Spicy Breakfast for dinner


The other day I mentioned a frittata I made. It was one of those fantastic things that you create with the random ingredients you have on hand. A few weeks ago I picked up my Bountiful Basket and also got a guacamole pack. There was so much food I was running out of inspiration to use everything before it went bad. I had this genius idea to make a Mexican-inspired frittata. You know, eggs, jalapeno, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. I have only made a few frittatas in my day and only one of them has turned out well. Oddly enough it was the first one I ever made and I have not been able to duplicate the results until this Mexican frittata. Do you have some goodies laying around? Or feel like going out of your way to try my concoction? Here’s what you will need…

Mexican Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven-safe medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir to coat pan evenly. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, egg beaters, pico, milk and jalapeno until well-combined. Add mix to skillet slowly. You want to work the egg mixture gently in the pan but keep the liquid moving so all portions get heated. This is just to start the process of cooking before placing pan in the oven. See this video for a visual (Giada). Next, I bake it for 7-10 minutes. You want the eggs to be set and the top to be a light golden brown.

You will get four servings out of this. I served ours with roasted potatoes and onions (1/2 pound potatoes, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 jalapeno diced; roasted at 400 for 35 minutes with oil, salt, and pepper) but you could also add a side salad and or some crusty bread.


how about a pork chop?


I have tried to write this post two three four times now – thanks WordPress. I think I have finally forced them to let me share an update with you all.

It has been busy around here. I know I say this often but it’s true. Busy is my baseline and I have yet to master my schedule given my current state of busy. I’m getting there though.

Since the last time we chatted a few things have changed. I finished and submitted my applications for internship spots. Only 30 odd days until I find out where I got placed. Carver and I mailed all of our wedding invitations (we have even received a good number of RSVPs) with minimal loss of sanity. We had our wedding tasting. And we also are licensed to wed (!!), possibly the most surreal and obscure moment of the past weekend…

Now that those major milestones are behind us, I have decided there are no more excuses for my lack of exercise. It’s time. No more hiking here, cardio at the gym another day. Solid exercise. My muscles need it. My mind needs it. So hold me accountable. I’ll share with you my progress and the torture.

Recently there my kitchen has been very dirty. A result of lots of cooking and baking. What have I been making you ask? Oh well a variety of things really. Bread, brownies, Cranberry Muffins, Chocolate chip cookies with bacon, a frittata, soup, pizza, peanut butter and the list goes on…

    

I looked in my freezer this morning for our dinner protein and shockingly found no chicken! Pork chops it is then. I also happened to have one nice lemon left and a giant box of spinach and the heel of a loaf of bread. Dinner was impromptu and improvised but delicious. Think Manhattan Chicken with pork.

I seasoned both sides of the pork with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash; preheated the skillet with a touch of olive oil and some nonstick spray. I seared the chop for 3 minutes on either side over medium-high heat. Then I removed the chops from the pan and set them on a plate to rest. I added to the pan a bit more oil (about 2 teaspoons) and more spray then 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of butter; I stirred this together with a wooden spoon and added in 2 cups of baby spinach. I seasoned the spinach with the juice of half a lemon and the zest of half a lemon, salt and pepper; being careful to keep the spinach moving in the pan. Next I replaced the pork chops in the pan – now that they had a beautiful green bed to rest on. I grated fresh parmesan over the chops and put a lid on the skillet. The two pork chops were about 1-1.5 inches in thickness so they needed about 5 minutes of steam time to be cooked through. Just before serving I removed the lid and hit the pork/spinach with the zest and juice from the remaining half of the lemon and a little more salt and pepper. We enjoyed our dinner with a couple thin slices of whole grain bread which was left in the fridge.

    


I climbed a mountain


Remember I said a few weeks ago that it has been crazy around here?? Well it has and it hasn’t slowed down yet. I am in the final stretch on all of my projects.

