Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mini Bacon and Potato Frittatas

This weekend I had eight of my girlfriends over for a housewarming brunch at my new condo. At this point I've been in the condo 8 months, yet few of my friends have seen it. A large part of that is because it's a pretty small condo. That and over the years this set of girlfriends have spread out to various parts of Virginia and DC making it harder sometimes to get everyone together. But I'm so glad I did...the food and company were great. I made three different dishes which will serve as my posts for this week so that I can eat boring things like salads to jumpstart my healthier eating this week. Speaking of healthy, this recipe for mini bacon and potato frittatas is a Cooking Light recipe and turned out really tasty. We dolloped a little sour cream on top and these went FAST.

Mini Bacon and Potato Frittatas (makes 36)


Ingredients


  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled baking potato (about 12 ounces)
  • 5 bacon slices (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 2 TB grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 TB light sour cream
  •  

    Directions


    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Place potato in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until almost tender. Drain.

    Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and thyme to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes or until potato is lightly brown over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; cool.

    Combine the potato mixture, bacon, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons chives, cheese, pepper, egg whites, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Coat 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon egg mixture into each muffin cup. Bake at 375° for 16 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove frittatas from muffin cups. Top each with 1/2 teaspoon sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon chives.

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    White Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese

    I love me some cheese. Hell, I once took a class that was dedicated exclusively to bleu cheese. So of course, I love a good mac and cheese. I've made a few lighter mac and cheeses over the years which have been pretty good considering they didn't use cream and used less cheese than one would expect. I wish I could say this was one of them. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't inedible, but it also didn't jump out at me. Perhaps you can think of some additions to make this wonderful. But in the meantime I'll be eating leftovers from this vat of mac and cheese for the next several days.

    But the one good thing I got out of this was a bottle of white truffle oil which I will definitely be using again!

    White Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese (serves 6)


    Ingredients

    • 2 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
    • 2 cups sliced onion (about 1 medium)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 12 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
    • 2 TB all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
    • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Comte or Gruyere cheese
    • 1 1/2 tsp white truffle oil
    • 2 oz French bread baguette, torn
    • 2 TB grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 TB olive oil

    Instructions


    Heat 1 3/4 cups milk, onion, and bay leaf in a large saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edges (do not boil). Cover and remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes.

    Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

    Strain milk mixture through a colander over a bowl; discard solids. Return milk to saucepan over medium heat. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually stir flour mixture and salt into warm milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 6 minutes or until mixture cools to 155°. Gradually add fontina and ComtĂ© cheeses, stirring until cheeses melt. Stir in pasta and truffle oil. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish.

    Preheat broiler.

    Place bread, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs form. Drizzle with olive oil; pulse until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta. Place dish on middle rack in oven; broil 2 minutes or until golden brown.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Food Porn: Sticky Rice

    Since I was traveling this weekend and wouldn't be cooking until later in the week, this is perfect timing for another edition of food porn. The menu at Sticky Rice on H Street just screams food porn status. With such enticing sushi names as the Dirty Vegan and Drawn & Battered, it's just begging for it (that's what he said?). But one of the best items on the menu knocks all of these out of the park. I speak of...the sticky balls.


    These tempura fried balls of goodness are gooey and sticky and all things wonderful. On the inside is crab, tuna and rice and between the salty sweet batter and the eel sauce and other toppings, these balls just melt in your mouth. And that's definitely what this girl said.

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Curried Chicken Salad


    I’ll be the first to admit that cooking all this food can get expensive. Granted, I’m saving money by not eating out all the time, however, food isn’t cheap, especially in an area like Washington, D.C. Every so often, I try to cook out of what I have left over from various recipes. In this case, I had a small chicken breast in my freezer, raisins and a few apples. What resulted was a very easy dish where the only new item I had to purchase was celery. I’m not the biggest fan of mayo-based dishes but this called for so little mayo that I wasn’t completed grossed out.

    Curried Chicken Salad (serves 2)



    Ingredients:
    • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 2 teaspoons water
    • 4 oz chicken
    • 1 tsp parsley, chopped
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 1/2 TB lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 3/4 cup chopped apple (I used a Granny Smith)
    • 1/3 cup diced celery
    • 3 tablespoons raisins
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    Instructions:

    Combine parsley, thyme, lemon juice, and pepper in a bag and marinate 4 oz chicken for 30 minutes. Then cook chicken in a skillet until fully cooked. Chopped into small pieces and refrigerate. I did this the night before so that it was fully cooled and all I needed to do was combine all ingredients and chill.

