Chinese Beef with Broccoli

SubstandardFullSizeRender

Well, my bracket is #(*$(*%$.  Anyone else’s?  Full disclosure, I had Syracuse going down after their second game, and am now going down for it.  All of my ‘Cuse friends are hardcore-shaming me for “not believing,” but come on.  Really?  Did we REALLY see this coming?!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool and all, but I never fill out my brackets due to personal ties.  I grew up in Syracuse (for the most part), and I’m awesome, but that doesn’t exactly equate to the basketball team going all the way.  I went to Tennessee, and L-O-V-E the Vols, but they are horrific on the court.  I made my peace with that long ago.  I am super competitive, and when it comes to winning a bracket or showing that I am a true fan, I’m going with the teams that have the better track records.

That being said, thanks a lot, Kansas.

So, since the big weekend’s coming up, there’s a good chance we are going to either eat out or order in.  One of my all-time favorite to-go meals is Chinese beef with broccoli.  It’s so flavorful and filling, and it’s not fried, so I don’t feel too icky; however, it’s still pan-seared in a ton of oil, so it’s not exactly health-conscious.  My solution:  make your own!  I made this when I was craving some take-out, and it did not disappoint. Make sure you use a decent cut of beef, so your dish will be tender.  Enjoy with a side of brown rice.  Your fortune:  You will not feel bloated and sluggish. Continue reading

Superbowl Sliders!

FullSizeRender (2)

You know those moments when you are so proud of yourself it’s a little embarrassing? Example: bringing in the groceries last night, I spotted my umbrella in the back of the car. Remembered that it’s going to rain like whoa today, I grabbed it, and then was SO PROUD of myself for having the forethought of grabbing my umbrella to shield my from tomorrow’s rain, rather than cursing it in my groggy morning haze.  I was soon dethroned after climbing my 4 flights of stairs and realizing I left my purse on my front seat of my car.  Way to win, Jenni.

Hey, the SUPERBOWL is this weekend!  Who do you want to win?  The New York Trumps, or the Vermont Sanders?  Oops, wrong sport.  I get those two confused:  they are both blood-bath sports that involve head-bashing all the time, and everyone is trying to figure out if they are that way because they have a concussion or not.

I love football so I will definitely watch, but don’t care who wins.  I will probably hedge a funny bet with my friends on who wins, and I will most certainly P-I-G out.  That’s the best part of the day, right? Well, that and the commercials.

So, what are we going to eat?  Pulled.  Pork.  Sliders.  Yaaaaaaaas.

I made this fool-proof recipe twice in December for large audiences, and it was a huge crowd pleaser.  Ladies and gents, I am about to unleash one of my best recipes I own:  my slow-cooker pulled pork.  This pork is simple, yet so good you will over eat.  I warned you.  I had two different people say it was the best pulled pork they’ve ever had, and I don’t take their opinions lightly.  The secret is to cook on HIGH for at least 6 to 8 hours.  Please, please trust me on this.  Well worth it.  MVP.


Materials:

  • mixing bowl
  • slow cooker
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • tongs and forks, for shredding

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-7-lb pork shoulder (aka pork butt, aka picnic cut, aka boston pork)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T paprika
  • 3 T liquid smoke
  • 1 c chicken broth (or water)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pat-dry the pork after removing it from its wrapping.
  2. Mix all spices in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub liberally all over the surface of the pork.FullSizeRender (7)
  4. Place pork in slow cooker.
  5. Pour broth in over pork and close the lid.FullSizeRender (5)
  6. Cook on HIGH for at least 8 hours.
  7. Shred using a fork and tongs.FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (8)
  8. Serve on buns, with favorite BBQ sauce, or mustard.FullSizeRender (2)
  9. Enjoy!

