Monthly Archives: August 2013

Avocado Greek Yogurt Dip

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Hello everyone! I apologize for my absence over the past two weeks. August 12th, as I mentioned, was the first day of my new job and needless to say I have been pretty busy and tired.

I’m still in training and learning the ropes, but I like my job so far. The people on my team and in the clinic have been very friendly and helpful, and I feel like I’ve already learned so much (but still have A LOT to learn). I really enjoy working in the hospital – each day is fairly busy and I’ve seen a lot of interesting things and people so far. Working in such an established hospital is a great way to get exposure to things you normally wouldn’t, such as rare diseases and conditions and witnessing groundbreaking treatment. Each day I get off the Longwood T stop, I feel proud that I made it this far and that I’m now an employee of one of the best children’s hospitals in the world, however small my role may be.

Adjusting to my new schedule wasn’t quite as challenging as I thought it would be. As long as I get enough sleep, I feel pretty good throughout the day (though coffee is typically involved) and I haven’t needed any naps so far like I thought I would. It’s a little hard only having a few hours of free time when I get home in the evening, but I think once I figure out how to make the most of that time, it will become easier. Even though I don’t feel the need for naps on work days, I am just tired enough that I’ve been too lazy to cook and put together a decent meal. That’s something I’ll definitely need to work on because my diet has been suffering a bit and it’s not very economical for me to buy lunch multiple times a week. But I do walk about a mile each work day (half a mile from the t to the hospital and back), so that’s a plus.

Anywho, food. I’ve missed food and cooking and blogging and generally being a foodie. I almost started to forget that cooking relaxes and distracts me when I have a lot going on. For now, I think I may only be able to blog on the weekends but perhaps as time goes on I’ll figure out how to update during the week, as well.

This Avocado Greek Yogurt Dip is inspired by Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole. TJ’s Reduced Guilt Guacamole is mixed with fat-free Greek yogurt, which cuts out about half of the fat. At first I was unsure how my beloved guacamole would taste mixed with Greek yogurt, but I found that I actually loved it. The yogurt adds a nice tangy creaminess to the dip and complements the flavors surprisingly well.

The base of the recipe is actually identical to my guacamole, but with the addition of the yogurt. I chose to call it Avocado Greek Yogurt Dip mostly because I liked the way it sounded and I already have two guacamole recipes on this blog.

Avocado Greek Yogurt Dip
makes about 1 cup

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp diced red onion or shallot
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 of 1 lime (about 1 Tbsp)
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
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Ingredients (don’t mind the unattractive appearance of my avocado…)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Serve with chips, crackers, or veggie sticks and enjoy! Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container and cover with plastic wrap to save for later.

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix it up

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and voila! Creamy, tangy, low-fat guacamole 🙂

 

S’mores Cookies

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Did you know that yesterday, August 10th, was National S’mores Day? Neither did I, but coincidentally I had planned to post this recipe for S’mores Cookies. I’m a day late but that’s still pretty good for just learning about this wonderful holiday yesterday.

It’s been a while since I posted a dessert recipe, and this is one that’s been floating around in my head for a while. A few months ago, I found these Marshmallow Bits at Target and so the idea for s’mores cookies was born. Everybody loves s’mores, and I thought it’d be fun to enjoy it in cookie form. (Side note, if you plan to buy these Marshmallow Bits, I recommend checking your local Target or grocery store first – I got mine for $1.50 rather than almost $8 as shown on Amazon.)

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These cookies also include crushed up Hershey’s chocolate and Biscoff spread. I included Biscoff in the recipe because to me, it tastes like ground up cinnamon graham crackers. Some other s’mores cookies or bar recipes include chunks of graham crackers but I wanted mine to have a chewier texture. These cookies have all the delicious flavor of s’mores, but in a neater and more convenient cookie form.

