Monday, October 11, 2010

Balsamic Vinaigrette

I've been eating a lot of salads lately. My biggest problem with salads is finding a dressing that is not loaded with fat but is still tasty. I am a HUGE fan of ranch dressing, but let's be honest, I might as well eat french fries because ranch negates the point of eating a "healthy" salad. So, I have harkened back to my days of living in Paris when Pascale and I made our own dressing. We always made a dijon red wine vinaigrette but these days I'm a balsamic girl. So whip out those wild greens, red tomatoes, and whatever fresh vegetables you can find as we move into fall and try this really easy dressing below.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fire Level: yellow

  • 3 tablespoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette (it depends how vinegary you like your dressing. I usually put 2 tablespoons in mine but some people like to taste the olive oil. If that is the case go with 1 1/2 or even 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A few shakes of salt
  • A few shakes of black pepper

Mix it all up and enjoy! If you don't have one, I suggest going to your local grocery store and buying a mixer like the one in the picture. It's usually over by the oil and vinegar. All you do is pour all your ingredients in and shake it up. Simple as that!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Best Sugar Cookies!!

Today I surprised Zerek with TCU cookies for the tailgate/game tomorrow! I made them the other night and sent them down to Dallas overnight. I love this sugar cookie recipe. It's been passed down in my family for a while and I'd love to share it with you guys. I put blue and red food coloring in the cookie dough to make it purple and I bought white frosting and dyed some of it purple too in order to add TCU onto the white frosting. I think it's the almond extract that makes these sugar cookies taste so unique!

Almond Sugar Cookies
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

STEP 1: Preheat
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

STEP 2: Mix
Mix the sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg in a bowl until it is creamy.

STEP 3: Add dry ingredients
Add the flour, baking powder, and the salt.

STEP 4: Choose your shape
My family has made these in two different ways. One is the traditional cookie-cooking way. Use a teaspoon to put a dolup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. The other way is to spread the entire batter over a greased cookie sheet, making more of a cookie cake.

STEP 5: Cool
Once the cookies have become brown just around the edge, remove them from the oven to cool. If you made the cookie sheet you can stick a toothpick into the center to make sure it is done. Let them cool. Frost with your favorite frosting flavor. Then, if you made the sheet, cut them into strips to make cookie bars.

STEP 6: Enjoy
Enjoy some of my favorite cookies! Make sure you share. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tasty and Healthy Dinner!

I had a couple friends over for dinner last night and cooked a delicious and very healthy/low calorie dinner. I love finding recipes that make me feel like I'm indulging, but do not make me feel guilty at all. Below is a great chicken recipe and two sides. Feel free to cook them all together or just try one, but I highly suggest them all, especially the potatoes! For a change, I am not going to write out the recipes because in this instance I actually did not change much. Below I have indicated what few changes I did make and also some changes that would be interesting for the future.

Braised Balsamic Chicken
Fire Level: yellow
I found this recipe on You can link to it here. I followed this recipe exactly and didn't make any changes.
Changes I would have made: You know me, I like my food a bit spicy. I would have added some red pepper flakes or some cayenne pepper to this to spice it up. It would also be good to add some jalepeno and serve this as a Mexican dish.

The sides I took from this month's Cooking Light magazine. They are also online and pretty easy!

Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Fire Level: yellow
You can access the link to this recipe here.
Changes I made: The only change I made to this was to sprinkle some garlic powder over the potatoes in addition to the seasonings in the recipe.

Buttered Green Beans and Mushrooms
Fire Level: yellow
You can access this recipe here.
Changes I made: I didn't use two types of mushrooms in this. I just sliced up button mushrooms and kept with that. It was delicious though!

Other Suggestions
For dinner tonight I felt like a delicious salad. I threw the left over, cold mushroom green beans onto my mixed greens, diced tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breakfast Tacos

I absolutely LOVE breakfast tacos, and now that I live in Missouri, they are virtually impossible to find. Oh the good 'ol days when Taco Joint was just down the street. If you live in Dallas and have never been to the Austin-based taco shop, you MUST give it a try. It may be kind of in the ghetto (the opposite side of 75 from the West Village), but it is totally worth the trip (be warned they aren't open on Sundays).
So, when Zerek and the puppies visited me this past weekend, it reawakened one of my favorite Texas breakfast items. I searched my fridge for random items and made these wonderful breakfast tacos that we thoroughly enjoyed. Like most of the recipes I toss together at the last minute, I didn't measure a thing, therefore the amounts below are just a guess. Enjoy!

Turkey Breakfast Tacos
(makes approximately 6 tacos)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (add extra cayenne pepper to get this up to the RED level and do not add any at all to make this a YELLOW level)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices chipotle cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices of turkey breast OR 1/2 - 1 lb. Jennie-O turkey breakfast sausage (I prefer the Jennie-O breakfast sausage, but I of course didn't have that on hand when rifling through the fridge)
  • tortillas (i like whole wheat carb plus tortillas)
  • shredded cheese
  • salsa (of course mild or hot salsa will change the fire level of this recipe)
  • any other toppings you wish (avocado, sour cream, chalua, etc.)

Fire Level: yellow-red

STEP 1: Sautee your Veggies
Begin by drizzling a bit of olive oil in a large skillet. Throw in your chopped onion and bell peppers to begin sauteeing them.

STEP 1b: Meat
If you chose to use Jennie-O turkey sausage then begin cooking this in a separate pan.

STEP 2: Whip your eggs
In a large bowl, whisk your eggs and milk together.

STEP 3: Combine
When your veggies are beginning to soften, add your egg mixture to the pan. Sprinkle with your seasoning.

STEP 4: Scramble
Continue cooking your egg/veggie mixture just as you would scrambled eggs.

STEP 4b: Meat
If you chose to use sliced turkey breast then dice up your slices of turkey breast and add to the egg mixture while you are scrambling.

STEP 5: Secret Ingredient
When the egg mixture is about 3/4 done, the eggs are still kind of runny, break up your two slices of chipotle cheddar cheese and drop into the egg mixture. Continue scrambling until all the eggs are cooked, the cheese is melted, and the mixture is ready to eat.

STEP 6: Warm your Tortillas
Pop your tortillas into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so to soften them.

STEP 7: Dress 'em Up!
Now it's time to make your tacos. Scoop some of the egg/turkey mixture into your tortilla, sprinkle some shredded cheese, and add salsa and whatever other toppings you choose.

Hosting a Brunch?
If you are hosting a brunch or large breakfast tailgate or party, these are a perfect solution. You can add a bowl of mixed fruit to the table or fry up some red potatoes with onion, Lawry's seasoned salt and the same seasonings above. Throw in some Bloody Mary's and Mimosas and you have a fantastic brunch in a jiffy!