Turkey and Yam Spicy Tacos

Turkey and Yam Spicy Tacos (serves 6-8)
Inspired by a recipe found here.

I swear, Mexican food is an incredible thing. It is agreed among myself and Bryan that our most successful meals are those that incorporate Mexican flavors. This one is no exception. A spicy blend of herbs and spices creates a flavorful base for the turkey. The yams mixed into the turkey creates a subtle sweetness that balances the spiciness of the meat. It is a truly delicious, though unusual, combination.

Ingredients:

  • 1 yam, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • A handful of jalapeno pepper slices, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 16 small, warm corn tortillas

Put the diced yam in a microwave-safe bowl; cook in the microwave until cooked through and fork-tender, stirring once, 5 to 7 minutes.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat; cook and stir the turkey until crumbled and evenly brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper into the turkey and continue cooking until the onions begin to caramelize, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with the chili powder, cumin, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Pour the salsa over everything; fold the sweet potatoes into the mixture.

Allow the mixture to cook until the excess moisture evaporates. Serve with the warm tortillas, as well with any of your favorite taco fixins.

::Ashley

Advertisements

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken (serves 4)
Inspired by a recipe found here.

I’m in love with the Rachel Ray magazine. There are so many great recipes, articles, and general goodness for real people that it’s hard to stand. I’ll admit, I never was a huge fan of Rach’s. I’m not sure why, but something about her shows weren’t very engaging for me. But since the free subscription of her magazine started coming in the mail, I figured I’d give her another chance and my mind is blown. I’ve yet to make a recipe I didn’t like! The recipes Rach includes in her magazine incorporate ingredients that are readily available and easily modified for specific tastes.

When I came across this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken, I knew I had to try it. Asian cooking is a little intimidating–at least for me–but this recipe is a great success as it preserves the tastes of restaurant-style Sweet and Sour Chicken in a healthy way. Yes!

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup brown rice
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained, 1/2 cup juice reserved
    • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
    • 2 tbsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos
    • 3 sprinkles of xanthan gum
    • 1 tbsp. barbeque sauce (I used Annie’s organic)
    • 2 tsp. minced ginger
    • 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • Sesame seeds for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil; stir in the rice. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, Bragg’s, 1 sprinkle of xanthan gum, barbeque sauce and ginger. In a bowl, toss the chicken with another sprinkle of xanthan gum, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat a bit, add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pineapple chunks, then pour the pineapple juice mixture into the chicken mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. If sauce is not thickened to desired consistency, stir in an additional sprinkle of xanthan gum. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve over the rice.

::Ashley

Black beans are a man’s best friend.

Chicken with black bean salsa

Inspired by this recipe

I’ve recently discovered my love of black beans. The southwestern egg rolls (found here) are one of my favorite things ever. The chili that I made last week was also pretty great. Black beans really are amazing. This recipe is no exception to that rule. This is a really unique meal that is really simple and fast to make. It also looks really impressive for being such a simple recipe. All of the colors make this a dish that you use to show off with.

Ingredients

Salsa:

  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoon chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 8 grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

Chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime slice

Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Spray chicken with cooking spray to coat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook chicken over medium high heat in a pan with butter. Serve chicken over salsa with a slice of lime.

-Bryan

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Inspired by a recipe found here.

Pasta, pasta, pasta. So versatile, so comforting, so delicious. I wanted to make a simple pasta dish that incorporated protein in a different way. I had never heard of Cajun Chicken Pasta before stumbling upon this recipe while surfing on AllRecipes. The recipe looked simple, most ingredients were on hand, and the photos looked delicious. I was sold. Again, I modified the recipe to include brown rice pasta to up the nutritional value and substituted heavy cream for light cream, as well as xanthan gum for corn starch.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, it’s a powdered thickener that works a lot like gelatin, flour, or cornstarch, but is completely vegan and is, in my opinion, a lot easier to work with. While thickening with flour or cornstarch can be tricky and lead to clumps, just a sprinkle of xanthan gum over a sauce works brilliantly to thicken. When substituting xanthan gum for other thickeners in recipes, I do not recommend a 1:1 ratio– you will need far less xanthan gum as a little bit goes a long way. Xanthan gum also stabilizes rather than continues to thicken, unlike other thickeners. This is great because you won’t end up with a gloppy sauce after time has passed. So yay for xanthan gum!

Ingredients:

  • 8oz brown rice pasta shapes
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dried parsley flakes to garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and pasta, then cook for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, saute the chicken until almost tender (about 5-7 minutes.) Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and green onion. Saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.

Add the cream, garlic, salt and ground black pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle xanthan gum over sauce until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add the cooked pasta, toss and heat through. Garnish with dried parsley and serve.

::Ashley

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (serves 6-8)
Inspired by a recipe found here.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: (almost) everyone loves mashed potatoes. And I find that it doesn’t even really matter what time of year it is, people always want to eat ’em. However, I made a promise to myself not to ever make boring mashed potatoes because that’s… well, that’s boring. Because these potatoes are not peeled or mashed with a mixer, but instead smashed by hand with a fork, the shape and natural flavor of the potatoes are preserved more so than other versions of the recipe. I much prefer to not hear a big splat when serving mashed potatoes on a plate. Fork mashing is the key to avoiding this culinary faux pas. The potatoes are full of garlic flavor, but not overwhelmed by it. Despite the cheese in the potatoes, it is nearly unidentifiable in the dish. Instead the cheese adds a subtle nutty and salty flavor to the potatoes. If you are looking for a cheesy potato, do not use this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 pound butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons and 2-3/4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 45 minutes; drain. Stir in butter, cheese, garlic, salt and oregano. Mash with a fork until desired consistency is reached. 
::Ashley

Walnut Rosemary Crusted Chicken

Walnut Rosemary Crusted Chicken (serves 2)
Inspired by a recipe found here.

We had extra walnuts from a recipe Bryan made recently. We also had extra rosemary. Being a novice in the kitchen, I’m not too sure of the shelf-life of half-used things like that, so I like to be on the safe side and use them sooner than later. While I was foodbuzzing, I found this recipe and realized that it is a triple threat: it tastes delicious, uses our surplus of random ingredients, and is low-carb and gluten free. I altered the amount of chicken used, but kept the walnut rub the same. Excuse me if you disagree, but I don’t think you could ever have enough crust in a crusted chicken!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

To brine the chicken, fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in kosher salt until mostly dissolved. Place chicken in bowl and chill in refrigerator about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a glass or ceramic baking pan (13×9 inches).

In a small bowl, whisk together walnuts, rosemary and garlic. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towel. Place chicken in single layer in prepared pan and cover each breast in walnut mixture, pressing to adhere. Drizzle with walnut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake until light golden brown and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

::Ashley

The easiest chicken recipe ever!

Parmesan crusted chicken

This is the perfect recipe for anyone that is on a tight budget, wanting something simple to make, or someone who is a beginner at cooking. It’s probably the simplest recipe we’ll ever post on our blog. Don’t let it’s appearance fool you though, it’s still delicous and full of flavor. The parmesan makes it taste much like it’s breaded, and creates a chicken that can still impress despite it’s lack of ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Parmesan cheese (the cheap powdered kind)
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese over both sides of chicken, coating it like a breading, and transfer to pan. Flip every minute or so, sprinkling with about 1 Tbsp of parmesan cheese on each piece of chicken. Continue flipping and sprinkling with parmesan until each side has been coated 3 times, and then cook until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees. Transfer to baking pan, and cover with provolone cheese. Broil for a minute until cheese is browned and serve.

– Bryan