BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions

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Sean and I really wanted comfort food the other night, and after a run, we both realized that we were craving BBQ chicken pizza. Neither of us had ever made it from scratch before (Sean loves Trader Joe’s frozen version), so we decided to give it a go.

To make a whole BBQ chicken pizza, which feeds 4, you’ll need:

1 plop of pizza dough (we used some from the local bakery)

1 onion, cut into thin rings

1 log shredded mozzarella cheese

1 bottle BBQ sauce (you choose what kind)

7-8 mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 chicken breasts

2 T butter

1 T brown sugar

salt and pepper, to taste

 

First, we covered the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce and put them in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. While the chicken was cooking, we sautéed the onions in butter, adding the mushrooms when the onions were almost translucent. This is just another variation on my caramelized onion obsession. Once the onions and mushrooms were nicely browned, we added 1 T of brown sugar to the pan with cracked black pepper and turned the heat to low. Once the sugar was incorporated and caramelized, we turned the heat off.

We then rolled out the pizza dough on a pan and added a bottom layer of BBQ sauce and a middle layer of onions and mushrooms, all covered with half of the mozzarella cheese.

When the chicken came out of the oven, we shredded it using forks and added it to a bowl with copious amounts of BBQ sauce, then layering the chicken on top of the onions, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. That whole mess got covered with another layer of mozzarella cheese, and the whole pizza went in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

This is total man food, according to Sean, but I also loved it. Plus, it kept well as leftovers, which is always great for someone on a budget like me!

You can garnish the pizza with cilantro, too, if you’d like. We bought cilantro but when the pizza came out of the oven, we were so excited to eat that we forgot about the cilantro completely. Oops. Enjoy!

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Mushroom Parmesan Risotto

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After a relaxing weekend at home of catching up on sleep and reading a book (for fun! gasp!) I wanted a comfort food dinner, and mushroom risotto sounded awesome. Risotto just requires patience, so try to make this recipe when you’re not feeling rushed. It takes about an hour.

This recipe, which is a modified version of the recipe I found on the food blog Gimme Some Oven, makes enough for 4 servings. I made the whole thing so that I’d have leftovers for the rest of the week! You’ll need:

4 cups homemade chicken stock

1 T olive oil

1/2 onion, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio works well)

2 T butter

1 t sage

8-10 small cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a pan, saute the onions in olive oil until they are translucent, then add the rice and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil. You’ll need to stir constantly for three minutes as you cook the rice so that it doesn’t burn! Add the white wine to the pan after 3 minutes and cook, stirring, until the wine is completely absorbed.

The next half hour of your life is essentially a waiting game with risotto. Add the chicken stock to the pan, 1 cup at a time, stirring fairly constantly over medium heat until the stock is completely absorbed by the rice. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms and saute them in another pan with the butter until they are golden brown.

Continue to add chicken stock cup by cup to the rice (four times), stirring continuously until the stock is absorbed completely each time. Once all four cups have been incorporated, taste the rice. If it has a bite to it, add a small amount of water or chicken stock and keep cooking the risotto. Mine was done after the 4th cup of stock was incorporated, so I turned the heat to low, and added another small pat of butter, the mushrooms, the parmesan cheese, the sage, and salt and pepper to the rice. After stirring to incorporate all of those ingredients, the risotto was ready to eat!

You can top the risotto with additional parmesan cheese if you’d like, and remember that this recipe is awesome with a good chunk of focaccia bread or a side of grilled asparagus. Enjoy!

German Pancakes (Dutch Babies!)

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I woke up this morning with an insane craving for a German Pancake, or as my mom called it when I was little, a Dutch Baby. I walked to the fridge and realized that I had no eggs, so I almost gave up on the craving… but then I walked to my local convenience store to get eggs because I wanted to make the pancake so bad!

Anyway, this recipe is total comfort food for me. The recipe makes one german pancake, which is enough for one or two people, depending on whether you fill the pancake with fruit or not. The pancakes are usually more poofed up than the one I made (above), but the pancake will taste good no matter whether it’s tall or not.

To make this, you’ll need:

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch salt

2 T butter

2 T powdered sugar

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Put a small skillet (10 inches or less) in a 475 oven. Meanwhile, combine 2 eggs in a bowl and whisk them until they get foamy. Add milk, flour, nutmeg, and salt to the eggs slowly until combined and slightly puffy. When the oven reaches 475 degrees, take the pan out and turn the oven down to 375. Melt the 2 T of butter in the pan, making sure the pat of butter is entirely melted before adding the rest of the batter.

Once you’ve poured the batter into the pan, put it back into the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. I love to eat mine with lemon juice and powdered sugar, but you can also garnish it with any fruit of your choice. Baked cinnamon apples are great, and strawberries are also totally delicious. Enjoy!

