Many Americans probably agree, hence the eager acceptance of Cinco de Mayo in this country.
I plucked this Fifth of May celebration-worthy recipe from the pages of Family Circle. This is a dish I didn’t alter at all — it was great as-is. Feel free to grill the chicken on the stove if you don’t have a grill.
Place orange juice, lime juice, tequila, canola oil, salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and seal. Marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
Heat gas grill to medium-high or prep charcoal grill with medium-hot coals and set up one side for indirect grilling. Lightly coat grill rack with oil or nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and pour marinade into a small saucepan. Boil for 1 minute and reserve. Place chicken on direct heat and grill for 5 minutes per side. Remove to indirect heat and grill for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Baste every 5 minutes with the reserved marinade.
To prepare the rice salad, in a large bowl, whisk olive oil, 3 tablespoons of the marinade and salt. Stir in rice, peppers, scallions and cilantro. Serve at room temperature with chicken.
It took two minutes and three ingredients for my fiancé to change the way I look at breakfast.
It was a cool February morning. We were hungry and chilly and needed some food that would stick to our bones.
Rob removed a carton of Aldi-brand oatmeal from my cabinet. Then he showed me how real grown ups eat a proper breakfast.
Oatmeal has had its place on my kitchen shelves in every apartment in which I’ve lived. But oatmeal was just an item I needed on hand to whip up a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies when the mood struck me. Occasionally I would by bags of the pre-flavored oatmeal that’s quick and easy to prepare when you’re in a hurry. But I never looked at those rolled oats in the cardboard carton as food with which I could satisfy my urges to get creative in the kitchen.
Rob got to pouring and measuring and stirring. Less than five minutes later, I was eating a bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar. This humble bowl of oatmeal was the beginning of my adoration of this bastion of fiber.
Oatmeal has become my go-to breakfast. It’s a blank canvas that waits for your personal touches. It’s easy, quick and cheap. It keeps you full until lunch. In a word, oatmeal is wonderful.
Recently, McDonald’s and a couple of oat-loving food writers have brought oatmeal to the front of internet food conversation.
I wait all year to see overpaid celebrities in expensive clothes accept awards for movies I may or may not have seen. Why? Because it’s just so glamorous. And every once in awhile, you get a surprise (remember Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia?).
Such an extravagant event is worthy of some stellar eats.
Here’s a collection for the people who will throw Oscar viewing parties and need something to feed their guests Sunday night. But this list also works for the folks like me who will be under a Snuggie for four hours watching the awards.
AllRecipes never disappoints with its collections of food for various occasions, and the website has some great Oscar-night suggestions. I’d like the ham bone soup for Winter’s Bone and margaritas on the rocks for 127 Hours. (All Recipes)
Need a laugh? The snarky website Gawker has compiled a list of tongue-in-cheek dishes to serve during the awards, including Black Forest Swan Cake (“Garnish with coconut shaving ‘cuticles.'”), Helena Bonham Tartar Sauce and Annette Beignets. (Gawker)
I’m not a big sports fan, but I can appreciate an event like the Super Bowl. Any event that brings people together and involves food can’t be all bad.
The big event is just a couple of days away. Here’s a few quick dishes that you can whip up if you still haven’t figured out what you’re going to feed the crowd.
Fruit dip – Blend a package of softened strawberry cream cheese and a jar of marshmallow cream. Serve with your favorite fruits. (All Recipes)
Nachos – Heat a jar of picante sauce, a can of nacho cheese soup and some chopped jalapeno peppers on the stove. Stir often. Serve with chips.
Sliders – Mix a package of ground beef with two cap fulls of Mrs. Dash seasoning (or the store-brand equivalent, which is cheaper and tastes the same). Form into small patties. Grill in a medium pan. Top with slices of pepperjack cheese, and serve on King’s Hawaiian Rolls.
Potato wedges – Bake a bag of frozen potato wedges according to package instructions. Right after you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Serve with ketchup spiked with Frank’s Hot Sauce.