 

Superbowl Pulled Pork Sliders

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Time: 10 min plus 8 hours cooking
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Materials:

FullSizeRender (14)

  • mixing bowl
  • slow cooker
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • tongs and forks, for shredding

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-7-lb pork shoulder (aka pork butt, aka picnic cut, aka boston pork)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T paprika
  • 3 T liquid smoke
  • 1 c chicken broth (or water)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pat-dry the pork after removing it from its wrapping.
  2. Mix all spices in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub liberally all over the surface of the pork.
  4. Place pork in slow cooker.
  5. Pour broth in over pork and close the lid.
  6. Cook on HIGH for at least 8 hours.
  7. Shred using a fork and tongs.
  8. Serve on buns, with favorite BBQ sauce, or mustard.
  9. Enjoy!

Quinoa Bowl with Goat Cheese and Avocado

IT’S HERE.  THIRTY.  3-0.

the jury is still out on how I feel about leaving my 20’s, but I’m working overtime to stay positive.  Anyway, on my birthday last year, I unveiled the list I created several years ago entitled, “To Do by 30!”  Let’s take a gander once more:   Continue reading

Quick Chicken Salad with Avocado

FullSizeRender

In my last entry, which felt like a century ago, I talked about my recent life reflections, and how I am attempting to prioritize my life. I came up w 3 categories: the must haves, the nice to haves, and the let it goes.  I spent some time discussing the let it goes in my life, and so far am happy with the list.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing a lot more reflecting (or cooking) because I’ve been so consumed w my job lately (both the work itself as well as the incessant worry of it). When you suffer from OCD, you perseverate like whoa:  if something is pressing on me, it consumes my thoughts to pretty much a debilitating measure.  In short, I’ve been a hoot to be around.
Which brings me to my next category: the must haves. My non-negotiables. Some of these will inspire some radical changes, which I am terrified about, but will be very welcome and necessary:

  • my overall health:  I know I mentioned in the “let it goes” that having the perfect body is not necessary; however, being healthy is a must.  Most notably, needing to get my stress levels under control, finding time to exercise regularly again, and focusing on making good foods a priority, regardless of convenience.
  •   sleep:  related to the first point, I am finally taking measures to get more sleep, and under healthy conditions.  I have suffered from chronic insomnia for almost 16 years.  That’s about long enough, right?
  • desire to start a family: Yeah, I know, my egg timer is ticking.  I know I’m not married, I live alone, and love my selfish lifestyle. So unless they have found a way for my awful cat and I to…. I don’t want to even finish that sentence. But you know where I’m going.
  •  being less stressed:  this isn’t a chance for me to gripe about my work or workplace (not my style); it’s a wake up call to alter the approach to my work. Attitude, confidence, strength.
  • returning to positive:  recently, a former coworker spoke to me about how positive I always was about everything, and I felt… ashamed. I know exactly what she’s talking about:  I would pride myself on how I could stay positive about everything, look at the bright side, never get knocked down.  I feel like that person is a memory, and I need to get her back.

And of course, cooking more!  I know that this isn’t exactly cooking, but it was all I had time for, and it was absolutely delicious.  I could eat this every day 🙂  Give this a try on your super busy nights for a healthy lunch tomorrow!  I used a rotisserie chicken and it was soon good.  Enjoy!   image1


Materials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • bowl
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • rotisserie chicken (or left over chicken)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 T mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  • Pinch of lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop chicken into small shreds.
  2. Place chicken, avocado, and mayo in bowl, Mix well.IMG_6181
  3. Season with lemon juice (optional), salt, and pepper.FullSizeRender
  4. Enjoy on a wrap, crackers, bread, or alone!FullSizeRender

Quick Chicken Salad with Avocado

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

FullSizeRenderMaterials:

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • bowl
  • spoon

Ingredients:

  • rotisserie chicken (or left over chicken)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 T mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  • Pinch of lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop chicken into small shreds.
  2. Place chicken, avocado, and mayo in bowl, Mix well.
  3. Season with lemon juice (optional), salt, and pepper.
  4. Enjoy on a wrap, crackers, bread, or alone!

