Lemon Pepper Salmon

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season. Christmas here, was amazing.  I am so so blessed and thankful to have such a wonderful husband and family. This was the first year we celebrated here at our house, it was great! Also, santa was very good to me… I got some awesome dental-themed presents!

 

After eating my way through both Christmas eve and Christmas day, I needed something light for dinner tonight.  I made a salmon steak with a lemon pepper seasoning, served over a giant salad.  This is so so simple and such a healthy recipe.

Since husband hates fish, I keep salmon steaks separately packaged in my freezer, this way I can make myself I piece whenever I’m craving it and I don’t have to torture Mina with fish. It works out perfectly.  Ready to see how easy this was?

Ingredients: 

  • 1 salmon steak
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions: 

1.Preheat oven to 420 degrees.   Mix olive oil, lemon pepper, and lemon juice together in bowl.  Season salmon in lemon pepper mixture (the longer you season it, the better the flavor)

2.  Bake on 420 degrees.  If salmon is defrosted then bake for 12-18 minutes, if salmon is frozen then bake for 22-26 minutes.

3.  Serve on salad or next to rice.

 

 

Puff Pastry Chicken

This is a recipe that I came up with after looking at many other similar recipes. I thought it turned out delicious, but there’s one major change I would make. A lot of the recipes I found said to wrap one chicken breast in one sheet of puff pastry.  So, I did.  The puff pastry kind of took over the chicken. I guess I probably should’ve assumed that would happen…but next time I would recommend using 1/2 a sheet of puff pastry/chicken breast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 cups of sliced black olives (get creative & add other veggies! I was low on veggies & only had olives…dont judge 🙂 )
  • 2 slices of sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 pieces chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning
  • 2 sheets of thawed puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Heat olive oil in pan and add garlic, parsley, oregano, and black olives.

2. Place 1 seasoned chicken breast in center of puff pastry sheet.

3.  Top chicken with olive and garlic mix. Add one slice of cheese.  Fold excess pastry over chicken.  Do the same with the second piece of chicken.

4.  Beat 1 egg.  Brush egg over pastries.  Place in oven for 35-40 minutes, until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops + Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

I survived another quarter of dental school! That was brutal. There are no words.  I am so thankful for this three week vacation.  I plan on some cooking awesome meals, sleeping (a lot), baking, working out, watching tv, going shopping… doing normal people things! Man, all of that sounds pretty amazing, right?

Last night to celebrate completing another quarter of classes, the dental school fraternity held an ugly Christmas sweater party and I have to say we celebrated our freedom pretty well.

Anyways, now on to these crunchy baked pork chops. They turned out delicious! So crunchy and so full of flavor. Husband even liked them and he’s not a huge fan of pork chops!  I got the recipe idea from the Smitten Kitchen and I made a few changes.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 slices wheat sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard ( I did not have Dijon mustard, so I just used regular)

Instructions: 

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre- heat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, Add garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Place breadcrumb mixture on baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.

3. Place 1/4 cup flour in plate. In second plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost nearly smooth.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cover 1 pork chop in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg and mustard mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of the pork chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to baking dish. Repeat with remaining pork chops.

5. Bake for 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

This was a last minute kind-of impromptu meal! The weather here has been crazy…one day its 70 and less than 24 hours later the high is in the 40’s.  It’s really been freaking my body out! Hot-cold, hot-cold, hot-cold! Make up your mind! I mean I don’t want to complain, because quite honestly I’m not a big fan of cold weather, but I just want it to stay one way or another… preferably towards the 70 degree end if at all possible!

