Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

I’m trying to use my slow cooker more, so when I saw this recipe I thought I’d give it a try.  I had to make a few substitutions based on what I had on hand, but despite the change in the recipe, I was really pleased with the results.  Since I used chicken tenders instead of bone-in breasts and thighs, this cooked up really quickly.  But the chicken is super moist and has a great sauce.  Don’t be afraid of the jalapeño, the sauce is tangy, and flavorful with just the tiniest bit of heat.  If you want it spicy, leave the seeds in the jalapeño or use habanero chiles as the original recipe calls for.

I served this on a salad with romaine and spinach, mango, avocado and red pepper.  The sweet mango and creamy avocado are awesome compliments and the combo would be great in a wrap as well.  Make sure you add the cilantro and fresh lime juice, it adds a great fresh flavor and really brings out all the flavors in the chicken.

Slow Cooker Jerk ChickenSlow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Serves 4

Adapted from Bakers Royale

  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced (easier if it’s frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
  • cilantro and lime for serving

Combine the shallots, oil, jalapeño, ginger, molasses, garlic, thyme, allspice, cardamom and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour about 1/3 in the bottom of your slow cooker, place a layer of chicken tenders on top, add more sauce and then the remaining tenders, top with the rest of the sauce.  Cook on low for about 1 to 2 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve with chopped cilantro and lime.

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Salmon Cakes

I’m so glad these salmon cakes turned out well!  While I’m a fan of canned tuna, I have to confess that other canned fishes kind of creep me out.  But since I trust Prevention RD to have a good recipe, and have been wanting to try to eat more fish, I knew I wanted to give canned salmon a try.  I’d printed off the recipe to try these weeks ago, and then when I was finally ready to make them I learned a very important lesson.  Apparently you can buy canned salmon with skin and bones included!  Read your labels!  I was shocked and horrified when I opened my can to discover all the fishy parts inside!  I could go into more detail, but this blog is intended to make you want to eat, but suffice it to say I got super grossed out and decided to feed the salmon to the cat.

Round two, I read my labels and found salmon without skin and bones, and had a much more pleasant experience!  With the right can of fish, these came together quickly and were excellent.  These are tender, the lemon and parsley makes them taste fresh and bright.  I’ll definitely be making these again!

Salmon CakesSalmon Cake

Makes 5 

Adapted from Prevention RD

  • 2 (6oz) cans salmon (boneless and skinless), drained
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp tartar sauce
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbsp breadcrumbs to coat the outside
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Form into 5 patties and stick in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until firm.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Once salmon cakes are firm, press each side into remaining breadcrumbs.  Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet.  Add salmon cakes and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes each side.  Place skillet in the oven and bake until heated through, about 5-8 minutes.  Serve with tartar sauce.

  • 2 Tbsp tartar sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.

 

Greek Nachos

I got this idea from something I saw on Pinterest, and loved the concept of mixing up the idea of nachos for something fresher.  This is kind of an assembled meze plate.  Meze is a bunch of small plates typically served in Mediterranean, Middle East and Balkans (according to Wikipedia).  The benefit of a meal like this, is that there are a lot of different tastes, people can pick and choose what they want to eat, and you can easily adapt it to what you have on hand or feel like at the time.

This is what I included in my meze selection:Greek Nachos with Falafel

  • Pita, store bought or homemade
  • Hummus, I used Roasted Cauliflower Hummus
  • Tzatziki, I used store bought but it’s not hard to make your own
  • Tabouleh
  • diced cucmber
  • diced tomato
  • olives
  • feta
  • baked falafel

Assemble your favorite foods and serve!  Enjoy thoroughly!

Baked Falafel

Falafel are great.  They’re a wonderful vegan option (I was surprised to learn they don’t even use egg to bind them).  They’re super flavorful, have a nice texture and are a great compliment to other delicious foods.  I’ve always thought of falafel as being rather fussy and something better ordered out than made at home.  However, this recipe is a game changer.  Baking falafel not only makes these healthier, it’s also easier than frying.  The result, while not as crunchy as traditional falafel, is still wonderfully moist, tasty.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, I’ve already made these twice in two days.  Once with friends and once (when I doubled the recipe, seen below) for my parents.  These are super delicious, and I can’t wait to make them over and over again this summer with a nice big Greek Salad.

Baked FalafelBaked Falafel with pita

Makes about 20 golf-ball sized falafel

Adapted from Hungry Girl

  • 1 large (32oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Generously grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large food processor, add chickpeas and onion and pulse a few times until minced.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.  Baked Falafel

If you don’t have a food processor, you can smash the chickpeas with a fork by hand, or use a blender.  Mince the other ingredients and add everything to a large bowl and mix by hand until it comes together.

Taking about 3 Tbsp of the mix, roll into ball and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining mixture and then spray the tops of the falafel with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through.

Peanut-Lime Cabbage Slaw

So as the first few days of warmer weather are fighting through the cold weeks, it gets a little easier to think about eating cold salads.  However, if you’re still snow bound, maybe the bright colors and flavors in this cabbage slaw will be able to tempt you into eating like spring has arrived.

I’m a big fan of cabbage slaws.  They’re easy to throw together, they hold up well for several days, and they feel heartier than regular salads.  This slaw is a wonderful combination of three kinds of cabbage, fresh herbs and a creamy tart, nutty dressing.

Peanut-Lime Cabbage SlawPeanut-Lime Cabbage Slaw

Serves 8-10

Adapted from The Yummy Life

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp regular creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper, to taste

Slaw:

  • About 5 cups shredded cabbage, mix of red, green and napa
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, thins sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1/2 cup toasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Puree dressing ingredients in a blender, or whisk vigorously until well blended.  In a large bowl, toss together slaw ingredients, then stir in the dressing.  Cover and refrigerate for  one hour or up to 3 days.

