Thursday, May 31, 2012

Easy Baked Green Beans


If you're new to cooking, then you probably made vegetables just like I did, and sometimes still do. You either eat them raw, or buy the frozen kind that get nuked in the microwave.  Well in learning to make actual adult meals,  this recipe from Get Off Your Butt and Bake for easy green beans shouted at me how simple making tasty vegetables can actually be. 

Easy Baked Green Beans
Serves: 2 (depending on how many beans you make)
Cook time according to Jonna: She doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 10-12 minutes
How hard was this for Rachel to make? Simple!

Ingredients: 

green beans (I used 1/2 the pkg)
olive oil
salt &  fresh cracked pepper





Yep...that's it.




Directions:




Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread out green beans on baking sheet. Lightly coat with olive oil. Add as much salt and pepper as you prefer. Bake beans for 4-5 minutes. Toss beans and continue to bake for another 4-5 minutes.


Serve right away. Enjoy!




      







Peanut Butter Fruit Dip


When I first saw this dip titled "Fruity Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip" on Six Sisters Stuff I thought it sounded gross. However, I do love peanut butter and I was in the market for something lighter for dessert so I gave it a shot. Never again will I judge a food based on its name (however, I will modify the name). This dip is AWESOME and the perfect solution for a healthier lighter cap to a summer evening. It is easy and makes plenty for multiple people. I can't say anything else except, MAKE IT.

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip
Serves: 4
Cook time: 60 seconds
How difficult was this for Rachel? Silly question, it is SO easy.

Ingredients:

1 container fruit yogurt
(I bought 2 light, used Strawberry)
1/2 cup peanut butter of choice
(I used creamy reduce fat)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Fruit to dunk
(Bananas and Strawberries were the best)

Yes, I forgot to include the peanut butter in this picture. Ridiculous.




Directions:


Mix yogurt, powdered sugar and peanut butter in a bowl. 


Slice some fruit. Eat. 

Super difficult. 




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grilled Balsamic Salmon


Ok, so making fish took a LOT of courage. I've always convinced myself that fish is something to be eaten in a nice restaurant, not from MY kitchen. BUT in trying to expand my limited culinary skills, when I stumbled across this recipe from Eating Bird Food for an easy Balsamic Salmon, I knew I had to try it because Salmon is my ultimate favorite fish.  J and I ended up really liking this recipe but did make a few modifications to the balsamic glaze. AND SCORE neither of us got sick. However, it was a bit of an adventure getting to the final product. 

Enter my fear of the seafood counter.  The only seafood I have ever brought into my apartment is shrimp.  I went up to the counter and was faced with 5 different types of salmon. All the salmon looked super orange-y and then I notice the sign that all the salmon was farm raised and injected with dye. Uh, what? I am not eating fish that is injected with anything. I abruptly turn and walk quickly away from the counter thinking, "there will be no fish eaten tonight". Instead I made the Skillet Lasagna.  

Not wanting to give up, the next day I decided to head to Whole Foods. I trust Whole Foods with all my being and I know they have a big seafood counter. I headed to the counter and the butcher (is that what they are called at the fish counter?) asked if he could help me. I hate looking clueless (I know, I need to get over that), so I quickly just ask for 2 fillets of the wild caught Salmon. To my horror, I am handed 2 LARGE pieces of fish with the skin on. ACK! Fish skin is GROSS. Can't wait to deal with this at home. 

Once at home, I unwrap my purchase and am staring at 2 very large slabs on salmon. Turns out, I bought double the amount I needed. No big deal, I will just make one fillet and chop into two and save the other piece for later in the week. So the recipe calls for cooking the fish in a large skillet. Eh. I like my salmon grilled. So bring on the George Foreman. Having never grilled fish (duh) I turn to my friend google and find this video Cooking Salmon on the George Foreman. and BINGO this guy instructs on how to remove the skin. Ok, we are FINALLY ready to go. 

Grilled Balsamic Salmon
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Brittany: Less than 30 minutes
ACTUAL cook time according to Rachel: 30 minutes!
How difficult was this for Rachel? Besides the above nonsense, it was actually fairly easy...minus the skin removal. See photo below. 








