delicious · dinner · dinner ideas · food · foodithinkiloveyou · from scratch · healthy · jam · lemon · pizza

Prosciutto-Arugula Pizza and a Very Sexy Fig-Pear Spread

image3 (3)There is nothing sexier than these two ingredients: prosciutto and arugula. I mean,  think about it. Prosciutto is the softest, most delicate piece of salty deliciousness. Arugula, is fun and nutty, but oh so satisfying when you take that first crunchy bite. I thought, why no pair those ingredients with a Bosc pear-fig spread? A little sweetness always benefits from the beautiful balance of salt, right? So, to honor the fact that I’m back from a long hiatus, tonight I made a pizza with all of these sexy ingredients.

Now, in order to REALLY enjoy pizza, the crust has to be just right. I’ve tried a lot of pizza dough recipes out there and made a mess of some of the best (I’m sure), but only one turns out perfect every single time. It’s a perfectly crispy crust on the outside and soft on the inside. Mr Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe is The One. Try it and you will not regret it. There are a couple of recipes out there, but this is the one I recommend. This is the one you have been looking for. Note: Make sure you use just enough dough for the size of pizza you are making.

image2 (6)Next I prepared my toppings. I chopped 1/2 of a Bosc pair (my favorite of all pairs!) and about 6 dried figs. In a small pan I cooked them down with some water, a splash of lemon juice, one teaspoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I smashed it all together to create a spread for the pizza.

image1 (8)Once the dough was done, about 10 minutes later in a 450 degree oven, I drizzled with olive oil, the pear-fig spread and put back in the oven for about 4 minutes. Simple enough, right? Next, I added some prosciutto, arugula and of course some shaved Parmesan cheese. The outcome, a perfect pizza for one.

 

 

 

brunch ideas · cheese · creative dishes · creativity · culinary · delicious · dinner · dinner ideas · food · foodithinkiloveyou · fries · from scratch · fun meal · healthy · ingredients · meal ideas · parmesan · seasoning · spinach · yum

Food for the Game & Love for the Food

As many of you may know the Super Bowl is next weekend AND as you may also know, the best part of the Super Bowl is THE FOOD. Okay the commercials are pretty fun, the game is cool, family, friends but c’mon…the food is the best part!? Pizza, tortilla chips and guac, chicken wings, potato chips, nachos, queso dip, I can go on and on. So of course I will be watching (i.e. stuffing my face) the game next Sunday! Any event that allows me a week in advance to begin a conversation with “let’s talk menu” is an event for me. This is exactly what I did yesterday, started planning the Super Bowl menu.

Here’s what will be causing me to miss the best Super Bowl commercials and the play of the evening next Sunday:img_4599

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp appetizers is making a comeback after being a hit during the football game on Thanksgiving. This time, however, they will be accompanied by a cilantro dipping sauce. People expecting to see the good ol’ buffalo chicken wings will absolutely forget about them (forever) after they taste these shrimp babies.img_5332

Mini Baked Empanadas will be sitting front and center when the game begins. I’m prepping these a day before since that can be an event of its own. Last time I made these they were amazing in their full empanada size so I imagine they will be even better when limited to only a few bites. For the filling I will attempt a cuban style picadillo using ground beef, pepper stuffed green olives, raisins, green bell peppers and spices. I’ve never attempted this filling, but I’ve had it many times at my favorite cuban restaurant. Wish me luck!fullsizerender-19

Ceviche is something I love to make during summer months because it’s refreshing and super easy. My dad taught me how to make ceviche and his is the best I’ve ever had so I’m letting him take that dish. All we use to make this is fish (any white fish works), cut in small pieces, lime juice (I like to use a lime/lemon juice combo), chopped tomato, onion ( I prefer red onion), cilantro and salt. My dad doesn’t know this, but I also use a little of paprika just to give it another layer of flavor. You can make the ceviche the same day, but my dad recommends letting the fish marinade in the lime juice over night. I’ve prepared it with much less time than that and can tell you that after about 40 minutes it’s pretty darn good! Once you strain the juice from the fish (otherwise it’s too sour), add salt and the chopped ingredients. Mix and sprinkle some paprika and start dipping your tortilla chips or better yet have on a tostada the way it’s meant to be had (not on game day).img_5337

Braised Brisket Loaded fries, is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now. Since I’ll be totally over-eating I want to rescue some calories by baking the fries. I know, I know, but I’m going to make a paprika seasoning to make you forget the fries are baked and it will be absolutely delicious! I’m also going to make an cilantro chimichurri to add some freshness and some pickled onions for pizzazz, texture and pretty color. Okay, you can’t have loaded fries without cheese, so yes I will be using some cotija cheese to keep them light, but also very flavorful. Keep a look out for this picture, it’s going to be kind of amazing!img_5028

Baked Oysters Rockefeller, recently inspired during my trip to New Orleans, will be something I will be making for the first time. I’m a little nervous because I’ve never baked oysters in my life, but considering I use my oven quite often I’m sure I can figure it out (right?). My goal is to reproduce my favorite baked oyster from The Royal House in NOLA with a spinach, bacon, wine? and cheese? Well, as you can see I will be tasting as I go to make sure it turns out just as good as the ones I had in NOLA. I can’t wait!

