Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas

La-di-da-di, this dish likes to party! Prepare to have your mind blown!

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, eat and share. Ryan was coming home from a long camping trip full of hot dogs, beer and bourbon, so I knew he would welcome a home cooked meal, loaded with veggies! I first made this recipe for my close friend Audrey (who is a vegetarian). Several years ago, she came to visit for dinner and I needed a hearty vegetarian dish that my meat-loving Hubby would love too.

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Inspired by a recipe over at Jorj Morgan's blog, I made several changes to make this gluten free, and Jessica-tummy friendly. 

This recipe does have a lot of steps, but all can be done ahead of time. I make this for dinner parties a lot, because I can prepare everything and pop in the oven when guests arrive (much like a lasagna). I can't tell you how amazing these enchiladas are. They are melt-in-your-mouth, flavor-explosion, vegetarian heaven!! And most importantly, they are meat-loving-husband approved!!

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas 

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time (includes making filling, beans and mole sauce): 60 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

3 tablespoons + 1/2 
teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons quinoa flour (can use other flour if not making gluten free version)
teaspoon cocoa powder
teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cups water
1 (15.5 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
medium red onion, finely chopped, divided
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
4-5 Portabello caps (depending on size), stems and gills removed
Coconut oil Spray (or olive oil)
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
15 small corn tortillas (can use flour if not making gluten free version)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded

lime wedges
fresh avocado chunks
sour cream or Greek yogurt

First make the mole sauce by combining the 3 tablespoons chili powder, quinoa flour, cocoa powder, garlic salt and oregano in a small sauce pan. Briefly stir and add water. Bring this to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-10 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Stir in the tomatoes and set aside to cool.

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Next start on the "re-fried" beans. In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil and saute 4 tablespoons of the chopped red onion for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and pinch of salt until well combined. Add the rinsed black beans and stir to warm up. Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. With a potato masher or back of a large spoon, start to mash the beans in the pan. Continue to cook, stirring and mashing along the way, until the mixture has thickened to a re-fried bean consistency. I always leave large chunks of black beans in the mixture - personal preference. If you want a really smooth consistency, you can remove the mixture and pulse in a food processor. Remove the beans to a large bowl and set aside. Wipe out the saute pan.

Prepare the Portabello mushroom caps and lightly spray with the coconut oil. Heat a grill pan or grill to medium high heat. Grill the mushrooms, cap-side down first, about 5 minutes per side. Only flip once and cook only until they just start to soften. Remember, they will continue to cook in the oven later. Remove the mushrooms from the grill to a plate, slice and set aside.

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

In the same saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the red bell pepper, rest of the red onion and jalapeno. Saute until the onions are just translucent, then stir in the spinach and cilantro. Set this mixture aside as well.

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the corn tortillas by lightly spraying them with coconut oil and warming in the oven for 2-3 minutes.

To assemble, have the bean mixture, vegetable mixture, mushroom slices and cheese set out on the counter. Have a 13x9 inch baking dish ready as well. Take a corn tortilla and spread about a tablespoon of black beans. Then top with 2 slices of Portabello mushrooms and a spoonful of the vegetable mix.

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Grilled Mushroom and Vegetable Enchiladas |

Roll this up and place in the baking dish. Repeat until all the tortillas are gone. Pack the enchiladas in the baking dish tight so they don't come unrolled. Pour the mole sauce over the enchiladas and top with cheese. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve 2 enchiladas per person with garnishes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana Bread Pancakes with Chocolate

I was so excited to live out one of my favorite songs this weekend - "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson. If you have not heard this song - download it now. It will make you happy!

"Maybe we can sleep in,
I'll make you banana pancakes,
Pretend like it's the weekend now"

It was a cloudy morning, and I actually slept in for once. In an effort to continue the girl weekend festivities, we decided to make Banana Bread Pancakes (gluten-free) for breakfast. My mom whipped up the batter, I made cappuccino's and Meg was cleaning up after us!

Banana Bread Pancakes with Chocolate |

These pancakes are not your run-of-the-mill fluffy pancake, so if that is what you like, then this is not for you. But if you like wholesome, oatey, banana-ey, hearty pancakes - get on this recipe now!

These just melt in your mouth and take you to banana, chocolate heaven! They really taste like banana bread - very aptly named!

