Quinoa “Mac” & Cheese

I know. It’s January, which means all of us are still trying to eat healthier for the new year. Am I right? We are supposed to be eating yummy salads all the time and feeling super fantastic about it. BUT let’s be realistic. I’m not eating salads left & right and baby girl sure would be mad if I just tried to feed her nothing but salad all day long.  Yes, we all love some good salads and veggies. But we all need a little indulgence!  So, instead, I’ve been trying to lighten up some comfort food and classics.  That’s where this Quinoa “Mac” & Cheese comes in.  Super indulgent with that yummy, creamy cheese sauce. But just a little less guilt-inducing using quinoa and throwing in some chopped veggies. I know, you’re saying to yourself “There’s cheese in that recipe!”  “There’s butter!” You’re right. There’s all of that. But everything in moderation, right?  It really is a win-win!

Sure – maybe it doesn’t taste exactly like macaroni & cheese. But I can guarantee you this. It’s still yummy, the whole family will still love it, it’s filling, and it won’t make you feel like you’ve broken those New Year’s resolutions just yet!

Ready to get started? Let’s do it.

What You’ll Need:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cup Whole milk

A large pinch or two of nutmeg

A large pinch of salt

8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked quinoa – we cooked our quinoa in chicken broth for a little extra flavor)

1 cup of shredded & diced up carrots **

1 – 1 1/2 cups of diced broccoli **

FOR THE TOPPING:

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

4 Tablespoons of butter, melted

3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

What You’ll Do:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a saucepan add 3 tablespoons of butter and melt it down over medium heat.  Add the flour.  Whisk continuously until a paste forms.

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Whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil whisking the whole time. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and cheddar cheese. When sauce is smooth remove from heat.  Throw in your veggies and quinoa into the cheese sauce.

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Transfer the mixture to a baking dish.  We used an 8×8 baking dish.  If you have a smaller cast iron skillet, I’d throw it in there.  Since we have a larger cast iron, we didn’t want the mixture to turn out too thin in the skillet, so I would only throw in our Quinoa mac & cheese into our cast iron skillet if I 1.5x or 2x this recipe.  In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, Panko breadcrumbs, and Parmesan.  Sprinkle over the casserole and pop in the oven for about 20-25 minutes (until it’s bubbly).

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** ALTERNATIVES **

You could easily substitute in your favorite veggie in this dish – a few bunches of spinach? Kale? Mushrooms? Go veggie crazy! Add in those nutrients you crazy animal!

No matter what veggies you use, no matter if you use a cast iron skillet or casserole dish, no matter if you use the more common white quinoa or less common black quinoa – I assure you this is a comfort dish you can feel less guilty about.  Healthy comfort food that Tastes Oh-So-Good.

~ M ~

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Quesadizzas?

Ok, I cannot take credit for that awesome name.  I was just making quick weeknight pizzas on tortillas.  Boringly, I just called them…ready? Pizzas on tortillas. I know, I’m brilliant.  But I just showed some pictures of Olivia eating these wondrous pizzas and a friend said they had teased a coworker for doing the same thing…and they called it his Quesadizzas.  So, that’s what we’ll call it.  I suppose we could say Pizzatillas or Pizzadillas? Hmm? I’ll have to ponder that. If you have a preference, comment and let me know this crazily important life decision.

This is one of those dinners that you can whip up in no time flat, especially if you’ve made the sauce in advance like we did. We just keep our pizza sauce in the refrigerator for when we need it.  No pizza dough? No problem!  We have some tortillas here so we are making little pizzas for our meal.  Some bonuses about making dinner this way?  It’s quick, like I mentioned. It’s portion control built-in. Everyone gets their own mini-pizza. And the biggest bonus? We always have some sort of vegetable on hand, so we simply pureed it into our sauce so now our pizza sauce always has some added veggie nutrients.

[Tangent: So, before I had kids I thought books like Deceptively Delicious were genius.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are some great recipes in there. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a great cookbook nowadays. But now that I have Olivia, I realize that I don’t want to always have to ‘sneak’ vegetables into all of Olivia’s food.  I want her to know how awesome and delicious vegetables and other healthy goods can be.  Although I incorporate veggies into this sauce, I simply always remind everyone that there’s tons of yummy greens in the sauce, as well.]

