The finalists were announced finally for the Ritz recipe contest, unfortunately I didn’t make finals. It’s okay though, there were over 1,400 entries… that is a lot of competition. Looks like I have to find another way to fund my culinary school. If anybody knows of any good scholarships or ways to get money for culinary school PLEASE let me know!
Here is my entry for the Ritz recipe challenge. I used crushed Ritz crackers in the tartlet dough to give it some extra flavor. These little bites will have your guests drooling over the appetizer table. I ended up eating the entire batch over a few days!
After hearing about my plan to eat healthier, many of you voiced your desires for me to continue posting my comfort food posts. As much as I would love to be able to eat like that every day and not gain a hundred pounds, I can’t; but there is no need to worry! I stand before you with a recipe to prove that healthy can be just as delicious as all of my comfort food recipes.
This recipe is filled with nutritious vegetables and healthy fish, no cheese or empty carbs here, but I can guarantee that it has more flavor than most meals. I chose not to eat a starch with this meal, but it would go very well with a jasmine rice or white rice. The vinaigrette adds a delicious citrusy bang to the vegetables and fish.
Also!— I am happy to announced that there is finally a print button for my posts. Sorry it took me so long to figure out how to do that! You can find a button at the bottom right of each post, hope this helps you try my recipes more easily. =)
Some of you may know, I recently was given a cook book called Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers. It is a great book that I recommend all of you take a look through at some point. It tells you about all the different sorts of leafy greens and types of salad toppings, as well as how to make all sorts of dressings. Either way, the book motivated me to make more unique salads. I usually find myself putting the same vegetables in every salad I make, despite what else I am eating it with. Now I have realized that choosing a salad that compliments a meal can make a huge difference.
With that said, this salad is much different than most I have made. I came across this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine while bored at work the other day- yes I spent half of my day at work reading cooking magazines… Shh! One thing that makes this salad unique is its warm vinaigrette. This dressing went perfectly with the roasted Brussels sprouts. The bacon and maple syrup also added a ton of flavor. This is one salad that did not need a ton of toppings to complete it. I even ate it as a complete meal the next day!
Do you ever get that feeling where all you want to do for dinner is grill a steak and microwave a potato? Sometimes simple is better, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor! This recipe is a simple way to add a little extra flavor for those days when your motivation is lacking. It is quick, easy and healthy!
After cooking many meals for friends, I realized that nothing excites people more than a delicious pizza. This week I threw a pizza party with friends. We only had one oven and two pizza trays, so we could only cook two pizzas at a time. In the end, I made six 14″ pizzas. We cut each pizza into ten slices, one for each person, and sampled one slice of each pizza. We would decide which pizzas were coming next while the previous two were baking. By the sixth pizza, we could barely take another bite!
We made all sorts of pizzas- from BBQ Chicken to Chicken Alfredo to Meat Lovers all the way to Hawaiian. Each time a new pizza was taken out, everybody was riled up- “This one is my favorite!” “Wait, no, THIS one is my favorite!” “Ah, no, THIS one is definitely the best!” I have never seen my friends so excited about something I cooked. This made me being to think about the wondrous pizza pie. A fresh pizza crust is like a blank canvas for a chef. You can combine any flavors you want to create your own unique masterpiece. I suggest to all of you that you make homemade pizzas at some point. My advice? Be adventurous, take risks, mix unlikely combinations- you’ll be impressed with the outcome!
This week’s Throwback Thursday recipe is a hearty spinach and pepper dip; great for a cold winter day. There is something nourishing about a warm cheesy dip with bread. This recipe is a great pick-me-up. It goes well with chips or bread and is a great recipe for a potluck or party, and can easily be doubled if need be.
I love exploring the flavors of foreign cuisines. Each country has their own unique way of doing things, that gives an exciting new twist to many foods. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest looking into the different flavors from around the world. I think that knowing different flavor combinations helps expand your cooking and keeps you from making the same dish over and over again.
This week I had some squash from my mom’s farm that needed to be used. I was in the mood for something a bit sweeter, so I decided on this Moroccan-style recipe. This dish has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The raisins are a definite must, I even decided to add a few more to the recipe. It can also easily be made vegan/vegetarian by using vegetable broth and taking out the chicken. This recipe is simple to put together but looks sophisticated, a great idea for dinner guests.
Recently, I have been thinking about how great it would be to do catering. I have also been cooking for friends quite a bit, which I love. Both things involve cooking for a crowd, which can be hard to do. The more I do it, the more fun it gets. It is hard to think up original recipes for large groups sometimes, so I am really excited to share this one. This week I needed a meal to feed 14 friends. I didn’t want to do chili again, so I began to brainstorm and search the web. Casserole recipes are great for large groups and pizza is great for parties, which makes this pizza casserole the ultimate party dish. The original recipe that I found, form Country Kitchen Cooking, used pasta instead of breadsticks. Since I work at Noodles & Company, I decided against using the pasta. I think the breadsticks give it much more flavor. I made my green bean casserole to go with the meal and help my ski bum friends get some nutrients into their dinner. This spin off pizza is easier to make and won’t keep you in the kitchen for the entire party!
Now that the new year has started, I’m sure many of you are trying to eat healthier. I have personally been trying to eat more vegetables in my meals. I recently came across this recipe on the Gourmet Traveler blog. It uses a huge amount of spinach, which was great for me since I have a giant Costco bag of spinach at the moment. On a less healthy note, the Parmesan crisps are to die for, but beware they are super addicting! I ate this with my Broiled Lemon and Garlic Shrimp.
This is probably the fanciest recipe I have ever made. A friend of mine typed this recipe up and sent it to me during her vacation, I had been looking forward to cooking it with her. I was like a little kid with a new toy while I was cooking and plating the food. It is always fun to make fancy dishes that you can plate nicely. This recipe has a LOT of flavors in it, but my friend and I decided that the cucumber relish really isn’t very necessary and it would probably have been better without it. The eggplant salsa was very unique, but really good!