Black Pepper Chicken

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Chinese takeout is one of my favorite kitchen cheats, but with recipes like this, I can prepare the salty deliciousness myself. Yes, friends, this is another fakeout-takeout recipe. I will admit that Panda Express got me through my long Tuesdays on campus at Cal State Long Beach. I would arrive at 9am and my last class would end at 10pm. Truly, I owe my degree to Panda for fueling me through my last semester. Upon graduation, I needed to find a way to satisfy my Tuesday cravings. That is where the adventure for this recipe began. Before I knew it I was whipping it up myself! This recipe is fairly easy and features that super savory pepper sauce. If you don’t feel like fussing with fresh ginger, you can substitute it with ground ginger powder. However, I will advise that it’s very much worth fussing over the fresh stuff.  Recipe For.png

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from https://sweetcsdesigns.com/panda-express-black-pepper-chicken-copycat-recipe/

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Grilled and Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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This egg-free/not fried spin on Chiles Rellenos is perfect for summer grilling. These peppers have bold flavor with spicy chorizo, smoky corn, and creamy bubbling cheese. This recipe does take a considerable amount of prep as you must start with roasting the corn and peppers before cooking up the filling and then returning the stuffed peppers to the grill. Trust me when I say the extra steps are so worth it. This recipe pairs beautifully with chile-lime seasoned edamame.

Serves: 6      Time: approximately 45 minutes to an hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 large poblano peppers
  • 1-ish cups of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (8oz) of chorizo
  • 1.5 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • optional: cilantro, pico de gallo, sour cream 

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to high and brush your corn and poblano peppers with 1 tsp of oil. Grill corn and poblanos until they begin to brown, turning occasionally. Continue roasting for about 10 minutes until the corn and poblanos are fairly blackened/browned. We are looking for scorch marks here, on the surface, not compete burning.
  2. Remove corn and poblanos from the grill, placing the poblanos in a bowl and covering them to steam.
  3. Cut the roasted corn from the cob and set it aside.
  4. Cook the chorizo in a large pan. Once cooked through add breadcrumbs until most of the excess oil is sopped up. Add the roasted corn and 1 cup of the Monterey jack cheese (reserve 1/2 cup of the cheese for topping).
  5. Return to the poblano peppers and peel the skin. This is the clear-ish bits that should be flaking off, not the actual green fleshy parts. Don’t look for perfection here just get as much off as you can. Slice each pepper and remove the ribs/seeds.
  6. Create foil pockets and place a pepper on each one.
  7. Fill each pepper with the chorizo and corn mixture. Top with a bit of extra monterey jack cheese (you should have 1/2 cup reserved). wrap each pepper up along the side but keep the top open so that your cheese isn’t pulled off.
  8. Place the peppers back on your grill for a few moments to get the cheese bubbly on top.
  9. Plate and enjoy!

*Photo is an origial belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine (July 2018, p. 86)

Baked Cheeseburger Egg Rolls with Dipping Sauce

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It is no big secret that I love to egg roll and wonton everything. Just scroll through this blog and you will see that I cook with wonton and egg roll wrappers quite a bit. That said, burgers are just one thing I’ve been apprehensive about “egg-rolling.” This recipe has been floating around Pinterest for quite some time, but it never truly appealed to me. Finally, one night I was scrolling through Pinterest when my husband saw it, and he HAD to have it. I will admit that he has great taste so I went with it. I’m glad I did because these egg rolls are delicious. They will likely be put in regular dinner rotation at my house. Now let’s get down to it. Although I’m not being paid to talk about it, the gourmet burger seasoning makes the beef super savory and sets these babies off! The diced pickles bring a crisp texture and the burger sauce is the perfect creamy “dip-able” addition. I like that the wrapper is filling enough to make this feel like an actual burger, but light enough to be able to eat two of these without guilt. I came into this recipe a skeptic, and left ready for seconds. This recipe was adapted from Will Cook for Smiles which is another gorgeous recipe blog.

Time: Approximately 1 hour

Serves: 12 egg rolls

Ingredients for Egg Rolls:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium/large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp gourmet burger seasoning (I used Weber’s)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 slices of cheese (this depends on what you like on your burger I used thin sliced cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • egg roll wrappers
  • 3 tbsp canola oil to brush over the egg rolls when baking

Ingredients for Burger Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove pressed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. In a large pan heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Remove the beef from heat and stir in the burger seasoning, salt/pepper, cheese and sweet pickles.
  5. Once the cheese is melted through and the beef mixture is well combined start assembling your egg rolls.
  6. If you are not used to assembling egg rolls here is a really helpful link to guide you. You will notice this recipe uses an egg wash which I don’t use. How to roll
  7. After rolling each one place them seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush the rolls with oil and bake for 20 minutes flipping them 1/2 way through.
  8. While the egg rolls are baking mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  9. Let the egg rolls cool for a minute than dish and enjoy!
  10. If you plan to have these as left overs they should be re-heated in the oven. It is possible to heat in the microwave but it is just not the same.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Southwest Style Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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We have been eating so much cheese, pasta and take out recently that we needed to kick off this week with a healthy veggie dinner. I’m sure I don’t need to preach the benefits of quinoa too much these days because it has bee exhausted at this point, but I will highlight a few of my favorite qualities of this grain: gluten free, high in protein, high in fiber and super high in antioxidants. Just heed my advice and get this stuff into your diet immediately! This recipe is a slam dunk in that it is delicious without the fats, salt and carbs. Please note that I am not calling this recipe vegetarian or vegan because I did cook the quinoa with beef broth. YOU CAN make this vegetarian by cooking the quinoa with water.