Pizza – Top pita bread with pasta sauce, spinach and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
S’mores – Top a graham cracker with a piece of chocolate and marshmallow. Put another graham cracker on top. Repeat with as many times as you like. Heat in microwave for 10 seconds. (Food Network)
Writing about beans while a Crock Pot full of them stews on my kitchen counter.
Last week, I confessed my love of beans and all their benefits to my health and wallet.
Now it’s time to share a few of my recipes. First up, black bean soup.
I was inspired by this post from Serious Eats, and I’ve added a few of my own touches. I recommend added some shredded Mexican blend cheese and some sour cream to this hearty soup. It’s also good with a tortilla on the side.
Black bean soup
Inspired by Serious Eats
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 (32-ounce) carton of chicken broth
4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 slices of bacon, uncooked and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and green pepper. Sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add black beans, bacon and broth. Stir to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree half of the soup. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, I highly recommend buying one – they are pretty handy. In the meantime, pour about half the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot.) Stir until both parts of the soup are combined.
Before I could even put away my orange Pumpkin Fairy tutu, retailers had dragged out the trees, bows and candy canes.
But what about Thanksgiving? Where are all the pilgrim hats? The horn things filled with food? For goodness’ sake, where are the turkeys shaped like hands?
I’ve baked pumpkin spice muffins twice this past week to get myself and others into the Thanksgiving spirit. As Rob put it, the muffins “smell like autumn.” I hope you can also use this easy recipe to spread some Thanksgiving love.
Pumpkin spice muffins
Recipe adapted from my friend Sally Scherer, who got her version from All Recipes
One 15- or 16-ounce can of pumpkin (I prefer Libby’s)
One box of spice cake mix
One 6-ounce bag of dried cranberries, such as Craisins
Dump the spice cake mix and can of pumpkin into a mixing bowl.
Blend the cake mix and pumpkin until it looks like this:
Pour in the bag of dried cranberries and mix them in with the batter.
Lick the beaters (if you used a mixer) or spatula. Seriously. It’s imperative and delicious.
Spray two muffin pans with nonstick spray or fill with cupcake liners. Fill two-thirds of each cups with batter.
I make simple dishes like omelets or twice-baked potatoes when I need to mull over something important. I cook a tedious recipe when I need to be distracted.
But cooking can get mundane if I don’t switch it up a bit and try new ingredients.
I’ve been playing around with some new-to-me food items and jazzing up my meals. These are my three favorite ingredients that I’ve recently discovered:
1. Golden raisins
I used golden raisins for the first time when I made honey-carrot-raisin muffins. I was initially pissed that I had to buy a new kind of raisin (I keep a box of regular raisins on hand for impromptu oatmeal-raisin cookie making), but there is a noticeable difference between the light and dark varieties of dried fruit. Golden raisins are more tart and tangy than the dark raisins and work well in many recipes:
Waffles. Prepare mix according to the directions on the box. Throw in a mashed banana, a handful of chopped walnuts and a handful of golden raisins. Cook according to instructions.
Peanut butter and banana sandwich. Toast your favorite type of bread (white, wheat, English muffin, sandwich thin, etc.). Spread a hearty scoop of peanut butter on one side. Top with sliced banana. Sprinkle with golden raisins.
Trail mix. Mix golden raisins with walnuts, almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips.
2. Sesame oil. I’ve held up on buying sesame oil because I thought I would never use it. But it turns out that many Asian recipes call for this ingredient. I cooked this recipe for sesame chicken from Food Network Magazine as my inaugural run with sesame oil, and it was a success. The rich, pungent oil gave an authentic Asian flavor to the dish. If you prepare this recipe, however, be prepared to stand in front of the stove for a long time and be willing to wash a large stack of dishes.
3. Freshly ground mixed peppercorns. I bought a handy little pepper grinder a few weeks ago at Kroger for just $1.99 (a manager’s special). This has been the best two bucks I’ve spent in a while. Adding pepper seems very basic, but freshly ground pepper can make a dish sing with flavor. I use my pepper grinder on everything, including eggs, potatoes and broccoli. Unfortunately, the pepper in my cute shaker has sat on the stove unused for days. Sorry, little guy.