Santa Pancakes

My poor kids have been sick on and off pretty consistently for the few weeks. My son especially. I wanted to add a little brightness to their day so I made some fun pancakes this morning. It’s super easy to slice up some strawberries and bananas, throw in some blueberries for eyes and garnish with a little whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a pretty cute little St. Nick on your breakfast table!

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Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Sage and Apples

Fall in SoCal is a finicky thing. It usually takes awhile to actually start feeling the cooler weather. Sometimes that’s October and sometimes that’s December. Usually, it begins as cold in the morning and evening but still hot in the afternoon. It’s annoying.

For me, who is obsessed with the season, Fall begins right after Labor Day. I wait patiently for the weather to cool even just slightly (I’ll take low 70s) so as to tackle my long awaited list of yummy Fall recipes: Chili, soup, roasts… pumpkin spice and everything nice.

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, which marks the first official day of Fall. I thought it would be the perfect time to share a recipe I just came up with last week. I recently started an herb garden which contains, among others, sage. Now, sage is a very Fall flavor, so I’m just looking for ways to incorporate it into my meals before Thanksgiving. Here’s one I came up with and it was super delicious!

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Sage and Apples

2 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

Fresh Sage leaves (some whole and about 1 tsp finely minced)

Thin sliced prosciutto (enough to wrap around your chicken)

1 apple, diced (whichever kind you like, just not Granny Smith. I used Fuji.)

½ diced yellow onion

½ cup low-sodium chicken stock

¼ cup Dry white wine (optional. Can use more chicken stock if you prefer)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Cut your chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Try to get them as much the same thickness as possible. Sprinkle with a little pepper. I wouldn’t salt them because prosciutto is pretty salty and you don’t want to over do it.

Place fresh sage leaves (the whole ones) on each piece of chicken. I used about two per piece. Wrap each chicken prosciutto. Again, I used about two to three slices per piece.

In skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Brown each piece of chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, or until almost cooked.

 

Remove the chicken and add the onion, apple, and minced sage. Saute until just starting to soften. Add the chicken stock and wine (if using). 

 

Bring to a boil for a couple minutes and add the chicken back in. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Serve the chicken topped with the apples and some of the cooking liquid.

 

Happy Fall!!!!!!!

Instant Pot Tropical Chicken & Rice

I know I’ve sung the praises of my Instant Pot before, but here I go again! I really think there is a learning curve with this gadget and I think I may be on the verge of really figuring it out. It is so perfect for busy day meals or days when I forgot to take meat out of the freezer. For me, those days are usually one in the same! I’m terrible at meal planning. 
 

That’s actually not true. I’m great at meal planning. What I’m bad at is meal follow through.

Anyway, this was a super easy and quick recipe that I will definitely be making again. I use the term recipe lightly.

Throw two chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Top with one 12oz jar of Trader Joe’s Island Salsa (or any other tropical salsa you may find). Fill the jar up a little more than halfway with water and pour that into the Instant Pot with the salsa and the chicken.

 

Make sure the vent is closed and select manual and set the timer to 20 minutes if the chicken is frozen and 7 minutes if it is thawed.

When it’s done, shred the chicken but leave it in the juice that generates so it can soak up the flavors.

I topped mine with a mango sauce found in this recipe here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/honey-lime-chicken-with-mango-sauce-52430181

Serve with brown rice and broccoli or any other veggie you like.

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I just wanted to share an alternative to this White Chocolate Cranberry cookie. Just follow the recipe the same way, but substitute chopped up dried cherries for the cranberries and semisweet chocolate chunks for the white chocolate. It makes for a really yummy flavor combination!

Food on the Table

To me, white chocolate and cranberry are food soul mates. They just belong together. And they make for perfect Christmas treat bedfellows. You can make just about any dessert white chocolate-cranberry and not only would people love it, but it would look super festive on any table or cookie tray.

These are just a twist on a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe which I usually adapt from Nestle.

Fun Fact: The chocolate chip cookie was invented by a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She owned a restaurant called the Toll House Inn. During WWII, soldiers from Massachusettes (where the Toll House Inn was located), shared the chocolate chip cookies from their care packages with other soldiers. Soon they were requesting them from their families who then inundated Ms. Wakefield with requests for her recipe! After her recipe became so popular, she contacted Nestle and struck a deal: they…

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Citrus Roasted Cod

I was never much of a fish eater growing up. My mom wasn’t a huge fan, so we just didn’t have it often. Occasionally, but not often. 

We still don’t eat very much fish, but that’s slowly been changing over the years I’ve been cooking. As I’ve grown up and expanded my food horizons, I’ve found that I really like most whitefish (cod, halibut, barramundi, specifically), and I LOVE salmon. I mean, really, salmon is sooooo good! And of course, I’ve always been a fan of shrimp and crab.

