Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber-Cilantro Relish

Sometimes when you find an at-home {healthy} hack for a restaurant-style dish you just gotta share the deets—these lettuce wraps are it! They are packed with flavor + texture and make for an easy + delicious weeknight meal.

Bonus for anyone with dietary restrictions: they are naturally dairy-free and can be made gluten-free with a simple substitution. This dish is healthy and light AND the children (at least around here) scarf 'em down—I think they enjoy scooping and rolling up the lettuce on their own. Fun eats for the win!

You can either use (uncooked) lean ground turkey or leftover (baked or grilled) chicken from last night's meal. I'm all about a leftover re-purpose! Whichever poultry you choose, you will marinate it in a delicious blend of flavors, then quickly cook up on the stove and serve in cool, crisp lettuce wraps with a yummy cucumber-cilantro relish on top. What more can I say to entice you? Try this recipe. Trust me.

Time needed: 20-25 minutes | Serves 2-4 people

What You Will Need 
for the wraps
2 tablespoons honey
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (you could use 2 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce OR 2 of sriracha if you only have one of the ingredients on hand)
2 tbsp + 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (use Tamari as gluten-free substitute)
2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ lbs lean ground turkey (or 3 cups cooked chicken as mentioned above)
1 tablespoon + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 
4 green onions, diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 head of iceberg lettuce, washed and divided into leaves
Optional: grated carrots, additional soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sriracha, Chinese mustard

for the cucumber-cilantro relish
½ cup cucumber, diced
½ cup red onion, diced
½ bell pepper (any color), diced
handful of cilantro, washed & chopped
¼ tsp each salt & pepper
2 tsp lime juice

Step One
In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together honey, sriracha, chili garlic sauce,  soy sauce, lime juice, ginger and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix turkey into bowl and let marinate for 20 minutes (at room temperature).*If using pre-cooked chicken, process it down in a food processor to get the right texture (maybe pulse for 10ish seconds) and marinate the same amount of time.

Step Two
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cucumber, onion, pepper, cilantro, salt, pepper and lime juice. Cover and put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Step Three
Heat remaining oil on medium in a medium-sized skillet. Sauté green onions for 3-4 minutes, add in garlic and sauté another minute or until slightly browned. 

Step Four
Add in meat mixture and cook, stirring/breaking up meat occasionally, about 6-7 minutes or until no longer pink. Add in remaining soy sauce and give it one final stir. *If using pre-cooked chicken shorten this time to 2-3 minutes, or until heated through.

Serve immediately with lettuce leaves and top with cucumber-cilantro relish + grated carrots, additional soy sauce/Chinese mustard/Sriracha/etc. Have edamame or an easy ginger salad as a side.

Enjoy, y'all!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice & Pinto Bean Bowls

I am excited to share a new and easy recipe I have been cooking up! Burrito bowls are a go-to in our house but I have never ventured past using rice or quinoa as the base. For this dish, steamed cauliflower rice is mixed with cilantro + lime and topped with seasoned pinto beans, fresh pico de gallo and avocado to create a healthy but hearty 20-minute meal (that is also dairy-free, gluten-free AND vegan). Say what?! I'll have seconds please.

I'll admit I have been quite skeptic of riced cauliflower in the past... because how can a vegetable possibly take the place of a household staple such as rice? Well I am here to tell you folks, I could barely tell the differenceand the bonus: I felt full but didn't experience any discomfort like I sometimes do with rice (because portion control isn't really my thing just yet). Disclaimer: I am not ruling rice completely out of my future but I will say this was a nice alternative to add a little more superfood into my life!

Second bonus: this meal is packed with protein, healthy fat, and veggie goodness but it doesn't cut any corners on flavor. Win win! Go ahead and add it into your weeknight meal rotation, friends. Enjoy!

Time Needed: 25-30 minutes | Serves: 3-4

What You Will Need:
For the beans:
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ (medium-sized) sweet onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
½ cups water (you can sub in vegetable broth for added flavor)
½ cup diced tomatoes (optional)

For the pico de gallo:
Juice from half a (large) lime (or more if preferred)
3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped
Remaining half of sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
handful of cilantro, washed & chopped
sea salt & pepper to taste

For the cauliflower rice:
1 bag frozen riced cauliflower (such as this)
½ cup water
handful of cilantro, washed & chopped
Remaining half of lime, juiced

Step One
Prepare pico de gallo (you can prep this in advanceeven the day beforeand let the flavors marinate in the refrigerator). Chop the onions and tomatoes about the same size, mix with jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and spices to your liking (maybe ¼ -½ tsp each). Set aside.

