Going Green…

When the hunny is away, the wife will…

Eat salad!

My hunny doesn’t like veggies. Not one little bit. There are a couple that I can get him to eat. Corn, if it’s on the cob, broccoli if it’s only a couple ”trees,” sweet potatoes, if they are fries. Salad, but only when doused in ranch or it’s a caesar with no cheese and minimal croutouns. Just a salad for dinner? No meat or only a small amount of chicken? For-get-about-it. And of course, he has the metabolism of a 12-year-old, so he can get away with it. Sometimes I hate that fact.

So since he’s off doing what he does, I can have a salad for dinner. I’m trying to watch what I eat and not just be on a “see-food” diet, so salad is a good thing. What’s I’ve found though, is that a lot of people who try diets hate salad. But they have this crazy idea in their head that salad is some lettuce and some dressing. And that it’s boring and tasteless and miserable to eat. But one of my favorite things is that you can mix salad with anything. Whatever kind of great flavors you like, it can go in a salad. It doesn’t just have to be tomatoes and croutons.

My salad tonight was a smorgasbord of yummy goodness. I actually made too much, and I’m hoping it will keep in my fridge for a couple days so I can enjoy it again. My salad started out with a mix of romaine lettuce and iceberg lettuce. I like crunchy leaves, but a lot of people like the spicy crispness of arugula. Then some tomatoes went in, followed by dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, bleu cheese, carrots, pecans, and some crumbled bacon. Though not very good all by it’s lonesome, one or two slices of crispy bacon crumbled into a salad adds a nice saltiness and crunch. Everything in moderation people.

So then my salad was topped by avocado (yes, a whole one; I like the green stuff), and grilled (on my George Foreman Grill) chicken breast that was spiced with garlic and some red pepper and black pepper and onion spices. Finally, I took some of the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt, black pepper, and oregano, mixed it with olive oil, and tossed the salad in a bag so that it was evenly coated. Served with a little bitty biscuit, and I’m a happy girl.

The moral of the story is that a salad doesn’t have to be boring. Mine was bright and vibrant and crunchy and delicious. If you like the flavor of something solo, there is a good chance it could be incorporated into a salad somehow. Ask me, I’ll tell you how.

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Jack Daniels Chocolate Pecan Pie

Dessert again!

Now, I’ve never made a pecan pie. Lemon Meringue, sure, but not Pecan. That was all mom’s job for Christmas. But this. This was an irresistible challenge from one of the Roomie’s cookbooks.

It’s super easy too. Pie crust, eggs, sugar, Jack Daniels, butter, pecans and chocolate.  The only thing that I even had to pick up was the pie crust!

Now, I know there are a lot of people who don’t like the taste of whiskey. No worries. All this tastes like is a tart pecan pie. There’s that little bit of “burn” that comes from the whiskey, but of course, you’re not going to get drunk off my pie.

Happy eating 🙂

Pork and Greens

So I managed to get away with not working a double tonight…which meant I could finally cook in my kitchen again! For the first time in probably almost two weeks. It was a good feeling. I knew the roomie was going to the store, so I had her pick up a couple things and pull out the pork chops before I got home. And life was good.

So the menu tonight was garlic balsamic pork chops and a mixed greens salad. I took a little help from the store by using a bottled marinade, but oh my goodness was it tasty (thanks mom!). And the pork wasn’t overcooked, it was just perfect and juicy. I wish that there was some way to capture and upload a smell…because this apartment smelled amazing.

For the salad, I made up some candied pecans – from scratch! I actually picked the brain of the head chef at work to figure out how to do it. But then, go figure, I forgot to actually put them on the salad. That’s what I get for not pulling them out of the fridge with the rest of the ingredients. But the salad was a mix of fresh baby spinach, freshly chopped romaine – not that bagged stuff, this was so much more crisp and pretty – celery, sliced apples, dried cherries, feta cheese, and Parmesan. Topped lightly with Italian dressing. The chefs at work make a really tasty apple cider vinaigrette to go over ours…but I wasn’t in the mood to attempt that.

While I was making the pecans, I also decided to make some granola to go with my yogurt in the mornings. That was so stinking simple! I added in some coconut with some walnuts and oats. I think when I actually put it on my yogurt, I’ll probably throw in some fresh fruit too. Some of those dried cherries would probably be pretty tasty.

Find the recipes here.

Pecan-Crusted Cajun Chicken

So I posted on Facebook that I wanted to cook but didn’t know what to cook. This idea came from a very good friend of mine in response.
I basically used small chicken breasts, coated them in an egg wash, then a seasoned flour mixture, and then in to chopped up pecans. I took a shake and bake technique by putting the pecans in a bag. The seasoning that I used for the flour is a mix of salt and pepper, cayenne, basil, oregano, paprika and just a bit of garlic powder.
On the side, I made a garlic oil with some crushed garlic cloves and then sauteed asparagus in that oil. It didn’t change the flavor drastically like I expected, but it did give it just enough of a different taste to make it uber tasty.
For dessert, I made mini-muffin sized brownies. The recipe called for using Hershey’s cocoa powder, but I didn’t have any of that, so I used hot cocoa mix instead. I think it made them taste really good, but it also affected their cook time. It took almost triple the cook time! And of course, because we all know that I can’t just keep a recipe as-is, I added white chocolate chips as well. When I served it up, I made it a la mode, and I put some sliced strawberries on top.

pecan chicken

The pecan chicken and aspargus. I thought adding some more of the flour mixture would make it crunchier, but it didn't do anything.