A Healthier Take on Chicken & Waffles

Happy Breakfast Week!

So many adults fail to eat breakfast, myself included. When you wake up, you already have a million things on your mental to-do list. Eating breakfast before you hit the road is the last thing on your mind.
Most people are not “morning people.” I think it’s because most of us wish we could have time to sit down, eat some comforting foods, watch some Mike and Mike in the Morning or the Today Show and have time to really center ourselves. But, alas, our fast-paced lives and go-go-go attitudes do not allow us this luxury.
Speaking for myself, when I do eat breakfast, it is never at the right time, or even during the work week. Most often, it’s at noon, when I finally wake up with a splitting headache, and at a Greek diner with a group of friends, recapping our night out.
When I was younger, my dad would sing some annoying wake up song and rip the covers off of me so I would wake up. Harsh, I know, but after a while I kind of became immune to his morning antics. Then I would head downstairs half-awake and my mom would have some sort of breakfast ready for me and my brothers. Sigh…. a welcomed relief from my father’s morning dictatorship which existed upstairs.
The old favorites were strawberry toaster strudel, cereal with bananas, or pop tarts. We would sit peacefully and enjoy an episode of  Tiny Toon Adventures or Duck Tales (A-woo-oo!) then run out the door and across the street to catch the bus.
Clearly the simpler days of childhood, in which somebody would make breakfast for you, are long past. So, this week, I am taking some of my favorite breakfast/brunch recipes and making them for dinner!
Ingredients for Citrus Waffles
1 1/3 Cup Bisquick Gluten Free Mix
1 ¼ Cup Skim Milk
3 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
Zest of 1 Lime
Zest of 1 Lemon
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix ingredients until smooth.
Spray waffle maker griddle with non-stick cooking spray. Add a ladle full of batter to each side of the griddle. Close and cook for five minutes.
Ingredients for Chicken
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups of Bran Flakes, crushed
1 Cup of Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Pepper
½ TSP Garlic Powder
 
In a large bowl, add the salt, pepper, and garlic to the flour and mix. Individually coat the chicken breasts in the flour, then the beaten eggs, and then the bran flakes.
Let the coated chicken sit a minute or two to allow the egg and flour mix to soak into the bran flakes.
 
Good Girl Cooking Method: Bake on a wire rack pan or non-stick sheet for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees, until chicken is a crisp dark brown.
Bad Girl Cooking Method: In a large skillet heat an inch or two of oil to 245 degrees. Fry the chicken breasts for about 7 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Let drain and cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Chipotle Honey Topping
3 TBSP Honey
½ TSP Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ TSP Chipotle Paste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add more honey if you want a thicker consistency.
 
Place your fresh citrus waffles on a plate. Cut the chicken breast in half, length-wise. Put the chicken on the citrus waffles and then drizzle chipotle honey on top.
The citrus and honey really brighten up a normally heavy recipe. And the fact that you can save some calories with the gluten free mix and the bran flakes really make this dish not so much of a guilty pleasure anymore!
 
So, get into some comfy PJs, grab yourself a plate, and turn on your favorite childhood cartoon (there are too many that come to mind for me to list here) and remember what it felt like to actually enjoy breakfast……..Until you have to wake up and do the whole morning rush all over tomorrow!

Happy Hour Friday – Guacamole and Sangria

When my brothers and I were younger, we used to do stupid stuff. Let me also state, that I hope I am not the only person with childhood stories like this.
We used to dare each other to eat the grossest combinations of foods.
For example, I was maybe six, and I dared my middle brother to eat Pepsi mixed with dirt. “Pepsi-Mud.” He, being the most adventurous of the three of us, was most often the one that tried these nasty things, all for the love of food and new things.
He told me it was surprisingly good. So, I tried it as well. Our youngest brother was too scared to try it, and probably all the wiser. As I look back now, I thank God we did not get hookworm!
I know all of this is making you so in the mood for guacamole!
The worst combination we ever came up with was toothpaste, hot water, and 2 TBSP of cayenne pepper. My youngest brother dared my middle brother to drink this draught of death. (Keep in mind we are now maybe 12, 11, and 9. You think we’d know better.)
We told him we would pay him ten dollars each. So, my poor brother downed the mug of molten hot nastiness.
Seconds later his face was bright red and he was sweating profusely. (My other brother and I may or may not have been cracking up at this moment.)
I felt terrible, so I paid him his ten dollars. (Somebody else has yet to pay their half of this deal!)
A few weeks later, my middle brother came to me and told me…. “Hmm, it wasn’t that bad.”
It makes me think. I don’t remember the first time I ate guacamole. I imagine at first glance, I was kind of skeptical.  Let’s be honest.  It kind of looks like Slimer was thrown in the blender. 
But, if you learn anything from my childhood shenanigans, it should be that sometimes things that look unappealing are actually not that bad, if you can get past the way it looks.
Ingredients for Sangria
2 oz Light Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Vodka
Bottle of Red Wine
1 Cup of Orange Juice
1 Cup Club Soda (or Sprite if you like your sangria sweeter)
1 Lime, sliced
1 Lemon, sliced
1Orange, sliced

Add all of your ingredients to a large pitcher and refrigerate over night. Stir then serve!