Okay so I know you’re probably asking yourself where the game food is, right? I mean, what’s with all this fancy stuff? Bring out the potato chips and crack open the cheese dip. Well here’s the thing. This year one of my resolutions was to stop eating packaged foods and cook more (#cookmore). So I will be making everything from scratch. It’s just so much better to eat things we actually make and avoid all the artificial preservatives and extra pounds of salt and sugar found in packaged foods. So, I hope you share the love for clean, home cooked meals because this year is going to be filled with ’em!

Now that we have a plan, menu, strategy and incredibly delicious visuals. Let the games begin!

 

 

California · chicken · chicken meal · chicken meals · cooking · creative dishes · delicious · dinner idea · dinner ideas · easy to make · food · foodithinkiloveyou · grilling · healthy · ingredients · lunch · meal ideas · mexican food · quick dinner · quick meal · recipe · salad · tacos · yum

Miss Your Grill Marks in the Winter

img_5197As I vacationed in New Orleans over the holidays I came to realize how much I missed having the option to have something grilled when I ordered at a restaurant. While I had an amazing time trying foods like fried alligator, fried dough varieties and fried oysters, I must say I immensely missed my grilled salmon, chicken, veggies! So, when I got back early this week all I wanted was some grilled chicken tacos (because I also missed having mexican food!)

Since I don’t have a grill at home, and even if I did I wouldn’t be able to use it during the winter rainy days I came back to, I got a little creative at home. Have you ever heard of liquid smoke? Well if you haven’t it’s a liquid that you buy that is highly intense in smoke flavor. It’s very potent by itself so the key is using it in small amounts (a little does plenty) and incorporate it when you want to take your food to that level of smokeyness. In my case, there were 3 things on my agenda (crave list) as I prepared my first meal back home. One, to have salad (MY GOD I missed fresh greens!), but I’ll get to that later. Two, grilled chicken (no more fried food please!), and three to use the dried pasilla chilis that I have been wanting to get into lately. So, here’s what did:

I took a dried pasilla chili and a garlic clove and boiled in about 2 cups of water. Once it was soft (about 10 min), I placed the chili, garlic and a little bit a water (excluding the seeds) into a blender and made into a pure/sauce. I used some of the remaining water to water it down a bit.fullsizerender-17

I cut up 2 chicken breasts into small slices (fajita style) and season with salt and pepper. Then I took some of the pasilla chili sauce and poured over the chicken. I poured about 1 table-spoon of liquid smoke and combined the sauce and liquid to make a marinade for the chicken. Let that sit for 30 min.

Using a grill mark cast iron skillet (you can also use a Panini press) I lightly drizzled some olive oil and I brought it to med-high heat. I place the chicken on my skillet and let the chicken cook evenly on all sides. [Make sure you don’t immediately turn the chicken so you give the skillet enough time to make its marks]fullsizerender-18

While that was cooking I turned my attention to my side. I wanted to make a salad, but also incorporate some of that grilled flavor. So, I sliced some white onion sautéed on a small pan until the onion was soft and a little black around the edges. Set that aside.

 

Now for the side salad.

In a plastic container I placed mixed greens, chia seeds, toasted flax-seed, chopped tomatoes, feta cheese and a dressing I made using turmeric, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I toss my salad by closing the container lid and mixing it by shaking the container to allow all the ingriendts to mix. Only the lid wasn’t secured enough as I began to shake the container, half of my salad completely flew across my kitchen and all over my (startled) face.

After a few seconds of shock, wiping my eyes from a turmeric dressing mess and removing spinach from my hair, I pushed forward and started again. Nothing was going to come in between my side salad and I, I’d come too far! Second time around there was no raining salad in my kitchen so I was able to plate it, cut up some avocado on top along with the charred onions. It was perfect!

So there, after being a little shaken up, I warmed up some corn tortillas, spread some of my pasilla chili sauce, then the chicken, and some chopped onions cilantro. Since it’s the new year and recently came back from a trip where I pretty much ate my way through each street in New Orleans, I figure it’s a good time to get back on track and focus on healthy eating and home cooking. I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Happy 2017!