Homemade Pad Thai

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Pad thai is by far my favorite take out comfort food, so I decided to try to make it the other day from scratch. No use wasting $10 once a week if I can make it in my own kitchen, right? Turns out, it’s pretty easy. It’s basically an Asian version of Spaghetti Carbonara, and it doesn’t have weird ingredients like you might think.

For this recipe, which is taken from this food blog, you’ll need:

1 package rice noodles

2 T brown sugar

2 T fresh lime juice

3 T soy sauce

2 t vegetable oil

3 green onions (white and green parts, thinly sliced and separated)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts

1 chicken breast

chicken breast marinade: soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, pepper, 1 clove minced garlic

Start with your chicken breast. I usually make a marinade with soy sauce, a dash of brown sugar, a dash of salt and pepper, and 1 clove of minced garlic. Let the chicken sit in that marinade for an hour or more, then pop it into the oven at 375 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the white parts of the green onions and the garlic to a saute pan and cook them both for about 2 minutes, adding the scrambled eggs and cooking for another minute or so until the eggs are set but not brown.

Set the eggs aside in a bowl and cook your rice noodles. I usually use Trader Joe’s rice noodles, and they’re very fast to use because they cook in two minutes in hot water. So before you cook your noodles, make sure that you have everything else chopped and ready to go – the rest of the process goes pretty fast!

In a pan, add cooked noodles, scallion greens, and a sauce made from brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce. Cook, tossing constantly, then add the egg mixture and toss to coat the noodles, breaking up the eggs. Last, toss in peanuts, cilantro and your shredded chicken, which should be out of the oven by now (you can shred it using 2 forks). Top the pad thai with an extra squeeze of lime, and enjoy!

Greek Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

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I have a love affair with caramelized onions. I make vats of them by sautéing thinly cut sweet onions with butter for 20 minutes on medium low heat, then adding cracked black pepper and brown sugar to the pan. I put them on almost everything I eat at this point… I have a Tupperware container of them in my fridge right now, in fact.

Anyway, tonight I checked to see what I had in my fridge and grabbed some ground chicken to make burgers. Even though it’s a super messy burger/ patty melt, it’s one of my favorite meals. Ladies, it’s definitely a man friendly meal, too, and perfect for a summer date night.

For 4 burgers, you’ll need:

a package of ground chicken or turkey meat

1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T oregano

1 T basil

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

8 slices of sourdough bread, toasted

1 avocado, mashed with a slash of lime juice

goat cheese

2 T caramelized onions per burger

catsup, other condiments

First, form your burgers by combining the ground chicken in a bowl with the juice and zest of one lemon, minced garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, and bread crumbs. Mash that up with your hands and form patties. Transfer those patties to the fridge while you prepare the onions (unless you’re like me and you have a vat of them in your fridge).

Grill the burgers or cook them on the stove at medium heat (you may have to cover them so that they cook through if they’re on the stove). Then spread one slice of the toasted bread with catsup, goat cheese and avocado. Add the burger patties to the sandwiches (I often cut them into halves so that they’ll fit on the bread) and top all of that with caramelized onions and another slice of sourdough bread!

Beware— this is a messy dinner! It would be great with a side of a simple salad or grilled veggies.

Baked Peanut Butter Chicken with Coconut Noodles

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I made this the other day after work and it was pretty good! If you follow my cooking, you know that I love Asian dishes, so this falls right in line. Although I didn’t love the chicken (then again, I don’t like chicken much no matter what), the peanut sauce was to die for. Definitely adding it to my repertoire.

For the peanut sauce, you’ll need:

1 small piece of ginger, peeled and diced (about a 1/4 inch piece)

1 clove garlic, diced

2 T light brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 T rice vinegar

2 T soy sauce

a dash of red pepper flakes

1 T vegetable oil

3 T warm water

Add all of those ingredients to a blender/ food processor and blend until smooth. Then set the sauce aside.

For the chicken and noodles (this made enough for my dinner and lunch the next day), you’ll need:

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup flour

1 chicken breast

salt and pepper

thin spaghetti noodles

1 can coconut milk

chopped green onions for garnish

sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then get ready to coat the chicken. Put flour in one small bowl, breadcrumbs in a second and about 1/4 of the peanut sauce to a third bowl. Then season the chicken with salt and pepper, dredge it in flour and coat it in peanut sauce. After it’s coated, add a thin layer of bread crumbs (you might have to pat them on with your fingers). Bake the chicken until it is cooked through, probably for 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.

While the chicken cooks, bring 1 cup of coconut milk plus 2 cups of water to a boil and cook the noodles. You may need to add more water as the noodles cook in case it evaporates. Add the noodles to a bowl with a cup of the coconut water (from the pasta) and some of the peanut sauce (more or less to taste). Stir it all together so that the peanut sauce melts, and add more coconut water if it looks too thick and pasty.

