Dinner With Friends

I recently had friends over for dinner and it was exceptionally exciting. Since one of our friends has dietary restrictions, we took full advantage of the foods he could eat. This was not as challenging as I thought it to be. Here was the menu:

Black bean & corn salsa
Stuffed peppers with chicken, quinoa and veggies
Granny Smith apples stuffed with brown sugar and pecans
Wine, lots and lots of wine!

The first thing to do is open a large bottle of inexpensive wine!

That’s our black bean & corn salsa in the background. I love this salsa because its quick and easy to prepare, its great as a dip, a side or even on a green salad!

Here are my sous chefs working away! It was so exciting to have everyone in the kitchen!

Our next task were the stuffed peppers. We stuffed them with chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, quinoa and basil. I had originally made the quinoa with chicken stock, but neglected to read the label! Scott couldn’t have anything in it!! Luckily, I had extra quinoa, so I made it again with water!

We had stuffed apples for dessert and they were crunchy and delicious! The juice from the apples and melted brown sugar made a sticky syrup!

   I love love love my dinner buddies!!

And this wine stopper of course!

Black Bean & Corn Salsa 

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato, diced
juice from 2 limes
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
pinch of salt and pepper

Combine lime juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Combine beans, corn, onion jalapeno, cilantro and tomato. Toss with dressing and serve with chips, or as a side. If you want a little more heat mix in 1 tbsp chipotles in adobo into the dressing.That night we omitted the olive juice and added lime zest for added flavor.

Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed
4 red peppers, tops and seeds removed
2 chicken breasts, diced. (I had grilled them earlier)
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup dried quinoa, cooked
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp basil
salt & pepper

Saute artichokes, peppers, garlic and onions in pan until golden. Add quinoa, cooked chicken and tomato and heat through. Add basil, lime juice, salt & pepper and mix to combine. Stuff into peppers and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Baked Granny Smith Apples
3 Granny smith apples, shelved with core removed
1/2 cup diced pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pecans, brown sugar and lemon juice and stuff apples. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Herb and Panko Crusted Tilapia

Soooooo, the past few months have been full of KU Basketball, work and lots of baking! Now that spring is here, I have been taking every opportunity to be outside and make fresh and easy meals! I love cooking fish because its quick to prepare. This herb and panko crusted tilapia takes less than 10 minutes to prep and about 15 to bake!

Herb and Panko Crusted Tilapia

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs ( I used cilantro, dill and chives, but you can use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
Lemon Juice
2- 3 oz tilapia filets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix herbs, panko, garlic salt and pepper in a bowl. Place tilapia in bowl and cover fish with crust. Drizzle olive oil in a baking dish and place fish in dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is cooked.

I had small filets so it didn’t take long to cook. After baking, drizzle with lemon juice and serve! I like to serve it with roasted asparagus with lemon and garlic.

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

This is my favorite go to veggie when asparagus is in season!

1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
zest and juice from one lemon
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus in lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.

This is one of the many reasons why I love spring!!

Day Trip to NYC

On Friday Rachel and I went to New York City for the day. We spend the day eating and drinking our way through the East Village and ended with dinner at Les Halles.

We first went to Chelsea Market to explore and have lunch. We both love Tom Yam soup so we were excited to have some at Chelsea Thai. It was delicious, full of shrimp and mushrooms! Later in the day we went to McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest saloon in New York City and you can tell by the decor. The walls are covered with pictures and saw dust covers the floor. They only serve two types of beer here; light or dark. And they give you 2 beers per order (and only $5 per order!) They were both good, but I preferred the dark. We then went to Blockheads for bulldogs! A Bulldog is a frozen margarita with an extra shot of tequila and a baby corona on top! It was dangerous, but gave us our second wind!

After Chelsea Market we went to Magnolia Bakery. Everything looked delicious, the cupcakes were mouthwatering, but we decided to try the red velvet cheesecake. OMG it is seriously the best dessert I’ve had in a long time! Even better than the peanut butter dessert from the night before! I will be recreating that cheesecake very soon!

While we were walking through the East Village I was talking to Rach about how great it was that Brad Goreski had joined the Kate Spade team. Look what we ran into at the same moment! The Kate Spade Bus! The bus is a pop-up store as well as a stage for the Vivian Girls.

After a little shopping we went to Les Halles for dinner I started off with the signature Les Halles cocktail which had champagne, St Germaine and soda with a lemon twist. I love St Germain, which is an elderberry liquor which goes well with champagne. I was excited to see it on the menu.

We had originally made reservations with the intent on having their restaurant week menu, but after taking a gander at the main menu, we ditched that idea real quick.

We started with Portuguese Mussels with chorizo and Escargots in garlic butter. They were delicious, especially their sauces, excellent for dipping your bread in! :)

I had the the Steak au poivre with Frites. It was peppery and tender! Rachel had the  Magret de Canard, sauce grenade , which was a roasted duck breast with a rich pomegranate sauce, turnip & potato gratin. The duck was tender and the gratin was rich and this dish made me love duck even more. I had only had duck previously in Asian dishes so I enjoyed the French preparation. After we finished our bottle of wine I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, but then we were shown the dessert menu. We finished our meal with Creme Brûlée and coffee.

We had a great day in NYC and we were lucky to have such great weather!