Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

So yeah, these happened by accident. I wanted a barbecue chicken sandwich. Kind of like the charbroiled chicken sandwich from Carl's Jr. Which always looks so delicious but is always such a letdown when you get one and eat it. So I tried slicing my chicken breasts lengthwise, you know to make them thinner. All I can say to that fiasco is I need sharper knives. Yeah, I mutilated the chicken.

No problem. We'll just have loose meat barbecue chicken sandwiches except we didn't have any bread. 

No problem. We have sandwich wrap spinach tortillas. That'd be delicious, except we only have one wrap in the bag. Yeah, that's not going to work there are five of us.

No problem. We have flour tortillas, except for they're taco sized so they won't really do wraps. 

No problem. We'll just have quesadillas. Barbecue chicken quesadillas should be good, right?

So I grab an onion except as I slice into it, I realized I grabbed an apple instead. Oops. What the heck, let's throw that in there. So I actually pay attention and grab an onion and slice that bad boy up too. 

4ft looked at me like I was crazy putting an apple inside a quesadilla and expecting him to eat it. I don't know why he still doubts me. Why wouldn't it be yummy? Absolutely no reason why it wouldn't be. It was splendiferous. The entire fail turned into one heck of a WIN! I'd make these quesadillas next time on purpose. ON PURPOSE I TELL YOU!!!

I could only eat half of it (the front one in the picture) and I had to beat my family off the other half (and they looked at me like I might be feeding them poison) because I'm eating that one for lunch!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cranberry Ricotta Bread

I love baking. 4ft loves baking. So when we bake together we usually do quick breads. There are a lot of things to measure, which 4ft loves, and mix, which I love. And quick breads are one of my favorite things to bake because they're so versatile. You can eat them at breakfast, have them for a snack, and they work for dessert too. It's a three-in-one-delicious food. How could it get any better than that? It can't and your brain will explode if you try to come up with something. So stop trying.

Quick breads are also very good for experimenting because as long as you have a couple of key ingredients -- flours of some sort and lifters -- they're very forgiving and the results are usually splendiferous. Which would be the case with this bread. It's seriously delicious and my new favorite and 4ft's too.

This bread was the brainchild of trying not to waste food. I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge that was going to go bad if it didn't get used and I didn't have enough for like a lasagna or something. So I tossed the 3/4 cup I had left into my basic quick bread recipe and then threw in some cranberries too -- because hey, they're delicious and why not. 4ft was a little apprehensive putting cheese into a bread meant to be sweet but I explained that cheesecake was made with cream cheese and that was pretty good so why not give it a shot. So he agreed. We did. And the rest is taste bud history. It's absolutely splendiferous.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Carne Asada

I love Mexican food, not as much as Chinese food (but I think that's because I never get authentic Chinese and always have access to Mexican -- family actually eats that) and Carne Asada is one of my favorites. So when I had a couple steaks thawed in the fridge and didn't feel like having straight steak (cuz Mexican steak is crooked?), I threw a bunch of spices together that scream "Mexican food"  flavors to me and did a spice rub. And of course nothing says Mexican food like onions and peppers so I had to throw them in as well. 4ft and the husband won't actually eat the onions and peppers (well except for on the Turkish Pizza because they didn't know they were there) but they both like how it flavors the dish (which is cool cuz more for me -- I love onions and peppers). 

I love how versatile this dish is. While I ate it like steak, smothered in onions and peppers with lettuce, tomatoes, lemon, and sour cream, the boys sliced their steak up and melted it into quesadillas with a salad on the side. The Littles just had cheese quesadillas of course because heaven forbid they eat meat that didn't come from McDonalds. The meat would also be great as fajitas as well, but I didn't want all the extra filler from the tortilla as I'm still struggling to get my protein needs met for the day, otherwise I totally would've gone fajita on it's butt.

It's even better the next day (and the day after that) and I know, because I've been eating on it for three days now. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Garlic Chicken

I love garlic. Everything is better with garlic, kind of like bacon, but not. Okay, maybe ice cream isn't better with garlic... but still, our house would never be a candidate for a vampire invasion. Zombies would get us first because I'm pretty sure brains are better with garlic! And my family is probably pickled with garlic because I put it in just about every recipe I make (well not the Littles -- so we'd have to save them from the vampires but I bet the zombies wouldn't eat them.) 

