Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breakfast Burrito

Yesterday morning, I woke up an hour and a half before I needed to leave for work, meaning I had almost an extra hour of time to get ready. I considered going back to bed, but then I had a vision. A melty, spicy, cheesy vision that needed to come to life. That vision, my friends, was to recreate this guilty pleasure and Saturday morning hangover cure: the breakfast burrito.

I visit an amazing little sandwich shop at least once every weekend so my friends can get their weekly burrito fix. I'm usually more of a bagel, egg and cheese girl, but since I had all the ingredients in my fridge already I just couldn't resist the urge to make my own. Other artery-clogging ingredients can be added to a breakfast burrito, including bacon, avocado, or sausage. The egg and potato alone were enough to fill me up well past my regular lunch hour, but the size of this beast didn't stop me from devouring it in under five minutes.

Try to eat it slowly. I dare you.

Breakfast Burrito
Serves: 1  Total Time: 30 minutes

2 large eggs
2 tbs milk
1 red potato
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
3-4 tbs of salsa, to taste
1/2 garlic clove, minced
Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper

Cut potato into very small cubes. Saute in olive oil on a large skillet until soft; season with garlic, salt and pepper. Add Tabasco sauce right before serving.
While the potato is cooking, whisk eggs with milk and scramble in a medium pan. When the eggs are done, place them in a long strip across the center of your whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over the eggs, and top with potato.
Roll your tortilla tightly into a burrito. Serve with salsa.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baked Flounder in a Lemon Butter Sauce

I marched off to the store yesterday with the intent to purchase two hardy tuna steaks for a pan seared tuna dinner. One look at the price and I quickly changed my mind. Next to the tuna steaks, however, were these modest, glistening flounder fillets. I saw the $7.99 per lb price tag and thought, These will do!

Now, I've never been a big fish eater but people are always raving about the health benefits so I'm giving it a shot. I was afraid cooking fish would make my whole apartment stink, but it barely had an odor at all and it was the easiest dish to make! Serve with a side of baked potato slices and steamed vegetables and you've got yourself a guilt-free, satisfying meal.

Baked Flounder in a Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves: 2  Prep: 5 minutes  Total: 30 minutes

2 flounder fillets
1 tbs butter
1 tbs lemon juice
1 small garlic clove

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and lay down flounder fillets. In a small bowl, melt the butter and add lemon juice and garlic, mixing well. Pour over fillets and bake at 325 for approximately 25 minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Every time a birthday rolls around in my family and the birthday boy or girl is asked what they want for their birthday dinner, they always ask for carrot cake. My mother has been making the same carrot cake for birthday dinners since I was born. This cake goes down as her signature recipe, and I will defend it to the grave as the best carrot cake I have ever had. For years I refused to try it ("Carrots in a cake?" my skeptical 8-year-old self thought) but this recipe turned a carrot cake hater into a fanatic.

I decided to transform this family favorite into cupcakes. The original recipe has a homemade cream cheese frosting with pecans and coconut, but much against my belief that all sweets should be 100% homemade, I cheaped out and bought the $3 can of Betty Crocker frosting. Still, the end result was as phenominal as always. The secret is in cake; one bite of this moist, decadent treat and you won't look at carrot cake the same way again.

Enjoy! :)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Makes: 24 cupcakes  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 35 minutes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups grated raw carrots
1 can Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting

Sift all dry ingredients. Add oil and vanilla and mix well.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Grate carrots in food processor, add and mix well. Pour into greased cupcake tins.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken and Squash Quesadilla with Mango Salsa

When I hear "quesadilla", these are the words that come to mind: grease, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and more grease. Also, consequent stomach pains and caloric regret. I decided to try my own hand at a healthy quesadilla, using whatever I had in my fridge. The result?  A chicken and butternut squash quesadilla with a tangy mango salsa. The mango salsa is absolutely the standout in this dish; prepared only an hour before serving, it was a refreshingly light alternative to store-bought tomato salsa, but with the same spicy kick. Save the leftovers and serve over rice as a meal, or eat as a snack with tortilla chips the next day.

