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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grilled Spicy Sweet Chicken

I've been on a bit of a Sriracha kick again.... which is definitely not a bad thing.  I've been trying to find more and more ways to use it in marinades and in sauces.  Since discovering it over 15 years ago (yep, 15 years...), it has been my absolute favorite condiment.  Only until the last several years, though, have I actually incorporated it so much into my recipes.  Seriously, the only way I used it for a long time, was by itself and only as a condiment.  Boy, oh boy, am I glad those days are behind me.  With out the experimenting, we'd never have gotten to enjoy meals like this :)

Grilled Spicy Sweet Chicken
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
3 Tablespoons Sriracha
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon mirin
1 1/2 Tablespoons strawberry jelly
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix together the Sriracha, vinegar, mirin and strawberry jelly until well combined.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place chicken in resealable plastic bag or shallow dish and pour in the marinade.  Make sure chicken is fully coated.  Seal or cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (mine sat for 2 hours).

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Clean and oil grill grates.  Remove chicken from marinade and place over direct heat.  Grill 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Remove from grill and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy! (served ours with a basic lemon aioli)

One Year Ago:  Grilled Steaks with Garlic Herb Cheesy Butter
Two Years Ago:  Chorizo Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Three Years Ago:  Lemon Dill Tilapia

Monday, July 29, 2013

Spicy Peanut Lime Shrimp

When time is short and you want something delicious and light, this is the recipe for you!  It uses minimal ingredients and the part that takes the longest is letting it marinate!  That's the definition of easy in my book.  I served the shrimp over a nice big salad, but you can serve it over rice or noodles or just on it's own.  It's completely up to you.  And... for those of you that don't like shrimp, use chicken strips instead - granted cook time is longer, but you'll still have a delicious and light dinner in no time at all!

Spicy Peanut Lime Shrimp
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
drop of sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha
30-40 medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together all the ingredients, except the chicken, until well combined.  Place the shrimp in a shallow bowl and pour the marinade over top.  Toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Place an oiled grill pan over direct heat and let sit for 1 minute.  Place the shrimp on the grill pan and grill for 2-3 minutes per side or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Carefully remove from grill and serve immediately.  Serve over salad, noodles, or rice and veggies.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Easy Summer Veggie Pasta
Two Years Ago:  Jalapeno Beef Kabobs with Roasted Garlic Aioli
Three Years Ago:  Strawberry Ice Cream

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'd like to thank the academy.....

For those of you that follow Mary, The Food Floozie, you will know that she has taken a much needed break away from blogging for the summer.  BUT, bless her heart, she took the time to accept an award that was given to her on 7/11!  A well deserved award, too, I might add. Like with any award, she was asked to answer questions, to tell us a little about herself and to give the award to 11 other bloggers.  I, if you haven't figured it out yet, was one of the very grateful recipients of this award!!   The only downside is that I haven't had the time to do the full request that comes with the award.  I can't let that stop me though, so I'm going to graciously accept the award (thank you sooooo much, Mary!!!!) but I'm going to ask that Mary forgive me as I will not be following the exact rules.....

The rules state this:
1.  Link back to whomever awarded the prize (check, already did that!)
2.  State 11 random facts about yourself (I'm going to state 5, sorry)
3.  Answer 11 questions from the award giver (This is the part I am definitely doing!)
4.  Nominate another 11 bloggers and come up with 11 questions for them (I'm going to skip this part all together... well, I might ask YOU all 1 question, but that's it)

Okay, so with that out of the way, here we go:

Five Random Facts About Me (and all new facts.. no repeats from previous posts):

(Picture courtesy
1. I am afraid of heights.   Well, maybe I'm not so afraid of heights as I am the sudden stop when you fall, but still... I am sticking with a fear of heights.  I get light headed, I get really sweaty palms and I get the shakes.  It's a strange feeling.  I took up rock climbing when I first moved to Arizona in hopes that it would help me overcome this fear.... alas, I think it might have made it worse!  lol

(picture courtesy )
2.  I am a very shy person.  I know, for most of you that have known me for some time, you might not believe it, but it is true.  When I was younger, I was so shy that I would go to a friends house and their parents would say hello to me and I would immediately turn bright red and I couldn't look them in the eye.  Oh, I always said hello, but man, it about killed me!  It's gotten easier as I've gotten older, but it's still there.  I try and pretend I'm not shy and crack a lot of jokes, but on the inside... OMG, I am freaking out on the inside!!