I recently picked up some cod from the store and decided to roast it. I’m going to consider this one of my No recipe Recipes, because it is so stinkin’ easy to put together! Fish takes almost no time at all to cook so it makes for a really fast weeknight dinner. And when my kids have tae kwon do, ballet, and baseball… and I have kickboxing… and my husband has softball, I need dinner to be the last thing to worry about.

I would feel like was doing you a disservice if I didn’t also mention how HEALTHY this meal is. There are approximately 15 grams of protein in 3oz of cod, 70 calories, and .6 grams of fat. It is an excellent source of B vitamins and potassium, and like many fish, a good source of healthy fats. It makes for a very light meal and will take on just about any flavor you add to it because its own flavor is very mild.

For this meal, I just sliced up 1 orange and one lemon and lay the sliced on a parchment lined baking sheet. Save a little bit of the lemon end to squeeze over the top of the fish.

I placed the cod filets on top of the citrus slices. I drizzled each with olive oil (I used my favorite garlic infused olive oil from Trader Joe’s but regular will work). Then I sprinkled each filet with some garlic salt, pepper, and marjoram. Finally, I squeezed the last little bit of lemon over the top. NOTE: you could use any mild white fish here if you don’t have cod.


I put the sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 13 minutes.

That’s it. So simple, but so yummy. It was actually pretty refreshing, which is nice for the warmer spring weather we’ve been having. I served mine with some roasted asparagus, which was easy too since I put the asparagus (coated in olive oil and garlic salt) in the oven about 10 minutes before I added the fish. Both trays came out at the same time.

We will definitely be having this more often!

Super Easy Cranberry Sauce 

If you are in charge of the cranberry sauce for your holiday meal, you definitely drew the long straw. The perfect cranberry sauce takes minutes and only about 4 ingredients (5 if you include the 1/2 cup water). And you can make it a day or two in advance.

Cranberry sauce is definitely the easiest part of the Thanksgiving meal. 

Super Easy Cranberry Sauce 

1 12oz bag of whole, fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar 

The zest of one orange 

The juice of half an orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 cup water

2 Tablespoons cornstarch 

In a pot over medium heat, add your cranberries, sugar, zest, juice, cinnamon, and water. Stir together and let come to a boil.


While the mixture is boiling, the cranberries will begin to burst, releasing their juices. Let it stay at a low boil until they are soft and mostly burst open. 

Once they are all soft, stir in the cornstarch and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened. 


Turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cool before serving. It will thicken up even more as it sits.


You can make this dish one to two days in advance and transfer the cranberries to a plastic container and store in the fridge until Turkey Day. 

Chocolate, Banana, Coconut Greek Yogurt 

I’m a big snack person. When I first heard that it is actually recommended that you eat 6 small meals throughout the day instead of just 3 main meals, I was pretty ecstatic. Of course it took me awhile to get it down so I was doing it right (cookies and chips are not what they are talking about here, unfortunately), but still. Dieticians are saying to eat more often? You got it. I’m so there.
 It’s also good to have one of these snacks after a workout. A good post-workout snack has a both a good source of carbs and a protein because you need to replenish the energy you just expended and you need to help repair and recover the muscles you just worked. Plus, your body is still burning calories for a while after you work out, so you won’t be “undoing” anything you just burned. 

This snack was inspired by a picture I saw online, but I don’t remember where (sorry! I’m not trying to steal ideas here!), but it was actually really delicious. Like, you could make this a post-workout snack or a post-breakfast snack or a Tuesday-afternoon snack or a trick-your-kids-into-eating something-healthy snack or an anytime-you-damn-well-feel-like-it snack. It’s healthy and delicious and you will likely want to add it to your routine, whether you work out or not. 

This is for one person, so you can adjust accordingly. This is only about 175 calories (you could do less nut butter if you want to lower this number, since that’s where most of the calories in this snack come from). You use so few of the coconut chips and the nibs, you don’t even have to worry about what they add. 

¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

½ banana, sliced

1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)

A few Coconut chips*

A small amount of Cacao nibs*

*I know, I know; the technical measurements here are really on-point.

Let’s pretend I didn’t forget to put the peanut butter in this picture…


In a bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt and the peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice). You may notice in the picture below that I didn’t do this. It just makes it easier to mix together before all the other stuff goes in. Then add the sliced bananas and sprinkle a few coconut chips crumbled up and some cacao nibs over the top.

Done! 

**Notes:

1. I found these coconut chips at Trader Joe’s. I’m pretty sure you can get them or a similar product at most grocery stores. Coconut is sort of the It Girl of the food world right now so you can find products everywhere. 

2. Cacao nibs are a raw, pure form of chocolate, made from the crushed dried cocoa bean. Pretty much, they are nature’s chocolate chip. They have a deep chocolate flavor and a little goes a long way. Texture-wise, they sort of remind me of Buncha Crunch (remember those? Do they even still make those anymore?)