Ingredients for Guacamole
3 Avocados
1 TSP Cilantro, finely chopped
½ TSP Salt
½ TSP Pepper
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
½ Shallot, grated
1 Garlic Clove, grated
The Juice of ½ a Lime
1 Roma Tomato, seeds removed and finely diced

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Lightly mash the avocados.

 

Try not to mash too much. You want to lightly fold all the ingredients together, so the guacamole is still a little chunky.

 

Get some chips, call some friends over, and enjoy your Friday!

Tortilla Lime Crusted Fish Tacos

Isn’t it strange how when you are looking for something, you can’t find it anywhere and how when you finally get what you were looking for, you start noticing it everywhere?
For example, I own a pug. I never noticed how many people had pugs until I got one!
I know I kind of sound like a space cadet right now, but just let me make my case.
Back in my dark ages, AKA the vegetarian years, I wasn’t getting enough protein. Maybe it’s because a foot long veggie sub from the Subway in the basement of your dorm building everyday is not a balanced diet.
In order to avoid becoming anemic, I decided to eat fish. So I was a “Pescatarian,” which is just a slippery slope to eventually allowing yourself a cheeseburger here and there, then just full on eating meat.
Every time we went out I would have to get the cheese this or veggie that or, God forbid, the meal comprised of all refried beans*.
*My guilty pleasure fast food joint shall remain nameless…. All I’m saying is, at the time, I did not know their beans contained lard.
All I wanted was a good fish taco.
When I no longer was in search of fish tacos, and came to my senses about the whole “Pescatarian” thing, something happened.
You gotta be kidding me!
I’m not mad. I just feel that I Love You, Man should have been created earlier. That way, we all could have enjoyed this amazing, now prevalent, dish (and had other things to eat besides beans when we were going through a confusing time in our young life) and of course been exposed to the hilarity and one-liners that came from this movie.
Ingredients
2 Pieces of Cod or Tilapia, cut into bite size chunks
4 Stale Tortillas
The Zest of 1 Lime
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup of Flour
1 TBSP of Hot Sauce
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper
Vegetable Oil, for frying

In a food processor, combine the tortillas, red pepper, and lime zest, and pulse until fine crumbs are made. Place the crumbs in a large bowl.
Mix the eggs with the hot sauce. In a large bowl, combine the salt and pepper with the flour.
Dip the pieces of fish in the flour, then the egg, and then the bread crumbs.

Add the oil (about an inch deep) to a large pan. Heat oil to about 280 degrees. This is going to be a lower slower fry.
Fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes, until golden. (The fish can also be cooked in the oven if you want a healthier approach. 350 degrees for 25 minutes).

Warm the tortillas in the oven.

Add the Polynesian Slaw, then the fish, and then top with Think Pink Mayo and serve.

Thank you Jobin & Pistol Pete for starting the fish taco craze!

Join me tomorrow for HAPPY HOUR FRIDAY!!!! I’m feeling like I’m in the mood for some Guac and Sangria!

Coffee & Cayenne Rubbed Skirt Steak with Polynesian Slaw

-Or-

Why George Clooney is Like a Good Piece of Steak

Have I ever had a bad steak? I’m sure I have. Maybe one that was over cooked or even undercooked, but for some reason I just can’t remember when or even where these so called “bad steaks” were eaten.
In the food world I would liken a nice piece of steak to George Clooney. Everybody loves Clooney. I mean, really…can you remember a truly bad Clooney movie?
Every time I make this recipe, men and women alike fall for its charms. (Sorry, vegetarians/vegans! I know you probably like Clooney too, but I’m on a roll here, so just pretend I’m talking about potatoes.)
Doesn’t matter if it’s flank, filet, or even skirt…. It’s still Clooney!
Even when Clooney makes a movie that makes you think, “Hmmm… really?” You still go, watch, and comment on how the movie wasn’t a total loss or how this is just a new direction for George.
He gets better with age. He can be playful and funny, dressed up, dressed down, or serious. He can stand alone or be paired with a hot foreign (or native, these days) side dish. But any way you cut it, it’s a classic.
So, grab yourself a glass of red, give some credit to the hot girlfriend of the moment (because, guys or girls, you’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t want to hang out with George in his Italian villa), and enjoy my take on some classic Clooney.
Ingredients
1 piece of skirt steak or flank steak
3 TBSP Coffee Grounds
1 TBSPCayenne
1 TSP Crushed Red Pepper
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TSP Garlic Powder
For the Polynesian Slaw AKA Clooney’s Hot GF
2 Jalapenos, diced
1 Bag Coleslaw Mix
1 Red Pepper, cut into thin inch long matchstick size strips
1 Carrot, peeled and shredded
½ Cup Diced Onion
1 8oz Can Pineapple Chunks
1 Green Onion, chopped
1 TSP Sesame Oil
1 TBSP Sriracha
1 TBSP Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
1 TSP Honey
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper

