Recipes

Parmesan Chicken & Rice

December is all about easy comforting dinners that keep you out of the kitchen & spending time with friends & family. This dish is not only quick to assemble but it also only requires one pot! This recipe came to be out of necessity when I was in college. I was looking for something easy I could whip up for dinner that was comforting & reminded me of home, but was also simple enough that I could get back to studying partying as quick as possible. The ingredients in this dish were things I always had on hand so I knew all I needed was some chicken & I could have a delicious dinner on the table in less than an hour. This dish is easily my most common dinner dish & I hope you love it as much as I do!

Parmesan Chicken & Rice

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, medium diced (about half a large onion)*
  • 1 cup celery, medium diced (about 3-4 stalks)*
  • 1 cup carrot, small diced or shredded (about 3-4 small carrots)*
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons, or 3oz, white wine (I prefer Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil & butter.
  2. Once butter has melted, add onion, celery & carrot. Season with salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook the veggies over medium heat until they become soft & begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. At this point, you can remove the veggies before cooking the chicken but it’s not necessary. Cook the chicken over medium heat until mostly cooked, about 10 minutes. Make sure to season the chicken with salt & pepper.
  5. Once the chicken has cooked, turn the heat to high & add the wine. Mix in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits that have formed. Let the wine bubble & reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
  6. Next add in the garlic & rice. Stir to combine.
  7. If you removed the veggies earlier you can return them to the pot now. Pour in the broth & stir to combine everything.
  8. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to simmer & let it cook, covered, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the rice should have absorbed all the broth & be tender. If there is still broth & the rice is not fully cooked, continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  9. Lastly, add the cheese, butter & parsley. Mix for a minute or two until everything is combine & the cheese has melted.
  10. Serve up with crusty bread or a salad & enjoy!

Notes:

* Most grocery stores sell onion, celery & carrots already diced up which makes this dish even quicker!

Recipes

Mom's Chili

Growing up, my mom wasn’t the biggest fan of cooking. She didn’t hate it, but she didn’t love the clean up that followed. Enough so that she didn’t cook often. She had what we called the “rotation” of dishes she would choose from when she did cook. Chili was one of those dishes that was always a favorite in the house. It had such a distinct smell that we knew immediately what was for dinner the second we entered the door after getting home from school. This dish was also a favorite of my moms because it is fairly simple. It requires a little prep work in the way of chopping vegetables & opening cans, but after that, smooth sailing. She always said she found chopping vegetables “soothing” & as a child I thought she was a freak. Fast forward to adulthood & I’ve never related to a sentence more.

My siblings & I most likely enjoyed the chili toppings more than the actual chili, but that’s not here nor there. Mom would serve this up with tortillas, sour cream, Fritos, lettuce & cheese. Sometimes she’d shake things up & serve it with pasta. This dish is pretty versatile with it’s toppings so it’s great for feeding a family of picky eaters (which we all were as children, let’s face it). This is comfort food at its finest & with the weather finally cooing down (I’m in California where winter JUST started) this is something you’re going to want to have on the dinner table!

Mom’s Chili

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers, assorted colors, medium diced
  • 1 onion, medium diced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 – 2lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2.5 – 3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on desired spice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Toss in bell peppers & onion, then season with salt & pepper.
  2. Sauté the veggies over medium heat until they become soft & translucent, about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the veggies have become soft, add the ground beef & season with salt & pepper once more. Cook the beef until it becomes brown & you can no longer see any pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go.
  4. Add chili powder, dried oregano & basil. Stir to combine & cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Next add the beans & their liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce & tomato paste. Stir to make sure everything is combined & tomato paste has disbursed into the mixture.
  6. Bring the while mixture to a boil. Once the chili has reached a boil, lower the heat to simmer & cook, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to ensure everything cooks evenly.
  7. After the hour is up you can serve the chili immediately, or it can continue cooking, covered, for another hour.
  8. Serve up with your favorite toppings & enjoy!
Recipes

Falafel Pitas

One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a falafel pita. Crunchy balls of crispy falafel, topped with cool, crisp veggies, all dressed up with fresh & creamy tzatziki. There are a lot of really great places to get one, but I love trying to make my favorite foods at home. I’ve bought the frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s before & I love them, but I wanted to try making them from scratch! There are two types of falafel, the traditional style which are fried, or a healthier option, which are baked.

Initially I wanted to fry my falafel because nothing beats that crunch you get when frying them. At first, I made my falafel into patty shapes to shallow fry them because I am not a fan of deep frying, it’s just way to much of a mess.  but after the first attempt, I realized this was not going to work. Maybe I had the oil at the wrong temp, or didn’t cook them long enough. Either way, they did not come out as planned!

That’s the fun part of cooking at home, you get to try new things & adapt to what works best for you & yields the best result. So I quickly realized frying the falafel was not working & decided to bake them instead. Spoiler alert, they were still delicious!

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The first step to delicious homemade falafel? Make tzatziki from scratch. It’s really easy to throw together using very common ingredients (many of which you probably already have) & really elevates this dish. Tzatziki is a yogurt based sauce that goes great with falafel, chicken, gyros & basically anything else. You won’t have any trouble getting through the leftovers & it keeps great in the fridge. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge. The longer it sets, the more delicious it will be! I let mine sit for the amount of time it took to get dinner on the table & it was great. If you have the time to assemble it earlier in the day, by all means, go for it!

