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
salt

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.

shrimp2shrimp6
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)
Eggs

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

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

There are many reasons why I love living in Seattle. One of the reasons is definitely not the lack of Taco Tuesday’s. Taco Tuesday takes the worst day of the week and turns it into one of the best. It basically give you something to live for, if your life sucks and you love tacos, that is. I mean, how can you beat soft corn tortillas made right in front of your face, endless chips and salsa and $3 margaritas? But, isn’t it Thursday? Whatevs, it’s Taco Tuesday somewhere.taco5

Now, I didn’t make the tortillas from scratch, but I did fry them to make the crunchy shells…that has to count for something, right?taco1 taco2 taco4

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

1 pound lean, grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s taco seasoning (not the other crappy brands filled with food coloring and cancer)
8 corn tortillas
pico de gallo
shredded mexican cheese
chopped romaine lettuce
oil for frying (canola or olive)

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium/high heat in a large sauté or frying pan and add the ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook until done, stirring frequently.

In a separate large frying pan, heat 1-2 inches of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds then flip and fry for 30 more seconds. Using tongs, bend the tortilla into the shape of a taco shell (hold the tortilla in place with the tongs if necessary) and fry until golden and crispy, flipping sides as needed. Repeat with each tortilla. Place shells on a paper towel to cool and to remove some of the excess oil.

Load the cheese into the tortilla, top with the ground beef, pico de gallo and lettuce, grab a margarita and enjoy! Olé!taco3 taco6

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

When I’m sick, the first thing I crave is sugar chicken noodle soup, and boy am I sick! I’m talking sinus infection, ear infection, can’t breath out of my nose sick. And since I spent the last weekend indulging in margaritas and tacos-galore in Mexico, I figured it was time I whipped up a batch of my homemade chicken noodle and tried to nurse myself back to health.

soup5

My mom used to make chicken noodle soup on the regular and as a kid, I longed for the canned Campbell’s crap because hers was loaded with veggies. Nowadays, the vegetable soup is just what I need, but alas, I still crave the good ole’ classic chicken noodle when I’m feeling under the weather.soup3 soup4

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

24 ounces chicken breast (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1- 8 ounce package of egg noodles
2 quarts chicken broth or stock
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling your chicken in water until done (the center of the chicken will be white) then transfer to a cutting board and chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.

While the chicken is boiling, heat a large, oiled stock pot over medium/high heat and add your mirepoix (fancy term for chopped onion, carrots and celery). Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and sauté your mirepoix until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

When the veggies are ready, slowly pour the chicken broth or stock into the pot and increase the heat to high. When the broth begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium/low, bring the soup to a simmer and add the noodles.

Let the soup simmer until the noodles are soft. Add your chopped chicken pieces and bam! You have a big pot of classic chicken noodle soup.soup2 soup7

*If you’re like me and hate chopping veggies, Trader Joe’s has a pre-made mirepoix mix and it’s the perfect amount!

BBQ Chicken !Meatballs

Last week I posted an all time favorite of mine and a great recipe to bring to potlucks or BBQs: pigs in a blanket. In an effort to keep up with the graduation theme, I chose another recipe this week that is perfect for throwing together and bringing to a BBQ, or as an appetizer at a graduation party. I give you…drum roll please: BBQ Chicken Meatballs.meatballs3

These little balls of heaven are so easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. They’re also great for binge-watching House of Cards and stuffing your face. It’s you’re call on what you want to do with them, but as for me, I choose the latter.

meatballs1

Oh, and did I mention they are gluten free, dairy free and made in the crock pot! Lazy people with food allergies rejoice!

BBQ Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
3/4 cup almond meal
1 egg
BBQ sauce (1-2 jars)
Seasoning of choice

For the seasoning, I chose to use the Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe’s, but some simple salt, pepper and garlic powder works great too!

Mix the chicken, almond meal, egg and seasoning together in a medium bowl until everything is evenly combined.

Roll out the balls to your desired size (mine were a little bit bigger than a ping pong ball) and brown on medium/high heat in an oiled pan, rotating until all of the outside is browned, don’t worry about the middle.

Pour half of your BBQ sauce into your crock pot, add the browned meatballs and cover with remaining sauce.

Cook on high for 1 1/2-2 hours and enjoy!

*If you want the meatballs to be gf/df, make sure to check the ingredients in the BBQ sauce you choose, some brands have hidden crap in them!

meatballsmeatballs2

Maple Chicken Sausage and Buttermilk Biscuit Pigs in a Blanket

pigs7
‘Tis the season, once again, for yet another generation of graduates to enter into the workforce…or college, or whatever. Bottom line is, with graduations comes BBQs and with BBQs comes food.

Let’s be honest, who goes to a graduation party for anything other than the food? Okay, maybe a lot of people, but not me. I love food, especially comfort finger food. Pigs in a Blanket are an all time favorite comfort food of mine. They remind me of childhood, and with my selective memory, I conveniently forget the heartburn associated with said food, but hey, it’s worth it, right?

Instead of the disgusting traditional crescent rolls and lil smokies version, I decided to spice things up and make Maple Chicken Sausage and Buttermilk Biscuit Pigs in a Blanket.pigs1 pigs2 pigs3

Maple Chicken Sausage and Buttermilk Biscuit Pigs in a Blanket

3 cups flour
8 ounces cold butter, cut up
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt (I used Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning)
Buttermilk
12 maple chicken sausages cut in 1/2 (fully cooked)

Pan fry or broil the chick sausages until brown and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the biscuits, add the flour, baking powder, seasoning and cold butter chunks into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low until it resembles cornmeal. Next, slowly pour some buttermilk into the dry mixture, while the mixer is running, until in forms a slightly moist dough. You want to have some crumbles, if it is too wet it will be very difficult to handle.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-1/2 an inch. Using a round cookie cutter, or small cup or pretty much anything, cut out 24 small circles. (Alternately, you can cut out small triangles by hand and roll the sausages up like the crescent rolls version.) Roll out each circle further to make an oval then roll the sausage up inside of it. Place the piggies, with the seam of the roll on the bottom, onto a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Bake the pigs for about 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are a nice golden brown. Bring those suckers to a party and enjoy! Or just eat them all at home like me, smothered in maple syrup.pigs5 pigs6 pigs4