Archive | January, 2013

Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

31 Jan

The boyfriend loves a good wedge salad. Whenever we got to restaurants that offer them, he orders it. I didn’t really get it. Iceberg lettuce is the simplest ingredient of all time, and usually, a little watery and boring. Yet, it is transformed with juicy cherry tomatoes and a zangy homemade blue cheese dressing. Trans-formed.

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Salad Ingredients:
– Iceberg lettuce
– Cherry tomatoes
– Red onion, thin thin slices
– Croutons

Blue Cheese Dressing Ingredients:
– Blue cheese crumbles, maybe a 3/4 cup
– Mayo, 1/3 cup (or just under)
– Sour cream, 1/3 cup (or just over)
– Buttermilk , 1/3 cup
– Salt and pepper, dashes as you like
– Onion powder, dashes as you like
– Garlic powder, dashes as you like
– Dill, dashes as you like

1. First things first, make the dressing. The longer it sits in the fridge and develops its flavor, the better. For the dressing, you are basically combining all the above mentioned ingredients, stirring, tasting, adjusting, and putting in the fridge! And homemade blue cheese dressing is maybe a zillion times better than anything you can buy in a bottle, trust me.

2. The salad is almost as easy to assemble.
– Take your iceberg lettuce and simply cut it into slices so that you have a nice round cut of lettuce.
– Halve your cherry tomatoes
– Thinly, thinly slice red onions.

3. Put your cut circle of iceberg on a plate, top with tomatoes, red onion, croutons, and dress with your delicious blue cheese dressing. Add a few more blue cheese crumbles, if needed. Delish!

This salad is especially good with a good steak.

The Boyfriend Rates It:4
I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a sucker for wedge salads. Such simple ingredients but they combine in together perfectly to create a fresh, crunchy, zingy salad. Once again, could have been a five with the addition of bacon 🙂

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Salsa Verde

30 Jan

Green salsa. Salsa verde. This salsa can be used for just about anything you feel like — chips and salsa, for your eggs, for breakfast burritos, for taco salads, for tostadas, for….just about whatever you feel like. This salsa is like a combination of me trying to recreate the green salsa boyfriend’s mom makes (mine is seriously not there, yet) and what the boyfriend *thinks* his mom does to make it.

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Ingredient List:
– Roughly 10 tomatillos, halved
– 4-5 serrano peppers, chopped (This will definitely make your salsa spicy so you might want to lower the amount)
– 1 yellow onion, chopped
– 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
– Juice of 2 limes
– Salt and pepper
– Water

Directions:

1. In a large pan, cook the onions and garlic with some salt and pepper. After 2-3 minutes, add in the serrano peppers. About 1 minute later, add in the tomatillos.

2. Add about 1/2 cup of water to cook everything in. Sometimes I mash the tomatillos with a potato masher to help the process along. Let this cook for 7-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Once the tomatillos have cooked down, pour the mixture into a blender. Add in the cilantro, lime juice, and more water as necessary. Blend! Adjust the water and salt and pepper until it has reached the consistency and flavor you like.

4. Serve up and enjoy!

The Boyfriend Rates It:4.5

This was my favorite salsa during my teenage years. It always reminds me of my grema.

Happy Hour: Puff Pastry with Brie and Strawberry Jam

29 Jan

I am obsessed with puff pastry appetizers. The puff pastry is so flaky and it goes so.freaking.good with brie. Plus, I love brie cheese. Always have, always will. Boyfriend isn’t as big of a fan as I am when it’s just slices of brie with crackers (which I will eat any day for dinner) but when its melty and gooey and with a flaky crust, he’ll all over it.

These are one of the simplest happy hour appetizers I have made for us. It goes something like this – cut puff pastry into squares, top with a square of brie cheese, a dollop of strawberry jam and pop in the oven. Do I need to even write directions?