Mix the sesame oil, lime juice, lime zest, sriracha, soy sauce, honey, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Whisk the vegetable oil into the dressing. Add the dressing to the mixed slaw.

Let the slaw sit in the fridge for an hour before serving to allow all the ingredients enough time to combine.

Oh, Clooney, she’s beautiful! You have such good taste! Hot and colorful…. A great compliment to you!
 Combine all spices in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the steak.
Let the steak sit for 20 minutes.
 In a large pan, over high heat, sear the first side for three minutes. Flip the steak and turn down the heat slightly.

Cook the second side for 4 minutes. Then remove steak from the pan. Let steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

The steak can also be done on a large grill pan or on the grill. I like my steak medium. If you like the steak more well done, cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the steak.

Oh, sir, you have never looked better!

A word of advice: a glass of red wine a day, keeps Dr. Ross away (so be sure to make it two!)

See you all tomorrow, one day closer to Friday and time for some tortilla lime crusted fish tacos!!!

Chicken Tortilla Top Soup

I would like to say that I have this huge arsenal of recipes, written down on little scraps of paper, which I draw from, that I have been making for years, but, most of the time that is not the case. Like, for example, with this soup recipe.
I make soups and chili’s all the time so I always have some idea in the back of my head of the building blocks I want to throw together to see if they work. But, when my pregnant best friend told me she had a craving for chicken tortilla soup and asked if I could come up with something, I was a little apprehensive about just throwing some stuff in a pot and hoping it all worked.
I mean, everybody knows I have a love affair with cheeses. Mainly soft cheeses, like fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, feta, blue cheese….. When you are pregnant, you can not eat these cheeses. I use them all the time in my cooking! (BFF sorry if you are reading this and now fantasizing about all the cheese you can not eat). You can’t drink and I use alcohol in mostly all of my cooking, you shouldn’t have a lot of salt, or fats, or butter, or meats like bacon or sausage!!! Won’t somebody think of the children!
Sorry, I got carried away. I really edited myself on this recipe and still created something wonderful with all the booze cooked out and not a lot of salt or fat for mama and her baby! I know its no “Big Mac” but I hope this will help satiate your chicken tortilla soup craving!

Ingredients
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Onion, diced
1 Large Green Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno, finely diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
2 Cloves of garlic, grated
1 Light colored beer (I used a Modelo)
1 TBSP Chipotle Paste
1 28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed
1 Small Can of Corn, rinsed
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
1 TBSP Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 TBSP Sour Cream
2 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 TBSP Cumin
1 TBSP Chili Seasoning
½ TSPCayenne
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
Tortillas to top or line your bowls
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to a large soup pot. Sear the chicken breasts in pot over high heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Remove the chicken breasts and add the diced vegetables. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the grated garlic, chili seasoning, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium for three minutes.

Add chicken stock, water, and beer and bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Add the chicken back into the pot. Simmer over medium low for thirty minutes.
Remove the chicken breasts and let rest for about 7 minutes. Add corn, black beans, and tomatoes to the pot. While that is simmering, using two forks shred the chicken into bite size chunks.

Combine the chipotle paste and sour cream in a bowl. Add a TSP of broth from the pot and whisk together. This will help the sour cream evenly incorporate into the soup. Stir the sour cream mixture into the pot.
Simmer an additional 15 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot along with the parsley and cilantro and remove from the heat.

There are two ways I like to incorporate the tortilla into the soup. The first way is to brush the tortilla lightly with oil. Make 4 cuts in the tortilla and stuff it down into the bowl so one edge is sticking up over the bowl. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the tortilla is crispy. Then pour the soup in the bowl over it.

Or, I like to make a tortilla top. Fill a bowl about ¾ of the way up with soup. Tuck a lightly oiled tortilla down on top of it. Broil the tortilla and soup on low until the cheese melts and the edges get crispy.

Both ways are great. The tortilla kind of melts into the soup and you still get some crispy edges. It’s like a Mexican take on chicken pot pie!

I hope to see you all back tomorrow for Coffee Cayenne Skirt Steak and Spicy Polynesian Slaw!
OLÉ!
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