Monday, January 26, 2015

Super Bowl Party Ideas

The Super Bowl is coming up on sunday so I thought I would share some decor and menu ideas for anyone hosting a Super Bowl party or looking for festive food to enjoy while watching the big game.

Decor ideas: 

My picture

For more ideas check out HGTV's design blog's article It's Game Day: Super Bowl Party Ideas.  You can also check out pictures from my Super Bowl party blog post from a few years ago.


Picture & Recipe Courtesy of: Food52

I first learned about michelada's during a cocktail class at Booker and Dax last year. The bartender teaching the class suggested rimming your glass with Siracha salt, which you create by adding some siracha hot sauce to salt and mixing together. Then you squeeze some lime juice around the rim of your glass and then add some of your Siracha salt to the rim. 

Buffalo Meatballs 
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: ibreatheimhungry

These look delicious and a perfect Super Bowl appetizer. This is a fun way to get that delicious buffalo sauce on something a little different from chicken wings. 

Teriaki Chicken Wings
Photo & Recipe courtesy of: food2please

I had to share this recipe since chicken wings are a necessity at any Super Bowl party. 

Black Bean Chili
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: A Night Owl Blog

Yum! I'm a big fan of chili and this recipe looks quick and easy so this is right up my alley. Serve along side some corn bread and you have the perfect meal to heat you up on a cold evening

Mini Brownie Football Pies
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Crazy For Crust
I absolutely love using sugar cookie dough as pie crusts, as evidenced in this previous blog post. These brownie football pies are absolutely adorable and would be the perfect addition to any super bowl party. 

What is your favorite food to eat during the Super Bowl? Share in the comment section below.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Good Eats Review:

Top- Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps, Botton Left- Spinach and feta stuffed chicken, Bottom Right- Thai coconut curry shrimp

One of my favorite food blogs is Skinnytaste. Gina's blog has had tremendous success because all of her recipes use easy to find ingredients and are quick and easy to make. I really like that all the recipes are healthy and lightened up versions of classic dishes, such as chicken enchiladas, turkey chili and Shrimp pad thai. After looking at all of Gina's recipes for so long I was really excited to finally give a few recipes a try. 

1) Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps- I'm a big fan of lettuce wraps. I had only had asian lettuce wraps before trying this recipe so I was excited to try something new.  The different spices: garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and paprika made the ground turkey very flavorful. The recipe was very easy to make, I made this during a weeknight and start to finish this recipe took me around 30 minutes. I found the hardest part of this was separating the iceberg lettuce leaves. The lettuce leaves kept wanting to break on me, 

2) Spinach and feta stuffed chicken- This recipe is a cross between the Skinnytaste recipe and a Semi-Homemade Trader Joe's recipe. I followed the skinnytaste recipe instructions for the spinach and feta filling, but then instead of actually breading the chicken myself I used trader joe's breaded chicken breasts. I microwaved the chicken breasts for a few minutes  put some of the spinach and feta stuffing in the middle and rolled the chicken breasts. The Trader Joe's breaded chicken didn't roll as nicely as fresh skinless boneless chicken breasts would have, but in the end they still worked. After stuffing the chicken breasts I baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I served with mashed potatoes. I had leftover filling, which I decided to combine with some of the leftover ground turkey from the lettuce wraps and some brown rice, which made a delicious lunch. 

3) Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp- This recipe is 3 for 1. This is also a semi-homemade trader joe's recipe, thai recipe and a Skinnytaste recipe. Instead of buying a bag of frozen shrimp I decided to get the trader joe's shrimp stir fry. I also got the trader joe's red curry sauce so I altered the skinny taste recipe a little bit and since the sauce included coconut milk I didn't add extra coconut milk. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except I didn't have cilantro so that didn't get added at the end. I served along with some brown rice. I'm looking forward to using the extra red curry sauce with some veggies next week. 

Gina not only has a successful blog, but also a New York Times best selling cookbook, which I'm looking forward to purchasing this weekend. You can find the cookbook on amazon or Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Good Eats: Thai Food Edition

I absolutely love Thai food: curry sauces, vegetables, noodles and rice I could eat thai food all day, everyday! When my friend Anna and I were deciding where to get dinner last friday of course my first thought was thai food so we ended up choosing Pure Thai Cookshop.

Top Left- Outside of Pure Thai Cook House, Top Right- Pad Kee Moa with Calamari
Bottom Left- Steamed Vegetable Dumplings - photo courtesy of; Grub Hub blog,
Bottom Right- Pad Woon Sen With Vegetables
I had tried to go to go to Pure Thai Cookshop once before, but since there was a wait and my friend and I had play tickets we decided to go somewhere else. This time when we arrived at Pure Thai Cookshop we were told there would be a 1/2 hour wait. Anna gave the hostess her cell phone number and we went to the bar next door to get a beer while we waited. In 1/2 hour we got a phone call that our table was ready and we headed back over to the restaurant. We decided to get the steamed vegetable dumplings to share as appetizer. the dumplings were delicious and the perfect way to start out our meal. The filling was made of tofu, peanut and garlic chips and all of those flavors worked well together. For my entree I decided to go with the Pad Kee Moa with Calamari. This dish consisted of: flat rice noodles, tomato, bok choy, snow peas, chili puree, thai basil and of course calamari. The dish was good and the chili puree definitely gave the noodles some heat. I enjoyed my dinner, but definitely think I should have chosen something different and either had gone with the Pad Woon Sen with vegetables, which is what Anna ordered, or one of the Pure Thai noodle dishes, such as the Pa-Yao beef noodle soup. For dessert we got the mango and sticky rice, which was outstanding. Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Pure Thai Cookshop and would definitely go back to try some different dishes.