    Combine mayonnaise, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the chopped chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and salt; stir mixture well to combine. Cover and chill. Serve on bread or in my case, on a bed of spinach.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Citrus Glazed Salmon with Avocado Salad

    When it comes to food, I don't discriminate based on looks. It can be a sloppy plate of food with a variety of components melding together, and I'll still eat it. I also have an appreciation for food that looks too pretty to eat (but I eat it anyway!). When I decided to cook this dish the other night, I  reviewed the recipe on my friend's blog, www.macheesmo.com. His pictures made this look so appealing and I can't even begin to compete with his presentation. However, what I did end up with was a pretty dish of food...and the avocado salad, which was basically a deconstructed guacamole, is something I will definitely make again.

    Citrus Glazed Salmon with Avocado Salad (serves 4)


    Ingredients
    • 1-2 pounds fresh salmon fillet
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2 limes, juice only
    • 1 lemon, juice only
    • 2 TB rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 scallions, chopped
    • 2 inches fresh ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 avocados
    • 1/4 red onion, minced
    • 1 jalapeno, diced
    • Handful of cilantro, minced
    • Pinch of salt
    Directions:

    For the glaze, add orange juice, lemon juice, juice of 1 lime, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, scallions, ginger and garlic to a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes until glaze is reduced to 1/3. Strain sauce.

    For salad, finely dice red onion, cilantro and jalapeno, add a pinch of salt and mix with juice 1 lime. Slice the avocado and put onion/jalapeno mixture on top. Set aside.

    Grill salmon, skin side up, over high heat, for about 3-4 minutes. Flip. Once flipped, start brushing on glaze. Continue to brush on glaze until salmon is finished - about another 3 minutes.

    Serve salmon with rice and avocado salad.

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Dijon Dipped Chicken and Asparagus with Raisins and Pine Nuts

    Asparagus is so good and so cheap right now I'm cooking with it on a weekly basis. However, just the good ol' steamer gets old after awhile and quite frankly, I don't want to post another blog post that doesn't contain something a bit creative and unique, so I found a great recipe for asparagus involving fruit. I paired this with a beyond basic chicken recipe that I've made for more than 10 years. Some of my guy friends in college would rave about the "stuff" on this, rather, what oozed off the chicken and got a little crispy in the oven. So I present to you...

    Dijon Dipped Chicken and Aspargus with Raisins and Pine Nuts


    Ingredients:
    • 2 chicken breasts (about 6 oz total)
    • dijon mustard (approximately 1/2 cup)
    • light sour cream (approximately 1/2 cup)
    • breadcrumbs (approximately 1/2 cup)
    • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1/3 cup sliced red onion
    • 2 TB pine nuts
    • 2 1/2 TB orange juice
    • 3 TB raisins
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp orange rind
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    Directions:

    Combine equal amounts of sour cream and dijon mustard in a bowl and mix well. Dip each chicken breast into sour cream/mustard mixture and coat with Italian breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of the breast.

    For the asparagus side dish, you'll only need about 10 minutes to prepare and cook.

    Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and pine nuts; cook 4 minutes. Add orange juice, raisins, and honey; cook 2 minutes. Stir in salt and orange rind. Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with onion mixture. Sprinkle with pepper.

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    French Toast aka "Egg Toast"

    When I was a kid, I was a pretty picky eater. I didn't eat anything green, was a big fan of bread, and tended to eat a lot of the same things over and over again. One of my FAVORITE dishes when I was a kid was my grandma's "egg toast." Egg toast was basically french toast, but cooked expertly by my grandmother who used to work in catering and was a pro in making certain dishes in the kitchen, this being my most favorite.  While I didn't spend Easter with my family, I paid tribute to my grandma by making some french toast. I'll admit, mine was probably not quite as tasty as hers ever was, but I also tried to keep it light on the butter.

    French Toast  aka "Egg Toast" (serves 2-3)


    Ingredients:

    • 6 thick slices of bread, I used a rustic wheat
    • 2 eggs
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • pinch of salt
    Directions:

    Beat together egg, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.               

    Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame. I used a small pat of butter to do so.

    Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot with maple syrup.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Calling all Salad Eaters

    My mother can eat a salad for lunch. Every. Single.Day. I, on the otherhand, usually like a small salad to accompany my meal, but it is rarely the star of the show. But in an effort to eat healthier this Spring, I need to come up with some interesting salads that I can mix up each week so that I 1) don't get bored and 2) can drop some of this winter comfort food weight. I'm open to suggestions on what YOU like to put in your salads to make them interesting and not boring. Send me your ideas!

    So in honor of all things bunny this holiday weekend, I want to eat more like a rabbit.

    I want to aim to be less this...