Banana Bread Pancakes with Chocolate

Recipe from My New Roots

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2/3 cup walnuts
1 cup rolled oats (make sure to use gluten-free oats if making gluten-free recipe)
2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch sea salt
2 very ripe banana
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon olive oil
1 1/3 cup nut milk (I use almond)
teaspoon maple syrup
maple syrup
banana, sliced
handful of walnuts, chopped
extra-dark chocolate, grated

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they resemble a sand-textured powder (do not over process – you’ll end up with walnut butter). Remove walnut powder, add oats and pulse until you get a shaggy flour. Place walnut and oats flours in a large bowl. Add baking soda, sea salt and stir to combine. 

Add all wet ingredients (banana, vanilla, olive oil, nut milk, 4 tsp. maple syrup) to the food processor and blend to combine. 

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until the two come together. Let batter sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a little coconut oil (or ghee) in a skillet and drop in 3 large spoonfuls of batter. Spread slightly with the back of the spoon to even out the batter. Turn heat down to low. Let cook on the underside until the topside is opaque, which will take more time than a regular pancake. Check to see if the bottom has browned, and if so, flip over to cook the other side. Cook until the underside is crispy and brown (although the middle is a little moist, this is okay).

Put pancake on a baking sheet in a warm oven, and cover with some foil while you make more (this will also give them time to firm up a little in the middle). Serve with pure maple syrup, fresh banana slices, chopped walnuts, and grated dark chocolate. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Roasted Grapes Two Ways

How many times in your life have you had red grapes? Yes, they go great on a cheese plate, or as a quick snack, or even a healthy frozen treat, but have you ever thought about roasting them??

Roasted Grapes Two Ways |

Well, I am here to tell it! It is a wonderful, sweet, yet savory surprise. I am going to share both an appetizer and vegetable side dish that both include roasted red grapes. 

My friend Meg and I started chatting about yummy dishes we could make for our girls weekend. We both had seen this recipe on Pinterest for a baked sweet potato topped with goat cheese and roasted grapes. Meg had not ever had roasted grapes before, but was willing to try! I had roasted grapes several times, but only as a tapenade for appetizers. We both LOVE sweet potatoes and were determined to try the recipe. 

Roasted Grapes Two Ways |

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Rose Cosmopolitan

Girls weekend! And what better way to start off a weekend with some of my favorite ladies than with a nice kick-you-in-the-butt cocktail!

My mom created this Cosmopolitan recipe, which shows you what kind of badass, Southern mother I have. Caution - much like my blood orange martini - this is not for the weak-spirited!

The Rose Cosmopolitan

Yields: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: does it matter??

2 parts vodka

1 part Grand Marnier
1 part Organic cranberry juice
1/2 lime, split into 2 wedges

If you like your cocktails cold, put your martini glass in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before making the drink. Or, fill the glass with ice water and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Get out the cocktail shaker and fill halfway with ice. Pour in the vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice. Squeeze one of the lime wedges into the shaker, close and shake really well. Rub the other lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and place on the side for garnish. Pour in the cosmo mixture and drink yourself into the weekend baby!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread

My dear father...every time I come visit, he has to sit there and listen to my mom and I banter on about the latest health food or trend. He is such a trooper through all of our recipe testing (same can be said for my Hubby). So in honor of my father's favorite Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor, Chunky Monkey, I made him this...

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread |

Bananas are a staple every time I make a grocery run, but I despise bananas when they are too ripe. Something about the smell and texture just bothers me. So whenever I have leftover bananas that are too ripe for me to eat, I always make banana bread! This recipe took it to a whole new level though!

I had all of the other ingredients in my pantry already, came across this recipe from Barbara Bakes, and couldn't pass it up.

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread |

So Dad, if you are reading, sorry to ruin the surprise! Oh, and just a heads up....there will be a slice missing :)

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread 

Recipe from Barbara Bakes

Yields: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1  teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely smashed (chunky) very ripe banana (about 3 small)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and then set aside.

Combine the sugar, melted butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat until well blended and then stir in the mashed bananas by hand. Add the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Mix in chocolate chunks and nuts.

Spoon the batter into an 9 x 5 inch loaf pan coated with baking spray. Bake for 60 minutes, check with a wooden pick (inserted in center should come out clean). 

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove from the pan. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Curry Egg Salad

There are moments of compromise and then there are moments of just giving in! Coming up with this recipe was one of these moments. I have never, ever been a fan of egg salad, but my husband loves it! He religiously orders an egg salad sandwich on white bread with bacon at one of our favorite golf courses. When we get to #8 and reach the deli "Order Ahead" phone on the course, he hops over to the phone and places his order. Sometimes he will throw in some chips or a pickle on the side, but that egg salad is a highlight for him!

