Microwave Cornbread

This recipe was an exciting discovery for me, as most microwave recipes are.

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My cravings for chili, soup, and all things warm and hearty are still in full-swing, and cornbread is the perfect side for my favorite winter dishes. My conflict with every recipe, especially the baked ones, is what to do with the extra servings? Besides the obvious solution of eating enough food for 4 people in one sitting. For cornbread, that crisis has been averted. 

This recipe made me 2 adorable mini cornbreads, and they tasted incredibly good! I may have covered these little guys with absurd amounts of butter and drizzled honey but let me tell you it was worth it. 

Microwave Cornbread (from Allie’s Life)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 teaspoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

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The uncooked batter…just 60 seconds in the microwave away from cornbread satisfaction

1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until foamy and then add the milk, oil, and honey.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Use cooking spray to grease a microwavable bowl, a coffee mug, or two ramekins and pour the cornbread mixture into it.
3. Cover with a paper towel and microwave on high for about 2 minutes, depending on how “done” you like your cornbread to be. (I like mine slightly doughy so I only microwave it for about 1 minute!)

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The perfect final product: quick to make and tasty too!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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The original idea for this recipe comes from my best friend from elementary school, Lauren.

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When we were younger, we used to eat bowls upon bowls of this delicious soup. Then I moved to New York, I knew I had to get the recipe from her. Today I decided I was finally going to make it, so I braved the cold to go to the grocery store and buy supplies. Of course, I would come back with all the supplies and be SO excited that I would make enough soup to feed a small army. But no matter; I can still eat multiple bowls of tortilla soup in one sitting, and I froze half of it to enjoy at a later date.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup (makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (2-3 cooked chicken breasts, or one rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 package of Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 can Pinto Beans
  • 1 can Hominy (I used Goya brand)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt)
  • Cheese (I recommend a Cheddar/Monterey Jack mix)
  • Cilantro
  • Lime

Directions:

1. Cook chicken on a skillet, set aside (if you have a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, skip that step and simply pull the chicken meat off the bone and set aside)

2. In a large pot, sauteé onion on olive oil for a few minutes. Add in celery and carrots and stir. Add in beans, hominy, and tomatoes. Next, pour in chicken broth and taco seasoning and chicken and mix. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Ladle a serving of soup into a bowl. Top with tortilla chips, avocado slices, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro and lime if you would like. Enjoy!

Fresh Chopped Avocado Salad

This salad definitely goes into the healthy category.

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Full of fresh vegetables, protein-packed legumes, and the healthy fats of avocado, this chopped salad is everything I need to feel good about my eating habits. It tastes great over some mixed greens, cooked quinoa, or completely on its own! The zesty lime flavor keeps it fresh, and you avoid the fat-laden salad dressings being sold on the market today. Plus, there’s avocado and that alone is enough to make it perfect in my book!

Fresh Chopped Salad

Ingredients:IMG_2602

  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups chopped jicama
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the ingredients, and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Mix with a spoon and serve!

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

There must be something wrong with me: not even illness can keep me out of the kitchen.

It seems that everyone around me has been falling ill: flu, colds, coughs and sniffles abound. It’s Kleenex and hand sanitizer season, that’s for sure. I had commended myself last week for staying reasonably healthy.

I spoke too soon. Wednesday towards the end of the work, I spontaneously started blushing red and got the chills. Something just did not feel right, and by the time I finally left work I just wanted some soup and my bed. Then, as I was walking up my apartment stairs, the weirdest craving hit me: I was dying for a giant, soft pretzel.

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Now, I am not one of those people that lose their appetite upon getting sick. And in an effort to appease my aching and unhappy body I do not suppress any cravings.

I stepped into my kitchen and did an inventory check: flour? yes. yeast? yes. As long as the basics were there I knew I was in business. I decided to use whole wheat flour because I love the satisfying flavor and texture. Plus it’s healthy and gives me my whole grain fix.

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These adorable pretzels were made in 30 minutes. Perfect for a craving, and perfect for me. I even feel significantly better today! I’m going to say it’s all because of the pretzels.

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels (adapted from Life {Made} Simple)

IngredientsIMG_2590
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
¾ c. warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
¼ tsp. salt
Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten- combined with…
1 tbsp. melted butter (barely warm)
Topping:
1 tbsp. coarse sea salt OR 2 tbsp. sugar combined with 1 tsp. cinnamon, to sprinkle on top
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, line one baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Next, pour the warm water into a bowl (I heated water in a kettle until it was almost boiling and then let it sit for a couple minutes). Add in the yeast and allow to dissolve for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the sugar and mix for 15 seconds. While mixing slowly with a fork, add salt, then flour a half cup at a time. When all of the flour is gone, take the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 4 minutes. By the end of your arm workout the dough should feel smooth and elastic.
Now, here’s the fun part. Divide dough into 4-6 equal size pieces. Roll each ball into a long rope Take the ends of the “rope” and bring together to form a circle. Twist the ends together once and bring down to the bottom of the circle. Press ends into the dough so that they will stick. Place pretzels onto baking sheets.