(picture courtesy 
3.  I am a sweet-oholic.  My name is Jenn and I am addicted to sweets.  Cookies, chocolate, ice cream, cake, pie... you name it, if it's sweet, I want it.  I have a bad habit of always having one of those said things in the house at all times.  I've tried to go without them, but I just can't.  I find myself rummaging around for an opened back of chocolate chips or something.... soooooo, to stop that humiliation, I just make sure I have stuff in the house all the time.  Now, with that said, I try to be very good about it... I try to stick with just one or two cookies at night, or one or two pieces of chocolate.  So at least I can say I have my addiction under control.... for the time being at least :)

4.  I am always early.  There is no such thing as on time or late with me.  I am notoriously at least 5-10 minutes early no matter where I go.  And I HATE it when people are more than 10 minutes late to something.  It's one of those things that is a huge pet peeve of mine.  To me, if I'm on time, I'm late.  Now I don't expect everyone to have that attitude, all I expect is that people are ON TIME :)

5.  I want to see Mt. Everest - up close and personal.  No, I do not want to climb it, I will be okay with just standing at the base of it, but I really want to see it.  I have been fascinated with that mountain for years and years now.  It's interesting to me the pull that it has on people and the amount of people that are willing to risk their lives to get to the top... only to spend about 10 minutes there and work your way back down... that's just crazy!!  Anyway, there is a trek that you can take from Katmandu to Everest base camp and someday, someday.... I am going to do it!

Now, the really fun part - the 11 questions Mary asked me to answer: 

1. What is the first thing you'll ask God when you get to Heaven? (We're all going to Heaven, we're just taking different scenic routes)?  This was a tough one for me to answer.  I had all these silly questions immediately pop into my head... you know like - "Where's Jimmy Hoffa?"  or "Who was the gunman that fired the shot from the grassy knoll?" or "What's up with the platypus anyway?"  or better yet "What the heck just happened to me?"  But after getting past those silly thoughts, I really tried to think seriously about it.  And after some thought, the first thing I would ask God when I get to Heaven would be... "Will you take me to see my grandmothers, please?"

2. What is your favorite "me time" indulgence?  Reading.  Might sound silly to some, but it's my favorite thing to do for me.  I devour books - so yes, I definitely indulge :)

3. What is the word or phrase you overuse the most?  I'm pretty sure that would have to be "Fantastic" or "Suck It."  I say both quite a bit... and don't worry mom, the last one I say out of pure fun, not to be mean or hateful :)

4. What is your favorite side dish at Thanksgiving?  I must admit, my favorite Thanksgiving side dish is homemade cranberry sauce!  Not the canned stuff.. never the canned stuff.  But fresh, homemade cranberry sauce.  And although I like it flavored or spiced up, I adore just plain old cranberries cooked in water and sugar....mmmmmm!

5. What is your most cringe-inducing, most appalling, most ridiculous dating story?  Ha!  Good thing for me, I did not have a ton of really appalling and ridiculous dating stories.  I think probably the worse date I was ever on was with this guy that a friend of a friend set me up with (I should have known something was wrong at that point.. sigh!).  Anyway, he called me up and told me that he'd pick me up the next night and to dress nice, as he would take me some place nice.  Okay, so I'm in AZ, and it's summer, I didn't get too dressed but, but I put a summer dress on.. and for me, that's huge!  Anyway... so he picks me up and we end up at Denny's.  Yes, that's right, he asked me to dress up to go to Denny's.  Okay, whatever, I like Denny's, they have pretty good breakfast and maybe he was taking me someplace nice AFTER dinner.  We sit down and order drinks... he proceeds to talk non-stop about himself for the next hour.  When I try to say something, he literally holds up his hands, shhh's me and says "I'm not finished yet, wait your turn".  Needless to say, after an hour I went into the bathroom and called a friend of mine to come and pick me up.  Ten minutes later, he enters the restaurant and walks to the table.. meanwhile this guy is STILL talking about himself.  I stand up, look him straight in the eye and said, please don't call me again.  He looks at me and yells at the top of his lungs.. BITCH!!  Ahhhhhhhh.. those were the days!!  hehehe