We simply topped our tortillas with our veggie pizza sauce and some mozzarella and whatever toppings we were in the mood for. In no time flat, some delicious pizzas.  We love this recipe for those days you need to whip up something nutritious with little time free.

PIZZA SAUCE

What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced (Do I have to tell you that we throw in way more than this? But if you’re garlic shy, 4 cloves works just fine)

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (or make your own tomato sauce: 3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water = 2 cups of tomato sauce)

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon fennel seed

What You’ll Do:

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the butter (by the way, best smell ever, am I right? Onions and/or garlic sauteeing in butter? Heaven!) and saute until everything is soft and translucent.  Then, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir everything until it is smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a simmer.  At this point, technically, it is done.  But I like the flavors to develop a bit more, so if you have the time, I would really recommend simmering the pizza sauce for at least 30-60 minutes, depending on how much time you have and how developed you like your flavors.  And there you have it. Pizza sauce.

At this point, you could add in some cooked up vegetables and throw it all in the Vitamix/blender to add in some extra veggies. We had some broccoli & cauliflower, so that’s what we added to our pizza sauce.  It made it look unappetizingly green-ish red, but it tasted delicious!

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QUESADIZZA (TJ just informed me he thinks he likes Pizzadilla better. We will hash out all of our options later)

What You’ll Need:

Your Pizza Sauce, all Vegetabled up or not

Flour Tortillas

Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Toppings of your choice

What You’ll Do:

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spoon some of your pizza sauce onto your tortillas.  Top it off with the shredded mozzarella and toppings of your choice. Pop in the oven and in about 5-10 minutes (depending on what you topped your pizza with, how ooey gooey you want your cheese, etc.), you’ll have your Pizzadilla/Quesadizza.

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Quick, Easy, Nutritious, Fun to Say, and, most importantly, Tastes Oh-So-Good.

~ M ~

Creamy Tomato + Spinach Pasta

Ahh…family dinner time.  What a wonderful concept, right? A gathering of your most loved ones around the table eating a healthy, delicious meal with fuzzily loving conversations going on.  This happens every night in your home, right?! Sure, in theory, this is wonderful. But what I’ve learned as a new mom is that getting together a family dinner that is nutritious, delicious, easy/fast, and affordable is…well…it’s not always so feasible. Or, at least, I don’t always have the energy for it.  I’d love to think I could be that mom who could whip up together an amazing meal my family fawns over every night, but I’m not.  When I’ve had a particularly rough day, sometimes the food bar at Whole Foods will just have to do (hey, at least it isn’t fast food, right?!).  However, there are those few tricks up my sleeve that I can pull out on those days I have the energy to pull together such a meal.  Pasta is always a safe bet in most households.  You probably have all the ingredients you need in your pantry at any given time to make this quick pasta dish.

Delicious? ✓

Nutritious? ✓

Fast & Easy? ✓

Affordable? ✓ (In fact, I priced out this dish, and it comes out to roughly $0.90/serving!)

Did those check marks pique your interest?  If so, then let’s get started, shall we?

What You’ll Need:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced (minimum 4 cloves! Throw in more, like we did, if you love garlic!)

1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 Teaspoon dried basil

Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Fresh cracked black pepper

Pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2 ounces Mascarpone cheese **

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 pound of Penne Pasta

A big bunch of fresh spinach (about 9 ounces or so)

What You’ll Do:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the penne and cook until tender (or according to your package directions).  Drain the pasta.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the diced onion and minced garlic until translucent – about 5 minutes.

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Add the diced tomatoes, with the juices, oregano, basil, red pepper, salt, and black pepper to the skillet.  Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water. Stir until the tomato paste is dissolved.

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Add the mascarpone cheese to the skillet.  Turn your heat down to a medium-low.  To help this go a bit faster, you can use a whisk to stir the sauce until the mascarpone has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy.  Add half of your Parmesan to the skillet and whisk again until it is melted.  Add the rest of the cheese in and whisk again.  Add the fresh spinach and gently stir until the spinach has wilted. Don’t forget it will look like a LOT of spinach at first, but spinach wilts down considerably!

