Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moving to Wordpress

Hi everyone. The Cookin' Chemist is moving to WordPress.

You can find my new website here. You should be able to update your email subscriptions and RSS feeds there. Thank you for bearing with me on this transition!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Week 4: Friday Favorites

Well, I definitely missed Friday Favorites last week. See there's this big football game that always happens to be the Friday after Thanksgiving around these parts it ends up starting pretty early in the morning (Go Big RED!). By the time I remembered Friday Favorites last week, it was already pretty late in the day. Eh, we're back on track this week.

It's looking a little more like Christmas here. We have our tree up, and I've been pinning Christmas cookies like crazy on Pinterest. Now, if I can only get the recipes narrowed down! Here are some of my favorite finds for the week - or past 2 weeks :) 

Favorite Pizza Idea. Beer Pizza Dough by The Beeroness. We make a lot of homemade pizza around here, so I am always on the hunt for new pizza ideas. Beer in the pizza crust is certainly not an idea I would have come up with on my own!

Favorite Homemade Christmas Decor. Wine Cork Christmas Trees by Stonewall Kitchen. So cute. I especially love the stains from the red wine corks. 
Favorite Funny. MemeCats by Yes, I find many of these funny. I blame my  schooling.
MemeCats: Hipster Chemistry Cat

Favorite Christmas Cookie. Peppermint Crumble Bars by Something Swanky. I often end up with an impulse purchase of these peppermint chips around the holidays. I know exactly what I am doing with them this year. These look so good!

Favorite Jewelry Find. DNA Pendant by Think Geek. See the chemistry joke above.

Favorite Sweet-Salty Treat. Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites by What Megan's Making. I shouldn't even need to sell you on these. The picture alone is enough.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Favorite Dinner Idea. Spicy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos by Tali's Tomatoes. I want one of these right now. Love it when healthy tastes this good! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chicken and Avocado Enichiladas

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. I missed the Friday Favorites last week due to my parents being in town, but I'll be back on schedule this week. I worked Thanksgiving Day, so we just had a smaller meal consisting of soup, homemade bread, and definitely desserts! It was kind of nice to have Thanksgiving on a smaller scale, but I am missing those turkey leftovers. I think the leftovers may be my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal!

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, I'm sure you could swap the chicken in these for some of that leftover turkey. In fact, if you have turkey, I would be more than willing to take some of it so I can make these again! Avocado, cilantro, peppers, and Monterey Jack cheese. That list should speak for itself. These are good. Definitely in the running for favorite enchilada dish around here!
The recipe for these comes from Gimmie Some Oven, and I made them largely as written. My only swaps were small - plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and whole wheat tortillas. My other addition was to add a little shredded cheese on top of the dish. If you do this, be careful with the foil. In fact, you may want to spray the bottom of it with nonstick spray or much of your melty cheese may stick to the foil. Not that I would know... :)

Chicken or turkey. Greek yogurt or sour cream. You won't regret making these. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Avocado Enchiladas
Adapted slightly from Gimme Some Oven

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 poblano peppers, seeded and stemmed, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and stemmed, diced
8-10 (I had a little filling left) whole wheat enchiladas
4 cups shredded cooked chicken (or turkey)
2-3 cups Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Avocado Cream Sauce:
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or stock)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime

For the avocado cream sauce, melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add flour, whisking until golden brown and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the broth into the flour mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the Greek yogurt, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Whisk as necessary to remove any lumps. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a heat-safe bowl. Add avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. Blend using an immersion blender until smooth. Alternately, you can let the mixture cool slightly and then blend in a traditional blender.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan. In another skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, and jalapeno, and saute for 5-6 minutes until the onions become translucent. Remove from heat. Mix in the shredded chicken. 

Spread a little avocado sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan. To assemble the enchiladas, place a tortilla on a flat surface. Spread some avocado sauce on the top 1/3 of the tortilla. Top with the chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Repeat until the pan is full or you have used all the filling. Spread the remaining avocado sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Spray a piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover the pan with the spray-side down. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dish is heated through and the tortillas being to harden. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overnight Crusty Bread

I've had a couple complete flops in the kitchen lately. I'm sure anyone who regularly cooks new recipes has a few that turn out just okay. Not horrible, but not good enough to spend time making again (especially in a blogger household!). These weren't that. They were bad. Like throw it out because we will not eat it bad. The first was a pumpkin frozen yogurt that I attempted to make with plain greek yogurt. The second, a beer bread that I am attempting to blame on skunky beer :) 

As you can see, I was due for one of those "wow recipes." This was it for us. In fact, my husband's exact comment was, "Did you make this? It looks like it came from a bakery." He's already asking me to make it again, less than a week after I made it the first time.
The best part about that. This might be one of the easiest recipes I've ever made. The only caveat is that the recipe needs an oven-proof pot with a lid. You spend 5 minutes mixing together 4 ingredients the night before. Let it sit overnight, put it in a pot, and bake it. That's it. A hearty crusty loaf with little to no effort. Better yet, you can easily add herbs or cheese to the mixing part if you want. I think I'm seeing a repeat side to all those soups I've been talking about on here. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Overnight Crusty Bread
From Jo Cooks Amazing Recipes, Originally from Simply So Good

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups room temperature water

Mix the flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl. Add herbs or cheese if desired. Add the water and mix until the mixture has just pulled together. It will be sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set on the counter for 12-24 hours. 

