Monday, July 30, 2012

Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

One of my greatest food weaknesses is pizza. In fact, it's my go-to stress food. So since work has been nutty (to put it mildly) for a few weeks now, I found myself going to the local pizza by the slice place in my neighborhood way to much. But for the cost of two of those slices, I could be making a small pizza at home, which lasts a good 3 meals. So here is my attempt at being economical.  Also, it uses my favorite in season fruit of right now...peaches.

Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza (serves 3)


  • 1 (10-oz) prebaked thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 medium unpeeled peach, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil evenly over crust. Top evenly with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, Gorgonzola cheese, and peach slices. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 11 minutes or until crust browns.

Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 TB (about 5 minutes). Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza. Cut pizza into 8 wedges.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maple Soy Chicken Thighs

I love grilled food. Alas, I do not have a grill. So often I'll use a grill pan to get that charred, grilled look but it really just isn't the same. I think that this recipe would be awesome on a grill, but since the chicken breasts I picked up were kind of thick, a grillpan would not suffice. So I opted to follow the directions in the recipe and cooking this in the oven, basting with the extra sauce. It turned out pretty good but if you have a grill, try it that way.  I served this with cous cous and sauteed zucchini and squash.

I went against the recipe that called for chicken thighs and used chicken breasts instead. I'm just not a big fan of chicken thighs, but I'm sure it'd be good either way. I also forgot to put the green onions on top, which I'm sure would have been great to cut the heat. This proves I am not a perfect cook. haha

Maple Soy Chicken Thighs (or breasts if you prefer) (serves 4)


  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 TB lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TB grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TB sliced green onions

  • Directions:

    Combine first syrup, orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, crushed red pepper and garlic cloves in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place maple mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken thighs to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour or more.

    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook until marinade reduces to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Arrange chicken in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Baste with 2 tablespoons maple mixture; sprinkle evenly with salt.

    Bake chicken at 375° for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over; baste with remaining 2 tablespoons maple mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until chicken is done; sprinkle with onions.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Blueberry Struesel Muffins

    This morning I relished in the fact that it was below 75 degrees at the decent hour of 9 a.m. so I pushed myself to take a quick jog outside, telling myself the entire time that I would reward myself by making these muffins. I've been watching my carb intake for awhile, but breakfast time for me usually involves cereal which, let's admit it, after a while gets old. So these muffins will serve me well for lunch for the week and will freeze the other half for another time. These are fairly light as far as muffins go, but the big selling point for me on taste is the streusel topping. It truly makes the muffins worth the extra calories.

    Blueberry Streusel Muffins (makes 12)


    • 2 1/4 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup light sour cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup skim milk
    • 2 cups blueberries
    • 2 TB butter, melted


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place muffin liners in a 12-hole muffin tin.

    In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

    Using an electric mixer, beat egg with 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and beat until thoroughly combined; blend in vanilla extract.

    Add hal of flour mixture and half of milk to sugar mixture; beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and milk, beat until smooth.

    Fold in blueberries and fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full; set aside.

    To make streusel topping, combine remaining 1/4 cup each of the sugar and flour in a small bowl. Pour in melted butter and combine with fingertips. Divide crumb mixture over muffins; gently press into top of muffin batter.

    Bake until slightly golden and toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10-15 minutes and then transfer muffins onto racks to cool completely.

    Or you can be like me and eat them warm and turn your fingers blue. :)

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Watermelon and Basil Salad

    This weekend I attended a baby shower for my old roommate Amanda and was asked to bring a watermelon. Since I can't just simply bring a watermelon AND justify a blog post out of it, I decided to make a simple watermelon basil salad. While there were a lot of recipes that included these simple ingredients with the addition of feta (which I'm filing away in my memory for another time), in respect for the mama-to-be, I decided to forego the feta. And it's hard for me to say no to cheese. The rest of the menu included some great barbecue so on a hot DC day, this was refreshing and right on point.

    This recipe, courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson, proves that you don't need to overload with a bunch of ingredients in order to make a tastefully complex dish. Though I'm guessing the fresh basil I picked up didn't hurt.

    Watermelon and Basil Salad


    • 4 cups watermelon, cut into cubes
    • Handful basil leaves, chopped
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Sea salt, I like the coarse, crystal variety to give it some texture
    • Black pepper


    Place watermelon and basil in a salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine thoroughly.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Grilled Peach, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Salad

    Peaches are in season right now and should be for the next few weeks. The markets in my neighborhood are overrun with them, so I plan to take advantage over the next few weeks and try to cook with peaches. And in an effort to try and stay health, a peach cobbler will not be one of my endeavors. This salad was very easy to make and the sweetness of the peaches was a perfect blend with the saltiness of the prosciutto and goat cheese.

    Grilled Peach, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Salad (serves 4)


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TB honey
  • 3 peaches, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 TB extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • 10 cups trimmed arugula (about 10 oz)
  • 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 TB crumbled goat cheese

  • Directions:

    Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until vinegar is reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in honey. Cool to room temperature.

    Prepare grill to high heat. I used a grill pan because sadly (tear) I have no grill. Place peach wedges on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30 seconds on each side or until grill marks appear but peaches are still firm. Remove from grill; set aside.

    Combine oil, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add arugula, tossing gently to coat. Arrange arugula mixture on a platter. Top with peach wedges and prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic syrup; sprinkle with cheese.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Garlic Chipotle Chicken Tacos

    I'll confess that I actually made these a few weeks ago during my taco kick, but am just now getting around to posting the recipe. Since this made a decent amount of tacos (and admittedly I was starting to get burnt out on eating various types of tacos several times a week) I decided to freeze half of the yield. Yesterday I decided to thaw one of the servings and took these into the office for lunch. A coworker commented on how awesome they smelled and I'm happy to report they tasted just about as good when I first made them.