Anyways, My original dinner plan for the evening was to make a chicken casserole that I had made awhile back, but all I really wanted was a hearty soup… I spent some serious quality time in class (oops!) searching for recipes, I finally the perfect recipe.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous making this one.I mean at first it seemed fine, start by cooking the chicken and cutting it in to small pieces, chop and sauté the vegetables you’d like to add, so far so good…and then came the serious part. Make the roux.  What the heck’s a roux you ask? I had no idea either (that shows you how new I am to this whole cooking thing!) Well, i did the research and it’s used to thicken sauces and soups… here’s an article from allrecipes.com that explains how to make a roux.  You’ll be happy to know that I rouxed (not sure if this is really  word, but now it is!) away and the soup turned out delicious! Now whether or not I rouxed properly is an entirely different issue 🙂

Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (or white!)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
(Because this recipe was so last minute, I didn’t have too many vegetable options, but the original recipe called for broccoli as well and I bet that would’ve been delicious in here!)
Instructions: 
1. Prepare rice and chicken if not already using leftovers:
One cup dry, rice prepared with 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken stock adds depth of flavor. Follow package directions for cooking time. Saute chicken seasoned with salt and pepper in a small amount of oil over medium-high heat just until golden. Remove from heat and shred or chop into small pieces. Set aside.
2. Saute vegetables:
Heat a small amount of oil to medium and saute carrot, celery and onion just until tender. Add garlic. Saute one minute more and remove from heat. Set aside.
3. Make the roux.
In the same pan the vegetables were sautéed in, add oil and flour. Over medium heat, scrape cooked bits of vegetables (and chicken) from pan and incorporate into roux. Cook the roux until golden.  Depending not the type of flour you use the roux may be lighter (white flour) or darker (wheat flour).
4. Make the broth.
Add chicken stock a half cup at a time to roux and stir continuously until roux is incorporated into stock. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbling. Add sour cream and incorporate.
5. Add all the important stuff. 
Add shredded chicken, 1 cup of rice, and sauteed vegetable mixture in to broth. Simmer until desired thickness, 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.

Beefy Tortellini

This is another quick and easy crockpot recipe that I discovered from food.com.  I made a few changes to the recipe. I like this recipe because there’s so much room for creativity,  you can really tailor it to what you and your family like in your pasta.  I also love this recipe because, well I get home from a long day and already have a meal 99% made.
Enjoy!
Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb ground beef (can also substitute this for ground turkey, ground sausage)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3/4 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and salt
  • 1 package of tortellini
Instructions: 
1. In skillet heat olive oil, add garlic and onion.  Once golden yellow, add ground beef and cook.
2.  Transfer drained and cooked ground beef to crackpot. Add ALL other ingredients, except for tortellini. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3.  Add tortellini, stir to combine.  Cover crockpot on low for 15-20 minutes, until tortellini is tender.  Sprinkle with parmasean cheese if desired.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Happy Halloween!!!!

You know what my favorite part of halloween is?  Handing candy out to the little kiddies and seeing all their cute little costumes.  They were extra adorable tonight!

Tonights dinner was delicious.  We love taco night and I typically just make beef or ground turkey tacos and call it a night, but tonight I decided to switch it up.  I got this recipe from the Blog Chef and I made a few minor changes.  I’ll definitely be making this again! Mina and I both agreed that these were awesome and even better than the typical tacos I usually make.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 3 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper (for spice!)
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and anything else you like to top your tacos with
Instructions: 
1. In bowl mix together tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, ground red pepper, taco seasoning, and sugar.  Mix well and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook on each side until golden brown.  About 5 minutes on each side.
3. Once chicken is golden brown, add tomato sauce mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer on medium-low heat.  Cover and simmer until chicken is fully cooked.  (About 15 minutes)
4. Once chicken is fully cooked remove from tomato sauce and shred chicken.  Place the shredded chicken back in to the tomato sauce.  Cook until the sauce reduces and blends in to the chicken.
4.  Spoon in to warm tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings.
And guess what was for dessert?? 🙂

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

This is a quick and healthy chicken recipe that I found on a great blog.  It turned out delicious and it’s so easy to make.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast (or 2 large ones, halved)
  • 1/2 cup Sun-dried tomato dressing
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 fresh basil or 1 tsp tried basil
Instructions: 
1. Marinate chicken in1/4 cup of the sun dried tomato dressing for at least 10 minutes, the longer you marinate, the better the flavors will be! (Refrigerate while marinating!)
2.  Grill chicken until thoroughly cooked (I’m not good a grilling, it’s usually Mina’s job, but since he was coming home late I just decided to use my George Forman grill on med-high heat – worked perfectly!)
3. While chicken is cooking combine chopped tomato, basil, and remaining 1/4 cup of the dressing in to a bowl.
4.  Pre-heat oven to 400.  Place cooked chicken on baking sheet or dish.  Top each chicken breast with spoonfuls to tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Place in oven for about 5-8 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.  (If using a grill, you can place back on grill instead of using oven!)

