Mexican Cravings for Bebe’…

enchiladaI have always wanted to make chicken enchiladas, but believe it or not, have always been a tad intimidated by them. I’m not quite sure why, because, wow, was I pleasantly surprised how easy they came together. Not to mention DELICIOUS. This is exactly what this 38 week pregnant mama needed. Although the food coma I entered afterwards was quite brutal ūüôā Continue reading “Mexican Cravings for Bebe’…”

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Chicken Nuggies & Condiments…

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O M G this might be my favorite post yet. And although these nuggets probably appear super basic, they were devoured in a total of 5 minutes between Nick and myself. Why did I wait so long to bake chicken nuggets? Have I been living under a rock? This recipe was originally inspired from one of my favorite food bloggers called Skinnytaste, but we made a few tweaks, just because I’m lazy and didn’t feel like heading out to the grocery store. The best part is, this entire meal can be prepped and baked in 20 minutes!¬† Continue reading “Chicken Nuggies & Condiments…”

Chicken Wing Cravings…

buffalo chicken meatiesWe are a BIG FAN of hot and spicy over here as you already know, and Nick always has a cravings for buffalo wings these days. Last night we took this craving and turned it into a healthier version of wings, choosing to make some buffalo¬†chicken meatballs! Not gonna lie, we may have used an entire tub of frank’s red hot in the end, which in hindsight isn’t the healthiest, but you can certainly get away with using less. Continue reading “Chicken Wing Cravings…”

Teriyaki Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps….

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Happy Monday everyone! This little concoction was quickly made up today in my head while at the grocery store, but I must say it turned out great. I’ve been trying to crock pot once a week lately to ensure we have one easy cooking night, usually on Mondays when we are pretty beat. I’ve been really into pulled meats, so went with my usual chicken and¬†sweet marinade route. This time I chose teriyaki sauce and honey as the base of the sauce, and topped the dish with fresh, crunchy veggies and chopped peanuts. The extra crunch was perfectly paired with fresh lettuce, which (because it’s lettuce), ¬†you don’t even feel guilty while eating about 5¬†wraps ūüôā Continue reading “Teriyaki Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps….”

Spiralizing Through The Weekend…

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And another weekend comes to an end….sigh. We were ALL over the map this weekend. From downtown to Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, you name it! All the while, this official 10 month old was trying to sprint¬†everywhere. She is walking, falling, and laughing non-stop and on repeat; it’s GLORIOUS. Which brings us to today’s recipe, which reflects¬†our current mood: TIRED. That calls for some shortcuts in the kitchen, using our good old friend the spiralizer and ground meat. Continue reading “Spiralizing Through The Weekend…”

Mediterranean Tagine Trial…

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Lately¬†I’ve been craving sweeter dishes, which is so NOT like me. Ever¬†since Charlotte popped out, I have developed a serious¬†sweet tooth, that I DEARLY¬†wish would go away. However, it got me thinking about how to add sweetness to¬†entrees instead of eating more desserts, and what could I invent to fuel this new¬†craving. ¬†Tonight we made an¬†amazing Mediterranean dish¬†in our¬†Tagine, but you could easily do it in a covered frying pan or pot. We rarely cook with chicken thighs, but I’m starting to really enjoy cooking with them, especially incorporating them into stews. Continue reading “Mediterranean Tagine Trial…”

Chicken Piccata & Glamour Shots…

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Summer is FINALLY here, and what a beaut NYC has been lately! We have certainly stepped up our dinners and taken them to the roof, al¬†fresco style! We have even been bringing Miss Char upstairs to join in with¬†her dinner, and she loves it. In fact, it has made the whole feeding her solids things easier, because she’s easily distracted.

Chicken Piccata is one of my ultimate favorite meals when we go to an Italian restaurant. They seem to always make it so much tastier than mine (I’m guessing due to the large amounts of butter they load onto the pan). However, this last go around, this dish ROCKED. It is SO quick to make, demands¬†so few¬†ingredients, and just¬†requires a little¬†tender care on the frying pan. ¬†I think the real trick is more capers, and even more caper juice. Almost like a dirty martini, extra dirty!

