Friday, April 4, 2014


Just try and tell me this song isn't infectious. At least on a Friday when the weekend is oh-so-close and you wake up excited, bouncing out of bed because its. finally. friday.
Mike and I leave for Hawaii on Tuesday, so we are doing our last minute planning for the trip. I have planned nothing outside of booking the flight and hotel. No rental car booked. No massage appointments made. No kayaks rented. No luau tickets purchased (Mikes request/requirement.)

I also have not packed a thing,  or made any list about what needs to be packed. Who am I?

This is so unlike me and just goes to show you how badly I need this vacation. I have a feeling a week in beautiful Kauai with very little planned is just the cure :)

PS: any Kauai suggestions or recommendations are welcome!

Happy weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

personal chicken pot pies

I woke up a few weekends ago  with a scratchy throat and feeling rundown. This entire year has felt like a rollercoaster of emotions and never ending to do lists, so I took the day to rest and give myself a break.

I also took it as an opportunity to make my first ever chicken pot pie and put it in personal ramekins which made them even more fun. Portion control + clearly defined "this is my crust not yours" = success in my book.

I bought the dough because dough generally isn't my thing and this was my first try anyway, so lets start with baby steps ya know? I stayed farrrr away from canned cream of chicken soup and made my own roux; far better option and I was able to control the sodium levels too.

personal chicken pot pies
1 package of frozen pie dough--most packs come with 2 and I used one and froze the second (or make your own and be an overachiever.) make sure it is room temperature
1 chicken breast, seasoned with rub listed below
3 carrots, peels and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 potato (I didn't peel it but you can) diced and boiled in salted water until par-cooked (about 5 minutes past the water boiling.) drain but save the potato water on the side
3-4 stalks of broccolini, diced into bite sized pieces
1/4 head of cauliflower, diced into bite sized pieces
1 stick of butter (2 tablespoons melted)
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1-1.5 cups of milk, heavy cream or half and half
salt and pepper for seasoning

rub for chicken
1/4 tsp ancho chilli powder (you can also use regular chilli powder)
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
mix together and rub on both sides of the chicken and let it set for about 15-20 minutes

  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • pre-heat two pans on stovetop with a tablespoon of butter
  • once melted, put chicken breast in one pan; and cook until both sides are browned and place in the oven for an additional 6-8 minutes 
  • in the other pan, dump onions carrots and celery, season with salt and pepper. cook until veggies are soft, remove from heat.
  • on a foil lined pan, place broccolini and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons butter broken up into little pieces, salt and pepper; place in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, tossing once
  • melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan with about 3 tablespoons of butter; whisk together and add a few dashes of nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • whisk together until a thin paste has formed, remove from heat and whisk in about 1-1 and a half cups of cream, half and half or milk--whatever you have
  • place back on low heat and whisk together, adding the reserved potato water if its too thick--you want it to be a sauce like consistency. If too thin, raise the heat slightly and the sauce should naturally thicken. taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  • flour your counter and rolling pin and roll out your pastry dough. cut it into 4 rounds that are about 1 inch wider than your ramekins; set aside.
  • once all veggies are cooked, dump them into the cream sauce, along with the potatoes; dice your chicken up into bite sized pieces and all to the mixture. taste for seasonings, stir together.
  • raise your oven temp to 375
  • line your ramekins with the bottom layer of dough, carefully pressing them in as not to tear the dough. a bit should hang over the sides
  • add your mixture, split evenly among both, and top with the remaining dough rounds. press the edges together and brush with melted butter
  • slice one or 2 cuts in the top of the dough to allow the heat to escape
  • place on cookie sheet (in case they bubble over) and into the oven until the tops are browned, about 15 minutes
tip: you can double the recipe for more people, and also sub in any veggies you like. I had most of these on hand which made it easier. You can also use frozen veggies.

Happy comfort food eating!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

lettuce wrap tacos

Mike and I leave for Hawaii in a week--eek! His first time, and my first time on Kauai, and we are so excited.

It is a much needed vacation after a crazy year and we are also celebrating his 28th birthday so I know it will be even more special.

After we booked the trip, I tried to focus on some healthier, lighter meals (#hawaiidiet on my food posts on Instagram) in between the spring oreos, ben and jerrys cores and crockpot ribs........

So lettuce wrap tacos was one of my better ideas--they were so good and I truly did not miss the tortilla. The key is to pack them with so much other flavor that your taste buds are so psyched for the filling, the tortilla is forgotten. So here's what I did.

lettuce wrap tacos
1 head of butter lettuce, rinsed and dried
2 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne
1 yellow and 1 orange pepper, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup of shredded mexican blend cheese
3 tablespoons salsa
1 can black beans
1 garlic clove, minced
1 box rice pilaf mix (or any rice you like!)
3 tablespoons of butter
your favorite hot sauce (optional)
salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin for seasoning
  • preheat oven to 350
  • start your rice, according to package directions as that typically takes the longest to cook
  • melt one tablespoon of butter in small saucepan; add minced garlic on low heat. once the garlic is lightly cooked, add beans (do not drain.)
  • season beans with salt, pepper and a little bit of hot sauce (optional.) cook, covered, on medium heat until it comes to a boil, switch to low heat and let simmer
  • melt the remaining butter, split between two pans
  • place the chicken in one pan on medium heat and let it brown on both sides and place in the oven for 5-7 more minutes to finish cooking
  • place the peppers in another on medium high heat, seasoning with salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin. let them get a bit charred, tossing occasionally in the pan
  • once chicken is cooked, slice it up and assemble your tacos with your desired toppings. I used the avocado, hot sauce, salsa, cheese and peppers, but get creative. onions would be great here, but Mike hates them.
  • serve with rice and beans on the side