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Monday, August 27, 2012

Spiced Honey Glazed Chicken

I can't believe this day is finally here.  Today I completed my FIRST day of nursing school.  Many, many days full of studying and sleepless nights lie ahead, but despite the stress that will come, I'm currently excited about what the next two years will bring!  My uniform is ready for use and most of my first semester books are purchased.

These huge books are only some of the books I'll be studying out of this semester.  I still need to purchase my two pharmacology books, so imagine two more books in that stack.  Thankfully, we don't have to bring ALL of them to class, but we still need several...and each book weighs a ton!  Especially those bottom two; they're like encyclopedias!

Hopefully, as I progress through the program, I'll still be able to cook meals at home every once in a while.  I have quite a few recipes ready to post, but (if you haven't noticed) I'm posting them slowly so I don't run out, just in case!

 For today's recipe, I'm going to share one that I discovered on Pinterest.  This Spiced Honey Glazed Chicken is pretty easy to make, and ends up as really delicious, flavorful chicken.  The sugars in the honey crisp up under the broiler, making a sweet and spicy coating for the juicy chicken.

Tony and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, and it was a great last-minute way to cook the package of chicken legs and thighs that I had recently purchased.  One of my favorite things about this dish is that it uses very few ingredients, all of which are pretty common and can probably find in your pantry.  We ended up pairing this chicken with a mushroom-potato side dish, but feel free to pair it with any side of veggies or carbs...or both!

Spiced Honey Glazed Chicken
Print this recipe
Yield:  about 4 servings (8 chicken thighs)
Recipe from Nutmeg Nanny

1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs per pkg)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to broil setting.

Mix spices together in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix honey and cider vinegar in another small bowl and set aside.

Un-tuck chicken thighs so they are flat.  Rub chicken surface with spice mixture, lay flat onto sheet pan.  When all chicken has been seasoned, put pan under broiler.

Cook chicken for 5-7 minutes on one side and flip.  Cook for 5-7 more minutes on other side.  Flip again, then baste the chicken with the honey mixture, making sure to completely coat chicken.  Return pan to oven and let cook under the broiler for a few minutes, until the honey starts to thicken up and glaze.

Remove chicken from oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

If you do not want to use your broiler setting or have a gas oven, you can bake the chicken at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Are you a fan of chickpeas? 

I'm not.  At least, not whole chickpeas.  I would only enjoy chickpeas blended into a fine paste and made into hummus.  However, I bought a few large cans of chickpeas once to make some hummus, only to find that hummus is REALLY hard to make without a food processor. 

Yeah.  I made it with a blender.  It worked...but only after struggling to mix and blend, mix and blend, mix and blend, an insane amount of times, which by that time I was so frustrated with the whole process that I swore to never use a blender again to make hummus again. 

Oh sure, the hummus turned out pretty tasty, and the cost of making it homemade is way cheaper than storebought hummus...but rather than struggle every time I crave hummus, I've figured I'll just someday purchase a food processor.


And, let's just say that "someday" has not come yet.  So I'm stuck with a couple cans of chickpeas in my pantry, and I don't want them to go to waste...so what do I do??  Make ROASTED chickpeas!

Yes!  Finally a solution to my overabundance of canned chickpeas.  This recipe does not require a food processor, eliminates the drab flavor and unappealing texture of chickpeas that I dislike, and results in a crunchy, flavorful snack! 

These Roasted Chickpeas are incredibly easy to make.  Simply toss the rinsed, drained chickpeas with olive oil and a special blend of spices, then roast on a sheet pan in the oven until done! 


And delicious. 


Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Print this recipe
Recipe from Our Best Bites, originally adapted from What's Gaby Cooking

1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat.  Set aside.  Drain and rinse chickpeas and pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the spices and olive oil.  Toss the chickpeas in the spice mixture until coated evenly.  Spread chickpeas over a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven.  Use a spatula to toss the chickpeas, then return pan to oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until browned and crispy.  Allow to cool before serving.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Broccoli & Cheddar Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust

Hi everyone!  I have a great recipe to share with you all today.  Doesn't that slice of quiche above make you hungry?  It is so good, filled with bright green pieces of broccoli and gooey, cheddar cheese, and suprisingly, the crust is not your traditional butter-filled crust.  This crust is actually made with brown rice!

Before I share the recipe, I'll also update you all with some news in my life.  Let's see...within the last week I've finally taken my final and finished my first nursing class!  This is great news, because it means I finally get a 2 week break from school.  I can now focus a little more time on updating this blog and catching up on my blog-reading. 