We had a great Father’s day weekend, where Charlotte cooperated ¬†like an angel for our quick photo session in the park (and thank you Nick for cooperating like an angel too, for all 20 minutes LOL). We had never taken new born photos, engagement photos, etc . So I told Nick he owed me for a quick baby session in the park, since we had yet to¬†capture one decent photo of all 3 of us together. Below are a few from the shoot ūüôā

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Chicken Piccata: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of chicken tenderloins
  • 1 jar of capers (and 1/2- 3/4 of the juice in the jar as well)
  • 1 lemon (or 1/3 cup of lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 3 table spoons of salt & pepper
  • 1 table spoon of garlic
  • 2 table spoons of butter
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock

Instructions:

  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic
  2. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess (on both sides).
  3. In a skillet over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with a few tablespoons olive oil.
  4. Add  chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
  5. In the same pan, add lemon juice, stock and capers. I prefer to use the entire jar, adding half the juices as well (but keep in mind these are strong, so add to your liking). Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for some more flavor.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. After plating the chicken, pour remaining sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

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Paella for the win…

 

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Happy Sunday¬†everyone!!! I can’t even contain myself to wait a day longer to write about this great meal we cooked Friday night. Sadly, my only contribution was buying the ingredients, but I’d like to think I helped add some spices at the end to make it just right ūüôā

Paella is one of our favorite dishes when having guests over, because you can make a huge batch of it, and really add any proteins you like to switch it up. We were hungry, so this batch consisted of chicken thighs, shrimp, and chorizo sausage. Man, was it GOOD!

We had a much needed relaxing weekend as we prep for our next Toronto adventure: Charlotte’s baptism next week. We’re¬†crossing our fingers for happy flights with this little 7 month old! Below are some pics of Charlotte at her friend Blair’s 1st birthday party this weekend. She loved the balloons and live music, however, slept through a good 3/4 of the party … (#wedontfeelguilty).

Paella

Chicken, Shrimp, & Chorizo Paella: serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb pack chicken thighs (we like a lot of meat, but you could shave back here if you want)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
  • 4 cups arborio rice
  • 6 cups water, warm
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined (again feel free to add more or less depending on your preference)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Spice Mix for chicken:
  • 1 part paprika, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 parts dried oregano

Instructions:

1) Marinate the shrimp for ~30 mins by mixing them with a generous amount of olive oil (so that the shrimp are well coated), 1 tsp each salt and pepper, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Don’t over marinate or the lemon juice will slowly cook the shrimp, forming a gross ceviche.
2) Generously dust the chicken with the spice mix. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat (we actually used an electric wok, and cooked it all at the table!) Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Keep the leftover oil
3) Add chicken skin-side down and let brown, ~3 mins each side (it doesn’t need to be fully cooked through, because you’ll add it as the rice cooks.) Remove from pan, and keep with the sausage.
4) Add the shrimp, saute quickly (~1 min each side), until the shrimp has just turned pink (again, you’ll cook it more later, so no need to worry about them being cooked all the way through.)
5) In the same pan, sautee the onions, peppers, remaining garlic, and 1/2 the parsley. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes and spices, cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
6) Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains, ~3 mins. Pour in water & chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Add chicken & chorizo, allow to simmer over medium heat until rice is al-dente, ~12-15 mins (try not to stir, as this makes the rice mushy).
7) Add the shrimp for the last ~2 mins of cooking. Once the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for about a minute, until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect (you want a nice crispy bottom).
8) Remove from heat, garnish with some of the parsley.

And DIG IN!!!!

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Coffee Brined Taco Party…

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Recently I can’t seem to shake this permanent state of exhaustion¬†I have been experiencing…..hence the lack of blog posts. Has the fact that we have a baby finally set in, almost 7 months later??? The crazy part is, I’m actually getting more sleep now, than before we had a baby (like clock work we hit the bed by 10pm EVERY night). However, trying to keep someone stimulated 24-7 is quite the energy burner. It’s safe to say I have really gone on to embrace good quality coffee, and thanks to my awesome parents for the surprise anniversary gift, we are now owners of a fancy percolator. It truly puts our Keurig machine to shame. Our first go around we accidentally brewed way too much, which led us to our coffee inspired chicken tacos. We had some friends over on the roof to top off a great Memorial Day weekend and went to town on this delicious taco feast!!!

Below are a few pics recapping our great memorial day weekend out East with some friends. Charlotte had a great first beach experience, however, taking a baby to the beach isn’t exactly relaxing. She ate a lot of sand, screamed when the freezing water touched her toes, and spent most of her time perched under the umbrella. All in though, it was great to escape the city and get some fresh, salty air ūüôā

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Coffee Brined Chicken Tacos:

Ingredients: serves 4-6

  • 1 hefty table spoon of ground coffee
  • 3-4 large, skinless chicken breasts, or 6-8 skinless chicken thighs (or any mixture of chicken pieces you want, really)
  • 2 tsp salt, white or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp each cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, fennel seeds.
  • 1 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced thinly)
  • Juice from 4 limes (or ~5 tbsp of lime juice)
  • 1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (most grocery stores have this in their “ethnic foods” section)
  • Various taco toppings (we used roasted red, green, yellow, and ancho peppers, diced iceberg lettuce, greek yogurt, diced tomatoes, salsa, and mexican rice)
  • Flour or corn tortillas