Serve the chicken over the noodles and drizzle it with the rest of the peanut sauce. Garnish the whole dish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds, if you have them. Enjoy 🙂

Homemade Linguini Noodles with Pesto, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

This is crazy, but I’ve been meaning to post this for months and haven’t gotten to it until now! A couple of months ago, Hilary, Danielle and I decided to have a roommate night. We watched Hitch and cooked a yummy dinner that we’ve been planning on making since we moved in last August: homemade pasta!

Hilary has a pasta machine, so keep in mind that you’ll need a pasta machine to make this recipe!

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First, we made homemade pesto. For that, you’ll need a blender and the following ingredients:

Basil

Pine nuts

Olive oil

Garlic

Salt and Pepper

Lemon

pesto

Making pesto is based completely on winging it – I can’t tell you the exact ingredients! We used a couple of handfuls of basic, a small handful of pine nuts and one clove of minced garlic. All of that is added into the blender with a drizzle of olive oil.

Inevitably, you’ll get frustrated because the ingredients won’t move in the blender, but don’t give up! Keep adding olive oil (slowly!) to the blender until the ingredients start moving. You may have to use a spoon to stir the mixture intermittently until it all comes together. Once it starts to look like a paste, add in a dash of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Yum! Set that aside.

Next, we made the pasta noodles. Hilary has made homemade pasta before but Danielle and I never have, so we were impressed at how easy it was.

For the noodles, you’ll need a pasta maker and:

3 cups flour

1 cup warm water

2 T olive oil

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Yep, that’s it! Simplest ingredient list ever. Just put the flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients to the well. Stir it slowly with a fork and mix a little bit of flour at a time into the dough so that it’s smooth and even. The more patient you are, the better. Knead the dough lightly by hand once it’s incorporated and then let it sit for about 15 minutes covered with a wet towel.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out and feed it through the pasta machine until it comes out as noodles! Hilary was in charge of this process and the noodles came out super well. We dropped them into lightly salted boiling water and cooked them for about 5 minutes (or less – they cook quickly since they are fresh).

While the pasta cooked, we cut up tomatoes and mozzarella, and added those to the cooked pasta with the pesto. Seriously, yum. We need to make this again soon!

Love,

The girls of 159 Coolidge 🙂

Ham and Swiss Cheese Quiche

Growing up, my mom always made quiche with the leftover veggies, meats and cheeses in the fridge, so sometimes I crave that baked egg goodness. I’ve been working on eating everything in my fridge to save money before I grocery shop again – using up all of my leftovers, every last vegetable and all of the meats that I got for sandwiches and meant to eat for lunch (but didn’t). So yesterday morning I perused my fridge and realized that I had all of the ingredients that I needed to make a ham and swiss quiche. Done and done!

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I made my own pie crust, which takes a lot of extra effort. The recipe is here and I’ve included the steps that you need to follow if you want to make your own pie crust (I did because I didn’t want to go out and buy something else), but a frozen or pre-made pie crust will work just as well, and will save you a lot of time!

For the pie crust, you will need:

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into cubes and frozen

1 1/4 c flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 t sugar

4 T ice water

I put the butter in the freezer, then headed to Starbucks for a few hours. When I came back, I constructed the dough. Keep in mind that this makes one pie crust. If you were making a fruit/ dessert pie, you would need two (a top and a bottom) so you would need to double this recipe!

Add the flour, salt and sugar to a blender and stir or pulse a few times to mix. Then add the butter and start pulsing until the mixture looks coarse. The butter should be in small pieces (pea sized) when you’re done. Slowly start adding water (it should be cold!) 1 T at a time until the dough starts to come together. Once it looks moistened (it won’t be in a ball yet), turn it out onto the counter and knead it briefly. Only knead it a few times, as the longer you knead it, the tougher it will become (and no one wants a tough pie crust!). Once you can fashion it into a little disk, it’s ready.

Package up the disk in a zip lock or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour (or up to 48 hours). When you’re ready to make the quiche, just take the dough out of the fridge, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes, then roll it out with a rolling pin and a sprinkle of flour! You’ll want it to be pretty thin.