Step Two
In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add in garlic and saute an additional minute. Pour in beans from colander and stir to combine. Add in spices. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, then mash about   of the mixture with a fork (this creates great texture later on).

Step Three
Pour in water (or broth) + tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes, or until liquid is almost absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Step Four
While the beans are simmering, dump frozen cauliflower into a separate medium-sized sauce pan. Pour in ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Cover and steam on medium for 8-9 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and remaining juice from lime.

Put two-three large spoonfuls of cauliflower rice on the bottom, top with two-three scoops of beans, add pico de gallo, sliced avocados, extra jalapenos, a small spoonful of salsa, etc.basically whatever toppings you have on hand! Add a spoonful of shredded cheese if desired, but honestly you won't even miss it (and this is coming from a cheese lover y'all).

Happy cooking! xo


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cozy Fall Dinner

Crisp fall days are meant for comfort food and this meal is perfectly that. Not only is it seasonal and delicious, but it can be made in around 30 minutes so it works well for a weeknight dinner or a night hosting guests in your home. If this entire spread overwhelms you (because let's be real -- some days we just don't have the energy), choose a couple items and go for it! Leave off the chicken for a yummy fall veggie plate or just make the chicken and rice for a simpler version. I am sharing all of the details below so you have some options, friends. : )

This serves a family of four depending on what kind of eaters you have (I am looking at you wishy-washy but cute 2-year-old) -- so double if you need to!

What You Will Need:
4 (small) chicken breasts
½ cup garlic + herb breadcrumbs
½ cup (freshly grated) parmesan cheese
4 tbsp butter, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 sweet potatoes
¼ cup half & half
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned + trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes (to taste)

Step One
Set oven to 400°. Cover sweet potatoes with water and put on a high setting to bring to a boil (leave skin on as it will come off easier after boiling). While potatoes are coming to a boil, prepare your chicken.

Step Two
In a shallow bowl, mix together bread crumbs + ¼ cup of parmesan. Set aside. In a small skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. Remove. Take chicken, dip in butter and then in breadcrumb mixture. Set on foil-lined baking sheet. Put in oven and set timer for 30 minutes.

Step Three
In a medium-sized sauce pan, melt 1 tbsp butter on medium-high heat. Add in garlic, cook for an additional minute, then add in rice, a dash of salt and stir around the pan for about 2 minutes until slightly browned. Pour in chicken broth + milk, bring to a boil. Once at a boil, bring back down to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes.

Step Four
At the 15 minute mark of the chicken, you'll want to add in your asparagus. Simply cover a baking pan with foil, lay your asparagus out and toss with olive and spices to your liking. Roast for the remainder of the time left with the chicken.

Step Five
Check your sweet potatoes - by about 20-25 minutes they should be tender throughout. Bring out of water and carefully remove the outer skin. Place potatoes back in pan and mash. Add in remaining butter, brown sugar and half & half. Blend with a hand mixer, or simply just using a fork. Place lid on to keep warm.

Step Six
Pull out asparagus and check chicken to make sure juices run clear (cook an additional 3-5 minutes if needed). Check to make sure rice is done, then turn off and stir in parmesan cheese. Add more milk for creamier texture, if needed.

If you've made it this far with me you are almost ready to serve this yummy, cozy fall meal! Pull out the chicken, let it rest a few minutes, cut into slices, plate it up with your sides, serve, take a bite, repeat.

Happy fall, y'all! Enjoy! xx


Friday, October 13, 2017

Popcorn Party Mix

This popcorn mix is one of my favorite seasonal treats. It is has only a few ingredients, is fairly easy to throw together, and you can just switch up the colors of the sprinkles/candy based on the season or occasion.

The only reason I say "fairly" easy above is because melting chocolate sometimes takes a little patience (for me at least - ha!). I have burnt my fair share of morsels because I think they need just a few more seconds in the microwave... and trust me, once you've taken it a second too far recovery is nearly impossible folks. So take it from me: less heating more stirring. ; )

What You Will Need:
1 bag pre-popped (lightly salted) popcorn
1 cup (broken) pretzel pieces
1 cup honey nut cheerios
1 bag white chocolate morsels
½-1 cup M&Ms (or Reese's Pieces for fall colors)
parchment paper

Step One
In a large mixing bowl, pour in popcorn and add pretzels and cheerios, lightly tossing (try not to let all the pretzels fall to the bottom). Spread parchment paper onto a large {jelly roll} baking pan. Set aside.