 

 

 

cooking · creativity · dinner · dinner idea · dinner ideas · dreams · easy to make · experience · food · simple · spices · yum

When you Least Expect The Perfect Meal: Mediterranean Chicken Pita Wraps

fullsizerender-3They say that love comes your way when you least expect it, and I am here to tell you this is true. Last week, a missing ingredient once again disappointed me after I had been dreaming up my plans for that perfect meal. I had planned and fantasized about it all day; the dough I thawed, the chicken I seasoned to make chicken empanadas could no longer happen. It turned out that I was missing important ingredients to make my dinner a dream come true. So I sat in front of my open refrigerator, as I often do when I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I opened the same crisper drawer about 3 times. Glanced over at the sauces and the open wine bottle on the door thinking, “Now, what I am supposed to make for dinner?”

If you know anything about me by now, you know that I am a big believer in using what you have. Quite often, I think we buy a lot more food than we actually need. img_4842Then it sits in our pantry because that doesn’t go bad as quickly as the food in the refrigerator. Right? So I went to the pantry! I found a can of garbanzo beans.
I thought, okay, I’ll make hummus, have with some crackers and just call it a night.Until magic happened in my very own kitchen.

Do you remember that dough I had thawed to make my perfect empanadas dinner? I decided to flatten it to make pita. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work, but when I saw the dough start to bubble up, I knew this was going to work out. fullsizerender-5The chicken I had seasoned, I added a few more spices to it and pan seared it. Then I chopped some tomato, onion, and parsley and before I knew it, I was assembling chicken wraps! I was definitely not expecting a Mediterranean night, rather a South American one, but it was just as amazing. I loved that suddenly all the stars aligned and ingredients just came together. It would have been very easy for me to order take out or head fullsizerender-4out to the market for the missing ingredients, but I forced myself to use what I had at home. So if you’re like me and are always looking for the Perfect Meal, just know that when you least expect it, it will come to you.

 

What I used to make my hummus:

  • 1(8oz) can of cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • olive oil, until you get the hummus consistency you want!
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Paprika, a pinch
  • Cumin powder, about 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt, to your liking
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • parsley and pine nuts to make pretty

Toss of the ingredients except for the parsley and pine nuts listed in a blender and you got yourself hummus! Feel free to have fun when you make hummus next time too. You can add other ingredients like pesto or canned sun-dried tomatoes to give it another personality!

cauliflower · creative dishes · creativity · culinary · delicious · dinner · dinner idea · dinner ideas · easy · easy to make · eggs · fall · fallflavors · food · fun meal · healthy · hungry · ingredients · meal ideas · meals · produce · quick dinner · quick meal · vegetarian

Fall Inspired Cauliflower Fried Rice

img_4699This week was a tough one, but I can always count on cooking (and food) to make things all better. On Friday night the ingredients in my refrigerator were all indicating chinese food. Sometimes though chinese food can feel  too heavy and even unhealthy. So, I decided to go with my chinese food inspiration and make fried rice with a special twist, cauliflower. Yes, and I decided to use fall veggies to make my chinese food inspired dish. It turns out Trader Joe’s carries packaged rice cauliflower. I bought with the goal of making a cauliflower fried rice dish. I hadn’t got around to it though because I ran out of carrots just the other day and these of course are absolutely necessary to make fried rice…or are they? I was stumped for a moment, until I locked eyes with a sweet potato! I think you can imagine how this night was going to end, right? Here’s what happened.

I took that sweet (talkin’) potato and chopped it up in small cubes to simulate the carrots. img_4695On a pan drizzled with olive oil I sauteed the potato cubes with garlic and chopped yellow onion until the cubes were tender and the onion and garlic was cooked down. I then added the peas and cauliflower rice. (By the way, you don’t need to get the packaged cauliflower rice. You can easily make this using a food processor. Just cut up the cauliflower in small pieces and break down in processor until they resemble rice). Cook the veggies for a few minutes and add soy sauce (the soy sauce will replace the use of salt so taste to make sure it is to your liking!). img_4696

Now push all the veggies around the pan to create space in the middle (see picture). This is where the egg will be scrambled. img_4697Once it is mixed the veggies and egg together. You will see the rice will start taking form. Chop the green onions and add just before you remove from heat. This will allow the small pieces of green onion to still be crunchy and give you that nice bite. Yum!

Sometimes it’s nice to not have to do too much for dinner, especially when you’re starving like I was when I got home.

