Thai Peanut Satay Shrimp Pasta

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Hello all!

I realized just what a long title I gave this post, as I do have a tendency to do that. But let’s just roll with it!

I originally was inspired a few weeks ago to create a new recipe utilizing thai sweet chili sauce. Now, I’ve been struggling to attain that delicious sweet and spicy taste at home and I’ve been testing out a few other bloggers’ recipes but I still can’t seem to master the taste I’m looking for without it turning out too vinegar-y or lacking in that vibrant red color. (Help a sista out if you have any favorite recipes, I’m always looking to try them!)

Anyways, I ended up deciding to do a peanut satay sauce for a spaghetti with shrimp and veggies, which definitely turned out as expected! In undergrad, I became slightly obsessed with pad thai and stir fry day at my campus’s cafeteria. They usually always had a certain day in which they offered a spicy peanut sauce to go with the stir fry, which obviously I always devoured. So I figured it was time to get back to business with figuring out a new recipe to try that involved peanut satay.

This recipe is easy, but does involve a bit of multi-tasking. I tweaked a new peanut satay that I wanted to try and I really enjoyed it. Compliments of She Simmers–here. I did omit the vinegar and I only used a little bit of sugar and salt, but other than that, I would highly recommend giving this recipe a try!

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Ingredients: (Yields about 4-6 servings) 

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat linguine
  • 3 cups cooked, peeled frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 12-ounce can water chestnuts
  • 1 medium zucchini, spiraled
  • 3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp thai garlic chili paste
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 13.5-ounce condensed unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Directions: 

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook linguine according to packaging and then drain.
  2. In a large wok, or saucepan with lid over medium heat, combine carrots, water chestnuts, shrimp and carrots and sauté for 5-7 minutes with garlic powder.
  3. While the ingredients in the wok are cooking, in another medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, chili paste, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and continue to simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the peanut satay mixture over ingredients in the wok. Top with chopped peanuts and serve warm.

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza Rolls

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Happy New Year all and I hope your holidays were full of tons of fun, good eats, and quality time with family! Mine sure were. Dare I say, full of too much food. Yep, I said it. I’m on food overload and ready to start back with some simple and healthier recipes.

Now, that said, these buffalo chicken rolls aren’t exactly the healthiest, but they are simple. We’ll save the healthy for later this week.

But, trying to save myself with the healthy thing, the first time I made these rolls, I did use whole wheat pizza dough. Fair’s fair.

Back to business…these are super yummy, are great for a snack, meal, or party appetizer. I made these for a New Year’s Eve party. The right amount of heat and then the dough together are a great savory combination.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can crescent roll dough (about 8 rolls)
  • 3/4 package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or ground through a food processer
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Frank’s red hot sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you want it.
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/3 cup shredded mixed cheddar cheeses.
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • flour, as needed

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with a hand-held mixer, combine the cream cheese, ground cooked chicken, hot sauce, and ranch dressing until well mixed, about 5-7 minutes on a medium speed.
  3. Unroll out crescent roll dough onto a floured surface and being to scoop buffalo chicken mixture onto the middle of each of the crescent triangles. About a tablespoon works best.
  4. Top each roll with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and fold over and pinch shut to ensure no filling spills out while baking and place in a baking dish.
  5. With a brush, brush the melted butter and garlic over the rolls. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

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Garlic Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Bake

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I have this sort of tendency to watch Ina Garten when I’m off from work. Yeah, I mean she can be pretentious and what not, but her food is pretty damn good.

Pesto Ingredients
Pesto Ingredients

Anywhooo. I wanted to make a chicken bake. I’m going to a Christmas party on Saturday and I wanted to try out a new recipe before I brought it to the party. I remembered one episode she made a garlic lemon-y chicken bake that sounded pretty superb ( And I bet it smelled pretty superb too). And I mean, come on, who doesn’t love garlic? Amiright? I’m pretty sure I season more with garlic than I do with pepper. That is not even a joke.

Okay. I really need to learn to stay on topic. So partially inspired by Ina’s little chicken bake, I decided I wanted to do a pesto with a garlic sauce for the chicken to bake in. Let me tell you…the smell was outta this world. Basil-y and garlic-y and and fresh. It smelled so warm and delicious. I added mozzarella on top before baking and a little parmesan. This chicken bake is perfect for your next weeknight meal or easy holiday bake.