Curry Egg Salad

So, it came time for me to learn how to make egg salad, and when researching all of the recipes, I was appalled at how much mayonnaise was in it. I love Ryan, but just could not bring myself to make him something knowing how bad it is nutritionally.

Curry Egg Salad

I went in search for other recipes, and came across a curry egg salad recipe. It still had a lot of mayo in it, but I thought this was a great idea. Substitute mayonnaise with flavor and spice! After a few tries, I came up with a good combination that he really likes and continues to ask for. I have to admit, I rather enjoyed the curry egg salad myself. I prefer it with mango and spinach on pumpernickel bread though.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

I don't care how bad your day is, if you are a cook and your husband says "this is the best thing you have ever made," you light right up!

Here is how it happened...I wanted to take advantage of the remaining strawberries of the season, but couldn't decide what to make. I vowed to not make the strawberry pie again (since I have already made it four times in two months), but to try a new recipe. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble |

I have never cooked with rhubarb. Being a Southerner, this is unheard of, but there are some ingredients I just haven't tackled yet. My curiosity got the best of me, so I bought some nice fresh looking stalks and decided to make a strawberry rhubarb desert and find out what all the hype is about.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble |

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Royal Beet Salad

Let's get real with beets! Sometimes you just need to get creative with vegetables. They may not always be the most desirable by themselves, but when paired with the right flavors, they can take your taste buds to the moon!

Royal Beet Salad |

I had the day to myself to get errands done and play in my garden and kitchen. I planted the rest of my summer herbs and vegetables and got a little inspiration to experiment in the kitchen with a few beets that I got at the Farmer’s Market.

Royal Beet Salad |

Beets are full of amazing vitamins and minerals, the most notable is betalains, which gives them the bright, royal purple-reddish color. Betalains are said to have many health benefits including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, fiber and antioxidant agents. It is also said to help with detoxification! 

Unfortunately, I don't like beets by themselves. However, with all the health benefits of this root vegetable, I was determined to come up with a recipe that highlights beets, but includes many other flavor combinations.

Royal Beet Salad |

Needless to say, I had a lot of free time yesterday, and just kept experimenting with flavors. It certainly paid off, because this was a phenominal salad and a delicious way to eat some healthy anti-inflammatory, detoxifying beets!

Royal Beet Salad

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-50 minutes

4 small fresh beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Goat cheese
Truffle oil
Salt and pepper

Start by preheating an oven to 400F. Clean off the beets (and cut off the green stems if purchased this way). Place the whole beet with skins intact on a small, aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and sea salt. Fold the foil over and seal tightly to create a pouch for the beets to cook in. This helps cook them evenly and makes for an easier clean up job. Place in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. 

Beets are flexible when it comes to cooking temperature and time, depending on size and freshness. Fresh beets cook quicker than older ones and smaller beets cook faster than larger ones. You can also put these into any temperature oven to cook (ranging from 350F to 425F), depending on if you are cooking something else in the oven.

While the beets are cooking, place the raw walnuts onto a small skillet over medium heat. Cook these for about 5 minutes, watching carefully. Once the walnuts start emitting a nice aroma, they are done. Set these aside.

In a small sauce pan, heat the vinegar over medium heat and bring to a slight boil. Cook this until it reduces by half and becomes thicker in consisency. Set this aside to cool.

Remove the beets from the oven when a fork easily pierces through. Once the beets are cooled enough to handle, peel them. I recommend wearing gloves to handle the cooked beets to avoid staining on your hands. The skin should just peel right off or you can use a small pairing knife to help peel.

To assemble the salad, split the spinach on the plates and top with the 
raisins, walnuts, beets (sliced or cut into small wedges), goat cheese and drizzle of the balsamic reduction. Drizzle with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mango and Black Bean Salsa

Sometimes the best recipes come together when you least expect it. This is exactly what happened to me on a cloudy Saturday afternoon while visiting my parents. After an unsuccessful trip to the Farmer's Market (the produce wasn't quite ready in the colder climate of Boone), I headed to the local grocery store to get some inspiration for lunch. The mangos caught my eye while perusing the produce section. My mom listed some of the ingredients she had at the house already and the inspiration wheels started churning!

Mango and Black Bean Salsa |

I grabbed the mango and figured out the rest at home. After 30 minutes, we had a yummy sweet and spicy mango salsa that was fantastic!

I put this salsa on top of a salad with avocados and crumbled Black Bean and Quinoa flavored tortilla chips from Trader Joe's! A little drizzle of olive oil, the salad didn't even need dressing!