Here are the ingredients that made this come together so beautifully:

 

  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cubed
  • 2-3 cups of cauliflower rice (if you have a food processor you need 1 cauliflower head)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped yellow onion
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil

*The mandarin chicken in the background is from Trader Joe’s. There are 2-3 things in their frozen section that I would recommend and this is one of them. Especially to compliment an easy and quick dish such as this cauliflower fried rice. I hope you enjoy!

avocado · creative dishes · dinner ideas · dreams · food · green · vegetarian

Avocado Sauce Enchiladas are a Dream Come True

img_4523Avocado sauce enchiladas you ask? Yes!! I know, right? I’ve never had these anywhere, I don’t even know if they exist in the culinary world. I do know however that one evening I had vision for what I was craving and it was exactly this. I didn’t know how it could be possible and still I just went for it. First of all, I absolutely hate wasting avocados so, since I had a couple ripe and smiling at me I knew I needed to use them. Now, what better way than by satisfying my own food desires and fulfilling the dreams of my taste buds.

These are vegetarian and absolutely delicious, I promise. Here’s what I used:

For the sauce:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • a pinch of salt and paprika
  • Water, just a bit to help the avocado break down

To build enchiladas:

  • Queso fresco (I used adobera), enough for inside and to top the enchilada
  • Green and Red onions, chopped
  • Optional: Top with cilantro, sour cream and/or sliced avocado. You can also try filling them with shredded chicken.

First thing is preparing the tortilla. It’s important to warm it up enough to soften the tortilla so it doesn’t break when you roll it. Please do not warm up in the microwave. In fact, just get rid of the microwave all together and see how much better your food will taste. In a small pan, heat some olive oil. Once hot enough, lightly cook the tortillas until they are soft. Turn the tortilla once, they should become soft pretty quick.

Pour the sauce on a flat place. Dip the tortilla until both sides are covered by the green sauce. Add the cheese and roll into the enchilada shape (like a taquito). This is the kind of meal that is prepared and served immediately since you will only be relying on the heat from the tortilla to warm the sauce. Now, since this was my first attempt at this dreamed up creation I still have to try how it will all turn out if I try frying the sauce in the oil, just like you would a regular enchilada but I was afraid the color of the avocado would change with the heat so I kept it room temperature this time.  You can also try using warm water when you are mixing the sauce so it’s not completely cold. Just a thought. Once your enchilada is nice and rolled up, sprinkle some more cheese on top, chopped onions for crunch and avocado slices or cilantro for more (green) color.

img_4520

Let me know how you do. I’m excited to try these again with a chicken filling and try the sauce if fried. In the meantime, these are amazing as is!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

 

butter · chicken meals · dinner ideas · foodithinkiloveyou · healthy · herbs de provence · massage · quick meal · whole chicken

Show your Chicken Some Love with a Spa Day

Have you ever heard of people talking to their plants because they say the plants grow faster and more beautiful? Well, I think the same goes for food. I admit it, sometimes I do talk to the food I’m cooking or prepping. It’s like encouraging it to taste good and reminding it how much we appreciate it when it turns out perfect (no pressure, right?). This time however, I just wanted to show my love and undivided attention to my food, a whole chicken I wanted to roast in the oven. Like any good relationship it’s not just what you say, but also what you do. So, what I did was give my chicken the ultimate spa treatment yesterday. I massaged it with olive oil and some Herbs de Provence and did some actual buttering up! Here are the details for your very own chicken spa treatment:
  • 1 whole chicken, with skin
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter (I always use unsalted)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of Herbs de Provence (unsalted)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 rosemary stem
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
First you want to clean out the chicken. Please make sure the inside is clear of any giblets. Squeeze half of lemon and use the juice to slather all over the chicken. Quickly rise the lemon juice and pat dry. Salt the chicken to your desired taste. In this instance I used roughly about 1 tbsp. of sea salt. Crack pepper to your desired taste. Pour olive oil and about 1/4 cup of Herbs de France over chicken and massage thoroughly. Do not be afraid to massage deep, I promise the chicken will not complain you are hurting!
Chop the onion, shallots and garlic. Slice the other half of the lemon into thin slices. Separate the rosemary into 3-4 smaller stems. Take the butter and slice it (or take small amounts) and add under the skin of the chicken. Also under the skin stuff 2-3 pieces of shallot, garlic and lemon slices. Most of the onions, garlic, shallots and lemon slices however are used to stuff the inside of the chicken along with the rosemary.

Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours. If you have butcher’s twine, tie the legs together so that the stuffing remains inside. If you are like me and don’t have this readily available, you can simply use a smaller pan to cook the chicken. In my case I used my iron skillet and that worked just fine. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour at 500 degrees. After 20 minutes remove the foil and let the chicken enjoy the next 45 minutes in the oven (or in this case, a dry sauna session).

It’s good to remember to check the temperature of your bird using a meat thermometer so you know it has reached the right temperature and it is safe to eat. Every oven is slightly different and opening the oven door will also impact the temperature.
This chicken was so juicy and flavorful. The best thing about it is that I have left overs! Since it’s already seasoned, I can freeze it and use it when I need a quick meal or prepare and use in so many different dishes.
I hope you enjoy. I know your chicken will!