Maple Candied Bacon

I always figured that if I ended up single and alone I would become a mountain woman in the hills of Vermont, never shave my legs and own a maple syrup farm. Whoever is reading this probably thinks I’m joking, but I kid you not, it’s the truth! Maple syrup is so freaking delicious, I could pull an Elf and slather it on my sad, cold, leftover spaghetti and eat it for breakfast. But what is (almost) equally as good as maple syrup? You guessed it: BACON. Hold the phone, what is even better than maple syrup and bacon? Yep, you guessed it again: Maple Candied Bacon. Boom.FullSizeRender-5FullSizeRender-6

Not only do you get the best of both salty and sweet worlds with this heavenly creation, but you also get a little spicy kick at the end; something for everyone, a real crowd pleaser, the answer to our prayers. Yada yada, you get it, it’s amazing, now go whip out that maple syrup and get cookin’, or rather, candyin’.

FullSizeRender-3Maple Candied Bacon

1/2-1 pound uncooked bacon strips
3 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and place a baking rack on top of it, set aside.

Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, dijon, salt and cayenne to a medium sized bowl and mix until combined. Add in the bacon one at a time and, using your hands, coat completely with the sugar mixture.

Place the sugar-coated bacon strips on the baking rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bacon is a dark brown (but not burnt). Removing the bacon too soon will result in chewy bacon, instead of crisp candied bacon.

When bacon is done, remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes then remove the bacon from the baking rack. If the bacon cools completely on the rack, it will get stuck.

Indulge in an entire pound of candied bacon, give it away as a super awesome present or break it into peices and throw it on top of your ice cream!
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Chicken Stock

I used to be a boxed chicken broth gal, solely for the convenience factor. Grab a couple of boxes, whip up some soup and boom! dinner’s done. But no more! I have discovered the flavorful glory of homemade chicken stock. The nutrients, the tastiness, the color! How could I ever go back to boxed chicken broth? Like I said, used to be.stock2stock6 stock7

Chicken stock at home is literally the easiest thing I have ever made aside from cereal. Grab one of those juicy organic rotisserie chickens from your local store (in my case: Metropolitan Market), eat it, use the leftovers for stock. Easy as pie. Not only is homemade stock laced with pertinent minerals our bodies crave, it also makes the perfect amount for a big pot of mouthwatering soup. With cold and flu season upon us, homemade stock is the way to go!stock8 stock 1 stock5

Chicken Stock

1 rotisserie chicken carcass, plus any left over scraps
1 cup carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of vinegar (I’ve used apple cider and balsamic)
8ish cups of water

Place the chicken carcass and scraps in a crock pot. Add in the veggies, salt and pepper, bay leaf and vinegar. Pour enough water into the crock pot to completely cover the ingredients.

Cook on low for 24 hours.

When ready, strain the stock and discard the solids. Use right away for some seriously delicious soup or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Original recipe here.

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Chicken Enchiladas

Growing up in California, Mexican food is a staple in my diet. I could eat Mexican food everyday and be perfectly happy about it, especially enchiladas. There’s just something about the simplicity of them, but the best part, hands down, is definitely the sauce! Oh the sauce, with its subtle spice and bold flavor, I could spoon feed it to myself…maybe with some guac.enchiladasenchiladas1enchiladas3While perusing pinterest, as one does, and combing through recipe after recipe, I came across one of the best enchilada sauce recipes ever. If you take anything at all away from this post, take the sauce! Take it I say!enchiladas7
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Chicken Enchiladas

2 tablespoons oil of your choice (I used olive)
2 tablespoons flour of your choice (corn flour is great for a gluten free option)
4 tablespoons hot mexican chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 cups chicken stock

8-10 tortillas of your choice (I used flour in the photos, but I prefer/recommend corn!)
1 batch enchilada sauce (above)
Mexican shredded cheese, about 3 cups
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 tablespoons oil
1.5 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro

Start by making your enchilada sauce: heat oil in a sauce pan over medium/high heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Add in the remaining seasonings and whisk again for one more minute. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the green chiles and salt and pepper. When onions begin to caramelize, add in the shredded chicken and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assemble the enchiladas by creating an assembly line: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, cheese. Roll up the tortillas and place in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese, place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

enchiladas9enchiladas2original recipe here

Butter Chicken

I love Indian food. First, because it is delicious. Second, because I absolutely adore anything and everything to do with India. India is my happy place, I would move there in a heart beat, but I don’t think the ol’ ball-and-chain would like that too much. So, I settle by eating Indian food on the regular at home.butter chicken 6butter chicken 4

Indian food in the US is pretty much nothing like Indian food in India, but it’s still bomb. My love for Indian food has, in the past, prevented me from attempting to make it myself because I didn’t want to ruin it and then have the gross taste of botched curry in my mind forever. But, alas, I have attempted a buttered chicken recipe, and I have to say, it is amazing.butter chicken 1butter chicken 8

Buttered Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup oil (olive or coconut)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomatoes, diced or crushed, no salt added
1 (8 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh cilantro

Add the first five ingredients to a large ziplock bag or medium size bowl and allow the chicken to marinate while you make the sauce. Alternately, you can marinate chicken overnight in the fridge.

For the sauce, heat the oil on a large sauce pan on medium heat, Add the onions and cook until golden and fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and continue to cook, stirring constantly for one more minute.

Add the tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes then add in the coconut milk. You have an option here to use and emulsion blender to create and smooth, creamy sauce. I prefer the chunks, so I left mine as is. Bring to a simmer.

Add in the marinated chicken, cover and bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat. Though it may be tempting, do not increase the heat to speed things up. The low simmer is needed for tender chicken; high heat will cause it to be tough and rubbery. Cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle, about 12 minutes.

When done, remove from heat and stir in the butter. Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy with jasmine rice and naan bread!

original recipe here

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California BLT

I’m sure most people have tried a California burger: juicy burger patty topped with guacamole, bacon and usually everything else that goes on a burger. If you haven’t, go try it now. Better yet, make a California BLT instead.blt5

Growing up in California, guacamole and avocados have always been a staple in my diet. I could literally eat chips and guac for dinner every day. Taco Tuesday? Taco everyday! As long as there’s guac.blt1blt2

My sister planted an avocado tree in front of our house when we were young, but it took 3 seasons of teenage rebellion, two dogs and one divorce for that thing to finally start producing the sweet, sweet fruit that is an avocado. And man, they were they perfect.blt4 blt6

California BTL

1 avocado
2 tablespoons pico de gallo

1 slice country bread or sourdough
1 tomato
4 bacon strips
romaine lettuce

Start by frying the bacon strips.

While the bacon is cooking, make your guacamole: cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Slice both sides of the avocado into cubes and scoop out into a bowl using a large spoon. Add the pico de gallo and salt to taste. Mix well, but leave some chunks, texture is everything!

Toast your bread and slice your tomato. When bread if toasted, slather all of that guacamole goodness on it. Top with slices of tomato, bacon strips and romaine. You can add another toasted slice of bread on top of you wish; I prefer open faced BLTs because the top toast scratches the roof of my mouth.

Enjoy!blt8 blt7

3 Ingredient Coconut shrimp

When I was a kid, I dreaded the houses on halloween that gave out the mounds and almond joys. The reason? Well, for one, my big sister loved both of those candies and would steel all of mine, without a proper candy swap. Rude. Two: I hated coconut. Since my trick-or-treating, pillow case-slinging days, my palate has matured (or as Dr Drew likes to say, muh-two-erd). shrimp9shrimp1 shrmip8

This gluten-free/dairy-free/paleo/whatever else dish is perfect, literally for anyone. I guess, unless you hate coconut…or shrimp. And only three ingredients?!?! Why yes, that is correct. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re used to cancer-laced restaurant quality (and by quality, I mean sodium-bathed) coconut shrimp, this may not be the world’s best recipe out there. However, if you enjoy real food, you will love it.

This coconut shrimp is so easy, a child could make it…but wait, there’s more. Not really, just make it already. But Brianna, that looks like it has 4 ingredients, not 3. Yeah well, the shrimp doesn’t count. Jeez.shrimp 3shrimp103 Ingredient Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Flour
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Fully cooked shrimp (thawed if using frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Pour coconut flour and shredded coconut onto two large plates. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, I ended up using 3 eggs for about 30 shrimp.

One by one, coat the shrimp in coconut flour, dip into eggs, roll in the shredded coconut and place on the lined sheet pan.

Bake shrimp for 13-16 minutes, flipping half way through. Bake until coconut is a light golden color.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and enjoy!

Dill Salmon

Do you ever have those days where you’ve deprived your body of so many nutrients for so long that all you want to do is pump vegetables into your system? Well after the 4th of July weekend, I was definitely craving some vitamins. I love crappy holiday food: chips, hot dogs, burgers, beer…but after bingeing on crap for four one day, all I could think about was salmon…and bagels, but that’s a post for another time.salm 4

My mom made fish more often than I cared for growing up, which made my life difficult, considering my hatred for vegetables and fish. I basically only wanted to eat the rice pilaf, but all of that changed when she started making salmon on the regular. Suddenly my eyes were opened to the wonderful possibilities of fish. I felt like Ratatouille when he eats the lightening-charred mushroom for the first time. There are so many different ways to cook/eat salmon, but my go to for a healthy recipe is always a simple dill salmon.salm2 salm1

Dill Salmon

Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, fresh or frozen
1/2 tablespoon butter, cold
Dill, fresh or dried
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400. If using frozen salmon, defrost over night in the fridge.

Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil. Place the salmon filet(s), skin side down, in the baking dish. Top each salmon piece with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, sprinkle generously with dill and pop in the oven.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.salm5 salm 6