    Garlic Chipotle Chicken Tacos (makes 8 tacos)


  • 1 TB chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 TB minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 2 TB canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb chicken cutlets
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 small red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 small green bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded green leaf lettuce

  • Directions:

    Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

    Combine garlic, chipotle, and 1 tablespoon oil; rub evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Place on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from grill; keep warm.

    Combine remaining oil, remaining salt, remaining black pepper, and chili powder in a large bowl. Add bell peppers and onion; toss gently to coat. Place vegetables on grill rack; grill 5 minutes on each side or until soft and charred. Place tortillas on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Remove from grill; keep warm.

    Thinly slice chicken. Divide chicken, bell peppers, onion, and lettuce among tortillas.

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Food Porn: Tequila Brunch and Sweaty Abs

    I'd first like to point out that any of the posts that have "porn" in the title garner 2-3 times as many visits as any of my other posts. I really think I just need to randomly put the word in every post to increase my visitors. Yes, it'd be using SEO in the wrong way, but damn it, I want to be popular!

    I digress...

    So this Sunday I had a perfect Ladies Sunday Funday which included tequila brunch at El Centro D.F. and a showing of "Magic Mike." For brunch, it was bottomless tequila drinks and unlimited small breakfast plates. Because you have to feed that amount of tequila.

    A personal favorite was the Pineapple Fresca cocktails and the carnitas with pickled vegetables, and the potatoes with mexican cheese on top. And sausage, there was definitely some spicy sausage. Brunch conversation touched on all things tequila, sausage and stripper stories, of which we all had a few. This was of course all about getting us in the right mindset to see Magic Mike. Though I was really in it just to see this guy.

    Yum. <Sigh> What was I saying? Oh yes, we went and saw this movie. And because D.C. has been suffering from the worst heat wave in history, the air conditioning wasn't really working at the the theater, making the event even hotter than it already was. For those who've asked, I thought the movie could use more choreographed dance sequences, more of my Pittsburgh native Joe Manganiello, and less afterschool special on drug use. If I wanted that, I could watch the "very special episode" of Saved by the Bell when Jessie Spano gets "so excited" on speed she has a crying fit in her bedroom. The actress later went on to play a stripper in Showgirls. Coincidence? I think not.

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Spinach and Feta Dip

    I love a good dip. Guacamole, salsa, hummus, you name it, that's my weakness. I wanted to make a quick, healthy, cold (emphasis on the word COLD) dip for the hot 4th of July holiday. I decided to make a batch of this low-fat feta spinach dip for a BBQ. While it was not as big of a hit as the homemade guacamole and pica de gallo (and let's be honest, I definitely ate a bit more of that than I should have), I did think it was pretty tasty for a light dip. I served with pita chips.

    Spinach and Feta Dip (serves 10-12 people as an appetizer)



    • 4 cups spinach, chopped
    • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 cup chives, minced, divided
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


    Place spinach in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then cook for 1 minute; drain well.

    Place spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, feta cheese, 2 tablespoons of chives, lemon juice, garlic powder and pepper in a blender; puree. Taste dip and add salt if desired. Spoon dip into a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of chives. 


    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Mudslide Cookies

    Happy 4th of July everyone! Today we celebrate our nation's birthday with lots of tube meat, cheap beer, and fireworks. I'll be taking in a Nationals game with an awesome cookout planned for afterwards at my friend Scott's place. Fingers crossed we don't get any more monsoon-like weather. But even if we don't have flooding, we'll definitely have mudslide...cookies.

    Mudslide Cookies (makes 32 cookies)


  • 1 1/2 TB butter
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 TB instant coffee granules
  • 1 TB hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

  • Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Place butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until smooth. Combine coffee granules and 1 tablespoon hot water, stirring until granules dissolve. Stir coffee and vanilla into chocolate mixture.

    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Combine sugar, egg substitute, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 6 minutes or until thick and pale. Gently stir 1/4 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture; stir chocolate mixture into remaining egg mixture. Stir in flour mixture, nuts, and chocolate chips.

    Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; with moist hands, gently press dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until set. The cookies will appear cracked on the top, but will be gooey on the inside.

    Cool 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    German-style Potato Salad

    In a few days, we'll be celebrating our nation's birthday. In addition to blatant displays of patriotism and fireworks in the air, a large amount of tube meat, desserts and side salads will be on display across the country. I plan to spend the ridiculous heat at a few cookouts and at a Nationals game. I'll be making dishes for those events later this week, but for now, here is a lighter version of a traditional German-style potato salad which you might like to make for your festivities this week. There are all sorts of potato salads out there, but I tend to like the vinegar-based types. Plus with the heat (we're expecting 97 degrees in DC for the 4th) I feel a bit more comfortable avoiding mayo.

    Now, this is a Cooking Light recipe and it uses minimal fat to cook, keeping the calories and fat levels down. However, this recipe says it serves 6. And I call bullshit on that. I think what they say is 6 people, is more like 3-4 friends of mine. So adjust accordingly.

    German-style Potato Salad (serves 6...toddlers)


    • 3/4 lb fingerling potatoes (I used red potatoes)
    • 2 slices center-cut bacon
    • 1 TB olive oil
    • 2 tsp brown sugar
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 3 TB cider vinegar
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup sliced green onions


    Place a saucepan filled two-thirds with water over high heat. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes to pan; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

    Cook bacon over medium-high until crisp; crumble. Add olive oil to drippings in pan. ­Return pan to medium-high. Add brown sugar, minced garlic, and Dijon; cook 1 minute. Add vinegar; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in pepper and salt. Combine sugar mixture, potatoes, and green onions. Top with bacon and mix.