Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Week Full of Yummy (and healthy)

The vegetable bin in my fridge... the place where good intentions go to die. Especially in the summer, when a trip to the farmer's market holds endless temptations. But life gets busy, and after work, a trip to the gym and errands here and there, too many days I come home and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do. 

So this afternoon, I've had a cooking bonanza, and made a few healthy things that I can take to work for weekday lunches or eat on the quick in the evening.  These are some of my tried-and-true recent favorites that I hope you'll enjoy... I know I will.

Sheet Pan Tikka Masala
Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite foodie websites, and this one from Deb doesn't disappoint. One thing I like about her recipes is that there is usually a lot of room to improvise and substitute with what you have on hand.  For this dish, I used chicken breast tenderloins cut into chunks instead of thighs, and since I had some Penzey's vindaloo spice blend, I added a 1/2 tsp of that. I marinated the chicken, potatoes and cauliflower in the spice-yogurt mix (fat-free yogurt to keep the calories down), then added some sliced red onion before cooking. This is so good, you don't really even need the chicken. I could just eat a plateful of the veggies - the cauliflower is to die for!

Greek Chicken Poppers
These chicken meatballs come together quickly, and the zucchini keeps the chicken from drying out in the oven. I grate about 1/4 cup of onion into the mix instead of the chopped green onions, leave out the cilantro (I'm one of those people with a genetic disposition to hate the stuff) and add 2 tsp of Penzey's greek seasoning. They don't look all that pretty, but with some tzatziki on top, they taste great!(this one from Skinnytaste is fat-free and delicious)

Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet
This is a really easy, flavorful dish. I usually cut the recipe in half, and use turkey kielbasa to make it healthier -- you may need to up the olive oil a bit if you find the cabbage sticking to the pan, as the turkey sausage adds flavor, but doesn't render as much fat as the regular kind (which is good thing in the end). Also, you can use any light vinegar if you don't have rice wine vinegar - maybe reduce the amount a little bit though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to the Blog

So this blog has been a bit of a start-and-stop for me, but here I go again... it may be sporadic, it may be random, but hey, it's my party, or so the song says. Expect a little bit of politics, a little bit of house envy, a whole lot of recipes, and maybe more. Life is a journey, and I'm enjoying mine more than I have in a long time, so hopefully I'll have exciting, or at least interesting and perhaps funny things to share.
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bourbon Citrus Slushies

My introduction to bourbon came at my first UGA football game as a college freshman, poured into plastic cups of Coca-Cola. While the stadium was technically "dry," the smuggled-in liquor flowed freely. A suspicious police officer might check a frat boy’s blazer or look for a flask-shaped bulge in the pocket of his dockers (khaki or bulldog red, of course!), but no cop in the 1980s deep south was ever going to look under a girl’s dress. Those  big-skirted Laura Ashley monstrosities came in handy for hiding a flask or two. And while garters seemed classier, they weren’t terribly practical... bandage tape worked much better for keeping that flask in place! :)

Growing older, my appreciation for bourbon has become a bit more, um, adult. My go-to drink is bourbon and ginger ale with a slice of lime, and when presented with a fancy cocktail list, I'll usually go for the bourbon-based ones. In Atlanta, 1821 Bitters has an apple cardamon shrub that is particularly tasty with bourbon and ginger ale... 

On vacation last summer, I mixed up a batch of Garden & Gun’s Bourbon Slush Punch for a lazy afternoon with friends. And while we all thought the combo of citrus, bourbon and strong tea was a winner, we decided the recipe was a tad too sweet, and began to adjust accordingly. Working with what was on hand, we added some ginger ale. The next day we made a new batch, and adjusted a little more.  I’ve tried it a few times since, and a couple of weeks ago, I think I hit slushy perfection. 

And what's even better - you can keep the base in the freezer and make them one or two at a time. INSTANT BOURBON SLUSHY! NO BLENDER NEEDED! I may just be a genius. :) 

How to make it:
  • 2 cups strong tea
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • One large container frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • Diet ginger ale (ok, it doesn't have to be diet, but it makes me feel better)
Mix the first five ingredients in a tupperware bowl with a tightly sealing lid. Freeze completely. When you want a slushy (or two, or six), drop a few ice cubes in the bottom of a tall glass (to help your drink stay frozen longer). Use an ice cream scoop and fill the glass loosely with the frozen punch base. Top off with ginger ale and enjoy frozen slushy, boozy goodness.