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However, if I were to make one change for this recipe, it would be this — I made this as single serving portions. But the jam has so much sugar that it started to caramelize (my nice way of saying slightly burn) on the bottom. It also got super sticky. Like, seriously sticky. In the next round of these appetizers, I think I would do the same concept as I do with the caramelized onion brie puff pastry and stuff the puff pastry with the round of brie and jam instead. It would come out as one dish and then you could just cut your own servings.

Ingredient List:
– One sheet of puff pastry, cut into squares
– Strawberry jam
– Brie cheese
– Cooking spray
– Muffin tin

Directions:
Didn’t I already explain these? 🙂

1. Defrost your puff pastry and cut into 12 squares and place in a well-greased muffin tin (or, if you read what I wrote above, just unroll).

2. Cut the brie into bite sized pieces and top each with a dollop of strawberry jam. (again, you could also slice the brie round in half, smear strawberry jam in between the two layers and then wrap up the brie in the puff pastry).

3. Put in the oven at about 350 degrees until the puff pastry is golden brown and the brie is gooey.

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4. Serve up and eat!

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The Boyfriend Rates It:4
The pastry was golden and crispy, as it has been in the past. And the strawberry jam was delicious. The only things I wold recommend would be to put the jam inside the pastry and add some kind of nut….like walnuts or hazelnuts.

Happy Hour: Buffalo Chicken Dip

28 Jan

The AKA for this dip is crack dip. It is terrible for you. You shouldn’t tell anyone the ingredient list. It will clog your intestines. But. It is so.worth.it. Hence, crack dip. You may mean to only “taste” it, but then you keep coming back for more and more. Terrible. Delicious.

Boyfriend’s sister is the one who shared this recipe with me. She made it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and then left a bunch of ingredients in my fridge. Since boyfriend attacked this dip at Thanksgiving a few months ago, he has nagged me to make it for him for happy hour. Mistake. We demolished it. Thanks a lot, Deanna.

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The ingredient list is nothing to make you feel good about your New Year’s resolution, but it is a perfect dip for Superbowl!

Ingredient List:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s hot sauce)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded, cooked chicken

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

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2. In a small bakng dish, about 8×8, pour ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

3. Serve with chips. Done!

Wasn’t that the easiest thing ever? Now, go indulge.

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The Boyfriend Rates It:4

I don’t really understand why this is so good, even knowing the crappy ingredients that go into it. But it just is. Tangy and melted blue and cream cheese, spicy vinegary buffalo sauce with little bits of chicken…mmmmmm. Just dip away with Triscuits and you have an awesome Super Bowl snack.

Caprese Quinoa

27 Jan

Quinoa is one of those super healthy things to eat. I don’t know all the health benefits of quinoa, but it is a well-known anti-inflammatory. It also happens to be a trendy thing to eat right now – I see it everywhere. And frankly, I have fallen into that trip. And, as I am currently on a health kick, quinoa is a great thing for me to eat.

I am not into diets, I like to work out but am not a nut about it, so my 2013 plan is to eat healthier. I am trying to eat healthy and Sunday-Thursday and then allowing myself the freedom to enjoy whatever I want on Fridays and Saturdays. This allows me to continue making happy hours. 🙂 (You won’t really see this reflected in my blog since I still have a million old recipes from the month or so where I was Internet-less).

Quinoa is a great addition to salads or as a side dish. It has this crunchy little texture and really takes on the flavor of whatever you serve it with, so it is pretty easy to add to most things. I made this caprese salad with the leftover ingredients I had for the caprese salad portabella mushrooms I made.

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Ingredient list:
– 1 cup quinoa
– 2 cups chicken broth
– 2 chicken tenderloins, cooked and shredded
– Cherry tomatoes
– Basil
– Pine nuts, toasted
– Olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper

Directions:

1. I think the easiest, quickest way to cook quinoa is in the rice cooker. In a rice cooker, I just added 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth and let it do its thing.

2. Once the quinoa is cooked, add in the shredded chicken, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and dress with olive oil. Top with toasted pine nuts.

Perfectly easy and perfectly healthy!

The Boyfriend Rates It:3.5

Healthy, filling and tasty.