Today was one of those days that started off sweet and then, when I was fully unprepared and completely unassuming, turned sour. But rather than let bad news get me down, I decided to hop in the kitchen because when all else goes wrong, you should at least get to enjoy a delicious dinner with the fam. With a bowl full of limes (thank you Costco) I was inspired to allow them to serve for more than just decoration and themed dinner around the beautiful lime. Cilantro, honey and lime marinated chicken tenders with a cumin sour cream dipping sauce. Mango (another Costco purchase…so there is plenty to go around), avocado and spinach salad with a honey lime vinaigrette and of course some delicious tomato rice with black beans and grilled corn.

Chicken Tenders:
2 Large Chicken breasts cut into smaller strips (the chicken brests I used were rather large and seemed plenty for four people once cut into strips!)
Marinate in:
The juice of two lime
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Put in a Ziploc bag with the chicken (I also threw in a few of the cilantro stems and the squeezed lemons just to sit with the chicken in the fridge) Throw on a grill pan and grill until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees!
Dipping sauce:
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp cumin
a pinch of cayenne
5-6 dashes of tapitio
salt and pepper
squirt of lime juice
¼ tsp paprika
This is literally the best salad ever! Super refreshing and perfect for the warm weather The dressing is delicious but if you don’t feel like making it you don’t even need it because the juice of the mango kind of creates a dressing on its own!
2 cups spinach
1 mango
11/2 avocados
about 1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp evoo
juice of two limes
1 tsp honey
½ tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp cumin
salt and peper to taste
I served this all with some standard spanish rice and mixed so black beans and corn into that. Yummy!

Besides cooking, some other things I am loving right now…
My clean dog

Strawberries, peaches and bananas which I am currently eating with…
ORGANICS organic blueberry low fat yogurt
Oh and this guilty little guy
(I don’t love that he is eating all the bird food…but I do appreciate his dedication ☺)
What I am listening to (over and over again):
Will You Be There (Michael Jackson Cover)- Boyce Avenue
The Beat- Ben Rector
Why Don’t We Just Dance- Josh Turner
Lover, Love- Jerrod Niemann
He Is We
…and basically anything by Francesca Battistelli

I made it! IT IS SUMMER! This means fresh cold watermelon, peaches, farmers markets, pool time, swimming, and cooking! I have been so excited to get home and start cooking again.
I was finally reunited with my kitchen and despite my dreams and anticipation, my first night was a total flop. My flight was delayed and I didn’t get home until four in the morning. Naturally, I woke up early and got to work unpacking. Despite being completely exhausted from a lack of sleep, I felt surprisingly energized (it is amazing what a bit of extra oxygen can do for you…I love coming back down to sea level!) After a busy day of getting organized I searched the empty cabinets for something I could throw together. I made some homemade pasta and threw some asparagus and tomatoes in the oven and tossed up a salad. I wanted to do a simple olive oil, garlic and parmesan tossed pasta, but this soon became difficult seeing as we were lacking two of the three ingredients needed; olive oil and parmesan. I ended up tossing it with some breadcrumbs and added too much, making for an overly breaded and overly salty pasta. Edible, but just a bummer after so much excitement. Although I was excited that my first attempt at whole wheat pasta was a success!

Whole Wheat Pasta:
1 cup ap flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp water
1 tsp salt
Making pasta is simple and really makes for a delicious meal! Don’t be intimidated.
Start by adding the flours to the bowl and mixing them. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, water and salt. Slowly whisk the eggs, water and salt incorporating a little bit of flour at a time until a ball is formed. (You won’t use all the flour and actually quite a bit might be left.) At this point I usually sprinkle a bunch of the flour on a board along with the ball of dough (be sure to scrape up anything that got stuck to the bottom of the bowl and incorporate that into the dough) and I start incorporating more flour as I knead the ball of dough. Keep kneading until elastic. (Again, you don’t use all the flour!)

Cover the ball of dough with platic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Now is the fun part, especially if you don’t have a pasta roller…
Get your rolling pin and start rolling! I would cut the dough into about four sections and roll it out until it is really thin and the length you want. I then dust it with flour as I roll it up and cut the roll into small sections. Unroll each strip and you are left with a rustic looking pasta! Make sure to dust it with plenty of flour so it doesn’t stick or dry out!
So anyways, I ended up being a bit nervous to enter the kitchen again but decided to brush my hands off and start new and I am glad I did. Dinner tonight consisted of hasselback potatoes, spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken and a salad.

I was inspired to do the hasselback potatoes by pictures I had seen on foodgawker (my new favorite website….hours can literally pass by without me noticing when I am on this website…it is dangerous)

These are so simple and delicious! I love how fancy they make a simple good ‘ol baked potato look!
Hasselback Potaotoes:
3 baking potatoes
11/2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary
1-2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Make slices through the potato about 1/8 inch apart. Be careful not to slice all the way through (this is especially tricky on the outer ends of the potato so work somewhat slowly and carefully.)
Top each potato with about 1/2 tsp olive oil and then rub in minced garlic and rosemary between each layer. Bakey at 400 for about 1 hour, or until tender throughout. I let them go a little longer so that the out sliced were a bit crispy! Halfway through baking top each potato with about 1/2 tsp. butter so that they don’t dry out. Take them out and immediately top with shredded parmesan cheese! MMM. You can really serve these with anything. A dollop of sour cream (especially if you flavored it) would be good with them, gravy or instead of rosmeary you could do cilantro and lime and then top with salsa or something. It is really just your standard baked potato fancied up a bit 🙂
Goat Cheese and Spinach stuffed chicken:
(easily serves 4 )
2 large chicken breast cut in half at a diagonal
2oz goat cheese
2 cups spinach
salt and pepper
Along with the potatoes I made some stuffed chicken. Honestly, this is such a delicious and fun way to change up an ordinry chicken while still keeping it light and healthy. I used boneless, skinless chicken breast and cut a little slit in them. I stuffed each chicken breast with some steamed spinach, goat cheese, salt and pepper. Sear them in the pan so that they get a nice color and then bake in a 350 degree oven until they reach 165 degrees!
In a separate pan I added equal parts butter and flour and cooked that together. I added some chicken broth, lemon, capers and a bunch of parsley for a quick and easy sauce.
…and because biscuits were already planned for breakfast the next morning, we decided to just have waffles for dessert that night: )
I just used a standard waffle recipe and topped it with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. The real star was a banana and honey butter waffle, which unfortunately made it into our mouths much faster than I was able to get a picture. This may have been a good thing though because it didn’t look nearly as amazing as it tasted.
Slice bananas about 1/2 inch thick at a diagonal. Sprinkle each banana with a little bit of sugar (really any sugar you have around) and pop in the oven at 400 for about 3-5 minutes or until the sugar is melted and caramelizing. On the stove heat up equal parts of honey and butter. Top the waffle with bananas and drizzle with honey butter. YUM!
Recipe courtesy of The Family Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking poweder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla)