America’s Next Hibachi Star

The hubby and I love hibachi. We go so often that we can’t even muster a fake “ha ha ha” at the cook’s jokes anymore. I’ve decided that there is a hibachi cook joke book floating around because down south and up north – jokes are all the same. From time to time, I will cook stir-fry at home. Only when I am in the serious mood and my husband has been extra nice to me. Cutting all of those vegetables and coordinating the rice, vegetables and chicken usually makes me overwhelmed. Hence, my easy – usually one step – meals. Last week we were both in the mood for stir-fry so I decided to increase my points for housewife of the year and just do it. And I wanted to use the wok we got as a wedding present. Then I realized I could cheat!

Behold, super easy chicken and vegetable stir-fry.



Ingredients

Kikkoman Stir-fry sauce
Soy Sauce
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (enough for family) – we use whole grain

Chicken
Sesame Seeds
Bag of steam’able vegetables – Asian Mix

Process

1. Cut up chicken into bite size pieces. Place in bowl with soy sauce.
2. Cook vegetables according to bag. I think it is about 6 minutes.
3. Place chicken into hot wok (or skillet) with small amount of olive oil. I fork out the chicken and discard the excess soy sauce. When chicken is almost done, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
4. Once vegetables are done, put rice in microwave to cook (90 seconds).
5. Add vegetables to chicken and coat with stir-fry sauce to your liking.
6. Add rice to bowls and top with vegetables and chicken mix.

In less than 20 minutes you are eating!

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Chili con Zucchini

I know my southern family and friends are about to be super jealous. It’s starting to feel like fall here. Already! I even found a red leaf today. A real red leaf. In the south, they just turn brown and fall off, but that doesn’t come until October.

I will admit that I am pretty excited to actually experience this mythical season called fall. We have even been able to open the windows during the day (and every night) … it’s AUGUST. I used to dread this month in South Carolina because August = 100+ degrees.  This is crazy.

Inspired by the cooler weather, the hubby and I decided chili sounded delicious. This time I added zucchini to my mix and it was a great addition.

:: Ingredients ::
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 zucchini
2 cans kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tbs cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp light brown sugar

:: Method ::

1. Brown ground beef, drain excess fat and add to crockpot/pot.
2. In the same pan, add a little olive oil and chopped onion. I wait until the onion just becomes translucent and add it to the crockpot. Normally, I would wait until totally translucent, but they will finish cooking in the crockpot.
3. Add in remaining ingredients. I do not drain the beans or tomatoes.
4. Let simmer on low throughout the day (about 4-6 hours).

I like the crockpot because I trust it more than leaving a pot on the stove for that long.

We like ours with mini saltines crackers.

Happy one week to college football day! Go Cocks! It is a glorious day in our household because the hubby has the first 3 football games off. He used all of his luck for the entire year on 3 football games.

I’m totally breaking out my new tervis tumbler-ish anchor wine glasses from my aunt-in-law. [I think I just made that up]  How sweet are these?

What is your team? Do you like college or professional sports?

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It’s a cookin’ kind of day

Boy oh boy do I have a recipe for you! When I woke up this morning, I felt inspired to bake which is weird because I never bake. I think I am just too impatient for it. Last Thanksgiving, I made a red velvet cake (request of the brother-in-law) with pink and cake crumb icing because I didn’t let the cake cool long enough. Oops. Maybe I feel compelled to bake because  we are on day 6 of the hubby working 11:00am – midnight and I’m losing my mind.

So, with no baking “go to” recipes, I went to Pinterest. Duh! I came across a pin for baked apples with “oatmeal streusel topping”. Side note: I have no idea what streusel even is so this recipe can be done by baking dummies like me! I haven’t tried the apples yet because they just came out of the oven and look HOT. They feel hot too. My impatient finger gave it a feel. After I make sure they are edible, I will post pictures and the recipe since I changed it up a tad. In the meantime, here is a tried and delicious recipe for you…

Cinnamon Granola Bites


After filling my apples and popping them into the oven, I was left with a pretty good amount of Oatmeal Streusel left over. I thought about eating it with a spoon, but decided to be more domesticated than that. I decided I would turn it into granola to munch on before my bike ride this evening. When going for the cookie sheet I came across a mini-muffin pan that I swear I’ve never seen before and decided to break that bad boy out.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 stick of butter, melted (I used I can’t believe it’s not butter!)
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cup oats (I figured this is the easiest way to break it down)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of salt

After spraying the muffin holes with cooking spray, I spooned in the extra streusel mix. The pan went in the oven for 10 minutes on 350 degrees. I let them cool for about 10 minutes and dug in.

Judging by the fact that there isn’t a scrap left (and I had to fight off Millie and Boomer) I would say these were a success. They taste like apple pie crust – maybe it is just because I had cut a ton of apples – and fall.

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa


I started making this salsa in college and it was always a hit. You can serve it hot or cold – it’s good both ways.

:: Ingredients ::

1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained but save about 1/2 of juice
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
Cilantro (to your liking), chopped

:: Method ::

 Dump everything into large pot and let simmer until you can’t wait any longer to dig in.

:: How to Serve ::

Spoon (draining the excess liquid) the salsa into a dish to enjoy with chips.
This salsa is also great with BBQ Ranch dressing over lettuce in salad form.
Or you can eat it straight up with a spoon like me.

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Delicious Summer Meal

Boy do I have recipes for you! Translation: longest post about food ever.  Good thing I have lots of pictures to keep you entertained. Last night the hubby and I enjoyed a delicious summer meal. A lot of prep work went into this meal, but it was oh so worth it. To simplify cooking day, you could do some prepping the night before.

Pepper Jack and Spinach Stuffed Chicken


This recipe is adapted from one I saw in Food magazine a few years ago for grilling recipes. The hubby and I made this all the time in college since my roommate’s dad bought us a sweet gas grill. Why two girls need a gas grill is beyond me, but we actually got a lot of use out of it. Since we are back to apartment living, the only grills we have access to are a no-go. Turns out, it is just as good baked.

:: Ingredients ::

4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded. (I never measure. I just shred until it looks like enough)
2 cups spinach, chopped (Again, I never actually measure)
2 large chicken breasts
olive oil
seasoning salt

:: Method ::

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or heat grill)

2. Combine cheese and spinach in a bowl

3. Cut pocket into the chicken using a small knife.

4. Stuff chicken with cheese and spinach mixture.

5. Rub both sides of chicken with olive oil.

5. Sprinkle seasoning salt on both sides of chicken.

6. Bake in glass dish for about 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. You can also grill the chicken for 8-10 minutes per side.

Tip: If you pocket is really large, use toothpicks to keep it together. Just make sure you pull them out before serving.

Rutabaga Fries 


I saw a recipe for rutabaga fries a few weeks ago and tucked it away in my memory. It was not until I was at the grocery store and passed by a rutabaga that I decided to give this recipe a go.

:: Ingredients ::

Rutabaga (the hubby and I ate almost an entire one, so I would say 1 rutabaga per 2-3 people)


Seasoning Salt
Chili Powder
Olive Oil (or cooking spray)
Ketchup for dipping

:: Method ::

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Peel rutabaga, cut off ends and slice into fries (I quartered the rutabaga first)

3. Toss in olive oil (or spray cookie sheet) and put fries onto cookie sheet.

4. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and chili powder to your liking.

5. Cook for 15 minutes, flip and cook for 10- 20 more minutes. I sampled fries until I felt like they were cooked enough.

We dipped ours in ketchup, but you can use whatever dipping sauce you like. Or you can be really healthy and eat them plain.

They even look like fries. Moms – maybe you can trick the kids?

Roasted Zucchini 

:: Ingredients ::

One pound zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic (I use jarred)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt

:: Method ::

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Cut zucchini into sticks

3. Toss with olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and salt

4. Bake on cookie sheet for 15 minutes; flip and cook for 7 minutes longer.


Dinner was such a hit and I am thrilled. My husband ate spinach, rutabagas and zucchini in one sitting. Get out of town!

Mini Mexican Pizzas and Mexican Mush

If you liked the fajitas, here is another Mexican dish for you, but before I make your mouth water I’ll share my workouts…

Workout

Monday: Spinning Class at the Y. 19.5 miles.
Tuesday: Firecracker 4 course since the half marathon shares the same large hill towards the end. Practice makes perfect! Or practice makes me not die?

Goal progress as of yesterday: I promised to share my progress. The good, the bad and the behind. I guess that is what happens when you have a workout free weekend.  Good thing I have a long run scheduled for tomorrow and added 4 more miles today.

Okay, now what you really came for…

I give you Mini Mexican Pizzas. Taco Bell is the true creator of this item, but let’s be honest… do you really want to consume 1000 calories of Taco Bell? My version is a little healthafied and the hubby still loved them.

Mini Mexican Pizzas


:: Ingredients ::

1 lb Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1/2 cup low fat refried beans
1/2 cup salsa (regular or one with corn works as well)
Taco seasoning
Tortillas (whole wheat)
Mexican blend cheese
Olives (if desired)
Muffin Pan

:: Method ::

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Using a can, cup or cookie cutter (or Onion Saver in my case), cut circles out of each wrap that are large enough to fit inside the muffin pan.

3. Brown ground beef (or turkey) and drain excess fat.

4. In a bowl, mix together ground beef (or turkey), salsa, taco seasoning, and refried beans. Stir until combined.

5. Scoop mixture into each wrap (enough to fill the little cup)

6. Top each cup with shredded cheese and olives (if desired).

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

8. Wait about 5 minutes for the mini pizzas to cool.

You can serve as is, or with a side of lettuce, salsa, sour cream and/or tomatoes.

Mexican Mush

Once I popped the mini pizzas into the oven, I still had a fair amount of the meat mixture left over. The hubby walked by, stuck a chip in it and gave it his stamp of approval. It is a great dip and easy to whip up. It doesn’t look pretty, but with Mexican, if it looks gross it probably is good.

:: Method ::
Steps 3 & 4 of Mini Mexican Pizzas

3. Brown ground beef (or turkey) and drain excess fat.

4. In a bowl, mix together ground beef (or turkey), salsa, taco seasoning, and refried beans. Stir until combined.

Otro platillo mexicano muy bien! 

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

There are two things you should know about my husband. He loves Mexican food and Chinese/Japanese food. He also likes burgers, pastas and anything without vegetables on it. We are working on the vegetable bit. Cooking Mexican is easy-peasy. Heck, just serve up some chips and queso from a jar and I win an award in this house. The latter of his favorite food is much harder to tackle. I’ve always been intimated, but decided this recipe looked easy enough. Other than being high in sodium, this recipe isn’t too bad for you and it tasted delicious!


:: Ingredients ::

4 chicken breasts, diced
Brown Rice (enough to feed your family)
1/4 Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
3 tbsp Ketchup
1/4 cup water
Sesame Seeds

:: Instructions ::
1. Mix sugar, soy sauce, ketchup and water into a sauce pan. I kept on very low heat to warm while I prepare the rest of the meal.
2. Prepare rice. We use Ready Rice Pouches (because I always seem to mess up instant rice)
3. Warm olive oil in skillet. Add in diced chicken and cook on medium – high heat. (Optional: splash a bit of soy sauce and garlic powder over the chicken.) When chicken is almost done, top with sesame seeds.
4. Serve chicken over bed of rice. Pour sauce over the chicken and rice.

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas


This recipe feeds 4… or the hubby and me because we love fajitas. The ingredient list looks extensive, but it is mostly spices that you probably already have in your kitchen.

:: What You Need ::

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 large green pepper
1 medium onion
tortillas
toppings of your liking (cheese, sour cream, guacamole…)

:: Cook ’em up ::

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Grease 13 x 9 glass dish with vegetable oil.

3. Cut chicken into strips and put in the bottom on the dish.

4. Sprinkle 3/4 of the spice over the chicken.

5. Cut pepper and onion into strips. Add pepper, onion and tomato mix over the chicken.

6. Sprinkle the last bit of spice over the vegetables.

7. Baked, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

8. Stir to mix everything up and serve.

Estas fajitas son tan buenos!
You thought I couldn’t speak Spanish? They didn’t make Google Translate for nothing.  I probably only made it through my Spanish classes because the teacher felt sorry for me.

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Therapy

I’ve been in a bit of a running rut lately. 5 miles seemed to be my wall and I just couldn’t break through it. Well, I ran 7 miles and 6.2 miles on different Saturdays with my running group, but I just couldn’t do it alone. I’ve never had this issue. But today, my friends, I ran through the wall and put in a good 8 miles!

It’s so true. I finished my run today feeling revived and with my running confidence back.

I started my run on the trails. My ankle has been bothering me a bit, so I wanted to give it a break from pavement.

At mile 4.5, I left the park and headed up Broadway towards the heart of downtown. “New York Groove” came on which always puts me in a good mood. The iPod fairy struck again and played the perfect song. Before leaving the park I stopped at one of the mineral fountains to refill my water bottle. I’ve never had it but I’ve run with people who I’ve seen with my own two eyes drink the water. A few miles later I went to take a sip of my refreshing water and my mouth was overcome with a disgusting taste. I don’t know what is in that water (minerals, duh) but this girl is not a fan.

Maybe my good run was on account that I had planned on making a new smoothie when I got home. It did the trick and the smoothie did not disappoint either.

Yummy, cold and chocolate make a tired body feel okay.

Chocolate & Banana Smoothie 


:: 1 1/4 cup almond milk
:: 1 frozen banana (mine was cut up)


:: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder


:: small handful of spinach (you can’t taste it. promise. I am married to a sailor so I have to eat it.)


:: 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa powder

Everything goes in at once. I blended for a few minutes until the spinach was gone. The smoothie was gone without a trace in about 5 minutes. In true OCD fashion, I’m thinking about making another one for lunch.

can’t smile… too busy drinking

Don’t forget about the giveaway. I will announce the winner tomorrow afternoon.