Sunday, April 14, 2013

Orzo with Salmon and Feta

I've mentioned my husband's love for fish before. If I'm going to cook fish, odds are it's going to be salmon. Tilapia isn't very flavorful and halibut is just so expensive. Salmon is a nice compromise and as such, is usually the fish I cook with. 

This was one of my first ventures into the land of seafood a couple years ago and it quickly became a favorite. It is easy, tasty, and is still good as leftovers (we eat it cold) - which is a critical of almost every meal made at this house. 

I've tweaked it to our preferences so feel free to change things up if you want to. It only makes it better when it is exactly how you want it. 

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 lb Salmon
8 oz orzo pasta
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 1/4 cup feta in oil and spices (if you are missing one or both of those components, season with Italian Seasoning and cover in olive oil)
1 avocado
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. Season the Salmon with salt and pepper and cook through, about 15-20 minutes. While the salmon is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the orzo. Cook according to package directions. 

Dice up the avocado and put in a large bowl. Cover with the lemon juice (this will help the avocado to not brown), soy sauce, and red wine vinegar. Add the feta and tomatoes. When the Salmon is done, dice it up and add to the mixture. Add the orzo when it is done as well. Mix everything together and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Avocado Pesto

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jalapeno Chicken Haystacks

When I first saw this recipe, I knew it had potential but I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do with it. I figured I would play around with it and see what I could come up with. The pressure was on when I ended up serving this experiment to my whole family and not just Hunter. Usually I reserve the experiments for just the two of us. 

I opted to go in a direction similar to Hawaiian Haystacks. I knew I would probably end up serving it with rice and topping said rice with the sauce. I really like colorful plates as well and what better way to get that then topping it with red tomatoes and green avocados? This actually falls pretty far from the mark of the original recipe, although it uses all the same ingredients. I'm happy the direction I went with this and plan to make it many more times in the future. 

One of my favorite recipes growing up was Hawaiian Haystacks. Whenever I got to request a meal, that was it. So it was fun to make a play on the classic favorite. 

Yield: 8-10 Servings

4 chicken breasts
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 chicken bullion cube
Juice of half a lemon
3 jalapenos, sliced
1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp cold water
1 8 oz package cream cheese
3 cups rice

Toppings can include but are not limited to:
Bacon, cooked and diced
Shredded Coconut

Season the chicken breasts with the chili powder and salt and place in a crockpot. Add the water, bullion cube, lemon juice, and sliced jalapenos (you can make this as hot as you want or not depending on how many seeds you leave in - I left the seeds of one jalapeno and didn't have hardly any bite. I'll probably use the seeds of at least two next time) and cook on low for 5-6 hours. 

Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred. Switch the crockpot to high. At this point, I used my immersion blender to blend in the jalapenos so the sauce was smooth, but that certainly isn't necessary. Add the cream cheese to the sauce in the crockpot and mix until smooth. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and add to the sauce. Add the shredded chicken back in and allow to cook for 20 more minutes. The sauce should be nice and thick. 

Serve over rice and top with whatever you like!

Source: adapted from Diabetic Connect

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Three of my dad's favorite things in the world are chocolate, peanut butter, and cheesecake. So when I had to opportunity to feed my family dinner and dessert a few days before his birthday, this was the treat I chose to make.

It turned out super tasty - and suuuper rich. Even with my high tolerance for all things decadent, I struggled to finish one whole piece so make sure you have a lot of people to share it with! 

I looked over numerous recipes to come up with the perfect one, and this was it. It has pretty striped layers instead of two distinct ones and it uses real peanut butter, not peanut butter chips. I hope you enjoy this as much as we all did!


4-5 oz. Chocolate graham cracker crumbs (I used one packet out of the box)
3 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup chocolate chips
10-15 mini Reese's Cups, quartered

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar until combined and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely. 

Melt the finely chopped chocolate over a double broiler until smooth and allow to cool. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy (about 3 minutes) and then add the sugar in a slow, steady stream until combined. Add salt and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Divide the cream cheese mixture in half. Add the peanut butter to one half and the melted chocolate to the other. Spoon about 1/4 of the peanut butter mixture onto the crust, followed by 1/4 of the chocolate mixture. Repeat this process until all of both mixtures are used up. Bake until the cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center - about 1 hour. Let cool completely. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and remove the sides. 

Put the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat the cream either on the stove or in a microwave safe bowl until just boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for about 1 minute before mixing. Mix until smooth and creamy and pour over the top of the cheesecake. It's okay if it runs down the sides, it just adds to the look. Top with quartered Reese's Cups. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. 

Source: adapted and combined recipes from The Girl Who Ate Everything and Martha Stewart