thesmilinlife

Thoughts of a 20-something


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Bruchetta chicken

There’s been a recipe or two floating around facebook that I’ve been dying to try: bruschetta chicken. I mean bruschetta is one of my favorite things but I’ve never actually made it before…. so I went ahead and tried. While I’d read the recipes, I made this one up as I went, knowing what goes into bruschetta and what to marinade the chicken in. but for reference, here’s one of the recipes I’d read: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2009/04/grilled-bruschetta-chicken.html

 

and below is what I did

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Grilled Chicken Bruschetta

Ingredients
cherry tomatoes (ripe), diced
Garlic olive oil
Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh basil, cut into shreds
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Balsamic Vinegar to taste

First I marinaded the chicken in the balsamic dressing. I left it to marinade all day, flipping a couple times. Mix the tomatoes with the garlic olive oil and the basil. add the salt, pepper and garlic-garlic to taste. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to merry.

Lay out aluminum foil on half the grill and turn on the other side. cook the chicken over medium heat. once cooked through, move to the aluminum foil.

Add the shredded parm cheese to the bruschetta and mix well. Top each chicken breast with the bruschetta mixture. let sit for 5-10 minutes so the tomatoes get a little roasted and the cheese gets softer. Serve drizzled with the balsamic vinegar.

 

OMGOSH this was soo good. it was good cold too! yum. we had it with grilled asparagus and some crackers with the extra bruschetta

 

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My mom and I are the same…

when it comes to some things. For example, we cook the same. Case in point is last night’s dinner. neither of us really wanted to cook nor did we have a solid idea for dinner. so our conversation started: ‘what should we have for dinner? ugh what is there in the house” and at the same time we went to the fridge, grabbed the handle, and looked inside. Upon finding the best pesto in the world (NO LIE I SWEAR IT’S AMAZING: click), we decided to make a shrimp pesto pasta. I grabbed the GF pasta that I had handy (corn spirals yum!), thawed some shrimp and went to town. here’s the final product:

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This was so quick and easy to make. here’s what we did:

Ingredients
Pasta of choice
Pesto of choice
cream or half and half
onion, chopped
pepper(s)chopped [we used a purple pepper and a green pepper]
basil
1 lb peeled, deveined shrimp (optional)

boil pasta according to directions. While that’s boiling, sautee onion and peppers. Cut the shrimp into thirds (to make a pound stretch. this is also optional) when peppers and onion are just about done, add shrimp and cook for a few minutes, just until they’re cooked through. add drained pasta. toss. Add pesto to taste (we like a lot of pesto so we used most of a jar haha). Toss to coat everything and add about 1/4 cup of cream or half and half (this adds a lot of flavor without making it waterd down and added a nice “sauce” to it).

we topped with lightly chopped basil, diced tomatoes and parm cheese.

This was PHENOMENAL. There were no leftovers. The diced tomatoes really added a pop of fresh bright flavor and color. I highly recommend them. And this meal of course. I love that we both can come up with something so delicious that took literally 20 minutes to make. YUM!

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Noms

I really like food.

All food. Good food. I like to eat. It’s a problem that I’ve had my whole life. (except for a short time when I didn’t…. but those are the dark days.)

So I had to get up this morning for job orientation and last night I couldn’t fall asleep. To help myself fall asleep, I micro-plan things… so of course I started to think about todays’ meals.

Breakfast… is my favorite. I love  breakfast food. I just hate having to get up early to make it! So I decided to have this guy:
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GF English muffin with ricotta cheese, tomato and basil. It was DELICIOUS! I added some salt and pepper for some extra flavor. But this was so simple and quick and so good. And it really kept me full! All for around 250 calories

 

So after my morning of orientation, I get home around 12:30 and (of course) am hungry again. After raiding the kitchen, I decided to have a Fluffernutter.

Fluffernutters. I grew up with these amazing, delicious sandwiches, but apparently not everyone did! My boyfriend, for example, has never had one (don’t worry, I will fix that soon)

I mean… they’re amazing. Creamy and sweet, crunchy (cause I like crunchy PB) and SO SIMPLE. I like simple. Short time to get me the noms.
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And when you grill it? it’s even better:

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Melty and gooey and delicious. If you’ve never had a fluffernutter, try them. If you want it extra special, grill it. JAHGWOUIE

 

(side note, Udi’s bread is WONDERFUL!)