Balsamic-Honey Chicken

Analyzing and prioritizing.  I feel like that’s the theme of my life lately.  With my birthday looming around the corner, I am thinking about what is truly important to me right now, where my heart truly lies, what I should be pursuing, spending my energy on, etc.

The problem is, I have very little energy to even devote to this. By the end of the work day I find myself so spent, so utterly drained, that just the idea of making lists, researching ideas for improving myself, possible next chapters in my life, all the wonderfully nerdy things I love to do on a weekday evening is too much for my fried brain these days.  So that’s one priority I have:  more sleep.  A lot more sleep.

I’m also beginning to come to terms with wishes and wants from life vs the reality of life.  I’m not talking a million-dollar home with Chris Hemsworth raising pompskys.  I’m talking a few things I wished I could do before 30, and the reality of that actually happening.  Example:  I very much want to go sky-diving before my 30th birthday.  It’s not a big deal, lots of people have done this.  But I have a few weeks left, I’m busy, it’s cold, and I have no one to experience that with right now.  Excuses?  Yep, but I can live with that.

As far as goal-setting goes, that is a project that, when my energy and time are both more aligned, I am excited to take on.  Basically, the plan is to apply everything I have learned about my life experiences, my lack of experiences, and my realistic wishes and wants and sketch out some plans.  What else would I be doing at night besides talking to my cat and wishing I didn’t eat those last few bites?

This recipe was such a good find:  it’s one of those recipes that you can throw together using pantry ingredients, such as balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey.  It sounds weird, but it was just incredible!  Light, full of flavor, and it makes great left-overs!

Materials:

  • large pot with lid
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • cooking oil (I used coconut oil for this one!)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into inch-thick strips
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 c Italian dressing
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green beans, prepared

Directions:

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and garlic to pan with a little water.  Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.FullSizeRender
  3. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside.IMG_6053
  4. Add more oil to pan.  Add chicken, red pepper, salt, pepper, and sauté for about 8 minutes on one side.IMG_6054
  5. Flip chicken.
  6. In a measuring cup, mix balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey, and pour over chicken.
  7. Continue to simmer chicken until cooked through.
  8. Add tomatoes and green beans to pan and gently stir to avoid crushing tomatoes.  FullSizeRender
  9. Enjoy!
    FullSizeRender

Balsamic-Honey Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • large pot with lid
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • cooking oil (I used coconut oil for this one!)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into inch-thick strips
  • 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 c Italian dressing
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green beans, prepared

Directions:

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and garlic to pan with a little water.  Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove tomatoes from pan and set aside.
  4. Add more oil to pan.  Add chicken, red pepper, salt, pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes on one side.
  5. Flip chicken.
  6. In a measuring cup, mix balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing, and honey, and pour over chicken.
  7. Continue to simmer chicken until cooked through.
  8. Add tomatoes and green beans to pan and gently stir to avoid crushing tomatoes.
  9. Enjoy!

3-Ingredient Tilapia

So… hi there.  Yeah, I’m still here.  Still dangling (God, I hate that word) from the armpit hair of life, holding my breath to avoid the stench of the hideousness that surrounds us.  Yeah, it’s been that kind of week.  Hence the reason why I have not been writing.  Or cooking.  Or cleaning.  Or bathing.

Okay, I’m not that gross, but it has been a rough run on my end.  Coming back from a vacation is always rough,  but I have had a TON on my plate to deal with in virtually every pillar of life.  Let’s take a look at the walking disaster that is me:

  • physical self – I sprained my wrist and banged up both knees falling, because I suck at walking
  • family and friends- who doesn’t have difficult situations going on with their loved ones, emirite?
  • work- ohemgee this week…. nuf said.  I can’t even.
  • dating and relationships- actually, this one’s pretty steady, but given the other three crumbling, you can see how I can be less than pleasant to cuddle up to.