  • T minus 3 days until applications are due (accepting prayers and positive vibes)
  • T minus 48 days until Match Day (when I learn my fate…)
  • T minus 69 days until the wedding (dun dun dun….)

Plus there’s this new home thing going on so we are constantly cleaning, and working on projects around the house. I have spent my days cooking and FLYING and shopping. I am sooo ready for a breather… I am anticipating one this coming weekend when applications will be done and invitations will be mailed out. Then the week after is our tasting which should yield some FANTASTIC photos!! Can you imagine a foodie’s wedding when they have full control over the menu??? It’s a bit like heaven…

So what have I been cooking and doing?? Well I recently found Bountiful Baskets which is my new favorite thing. It’s like Chopped but at home. Pick up a mystery basket or two of food and try to make a week or two’s worth of food out of it. If there is a location near you I highly recommend it – one warning is wait to do your produce shopping until after you have taken home and inventoried your loot. It is very affordable and high quality produce; plus you are supporting local growers. Here are a few shots of my first two pick ups.

             

Also on the project list was some quality time in the kitchen. I made a delicious cake for a dear coworker’s birthday, I threw a party for that big football game (which was a total disappointment) a couple weeks ago, I made my two favorite breads (this one and this one), and a few soups (this one, a recipe-less chicken and veggie soup, and this one). Oh yah… and homemade Oreos. Yep. I did that. I have been addicted to a new cookbook my mom & I bought for each other this Christmas. FLOUR and it’s amazing… I have made: snickerdoodles (awesome), chocolate chip cookies (dear God the best CC cookies ever…), sticky buns, and the homemade oreos. Mom’s list looks like that but with a few extras including the bran muffins and a few others. Here are some drool-worthy photos of the goods.

            

Also on my project list – crafts… tons. I’ve been sewing curtains, and pillows, and cutting fabric for invitations and assembling invitations… I’m so looking forward to receiving RSVPs mainly because it will mean I am done with invitations. Please tell me (current/past brides) that you feel me on this…

Enjoy this shot – I (literally) climbed to the top of a mountain today. That’s a first and it was a pain in the butt… Though I will probably be back, just never EVER on a Sunday morning again.

I have a bit of an emergency on my hands currently — less than 1/2 cup of butter in the house… and not enough peanut butter~ Off to load up.


Shrimp Bruschetta


A few weeks ago I was watching Julie & Julia. It should come as no surprise that I really enjoy that movie. Anyways, in the beginning when Julie is discussing potential blog topics with her husband they are eating bruschetta for dinner. That sparked my interest. Carver and I really enjoy simple finger foods that require little prep and equal effort cleaning up. That lead us to shrimp bruschetta, made entirely from ingredients hanging around the house. The bread was the leftovers from that week’s homemade loaf- no knead whole wheat. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp on hand. I buy the ones Trader Joes carries because they don’t have any additives and they are a good size. The other ingredients: olive oil, canned diced tomatoes, shallots, dried basil and thyme.
In a large sauté pan I cooked up the shallots in oil and salt & pepper until translucent. Then I added in a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes, a pinch each of basil and thyme. I let the tomatoes simmer for about 15 minutes. Then I added in the shrimp which I had defrosted and cut in to 1 1/2″ pieces. Once the shrimp hit the sauce you will cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. You want pink shrimp, tender but not rubbery. While the sauce simmered away Carver browned up the bread in a bit of butter on each side until golden and crisp. Then all you do is assemble. Easy, fun and balanced.