Ingredients:

2 wild caught salmon fillets (3-4oz each)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey (maybe a little less)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

So yeah, check out this piece of fish. I had 2 of them. So so so much to learn.




Directions:

For the Foreman (or any) grill, coat the top of the fish lightly in the olive oil. I have finally become the proud owner of a Misto olive oil sprayer. It is a great way to lightly coat food without using too much oil. Season with salt & pepper


Place the fish skin down (thank god I don't have to look at it) and close lid cooking on high for about 4ish minutes. 


While the fish is cooking, mix together the balsamic vinegar, honey & red pepper flakes. Taste and modify ingredients according to preference.  The original recipe is quite sweet. I added a bit more balsamic.


Once fish is golden brown, coat the top lightly in the glaze and cook for an additional minute.  This does get messy and would work better in the skillet (like the recipe calls for) so once the fish was done, I lightly coated it again with the glaze.


Here comes the fun part. Skin removal. I cut the fish fillet in half but did NOT cut through the skin.  While trying not to gag, I was able to remove half the fillet as seen above.


Trying to remove the 2nd half of the fillet did not go as well. This is something I'm gonna have to work on.  It still tasted great, but before I could enjoy the fish, I made J take out the trash so I wouldn't have to see the skin again. Enjoy!





Sunday, May 27, 2012

Skillet Lasagna


I don't really think I need to explain why I wanted to make this recipe as soon as I came across it on...Pinterest. This dish was AMAZING. It is very hearty, healthy (for pasta) and EASY.  The only problem I had is this requires a large skillet...I have a semi large frying pan. I don't even really know how big it is.  So it was a bit difficult trying to keep all the food in the pan. But otherwise, I cannot wait to make this again! Big thanks to the Realistic Nutritionist for this. I did modify her recipe a bit. The original recipe is vegetarian, and well, I like meat so I added ground turkey. The original recipe also calls for mushrooms. No. Thank. You. And of course, I upped the amount of garlic used. My modified recipe below.

Skillet Lasagna
Serves: 4
Cook time according to the Realistic Nutritionist: 20 minutes
Cook time according to Rachel: 30 minutes (I had to brown meat!)
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Pretty easy. Would have been easier with a larger pan!

Ingredients:            
6 oz lasagna noodles, broken into thirds (I used 6 noods)
1 pkg ground turkey, Italian seasoned if possible
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup low fat ricotta reese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray

Directions:



In a large pot, cook broken lasagna noodles according to package. Once cooked through, drain but leave just a bit of water so the noodles don't stick together. Set aside.


While noodles are cooking, in a medium skillet, brown ground turkey. Remove from heat and set aside.



Heat oil in LARGE nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic. Directions stay cook until garlic is fragrant. To me, garlic is always fragrant, so cook an additional minute or so.



Add in diced tomatoes, sauce, salt and pepper. Cook mixture an additional 5 minutes so it thickens up a bit.


Add noodles to skillet and stir mixture well. At this point I was slightly panicked at how full my pan was already and there was still so much to add!


Add ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes. 


Add in ground turkey and mix well. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes making sure the turkey is fully mixed in and cheese is melted.



Serve immediately. Enjoy!







Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Special Thanks


I don't normally do non-recipe posts, and I don't normally go public with my feelings on my relationship (the FB statuses, "I love my hubby!!" "I have the best boyfriend ever!!" bug the crap out of me) BUT I owe a BIG thank you to my awesome boyfriend for helping me create the new Khaos in the Kitchen banner above. I had a small vision and he was able to take my idea and not only create it, but make it way better and it only took 2 nights and a few glasses of Wild Turkey. I never would have been able to do this on my own, so a big  public thank you is necessary! I am also thrilled neither of us got food poisoning from my fish attempt (I guess success?) last night. That post to come in a bit.  

True Love.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Slow Cooker 7-Up Chicken & Rice (Surprise, it's healthy!)


