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!

 

 

 

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!
cookies · cranberry · dessert · easy to make · fall · foodithinkiloveyou · oatmeal cookies · walnut · white chocolate · with coffee

There was Magic Between these Cookies and I

 If you ever see me gawking at pastries behind a bakery display, I will usually be considering the almond croissants or some type of fruit scone or Danish. One day a few months ago however, standing in line waiting for my turn to order up all the dirty desires of the fat kid living inside my soul, I spotted a free cookie sample (of course I did!). It looked like an oatmeal which meant I absolutely had to try it because it’s the only kind of cookie that really speaks to my heart. This cookie was so confusing, but so good. It made me happy and sad all at the same time (it had to be love). I had never tried a cookie with so many exciting turns. It was like my taste buds were riding a flavor roller coaster hitting notes of nuttiness from walnuts and the luxurious sweetness of white chocolate chips at every turn and then when I least expected it but most craved it I got a slight tartness from the cranberry all while onboard the earthiness of the oatmeal train. Yum! *If you are not drooling right now something is terribly wrong.

Since then the thought of making these cookies at home has been on my mind. So, the other day while grocery shopping, I came across a packet of white chocolate chips and just like that, there was magic between us. Immediately I remembered the wonderful cookie sample at that bakery. Nobody could stop me from rushing up and down the aisles of the grocery store that day looking for all the ingredients to try and make these cookies at home. This week I did just that and today I’m going to share my experience because I am so happy with the results and even more excited from what is to come.

I adopted this awesome recipe from Meatloaf and Melodrama and will be using it as a good foundation recipe except for a couple of adjustments. Also, in the next few months I will be using it as inspiration while adding and/or replacing some ingredients (stay tuned for that delicious madness) like coconut, cherries and milk chocolate chips. I can’t wait!

Here is what I used:

·        2 eggs (at room temperature) *If you have an egg allergy, replace one egg with 1/4 cup of apple sauce and a mixture of 2 tablespoons of water, 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

·        1½ cups oats

·        1½ cups all-purpose flour

·        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·        1 teaspoon baking soda

·        ½ teaspoon sea salt

·        ⅔ cup butter, softened

·        ⅔ cup brown sugar

·        2 teaspoons vanilla extract

·        1 cup dried cranberries

·        ⅔  cup chopped walnuts

·        ⅔ cup white chocolate chips

The first thing you want to do soften the butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar together. I used a hand mixer to break up the butter, but eventually I used a fork to really mix us the ingredients together until it was one fluffy paste. Next I added the eggs and mixed with the hand mixer. I then added the oats and mixed those in with a spoon until it was evenly combined.

In a separate bowl I stirred together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon with a teaspoon then added to the oats mixture until the ingredients were evenly distributed. I added the cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips one at a time until the mixture was heavy and thick. Now I was ready to make cookies!

I used a tablespoon drop of the dough to make my cookies. I placed on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Remember to make sure you allow some room in between each drop so that cookie can expand in the oven.

Baking time: 10 minutes (no more than 12 minutes)

Oven temperature: 375 degrees

Important tip: These cookies are best had with some freshly brewed coffee. This statement has been tried and tested. (wink, wink) Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

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!