I served it with a pasta tossed in a light basal tomato sauce and a salad.  Turned out delicious!

Molokhia

So this recipe by no means belongs in the all-american meal category….in case you didn’t notice when you read the title and had trouble pronouncing it.  This is an Arabic dish that my mom made us quite regularly growing up and it’s delicious.  It’s something so simple and so comforting that brings me right back to being at home.

Molokhia (pronounced mulukhyia) is a green leafy plant and is prepared by finely chopping the leaves and cooking it in a chicken broth with some garlic.  No, I don’t have my own little molokhia garden growing in the back – however, most arabic stores sell this in the frozen food section.  Here’s what the package looks like:

 

As far as the nutrition facts go, 1/2 cup is 20 calories, it has 0.3 grams of fat, 3.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.3 grams of proteins.  It’s traditionally served over rice and/or some pita breads that’s made crunchy in the oven!  The consistency might seem a little strange to some – I guess some people might describe it as “slimy?”  But I promise it’s not a gross slime 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Molokhia
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic

Instcturions:

1. Put 4 cups of water in pot.  Add 2 bouillon cubes.  Bring to boil. (This part is actually the lazy way out…you’re supposed to boil chicken and use the stock from the chicken instead of the water and cubes)

2. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Add frozen package of Molokhia and salt.  NEVER bring to a boil, leaves and water will separate.

3.  Once hot, place 1 teaspoon of margarine in separate, small pan. Add garlic and cook until golden yellow color.  Now add garlic to soup.

4.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Pulled Porkies

So school is kicking my butt.  For those of you out there who are pre-dental and want to go to dental school….DON’T DO IT! Just kidding.  (Well, kind of just kidding.)  I’m learning so much and I really do believe I am in the right place and that this is the career for me…It’s just beyond exhausting.  Wah, wah, this sucks, wah!!!  <– me, whining.  I’m done now.

Now on to more important things, like pulled pork sandwiches.  It’s a really quick and easy meal that I made last week and it turned out delicious.  I kind of just came up with my own recipe after reading a few different ones online.  It’s simple and delicious! Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Boston butt or pork tenderloin
  • 2 cups of water OR 1 can of root beer ( I didn’t have any root beer, so I stuck with water)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Instructrions:
1.  Trim excess fat off pork.  Season all sides with garlic, salt, and pepper.  Place in slow cooker.
2. Add 2 cups of water.
3.  Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.
4.  Shred meat and place in pan on stove.  Add BBQ sauce (as much as you’d like! We like ours pretty saucy).  Heat all together.  Serve on buns of your choice.

Semi Homemade Pizza

I finally got around to making my own pizza at home! The reason I consider it “semi” homemade, is because I used pre-made crust by Pilsbury.  I don’t really have time to make my own dough right now, but this was the perfect alternative.  These turned out DELICIOUS!

I made two, one with pepperoni, black olives, and cheese (per Mina’s request) and one with feta cheese, shredded chicken, basil and black olives.  My favorite was the feta with chicken  pizza. So so yummy.  I’ll walk through the steps of the feta with chicken pizza, just because the pepperoni pizza was pretty straight forward.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • Salt, pepper, basil to taste (~1 tsp of each)
  • Pilsbury pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garlic salt
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Sliced black olives
  • Fresh basil leaves
Instructions:

1. Boil chicken until thoroughly cooked.  Once cooked through, shred chicken. Season shredded chicken with salt, black pepper, and basil to desired taste.  Set aside.

2. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray well with pam.  Unroll Pilsbury on to baking sheet.  Spread out to desired thickness.

3. Brush dough with olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic salt.

4.  Line dough with mariner sauce.  Cover with feta cheese, shredded chicken, black olives, and several fresh basil leaves.

5.  Cook on 425 for 18-20 minutes, until crust in golden brown.   Enjoy!