Step Two
Melt chocolate according to package directions. Keep on stirring until it melts through and immediately pour onto popcorn mixture, using a spatula to spread evenly throughout mixture.

Step Three
Immediately spread mixture onto parchment lined baking pan and add M&Ms (or whichever candy you are using) and sprinkles across the top before the chocolate hardens. Press down into mixture if needed.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes-1 hour and then break apart. Store in an airtight container for up to five days, or put a handful in little cellophane baggies, tie with some cute ribbon, and share with neighbors and friends for a fun surprise.

Happy snacking, y'all!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

National Taco Day

National Taco Day?! This is obviously a holiday I fully support (as evidenced by many a posts on SFB). If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life tacos would definitely be in the running. They are a weekly go-to around here. Kids love them, hubby loves them, I love them. I'm tagging my favorite taco recipes below in case you need any inspiration to celebrate today. : )

 Slow-Cooked Creamy Chicken Tacos
These are SO easy, friends. Crock-pot magic if you ask me.

Pork Carnitas
Basically heaven on a plate. Love these carnitas all kinds of ways but in a corn tortilla with some fresh toppings is my fave!

Caroline Style (pulled pork + slaw)
This is basically a Carolina bbq sandwich, but the goodness is wrapped up in a tortilla. A must-try.

White Bean Taco Chili
Chili with a little taco flair -- good alternative to regular tacos.

However you decide to indulge, enjoy friends! And consider serving some yummy side items, too:
Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo
Rice & Beans


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Simple Alfredo Sauce

Making homemade pasta has been on my "want to learn" list for sometime now but I still have not done it... so to still get some fresh flavor I do try and make my sauces. There is nothing wrong with that jarred goodness y'all, but once you try this and see how simple it is to make I think you will become a believer in the homemade version too!

If you are feeling something tomato based check out this Savory Meat Sauce, but if you are like me and sometimes just want allllll the butter, cream and Parmesan this Simple Alfredo Sauce is the perfect fix. Bonus: it can be made within 10 minutes and likely with ingredients you already have on hand.

It goes great with any kind of pasta (pictured above with rotini) and you can top with whatever protein or veggies your little heart desires. We recently went with leftover meatballs and had no regrets. : )

What You Will Need:
½ tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup half and half
 cup (low-sodium) chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste (I used about ⅛ teaspoon each)
dash of red pepper flakes, optional
½ cup Parmesan cheese (or more), freshly grated
green onion and parsley for garnish

Step One
Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet. Add in minced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring so it does not burn.

Step Two
Add in half and half, chicken broth, and spices. Let it come to boil, lower to a simmer and let it cook for about five-six minutes, or until it slightly thickens up.

Step Three
Remove from heat, stir in cheese and immediately mix with whatever pasta you are using. Top with desired meat and/or veggies and garnish with green onions and parsley, if desired.

Eat. Enjoy. Repeat. xo--


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fried Pickle Chips

Who doesn't love fried pickle chips?! If you have not tried them before you are missing out... trust me. These are the perfect tailgating or half-time treat during college football,  the Super Bowl or just about anytime you need a delicious crunchy fix. You will want to eat them all, so make sure to double or triple if you are feeding a crowd!

What You Will Need:
1 egg
½ cup milk
¾ cup cornstarch, divided
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon each paprika, salt, pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
About 3 dozen dill pickle slices
Canola oil

Ingredients for Fry's Dippin' Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 dash cayenne pepper

Step One
First, assemble Dippin' Sauce and refrigerate until ready to eat. 

Step Two
With a 
whisk, beat egg and milk in small mixing bowl. Place 1/4 cup cornstarch in another shallow dish. In a third dish, mix 1/2 cup cornstarch & cornmeal with the rest of the ingredients above.

Step Three
Dip cold pickle slices in the plain cornstarch, then the egg wash then the cornmeal mixture. Set aside.

Step Four
Heat canola oil in cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Fry until golden brown; about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve with Dippin' Sauce (or ranch if that's your preference).