Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Heb 12:1-2 (NLT)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Spinach Salad

Ease: 5/5     Kid-friendliness: 3/5     Taste: 3.5/5     Time: 5/5

Prep: 7 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute

This is a super fast, super easy, but super tasty spinach salad. Makes a terrific side and I just love the dressing!

What you'll need:

  • 12 oz or 350 g pre-washed baby spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 C lowest fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C french vanilla yogurt (low fat)
  • 1/4 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 tsp milk (optional)
  • handful of croutons or cranberries (optional)
Rinse spinach leaves under cold water in salad spinner and spin dry. Place in salad bowl. Slice orange wedges and toss into greens. Set aside in fridge.

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, and poppy seeds in a small bowl in that order. Whisk together (you may want to whisk in a bit of milk if you like your dressing a bit runny). 

Toss a handful of your choice of croutons or cranberries into the spinach, drizzle with the dressing and toss again. Serve! Fresh and Yummy!

Recipe adapted from:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thai Chicken Pizza

Ease: 4/5     Kid-friendliness: 3/5     Taste: 3.5/5     Time: 4/5

Prep: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

I have to admit, this was a weird one for me. After my first couple of bites, I wasn't sure if I liked it but it was such a unique flavor that I kept taking bites to see, and by the end I was quite enjoying it. It was a bit on the spicy side for my daughter, but I can see it being one of those recipes that as you make it, it grows on you until it's one in regular rotation. A fun twist on pizza anyway!

What you'll need:

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 Tbsp creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 12 " pizza crust (I got one of those pre-made ones from the bakery section)
  • 3 green onions
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 1 C mozzarella cheese
  • 1 C washed bean sprouts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a small nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. 

Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces. Add to pan and sauté until chicken is no longer pink. Sprinkle with spice and set aside. 

Soften peanut butter in a coffee mug in the microwave for ~ 15-25 seconds. Whisk in soy sauce and water (continue adding a bit of water until the sauce becomes slightly runny).

Spread sauce over pizza crust. Top with sauteed chicken. Wash and finely chop green onion. Wash and slice mushrooms. Scatter both green onions and mushrooms over pizza base. Top with cheese. 

Bake for 5 minutes. When timer rings, change oven setting to broil. Watch carefully and remove when cheese begins to bubble. 

Rinse bean sprouts in a colander under cold water. Pat dry. Remove pizza from the oven and sprinkle uncooked bean sprouts over top. 


The recipe is from my current favorite cookbook

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spaghetti Amatriciana

Ease: 4/5     Kid-friendliness: 4/5     Taste: 4/5     Time: 3.5/6

Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

We eat spaghetti a lot. It's kind of the go-to when we don't know what else to make. So I thought I would look around for alternate (but still relatively easy) spaghetti recipes to "spice" things up once in awhile. Everyone liked this one. The original recipe called for dry white wine. I used a little bit of apple juice instead.

This isn't a traditional amatriciana pasta sauce, because as wikipedia told me, amatriciana pasta sauce is made with dried pork cheek (I doubt my bacon is strictly made from the "cheek") and percorino cheese (never heard of it), but calling it "amatriciana" sounds like a more adult pasta sauce, so I left it in the title.

What you'll need:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 90 g thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 C apple juice (or dry white wine)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2.5 C diced tomatoes, with juice
  • salt
  • 500 g (1 lb) spaghetti
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the bacon, onion, and red pepper flakes. Saute until the onion is softened and the bacon is lightly browned (~6 minutes). 

Stir in the apple juice, and tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Raise the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add 2 Tbsp salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente according to package directions (~8 minutes). Drain, reserving ~ 1/2 C of cooking water. 

Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese and toss again. Add cooking water until the sauce is a nice consistency. Top with cheese, and serve.

Recipe from Weeknight Cook

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cashew Chicken

Ease: 3/5     Kid-friendliness: 3/5     Taste: 5/5     Time: 3/5

Prep: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes

Cutting up chicken into bite sized pieces is probably my least favorite food preparation activity. It is so laborious! But I love a good stir-fry and this one is a new favorite. It's not the greatest for small kids because of the nuts, so I had to make a little bit without nuts for my son, but my daughter liked the nuts. My husband and I (before kids) used to go to a restaurant called Brewster's, mostly because they have an awesome beer sampler tray, but also because they had a really good cashew chicken dish. This recipe reminded me of that. All the meal needed was a cold Brewster's beer.

What you'll need:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 500 g skinless boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 C salted roasted cashews
  • streamed rice, for serving
In a large bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, the wine, and the ginger. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch and stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch. 

Heat a large frying pan (or wok) over high heat and add 2 Tbsp canola oil. Remove and drain the chicken from the marinade, and discard the marinade. Add the chicken to the pan and stir-fry until opaque (~3 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Return the pan to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add the onions and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Return the chicken to the pan and add the cashews. Give the sauce a quick stir, add to the pan, and stir until the sauce thickens slightly (~1-2 minutes). Serve with rice!

And Happy September Everyone! Can't believe we burned through August like that...
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