Monday, September 22, 2014

Turkey Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Okay, enough talking about fall already, and more doing! My mom and I went Halloween decor shopping for my new house last weekend, and I gotta admit, I have a problem. While most people go nuts over Christmas decorations, I'm over here, like, can I just leave my skeleton bones and spiderwebs up all year? In celebration of my love for all things crisp and fall-y (fall-y? idk, I'm just making stuff up at this point), I created this incredibly filling, and surprisingly

healthy stuffed squash bowl. The only thing that could make this recipe better is if I would have crumbled some bacon and sage on top. You should probably do it!

Turkey Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 2

  • 1 acorn squash
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 turkey sausages, casing removed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn off the cobb
  • shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cut acorn squash in half, scrape out the seeds and strings, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven flesh-side down for 35-40 minutes until softened and cooked through.

Preheat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the turkey sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon while it browns and cooks through. 

Add in the quinoa and corn, allowing to warm through, mixing well. 

Once squash is done cooking, carefully remove using oven mitts and place flesh side up on a plate or in bowls. Fill each squash with the sausage/quinoa mixture and top with some shaved parmesan and parsley for garnish.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pineapple Lime Basil Mocktail

The secret is finally out! My best friend is pregnant! Her and her husband are welcoming a baby girl due on Valentine's Day 2015, but I'm secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hoping that she is a week late and delivers on my birthday. What a cool present that would be; wink wink. Obviously along with baby comes many lifestyle changes; including, but not limited to, watching what you drink. While I'm not giving up my red wine anytime soon, I gotta keep momma happy, so I came up with this "mock"tail of sorts for her when we hosted an impromptu game night at our house last weekend. This was extremely easy to throw together, and I actually ended up liking the mocktail better than my beer! And if you're not expecting, feel free to throw in a splash of vodka or gin and make this into a real party! 

Pineapple Lime Basil Mocktail

  • 1 large pineapple, skin removed and cored
  • 1 handful fresh
    basil leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • club soda
  • ice

Run the pineapple and basil leaves through your juicer on low speed. Add in the lime juice and shake to combine.

Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

When you are ready to mix up some mocktails simply pour 1/2 cup pineapple mix over ice and top with a splash or two of club soda. You could also add the pineapple juice, ice, and club soda to a cocktail shaker and shake until frothy and cold. The choice is yours!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Green Chili Chicken Mac

Does mac and cheese really need an intro? I mean, it's pretty self explanatory, and pretty damn delicious. However, I kicked up your standard pasta and cheese dish a notch by adding in some freshly roasted hatch green chiles and some chicken breast for added flavor.  You really can't beat this combo.

Green Chili Chicken Mac

  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 roasted hatch green chiles, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, preheat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion and green chiles. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, allowing the flour to cook for about 2-3 minutes. While still whisking, slowly pour in the milk and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken. Keep whisking, whisking, whisking for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cheese. Once the cheese ha smelted, add in the cooked onions, green chiles, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta noodles and mix well to cover the noodles in the cheese sauce. Serve hot in bowls.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes

If you don't know what a PSL is, then you have probably been living under a rock, because every girl between the ages of 12 and 40 is talking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks! Fall is quickly approaching, which means that they have released their seasonal PSL for a limited time only. But what if I told you that you could make your own at home, anytime of the year?! And that it would taste even better than the popular coffee chain's version?! That's right. I have found the holy grail of PSL recipes from The Kitchn that actually uses real pumpkin, not Starbucks' pumpkin "sauce" and it doesn't include high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colorings, salt, or preservatives like potassium sorbate. Instead, you know exactly what is going into your perfect PSL, and what's not (like 50g of sugar, umm no thanks Starbucks!). And if you're not feeling the hot drinks because it's still 110 degrees in Phoenix, feel free to let the mixture cool to room temperature and then serve over ice for an nice cool treat!

Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Makes 2

  • 2 tbsp. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 heaping tsp. instant espresso granules
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • whipped cream for garnish (optional)
To make the espresso, mix the boiling water and instant espresso together until the granules disintegrate. You could also use 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee here instead. 

In a medium saucepan, heat the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and black pepper over medium heat until cooked through and fragrant. Add in the sugar and whisk until a thick syrup-like consistency forms. 

Slowly whisk in the vanilla and milk, whisking heavily and constantly. Continue to whisk while the milk warms up, but do not let it bubble or boil. Once the milk is hot, use the whisk or an immersion blender (I used my immersion blender) and froth the milk until nice and foamy.

