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!

 

 

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 · black bean burger · bun · burger · burger patty · cheese · dinner · food · grilling · mixture · quinoa · recipe · seasoning · spices · summer · sustainability

Getting Intimate with my Patty

In the next twenty days, I will be giving up red meat, pork and chicken (yes, please keep me in your thoughts and send me strength to overcome the cravings). The goal is to shed a few pounds in the next few weeks which is a great thing considering how mean and insulting my jeans have been to me lately. It’s also important to me that I do my part since I’m aware that excessive meat consumption is one way we (humans) negatively impact our long term health and the health of the environment. 
So, in order to prepare for this, I’ve been blowing the dust off my old vegetarian recipes and trying them out again. This, of course, isn’t very difficult since I do love all things vegetarian so it’s been a real treat! This past week I made my favorite kind of veggie burger patty, black bean. It was as good as I remember, but this time around I’m getting a lot more creative with the things I will be making with that black bean mixture. You’ll see…
For those who think this cannot be good or as satisfying as a juicy red meat patty well let me just say that you are both right and wrong. While there is no comparing to the real deal my black bean burger (BB Burger) is just a different kind of experience all together, so you’ll kind of have to go in knowing that. The great thing is that you can guide it to have the taste you want or are craving with the toppings you add to your BB burger. 
My black bean patty was a simple one this time around. Although I will confess that when I was forming the patty I thought about stuffing it with cheese. The only reason I didn’t was because the right kind of cheese was not at my disposal. 
Here are my ingredients:

For the patty mixture about…
  • 1 cup of black beans (I’ve also used kidney and pinto in the past)
  • 3 tbsp. of cooked quinoa, seasoned (I used tri color quinoa, but any will do)
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (I broke down some pita crackers in my NutriBullet in this case)
  • 3 tbsp. of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of steamed spinach seasoned with salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. of manchego cheese (I’ve also used Parmesan)
  • A dash of cumin 
  • A dash of paprika
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
For building the burger:
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Fresh spinach
  • Tomato slices
  • Organic ketchup, mayo and mustard
  • Burger buns
(Remember to have fun with the ingredients you use to build your burger, these are just what I used to make mine. Look up burger menus for ideas!)
Combine the patty mixture ingredients until it feels like a paste and you can build a patty. If it’s too runny add more breadcrumbs. Make the patty shape and in a pan with a little olive oil cook both sides until the patty is kind of crispy. Place the slice of cheese on the last turn so it can melt with the heat. Build your BB Burger!
Remember to taste the patty mixture before you build/cook your patty and adjust it to your flavor preference. For instance, I like cumin, but you may not like it as much as I do, so feel free to do without it or add just a little. Salt preference is also different for everyone so get in there and taste what you’re making! There is no food God or higher power that is magically going to make your food taste good just because you follow the instructions. Get involved! Get intimate with your food, with your cooking and make it what YOU want it to be. After all, you’re the one who’s going to be eating it right? 
Bon appetite!
bacon · chicken · delicious · dinner · food · micro greens · produce · sour cream · spinach · stuffed · sustainability · waste

Chicken Stuff and a Bacon Hug

Lately, I’ve been more mindful of my grocery shopping. After reading an article published last month about all the food that goes to waste, I decided to do my part and balance the scale a least a little bit. I know sometimes fruits and vegetables are not the most perfect looking. Some have bruises others come in slightly different shapes than the flawless images we all grew up seeing in ads, books, magazines, etc. So I’ve been very careful with the quantities of my purchases and how I use everything in my fridge.  Sure sometimes it takes more creativity than others, but we all have to do our part and being creative in my cooking doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice.

Last week I had some bacon, micro greens, cherry tomatoes, sour cream, and spinach that I absolutely needed to incorporate into a meal soon. In one week these ingredients would have gone to waste along with the 1.6bn tons of food that goes to waste globally each year. I came home one evening and found a defrosted piece of chicken breast that I had to use (apparently my guy was helping me prep for dinner, but didn’t have a plan for the piece of poultry). So there I was with a chicken breast and these must-use ingredients. I decided to take the spinach, mix it with sour cream, some Gorgonzola cheese, onions, garlic salt, and pepper to make a stuffing for the chicken breast. I salted the breast, then I took the last pieces of bacon I had and wrapped it.

I cooked in in the oven for about 40 minutes in 350 degrees and on an iron skillet (set at high) I finished it so that bacon could be nice and crunchy. What I got (to my surprise) was a pretty darn good piece of chicken. It was moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I then took my micro greens and placed them on top like a little green hat. It was beautiful and delicious.

I served it with a simple cherry tomato salad to add more freshness. This meal, though totally improvised, was amazing and will definitely be adding to my cooking repertoire. Not to mention, I was able to save some poor fruit or veggie from a horrible destiny in that horrible place called WASTE. 
bacon · breakfast · brunch · brunch ideas · bun · California · concert · creative dishes · dinner · dreams · eggs · foodithinkiloveyou · green onions · hotdogs · jam · lunch · meal ideas · sausage party · wine

The Breakfast Hot Dog of My Dreams

If you’ve ever been to a concert or sporting event (at least in California), you’ve enjoyed a bacon wrapped hot dog afterwards as you’re walking to your car. Right? If you haven’t, make a mental note and next time you see the small stand with the guy grilling bacon wrapped hot dogs, stop and have one (or four!). You will not regret it, I promise. 
Just a few weeks ago at a family gathering, they made bacon wrapped hot dogs. I was so excited because I absolutely love these and yes, maybe I was salivating a just little. I guess you had to be there. The buns slathered with sour cream (stay with me), ketchup over the crunchy bacon wrapped hot dog, chopped tomatoes and white onions on top with one more small dollop of sour cream (Mmmm). In my opinion there is no need for mustard or anything else. These ingredients together are absolute perfection. My mind, much like my hot dog, was wrapped up in deep thought as I was savoring each bite. I couldn’t focus on the chatter around me. Right there and then I had an amazing idea, breakfast hot dogs?? [angels singing]. How can I make a hot dog that will produce a breakfast party in my mouth with one single bite? Was it possible?? Yes!

This week my taste buds attended that breakfast party and the feedback was: success. I had so much fun putting this meal together, although the wine could have played a part, but it was mostly the cooking. I used chicken hot dogs, wrapped in bacon and cooked in a pan until the bacon was mostly cooked. Then I popped in the oven (325 degrees) until the bacon was nice and crispy. I used multigrain buns, which I also popped in the oven until they were warm and had slightly crispy edges. The over easy egg is probably the most important component of this dish because you want that yolk to be runny so when it pops it spreads all over the hot dog and in between the bacon (YUM!). I slathered some sour cream once the buns were done, snuggled the hot dog inside, positioned the egg on top, popped the yolk and chopped some green onions. I added some raspberry-habanero jam to give it that slight sweetness you get from a well rounded breakfast bite and it was delicious. Great for breakfast, brunch or even lunch and dinner if you’re like me and can have breakfast at anytime!