April 2017

Wild Rice Salad

wild-rice-salad

Sorry for the blogging absence, but I’ve been laying on the beach for several days with lots of margaritas and zero babies. That’s right.  1 Sun + 3 infinity pools + 72 margaritas – 2 babies = paradise.  Temporary paradise, because we were definitely excited to get back to our little munchkins. But the break. Oh, the break. Ahhhh.  My parents’ weekend was considerably less relaxing, as they so amazingly took on the task of babysitting.  They handled it like a boss and honestly I think they had a hard time relinquishing control when we got home. Although I am convinced my parents fed the boys Indian food all weekend because the number of dirty diapers today truly seems absurd. Someone is sabotaging me and I just haven’t been able to pinpoint who yet.

But before I left, we have a really fun family cookout. Do you say cookout, or barbecue? In Wisconsin we always said cookout. We grilled really delicious chicken, and I made this wild rice salad. It’s a fun and different side dish and great when you have a gluten free guest like my dad (although when we serve anything but mashed potatoes he acts a bit stunned).

Recipe

  • 1.5 cups wild rice
  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups chopped oranges
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or cashews
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
  • Salt

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

Prepare the wild rice and brown rice according to instructions. Drain and let cool.  Mix the dressing ingredients together, then combine in a bowl with the rice, oranges, craisins, nuts, mint and salt. That’s it! Serve cold or room temp.

baby-food-chicken-with-pears-and-carro

Here’s what I’ve learned through the process of ensuring my babies are good eaters: if I like it, they’ll like it. In other words, babies have real taste buds. Did that ever occur to you? Because honestly it didn’t to me.  I often think of my babies as just cute little blobs. But it turns out that they like good flavorful food, and also their feet get cold.  I learned this after months of taking them out of the house barefoot.

So I’ve been focused on making my baby food so delicious that I would eat it.  Of course I would never choose to eat pureed chicken, but if I can get past the texture – I have to be sure that I would enjoy it. And y’all, this was a HIT. And I’m telling you this because it’s not that easy to get babies to eat chicken or other meats at a young age. Why would you want chicken when you can have sweet things like bananas and peaches and yogurt? But this – thanks to the added sweetness from the pears and carrot – was a great way to get them to chow down on some protein-heavy chicken.

Recipe

  • ~1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, chopped and cores removed
  • 1 large carrot, UNpeeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken (I used thighs for the higher fat content), and brown on both sides for a couple minutes.  Add the pear slices, carrot (unpeeled for nutrition), and water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes (make sure chicken is done!).  Transfer mixture to a food processor, sprinkle in some cinnamon if you want, and puree to desired consistency.  This makes lots of extras to freeze!!

roasted-sweet-potato-bites

Lately, in light of North Korea, I’ve been wondering if I want to just let myself go and eat Dairy Queen Blizzards for breakfast lunch and dinner. I mean how good are those things? And if we were all gone tomorrow do we want to live with the regret of eating healthy? Not me. And to be fair, I would also throw in a cherry Dilly Bar or two to balance things out. But think how fun life would be if your hardest meal decisions were M&M or Oreo? Butterfinger or Butter Cup? Fudge center or not? Of course even just typing those options gives me anxiety. What WOULD I choose? Both, I suppose. Always both. Life is short, guys.

But for now I’m going to continue throwing reasonably healthy recipes at you. Mainly because the closest DQ is about 17 miles away so it’s not really an executable dream for me.

These are so simple and delicious and go with everything. We ate them with salmon the first night, then threw them on a salad the second night.

Recipe

  • ~2 lb sweet potatoes, cleaned and peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.  Chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes, and place them on a foil line baking sheet.  Toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and brown sugar.  Roast for 25 min, stir them around, then roast for 10 more min.  Done!

 

honey-soy-sriracha-grilled-salmon

It’s FRIDAY.  Hoooray! Isn’t that just the best feeling? I don’t actually know why I’m so happy it’s Friday, as I’m still home with the babies and Monday is really no different than Friday for me right now…but it just feels good. Also I get to drink wine and eat Mexican with abandon. Guacamole, I’m coming for you.

This marinade just made my summer. I will be using it all summer long on fish, on chicken, on pork tenderloin, on everything. It’s perfection, and it’s THREE ingredients. (I’m not counting the oil).  Because salmon has a high fat content, I only used a tablespoon of oil here – you don’t need any more.  If I were using this for chicken or pork,  I would use about 1/4-1/3 cup of oil. Also, heat intimidates me (as in spicy heat), so I only use about a tablespoon of Sriracha. This is very very mild. For a little more punch add 2 or 3.

Recipe

  • 4 8 oz salmon filets
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients and transfer to a ziploc bag. Add the salmon and marinate for at least an hour (no more than 8). One hour of marinating will be more than enough – fish saturates quickly.  When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium high.

Now here’s a handy tip I learned from Simply Recipes: cook the skinless side DOWN first, because fish breaks apart easier when it’s cooked. So if you place the skinless side on the heat first, the skin will hold it together, then you flip it over and finish cooking on the other side.  So I did skinless side down first for 3 minutes, then flipped and did another 5-7 minutes. Don’t forget to generously oil the grill grates first!

chocolate-butterscotch-cookies

I’m going to invest a lot of my time and efforts into butterscotch this year. I started with this Butterscotch Pie, I made Butterscotch pudding last night (the Jell-O boxed version), I made these cookies last weekend, and I’m making a ton more butterscotch stuff going forward. I don’t know why we’ve all been turning a blind eye to butterscotch all these years, but it stops right here, right now.

That being said, if you DON’T like butterscotch, you will not like these cookies. Sub ’em for plain old chocolate chips then.

Recipe

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups butterscotch chips

Cream the butter and sugars together.  Add the eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  Stir in the chips.  Form dough into balls, place in a ziploc and freeze for at least an hour (this is an important step to avoid flat cookies). Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

pan-seared-red-snapper-with-tomato

So my thoughtful uncle who lives in Alaska recently sent me the cutest children’s book – The Little Red Snapperhood. It’s basically about a cute little red snapper that gets tricked by a mean wolf eel who wants to eat her fresh baked octopi. And I’m guessing her as well.  It’s basically the ocean version of Little Red Riding Hood (duh), although the wolf eel was far more pleasant than the original wolf, opting to sit down to a nice dinner of octopi with the grandmother and little snapper rather than eat everyone. Anyway, it inspired us to eat a Red Snapper. Although after writing that little synopsis I’m wondering where that would put me in the story.

This recipe honestly came together in less than half an hour.  I felt inspired by all the things I’m going to make with red snapper going forward. Fish tacos. Fish sandwiches. Fish with mango salsa.  I guess that’s it.

Recipe

Fish

  • 1 lb Red Snapper or other white flaky fish (two 8 oz pieces)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Lemon pepper or S&P
  • Olive Oil

Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons diced white/yellow onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp jar version)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse/kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Capers (drained)

To make the sauce, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine and let it reduce for about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and then simmer sauce on low for about 10 minutes. To prepare the snapper, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Season the fish with salt, lemon pepper and lemon juice.  Place the fish skin side up first;  cook each side 3-5 minutes for a relatively thin piece.  I got a huge snapper that was over an inch thick, so I had to cook closer to 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and top with sauce.

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