The apricot preserves give a hint of sweet without overpowering the garlicky goodness and the siracha sauce gives it a little extra kick. And not a hard kick -- I've developed quite the pansy palette since my surgery and can't handle super spicy things at all and 4ft has always been a wuss when it comes to hot spices. So this recipe is really kid friendly, if 4ft's snorting noises as it horked it down are any indication, and easy on a sensitive stomach because I had no problem putting my portion away either sans the pork noises of course.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oven Crunch Chicken

4ft loves "chicken on the bone" (that's what he calls chicken legs or a whole roasted chicken), it's like his favorite chicken ever. It doesn't matter if it's psuedo-fried, roasted, barbecued, baked, whatever -- maybe even raw. His eyes get saucer big and he starts licking his lips the second he knows we're having it. Normally, I get whole chickens when they're like 79 cents a pound (I'm cheap like that) and then roast them with potatoes and carrots but they're not always that cheap and I have a little teeny eeny weeny freezer so I can't buy them in bulk and store them up.

So when they're not cheap, it's too hot to bake for hours on end, or I just don't want to go through the hassle of carving it, I just buy a package of chicken legs -- that's his favorite part of the chicken anyway (you should see this kid around a turkey leg. He's a leg guy). And, of course, the best thing to do with chicken legs is fry them except it's too much oil for my stomach and it makes me nauseous. Luckily, there is panko bread crumbs which gives chicken an amazing crunch without frying it in oil. And oven-pseudo-fried chicken is even better when marinated. Especially if it's a yogurt and buttermilk marinade. It gives the meat great flavor as well as tenderizes the meat. I love me some marinades. 

My family actually likes this chicken recipe better than the regular fried recipes I used to use (back before I had my surgery before it made me want to yak). 4ft would eat the entire pack of chicken legs cooked this way if I'd let him. I'm not sure where he puts all the food as he's only nine (I don't know what I'm going to do when he hits the teenaged years and eats even more -- I guess it's a good thing I don't eat so much anymore). Even my husband, who hates "chicken on the bone" because it's effort to eat (yeah, he's that lazy), gobbles these up too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pork Gyro w/Tzatziki

So here's another installment of "I haven't traveled but I wanna and am doing so from home with food". Well sorta. I have to get creative because while I'm game to try anything, my family -- not so much. 

This week, we traveled to Greece, by way of gyros with tzatziki sauce. So, I know gyros are traditionally made with lamb. My family won't eat lamb. My husband swears he doesn't like it, but I'm not sure as if he has ever tried it, and 4ft would rather have one as a pet than *gasp* eat one so I knew that was a no go. From what I can tell it's the spices that make the gyro not the meat so much as they have them with ground beef and chicken too. Well I figured why the heck not and used pork. I had it in the freezer and it needed to get eaten before it died of freezer burn but these spices would work with any meat. I also cheated more, gyros are usually served on flat bread which has hurt my stomach in the past, so we used whole wheat, low carb, tortillas. Seriously yummy and 4ft said it was one of the best tacos he's ever had. Taco? I know, right? Sheesh. That would explain why he put ketchup on his. Where did I go wrong?

Tzatziki sauce is usually made with plain Greek yogurt of which I had none of (I thought I did but somehow I don't think key lime Greek yogurt would've been delicious) so I cheated and used light sour cream -- they're pretty close -- but it would've been nice to have the protein from the plain Greek yogurt. Next time. I also didn't use cucumbers because 1.) I didn't have any and 2.) my family loathes them. But the sauce turned out pretty delicious regardless of all my substitutions and complimented the meat really well. My family (except for the Littles who just had cheese quesadillas -- another reason 4ft thought they were tacos I'm sure) thought so as well if their cleaned plates, full bellies, and satisfied smiles that accompanied their belches were any indication.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Roasted Strawberry Protein Ice Cream

I was bouncing around on the net, looking at food porn (I love looking at well pictured food and then try to make my own), when I came across a "Better Than Twizzlers" idea. Basically, if you roast strawberries at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours, it dries them out and makes them like candy. Yeah... that so did not happen. They turned brown and soft and soggy. Not only did they look unappealing there was nothing Twizzlers about them. 