When ready to bake, place a cast-iron or other oven-safe pot (with a lid) in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Flour your work surface and hands and form the dough into a rough ball. Take the pot out of the oven. Drop the ball of dough into the pot. Cover and bake (with the lid on) for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for another 15-20 minutes to allow the bread to brown. Let cool almost completely prior to slicing.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Week 3: Friday Favorites

Wow. Friday already. This last week flew! Not too many plans for the weekend this time as the hubbs and I work opposite days - I'm on Saturday, he works Sunday. I have a list of odds and ends things to work on, so it will be nice to have some time to get them done. 

Speaking of odds and ends, we've had a garden here for almost 2 years now and have always started each season with the started plants from the nursery. We've tried seeds a couple of times, actually pumpkin plants both times. The first time nothing grew, and the second time, a monsoon drowned our lone seedling. Well, a week or so ago when I planted our winter garden, I thought I'd try my luck with seeds for kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. I am really exicted and happy to report that I have four rows of little seedlings. Enough, in fact, that I'm going to have to thin them out. Fingers crossed the plants make it!

Well, without further ado, I'll get onto my favorite links for the week. Hope you have a great weekend planned!

Favorite Outing: Phoenix Hot Air Balloon Rides. Early this year, my husband and I made a 30 Things Before 30 list, which is basically a list of things we want to do or experience before we both turn 30. This hot air balloon ride is high on my list!

Balloon rides in Phoenix Arizona

Favorite Side: Crusty bread by Jo Cooks Amazing Recipes. I have been wanting to make a bread recipe like this forever, and I finally have an oven-proof pot. I'm thinking this needs to be the side next time I make soup! 

Favorite Cleaning Tip: How to Clean Dirty Blinds by Keep Home Simple. We have blinds on almost every window in our house, so I can definitely use this idea! Doesn't it seem like you can use vinegar to clean everything?

Favorite Quote by Modern Hepburn.
A favorite.

Favorite Breakfast: Pumpkin Maple Granola by Vintage Mixer. Seasonal granola with less sugar. My husband eats granola and yogurt almost every morning, so I like to have homemade on hand when I have time to make it.
Pumpkin Granola Recipe

Favorite Down-Home Decor. Heart in States by The Harpster Home. Love Arizona, but we are Nebraskans at heart. Love this. 

Favorite Holiday Appetizer. Mini Taco Cups by Tracey's Culinary Adventures. It's been a little while since Tracey posted these, but how perfect would these be as an appetizer for all those holiday parties. I'm thinking they may be my contribution to the potluck at work next week.
Mini Chicken Taco Cups

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

So an update from my Friday Favorites from last week... The NASCAR race was a ton of fun! It ended up being an exciting race, and it is always nice to catch up with friends you haven't seen in a while.

The hubbs and I have been on a soup kick lately. It's in full drive now that the weather is really starting to cool down, but truthfully the soup kick started long before that. In fact, I think the vast majority of recipes I have ready to post are either soup or some form of dessert. 
What really caught my eye about this soup was the inclusion of peanuts. I have seen peanuts and peanut butter in stir-fry type dishes, but never in a soup. I was intrigued to say the least. So how was the result? Delicious. Other than those for the garnish, the peanuts are pureed, and together with the sweet potato, they add some thickness and creaminess to the soup. In addition, with veggie prep, the soup can be ready in just over 30 minutes. Pair it with some crusty bread for a warming, quick, awesome meal. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup
From Healthy Seasonal Recipes

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups diced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable/low-sodium chicken broth
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 can (13 oz) light coconut milk
3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
3 Tbsp. lime juice
chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, Sriracha for garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion starts to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add celery, broth, sweet potato, and salt. Cover, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and very soft, about 15 minutes.

If using a stand blender, let the soup cool slightly. Blend about half the soup in two batches and return to the pot. If using an immersion blender, partially blend the soup in the pot, leaving some pieces of vegetables. Puree the coconut milk and peanuts until smooth in a blender or in a bowl with the immersion blender. Add the coconut mixture and lime juice to the soup. Cook for a few minutes on low-medium heat to warm through. Do not boil. Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and Sriracha. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Week 2: Friday Favorites

Wow. This past week flew! We have some friends headed into town this weekend, so I will be joining my husband and the other boys at my very first NASCAR race. I know aabsolutely nothing about NASCAR (other than the fact that they make left turns all the way around the track), so we'll see how it goes. Either way, it should be fun :)

Without further ado, here are some of my finds for the week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Favorite Holiday Gift. Homemade Vanilla Extract by Averie Cooks. What a cute gift for all those extra people that pop up on your holiday list. I have wanted to do this for holiday gifts for a couple years now, but I never get it started on time. Looks like I better get going! 

Favorite Soup. Ham, Bean, and Kale Soup by Clawson Live. My last year of pharmacy school I lived with some friends that made the best ham and bean soup. It's something I never really had prior to living with them, but man do I crave it. It was one of those meals that she just made, without a recipe and is something that I have to replicate. This one looks close!

Favorite Decor. Painted Pantry Door by The House of Smiths. I never would have thought of this on my own, but I love the contrast it adds. Beautiful!

Favorite Funny.

Favorite Breakfast. Crumbly Pumpkin Bread by Damn Delicious. The streusel. I can't even. This needs to happen before pumpkin season is over!

Favorite Jewelry. Thumbprint Pendants. How cute would this be for a bride and groom, or even for your children. Love it. You can also make rings and other types of jewelry.
Sterling Silver Custom Double Thumbprints Heart Pendant or Charm

Favorite Salad. Sizzling Asian Steak Salad by Iowa Girl Eats. Salad for me. Asian flavors for him. Pretty sure this would be a hit in our house. Love Kristin's recipes! 

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