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, add all the spices (other than the garlic cloves) & ground coffee to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Chop 4-5 of the canned chipotle peppers, add to the mixture. Simmer for 4-5 mins, so the salt/sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool (approx. 1 hour, or until room temperature. You can put it in the fridge if you want to speed up the cooling, too.) Note that this mix will taste pretty gross on its own (because it’s very salty), but should smell good. You have to make a strong brine for it to really affect the meat.
  3. Add the lemon juice and garlic to the cooled brine, and pour into a large zip-loc bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag removing as much air as possible, then massage the brine into the chicken. We allowed the chicken to brine for 5-6 hours, massaging every few hours, although I’m sure it’d still be pretty good if you only have a few hours to brine (similarly, overnight might enhance the flavors more.)
  4. Once the chicken has marinated, remove from the brine and add to a medium-hot pan. It’s good if pieces of garlic/chipotle peppers are still stuck to the meat. feel free to add a little more paprika/cumin/black pepper to the chicken, but wouldn’t add more salt (the brine should make it salty enough). Cook until chicken is firm, ~12-15 mins. Let the chicken rest for 5 mins before serving.
  5. For the tortillas, we just started lightly charring them on the stove top, just putting them quickly on top of the gas range (maybe 10-15 secs each side.) We thought this added some nice flavor!
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For Those Pizza Lovers …

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If it was feasible to not gain¬†300 lbs, I would eat pizza every night for the rest of my life. I just never get sick of it, and no matter what toppings you put on it, I’ll eat it.

This Chicken Pesto flat bread was down right amazing. Nick came up with the idea because he was craving pesto of some sort. So we hit up the local pizzeria on our walk home from the park and bought some fresh dough. Side note, we have tried to make our own dough before, and realized when it comes to flat breads, it’s much easier to spend the 3$ at your local pizza shop and it will save you a ton of time.

The great part of flat breads is you can get as creative as you wish, and always change it up each time. We like to load it up with a ton of veggies and always a protein of some sort. Instead of a tomato sauce or cheese base, we incorporated the pesto spread. We topped it with¬†grilled chicken, sauteed spinach, red peppers, red onions, and jalapenos. ¬†P.S.¬†Half way through the dish, we realized we had forgotten to sprinkle¬†the feta cheese on top. Honestly though, with the strong pesto taste, you really don’t need it.

Little Miss Char has a big week coming up. We are starting solids after our doctors appointment today. Say a nice prayer for us that it goes smoothly!! It’s also Nick’s birthday on Thursday, so it’s time to get some of his favorite things and wrap some gifts. Not going to lie, it’s been a rocky last few days here in the Langan household, as Char has come down with a little bug and has not been herself (and by not been herself, I mean I have had to hold her non stop for about 48 hours). ¬†However, she woke up today with all smiles, so we are hoping we are through the worst! Luckily, she timed her bug quite well, considering we have our doctors appointment today anyways.

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Pesto Chicken and Spinach Flat Bread: 

Ingredients: serves 4

For the pizza:

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced and roasted
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese (optional)
  • dash of cornmeal

For the pesto:

  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 cup of pine nuts or pecans (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 dash of chili flakes
  • 1 dash of kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 dash of lemon juice

Directions for the pesto:

  1. In a food processor, coarsely chop the basil with 2 tsp of olive oil. Add the rest of the spices, garlic, and pine nuts and blend until you get the desired texture (I like it fairly finely blended). Add additional salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste.

Directions for the pizza:

  1.  Heat the oven to 475 with the pizza stone inside (you want the pizza stone to be hot to get the bottom crispy.
  2. ¬†Dust the surface you’re going to make the pizza on (we just used a plastic cutting board) with a generous amount of cornmeal.
  3. Form the pizza dough into a pizza crust. We spun it in the air a few times, but mostly cheated and just spread it with our hands on the cutting board. You want it to be pretty thin in the area you put the toppings, and the crust should be thinner than you’d guess (about the same size as your finger… believe me, it puffs up a lot.) ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†*** hint: only add the toppings right before you transfer the pizza to the oven, or the crust will start to get soggy and stick to your work surface!
  4. Add the pesto, spreading evenly, as well as the onions and red peppers. Brush the crust with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Place in oven for ~15 mins.
  5.  While the pizza starts baking, prepare the blackened chicken. Butterfly the breasts, salt, & pepper, then sprinkle generously with equal parts cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano, thyme. Cook over medium/high heat until spices are blackened and chicken is cooked.
  6. Slice the breasts thinly, then add to the cooking pizza.
  7. ¬†Once the pizza is pretty much done (~25 mins, but check after 20 to see how it’s coming along), mix the spinach with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add it to the pizza. Also add the feta (if desired). You only want to cook the spinach for 1-2 mins, as it wilts quickly.

Below are a few weekend pics … Happy almost 6 months little bug!

 

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