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Northern BBQ -v- Southern BBQ

Happy post-Independence Day!! I hope every had a fantastic holiday and few days off. I got to go to the beach this past weekend and enjoy a FANTASTIC meal at a little Tapas place. yummo.

I’m a northern girl living in southern Virginia. The first time I ordered a plate of BBQ I was expecting what I was used to – tomato based, tangy shredded chicken or pork with some cheese on top. Instead I was served some shredded pork with vinegar sauce and coleslaw on top. I was skeptical but after the first bite, I was hooked. Why don’t we all make this deliciousness? Even after I became Gluten-free, I still enjoy a plate of BBQ with a simple fork and knife. YUM. Still, every once in awhile I crave something that reminds me of home. To achieve this, I make up the following plate:

Crinkle cut french fries (Ore Ida), my mom’s super special sweet but spicy pickles, and a big old sandwich of northern BBQ.

Here’s how I make my BBQ:

Ingredients:
Chicken Breasts
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, flavor of your choice
Roasted red pepper flakes
Tastefully Simple’s Onion Onion

First I boil the chicken breasts. To do this, bring a bot of water to boil, add the chicken breasts and boil for like 15 minutes. The timing is not exact, so to make sure it’s cooked through, I check it to make sure it’s not pink. Once it’s cooked through, drain the water and shred the chicken using two forks. I like to make sure it’s pretty well shredded (no big pieces left over), so I go to town on those chicken breasts.

Once the chicken is well shredded, add your Onion Onion. I use about 1 Tbsp per two chicken breasts. Stir well, then add hot pepper flakes to taste. Once everything’s well mixed, put enough BBQ sauce in the chicken mixture to cover the chicken. I like it to have quite a bit of BBQ sauce so I add probably more than normal people would. Then I check the flavor and season (salt, pepper, onion powder, etc) to taste.

I love this stuff. I could eat it all the time. Lately, I’ve been loving these rolls:

They’re fantastic! Not greatly wallet friendly but so yummy.

I toast up the rolls, pile on some meat, top with swiss cheese (or pepperjack, I just didn’t have any) and eat up! YUM

Just a little note: making the chicken and shredding it can be done in other ways. I really like boiling it. It keeps the meat moist and makes it really easy to shred. If you have time, you can make the chicken in the crock pot (put chicken breasts in, cover with broth and leave on medium for 8 hours. drain, shred), bake it, grill it, etc.

And just to end on a smile:

Moose says happy summer. 😀


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oh my crab cakes…

I LOVE SEAFOOD

just putting it out there. Life would be bland and boring without seafood and it makes me happy. I once went an entire day having seafood for every meal. Breakfast was a crab omelet, lunch was shrimp and dinner was fish. I was the happiest girl alive. And one of the best things about seafood is crab cakes.

Whoever invented the crab cake is amazing. I want to go back in time and thank them personally. shake their hand and split a delicious crab cake with them. YUM. So here’s a version (gluten-free) that a friend shared with me. I made a few tweaks and added some things, and here’s my version.

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please excuse the messy paper plate – I’m in the process of moving!

Ingredients:
1 can lump crab meat
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic
dash each salt, pepper, hot sauce
zest from 1/2 lime
3 tbsp scallions or green onions

Drain crab meat and pat dry. In a bowl, whisk all other ingredients together. Fold in crab meat. Using hands, cut in half and form two patties. (Do one at a time so you don’t dirty another dish)

In a pre-heated pan with a tablespoon of oil in it on medium-high, place one of the patties. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Take out and do the other one. enjoy! YUM!!!