S’mores Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter (about 3/4 of a stick) at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp Biscoff Spread or Cookie Butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Hershey’s Chocolate bars (1.55 oz each), crushed or chopped into little pieces or 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Marshmallow Bits or mini marshmallows
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Ingredients for the s’mores aspect of the cookies, plus the other ingredients listed. (I used about 2/3 of that bar, roughly equal to 2 normal sized Hershey bars, in addition to some mini chocolate chips)

Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine butter and Biscoff Spread. Pop in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until Biscoff is softened and can be easily mixed with the butter. Cream both sugars with the butter until fluffy, and then stir in whisked egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Combine dry ingredients with wet and stir just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate and Marshmallow Bits. If using mini marshmallows, you may want to add them to each cookie dough ball individually – see note at bottom.*
  4. Chill the cookie dough for at least 2 or up to 24 hours. (This step isn’t 100% necessary but is strongly recommended for thick, fluffy cookies.) Once dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350ºF and roll into 1-inch balls (roughly 1 Tbsp each). Place on lightly greased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes, or until puffy and beginning to turn golden around the edges. I like my cookies very chewy so I keep the time on the 13 minute mark. Let cool and enjoy 🙂

*If using mini marshmallows, it’s recommended to keep them off of the bottom or sides of the cookie dough ball because they may stick to the pan and burn. You can either smoosh the marshmallows into the top of the cookie dough balls, or stir them into the cookie dough mix and form the balls in a way that the marshmallows aren’t exposed to the bottom or side. If using Marshmallow Bits, you don’t need to worry about this step!

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Mix up your dough.

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Form into 1-inch balls

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Bake at 300º for 13 – 15 minutes, or until puffy.

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:)

🙂

I also wanted to mention that I start my new job tomorrow, so my posts may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks as I figure out how blogging will fit into my new schedule. I am nervous but also really excited! So bear with me as I settle into my schedule and I’ll be back with new recipes as soon as I can 🙂

Easy One-Pot Pad Thai

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I’m back with another internet recipe. Maybe I’m not feeling especially creative in the cooking department lately, but that’s okay because this recipe is awesome and it’s a technique I think everyone should know about.

If you frequent Pinterest or cooking websites as much as I do, you may have seen the One Pot method of cooking pasta. The pasta and toppings – such as tomatoes, onions, and basil – are all cooked together in one pot and the liquid evaporates by the end, making for one flavorful pasta. This method kind of blew my mind. It almost doesn’t seem like it should work, but after reading through dozens of comments on the blog, I saw how satisfied people were with the recipe and thought maybe I would try it.

Then I stumbled upon One Pot Wonder Thai Style Peanut Pasta and knew I had to make it. A Pad Thai-style dish, all made in one pot and under 20 minutes? Yes please! My family loves Pad Thai and usually gets four orders of it when we get Thai take-out. I’ve been toying with the idea of making my own Pad Thai for a while now, but often the ingredients can be somewhat obscure and the recipe intimidating. I was a bit skeptical that this one-pot method would work – what if there was too much liquid left at the end and the noodles were soggy? – but this recipe also had many positive comments and so off I was to cook it.

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I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased with how this dish came out. It may not be 100% authentic Pad Thai, but it was sure packed with flavor and one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while. Noodles and veggies are cooked in a broth with peanut sauce and other Asian flavors, and come together to make a delicious dish reminiscent of Pad Thai. I adjusted the original recipe slightly to suit my taste, but mainly stayed true to it. I also added some shrimp to mine, which I thought complimented the dish well, but alternatively you could add chicken, tofu, or just stick with the noodles!

Easy One-Pot Pad Thai
adapted from One Pot Wonder Thai Style Peanut Pasta Recipe on Apron Strings

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Ingredients:makes 5 – 6 servings

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. fettucine or linguine*
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • Peanut Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsp peanut butter (I used crunchy)
    • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce (or fish sauce for a more authentic flavor)**
    • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp honey
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp curry paste
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie stock (or water)
  • optional: 1 lb. raw shrimp, shells removed
  • juice of 1 lime (about 1.5 – 2 Tbsp)
  • to serve: extra scallions, chopped cilantro, and peanuts

*Most dried pasta comes in 16 oz. packages – just use your best judgment to take 3/4 of the box. Also, white pasta is recommended for this recipe as whole grain or rice pasta has differing cooking times.

**In addition to fish sauce, authentic Pad Thai also uses tamarind paste, a sour-flavored condiment that can be found at Asian grocers, and bean sprouts. Feel free to add these things if they’re available to you!

