Poultry, Quick Dinner, Savory

Tequila Lime Chicken

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It is warm in New England, which means, it is finally grilling season!  Thank god for that because boring chicken breast tastes best when grilled.  Here is a fun marinade for chicken tenders which I adapted (a.k.a made a smaller batch) from Ina Garten’s recipe.  As long as you have all the ingredients, it is super easy!

Ingredients:

8-10, boneless, skinless chicken tenders

1/4 cup tequila

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 Tbsp of chili powder

1/2 Tbsp of minced garlic

1 jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds if you don’t want it to be spicy)

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of black pepper

Method:

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Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or large measuring cup.

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Pour the marinade over the chicken in a zip-top plastic bag and marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Bring the chicken to room temperature and grill till cooked through.

I like to serve this particular chicken with a salad/salsa made with black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, bell peppers, and scallions.  I like to dress this salad/salsa with a little bit of lime juice (prevents the avocados from browning), salt, and pepper.

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Serve the chicken hot and the salad at room temperature.  I would recommend eating this meal outside with a cold margarita!!

 

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Cake

Smore’s Ice Cream Cake:

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April marks the start of “lab” birthdays.  here is the first birthday cake of the year !

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Graham Cracker Cake:

Filling:

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Graham Cracker Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugars and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
  5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula and whack the pans against the counter to evenly distribute.
  8. Bake for approx. 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  9. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins. Whack the pans on the counter to loosen the cakes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:

  1. Whip the cream till it reaches soft peaks and fold in the mini chocolate chips
  2. Bring the ice cream to room temperature so that it can be spread.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the cake into two layers and place one layer on the bottom of the springform pan.
  2. Spread ice cream, as much as you like. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and marshmallows, if you want.
  3. Add the other cake layer on top and press down
  4. Add the chocolate chip whipped cream on top
  5. Decorate with more marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers crumbs.
  6. Store in freezer.
  7. Thaw in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before cutting into this messy delight !
Breakfast, Brunch

Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal Muffins

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I like some variation in the morning.  Normally it is oatmeal with honey, almond milk and black pepper–yes, black pepper–try it, it tastes great! But I digress.  This is about fresh blueberries in your oatmeal muffin.  Good Morning never tasted so good.  I have tried several oatmeal muffin recipes and I have settled on this one–moist, yet a little crumbly for the almond meal.  I hope you like it, as much I did.

Yields about 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of almond meal

0.5 cups of quick cooking oatmeal

0.25 cups of AP flour

1 tbsp of baking soda

1tbsp of baking powder

2 eggs

0.5 cups of oil

0.5 cups of almond milk

0.5 water

0.25 cups of honey

zest of 1 lemon or 1tsp of lemon extract (optional)

1 pint of blueberries

sliced almonds for topping the muffins

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl

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Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowls or large measuring cup

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Slowly incorporate wet into dry.  The batter will be runny

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Fold in the blueberries

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Portion into a lined muffin pan.  There might be some extra batter, I put it in a ramekin and bake it off.  (serve this one with vanilla ice cream for a late night treat).

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Garnish the tops with sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-35 mins, till a toothpick comes out clean.

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Cake

Black Forest Cake

 

Black Forest Cake.  My earliest memory of this cake is when my mother would go buy it from a bakery in Dallas for my father.  This is my father’s favorite cake.  That SAYS A LOT because when it comes to sweets he is a true Bengali man.  The only other “western” dessert he likes is a good almond biscotti. However, I did not make this cake for my dad this time around, I made it for my Swedish Boss’s birthday.  Now when bossman goes for a second piece of cake, you know its good.  So this post is about a cake I made for my boss but is dedicated to my father–just in time for Father’s Day !!!!    

This is what happens to frozen cherries when you cook it down with some sugar, lemon juice and a little bit of gelatin.  Feel free to use cherry preserves, but please DO NOT use that bright red cherry pie filling !

Simple box cake ! I went for the super rich, moist chocolate kind ! YUM!         This white concoction is coolwhip mixed with white chocolate pudding mix ! The pudding mix stabilizes the whipped cream and it makes it easier to pipe !

Cover cake with frosting, cover frosting with chocolate sprinkle !  If you are making this cake during the colder months, grate fresh chocolate and cover the cake.  I tried to do that, but my kitchen was too hot and the chocolate was melting !    

Pipe and decorate with with either fresh pitted cherries of drained and dried frozen cherries !          

NOW EAT CAKE !

Fish & Seafood, Gluten-free, Italian, Lent, Quick Dinner

Basil-Scallion Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash


I recently discovered spaghetti squash and I have fallen in love with it.  While it definitely does NOT taste like pasta, it certainly feels like you are indulging in it.  You can twirl long strands of golden squash in sauce and eat it out of a bowl and feel full–not a bad deal ! Then, shrimp was on sale and I had to finish up the basil and scallions in the fridge, and so this dish came to being.  May I just say, that sometimes, throwing things in together really work ! I hope you will try this dish.

Ingredients:

1, medium sized spaghetti squash

1lb of medium, peeled, de-veined  raw shrimp

7-8 scallions

1 bunch of basil

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 can of diced tomatoes (mine had garlic, basil and oregano added)

1/2 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

2 tsp of red pepper flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Heat oven to 400F

Cut squash in half, length-wise.  Remove seeds and drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add salt and roast the squash cut side down on a baking sheet for 40-50 mins till the squash is fork tender and you can run your fork through the flesh to produce “spaghetti”.