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Falafel time! This mix comes together insanely easily using a food processor. Start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.

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Next comes the flavor! To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.

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Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas. I like to top mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion & cucumber. I chopped up all my veggies & set them aside so they’re ready to use when the falafel come out of the oven.

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To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.

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When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.

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Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom! Not too difficult right?

Falafel Pitas

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes
Servings: 20-23 falafel (depending on the size)

Ingredients: 

Tzatziki-

  • 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cucumber, drained of all liquid
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Falafel-

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil, for brushing onto falafel

For serving-

  • pita bread
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • pickles
  • red onion
  • cucumber

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge.
  3. In a food processor, start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.
  4. To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas.
  6. To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.
  7. When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.
  8. Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom!
Recipes

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

It’s meatless Monday once again! This week I opted for a simpler take on a meatless dish and went with a vegetarian classic. This dish utilizes mushrooms as its main source of protein.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta is a one-pot meal that comes together in the time it takes to boil some pasta! What else could you want on a Monday night? It’s filling, creamy & cheesy!

As I mentioned in a previous post, mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute & they pair wonderfully with pasta. When they’re tossed in cream they reach a new level of delicious.

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Cover the whole mess with parmesan cheese & you’ve got yourself an insanely delicious meal! I served this up with some French bread & a delicious crisp white wine.

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Check out Girl Gone Gourmet for the full recipe!

Recipes

Jackfruit Enchiladas

I heard about Jackfruit for the first time about a year ago when I saw a Tasty video for Vegan Pulled Pork. Since then, I was so enthralled by this ingredients & wanted to know more. I watched so many cooking videos of people working with Jackfruit. I wasn’t really sure where to get Jackfruit & working with the entire fruit seemed a little daunting. They’re also very large so I would feel wasteful buying a whole one. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago & I was at a party where someone had brought a whole Jackfruit (I’m still not sure why but I got to go home with some so I never questioned it again).

I was so excited to be going home with this Jackfruit because I finally got to try cooking with it, without having to deal with the whole fruit. All of the videos & recipes I looked at said the same thing, to treat the Jackfruit like any other pulled meat. So I shredded it up, tossed it in a pan & covered it in barbecue sauce. It was delicious.

I knew I wanted to cook with it again but still had no intention of buying a whole Jackfruit. And thats when it happened. I was strolling the aisles of Trader Joe’s, as I usually do on a Monday morning, when I saw something magical in the canned foods section. Canned Jackfruit. It was already broken down & preserved in a brine so all I had to do was take it out of the can & boom, it was ready to use. That is, the detailed version, of how these enchiladas came to be.

Start by gathering all of your ingredients. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.

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To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture. The dryer the Jackfruit is, the better it will brown when sautéed.

Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant. Next add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.

While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.

To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese. Depending on how big the enchiladas are you should get between 7-9.

Once all the enchiladas are rolled, cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese. I like to dot the top of my enchiladas with sliced black olives but that part is optional!

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When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted & the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up. Serve up with any desired toppings (I love to top my enchiladas with fresh guac, which you can find on this post) & enjoy!

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Jackfruit Enchiladas

Total Time: 1 hour (includes baking time)
Servings: 7-9 Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (about half an onion)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (2 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can Jackfruit in brine*
  • 1 bottle red enchilada sauce
  • 7-9 medium corn tortillas
  • 3 cups grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.
  2. To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture
  3. Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
  5. Then add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.
  6. While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.
  7. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.
  8. To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese.
  9. Once all the enchiladas are rolled cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese.
  10. When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas**, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until cheese is melted & sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up.

 

*If you are using fresh Jackfruit it would be about 3 cups, shredded.

**These enchiladas are a fantastic make-ahead dish. When you have the time, cook & assemble the enchiladas, then cover them with plastic wrap & store in the fridge until ready to bake. Remove enchiladas from the fridge about 20 minutes before baking to allow them to come to room temperature for more even cooking.

Recipes

Sunday Pot Roast

With temperatures dropping and days feeling shorter, quick & easy dinners that warm you from the inside out are a necessity. There is no dish more comforting than Pot Roast. With just a few simple steps & a slow cooker, this delicious rib sticking Pot Roast can be on your table in just a few hours.

Fall is the time to bust out the slow cooker & let it do all the hard work. Think of all the fun things you can spend your time doing instead of working on dinner! Carving pumpkins? Watching a scary movie? Finishing up those pesky chores you couldn’t get to over the weekend? Spending quality time with a loved one? The list is endless! Make yourself this Pot Roast & see what extra fun things you get to accomplish…

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Start by gathering all of your ingredients & heating 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides. This step is not necessary but it is definitely worth it. Browning the meat adds a really nice texture to the finished dish as well as a much deeper flavor.

While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes, then pour in the broth.

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Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve. Enjoy!

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Pot Roast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 3lbs Chuck Roast
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby fingerlings)
  • 1lb carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby carrots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides.
  3. While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme.
  4. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes then pour in the broth.
  5. Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours.
  6. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around.
  7. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve.