Sticky Sesame Wings

I always know a recipe is good when Ron requests that I make it again as soon as we’re done eating… and I know it’s especially awesome when he requests I make it for his birthday dinner! This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is one of those awesome recipes. In my book Deb over at Smitten Kitchen can do no wrong… I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that she’s writing a new cookbook! This dish is so simple, pretty much foolproof, and perfect for a weeknight dinner, or birthday feast!

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Sticky Sesame Wings

Serves 4 (in theory……)

Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken wings (I used the small party wings from Whole Foods- in my opinion they are the perfect size)
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp honey (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of sriracha
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 scallion, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with baking foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or oil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and cayenne or sriracha. Add the wings, and mix until well covered with sauce. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet, and pour any sauce that remains in the bowl on top.

3. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning once.

4. When cooked through, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Happy Monday all! We’ve made it through the first day of the week, and hopefully everyone survived intact! Personally, I find Tuesdays to be even harder though, so if I can just make it through tomorrow I’ll be okay ūüôā

I thought that you would appreciate a ¬†healthy, refreshing salad to start off this week, especially with the high humidity and temperatures that are hitting the Northeast, and other parts of the country as well. Today it was over 90 degrees here, and that will continue for the next couple of days. This is a perfect salad for summer… good for lunch, a light dinner, or a dish to bring to a picnic or party. I made my salad with honey (as I didn’t have agave in my pantry), but if you use agave then this will be vegan. It is also gluten-free, so it great for those with food restrictions and/or allergies! Most importantly, it is delicious!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup plum tomatoes, finely diced

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3-4 limes)

2 tsp honey (or light agave nectar)

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced (optional)

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

Mixed greens, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. To toast the cumin seeds, place a small skillet over low heat, add the cumin seeds, and toss for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.

2. In a large bowl, add the toasted cumin seeds, tomatoes, lime juice, honey or agave, and grapeseed oil. Mix together. Add the quinoa, and stir well to combine. Add the beans, scallions, cilantro, avocado (if using), and jalapenos (if using), and mix in gently. Season to taste with salt. Serve over greens, if desired.

Source: slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I think a recurring theme on my blog seems to be a love for quick and easy meals. Most of the meals I cook are weeknight meals. Meals that have to be pretty simple to put together since I am usually exhausted when I get home from work. I love meals that have simple ingredients, easy prep, but are still full of delicious and exciting flavors. I love to cook the more elaborate meal from time to time (usually this can only happen on the weekend), but I’d estimate that probably more than 75% of the things I cook are of the quick and easy variety, and this is something I have no problem with. Stir-fries are one of my go-to weeknight meals. I’m always on the lookout for a good one. I love that stir-fries encompass both protein and veggies, eliminating the need for multiple side dishes, and other than the prep work of slicing and dicing your ingredients, the actual cooking part is very quick. I also love the flavors that go into a stir-fry- soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey in this one for example, chile sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce in others… This shrimp and broccoli stir-fry makes for a wonderful weeknight (or weekend) meal. It comes together quickly, is healthy, and most importantly, is very tasty! I loved the slight sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the red pepper flakes, the saltiness from the soy sauce, and the tang from the rice vinegar. A great balance of flavors!

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided

1/4 cup scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the cornstarch and toss together. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the shrimp from the pan (place in a bowl or plate).

2. Add 1 1/2 tsp of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic, and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the scallion mixture to the same dish that the shrimp is on.

3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, and add the broccoli. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp/scallion mixture, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute more until the shrimp are cooked through and the broccoli is tender. Serve over rice if desired.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2013

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

This is another winner of a make-ahead weekday breakfast recipe! They are the second breakfast recipe I’ve made from¬†The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and once again Deb doesn’t disappoint. I loved the combination of oats, almonds and dates, and this is a recipe that is open to endless adaptation. You could change up the nuts, the dried fruits, the nut butter… just make sure you keep the ratios the same. They are way healthier than the prepackaged granola bar as there is relatively little sugar (just the honey and dates), and the fats are healthy olive oil and almond butter. There’s no high fructose corn syrup, no processed sugar, and no¬†unpronounceable¬†ingredients. I will definitely be making these regularly, and I will be trying some adaptations as well. I’m thinking dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots…. walnuts, pecans… maybe a little coconut… there are just so many possibilities!

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Makes 16 2-inch square bars

Ingredients:

1 cup (150 grams) dried pitted dates, chopped

1 1/4 cups (110 grams) quick rolled oats (or old-fashioned oats)

3 Tbsp (22 grams) barley or whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup (35 grams) wheat germ

1/2 cup (55 grams) thinly sliced almonds

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (65 grams) almond butter

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

1/4 cup (85 grams) honey

1/4 tsp freshly grated orange zest

1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper- one sheet in one direction, and one sheet in the other direction, to form a parchment sling with which to remove the bars when they are finished.

2. In a large bowl, add the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt and cinnamon, and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl, add the almond butter, olive oil, honey , orange zest and almond extract, and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir together until well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and spread out evenly. (Deb recommends using a piece of plastic wrap to cover your hand so that you can press down on the mixture firmly without making a mess.)