6. What has your greatest accomplishment been so far in 2013?  This might sound silly to some, but my greatest accomplishment so far this year has been to get grass to grow in our front yard!! WOOHOOO!!!  Anyone that knows my struggles over the last two years will understand my joy over this and for those that do not know the history, just know, I started with nothing, got weeds to grow, killed everything, got grass to finally grow.  Whew!! :)

7. What website do you check most often throughout the day?  Gmail.  I really don't have much time during the day to surf the web, but when I do have a moment, it's to check my email.

8.  It's Christmas in July; in your letter to Santa, what are you asking him to leave under the tree for you?  Honestly, I would ask him for money right now.  I haven't made this a bit announcement yet on here, so I guess now is as good a time as any:  Chris and I are getting married in May of next year.  Soooo, you see, if Santa could bring me a little money to help with the cost of the honeymoon, I would be a hap-hap-happy girl!!

9.  Have you ever been to Michigan?  Sadly, no :(

10. If so, when, where, why?  If not, why not???  I don't know!  I mean I have no good excuse other than I don't really like traveling and I haven't had the funds to do any sort of traveling up until just a few years ago.  But, Thanks to the blogging world, I have met Mary and hopefully the next time I'm asked question number 9, I'll be able to say YES!!!

11. What is your favorite kind of pie?  Yikes, this was another hard one for me because it is a toss up between chocolate cream pie and apple pie.  I might lean more toward chocolate because that is usually always the same.  Apple pie, however, tends to be different from time to time.. and when I say different, I mean how the apples are cut.  I'm particular about that...they have to be thinly sliced or chopped small.  No big chucks, no thick-thick pieces.  Basically, it has to be a lot like my moms for me to really enjoy it :)

Whew.. thanks for sticking around to read all of this.  I actually really enjoyed answering Mary's questions.  Some of them definitely made me think!!  Now, since I have already bent the rules, I'm going to just go ahead and break them all together.  Instead of picking 11 bloggers to give this award to, I'm just going to ask you all one question in hopes you will answer when you comment.

This is a question people have been asked before, but it's one that always fascinates me:

If you could have dinner with anyway... alive or dead.... who would it be and why?

So there you have it.  Again, a HUGE thank you to Mary for this award.  And for all of you for being such loyal readers!

Happy Cooking (and Grilling)!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five-Herb Grilled Chicken with Green Aioli

Normally, when we have company for dinner, I do not make anything new.  One, because I hate not knowing how something is going to come out and two, because then I would have to take pictures and that can come off as rude sometimes.  The evening that I made this was an exception.  We had guests, I made something new AND I took a picture of it!!  lol  Granted, I only snapped four photos, so it was a crap shoot on if I would truly have good enough pictures to post.... the lighting could have been better, but otherwise, not too bad for under pressure photo shooting :)

No matter - this recipe was outstanding!  Simple and easy to throw together, it's actually a perfect meal to try out on your guests.  I mean honestly, all you have to do is throw all the ingredients in a food processor and dinner is pretty much ready.  Less time in the kitchen (or at the grill) means more time with friends and family... and we could all use a little more of that!!