  
 Chop the scallions and set aside the green parts.


Heat 1Tbsp of oil in a skillet, add the garlic and white part of the scallions and saute till pale.

Next add the tomato, broth and the red pepper flakes.

  
 Simmer for 5mins and then add the shrimp.

Shrimp cooks very quickly, so keep an eye on it and the minute they are pink, remove them from the pan. Keep cooking the sauce till desired consistency.  

   Add the shrimp back into the pan, once the sauce is thick and take off heat.
Chop the basil and mix with the green part of the scallions.


Add the herb mixture once the dish in off the heat and stir to combine.  The idea is to keep the greens, looking green and rather raw–tastes really fresh and wonderful !

Spoon shrimp and sauce over spaghetti squash and enjoy !

  

Breakfast, Brunch

Gluten-free Blueberry Corn Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (one 6-ounce cup) vanilla yogurt Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Blueberries (fresh or frozen ones that have been thawed)
  • sugar for sprinkling.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (You can use liners, but I find the muffins can stick to the papers.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal,GF  flour, oatbran, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, beat the eggs, yogurt, milk, honey, and  oil and whisk to combine well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just incorporated. Add the zest and mix again.
  6. I like to use my ice cream scoop to fill the 12 muffin cups easily and without mess.
  7. Add  4-6 berries into each cup.
  8. Sprinkle sugar over each cup.
  9. Then bake 12-15 minutes or until the muffins are just cooked through. As all ovens vary, check a few minutes early; they will cook quickly at the high oven temperature and over-baking will create a dry baked good.   
Breakfast, Brunch

Whole Wheat Mixed Berry Muffin

 

This muffins were created after I finished making the pie recipe (scroll down).  Granted I could just eat my berries with granola and yogurt but since I won’t be home for a few days, I decided to make these muffins and bring these with me for breakfast !

Ingredients:

8oz finely chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint of blueberries
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°.

In a blender, puree strawberries until smooth, you should have 1 1/2 cups when done. If you have more, discard the rest.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, melted butter, vanilla and strawberries. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in remaining berries.

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Pour batter into 12 lined muffin tins and bake at 325° for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy !

 

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Brunch, Quick Dinner

Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Hash

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So I am back to my regular routine of working in the lab.  Which means, I need to start making lunches and dinners ahead of time.  This recipe a healthy take on a classic hash….no potatoes, no oil, no bacon–but packed with flavor ! Here goes !

Ingredients:

1, 16oz bag of frozen chopped spinach

1 jar of roasted red peppers ( choose your own size based on how much peppers your want)

6 eggs

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Sauté spinach, sliced peppers and seasonings till everything has wilted.

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Crack the eggs directly into the pan and transfer then pan to the oven.

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Bake for 10-15mins till the eggs set.  This also based on personal preference.  Some people like their yolks runny and some like them set.  So adjust your back time according.

Serve family style–for brunch, lunch or dinner.  Crusty bread and a light fruit salad would complete the meal !

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Classics, Comfort food, French

Ratatouille

A bowl of stew full of fresh summer veggies ! There really is nothing more to say about this recipe.  I guess if you make your kids watch the cartoon “Ratatouille” and serve them this stew–you might just be able to make them eat their veggies !

Ratatouille adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child.

Ingredients:

½ lb. eggplant

½ lb. zucchini and yellow squash

4 Tb. olive oil, more if needed

½ lb. (about 1 ½ cups) thinly sliced yellow onions

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers (I used red peppers–just because I had them in the fridge)

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes

3 Tb. minced parsley Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chop the eggplant and salt it and let it stand for a 20-30 minutes till all the water drains out.

Meanwhile chop the rest of the vegetables.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and fry the eggplant till soft, and set it aside.

Next heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and saute the squash and the zucchini till tender.

Next, heat the remaining oil and add the garlic, tomatoes, pepper and onions and saute till soft.

Now add back the other vegetables and let them stew together for about 30 mins till all the vegetables fall apart and marry into the stew.

Towards the very end, adjust salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve hot or warm or even at room temperature.  I sometimes add a fried egg on top to add some protein to my meal and make it a little more filling.

I am a huge fan of this recipe and I truly advocate in its power of converting vegetables haters to lovers.  Please try this and I encourage in using fresh vegetables since all the flavor comes from them.  Try it this French classic this weekend !

Salad

Summer Crab Salad

When it is really hot and humid outside nothing is better than a cold salad with fresh seasonal produce.  This is a simple salad, best eaten at room temperature (or cold) and tastes better if it sits in longer in the dressing.  If you are not a crab fan, it can easily be interchanged with shrimp, grilled chicken, lobster meat, scallops or even hard-boiled eggs.

Ingredients:

1 hass Avocado, diced

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

16 oz of chunk or flaked crab meat

1 quarter of a red onion

5 springs of cilantro

1 lime

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste ( I like it spicy so more pepper for me)

Method:

Wash and drain the crab meat and marinade it  with the zest of one lime, garlic powder and cayenne.

Chop the avocado and tomatoes and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, make the dressing by pulsing together the onion, cilantro, juice of 1 lime and the oil.

To assemble the salad, add the dressing to the tomatoes and avocado and finally toss in the crab.

Plate up and enjoy !!!