Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tiramisu Iced Coffee

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Happy National Coffee Day! A few days ago, I was having trouble thinking of what kind of recipe I should post this weekend so when I heard that September 29th is National Coffee Day, I instantly knew what my post would be about.

Coffee is one of my favorite drinks – specifically iced coffee. It was a slow growing love for me. As a kid, my mom would let me sip her coffee and even let me get my own small size once or twice. In high school, I began drinking raspberry or cinnamon iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. In college I fell in love with dark roast coffee and have been mildly obsessed with coffee ever since then.

I have my go-to orders at my favorite coffee places (Iced French vanilla dark roast at Dunkin and Iced vanilla latte or iced hazelnut at Starbucks), but sometimes homemade iced coffee is just as good. Last summer I discovered the cold brew method of making iced coffee which has become increasingly popular and doesn’t even require a coffee maker. Since moving into my new apartment, I began enjoying espresso at home too. My roommate Jill has a mini Bialetti Moka Pot, which is basically a manual stove-top espresso maker, so I’ve been having fun playing around with that.

Not only does coffee help me get through the day, but I just love the flavor of a good coffee and it always seems to put me in a good mood. I was reading last year that sipping on a cup of caffeinated coffee actually released endorphins – one of the many reasons to drink it!

Last night my family went out for my sister’s birthday, and we ate at Macaroni Grill. I had never been there before and got a delicious blood orange Italian soda and some awesome appetizers. But the part of the meal that stood out the most to me was the tiramisu for dessert. I’ve never been a huge fan of tiramisu, but this stuff was good. It wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of coffee flavor – delicious! After browsing some recipes online , I had the idea to make a tiramisu-inspired iced coffee. It has a bold coffee flavor with a hint of vanilla and cocoa. It’s probably hot coffee season for most people by now but I’m gonna keep sippin’ my iced coffee as long as I can. 🙂

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Tiramisu Iced Coffee
makes 1 coffee

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strong-brewed coffee, chilled (I used espresso roast)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup milk
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp coffee creamer (I recommend vanilla or amaretto) or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp coffee liqueur or extract (Kahlua would work here!)
  • whipped cream or cool whip to top
  • cocoa powder to sprinkle

Directions:

In a tall glass, combine coffee, milk, sweetener, and coffee liqueur (and iced cubes if desired – I did mine without) and stir to combine. Top off with whipped cream and cocoa powder and enjoy 🙂

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What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee?

Turkey Chili Mac

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I wanted to come up with a more creative title for this recipe but at the same time, this one seemed appropriate. “Chili Mac” is kind of a lazy way of saying chili macaroni or chili mac and cheese, and that’s what this meal is – simple and lazy, but oh so delicious. I know I just posted a pasta recipe last week, but oh well. Pasta fits in well to my work schedule.

To me, two of the most comforting meals are chili and pasta. They’re both filling, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food and I love that they’re also both one-pot meals where you get a bit of every ingredient in each bite. Those kind of meals are my favorite (along with stir-fry), rather than having your protein separated from your veggies which are separated from your carbs/starch.

Pasta is an easy, go-to meal when you’re busy or tired, and chili may take a bit longer but makes for great leftovers. So the combination of the two is simple, filling, and so satisfying. I wasn’t quite ready to post a soup recipe yet, but the weather is certainly starting to change, so this chili mac recipe seemed like the perfect way to ease into fall.

The idea for this recipe was inspired by Skillet Chili Mac on Deep South Dish. It instantly appealed to me, but I made a few minor adjustments to make it a little nicer on your waistline. I opted for ground turkey over ground beef, and eliminated the sausage. I also used slightly less cheese than the recipe calls for. To make this recipe even healthier, you could use low-fat cheese and whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Think of this Turkey Chili Mac as a combination of American Chop Suey and chili, or as chili with pasta shells added. It’s filled with flavorful ground turkey, pasta, tomatoes, beans, cheese, and notes of cumin and chili powder.