However, there are a million other ways to serve the salsa:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vegetable Soup for the Married Soul

I've had a lingering head cold for about 4 days now. After a very long day at work, all I wanted for dinner was soup. With the weather being cloudy and rainy yesterday, my husband couldn't agree more! He even offered to help me cook since I wasn't feeling my usual 100%-self.

Vegetable Soup for the Married Soul |

He went through the pantry, freezer and refrigerator and listed all the available ingredients. I sat at the bar with a cup of hot ThermaFlu, spatting out a few instructions to get him started, then he took it from there. As I curled up on the sofa, I started to smell the soup from the kitchen. I don't know if it was the delicious aroma or the TheraFlu, but either way, I started to feel better.

Vegetable Soup for the Married Soul |

There is something special about homemade soup, almost an instant guarantee to recovery when you are sick. 
I am certainly not dissing Campbell’s, there is a time and place for it, but when your husband offers to make you homemade soup, you take it!

Forty minutes later, Ryan pulled out a few additional ingredients for garnish and brought over a big bowl of warm, vegetable-loaded soup. Yummy....and I have to say, I am feeling better already!

Vegetable Soup for the Married Soul |

Vegetable Soup

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

2 tablespoons butter
½ red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5 baby zucchini, sliced (or 1 regular zucchini chopped)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
tablespoon Italian Seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional - this will give a good spice level)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Parmesan rind
2 Bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Optional garnishes:
avocado, diced
shredded cheese
sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
tortilla chips (Hint of Lime ones are the best)

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the onions and saute for 5 minutes more, stirring often. Once the onions are softened, add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes (if spice is desired), salt and pepper. Stir this well to incorporate all of the herbs and spices.

Stir in the carrots and celery, continuing to saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add in the vegetable broth, zucchini, red bell pepper, bay leaves and Parmesan rind and bring to a simmer. 

Once the soup comes to a small boil, lower the heat to Low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Before serving, add in the black beans and frozen corn and cook for 2 minutes more. 

Discard the bay leaves and rinds before serving. Top with diced avocado and tortilla chips (either on the side or crushed in the soup, which I prefer). You can also top with cheese or sour cream/greek yogurt. This was a great leftover meal for the week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grown Up Fruit Salad

The best way to eat fruit is by mixing it with herbs, in my opinion. Apples with rosemary, cherries with sage, and strawberries with basil. I have a recipe for every kind of fruit/herb mixture you can think of!

For Mother's Day, I drove up to the beautiful North Carolina mountains to visit my parents. My mom and I went to the local farmer's market and loaded up on all kinds of produce for a special Mother's Day meal. S
ince strawberries are in season right now, I decided to make one of our favorite fruit salad combinations.

Grown Up Fruit Salad |

When warm weather arrives, I can always count on a bursting herb garden in my back yard. Since I learned all of my culinary tricks from my mother, she usually has a wide array of herbs to choose from in her garden as well. With the local strawberries and newly arrived basil, I had everything I needed for the salad....well, almost!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Brussels Sprout Saute

The Brussels sprout...small, green and chalk full of vitamins and minerals. It often has a bad rep in the veggie crowd, but not in my kitchen! Instead of being a kid that only ate peas and carrots (which I both despised), I was blessed with an open-minded mother who introduced my brother and I to all kinds of veggies.

Brussels Sprout Saute |

Now fast forward 20 years...It certainly helps that my husband doesn’t despise the color green on his plate, but I have to admit, getting him to eat Brussels sprouts as much as he does makes me a Culinary Goddess! I thought I would share some of my favorite methods of serving these little cabbages as well as a new recipe that I created the other night.
It was a weeknight, which usually means I have about 30 minutes or less to get dinner on the table. So I turned on my thinking cap and decided to shred the sprouts in my food processor to speed up the cooking process. I didn’t shred them to a pulp, just enough to loosen up the leaves. Think coleslaw consistency, not pesto!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas

With Mother's Day on Sunday, I thought I would share a few brunch menu ideas for those looking to cook for your dear ole Mom! In my experience, cooking for my mother on her celebratory day is the ideal gift. She gets to sit back, relax and enjoy a Mimosa!

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

Speaking of Mimosa's, this is a great way to start off the meal. I like to use Simply Orange for the juice, but any orange juice will do. Mix it with a Champagne that you would drink by itself. Drop in a little fresh strawberry and cheers to many years of Mom's hard work! 