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Add the pasta and stir until everything is well coated in the sauce.  Salt & pepper as needed.

**VARIATIONS**

If for some reason you don’t like mascarpone cheese (huh?!) or simply can’t find it, you can substitute cream cheese, which is a bit denser and creamier.

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Tonight, we served up our dish with a hearty side of sauteed tomatoes (simply sautee the cherry tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until they blister and turn soft).  So yummy!

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This dish is not only chock full of healthy veggies/fruits, it is also a great affordable family meal that Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~

New Toys: Vitamix Tomato Soup

My mom is a funny woman. She is a very frugal woman – saves money like crazy, rarely ever shops for new clothes for herself, refuses to spend money on cable and other luxuries.  But the woman also knows how to splurge on fun items – things she deems ‘worthy’.  She rarely spends money on clothes, but a luxury watch? Check. She won’t spend money on cable, but loves to travel the world.  Saves every container that food comes in so she doesn’t have to buy new Tupperware, but likes to buy the newest camera out there.  You see, while she is frugal on items that she sees as fleeting (clothes – fashion goes in and out of style so quickly), she thinks everyone should have a good quality watch.  She loves to travel and see the world because, let’s face it, the TV ain’t got nothing on the beauty of the world.  A recent addition to this splurge list is the Vitamix.   My mom kept trying to tell us that she would get us a Vitamix and insisted we needed one.  We weren’t so convinced.  While we had heard wondrous things about it, we weren’t sure we needed such a luxury.  My mom kept insisting and then, during a sale at Costco, she bought us one.  Boy, are we happy & grateful she did.

What’s that? You don’t know what a Vitamix is? Simply put, it’s a blender.  But saying that a Vitamix is a blender is like saying Superman is just a man.  The Vitamix is a crazy, high performance blender that can blend, puree, grind, chop, cream, purée, and so much more.  From smoothies to juicing, from soups to frozen desserts.

Tonight, we planned on having dinner with our friends (our friends who just had the baby less than 2 weeks ago).  We wanted to bring over or make some sort of comfort food.  For me, one of the quintessential comfort food combos is tomato soup + grilled cheese.  And while I can make a grilled cheese, as I’m sure most of you can, TJ makes an amazing grilled cheese.  So, while TJ got the grilled cheeses going on the stove-top griddle, I got to work on the tomato soup.  This recipe is super easy and with the help of a blender, you’ll have a great rustic tomato soup in no time. If you’re lucky enough to have a Vitamix (or similar awesomeness brand blender), then you’ll have a velvetty smooth tomato soup in no time!  Ready?  Let’s go.

What You’ll Need:

6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 tablespoons of butter

1 (28-ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes, in their juices, preferably San Marzano

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water

2 bay leaves

1/3 cup heavy cream

What You’ll Do:

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Once the butter starts to foam up, throw in your onions and a large pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes.  Throw in your garlic and stir occasionally.

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Cook until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown.  Add the tomatoes (everything, tomatoes + juice) and stir to crush up the tomatoes (though if you have a Vitamix, this isn’t too necessary).

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Add the broth or water (but come on…I really mean broth) and the two bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer until the tomatoes start breaking apart (around 10 minutes).  Discard the bay leaves and let cool for about 10 minutes.  If you have a blender, your run-of-the-mill blender, you’ll want to puree up your soup carefully and after the soup has cooled down quite a bit.  If your blender is too small, you may have to do it in batches.  Then, just transfer it back to the saucepan and warm it up to your desired heat level.  Now, if you have a Vitamix type blender (and yes! I’m one of you now!), you don’t have to let it cool too much and you won’t have to warm it back up in your saucepan.  In fact, with a Vitamix, you can even cook up the soup in your blender! Yes, that’s right! It is so fast and powerful, it creates so much power and heat that it cooks up the soup while you blend!  I let our tomato soup cool a bit and then transferred it to our Vitamix.  Our model (Vitamix 6300) has a “Hot Soup” program.

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We hit start and it started blending – maybe 10 minutes or so?  When the Vitamix was done, I was so incredibly impressed at how incredibly smooth, light, and velvetty this soup was.