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I’ve missed you


I need a bloody mary. STAT. Then maybe a nap and maybe after that I will be up for the gym. But right now, it is barely 9AM at the temperature is nearly 90 degrees and the humidity is over 50%. Reality check – Southie is one degree cooler and only has 41% humidity, oh and they have a breeze. It’s pretty gross out here. The past two weeks of my solitary confinement I have spent the mornings and evenings getting all of my exercise in and anything which requires me to be outside. The rest of the day I am cooped up either reading, or on my computer working, or studying. Oh yes that’s right I said studying. I bought a study guide for a board exam I plan to take, no date yet. I did pretty well on the portion of the practice exam I took, but reviewing their study guide makes me a little queasy. So for the time being I am hacking away at it, bit by bit. Otherwise my projects have consisted of non-food things: dealing with student loans, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, organizing, etc. I did have a pretty insane weekend, and this led to an atypical Tuesday: up at 5 for lunches and breakfast, took Merlin for a walk around 6, had a cup of coffee, went back to bed and slept until 10:45. I must say that additional sleep was glorious. What did I do Sunday and Monday that made me so exhausted you ask? Well I will tell you… I cooked and baked enough to fill a fridge and freezer: 6 smoothies, 1 loaf of bread, 2 flank steaks, chipotle marinade, 2 chicken breasts, couscous salad, cilantro-lime rice, baked pinto beans, oatmeal raisin cookies… I’m sure that I am missing something but at the moment it escapes me. So while all this work is making my 5AM lunch prep much easier, I was exhausted after it. I will be evaluating my game plan today/tomorrow so that I can enjoy my weekend. Very exciting this weekend is a special visit from one of my dearest friends. We have not seen each other since before the engagement and as such will probably spend the weekend gabbing about dresses, shoes, gifts, the ring, etc. Chances are this will all be done over an enormous cup of coffee and some kind of treat… I know, you’re jealous. I would be too if they weren’t my plans.

Later this afternoon I will share the earth-shattering thing that happened this week which prompted my 16+ hours in the kitchen last weekend.

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Must-Have List for a Blissful Kitchen: Breakfast Edition


Here are my go-to items to ensure I can always whip up a healthy breakfast in no time. This list will provide you with the ingredients for everything from smoothies, to toast with peanut butter to waffles or pancakes and everything in between.

Frozen Berries Low-fat granola All-Purpose Flour Mixed Nuts
Other frozen fruits: banans, mango, pineapple, etc Dijon Mustard Baking Powder Peanut Butter
Raw Nuts Egg Substitute Baking Soda Roasted Red Peppers
Vegetable Blends Eggs Brown Sugar Vegetable Oil
Whole Wheat Waffles FF/LF Cheese Cinnamon Whole Wheat Flour
Fresh Fruit: variety of in season items FF/LF Milk Coconut – shredded Whole-Grain Breakfast Cereal
Dried Fruit – variety FF/LF Spreads (cream cheese) Cornmeal Light Whole-Grain Breads
Granulated Sugar FF/LF Yogurt Lettuce, variety Sugar Substitute
Honey Ketchup & Hot Sauce Kosher Salt Cooking Spray

St. Patrick’s Day Tradition


For as long as I can remember the middle of March has involved Irish Soda Bread. I remember watching mom work with the tough dough, and the enormous cast iron skillet that was as essential as caraway seeds. It was a given that I would carry this tradition on when I started experimenting in the kitchen.
Over the years since I first made this on, I have tweaked my mother’s (grandmother’s) recipe made it my own. Both of my parents are Irish-Italian Americans, so both of my grandmothers have soda bread recipes they swear by. Their recipes are very good, but by combining them and adding in my nutrition background the resulting recipe is to die for. Really, you must try it! It’s easy and the pay back is huge.

** I managed to make this recipe even better for 2012. I know it’s shocking. If you still haven’t made this, don’t wait until next year. Make it this weekend to have as breakfast for the week. It’s delicious with a bit of butter and jam.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cold unsalted
  • 1 ½ cups raisins or currants
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12” cast iron skillet liberally with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cut in 6 tablespoons butter until pea-sized and shaggy looking.
  4. Add in raisins and caraway seeds and mix until well-combined.
  5. Slowly mix in buttermilk until just combined. I add it about ½ cup at a time because sometimes it takes less/more
  6. Bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and crisp at the edges. I rotate the pan halfway through cooking time and dot the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Let cool 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing to a cooling rack.