Sunday, May 24, 2015

145.0...Lasagna Bolognese

I’ve been on a cooking spree the last day or so. Friday night, I whipped up an amazing lasagna for dinner. It was pure comfort food perfection. I did serve it with leftover asparagus and Roasted Brussels Spouts just to make it seem a bit healthier. :)

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Lasagna Bolognese (Serves 8)

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, February 2014

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef

2/3 cup finely chopped onion

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

12 dried lasagna noodles

1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley 

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. For sauce, in a large Dutch oven cook beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until beef is browned; drain fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, 3/4 tsp. salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, covered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; cook 15 minutes more. (Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead.)

2. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions until tender but still firm (al dente). Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain well.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For filling, in a medium bowl whisk together ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, milk, parsley, basil, and 1/4 tsp. salt until well combined. Set aside. 

4. Drizzle bottom of a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish with olive oil. Arrange 3 noodles in a single layer atop oil. Spread with one-fourth of the filling. Top with one-fourth of the sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle top with shredded mozzarella and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with a piece of parchment brushed with olive oil, coated side down; seal tightly with foil. 

5. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes more or until cheese is golden brown and mixture is bubbly. Let stand at least 20 minutes before serving.

Printable Recipe 

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Breakfast yesterday morning was the usual:

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I took my kids for haircuts then to my daughter’s tennis lesson at our club. While I waited, I enjoyed a Chicken Chopped Salad.

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Once we got home, I started prepping for a barbecue with Joe and Alicia and their kids. The meal started with My Favorite Guacamole

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Then it was grilling time! On the menu: 

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Chili Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa, Cilantro and Lime Rice and Sweet Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter. Everything was great…I’d definitely make everything again. All recipes coming! 

Guess what I had for breakfast this morning??

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Lol.

What are your Memorial Day Weekend plans?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

145.8...Chicken Tikka Masala

I’m a giant fan of Indian food. I think my favorite recipe of all time is my Indian Butter Chicken. I found a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala in a Rachael Ray magazine and knew I had to try it. I’m glad I did!

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Chicken Tikka Masala (Serves 4)

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine, October 2014

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 shallot, minced

1 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) fire-roasted tomatoes

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 bag (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed

3 cups cooked basmati rice

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeño and shallot and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, scraping any browned bits.

2. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree. Return sauce to the pan, stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. 

3. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

4. Divide the rice among plates or bowls and top with chicken and sauce.

Printable Recipe

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Breakfast this morning was the usual. My son (who eats the same thing every morning), said to me “Again!?!” when he saw my breakfast. Lol.

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I went to spin class after drop off followed by errands. I had to run to the mall for a couple of things so I stopped for lunch at Seasons 52. I had the Blackened Fish Tacos which were quite good. 

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Tonight we are hanging at home and I’m looking forward to it!

Are you a fan of Indian food? Favorite dish(es)?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

146.6...Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you are like most people, Brussels sprouts are not your favorite vegetable. I will bet you that if you try roasting them, you will change your mind! Here is a simple recipe to get you started on your love for Brussels sprouts.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Serves 6)

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts (can cut in half)

3 Tbsp. good olive oil

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately. 

Printable Recipe 

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These were delicious with the Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken and Mashed Potatoes I served the other night. 

I took a break from making new recipes last night and defrosted some Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef to serve over pasta. 

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I wasn’t completely lazy…I did make a salad. :)

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Are you tired of my current breakfast yet?

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I’m not!

I attended an event for my daughter at school this morning. I then took a Barre class at the gym this morning. I didn’t feel like I got a good workout in and I had some extra time so I hit the treadmill to get my sweat on.

I met Alicia for lunch at Big Bang Sushi which has since replaced our beloved Love Boat Sushi. With the exception of a decor change and an addition of “all you can eat”, the menu was basically the same. Thank goodness. I can’t live without my Wasabi Roll! 

I found that if my meal starts with soup, I tend to eat less. Sometimes. 

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We shared our usual spread of sushi:

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Are you a fan of Brussels sprouts?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

145.8...Mashed Potatoes

To go with the Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken that I made the other night, I whipped up some pretty killer mashed potatoes. They are pretty basic but that’s what makes them so wonderful.