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I was never able to get our soups this smooth in the past with just a regular blender or our immersion blender.  Amazing.  The soup came out piping hot, too!  Once the Vitamix was done, we stirred in 1/3 cup of heavy cream. And there you have it.  Creamy Tomato Soup!  This recipe is perfect for a dinner party of 4.

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**VARIATIONS**

You can imagine you could add quite a bit to this soup, depending on what you like.  No garlic (well, that’s just silly, now isn’t it?!), add in oregano & thyme, parsley, red chili flakes, a touch of ground cloves.  You get the picture!

With TJ’s perfect grilled cheese sandwiches and these amazingly smooth tomato soups, our very ordinary comfort food turned into something a bit more elevated. And as always, it Tasted Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~

Risotto with Spinach + Peas

As much as I love vegetables, I will be the first to admit that I probably don’t eat enough vegetables. Scratch that. I know I don’t eat enough vegetables most days.  Although I always make sure to feed Olivia wholesome, nutritious foods, there are days I struggle with putting enough vegetables in her meals.  I am proud to say, however, that though it is a struggle at times, I have done a pretty darn good job 😀

Tonight’s dinner was a little indulgent, a lot of vegetables, and a whole lotta delicious.  I’m a sucker for Risotto. That creamy, oh-so-delicious risotto.  Makes my tummy swoon with joy. TJ makes a fantastic risotto with mushrooms that I’m sort of obsessed with.  Because mushrooms can be a bit on the rubber-y side and because Olivia only has about 4 teeth, I decided to make this risotto to share with Olivia instead.  It was also great because we had all the ingredients already on hand since most of these are staples in our kitchen.

I think making risotto seems to intimidate people because it seems like it would require a lot of work.  While risotto does require a bit of ‘babysitting’, it truly isn’t a difficult dish.  Your efforts will pay off!

Ready to get started?

What You’ll Need:

2 cans (14.5 ozs) of reduced-sodium chicken broth (The recipe for a homemade one is at the bottom of this page here)

A Few Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 Finely Chopped Onion

Salt & Pepper (As I’ve said before, I try not to cook with salt in our house so I omitted the salt)

1 Cup Arborio Rice

1/2 Cup Dry White Wine** (I used a non-alcoholic wine. I’ve written more about it below)

1 bunch of finely chopped spinach (about 10 ounces or so)

1 package (10 ounces) of frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (who am I kidding, I used about 3/4 cup!)

2-3 Tablespoons Butter

What You’ll Do:

In a saucepan, heat up the chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Bring it to a simmer and keep it lightly simmering.  In another saucepan, drizzle in your olive oil and saute up your chopped up onions until they are translucent. This will take you about a few minutes.  Season your onions with some salt and pepper.

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Next, add in the arborio rice and stir until the rice is nicely coated and mixed in with the onions for about 1 minute.

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Add in your wine and stir for another minute or so.  The rice will absorb most of the wine up.

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Take about 2 cups of the hot broth and ladle it into your rice and onion mixture.  You’ll want to stir this occasionally. (Remember how I said you’ll have to babysit it a bit?)  Once that liquid has absorbed into the rice, ladle in about another cup of hot broth and stir occasionally.  Wait until the liquid has absorbed before adding yet another cup of broth.

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Keep going with this process until the arborio rice is tender and creamy.  You may not use all the broth up.  This whole process may take you about 20-30 minutes.  This is why people tend to think making risotto is difficult – it requires you to ‘stay’ with it.  But you can stir! I have faith in you!

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Once your arborio rice is ready, stir in your Parmesan cheese, peas, spinach, and butter.  Mix well.  Season with some more salt and pepper if you desire.

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You’ll want to serve this immediately for the best result.  If you’d like, top with a bit more freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

** VARIATIONS**

Contrary to popular belief, the alcohol doesn’t completely burn off when you cook with it.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have no problem with some wine.  However, since Olivia would be partaking in this dinner with us, I didn’t want her getting any leftover alcohol.  We ended up this wine for a traditional wine.  It was a bit citrus-y than I would have liked in my dry white wine I would have cooked with in a Risotto, but hey…better than a drunk baby, right? 😀

TJ and Olivia weren’t quite ready to join me for dinner just yet, but I couldn’t help but sneak in a few bites of my own first!  Decadent, chock full of vegetables, and Tastes Oh-So-Good!