I thought I would also share with you some thai recipes you can try at home.

1) Baked Spring Rolls
Photo & Recipe courtesy of: Plant Eaters Plate

2) Pad See Ew
Photo & Recipe courtesy of: RecipeTin Eats

3) Coconut Curry Noodles

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Considering Campbell

4) Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Taste, Love and Nourish

5) Coconut Rice with Mango
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Cooking with Trader Joe's

Can't find the ingredients listed in the recipes above?  click here to find out where to find thai ingredients in NYC

Monday, January 19, 2015

Three ways to use leftovers...

I'm sure a lot of you are like me and cook chicken, meat or seafood and then have leftovers that you don't know what to do with. I thought I would share with you today some of my favorite ways to spice up your leftovers. Using up leftovers is not only a good way to get the best value for your dollar, but it's also a great way to make a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
1) Tacos-
Chipotle Shrimp Tacos- Recipe & Picture courtesy of: Heather Christo
Making tacos is a great way to use up anything and everything in your refrigerator. You simply heat up a flour or corn tortilla, add some guacamole, cabbage, cheese or whatever else you have lying around to your leftover  vegetables, poultry, meat or seafood and garnish with a little cilantro and you got yourself a delicious gourmet taco. To get a little fancier you could also make a fruit salsa by combining some cut up mango or pineapple, chopped onion and lime juice and then garnishing with a little cilantro. To get some more inspiration check out The Effortless Chic's "The Best Of Tacos" blog post.

I took this picture: brown rice, leftover pulled pork, black bean and mango salsa

                                                                 2)Rice Bowls- As I mentioned in my previous quinoa blog post, I'm a huge fan of rice bowls, which a happen to a great way to use leftovers. To create a delicious rice bowl you cook rice/or quinoa or heat up any leftover rice or quinoa you have in your refrigerator. Then you top with any leftover vegetables, poultry, meat or seafood. You can also get creative and add guacamole and/or salsa.  I had some leftover pulled pork after making my version of Earl's Taco and my pulled pork tacos so I put some brown rice and the leftover pulled pork into a tupperware container and brought to work for lunch. I put the black bean and mango salsa in a smaller separate container since I didn't want to microwave the salsa. When I was ready for lunch I microwaved the rice and pulled pork and then when it was done I added the mango and black bean salsa on top.

Click Here for some more rice bowl ideas

3)Salads/ Lettuce Wraps
Making salads or lettuce wraps is another great way to use up leftovers. You can use leftover meat, poultry or seafood to create an asian influenced salad with a sesame vinaigrette or peanut dressing  or a Mexican influenced salad with a cilantro lime dressing and some tortilla chips.

Click Here for some more salad recipes

Similar to salads, lettuce wraps are another option for using leftovers. Lettuce wraps are a great option for anyone who is trying stick to a low-carb diet. Lettuce wraps are commonly associated with asian restaurants and ground turkey or chicken, but shrimp or any assortment of veggies work just as well as a filling for lettuce wraps.

Click Here for some delicious lettuce wrap recipes.

Almond & Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps- Recipe &  Photo courtesy of: Cookin' Canuck

I hope you enjoy these ideas and will start using your leftovers in new and creative ways.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Semi-Homemade Trader Joe's Meals

I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's. Not only are Trader Joe's prices extremely competitive, but the selection and quality of the frozen food is outstanding as well. I personally have been having fun using the frozen food and adding a few ingredients to make a delicious gourmet meal. today I thought I was share some of my favorite "semi-homemade" recipes.
Top-Pulled pork nachos, Bottom Left-Chicken Francese, Bottom Right- Eggplant Parmesan

1) Pulled pork nachos- I was first introduced to pulled pork nachos during a trip to Boston.  I  never had been a big fan of nachos before, but I absolutely loved the pulled pork nachos and knew I would have to figure out an easy way to recreate that delicious combination of pulled pork, cheese and tortilla chips. I make my pulled pork nachos by first microwaving the pulled pork according to the directions on the packaging. I then create the nachos by putting a layer of tortilla chips on a plate. Next, I cover the tortilla chips with the pulled pork, lite mexican cheese blend and black beans. I microwave the nachos for one minute in order to get the cheese to melt. I then top the plate with a generous helping of guacamole

2) Chicken Francese-  Trader Joe's breaded chicken is great on it's own, but I decided to take those breaded chicken breasts and kick them up a notch by adding a francese sauce. I followed the directions from With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart, which entailed bringing some chicken broth and lemon juice to a boil. I then added a teaspoon of flour and 3 tablespoons of butter and let simmer until the sauce was reduced to a half. I added a little parsley to the sauce at the end. I  heated the breaded chicken in the microwave according to the directions on the packaging and served along with some sautéed zucchini, broccoli and mashed potatoes. I then poured the francese sauce over the chicken and added a few slices of lemon to garnish.  This Chicken Francese is perfect when you are in need of some comfort food and is also an easy weeknight dinner. 

