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entree

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BLT Summer Chopped Salad

March 24, 2014

Summer Chopped Salad | Espresso and Cream 3
Lately Joe and I have been eating warm-weather foods despite our unseasonably cold temperatures. It’s our way of willing summer to come sooner rather than later, and busting out of the monotony of cold weather eating. A few weeks ago we just decided to heck with it, let’s bust out the grill and the salads and the smoothies and just start eating the way we do during the summer. Not only does it taste refreshing, but I seem to have forgotten just how easy it is to cook dinner when the grill is involved.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the most wildly popular recipe on Espresso and Cream is my Autumn Chopped Salad. I guess you could call this salad a follow-up to that recipe with a fresh summer twist. It’s not a diet salad by any means, it’s just plain old delicious. I tend to pride myself on being able to turn people who hate salad into people who love salad with recipes like this.

SummerChoppedSalad | Espresso and Cream

Crisp lettuce pairs perfectly with salty bacon and super sharp cheddar cheese, creamy avocados and juicy cherry tomatoes. Even if the weather never gets any warmer (and I have my doubts) I’ll have this salad to remind me of what summer feels like.

Summer Chopped Salad | Espresso and Cream 2

BLT Summer Chopped Salad
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2 to 3 entree, 4 to 6 side
 
This is an adaptation of one of the most popular recipes on the site, my Autumn Chopped Salad. If you're looking for a fresh, summer salad that works as a side dish or entree, this is your answer. It's easy to pull together and packed with flavor. I guarantee it can make even the biggest salad-hater into a salad-lover.
Ingredients
  • 6 to 7 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 6 strips bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 2 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • ⅓ cup poppy seed dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, combine the lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, avocado and cheddar cheese.
  2. In small bowl, stir together the poppy seed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

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Quick Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas

February 26, 2014

Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas | E&C
I mentioned earlier this week that I made enchiladas for dinner. It’s a regular occurrence in our house, since a big pan of enchiladas makes a great dinner and plenty of yummy leftovers for weekday lunches. We take our lunches to work almost every single day. It is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to save money. 

Lately, making homemade flour tortillas is one of my favorite new kitchen skills. I had no idea it was SO easy to make homemade tortillas, did you? Maybe I’m late to the game, but when I saw a recipe for homemade tortillas on Pinterest, I just had to give them a try. If you’re looking for a great recipe, I highly suggest Table for Two Blog’s recipe.

You could, of course, be an overachiever and make homemade enchilada sauce, too, but for weeknight dinners I usually just stick to enchilada sauce from a can. I kept things super simple in the filling, using ground beef, spices, diced green chiles, black beans and cheese. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to toss in whatever veggies you have on hand, like green peppers or diced cooked sweet potatoes. Get as crazy as you want!

Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas 2 | E&C

Quick Black Bean and Beef Enchiladas
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
I love making a pan of enchiladas one night, then having lots of leftovers on hand for lunches throughout the week. When making enchiladas for a family like ours where there is one vegetarian and one meat eater, I like to separate out a small portion of black beans, green chiles and enchilada sauce to use as filling for a couple vegetarian enchiladas, then stuff the remaining with the beef, bean and green chile mixture.
Ingredients
  • 6 large flour tortillas (I strongly recommend you try making them at home. I'll never buy them again!)
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 can (14- to 15-ounces) enchilada sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In medium skillet, brown ground beef. Drain. Add in the cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne, along with the green chiles, black beans and ¾ of the enchilada sauce and stir until well combined.
  3. Spoon heaping ⅓ cupfuls of the meat mixture into the center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas up and place in the prepared pan. Drizzle remaining enchilada sauce on top of rolled enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and filling is hot. Serve immediately.
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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

February 18, 2014

BuffaloChickenSandwich_2

Note: After my post about switching from eating vegetarian to eating meat, I thought an update was in order. After about two months my body really started to reject eating paleo-style. I began to crave the vegetarian fare (and whole grains!) that I was so accustomed to. I have since decided that while it was interesting to give paleo-style eating a go, it isn’t for me and my body. I plan to write a full recap soon, but I wanted to get that out there for honesty’s sake.

Although I’m no longer eating meat, I will continue to be cooking a lot of meat, as I always have. Since I’m not ethically against eating meat, I do try everything that I prepare and share on this blog to make sure that it’s worth posting. My husband, of course, is also a fantastic resource and is always willing to provide his opinion on what he likes and doesn’t like. In this case, Joe was a huge fan of these Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.

These sandwiches are incredibly easy to make and require very little hands-on time, meaning you can go do other things, like play with your puppy or paint your nails, while your dinner cooks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the key to good slow cooker chicken is to use a cut with a little bit more fat, like these boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They become incredibly tender and moist in the slow cooker and shred easily for sandwiches.

Since we love spicy food at our house, I added in a can of diced green chiles to the mix. And a little bit of brown sugar, which I think really rounds out the flavor of the sandwiches and balances the heat of the buffalo sauce.