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~ M ~

Jumuk Bap – Leftovers Edition

It certainly has been quite a bit since I posted a recipe, right?  Miss me? Hope so. Before I continue with tonight’s recipe, let me start by saying – I am no Korean cook.  I’m not going to try and convince you that this recipe is in any way authentic.  But what it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in simplicity, deliciousness, and convenience.  Jumuk Bap are sort of the Korean version of the more well-known Japanese Onigiri.  Both are essentially little rice balls of goodness.  My version of Jumuk (meaning “fist” in Korean) Bap (or Ju-Mok Bap, however you’d like to spell it in English) , I love making when there are leftovers around.  It’s an easy way to incorporate those leftover veggies and meat you have laying around from last night’s meal.

I would also like to say that today’s recipe may frustrate you a bit.  You know when you read those recipes with no real measurements? A dash of that, some of this, and a large heap of that over there? Yeah…this is one of those recipes.  Don’t worry, use your cooking skills and judgment for this one.  I promise you it isn’t as daunting as you may think it is right now.

Tonight’s version of Jumuk Bap, I used carrots, onions, spinach, and ground pork as the veggies + meat.  I would’ve ideally loved to have incorporated some bulgogi (recipe here), but alas, ground pork is what we had.  Go ahead and use whatever veggies and meat you think would work well in this or whatever you have on hand.  Go crazy – experiment!  Now, let’s get on with the details, shall we?

What You’ll Need:

1 cup of short-grain rice (Sushi rice would be ideal)**

1/2 cup of minced carrots

1/2 cup of minced onions

1/2 cup of diced spinach

Toasted Sesame Seeds (maybe a generous tablespoon or so)**

Chopped up Seaweed (I used about one sheet)

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce (optional)

1 tsp (or so) of Rice Vinegar (optional)

What You’ll Do:

Cook up the rice.  I use a rice cooker (what Asian girl do you know doesn’t own a rice cooker?!), but if you cook your rice stove top, you’ll cook the rice according to the package (or 1 cup of sushi rice and 1 1/4 cup water).  Toss in the sesame seeds and the rice vinegar (if you’re using the rice vinegar) into the rice at this point and mix well.  Once the rice is cooked, set it aside to cool a bit (enough so that you’ll be able to handle it with your hands).  Coat a pan with a bit of sesame oil, enough to coat your vegetables.  I sauteed my carrots and onions first since those take a bit longer to cook than the spinach.

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Once those softened a bit and the onions became a bit translucent, I added in the spinach.

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I don’t like to add too much salt to our food, but if you’d like, go ahead and add soy sauce or salt to your veggies.  I personally think the meat (especially if you’re using one that was already prepared with spices and some salt, like bulgogi, flavors up these rice balls just wonderfully without added sodium.  I’m assuming at this point, since you’re using leftovers, the meat is already cooked.  If not, just go ahead and cook up your meat.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’m using some ground pork we had leftover.  Add your veggies and your meat to your rice and mix well.

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Sushi rice (or other short-grain rice) is pretty sticky, so before you delve on in and get your hands dirty, you’ll want to wet your hands with some cold water.  Otherwise, the rice will just stick to your hands.  Scoop up about a few tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a ball.  Just keep shaping it – it will come together nicely.  Keep going until your mixture is all gone.  Once the Jumuk Bap are room temperature, they’ve probably set quite well.  Wrap each ball with saran wrap – how easy and portable is that?!  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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**VARIATIONS**

I usually include a “Variations” section, but I suppose this one is more of a “Miscellaneous” section this time.  I really urge you to use a short-grain rice/sushi rice.  It really sticks together much nicer (that’s why your sushi stays together so nicely).  If you must, must, must use another rice, instead of forming the balls with your hands, you’ll want to rip a little saran wrap and place that in your hand. Scoop up the few tablespoons of the rice mixture into the saran wrap and pull the saran wrap around the mixture.  Shape it into a ball and then twist the rest of the saran wrap to close it on up.