Five-Herb Grilled Chicken with Green Aioli
Adapted from Food & Wine
Printable Recipe 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup chives, roughly chopped
1 large jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, quartered
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, quartered
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Place the parsley, basil, chives, jalapeno, rosemary, thyme and garlic in a bowl of a food processor.  Turn on and slowly add in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove 2 Tablespoons of the mixture and set aside.  Place the chicken in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag and pour the remaining marinade over it.  Seal or cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (mine sat for 3 hours).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and lemon juice together until well combined.  Add the reserved herb mixture a little at a time until you get the flavor you want (I added it all).  Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Clean and oil grill grates.  Place the chicken over direct heat and grill 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Serve with aioli and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Chicken with Spiced Red Pepper Paste
Two Years Ago:  Spice Rubbed Ribs with Chipotle Honey Glaze
Three Years Ago:  Grilled Chicken with Yogurt, Hot Pepper and Garlic

Monday, July 22, 2013

Korean Style Lettuce Wraps

I have made this claim before, but I'm going to do it again... I love me some lettuce wraps!!  I could eat these at least three times a week (gotta leave room for mac and cheese, you know) and never get sick of them!  I have posted a few different kinds and if I had to pick a favorite, I would bow out gracefully, as I have no clue how I could ever pick.  These definitely rank up on the top three!!

Now, these are a bit different than the original recipe, as I have added rice and cucumber.  You can easily leave those two things out, but I think it would be a shame to.  Both add just a little bit more to the meal and make it hearty and light all at the same time.  No matter how you decide to make them, all I am saying is.. Make them - you will not regret it!!!

Korean Style Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Food & Wine
Printable Recipe 
2 Tablespoons Hoisin
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon Sambal Oleke (chili paste)
drop of sesame oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Green leaf lettuce
Cooked rice (1-2 cups)
English cucumber slices
Grilled green onions, sliced
Srircha (optional)

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the hoisin, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, chili paste and sesame oil until well combined.  Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place the chicken in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it.  Seal or cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Clean and oil grill grates.  Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade.  Place the chicken over direct heat and grill 8-10 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  Remove from grill and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Thinly slice once chicken has cooled.

To build the wrap - start with a leaf of lettuce, top with rice, cucumber slices, grilled green onions and then the chicken.  Drizzle on some Srircha if desired.  Serve and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Guest Blogger-Chris' Authentic Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya
Two Years Ago:  Hoisin Peanut Butter Grilled Chicken
Three Years Ago:  Spicy Beef Stir Fry

Friday, July 19, 2013

Charmoula-Marinated Pork Chops

Charmoula (or Chermoula) is a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking.  It usually consists of a mixture of herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin.  Peronsally, I had never heard of it before, but when I saw this recipe on my Weber Grills iPhone app, It just looked too good not to try.  Now mine does not look anything like the picture on the app, but whatever, the flavors were amazing and I would definitely make this again.

Normally I would have brined the pork even before marinating.  I have become a big fan and supporter of brining and normally will not cook pork without it.  Pork and whole birds actually.  Brining, if you haven't tried it, truly makes the meat moister.  You can even over cook pork a little if you brine and it STILL comes out amazing!  This time I did not make the time to do it and was a bit nervous, but alas, the pork turned out perfectly.  Sooooo... it's your choice on if you want to brine or not, in this case, with the marinade and good thick pork chops, brining could be skipped (don't tell Stephen, The Obsessive Chef, I said that though!!).

Charmoula-Marinated Pork Chops
Adapted from Weber Grills iPhone App
- Serves 2 -
Printable Recipe 
2 pork chops (I used boneless pork loin chops)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the ingredients except for the pork and stir until well combined.  Place the pork in a resealable plastic bad and pour the marinade over.  Seal and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Clean and oil grill grates.  Place the pork directly over the fire and grill 4-8 minutes per side or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145-150.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Serve with Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad and enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Shrimp with Jalapeno Dressing
Two Years Ago:  Grilled Tilapia with Mustard Chive Sauce
Three Years Ago:  Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad

Oh my gosh.. it RAINED!!! It really RAINED!!!  WOO HOO!!!!