Turkey Chili Mac
adapted from Skillet Chili Mac on Deep South Dish

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Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 a green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 cups dry shell pasta (or macaroni)
  • 1 Tbsp each cumin and chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 15. oz can diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 4.25 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (or half a pepper for less heat)
  • 1 cup kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • optional toppings: scallions, sour cream, avocado

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Directions:

  1. In a medium-large cooking pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook diced onion for 10-12 minutes, until softened, and add diced peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic at the end, sauteing for another 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. In a separate pot or pan, cook ground turkey. You can do this in the same pot as the veggies if you wish, but I wanted my turkey to get nice and browned. While turkey is browning, begin cooking your pasta.
  3. Once turkey is browned and cooked throughout, add to pot with veggies. Stir in spices and cook over low heat for a few minutes until spices become fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, and chopped jalapeno pepper. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until extra liquid has been absorbed and chili has thickened. Add beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  4. Stir cooked pasta into chili and remove from heat. Don’t forget to test-taste and adjust any spices as needed. Top off with cheese and serve with optional toppings and enjoy 🙂
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Start by sauteing up your veggies and garlic

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Brown your ground turkey and add to veggies, along with spices

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chiles. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans near the end.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chiles. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add beans near the end of cooking

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Stir in pasta shells and cheese

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Top with scallions and enjoy! 🙂

Creamy Chicken Sausage & Spinach Pasta

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I’m back from another two week hiatus. Last weekend I moved into my new apartment and was too tired to even entertain the thought of creating a recipe for this blog, let alone cook it. I’m glad I had Labor Day off from work because I definitely needed it. Each time I move I come to the realization that I have too much stuff. Then I slowly forget and when it’s time to move again I’m reminded of all the junk I own. My roommates thought it was a little ridiculous that about half the stuff I own is kitchen supplies… oops. I guess it’s about time I sort through my belongings and give unused things away.

I’m slowly settling into my new apartment but occasionally have to go searching for something I misplaced. I’ve mostly been making lazy meals like pasta or freezer meals but Sundays are a good time to prepare meals for the work week, so today I gathered my motivation and made this pasta.

This Creamy Chicken Sausage & Spinach Pasta is a light and delicious meal perfect for weeknights. It combines flavorful chicken sausage with sauteed spinach, veggies, and a light ricotta cream sauce. It heats up nicely and will keep you full for hours. I like that it’s simple enough to throw together during a busy work week, but also nice enough to make for guests.

Creamy Chicken Sausage & Spinach Pasta
makes 3 – 4 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 3 – 4 baby bella or white mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 – 7 oz. pasta (roughly half of one 13.25 box of rotini or penne)
  • 2 chicken sausage links, cut into half moons
  • For the sauce:
    • 2 tsp butter or olive oil
    • 1 small clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 cup skim milk
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tsp basil
    • salt, to taste

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    Your ingredients

zchick

This is the chicken sausage I used. So good!

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over low heat and add sliced onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, until softened, and add red pepper and zucchini. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, and remove from heat.
    *Alternatively, you can steam the spinach in the microwave. Place spinach in a large bowl with about 1 tsp of water and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until spinach is wilted. Stir into cooked veggies.
  2. Cook your pasta according to box directions. While pasta is cooking, fry up your chicken sausages until lightly browned on each side. After pasta is cooked and drained, and the sausages are finished cooking, stir them to the pan with the veggies.
  3. To prepare the ricotta cream sauce, begin by sauteing the garlic in the butter or olive oil for 1 – 2 minutes in a small saucepan. Add in remaining ingredients for the sauce and stir until cheese begins to melt, simmering over low heat. The sauce will look lumpy at first, but will become smooth and thick. Once sauce is done, after 3 – 5 minutes, pour over the pasta, sausage and veggies. Stir to combine and serve with some extra parmesan cheese 🙂
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Saute up those veggies

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Cook your spinach until wilted

Frizzle up some chicken sausages

Frizzle up some chicken sausages and also begin to cook your pasta. Once pasta and chicken sausages are done, stir them in with the veggies.

September Food

Prepare your ricotta cream sauce by sauteing the minced garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil. Stir in ricotta, milk, parmesan cheese, basil, and salt. At first it will look lumpy like the photo on the left. Simmer over a low heat, stirring, until sauce smooths out like the photo on the right.

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Pour the sauce over the veggies, sausage and spinach and stir to combine. Serve with some extra parmesan cheese and enjoy 🙂