However the strawberry flavor was intense and I'd done about a cup and half of them -- I hate to waste food. What could I do with strawberries that looked gross, had a gross texture, but tasted amazing? Say it with me, "Ice Cream!" This ice cream is the best I've made to date. If I'd had strawberry protein powder it'd probably had been more amazing -- I ordered some by the way, so I'll let you know.

3 hours is effort for ice cream, I know. You could always just tell yourself you're making "Better Than Twizzlers" and then when it doesn't work for you can go for the ice cream save (however if it does work for you, tell me what you did because I was majorly let down).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sticky Sesame Chicken

I had a yen for Chinese food (see what I did there? I'm ever so witty) and it's always fun to make my brain feel like it's going to explode when I make Asian persuasion food and my family who are sworn Chinese food haters gobble it up with little pig snorts and happy dances (well except the Littles but they'll break eventually -- 4ft did). And yet, they still stand by their stance that Chinese food is up there with beets and liver in disgustingness. There are really things wrong with my family. Seriously.

This dish was no different. They gobbled it up making foodgasm noises and telling me how delicious it was. My parents stayed for dinner and they, like me -- us normal people, really love Chinese food and they said it was really good and tasted like it'd come from a restaurant. It tasted pretty authentic to me too not that it necessarily means that it is as I have no idea what goes into "real" Chinese food. I just throw a bunch of things from the Asian aisle of the supermarket together and call it good. Thank goodness they have international theme'd aisles or I'd really be in trouble.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

French Toast Sticks

4ft requested french toast and who am I to break his little 9-year-old little heart and tell him no he had to have a waffle instead? (Serious hardship to be this kid, right?) So I decided if I was going to eat white bread (with the possibility of it making me sick), I was going to really make the white bread worth my while. So he got nom-a-licious filled French Toast Sticks instead. 

I really like these because they don't have a lot of extra sugar in them AND you don't need syrup. They are delicious plain. The banana gets creamy from being baked and melts into the chocolate peanut butter so it's kind of crepe-like. I also like these because you can pick them up and eat them with your fingers -- who needs a fork? Less dishes for the win! And the best thing yet is you can fill them with whatever. The skies the limit. A berries and cream one (using fruit and cream cheese), peanut butter and jelly ones, cinnamon apple, Nutella -- you name it. For an added treat you could always roll them in cinnamon/sugar after they come out of the oven and call them dessert instead -- like a yummy filled churro.

4ft loved them, in case you were wondering, and was not upset that he didn't have just standard toast drowning in syrup. He ate his and then finished mine -- he thought they were that splendiferous. (Oh, and they didn't hurt my stomach -- not sure why because bread normally does. Weird.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pumpkin Oat Bread

I wish computers had smell-o-vision because you'd be loving the smell right now. A rich spicy pumpkin has permeated my kitchen (which is where my computer is at so I'm loving it) from these pumpkin loaves of wonderful. They're so moist (tell me I'm not the only one that snickers at the word "moist") and full of spicy pumpkin flavor. I can't believe how good they are. I wish I could gobble up a whole loaf (so it's probably a good thing I can't). I know you're licking the screen, don't worry, I won't tell anyone -- just watch the slobber, yeah?

I started experimenting with pumpkin because my BBFF, Gini Koch, loves pumpkin bread and I owe her a birthday present (plus 4ft also killed the rest of the banana bread so I needed another bread for breakfasts). So I started with the banana bread base recipe I came up with the other day (which was amazing) and then tore it apart and put it back together with more pumpkin-y type flavors. The results were equally amazing. I don't have experiment wins all the time but when I do, they're splendiferous, truly.

4ft can't decide which bread he likes more so I'd better wrap up a loaf of it for Gini before he eats it all -- as cute as 4ft is, I don't know if he's cute enough to save us from her wrath if she doesn't get some.