I love love love this. it’s not bready. It’s not heavy. It’s kind of omelettey but not eggy so it’s not. ahhhh I love it. And as an accompaniment (gotta get veggies) I made my super easy roasted broccoli:

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also delicious. The only ingredients are broccoli, salt, pepper and evoo. Cut broccoli into spears. Arrange in a single layer on a baking pan lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, until a fork inserted in the stem part goes in fairly easily. serve immediately. It’s delicious as is, but I top mine with Parmesan shreds. MMMMM

The broccoli is crispy but tender and sooo delicious. Made a great side to the crab cakes. This lunch makes me smile. 😀

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Easiest Buffalo Chicken Pizza Ever & a Delicious Hard Cider

I love pizza. seriously… it’s ridiculous how much I love pizza. It’s so convenient and easy and carb-y goodness. And nothing goes better with pizza than an ice cold beer.

Then tragedy strikes and I’m gluten free! So pizza is no longer as easy as calling Pizza Hut and ordering delivery. Beer is no longer as easy as going to the local store and grabbing a 6-pack. It actually takes some forethought.

So cue last night when I’m STARVING, craving pizza and beer (hello it’s like 9 million degrees outside of course I want an ice cold beer) and don’t want to leave the house. Luckily, I had picked up a few of these the day before:

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OH WOW! They’re so good and gluten-free! I am not a huge fan of hard cider… Most of them I find too heavy and sweet, not light and refreshing. This is exactly the opposite. With only 120 calories per bottle and a light refreshing flavor that’s not too sweet or heavy, I could have a couple of these and not feel so full. DELICIOUS summer drink for those of us who can’t enjoy a Corona.

Then I had to tackle what to eat. After opening my cabinets and freezer, I found a GF pizza crust and decided to throw this baby together:

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Easiest pizza ever, and very good!

Ingredients:
Pizza crust of choice (shown is Udi’s personal pan GF pizza crust)
1 can chicken breast meat
Franks Red Hot
Bleu Cheese
marinara sauce
mozzarella cheese

Before assembling pizza, drain the chicken meat and pat dry. In a bowl, coat with Frank’s Hot Sauce to taste. I then popped it into the toaster oven on broil, to soak up some of the moisture. I don’t like soggy meat!

Prepare dough as instructed. Once dough is done, Top with marinara sauce and cheese. When chicken meat is a little drier, put on top. Put pizza in oven until cheese is melted. Take out and crumble Bleu Cheese on top. That’s it!

I use ranch dressing to dip my pizza in because… I like a lot of spicy and it was overpowering at some points. yumyum.

and on another note: I started packing and moving today and I’ve been super stressed out. I stress badly, as in panic attacks… I found this in an old purse:

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So true, and so needed on a day like today! ❤


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The Best Summer-time Salad

There was a cute restaurant near my family called Noodles and CO. that my aunt and I would frequent. I always got the Thai peanut noodles with chicken and she always got a dumplings and a salad. She would rotate between a few different salads and one day decided to try a new one, the Spinach Pear salad.

It quickly became her go to salad and it wasn’t very difficult to duplicate (as in ridiculously easy). The flavors go together SO well, so I’m sharing this delicious salad with you. It’s so worth making and is fantastic for hot summer days (like it has been recently)

One taste and you’ll be hooked.

It’s basic and delicious. mmm

Ingredients: Baby Spinach
Pear (ripe)
walnuts
Bleu Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar reduction*

Before you start setting up the salad, you want to toast your walnuts. It’s a very small thing to do that really adds to the taste. I just put some tin foil on a toaster pan, crumble walnuts onto the foil and toast them in my toaster oven. You can do it in a regular oven as well. Note that this isn’t a necessary thing to do but it makes the walnuts extra crunchy and oh so delicious.

To put the salad together, set up your bed of spinach and top with sliced (or diced) pears. Crumble Bleu cheese on top. Top with crushed and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

*to make the balsamic vinegar reduction, slowly heat balsamic vinegar on the stove until it has reduced by half. You need to do this slow, because it can burn very easily. So worth doing though. I have also used Balsamic Condimenti like this one, which is basically already reduced balsamic vinegar (but it’s expensive. I would never have it if my aunt didn’t buy it for me regularly haha.)

 

That’s it! I was surprised that even T liked this (I made it for him last night to go with our pizzas!) Such a great side and so easy to throw together.

Tonight I need to use up the rest of that bleu cheese. Any suggestions?