Other drink ideas:
  • Coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream
  • Cappuccino (if you have a milk frother or fancy coffee maker or Starbucks around the corner)
  • Bloody Mary (Ina Garten has a good basic recipe) or if you want to go one step further, Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter (a fav in our family).
  • Cranberry juice, sparkling water and lime.

While she is sipping away, put out something for her to snack on while you finish the meal, such as: 
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese, crackers and capers or lemon
  • Fresh fruit with orange liquer and basil drizzled on top
  • Steamed asparagus spears wrapped in proscuitto
  • or, just cook some bacon!
Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |
And for the main course - Zucchini Pie. This is one of the favorite recipes that my mother passed on to me several years ago. I have since spiced it up a notch with several fantastic flavors and maybe a little extra cheese. 

The great thing about this recipe is threefold: super easy, meal for any time of day and it is filling. I often serve this for dinner with just a simple side salad.

Zucchini Pie and Mother's Day Menu Ideas |

A few notes about this recipe:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade Blackening Rub

Oh Monday, a day for cleansing after a food and drink-filled weekend. For many of you, I am sure there was Mexican cuisine, tequila and Corona involved in the weekend. Unfortunately for Ryan and I, we spent most of Cinco de Mayo in the Detroit airport. At least we managed to have a little fun still.

Homemade  Blackening  Rub |

Since I wasn't home during the weekend, I don't have a Cinco de Mayo recipe to share with you, but I do want to share one of my favorite spices. 

I actually have a separate pantry for spices in my kitchen, mostly because I have too many!! I love cooking with herbs and spices. I love buying them even more! I organized the spices alphabetically at one point, but unfortunately, that did not last very long. So usually it takes me a few minutes to find what I need. There are a handful of spices I can't live without that are always front and center. Such as:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Agree to Disagree...on Ice Cream

I realize that my blog is all about compromising in the kitchen, and that most of the posts include recipes or kitchen adventures that both Ryan and I have enjoyed. However, sometimes you have to just agree to disagree! 

A prime example is dessert in our house. Most of the time we don’t have the same tastes for sweets. We both have a major sweet tooth, but never craving the same thing. He loves cake and I love pie! You see the pattern here.

However, I came up with a genius idea for a dessert date night where we both would be happy. I got him a pint of Cinnamon Bun Ben & Jerry’s and myself a pint of coconut milk vanilla ice cream (non-dairy for my sensitive tummy). We lined up various toppings such as nuts, coconut flakes, caramel sauce, fruit and whipped cream on the counter and created our own sundaes. They were delicious and we were both happy!

Agree to Disagree...on Ice Cream

My sundae included Vanilla Coconut Milk ice cream with mango, almond, coconut flakes and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Ryan's included Ben & Jerry's, nuts and A LOT of whipped cream. Treat yo'self!!
Here are some other examples of meals that I make when we can’t agree on food:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crispy Rosemary Chili Garlic Chicken Thighs

Alas, we have another installment of Mama Rose Recipes! I know that most people don't think of chicken thighs as being a healthy meat, and I agree, it is not the best for you. However, this recipe has so much flavor going on, it is hard to resist. So we compensated with a salad and roasted vegetables as our sides.

While I was making dinner on Monday night, Ryan came into the kitchen and asked if he could help. As usual, I was multi-tasking like a champ and asked him to help put together the marinade for the next's nights dinner. He asked if it was the thighs and instantly got a huge grin on his face!

So needless to say, this is actually a dinner that we "both" made. His favorite part was shaking the mix around.

Crispy Rosemary Chili Garlic Chicken Thighs |

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad

It has been one month since I started this blog and if you are a frequent follower, then you have probably learned a few things about my cooking style in the Kettler household:

1. I like to add pork products to vegetable dishes so Ryan will like them better (example, red cabbage and this salad).
2. I am not scared to use any of the wide spectrum of seasonal vegetables
3. I love making salads (Moroccan salad, Chef salad, Kale Salad)
4. I will scavenge the fridge and pantry to come up with a dish or recipe that suits our palette (whether it works or not, is up to Ryan)!!

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad |

This recipe fits all the aforementioned criteria. I first made this salad several years ago, when I was not very familiar with fennel. I was skeptical because raw fennel has a licorice or anise scent and flavor, which is not my favorite. However, I discovered by roasting it, the vegetable actually becomes sweet and savory at the same time. Pairing this with a buttery pancetta, makes a mundane vegetable insane!

This is now a staple in our household and made quite often for guests and on a random Monday night. I try to get the fresh thick slices of pancetta from the deli, but sometimes you just got to save on time and Trader Joe's enticed me with this ready-made package!