Oh, and one more thing! A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe over at Pinch of Yum which suggested that you shred your meat and broil it after slow cooking to give the meat pleasant crispiness resembling barbecue. For the longest time my biggest complaint with slow cooker food was that it tasted mushy and, well, slow cooked. This step of broiling the meat was a total game changer. Give it a try and be impressed!

BuffaloChickenSandwich_1

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Recipe type: Slow Cooker Entree
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This recipe is incredibly easy and makes a great weeknight dinner. I love shredding the meat and broiling it once it has cooked for a little extra texture and smoky flavor. It prevents the meat from tasting like, well, a slow-cooker recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (20 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1½ cups buffalo wing sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot brand)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Whole wheat bakery buns or rolls
Instructions
  1. Place chicken and buffalo wing sauce in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Cook on High 2 hours or Low 4 hours.
  2. Use two forks to shred the chicken in the slow cooker. Stir in the green chiles and brown sugar and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes more.
  3. Turn oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place shredded chicken on baking sheet and broil 10 minutes or until the ends of the chicken become slightly charred and crispy. Serve on sandwich buns.

 Madison

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Chana Saag with Kale

February 11, 2014

Chana_Saag_1

One of my favorite traditions at work is our monthly cookbook club. It’s so fun to select a book, pick a recipe and get together with a bunch of other people who love to cook and discuss what we liked and didn’t like about said book. Sometimes it’s an incredibly successful cookbook club, sometimes it’s only okay.  But that’s the point, right? It’s so rare that I get a chance to make more than one or two recipes out of any given cookbook, so getting to taste 10 to 15 recipes at once really gives a feel for what the book is about and the quality of the recipes.

Our most recent selection was Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The book is entirely vegan but the part that really knocked my socks off was the fact that I feel I could serve these recipes at a dinner party to vegans and non vegans alike. The recipes were warm and comforting and incredibly filling. Although there is a fair amount of chopping and slicing and dicing involved in all the recipes, they were all fairly easy to prepare and didn’t require many specialty ingredients. Bonus: I don’t think “vegan cheese” or “vegan meat” was used once!

Chana_Saag_2
I left cookbook club this month feeling like I had eaten Thanksgiving dinner, though I didn’t feel weighed down or gross (albeit a little too full) like I sometimes do over the holidays. The food was nourishing, light and hearty all at once, and I fell in love with Isa’s casual and funny way of writing a cookbook.

The Chana Saag with Kale that I made for cookbook club was universally one of the favorite dishes that was prepared, and I couldn’t wait to make it again in my own kitchen to share with you. I tweaked the recipe slightly, mainly by adding more kale and slightly different spices to suit my tastes, but the recipe is incredibly forgiving and easy to adapt based on what you have on hand. However, I would strongly suggest not leaving out the lime juice, because the hit of tangy citrus really brings this dish together.

Chana Saag with Kale
 
This recipe is adapted from a recipe of the same name from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I fell in love with Isa's version, which calls for kale instead of the more traditional spinach. Kale is heartier and holds up better, which is important for leftovers. Since this makes a lot, there are bound to be leftovers! I like this dish heavy on the kale, but feel free to use less if you aren't a huge fan of kale.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt (plus more to taste at the end)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, more or less depending on desired heat
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) light coconut milk
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • Juice from 1 lime
Instructions
  1. In large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned and softened. In small bowl, combine curry powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne. Add spice mixture to onions and cook 1 minute more to toast the spices.
  2. Add in the juice from the tomatoes to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Crush the tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the pot. Add the chickpeas to the pot along with the tomatoes. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Add in the coconut milk and heat through.
  4. Add the kale and cook 5 minutes more or until kale is cooked and softened slightly.

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker White Wine Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes

October 28, 2013

WhiteWineChicken_1

It took me a long time to start loving my slow cooker. Even today, I wouldn’t describe myself as a true slow cooker devotee, but I can certainly see the merits of using it now and again. I don’t have a lot of food pet-peeves, but cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker is pretty high up there on my list. I used to be guilty of doing this, until I realized the error of my ways.

You see, if you’re going to slow cook a piece of meat, the meat you are cooking needs to have a little fat in it. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts? They don’t have much fat. Next time you’re looking to make slow cooker chicken, seek out a cut like boneless skinless chicken thighs, which have more fat and consequently taste a whole lot better after simmering away in the slow cooker.

This meal was a huge hit after church on Sunday. I stole a couple bites of the chicken before serving up a bowl to Joe and the meat was incredibly juicy, buttery and tender. And although the meat itself has a little more fat than other cuts of chicken, the recipe doesn’t require any extra butter or oil, which balances everything out in the end.

WhiteWineChicken_2

Slow Cooker White Wine Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Ingredients
*1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
*1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
*3/4 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in large cubes
*1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into thick slices
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1 1/2 cups good-quality chardonnay

Directions
*In small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the paprika, thyme and pepper. Rub spice mixture onto chicken thighs. Set aside.
*Place sweet potatoes and onion in 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Add the garlic and the chardonnay and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.
*Place seasoned chicken thighs on top of sweet potatoes and onions, arranging evenly in slow cooker.
*Cook on HIGH 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until chicken thighs are very tender.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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