Okay, for some of you out there, you are going to read that and think.. "what the heck is wrong with this girl?  It rains all the time.. in fact, it's been raining for a week straight..."  Let me remind you, I live in the southwest desert.  It does not rain all that often and honestly, I can't remember the last time it did rain here.  I mean really rained.  Not that rain that comes down for 1 minute and then clears out - I'm talking rain that lasts for more than 10 minutes.  And that's exactly what it did Monday AND Tuesday night!  Granted, it came with pretty harsh winds that moved our shed about a foot, but it still rained!!  It gave us some much needed moisture - Maybe I can get the grass in the front yard to grow now!!

Anywhoooo... on to the salad.  It might not be the prettiest thing I've posted, as I got the potatoes a little more grilled than I wanted them, but it was still REALLY good!  When I first saw this recipe, I thought.. potatoes and cucumbers?  and then I thought.. yesssss, potatoes and cucumbers, that could totally work!  And what do you know.... it did :)

P.s.... to all of you that left comments on Chris' post from Monday - we both want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!  We loved reading what you all had to say and your kind words are very much appreciated.  We are both very lucky to have found each other!!  And who knows, maybe with your encouragement, I can get Chris to guest post again!!!

P.s.s... I have been having major internet connection issues over the last two weeks, so I have not been the best at commenting on your blogs and even responding to some emails, but I am still out there and hopefully the problem will be fixed sooner rather than later!

Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad
Adapted from Food and Wine
Printable Recipe 
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper
16 oz baby potatoes, halved
1/4 of an English cucumber, sliced and cut in half

Place the potatoes in a large, microwavable safe dish.  Add one tablespoon of water and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in microwave and cook on high for 1 minutes.  Carefully remove the dish and shake to toss potatoes around.  Place back in microwave and cook for 1 minutes.  Carefully remove and check to see if potatoes are just barely fork tender.  If they are not, continue to cook for 30 seconds at a time until they are.  Remove from microwave, uncover and carefully drain out the water.  Let rest uncovered for a few minutes.  Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, oregano and parsley until well combined; set aside.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees F.  Clean and oil grill grates or use a grill pan meant for the grill and spray with non stick spray.  Place the potatoes on the grill or grill pan and cook for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown.  Flip and continue to cook until all sides are golden brown.  Carefully remove and place in a bowl to cool for 5-10 minutes.  Once cooled a bit, add the cucumber slices and carefully stir in the mayo mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Chorizo and Shrimp Pasta
Two Years Ago:  Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake Delight
Three Years Ago:  Spaghetti with Hot Italian Sausage

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chris' Food Journey

I am so VERY excited about today's post!!  Today, Chris (of Chris and Jenn) is going to take you through HIS food journey!!!  And what a journey it has been!!  Chris and I have talked about him doing a guest post for a while now... and today is the day!!  I don't want to say too much and I don't want to get all gushy, but I do want to say thank you to him.  He is my biggest supporter when it comes to my blog and honestly, without him, this journey of mine would never have been what is today. So, thank you, Chris...xoxoxo
And now.... without further ado............

Greetings to you all! This is Chris (Jenn's fiancé) and today I will be taking over Jenn's Food Journey for this guest post. Why? Well mostly because I have been a lucky recipient of every single dish featured on here so I thought I should contribute something. Though I won't be posting a recipe, as you can see from the accompanying photo I don't cook, instead I will be sharing with you MY story of how I became the happiest passenger on Jenn's Food Journey.

If you're a regular visitor to Jenn's blog you know I am a lucky man. She's a talented lady in the kitchen. The truth is before being with Jenn I didn't even care about food. I was a single guy with a busy lifestyle (that's not true at all I just put that in to make myself sound active) and had almost no regard for food. When hungry I ate, that was about the extent of thought I put into any given meal. I was a connoisseur of microwavable boxed foods, frozen burritos, ham sandwiches and virtually any fast food or precious leftover from Sunday meals at my sisters'. Food just didn't matter to me. I'm a designer and musician and spend countless hours engaged in front of the computer or playing some instrument. Eating while computing or playing guitar is a no no. Food was merely sustenance necessary to keep from passing out...or dying I suppose. In fact I remember times actually being annoyed I had to stop what I was doing and eat!

