraft singles…cuz sometimes, you just gotta.

veredict: delicious, savory, spicy! great for a winter evening. i will definitely make this again. plus, it’s only 151 calories per serving and it’s filling! now there’s a combination that’s hard to find.