Ok, for those that know me, I am a coke (cola) junkie. There is nothing better to me than the refreshing taste of the soda bubbles pouring down my throat. But alas, I have been trying to be healthier and I knew the daily (sometimes multiple) cokes needed to go. Now limiting myself to just 1-2 a week, it is no surprise that any recipe that calls for some type of soda just jumps off the page and screams at me to make it. This chicken dish was absolutely AWESOME, not to mention healthy and super easy to make. I found this recipe at one of my favorite food blogs, Six Sisters Stuff. I definitely recommend this!

Slow Cooker 7-Up Chicken & Rice
Serves: 4 pieces of chicken
Cook time according to Six Sisters: 4-6 hours
Cook time according to Rachel: 6 hours
How hard was this for Rachel to make? SO easy!


Ingredients: 


4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 10z can cream of chicken soup (I used 98% fat free and it tasted great)
1 12oz can 7-Up or Sprite
1 cup rice (Minute is recommended)
1/4 cup chicken broth


Note: I used white rice because that is what I had available, but next time I would use brown rice.

Directions:



Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add in the 7-Up/Sprite and can of chicken soup. Cook on low for 3 hours.


I recommend stirring once an hour even though it is not recommended just to make sure the soup and soda mix thoroughly.


After 3 hours add in rice & chicken broth. Make sure rice is completely submerged in order to fully cook. Cook for an additional 2.5-3 hours.


Serve immediately. Enjoy!





                                   

                                                           


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Healthy Mac & Cheese Bake


I am a self-proclaimed Macaroni & Cheese snob.  I like my Macaroni cheesy & rich & super comforty. I am always reluctant to make a "healthy" version of Mac & Cheese because it never tastes as good, it doesn't satisfy my craving and ends up just being a disappointment. Well, I have to say, this recipe was pretty good...for being healthy. J happened to love it, but he is easier to please than me. I did accidentally buy the wrong type of cheese and so when Gina at Skinnytaste recommends a certain brand because it melts and tastes the best, I probably should have paid more attention. Oh well, guess I will just have to make it again!

Healthy Mac & Cheese Bake
Serves: 4-6 (Gina says 8, but that is just not enough food)
Cook time according to Gina: Yeah, nothing
Cook time according to Rachel: 35 mins
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Easy!

Ingredients:                      

12 oz elbow noodles
2 tbsp light butter (I prefer Smart Balance)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups skim milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/8 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs
Pam
8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar (yep, I bought fat free Kraft)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:


Cook pasta in salted water & according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


          


While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, melt butter. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk in on low heat. Add milk & chicken broth while continue to whisk. Raise the heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes thick. Note: there will still be chunks of the flour/butter mix. 

                               

Once smooth and thick, remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until completely blended. Use salt & pepper to season. 
           

Add noodles to cheese mix and stir through. In a greased 9x13 pan, pour in noodle & cheese mix. Top with bread crumbs & Parmesan cheese. 


Bake for 15-20 minutes. 


Enjoy!










Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baked Chicken Nuggets




OK, these are AWESOME. I love kiddie food and ate a lot of it before J moved in simply because it is easy and delicious. Well these were easy, delicious, and a much more fun (not to mention healthy) way to eat a piece of boneless skinless chicken. The only problem I had was portion size. I made 2 pieces of chicken thinking there were 2 of us eating.  These little suckers were so good, eating the equivalent of one piece of chicken was not enough!!! I had zero desire to eat the vegetables that I made to go along with these. Thanks to Gina at Skinnytaste for this fantastic new meal.

Baked Chicken Nuggets
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Gina: She doesn't say
Cook time according to Rachel: 30 minutes!
How hard was this for Rachel to make? EASY

Ingredients:

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
6 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
baking spray

Note: I used shaved Parmesan because that's what I had. Stick with grated.






Directions:


         
                   
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut pieces into tiny pieces. Season with salt & pepper. In 1 bowl put the olive oil. In another bowl combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese.

       

Place a few pieces of chicken in the bowl with the oil and mix well so the oil evenly coats the chicken. Then place the chicken in the bowl with the crumbs & cheese and coat well. 


Place evenly on a greased baking sheet. Bake chicken pieces for 8-10 minutes. Flip nuggets over and continue baking for an additional 4 minutes or until cooked through. 

 

Serve with dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!