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For the Pesto: (Yields about 3/4 cup pesto)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Simply blend or pulse all ingredients in a food processor for about 2-3 minutes or until mainly smooth with tiny chunks still visible.

For the Chicken Bake: (Yields 4 chicken breasts)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup pesto (see above)
  • 8 oz fresh whole mozzarella cheese, sliced into chunks
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 4 slices (optional)
  1. In a medium baking dish, pour wine, lemon juice, and olive oil and garlic.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and then place in the baking dish and fully coat with pesto.
  3. Top with mozzarella on the chicken breasts and tomatoes in the dish.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes, until chicken in cooked thoroughly.

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Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs

Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs
Smoky Cider-Glazed Meatballs

Apple cider season is nearly over! I can’t believe the holidays are upon us. I feel like this past Autumn really flew by in a whirlwind of busy days. But alas, all good things must come to an end and new seasons must start.

Not to get off on a rant or anything, butttt I kind of love all seasons. I just really enjoy the changing weather, clothes, activities and what not. I guess it’s one of the perks to living in Pittsburgh. The weather is literally always changing. I don’t think ‘consistent’ is a word that Pittsburghers are familiar with when it comes to weather. Now, I’m probably also not the first to say that the winter weather is really slushy and gross. Bottom line: It generally sucks, but there are a few days here and there with some nice crisp snow.

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Anyyyywho, little rant over. Back to business. So I’ve been wanting to try my hand at meatballs for a while now. It’s kind of embarrassing to say that I’ve actually never made them. But of course, since I can’t have things normal like your regular Italian meatballs with spaghetti, I wanted to try my hand at cider-glazed meatballs. Yep, that’s right. The sweet, tangy cider with savory spiced meatballs. Ohhh yeah.

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I had done some research earlier in the week about y’know, the meatball basics; what I need to bind everything together, basic savory flavors that would pair well with the tanginess and tartness of the cider, etc. This was pretty helpful, though, I gotta say. (I need to tone it down on the commas. I know.) I knew I had some frozen ground pork and so I went with that. (You can also use ground turkey for a healthier, leaner option.)  It did not take me very long at all to make these little guys and they turned out exactly how I wanted them to!

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Ingredients for the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs (Italian crumbs also work well for this recipe!)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Ingredients for the Cider Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Meatballs: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two medium baking sheets.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly with hands until well-combined.
  3. Roll out tablespoon-sized balls and place onto the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, remove about 10 minutes before timer is up to pour some of the glaze on and then resume baking until cooked completely and brown all the way through.

For the Glaze: 

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the corn starch and whisk well.
  2. Over medium heat, pour mixture into a small saucepan. Add the cornstarch and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and pour half of mixture over meatballs and save half of mixture to pour after meatballs are done cooking.

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Winter White Turkey Chili

Butternut squash, turkey chili
Butternut squash, turkey chili

Chili is one of those “throw it all together in a pot and it’s gonna be great!” kind of hearty meals. I’ve recently developed an enjoyment and appreciation for chili. It’s so easy, flavorful, and you can take it in for lunch the next day (my favorite!).

So this chili definitely wasn’t what I had envisioned in my mind. Not even close. I originally wanted to do a hearty, meaty chili with lots of beans. This was pretty far from that idea. But I still think it was fantastic! (And if you don’t trust me, I even had an audience approval for it.)

No. It's a butternut squash.
No. It’s a butternut squash.

Nevertheless, I opted for a lighter, ground turkey chili. I knew I wanted to involve butternut squash somehow, seeing as though it’s a perfect end of Autumn/early Winter vegetable. I checked my pantry, and of course: No black or kidney beans. Bummer. BUT I did find some garbanzo beans! Now, you’re probably thinking, “ummm that sounds pretty weird”. Trust me, it was a great cooking decision. I spiced everything thoroughly with chili powder, chipotle powder, paprika, cumin, and a tiny touch of cinnamon and this chili was mighty tasty. The flavors really worked well together and the sweetness of the butternut squash was very prevalent despite all the spice. Now that, my friends, is what I like to call a win-win. This was such a nice, healthy meal.

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What are some of your favorite flavor combinations with chili? Any other healthy but hearty suggestions?