The first step to assembling the quiche is actually rolling out the pie dough and putting it in a pie pan, draping the dough slightly over the edges of the pan and pinching them. Prick the dough with a fork and then bake it in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

While the dough is baking, assemble the rest of your quiche! For my version, you will need:

1/2 onion, cut into small rings

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 small tomatoes, cut into chunks

1 handful spinach

1/2 cup ham, diced

1/2 swiss cheese, diced

1 whole egg, 5 egg yolks

a pinch of oregano

a pinch of thyme

salt and pepper to taste

parmesan cheese

Start by sautéing in the onions in olive oil. Once the onions are slightly brown and turning translucent, add the tomatoes and allow them to cook until they become mushy. Once the tomatoes were mushy, I smashed them with the back of a wooden spoon so that they turned into a kind of tomato sauce (I frequently make this to put on pasta, too). I then added oregano, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper to the mixture and let it cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes before adding the spinach and letting it wilt. Once you’ve done that, turn off the heat and let the veggie mixture cool.

Once the pie crust came out of the oven, I turned the oven down to 375 F. I then added a layer of ham and cheese to the bottom of the pie and cracked eggs (one whole egg and 5 yolks) into a bowl and beat them. The eggs were added to the cooled veggies, and that mixture was then poured over the ham and cheese in the pie crust.

The entire quiche went into the oven for 30 minutes, and when it came out, I sprinkled grated parmesan cheese over the whole thing. To tell if it’s done, shake the pan. It shouldn’t jiggle – if it does, it means that the eggs are not cooked through and it needs more time!

This recipe was fabulous. Sean helped me make it after our long run, and he polished off half of the quiche for dinner. I ate a couple of pieces for dinner, and another piece for breakfast today. Less than 24 hours later, the entire pie is gone! The tomatoes are sweet and the swiss cheese has a bit of a bite, making it a perfect cleaning out the fridge dinner. It would also be a great, impressive thing to make for a brunch party, and keep in mind that you can add basically any ingredients to a quiche. Asparagus, mushrooms, bacon, chicken, cheddar cheese – the options are endless.

Enjoy 🙂

Sweet Potato Hash

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Sweet potato hash is up there on my list of favorite foods. I could eat it for every meal, and it’s like a gourmet version of french fries. I love it!

Last night I planned to eat my leftover salmon for dinner and needed a side dish, so I went over to my shelf to see what I could find. I had three small sweet potatoes, so I decided to make a sweet potato hash that I could have as a side dish for dinner and for breakfast the next morning with a fried egg on top!

To make my version of sweet potato hash, you will need:

1/2 onion, diced

2 T butter

2 small cloves of garlic, minced

3 small sweet potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

salt and pepper, to taste

cumin

olive oil

shredded parmesan cheese

 

First I added the diced onions to a pan with 2 T butter and let them cook over medium heat until they were translucent and starting to caramelize. Then I added the sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and spread them out so that they were only one layer thick.

In order to make browned, crispy hash browns that also cook through, you’ll need patience! Once your potatoes are in a single layer, set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t flip them until the timer goes off. When you flip them, they should be golden brown and yummy. As you rearrange them to make sure that they get browned on all sides, add the cumin, salt and pepper and garlic. You may need to add a bit more olive oil if the pan is dry.

Continue to let them cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring with spoon to keep them from burning. These definitely need to be tasted, and I found that I needed to cover the pan for 2-3 extra minutes in order to help every potato piece cook through. Crunchy, uncooked potatoes are not good!

Once you take them off of the heat, sprinkle the dish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. I like to top them with a fried egg for breakfast, and catsup on the side is also a must.

Enjoy 🙂

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

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This is Sean’s favorite sandwich of all time (in fact, he says it’s the best thing I make), so I decided that it needed a place on the food blog.

You’ll need:

2 slices of crusty bread (I like Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane)

2 slices of Swiss Cheese

2 slices of Rosemary Ham (from Trader Joe’s), or another type of yummy ham

2 T mayo

1 T Dijon mMustard

one sweet or yellow onion

1 T brown sugar

pinch of pepper

4 T butter

The caramelized onions are what make this sandwich amazing (let’s be honest, caramelized onions make everything better), so I always start with those. Slice an onion into rings, then put 2 T butter in a pan to melt. When the butter has melted, add the onions and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. If the pan looks dry and the onions start to char, add more butter. I usually end up adding about 4 T by the end.

Once the onions look like this…

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…add 1 T of brown sugar and a pinch of pepper and stir to combine. Let them sit over the heat for 3 more minutes so the sugar will caramelize, then remove from the heat.

Then assemble your sandwich! Cover one side of the bread with dijon mustard, and layer the sandwich with cheese, meat and onions. You won’t use that whole batch of onions for one sandwich, but you can save them in your fridge or freezer for other recipes.

Put the sandwich together, then cover the outside of the bread with mayo. Little known fact: making paninis with mayo on the outside makes them turn golden brown while cooking because of the egg in the mayo. It’s a little bit like making your grilled cheese french toast style.

Then put the sandwich on a grill, a panini press or a pan. I prefer to use a panini press. Leave it for 5-10 minutes, flipping once, and you’re done!

Enjoy 🙂

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