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Mashed Potatoes (Serves 6 to 8)

Recipe from Tyler Florence, Food Network

Ingredients:

4 lbs. golden creamer potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups heavy cream

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. chopped chives

Directions:

1. Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 Tbsp. salt, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain them well and remove the bay leaf.

2. Meanwhile, heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan. 

3. Put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl. Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper. Mix together with a spoon and add the chives. 

Printable Recipe 

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Ok…I think I’m on a roll. Last night another winner was created in my kitchen: Chicken Breasts in Caper Cream Sauce.

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Fantastic!! I served it with orzo and steamed asparagus. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you!

Breakfast this morning was the current favorite:

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I took the kids to school, went to a meeting, then the gym for a Zumba class. Lunch was at Marketplace Grill.

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Grilled Chicken Greek Salad. A plate of happiness. 

Do you like your mashed potatoes creamy or chunkier/smashed?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

146.2...Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

 I didn’t just make one new recipe last night, I made THREE! And all three were winners. Success! The first recipe is for Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken. Easy to make and crispy without being fried.

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Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken (Serves 4)

Recipe slightly adapted from Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats 

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin)

1 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat oil, garlic and seasoning until just warm. Let cool. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and add garlic oil mixture. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 4-12 hours. 

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

3. Dip chicken in breadcrumb/parmesan mixture until well coated and place on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and juices run clear. 

Printable Recipe

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I served the chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts…recipes to come! Great dinner!

Breakfast this morning was half a toasted English muffin topped with avocado and a scrambled egg with chives. I had half a grapefruit as well.

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After drop off, I went to Cardio Sculpt class. This class is really becoming a favorite. The first half of the class is pure cardio followed by a half hour of weights. 

I ran some errands and stopped at Wahoo’s for skinny fish tacos for lunch.

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What’s your favorite chicken recipe?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

147.4...A Birthday Full of Fun, Flan and Friends

It really does amaze me how fast a weekend can go by. I spent it at my annual belated birthday trip at Pelican Hill with some of my best friends. Our weekend started on a very rainy Friday with a shopping day at South Coast Plaza. Don’t worry…we did not forget our Barbies. 

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After a little shopping, we went straight to Quattro’s, our standard spot,  for lunch. 

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Cathi and I shared the swordfish carpaccio:

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This was followed by Prosciutto E Arugula Pizza:

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How about some birthday tiramisu!?!

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After a bit more shopping, we checked into our room at Pelican Hill. 

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A birthday champagne and strawberry surprise:

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Friday night we went to Bluefin Sushi for dinner. 

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Diana and I shared a bunch of delicious dishes. Trout:

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Bluefin Tacos (tuna, avocado, cilantro, lettuce and wasabi cream):

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Crispy Tuna (spicy tuna, crispy sushi rice, house sweet & spicy sauce):

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Tuna Tuna Tuna Roll (tuna, albacore, Sriracha sauce, ponzu):

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Birthday dessert number two:

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We followed that by heading to the Island Hotel for a drink at the Aqua Lounge. 

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Saturday morning it was right to the Coliseum Pool!

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Our morning started with a Crudite plate:

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I enjoyed some fish tacos for lunch:

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The day started out cool and cloudy but ended up being sunny and beautiful! 

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Dinner Saturday night was another birthday usual: Javier’s! We didn’t forget our selfie stick! ;)

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I ordered one of my favorite dishes there, Ceviche Tostadas: 

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I guess it was all about the birthday desserts because another one arrived! 

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Oh! A birthday surprise! 

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Oh…is this…flan????

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It is flan. I hate flan. Lol…this picture cracked me up for hours. My face says it all. 

Breakfast Sunday morning was Raisin Bran cereal and milk.

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Then it was back to the pool for the last few hours of our trip.

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I shared ceviche and chips with Dina.

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That was followed by a delicious grilled chicken sandwich and fries. 

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And just like that, the trip was over and it was time to head home. I guess I will have to start the countdown until next year!

My husband picked up our favorite Chopped Chicken Salad from Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza for dinner. 

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Breakfast this morning was a poached egg on half a toasted English muffin with avocado and half a grapefruit.

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I dropped the kids off at school, volunteered for a bit, then hit the gym for treadmill and weights. I ran some errands (the usual Monday routine) and stopped for a turkey avocado sandwich at Subway.

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 It’s definitely back to reality!

Flan: yes or no? 

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