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Ingredients: (Yields 4-6 servings/bowls) 

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas!)
  • 20 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 

  1. Cut and peel the butternut squash. I cut off about 1/2 inch from both ends and then I peeled the entire squash with a potato peeler. Then I sliced approximately 1/2 inch circles and then chopped each cube. Pro tip: You will definitely want a large chef’s knife for this job!
  2. Season ground turkey with 1 tsp chili powder, salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium stockpot over medium heat, add ground turkey and minced garlic and simmer until brown, about 5-7 minutes. Tip: Add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help the turkey from not sticking and burning.
  4. While turkey simmers, dice onion and yellow pepper and add to the pot along with the cubed butternut squash. If your pot has a lid, cover and let the vegetables cook for about 7-10 minutes, increasing heat slightly. If uncovered, stir frequently and allow for 5 extra minutes of cooking time.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and remaining spices and stir.
  6. Add the chicken broth and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat, stir for a few minutes, then remove from heat and serve.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Spinach & Artichoke Dip

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Spinach and artichoke dip is one of my newfound favorite pub/bar/restaurant snacks to order as an appetizer. I never really had a taste for the flavors together before, but as they say, your tastebuds change every so many years. I knew I wanted to make my own recipe for this dip, as usually when I follow recipes I’ve found online, the texture is usually too thick and creamy or too watery. I also was partially inspired by an appetizer I had gotten at an Irish pub in Myrtle Beach. Their spinach & artichoke dip had a hint of lemon which really added a nice pop. That’s how I came to create my own dip!

The diced & drained artichokes.
The diced & drained artichokes.
Everything was smelling SO good at this point.
Everything was smelling SO good at this point.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-ounce can of quartered artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 1 16-ounce bag of spinach
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mixed Italian shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • Salt & pepper, to taste.
  1. Drain the artichokes and chop to get smaller, bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the artichokes, garlic, and butter and sauté.
  3. Add in the cream cheese, one cube at a time.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, shredded cheese, and lemon juice and mix thoroughly for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Fold in spinach, one handful at a time and mix together with the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring mixture until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately in a medium-sized bowl.
  7. Optional: You can also preheat the oven to 350 degrees, put the dip in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle a layer of cheese on top and bake until cheese forms a nice brown layer, about 10-15 minutes.

Recipe serves 8-10 people. 

Voila!
Voila!

This dip is so lemony and good. It really packs a punch and gives the dip an added element, and I hope you’ll think so too!

Pie Dough(!)

Finding the right pie dough can be a challenge. Some are too flaky, some turn out too soggy, and even others can be dry. My grandma always made the absolute BEST pie crusts. (I mean, whose grandma didn’t?!) But the problem herein lies that we did not obtain all of her recipes before she passed away.

Regardless, I am on the quest to find the perfect dough, and I’m not just talking texture. I’m talking flavor. Some of the recipes I’ve tried on Pinterest lately have turned out too buttery or tend to get soggier than usual…but that could just be because I live in Pittsburgh. Kidding. (But not really). Anyways, my dearest friend and roommate, Kylie, graciously shared her grandma’s recipe with me which tastes OUTRAGEOUS. Now, I have adapted this recipe, however, the dough still will end up being a but on the drier side and breakable. This is OKAY. In order to get the rich, buttery flavor, one must simply look past the flakiness and realize that the end result will be freakin’ worth it!

Pie Dough Recipe (Used for savory and sweet pies and quiches).

All the ingredients you will need, flour and crisco have already been added.
All the ingredients you will need, flour and crisco have already been added.
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup crisco, chilled
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine, chilled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-5 tbsp. ice cold water.

Yields 1 9-inch pie crust. (To save you some time and math, this recipe doubled for a top crust would be 3 1/2 cups flour, 2/3 cup crisco, 2/3 cup butter, 2 tsp. salt, and 8-10 tbsp. water).

To make pie dough:

  1. Sift flour and salt into medium-large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter and crisco using either a pastry blender or two forks, until the butter and crisco form pea-sized chunks.

    This is roughly what the dough should look like after butter and crisco have been cut in.
    This is roughly what the dough should look like after butter and crisco have been cut in.
  3. Next, add ice cold water slowly, starting to form into a round dough-ball with your hands at this point. Wrap dough in plastic wrap to chill for 30 minutes and then roll out onto floured surface.

–Rachael