Mango Salsa
Serves: 6  Prep: 15 Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

1 mango
1 red pepper
1 jalapeno
1/2 red onion
1/3 cup cilantro
1 lime
Tabasco sauce

Chop mango, red pepper, red onion and cilantro and combine in a medium bowl. Cut jalapeno in half and dice; add to mixture.
Squeeze lime into a small bowl. Add 10 drops of Tabasco sauce. Whisk and pour over mixture. Toss well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve immediately.

Chicken and Squash Quesadilla
Serves: 2  Prep: 20  Total: 30
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup butternut squash, pre-cubed
Salt and pepper

Turn oven to broiler setting. Spray a light coat of olive oil on a baking sheet and lay down chicken breasts. Cook directly under broiler until no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes. Slightly cool and cut chicken into long strips; set aside.
Slice squash cubes into strips. Cook in olive oil on a large skillet until soft. Add chicken strips to skillet to reheat. Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper and toss. Remove from heat.
Set oven to 350. Lay two tortillas flat on a baking sheet. Cover tortillas evenly with chicken and squash mixture. Add several spoonfuls of mango salsa, then sprinkle with cheese. Add top tortilla on each and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese is fully melted.
Cut into fourths and serve with mango salsa on the side.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Caprese Pasta Salad

I originally made this recipe on a lazy day last summer. My friends and I were sitting by the pool craving a cool pasta salad. The original recipe was made with feta, but I decided to try fresh mozzarella balls and I'm happy I did. This meal takes 15 minutes to prep and is great served fresh, or cold the next day. Whether you're in the mood for a steamy hot pasta dish, or a cold side at a barbecue, this is the perfect recipe!

Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves: 6  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 15 minutes

1 pound whole wheat pasta
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped
1 cup basil, chopped
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs vinegar
    Boil water in a pot and cook pasta until al dente. Add tomatoes, mozzarella and basil to the pasta and mix well. Pour oil and vinegar over and toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve cold.

      Interim Eats

      This whole blogging thing is still relatively new to me, and this year so far I have obviously not done a good job of documenting my cooking. This is due to a new job, dead camera with mysterious missing charger, lack of money to buy ingredients, and a whole list of other excuses I'm sure I could think up.

      Regardless, I am determined to get back on track. I want to prove to myself that cooking good food on a tight budget is possible. And believe me... no one has a tighter budget than a college student, especially when it comes to food. (Easy Mac, anyone?) While I gear up for this blogging revival, here is a photo gallery of just a few dishes I happened to document while on hiatus. Enjoy!

      Twice Baked Potatoes - Yum! One of the holiday staples in my family. Simply bake the potatoes, remove filling and blend with milk, butter, cheddar cheese and horseradish. Sprinkle with cheese and chives, throw them in the oven and voila! Let's be honest, how can you go wrong with cheese and potato?

      Homemade Pesto Linguine - This was my first attempt at real homemade pasta. For some insane reason, I decided that on New Years Eve I would make two pounds of fresh pasta for my best girl friends at our annual New Years party. I gotta say, five hours in the kitchen and racing to slip into my New Years dress was TOTALLY worth it. It took some trial and error but I will absolutely be making this again. Some photos of the process...
      Making the dough was one of the easier parts of this adventure. It was all about finding the right balance between egg, flour, water and olive oil.

      Flattening the dough into paper-thin sheet turned out to be way harder than I expected. About one hour in I found my groove, which made the rest of the process a lot faster.
      Pressing the sheet into linguine noodles.
      Drying the noodles on a pasta drying rack.
      Pesto, pre-blend.
      The finished product in action! And the perfect way to ring in the new year.

      Valentine's Day Dinner - My boyfriend Dylan and I both love to cook, so we decided to stay in this Valentine's Day and make a gourmet meal of our own: filet mignon, slow roasted plum tomatoes and creamy spinach. This took maybe 40 minutes tops, with no hassle and plenty of time to enjoy our Bordeaux and delicious spread of cheeses. It was the perfect evening - we almost forgot we were in a dorm!
      The set-up.
      The meal.
      To this day I still think this is the best, juiciest filet mignon I have ever tasted. (I left Dylan with this treacherous task, and he did better than I ever could. Thanks, love!)
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