(Chris and I - photo taken by a friend, Sara Meisner)

When I met Jenn I was fascinated that she was a food enthusiast. She offered to come cook me dinner one night when we first started dating. I figured that would be cool. It would certainly be the first time any actual cooking would take place in my man cave apartment. Not to mention I had never been with a woman who could cook. I remember thinking, even if she's a lousy cook it can't be worse than what I was gonna have. So indeed she came over with a bag of groceries, assessed my pathetic collection of barely used cooking utensils and proceeded to create a meal I will never forget. The smells that filled my dinky dwelling, how sexy this woman looked in my crappy kitchen cooking for me and the fineness and actual cooking skill she seemed to possess are the overwhelming first memories of that fine evening. Then we ate.

She prepared goat cheese & spinach stuffed chicken breasts with veggies; zucchini or maybe broccoli I think...might have been a baked potato? It doesn't matter the chicken is what I remember. The perfectly pan seared golden brown outer skin and creamy goat cheese made my head spin. I didn't even know I liked goat cheese! That was just the beginning of many food discoveries Jenn led me to that I can't believe I once lived without. I knew right then this girl was special. It may have been a simple meal by some standards but to me it was gourmet cooking. It isn't as if I had no taste for good food it all it was just that until this night I had forgotten the joy of eating good food at home with someone you care about. She doesn't know it but I'm pretty sure I proposed to her right then and there in my mind after taking the first bite.

Food quickly became a big part of our weekends together. Her cooking. Me eating. She introduced me to the Food Network. I knew there was a food channel but I never watched it. Who the hell could sit and watch cooking shows all day? It turned out to be a major source of entertainment in our early romance...and continues to be. I had no idea that watching food could be entertaining. I didn't even know who Bobby Flay was? I'll admit it may have been Giada that actually held my attention first but I digress.

So now after 5 plus years here I am nearly a food expert because of Jennifer! Okay not really, but I actually appreciate food and flavor again. Jenn has taught me so much about good food through simple easy dishes we enjoy nightly. I admit she does get frustrated with me from time to time because I can be picky but I will always, mostly, sometimes try anything.  I will say this, the posts she does are all eaten by me and they do taste as good as they look I promise you that.

I hope I have not bored anyone but that's the end of the story. We live happily…and enjoy Jenn's great food daily. This post is really my tribute to her. She is a woman of many talents. I'm fortunate one of those talents is skills in the kitchen. I'm actually healthier because of her! I admire her dedication to this blog and can attest to the hard work she puts into it each and every day. As I said before I don't all. So my real contribution is to clean the kitchen every night. My philosophy is and will always be; if she cooks I will clean. Many of you have your own food blogs and I hope your significant does the same, or if you have kids of course make them do it. We owe you for the love and nourishment you bring us through food. 

Thanks for reading everyone and be sure and leave a comment because my ego needs the attention and Jenn LOVES comments!!! 

PS (to the owner of this fine food blog). Thanks for letting me take over your blog today babe. I love you! xoxo 

PSS (to the readers)…if you want the recipe for the delicious dish shown I will be happy to share that as well perhaps in a future guest post….or you can read the instructions on the package. ;) 


(Chris and I having a little fun!!)

Two Years Ago:  Mediterranean Steaks

Friday, July 12, 2013

Grilled Cheese with Mango Salsa

A couple weeks ago, I received a text from Chris' sister, Becky.  She had just had lunch and couldn't wait to tell me about this amazing grilled cheese sandwich she had just had.  Actually, she couldn't wait to tell me so that I could figure out how to make it and pass the recipe on to her so she could enjoy it again and again at home - which I was perfectly okay with and completely understood after having the sandwich!!  ANYWAY - her text basically said that she had just had this amazing grilled cheese and mango salsa sandwich and would I try and recreate it for her.  Loving the fact that she actually thought to ask ME what I would do.. I couldn't wait to get home and put it together!!  Honestly, it didn't seem all that hard - she told me it was on Texas toast (easy) with Gruyere cheese (yum), mango salsa (double yum) and that it had been grilled on an actual grill.  Now, I know what you are thinking... then why didn't you actually grill these, Jenn?  Well, I'll tell you why... because I didn't want to, and that's the truth!  I love to use my actual grill pan when I make grilled cheese sandwiches, so I stuck with what I knew would work the best.  Other than that, I just went for it.  I mean.. Gruyere cheese and mango salsa... how could I really not get this right :)

In the end, Chris and I LOVED these and I was soooo thankful that Becky sent me the request.  I haven't talked to her to find out if she tried it or not, but I am confident that when she does, she'll feel like she was back at the restaurant!!

