Category Archives: Sauces

Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl

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If you are still reading my blog, you are great. Work and busy weekends have taken over my life, leaving little time for blogging. Recently I’ve had a couple friends tell me they keep checking my blog but are disappointed when they find no new posts. That of course made me want to update, and because I miss it!

So it’s August already. Summer always has a way of getting away from you, doesn’t it? Having only been out of school for a couple of years, I’m still getting used to having no formal vacations, deadlines, or breaks built into my schedule. It makes the seasons kind of seem like a blur and sometimes I find myself having no idea what day or even month it is (like a few months ago when I started to write “September” as the date… what?)

Today’s post is inspired by a recipe that I’ve been eyeing forever: Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad on Iowa Girl Eats. I’ve been following IGE for a couple years now and it’s one of my favorite food blogs, as well as one of the few I subscribe to. I’ve had this particular recipe saved for a long time and decided it was time to try out this miraculous-sounding BBQ sauce. I decided to take a slightly different take on the recipe and make mine into a burrito bowl instead, because who doesn’t love a good burrito bowl?

This Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl is filled with chicken marinated in a sweet and spicy semi-homemade barbecue sauce, rice, and some of my favorite veggies like bell peppers, fresh corn, and avocado! It’s a great summer recipe because most of the ingredients are in season right now and is light enough that you won’t feel guilty eating it. To make the sauce quicker and easier, I added pureed mangoes and chipotle peppers to store-bought BBQ sauce. My favorite thing about recipes like this is that you can completely customize it to your taste and you get a bit of each flavor in every bite!

Mango Chipotle BBQ Burrito Bowl
adapted from Chipotle-Mango BBQ Chicken Salad on Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
makes about 3 burrito bowls

  • For the sauce:
    – 1/2 cup fresh diced mango
    – 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
    – 1/4 cup tomato sauce
    – 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips (I used tenderloins)
  • 1.5 – 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Assorted toppings of your choice (about 1/3 cup of each):
    – Diced bell peppers
    – Diced tomato
    – Corn
    – Beans
    – Avocado
  • Optional: cheese, sour cream, scallions, cilantro
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Ingredients for the sauce, plus tomato sauce! Always forget to picture at least one ingredient…

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Your delicious toppings!

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine ingredients for the sauce. Blend until smooth. Place chicken in a medium bowl and pour 2/3 of the sauce over it, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 6.
  2. Cook your chicken on the grill or in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked throughout. Let rest for about 5 minutes and then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Start to assemble your burrito bowls: First rice, then chicken, your toppings, and then drizzle with the remaining mango chipotle sauce and enjoy!
August Food2

Start by preparing your mango chipotle BBQ sauce: combine diced mango, bbq sauce, chipotle peppers, and tomato sauce, and blend until smooth.

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Pour 2/3 of the sauce over your chicken and stir, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Marinate for at least 2 or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

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Cook up your chicken, either on the grill on in a frying pan.

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Assemble your delicious burrito bowl! Start with rice, chicken, and your favorite toppings.

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Finish off with the remaining mango chipotle sauce, and optional cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

{Skinny} Bang Bang Shrimp

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Hello everyone! I feel like I haven’t updated in ages. Things around here have been a bit hectic lately. Not to mention thatย I ย briefly went through a weird phase where I lacked inspiration and motivation to cook, and when I did, I often didn’t enjoy whatever I made. This was especially strange for me because I usually love cooking and love eating. I think I chalked it up to being busy and stressed, and have been feeling back to normal the past week – phew!

Anywho, I had a few ideas of what to post today but when I saw shrimp on sale at the store I immediately knew what I wanted to make. Recently I’ve seen a lot of recipes for “Bang Bang Shrimp” and they always catch my eye. It’s a dish that includes crispy, breaded shrimp served with a creamy and spicy chili sauce. This dish is served at Bonefish Grill, a restaurant I’ve never been to and therefore have not actually tried the original recipe, but I could tell from the ingredients that I would love it.

I was even more inspired when I saw a lightened up version of the dish over at Cooking for Keeps. I followed this recipe pretty closely, though I opted for Greek yogurt over mayo for the sauce and used regular flour instead of almond flour. I also added a bit of teriyaki sauce which I thought bumped the sauce up a notch. The sauce is rich and flavorful, all while being light on calories. Breading the shrimp is optional – I very lightly breaded mine in flour and cooked them in a bit of coconut butter which was delicious!

I also love this recipe because it looks fancy, but takes less than 30 minutes to make! You can used thawed frozen shrimp and store-bought chili sauce to make the recipe even easier, and I bet you nobody will know the difference. ๐Ÿ™‚

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp
adapted from Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp with Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce on Cooking for Keeps

Ingredients:
serves 2

  • 1/2 lb large, raw shrimp (about a 12-count), peeled & de-veined
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp oil (I used coconut, but olive or canola work too)
    For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Frank’s brand)
  • 1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (2 if you like things spicy)
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • Rice to serve on the side

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Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and whisk. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat your oil over medium heat. Toss the shrimp in the flour and gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side for 1 – 2 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and breading is crispy.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and pour the sauce over the shrimp. Cook for an additional minute or so, until the sauce is hot. Serve over rice and optional veggie, and enjoy!
June Food3

Start by preparing your sauce!

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Lightly coat your shrimp in flour

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Frizzle up your shrimp in the hot oil

 

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It will look something like this when it’s finished cooking!

 

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Pour sauce over your shrimp, cook for another minute, and it’s ready to serve!

 

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๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip

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Before I begin with today’s post, I have an exciting announcement to make. I have recently accepted a job in the cardiology department at Children’s Hospital in Boston! I found out a few weeks ago, but I wanted to have the official offer letter before announcing anything. I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work at such an amazing organization, doing something I really care about. My job search was very long and challenging at times, so it feels so good to know that all the hard work and waiting was worth it in the end.

Another exciting piece of news is that I just signed a lease for a new apartment, along with my friends Jill and Kathleen. We were having a rather difficult time finding a place and were growing tired of dealing with unreliable landlords/realtors, but finally we found “the one” and were able to snag it before anyone else got to it! We’re moving in September and I am so excited. Finding an apartment in the Boston area during the summer can be pretty crazy, so we were lucky to find a place we all love and one that’s in a great location.

Now that I’m done job searching and apartment hunting, hopefully I’ll have more time for this blog!

Anyway, onto the food. Today’s recipe is very simple and a no-cook recipe because it is miserably hot and humid here in Boston.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Barbara. I tried this dip at her house a few years ago and fell in love with it. The base of the recipe is just five simple ingredients: roasted red peppers, feta cheese, white beans, garlic, lemon juice and your preference of spices. Everything is thrown together in a food processor and comes together in 20-30 seconds. It tastes a bit like red pepper hummus with feta added. It’s smoky, salty, and delicious and makes a great appetizer for a party or cookout. I usually eat this dip with crackers or pretzels, but it would also be great on a sandwich or wrap.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip
makes ~1.5 cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled
  • 1 15 oz. can of white beans (you could use cannellini, navy, great northern – up to you!)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of half of one lemon (1-2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • optional spices: red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano

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Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. Serve with crackers, chips, or on a sandwich and enjoy! Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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Combine all of the ingredients in your food professor, including spices. I used a pinch of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil.

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Pulse until combine and smooth. Adjust salt and spices to your liking.

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๐Ÿ™‚