3) Eggplant Parmesan- Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite italian dishes. Using Trader Joe's breaded eggplant cutlets it's super easy to make your own homemade version of eggplant parmesan. This can be made in the oven or you can use a microwave. If you use a oven, first pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then you simply put the breaded eggplant cutlets in a oven proof pan,  add tomato sauce on top of the eggplant cutlets and then finally add shredded mozzarella on the very top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You can tell the eggplant parmesan is cooked when the cheese is melted. If you use a microwave you add some tomato sauce and mozzarella on top of the eggplant cutlets and then microwave according to the directions on the eggplant cutlet box. 

Stay tuned for future posts because I will be including more great tips for different ways to use Trader Joe's frozen products. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let's talk about: soup recipes

During the freezing cold weather we have been having nothing is better or more satisfying than a warm bowl of soup. Soup is a perfect easy and filling lunch or side dish with dinner.   I enjoy making soup because with a few simple ingredients you can make a big batch of soup, which will last you a whole week.  Here are some great soup recipes:

1) Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of:

I love Giada De Laurentiis recipes and I'm looking forward trying this healthy soup recipe. This is a great soup to make if you have some leftover ground turkey meat from turkey burgers, chili or leftovers from thanksgiving dinner.

2) Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Shrimp
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Natasha's Kitchen

Combining cauliflower and potatoes into one soup sounds like a winning combination to me. I also really like the addition of shrimp to give the soup some added protein.

3) Butternut Squash Soup
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Creme de la Crumb

Butternut squash is my absolute favorite soup. It's sweet and creamy, my perfect combination. I like that recipe is very easy and simply requires microwaving the squash for a few minutes and then putting the squash and milk in a blender before heating up in pot with the remaining ingredients.

4) Tuscan White Bean Soup
I took the picture, Recipe: Everyday Windshield

I made this soup over the weekend. I forgot to buy tomatoes so I made the soup without them and while the soup still tasted fine without the tomatoes the red from the tomatoes would have provided a nice color contrast to the white beans. My soup had a lot of broth and the white beans ended up sinking to the bottom of the pot, but the flavors from the rosemary and the addition of olive oil and  parmesan cheese made the vegetable broth taste delicious and made the white beans just an added bonus.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Quick & Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Happy Friday! Today I thought I would share some recipes using spaghetti squash, which is a healthy alternative to pasta. Spaghetti squash doesn't taste exactly the same as pasta it's actually a little sweeter, which I enjoy because in my opinion the sweeter the better. Spaghetti squash is extremely versatile and can be used in countless ways.  I thought I would start by sharing with you a technique for cooking spaghetti squash and then I'll share some quick and easy recipes.

I personally always roast my spaghetti squash whole. I preheat the oven to 375°F, poke some holes all around the spaghetti squash and then roast it in the oven for an hour or until a fork inserts easily through the skin. Then once the spaghetti squash has cooled off you cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and "guts" then you use a fork to separate the strands of spaghetti squash from the flesh of the shell. More tips for cooking spaghetti squash can be found here.

1) Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai- 
Recipe & picture courtesy of: A Couple Cooks

I love pad thai so I really like the idea of making a healthier version.  I also think the combination of sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, green onions and cilantro will give the spaghetti squash a nice flavor boost. Another nice thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever leftover meat, poultry or seafood you have in your refrigerator to give your meal some added protein. 

2) Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs- 
Picture & recipe courtesy of: Eating Well

In my opinion nothing beats spaghetti and meatballs on a cold or rainy night.  This spaghetti squash and turkey meatball recipe from Eating Well is a great way to make my favorite comfort food without eating a lot of calories. While homemade meatballs are always amazing if you don't have time to make homemade meatballs you can always simplify this recipe by using store bought meatballs.

3) Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi 
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Paleo Grubs

Shrimp recipes are always great because they are always quick, which is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. Using spaghetti squash instead of pasta is a great way to make a classic dish such shrimp scampi healthier. I also like that this is a flavorful and filling meal, which demonstrates that eating healthy doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of delicious food.

4) Spaghetti Squash Primavera
Photo & recipe courtesy of: Whole Yum

Spaghetti squash, sautéd veggies and cheese, sounds like a winning combination to me! I love how colorful this dish is. This recipe is easily adaptable and a great way to use up any leftover veggies you have in your refrigerator. This dish would go nicely with some sausage, grilled chicken or shrimp and a salad.