To serve, pour half of the espresso into each glass, then top with the foamy milk. Top with a dollop of whipped cream if you desire. Serve hot. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sausage and Peppers Pizza

If you would have asked me two years ago what I love to do on a Saturday night it would go something like, get really dressed up, put on too much eye makeup and red lipstick, head out for drinks with the girls have one too many dirty martinis, and be completely worthless the next day. Nowadays, the scene looks a lot different, but not in a bad way. In the best way ever. Saturday nights in my house consist of my boyfriend and I making homemade pizza, splitting a bottle of wine (thank you Bevmo 5-cent wine sale!), and snuggling up on the couch to trashy Netflix or HBO movies. And I wouldn't have it any other way.This weekend's pizza was made up on a whim with all of the leftover's in the fridge that needed to be eaten, and this sausage and peppers pizza took the cake. I mean pie!!

Sausage and Peppers Pizza

  • 1 ball whole-wheat pizza dough, bring to room temperature 30 minutes before baking
  • cornmeal
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Italian turkey sausages, cooked and crumbled into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small bell pepper or 4 small sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on a large baking sheet or pizza stone. Place dough down and cook for 5 minutes in the oven, allowing the dough to get crisp before adding the toppings.

After 5 minutes, remove the crust from the oven. Top with the tomato sauce, 1/2 of the mozzarella, the sausage, the peppers, drop the ricotta by the spoonful, and the top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly, and the crust is golden brown.

Remove form the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces and serving.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Green Chili Turkey & White Bean Enchiladas from Seriously Delish

It's no secret that I am OBSESSED with Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats and her impeccable taste in food, particularly her love for bacon. Her first cook book Seriously Delish was just released, and after months of anticipation I came home to find it on my front door. Before even cracking it open I had decided that I wanted to cook my way through every recipe a la Julie/Julia (look it up if you haven't seen it). But after perusing all 150 recipes, I didn't know where to start. I mean, if there were enough hours in the day or dollars in my bank account, then I probably would have tried to complete a world record by making all 150 recipes in 1 day, but I think I'll start one by one. After much deliberation, I have chosen these turkey and white bean enchiladas, which are the perfect combination of traditional and creative (is that even a real thing?) Either way, you gotta get out and pick up Seriously Delish today!

Green Chili Turkey & White Bean Enchiladas

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 4-oz. can green chiles
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 6 oz. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and bell pepper, then season with salt and cook until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and green chiles; cooking for another 30 seconds. 

Push the vegetables over to the side of the skillet or remove into a bowl and set aside while you cook the turkey in the pan. Breaking it apart as it browns and cooks through; about 6 minutes. Season with cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Then toss the seasoned turkey with the cooked vegetables and add in the chicken broth. 

Reduce the heat to low and add in the white beans, allowing them to warm through; 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce as well as 2 ounces of the grated cheese and mix one last time. Remove the mixture from the heat.

Pour 1/2 of a cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (I used 9x13-inch), and spread to coat the entire bottom of the dish. Place a large spoonful of the turkey mixture along the middle of a tortilla, roll up tightly, and place seem-side down into the baking dish. Repeat for as many tortillas will fit into your baking dish (I fit 7 total). Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top to coat the tortillas completely, then top with the rest of the shredded cheese.

Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown on the outsides. Remove form the heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi Sandwiches

I recently had my first taste of a classic Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich. In the middle of moving a couple of weeks ago, Andrew and I were famished. My cousin owns a couple of Which Wich sandwich shops in Chandler and Gilbert, so we decided to stop in and get some nourishment. I normally stick to my regular buffalo chicken sandwich, but upon walking up to the counter to order, a massive sign advertising their new Bahn Mi sandwich caught my eye. Toasted french bread. Pulled pork. Jalapenos. Carrots. Cucumbers. Cilantro. Sriracha mayo. How could I not order this thing of beauty? So we ordered 2 and devoured them in no more time that it took to make them. For days we talked about how incredibly delicious they were, and ultimately decided we needed to try our hands at making them at home ourselves. Can I just tell you that we fell in love all over again? For something so simple in theory, they taste so gourmet, and they make amazing leftovers for the next day!

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi Sandwiches
Makes 4 

Pulled Pork:
  • 2 1/2-3 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
Sriracha Mayo
  • 4 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
Pickled Carrots
  • 2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 french baguette, halved horizontally and cut into fourths
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

In a crock pot, add the pork shoulder, broth, bbq sauce, onion, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin. Cook on low for 8 hours, until the pork is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the crock pot and shred in a large bowl. (Hint: if you have leftover pulled pork, be sure to make these)

To prepare the carrots, simply whisk together the vinegar and sugar, then toss the carrots and set in the fridge to pickle while the pork cooks. When ready to serve, just drain out the vinegar from the bowl.

To prepare the sriracha mayo,whisk together the mayo and sriracha and place in fridge until ready to serve.

To assemble the sandwiches, toast the baguette until crispy and warm. Slather some sriracha mayo onto each bottom piece of bread. Top with a large helping of the pulled pork. Then layer the cucumber, jalapeno, pickled carrots, chopped cilantro, and bread top to finish. Serve warm.


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