Directions:

  1. In a large (3 – 4 quart) pot, heat 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil over low heat. Add sliced onions and cook for about 10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes. Turn off heat.
  2. Add the noodles on top off the cooked onions, garlic and ginger, along with the veggies, scallions, and peanut sauce. Pour your 4 cups of chicken or veggies stock on top. Cover with a lid and turn heat up to high. Once it’s boiling, return to a simmer and cover loosely with lid so some steam can escape.
  3. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated, stirring every 2 minutes. If including shrimp, add halfway through cook time. Dish is done once pasta is cooked and a small amount of liquid remains at the bottom (it’s good to keep some liquid – it makes for a nice gravy over the pasta).
  4. Serve with extra scallions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts and enjoy!
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Begin by sauteing your onions, garlic, and ginger.

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Place noodles on top of cooked onions, along with veggies, scallions, and peanut sauce. Cover with the 4 cups of stock or water and bring to a boil, covered.

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Once boiling, return to a simmer and cover loosely with a lid. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until pasta is cooked and most of liquid has evaporated. If using shrimp, add halfway through cook time.

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It’s okay to leave a little liquid at the bottom – it’s tasty and makes for a nice sauce over the noodles.

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The finished product!

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Add the chopped scallions, cilantro, and peanuts and enjoy!

Mini Barbecue Turkey Meatloaves

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Okay guys, this recipe is too good not to share. I’ve been looking around for meatloaf recipes that caught my eye and decided to take a spin on the traditional and include barbecue sauce. Some recipes had too many ingredients, some had questionable reviews, and then I stumbled upon Iowa Girl Eats’ Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves. (Can you tell how much I love that blog? She always has the best recipes!) The photos made me drool a little bit and I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I recipe to whip up a batch for today.

These Mini Barbecue Meatloaves are insanely good and made for the juiciest meatloaf I’ve ever had. I stayed true to the original recipe except that I used ground turkey instead of beef and cooked the meatloaf in muffin tins. I had seen this method floating around the internet and thought it looked like a great idea – individual portions of meatloaf that take half the cook time. I think that’s also part of what lead to the meatloaf being so juicy, because the juices had nowhere to escape to so the turkey just soaked it all up.

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Also, a note on barbecue sauce: My favorite bbq sauce has been Sweet Baby Ray’s for as long as I can remember, but I noticed recently that the first ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup which made me kind of sad. I still enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s, but if you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, I recommend Stubb’s. Stubb’s uses all-natural ingredients and has a lower sugar and sodium content than most other bottled barbecue sauces. My favorite flavor is Sweet Heat – I love the combination of spicy and sweet.

Mini Barbecue Turkey Meatloaves
slightly adapted from Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves on Iowa Girl Eats

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Ingredients:
serves 4

  • 1 onion, diced (I used a Vidalia)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • salt and pepper, + 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • optional: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

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Directions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan over low heat and add diced onion. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often, until onions are nicely browned and starting to caramelize. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes before removing from heat. Let cool slightly before forming the meatloaf.
  2. Heat oven to 425ºF and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. *
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cooled cooked onions, ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp of the bbq sauce, and spices. Use a fork or your hands to mix it all up  until combined.
  4. Divide the meatloaf mixture into 4 equal-sized portions. Press each portion into your greased muffin tin (so if you used a 6-slot muffin tin, you’ll only be using 4 of those slots). If using cheese, press 1 Tbsp of cheese down into the middle of each portion of meatloaf. Top each portion off with 1 Tbsp of bbq sauce.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until meatloaves are cooked throughout and no longer pink in the center. Mine took closer to 25 minutes. (Don’t worry if there’s a good amount of juice at the bottom of the muffin tin – as I was explaining earlier, the juice has no place to escape to so it sits in the tin with the meatloaf.) Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

*I recommend using a 6-slot muffin tin that makes 6 larges muffins over a 12-muffin tin, because the portions are a perfect size, but you can use a smaller tin if you need to. I would cook for muffins for slightly less time, closer to 15 – 20 minutes, and check on them to make sure they’re not getting overcooked if you use a small muffin tin.

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First, saute up your onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, add minced garlic and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, and then let cool before mixing into your turkey.

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Combine cooled sauteed onions with your remaining ingredients for the meatloaf, minus the cheese.

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Divide the meatloaf mixture into 4 portions and press into muffin tin. If using cheese, place half of a portion into muffin tin, add 1 Tbsp of cheese, and press in remainder of portion. Spoon 1 Tbsp bbq sauce over each meatloaf muffin. Bake at 425 for 20 – 25 minutes.

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Meatloaves are done when the center is no longer pink. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Gooey, cheesy, juicy mini meatloaves topped off with bbq sauce. Oh yes.

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:)

🙂