Grilled Cheese with Mango Salsa
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
6-8 slices of Texas toast (depends on if you want to make 3 or 4 sandwiches)
6-8 oz Gruyere cheese, sliced (just depends on how cheesy you want each sandwich)
Butter, unsalted, room temperature (makes for easier spreading)
For the Mango Salsa -
20 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 of a large jalapeno, finely diced
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
fresh chopped cilantro (I used a little less than a Tablespoon, but only because Chris is not a huge fan)
Zest of 1 lime (no juice)
1 mango, cut into chunks

To make the salsa - Gently toss all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sandwich - Butter one side of each piece of bread.  Heat a grill pan over medium to medium high heat.  Place one slice of bread on the pan (butter side down), top with cheese and then the salsa (how much is up to you).  Top with remaining slice of bread (butter side out).  When bread is golden brown, flip and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown.  Remove from heat and carefully slice.  Serve and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Teriyaki Chicken Sliders with Spicy Mayo
Two Years Ago:  Chimichurri Shrimp and Rice Skillet
Three Years Ago:  Sunny Side Orzo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spicy Cashew Chicken

Is anyone else a bit shocked that it's already July?  Where the heck did the time go?  It's hard to believe that there was ever a time when I thought time moved to slow.  And trust me, there was a time (like when I was a kid in school) - but alas, those days are LONG gone!  I only say this because I turn 40 this year - Yep, that's right 40 - and it's getting closer and closer and closer to that day.... not that I'm worried.  I'm not going to freak out or anything, I mean it's just a number, right?  The funny this is, I don't feel like I'm turning 40.  I guess I've always had this idea of what I would feel like and where I would be in my life when I turned the big 4-0, but now that it's on it's way, I don't feel much different than I did when I turned 30 and that didn't feel much different than when I turned 25, which only felt different than turning 21 because ... well... it was 21!!

Anyway.. enough rambling.. let's get to the food!!  I like cashew chicken, but always feel as if it's missing something.  So, I put this little number together to give it some much needed oomph!  This was actually inspired by the Sriracha Honey Cashew Chicken that Mary (Barefeet in the Kitchen) posted a while back (too bad mine doesn't look even half as lovely as hers does) - So thank you once again Mary!!!  I highly recommend trying her recipe first, if you haven't already, that one blows this one away!!

A word of caution:  if you don't like a lot of heat, don't toss the chicken with the Sriracha and cut back at least 1/2 tablespoon in the sauce...remember, start small - you can always add more - you can never take away!!

Spicy Cashew Chicken
Created by Jenn's Food Journey
Printable Recipe 
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons mirin
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hoisin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons Sriracha, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks or thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
2-3 green onions, chopped or sliced (optional - I remembered mine AFTER we had already eaten, of course!!!)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Place the chicken chunks in a shallow dish and toss with 2 tablespoons Sriracha.  Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the soy, fish sauce, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, hoisin, red pepper flakes and remaining 1 tablespoons of Sriracha; stir until well combined and sugar has dissolved.

In a wok or deep, nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and quickly stir fry for 5 minutes or until the chicken is just starting to cook through.  Add the red pepper and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and stir fry for one more minute.  Stir in the soy mixture and stir to coat everything.  As soon as the sauce thickens, remove from the heat and stir in the cashews and green onions.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Pina Colada Grilled Chicken
Two Years Ago:  Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Serrano Mint Sauce
Three Years Ago:  Pulled Pork Sandwiches