Next, coat each pretzel with egg/butter wash. Sprinkle with salt (or cinnamon sugar-both are delicious). Place sheet of pretzels into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. After baking, allow the pretzels to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

I have really been trying to eat less sugar this year. That is my New Year’s Resolution (I realize it’s mid-January, but this will make more sense in a second!).

The reason I have been trying to not eat added sugars is because I used up the sugar supply in my apartment. All four pounds of it. Eeeek! Four pounds in 4 months?! Needless to say, I was appalled at the amount of sugar I had gone through. Granted I was baking for other people also but still. Four pounds?! OK, I am done trying to understand where it all went, let me get back to the recipe.

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I have been hesitant to bake because I know I would use sugar (my sweet tooth demands it). But I could not resist. Luckily, these cookies were a great introduction back into baking. Yes I used sugar, but I used less sugar. So I win.

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I hope you enjoy these not overly sweet, chocolate fudge cookies. This recipe makes only a dozen too, so don’t feel bad about eating the whole batch in one day.

Chocolate Fudge Cookies (Adapted from Dessert for Two, Yield: 1 dozen.)
Ingredients
  • 3.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softenedIMG_2563
  • 2 tablespoons apple butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream*
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, shortening and sugar. Beat for 1 full minute, until light and fluffy. Next, add the egg, sour cream (or extra butter) and vanilla and beat until combined. In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Pour this mixture over the wet ingredients and beat until just combined–try not to overmix! Stir in the chocolate chips gently. Scoop 2 teaspoons of the dough into your hand and roll into balls. The cookies do not spread, so make ‘em pretty! Bake for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy fresh out of the oven with a cold glass of milk.
*You can substitute an extra tablespoon of butter for the sour cream.

Baked Brie Appetizer

With every family gathering of mine there’s a mind-boggling amount of food (and eating–let’s not be ridiculous we don’t just let it sit there looking pretty). And when my mom and I get going in the kitchen there is just no stopping us. We love cooking and we love entertaining. I like to believe I have inherited her abilities, but I think I am still a master chef in-training. Today’s lesson: the baked Brie appetizer.

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If you like melted cheese and pastry dough and super easy recipes, well then look no further. This recipe was made for you! The steps of this recipe are basic, the dish is quick to prepare, and you get to be super creative about what you want to put on top!

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My mom and I made this last weekend while I was visiting home. Because we wanted to try multiple different kinds of toppings for our baked Brie, we divided the wheel in half. One half was covered in a sweet and sour slaw and roasted almonds.

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Sweet and spicy chutney with minced red bell peppers and roasted sliced almonds: just one of the many ways to top a baked brie!

The other half we covered with mango chutney and roasted almonds. Please, try to resist drooling on your keyboards.

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These appetizers were so well-received my family essentially resorted to eating slices of this cheesy goodness, skipping the cheese and cracker combo all together!

Ingredients

  • Brie cheese
  • Refrigerated pastry dough
  • Spray on olive oil
  • Toppings of choice (various jams, chutneys, pesto, roasted nuts…this is where your creativity comes in!)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pastry dough and place the brie cheese on the layers. Wrap the pastry dough one layer at a time, spraying olive oil lightly in-between each layer. Top the last layer with olive oil and pop into the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on your Brie as it is baking, over temperatures can vary and the pastry dough cooks fast! Once the pastry dough is golden brown, take your Brie out of the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Add your favorite toppings to your baked Brie and enjoy!

Smoky Avocado Dip

I am about to share with you a coveted family recipe. A “secret ingredient” sort of recipe. You might not know this, but I am obsessed with avocados. They are just so good! And good for you. You should try this recipe for that reason alone if the whole “exposing a secret” thing isn’t enough for you.

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Our family’s lucky Buddha, dressed up and ready for the game.

I went home for the weekend and lucky for me the whole family got together. My extended family is pretty close, and we all had that chance to catch up (which was really fun) and cheer for the SF Niners in the playoffs (they won convincingly).

With any family gathering comes an abundance of food and our favorite new addition to the family feast: smoky avocado dip. My mom created this recipe a couple of years ago to reinvent guacamole, and ever since she has not been able to host a family event without receiving a request to make Smoky Avocado Dip.

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The secret ingredient: Liquid Smoke. This Tabasco-sized bottle of goodness delivers maximum smoky flavor in just a few drops. And it takes your basic dip to a whole different level. Look for it in your local grocery store.

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Now that it’s NFL Playoff season, I hope when you are planning your Super Bowl menus you think to try this recipe. It’s fresh, it’s festive, and it’s smoky.

 Smoky Avocado Dip

Ingredients

  • 5 firm avocados, cubed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 small or ½ medium-sized red onion
  • Drops of Liquid Smoke, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ½ lemon and ½ lime

Directions:

After prepping all of the ingredients, it’s as easy as adding them all to a bowl, squeezing in some lemon and lime juice, and mixing carefully until the ingredients are just incorporated. You do not want to over-mix because then the avocado will start to get too mushy. Also, when adding the Liquid Smoke, add a little bit at a time because the flavor is very strong and you don’t want to spoil a delicious bowl of fresh avocados with too much smoke. Then again, you can always add more avocados.