My other tidbit is about the toasted sesame seeds.  Toasted sesame seeds are super easy to find, especially in an Asian grocery store.  However, if you happen to come across just regular ol’ sesame seeds, don’t worry!  Toasting sesame seeds is so quick and easy!  In a pan, just sprinkle your sesame seeds and turn up the heat.  Shake sesame seeds so that the bottom doesn’t burn.  Remove them from the heat once your seeds have browned a bit and when they get fragrant.  Voila!

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This is a great picnic snack, a great way to stuff in some extra veggies, and, like I said, a great way to use up those leftovers.  Sure, you may be using leftovers, but this is a great way to transform those leftovers into something that Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~

Crockpot Curry Chicken

This is quite the busy day or two.  Today, my dad, who lives in Thailand, is coming to visit for 2+ weeks.  In fact, TJ is out picking him up from the airport right now.  We still had some cleaning to do around the house but I wanted to make sure that we had something healthy and delicious to eat for dinner tonight once he arrived.  Not only that, last night, baby O gave us quite a fever scare.  Long story short: two days ago, baby O had a fever. Her first time sick! It was quite a high fever of 103.6.  Called the docs and because she was acting fine, they just told me to keep a close eye on her.  Next day, her temp was 99.1.  I figured she was just fine.  Later in the day (last night), we took her temperature just before her bedtime and we found it to be 104.9.  Eep!  First-time mom jitters!  Instead of calling the docs (after-hours, so we couldn’t reach them anyways), we just rushed to pediatric urgent care.  We gave her a fever reducer and the good doc checked her out. She looks fine.  Apparently, it’s just an unusually high fever for a cold virus.

After last night, and because my dad is coming in today, we wanted to make sure we had something quick and easy to cook.  Out comes the crockpot.  Wait…wait…don’t leave this page!  I know, images of 1970s cooking are running through your head and you are imagining tons of sodium-laden condensed soups used.  Don’t fear!  No condensed soups here! I promise!  This recipe really is healthy, easy (5 ingredients or less!), and, most importantly, delicious!  Have you ever had those wonderful Japanese curry rice dishes?  They’re delicious!  We make those often, as well, but when you need something to throw into a crockpot, this recipe is a great quick fix!  Now, let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:

2-2.5 pounds of chicken thighs*

1 16-oz jar of salsa

1 16-oz tub of fat-free or low-fat sour cream

2 generous tablespoons of curry powder

A generous heap of minced garlic

What You’ll Do:

Ready for this easy recipe?  Spray your crockpot with a cooking oil.  Ok – so, I don’t really like to use those cooking sprays, so instead we just use coconut oil (the one from Trader Joe’s is fabulous and cheap) and spread a thin layer with a clean paper towel or brush the crockpot (or pan for other recipes) with the coconut oil.  Throw in your chicken.

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In a mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream, salsa, curry powder, and garlic.

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Once it’s mixed together, throw it into the crockpot over the chicken.

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That’s it! Really! Now, just cook that in your crockpot from 4-8 hours.  I know, that’s a huge range.  If you’re cooking fresh or refrigerated chicken and you want to cook this on high, it will likely be done in 4 hours.  Frozen chicken on high will take an extra hour or so.  Low heat? Well, then, add some hours to it.  Just test the chicken!

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*Now here’s my caveat to the chicken (remember I starred it above?).  Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs…that will also reduce the cooking time slightly.  But if you want something a bit more decadent, leave the skin on and the bones in.  Is it any surprise to you that I like my chicken with skin on, bone in? Either way, I promise you the chicken is tender and delicious!

Tonight, we served the curry chicken over rice (brown rice to eat a bit healthier – going to Hawaii in a few weeks!) and some steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  The broccoli and cauliflower was just steamed and not all that fascinating, I know.  But with a delicious curry sauce like that, you probably won’t need to do much to your sides!

**VARIATIONS**

As I said earlier, skin on, bone in, skin off, boneless – whatever!  You decide!  Also, if you have some fresh veggies handy, throw in some chunks of carrots and slices of onions.  Absolutely delicious!

Baby O loves curry of all sorts (this Thai mama is proud!) so she can definitely partake in this meal, though she didn’t tonight since she is still recovering from her fever.  Oh, don’t worry, she will get to enjoy some later in the week, though! I’ll make sure to save her of these melt-in-your-mouth, tastes oh-so-good leftovers.

~ M ~