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

As I may have mentioned before, I’m a fan of dips.  I think they’re a great food to take to work, and I love that they can get me to eat a whole pile of veggies without being a salad.  Bonus points if the dip is healthy, so clearly hummus is a top contender.  Hummus is a great vegetarian way of getting protein, it’s got a smooth, rich and creamy texture so it feels indulgent, and while it’s awesome with pita (or pita chips), it also goes great with a variety of veggies.  And since I have a new big and fancy (read: powerful) food processor to work with it makes whipping up some hummus at home a breeze.

This recipe takes the usual suspects and adds some roasted cauliflower, lemon and a few herbs to give it a fragrant, slightly sweet, and nutty taste which is absolutely delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower HummusRoasted Cauliflower Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

Adapted from Edible Perspective

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of Kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and pick off the skins for a smoother consistency
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon zested
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and spread out on a large baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse Kosher salt, mix well.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until golden brown, tossing halfway through.Roasted Cauliflower

Once the cauliflower has cooled a bit, add it and the remaining ingredients into the bowl of your food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to blend and mix with a spatula as necessary to ensure an even, smooth consistency.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.  Serve with veggies, pita, chips, or spread on a sandwich.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Bark

Warning:  this is highly addictive.  This is popular with people that don’t like chocolate, this is popular with people that don’t like mint!  This is great for a salty, sweet, minty, crunchy treat!  There’s a little bit of everything in here and the possibilities are endless.  While this isn’t really “cooking” it’s a great assembly dessert which makes it perfect for when you’re short on time or have a lot of candy around that you want to use.

Mint Chocolate Cookie BarkMint Chocolate Cookie Bark piece

Makes about 2 full cookie sheets

Adapted from Your Homebased Mom

  • 3 (12oz) bags milk chocolate chips (or your preferred chocolate)
  • 1 package grasshopper cookies (or Thin Mints), crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 package dark chocolate M&Ms (mini would probably stick better)

Melt milk chocolate over medium heat.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, then drizzle melted chocolate over the parchment paper.  Spread chocolate out in a thin layer, then top with crushed cookies, pretzels and M&Ms.  Let the chocolate harden, I recommend sticking it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  When chocolate has hardened, break into pieces and serve, or keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Other topping ideas:Mint Chocolate Cookie Bark

Reeces pieces or peanut butter M&Ms
toasted coconut
chopped snickers bars or other candy bars
white chocolate
dried fruit
lightly salted nuts

Burmese Spiced Yogurt Chicken

This chicken is awesome.  It’s super flavorful, easy to whip together, and oh so yummy!  It reminds me a little of the Island Lime and Coconut Chicken I’ve made in the past, but the yogurt in this adds a great slightly tangy taste.  You can throw this in a ziploc bag (double bag, just to be safe) and let it marinade overnight, or make it in the morning and you’ll have an awesome dinner.  I served this with some whole wheat Israeli couscous, but rice, quinoa, roasted or mashed potatoes would all be good options as well.

Burmese Spiced Yogurt ChickenBurmese Spiced Yogurt Chicken

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Girl Cooks World

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs),
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

Double bag a large ziploc, and place all ingredients inside.  Seal and smoosh (technical term) around to mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Pour chicken/marinade into a 9×13″ pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Yesterday was Pi day.  I’m not really a math person, but I’ll take any excuse to celebrate pie!

Rhubarb is beginning to appear in stores and since rhubarb season is rather short, you’ll definitely want to jump on a chance to use it before it’s gone!  I highly recommend Rhubarb Custard Pie.  This is a family favorite.  It’s the perfect balance of sweet creamy custard around tart, vibrant rhubarb.  With a dollop of vanilla ice cream this is the perfect taste of spring.

If pie isn’t your thing you can still enjoy your rhubarb, try these Strawberry-Rhubarb Drop Scones (although they’re the softest, most tender scones I’ve ever had), or this delectable Rhubarb Snacking Cake.

Rhubarb Custard PieRhubarb Custard Pie

Makes 1 9″ pie

Adapted from Betty Crocker

  • 1 pie crust (I like pillsbury in the red box)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 2/3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a 9″ pie pan with pie crust and crimp the edges with your thumb and forefinger.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.  Add in the sugar and mix well.  Add flour, nutmeg and rhubarb and mix well.  Pour rhubarb mixture into prepared pie dish and dot the top of the filling with butter.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until center is set.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

This soup is a wonderful, fragrant, slightly sweet, slightly spicy and completely delicious.  It’s a perfect warming soup for the last cold days of winter.  This is always a big heat for a group, and except for dicing tons of sweet potatoes, it’s easy to scale up or down, and is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Curried Sweet Potato SoupCurried Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4 as a side

Adapted from a magazine cut out but I’ve lost the source

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced in 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free half and half
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • pumpkin seeds to garnish

In a pot, melt butter and saute shallot and sweet potato until shallot is tender, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with curry powder, then stir in flour.  Gradually stir in the milk.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat (don’t let it heat too quickly or the bottom will burn) for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the half and half and the peas, let soup heat through.  Serve with pumpkin seeds.

 

If you have a crowd to feed, here’s the portions I used to serve 35:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 large shallots, diced
  • 10 huge sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 gallon fat-free milk
  • 1 quart (fat-free) half and half
  • 1 large bag (about 22 oz) frozen peas

Follow directions above, although everything with obviously take longer with the large pot.