Also, Tony and I have been trying to fit in time for our wedding "to-do's."  We still have a few vendors to find, and details to plan but so far I'm not feeling too much pressure!  One thing we did finally get around to is mailing out our save-the-date cards!  I'm so happy with the way they turned out:

We used one of our engagement photos for the card.  We have some other AMAZING photos taken by our talented photographer, Wes Hamachi, which I will eventually share with you in the future.  Wes focuses a lot more on landscape photography, but he's a great engagement photographer as well!  Check out his website to see some absolutely beautiful landscape photos.

Now, as for this quiche, most of the ingredients in it are pretty typical (egg, cheese, veggies) but what really makes this quiche unique is its crust.  The crust is not your typical buttery pie crust.  Instead, this crispy crust is made out of brown rice!  I was immediately intrigued with this idea when I first discovered this recipe because not only did I not feel like going through the efforts of making and rolling out pie dough, but the brown rice is a healthier option.

See how crispy the brown rice turns out?  This is due to the twice-baked method.  The crust is pressed in the pan and baked for about 7 minutes, then the filling is added and baked again for another 35 minutes.  It results in a crisp golden crust.  Oh, and if you're wondering what those dark grains are within the crust, I actually didn't use pure brown rice.  I used leftover rice from dinner the night before, which I got from Trader Joe's and is described on its package as a "brown rice medley" so there were some other grains in this crust as well...and it still turned out delicious!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and are inspired by this new brown rice crust method.

Broccoli & Cheddar Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Print this recipe
Yield:  6 servings
Recipe from A Little Bit Crunchy..., originally from Closet Cooking

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
5 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces and blanched
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 green onions, sliced
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the rice, finely grated cheese and one egg in a bowl.  Press the rice mixture into a pie plate, about 1/4-inch thick. 

Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven until the edges and bottom start turning golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Mix the remaining eggs, milk, broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese and green onions in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until golden brown and set in the center, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Hello all!  What a busy July last month was!  I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted a new recipe here.  With my nursing class over the summer and preparations for the first clinical semester, my schedule has been jam-packed with assignments, appointments, and physicals.  Over this past month, I had to order and exchange my nursing uniforms, get a background check, take a drug test, register for ati (online nursing education system), take my respirator fit test, go to a CPR class to become CPR-certified, get my physical, get my immunizations and titers, and take the 2-step TB test.  All of these things were so time-consuming, and I had to fit these appointments in between work hours, my summer class, and school assignments...but I can thankfully say I'm DONE!

...Well, almost.  I still have class on Monday and my final on Wednesday, but after turning in my last major project yesterday, I already feel so much relief!  Once the semester is over, I get two weeks off and then, like I've been telling everyone, I basically will have no life for the next two years!  For the first half of the semester, I will have classes Monday through Friday, and also will have to fit my work hours within that schedule.  Once the second half of the semester starts, I'll start going to the hospital to get the real hands-on experience...that will be fun, but so tiring!

Needless to say, I will be incredibly busy, but even so, I'm super excited to start the Fall semester.  Since I'll have some time these next few weeks, I hope I can post a lot of recipes to make up for my future absence here on the blog.  (Don't worry, I'll still be here maintaining the blog, but definitely no guarantees my posts will be frequent).

So, for today's recipe, I'm going to share a zucchini muffin recipe that I made last week.  One of my co-workers at work has a zucchini garden, and was nice enough to share some of his fresh zucchinis with my supervisor and I.  I, of course, was thrilled; I love any type of homegrown vegetable, especially zucchini.  However, I knew that Tony would not be as excited.  Tony's not a big fan of zucchini.  He won't even eat it in traditional zucchini bread...something I love!  

Although I was happy with eating them myself, I felt a little bad that Tony couldn't enjoy them the way I could, so I decided to search for a zucchini recipe he might like.  It didn't take long for me to stumble on this muffin recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  Shredded zucchini, cocoa powder, AND chocolate chips, all packed into a muffin?  This was exactly what I was looking for.  Sure, it probably isn't the healthiest muffin, and with all this chocolate, I don't even know if I would consider it a good breakfast choice...but these muffins are a great afternoon snack!  Best of all, Tony enjoyed them, despite the fact that they were made with zucchini!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Yield:  about 12 muffins
Recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures, originally from Gourmet, September 2009 (on epicurious)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lb zucchini, coarsely grated (about 1 cup, or 1 small zucchini) 
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla on medium speed until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips (batter will be VERY thick, don't be alarmed).

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.