I was at my breaking point.  So many small things built up to one explosive mess within myself and all I could do was spin.  Then, I caught a cold.  I thought I would officially spiral into a full-on depression, but it actually is helping me get over all of the little annoyances.  I even cooked myself something, which always makes me feel better and more useful.  I have to remember that:  when I’m feeling awful, cook.

Since I knew my workouts would suffer, I wanted to make something low-cal.  I reached into the freezer for some frozen tilapia, and made a super simple, wholesome baked fish.  Well on my way to recovery.

Materials:

  • oven-proof dish
  • measuring spoon
  • spatula
  • cooking spray

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tilapia filets, thawed (depending on how hungry you are!)
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • Old Bay to taste
  • dash of lemon juice, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray your oven-proof dish with cooking spray.
  3. Place your filets in the dish. IMG_5707
  4.  Season with garlic and Old Bay.IMG_5708
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until flaky and no longer opaque. IMG_5709
  6. Enjoy with a dash of lemon across the top before serving!IMG_5711

recipe title=”3-Ingredient Tilapia” servings=”2″ time=”10 minutes” difficulty=”easy”]

Materials:

IMG_5711

  • oven-proof dish
  • measuring spoon
  • spatula
  • cooking spray

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tilapia filets, thawed (depending on how hungry you are!)
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • Old Bay to taste
  • dash of lemon juice, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray your oven-proof dish with cooking spray.
  3. Place your filets in the dish.  Season with garlic and Old Bay.
  4. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, until flaky and no longer opaque.
  5. Enjoy with a dash of lemon across the top before serving!

[/recipe]

Zoodles

Food swap trends.  They are everywhere.  Cauliflower “rice,”  no-nut butters, facon (fake bacon… I draw the line there).  Whether it’s food allergies or diet fads, food swaps are constantly bombarding my newsfeed.  Did you hear about the new yada yayda?  It tastes just like real blah blah blah, but with 1/4 of the calories.  Yup, and does it really taste just like the real thing?  Not a chance.  But, I will never discourage folks from eating better, especially when they are making clean food swaps.

So, that brings us to zoodles.  Zoodles are simply zucchini that are cut into thin strips and cooked, to mimic noodles.  Is this an equal swap for pasta?  No freakin way.  Coming from someone who LOVES her wheat corkscrews, zoodles cannot replace the thick, wholesome, starchy goodness of real noodles.

That being said, they are easy to make, and can be swapped in place of noodles for a delicious, but different, alternative.  I wanted to experiment with this trend (don’t knock it before you try it, right?), so I whipped up a batch and served it with some store-bought vodka sauce I had in the pantry.  The result?  Really, really good!  I would totally make these again, especially when I need to cut down on the carbs.  The biggest downside is that you’ll need equipment for this one:  either a spiralizer (which I do not have, but they are very cool!), or a mandolin (which I used).  If you’re craving noodles, do yourself a favor and eat some pasta; however, if you’re open to some veggie variety, give these a go!

Materials:

  • spiralizer, mandolin, or grater that can cut zucchini into long, thin strips
  • pot or saute pan
  • tongs, spatula, or wooden spoon

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Carefully shred zucchini into long, thin strips using mechanism of choice.FullSizeRender (9)FullSizeRender (10)
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Toss zucchini, garlic, salt, and pepper into the pan.  Saute for at least 5 minutes, until tender.FullSizeRender (11)
  4. Enjoy on its own, with parmesan cheese, or with your favorite sauce!

FullSizeRender (12)


Zoodles

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

FullSizeRender (12)

  • spiralizer, mandolin, or grater that can cut zucchini into long, thin strips
  • pot or saute pan
  • tongs, spatula, or wooden spoon

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Carefully shred zucchini into long, thin strips using mechanism of choice.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Toss zucchini, garlic, salt, and pepper into the pan.  Saute for at least 5 minutes, until tender.
    1. Enjoy on its own, with parmesan cheese, or with your favorite sauce!