Makes: 8 peppers     Calories: 176/stuffed half pepper    Time: prep- 30 mins, cook- 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (the more round the better), cut in half with ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package. I cooked mine with beef broth but you can use vegetable broth or just water.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • OPTIONAL: if you like a little heat 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25 oz) can of sweet whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2/3 cup of your favorite salsa, we used “hot traditional”
  • OPTIONAL: cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package. This takes about 30 minutes so be sure to allot the time for this step.
  2. In a large bowl mix together cooked quinoa, garlic, green onion, spices, beans, corn and salsa.
  3. Prepare the peppers by halving them and cleaning out the ribs/seeds
  4. Scoop the quinoa mixture into each pepper halve and place in greased 9×13 baking dish.
  5. If you want to top the pepper with cheese do so now and cover the baking dish with foil.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes and remove the foil to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegardengrazer.com

Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

BLT Chicken Salad

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Chicken salad, I’ve reached chicken salad status… To some this may seem like a stupid thing to consider a milestone, but entertain me for a second. I remember the days my mom was done with every single one of us kids because we were crazy. When it came time for dinner she had very little energy to put into making a big meal. One of her go to recipes was egg salad… Yes, it is as disgusting as it sounds. Hard-boiled eggs smothered with mayonnaise and some salt and pepper. I “yack” just thinking about it. It always made me wonder “how bad are we that she would actually feed this to us?” Nightmares still plague me about how she would sometimes send us off to school with an egg salad sandwich tucked into our lunchboxes. I made my own vow at a young age to never feed my future husband and child(ren) rotten-eggs-on-toast (egg salad). Chicken salad is a big deal for me because it is my go to “quick and easy” and it doesn’t suck. Sorry mom, kinda..

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com. If you get the chance, please check out their beautiful website. They do the 21 day fix so if you are looking for recipes to fit your diet plan for the 21 day fix you will want to head over there right away. What drew me to the recipe is the BLT part of its title. Why have standard chicken salad when you can have BLT chicken salad?!  Not only is the recipe easy and delicious but we have a few days worth of left overs.

Serves: 8    Calories: 156.4     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz pkg of bacon, I used center cut bacon
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 (5.3 oz) containers of plain greek yogurt
  • I head of romaine lettuce, chopped (yields approx 5.5 cups of lettuce)
  • OPTIONAL: Salt, pepper, dill to taste
  • OPTIONAL: toast, crackers, avocacos

Directions:

  1. Cook chicken and bacon.
  2. Chop up lettuce and tomatoes. Put chopped veggies into a large bowl with greek yogurt.
  3. Shred chicken and crumble the bacon.
  4. Add the meats and optional seasonings to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Scoop onto toast, crackers or like http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com suggested avocados! We grilled our avocados. If you wish to do the same just cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and rub them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put the on the grill “cut-side” down. Grill until you get the desired char (only a few minutes at medium heat).
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com

Baked Jalapeño Popper Rolled Tacos

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I snagged this recipe from the Land o Lakes website. That’s right people I actually found a decent recipe off of a commercial brand’s website. I am willing to try my hand at anything inspired by jalapeño poppers. How could a recipe involving creamy, cheesy, spicy goodness go wrong?

These rolled tacos are amazing. There is really no other way to describe them. Their crispy baked shell add the perfect texture to a creamy filling. I went crazy with the jalapeños because we like spicy food so if you are not a big fan of heat I suggest using half of what this recipe calls for. These tacos are perfect for weeknights when time is tight as it doesn’t take very long to make. We finished with quite a few left overs, but keep in mind that only two of us were eating these. That said, if you have a larger family with older children you may want to double the recipe and stock your freezer with left overs. These are large rolled tacos, not your small 6 inch rolled street tacos. One of these with a side dish is more than enough to fill you up for dinner.

Makes: 10 rolled tacos     Calories: 295 per rolled taco    Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1 (12oz) jar jalapeños, drained and chopped finely
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 10 flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add cooked chicken, milk, cream cheese and jalapeños. Mix together until the cream cheese is soft and all ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Turn off heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Spread a thin layer of the chicken mixture over one half of each tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place each rolled taco on a baking sheet with the seam side down.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and brush a little over each taco.
  6. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven to flip the tacos. Bake for an additional 7 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two before serving.
  8. Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.landolakes.com

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