4. Place in oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown around the edges. When you remove the pan, the top will still be soft and might seem like it isn’t completely baked, but as it cools, it will set.

5. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack. You can also remove the bars using the sling after about 20 minutes, and let cool on the rack and not in the pan. This will speed up the cooling process. You can also place them in the fridge to cool faster. Cut into 16 pieces with a serrated knife. They may be a bit crumbly (as mine were), but will mostly hold together! Cutting them when they are cold will help them stay together better.

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Another good oat-bar recipe: These Cherry-Date Oat Bars from the Whole Living Action Plan

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Green beans are one of the few vegetables I can actually get my boyfriend Ron to eat happily, and roasting them is his favorite way to eat them. The first time I roasted green beans they were roasted and then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (I will be sure to post that recipe in the near future), so when I saw that the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook had several variations of roasted green beans I got quite excited! I chose these roasted sesame green beans to go alongside the ginger-hoisin glazed shrimp because I figured the flavors would go together perfectly, and they absolutely did! I love how roasting the green beans makes them slightly crispy, and adds just another layer of flavor to them. This is a wonderfully easy, but not boring at all, side dish- perfect for a busy weekday night!

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp honey

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 lb Green Beans, trimmed

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tsp sesame seeds, toasted*

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the sesame oil, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and on the baking sheet toss together the green beans and olive oil. Add the 1/2 tsp of salt, and mix together. Spread out in an even layer.

3. Place in oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, pour the garlic-ginger sauce over the beans, and toss with tongs. Place back in the oven and back for another 10-12 minutes, until the beans are starting to shrivel and are dark in spots.

4. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. (You may use less than the entire 4 tsp of sesame seeds.)

Source: The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

*To toast the sesame seeds, either toast in heavy skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, or you can toast them in a preheated 350 degree oven for a few minutes- I’d start checking them around 3 minutes, as they can go from perfect to burnt very quickly.

 

Banana-Apple Buckwheat Muffins

Weekend breakfasts are wonderful! I love taking my time in the kitchen cooking up some bacon and fried eggs, an omelet or the occasional batch of pancakes, but I am always on the hunt for good weekday breakfast recipes. Because I have to be at work at the bright and early hour of 7 AM, I don’t have time or energy in the morning for a long leisurely breakfast, and even cooking something quick like eggs turns me off because of the dishes it dirties cooking them. These banana-apple buckwheat muffins are a perfect solution. They can be made a couple of days in advance, they are healthier than regular muffins as they are pretty low in sugar (and the sugar comes from natural sources- honey, banana and apple), and to top it off, they are very tasty! This is my first time cooking with buckwheat flour, but it definitely won’t be my last. It’s a great source of protein and is naturally gluten-free!

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Banana-Apple Buckwheat Muffins
Makes 4 Muffins

Ingredients:
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 mashed banana
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet apple finely diced (honeycrisp or pink lady would work well)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a muffin tin, place 4 baking cups.
2. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to a bowl and whisk together. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, banana, and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Add the apples and walnuts, and fold in.
3. Split the batter between the 4 baking cups. Fill the empty cups with water. (This will help the muffins to bake evenly.)
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool on a rack.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

Here are some other recipes using buckwheat flour that I’ve come across in my search so far that I’m itching to try:

Chocolate Buckwheat Cake (David Lebovitz)
Vegan and Gluten-Free Vanilla Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (Oh She Glows)
Yeasted Buckwheat Pancakes (Not Without Salt)
Buckwheat Crepes (Gluten-Free Girl)

Roasted Beets on Greens

My mom always says that when I was a baby I LOVED beets. I have to laugh when I think about how much of a mess I must have made trying to eat beets- the stains that must have resulted from that! Nowadays I still love beets, but it is so rare that I actually eat them.

Ron is so picky about vegetables that I pretty much stick to those he’ll eat- lettuce, peppers, onions, cucumbers, mushrooms (I know- not technically a vegetable)… This is another reason that I’ve been enjoying this detox- I actually have a reason to buy vegetables I don’t usually purchase, and it has also allowed me to make some things for myself that I wouldn’t ordinarily have made, as I try to cook things that Ron will eat as well. This has allowed me to discover some really great recipes, and also has inspired me to seek out more variation in meals (such as lunch) that I am only cooking for myself.

These roasted beets on green were great! At first glance I did not think this recipe would satisfy me, but the amount of food is deceptive. I also was a little leery of using the fennel seeds and caraway seeds in the vinaigrette as they are not (or at least I thought they weren’t) my favorite flavors, but I ended up loving the flavors in this. I had this as a lunch the first week of the detox, but it could also work as a side dish to a more substantial main dish if you cut down the portions.


Roasted Beets on Greens
Serves 4 (as a main)

Ingredients:
2 bunches beets, trimmed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups baby spinach, divided
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, divided
Thinly sliced red onion

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beet in tinfoil, and roast for about an hour, until tender. Remove from oven, let cool, and then peel the beets and dice them.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, fennel, and caraway seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beets to the bowl, and toss together.
3. To serve, toss each serving of beets with 1 cup of baby spinach and 1/4 cup of parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with slices of red onion.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013