Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five-Spice Coconut Chicken

Sometimes I forget how easy and good marinades are. Just mix up a few ingredients, plop the meat in, let it sit, and then grill it up--delicious. This recipe was great because it also combined the ingredients used in the marinade for a yummy dressing for the side dish. I used green beans instead of snap peas (steamed them up for about five minutes) and it turned out delicious. I think my 11-month old ate more of them than I did. I had some coconut milk left over after making the marinade so I threw that in with the rice in my rice cooker to make it extra flavorful. I baked the chicken at 375 for 20 minutes instead of grilling it, it turned out great.

recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray Magazine

Five-Spice Coconut Chicken

1/3 c. plus 1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp. salt
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas
Cooked white rice, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp. coconut milk, 1 tsp. honey and 1 tsp. lime juice. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 c. coconut milk, 2 Tbsp. honey and 1 Tbsp. lime juice with the soy sauce, garlic, five-spice powder and salt. Add the chicken thighs, coating well. Marinate at least 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 minute; drain. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the reserved coconut-honey dressing.
4. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the chicken thighs for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Serve with the sugar snap peas and rice.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hawaiian Pulled Pork

  Here is another crock-pot meal to add to your repertoire. I buy the pork loin roasts at Costco, they come in a package of four, and they're the perfect size for your family with some leftovers for a yummy lunch or second meal.  I paired it with Hawaiian rolls and steamed broccoli.  Easy. Delicious.

recipe courtesy of I Was Born to Cook blog

Hawaiian Pulled Pork

3 pounds pork shoulder (or butt)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (left this out for the kiddos)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (15 ounce) can pineapple pieces, drained
salt and pepper

Place pork in crockpot, followed by onion and remaining ingredients.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low.  While cooking, when meat looks tender enough, shred with 2 forks so it absorbs more juice. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Melissa's Notes: My family loves this moist, yummy fall recipe.  You can frost the top with your favorite cream cheese frosting, but I'm happy with it just as it is!

Pumpkin Bread

3 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
3/4 c. oil
1/2 c. water

Beat together.

2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Pour into greased loaf pans (this made 2 nice size loaves for me).  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack.  Frost if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 3/4-4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekly Menu

Monday - Beef Teriyaki

Tuesday - Farmer's Market Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Wednesday - Salmon Burgers

Thursday -  Waldorf-Salad-Style Penne

Friday - eat out

Saturday - leftovers

Sunday - pot roast

Friday, July 27, 2012

Allison's Salad

Melissa's Notes: I'm always looking for good, easy salad recipes.  This one fits the bill!  My friend Allison brought it to a picnic and I couldn't stop eating it.  A good kitchen tip I have learned about red onion is that if you let it sit in some kind of acid (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) for at least an hour, it totally relaxes it so it doesn't overpower your dish.  You can also substitute the apple for a crispy pear.


10 oz. bag spinach
3/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted at 350 for 8 min.
1 medium granny smith apple
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/8 red onion, chopped (optional)


1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 red onion, finely chopped

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mango, Tomoato, and Avocado Salad

Melissa's Notes: James and I have been on a health kick this last week.  We're trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat and processed foods.  So far (with the exception of a church picnic today) I have felt so much better and haven't really felt deprived at all.  I will say that I have had a much higher grocery bill this week and have spent more time in the kitchen than I care to share.  So if anyone has any words of advice for me, I'm listening!  I made this salad with flank steak tacos and it was delicious on the tacos, or it would be great over a bed of greens as well.  This is a nice side dish for Mexican food that is not too heavy and can easily be adapted for kids by just putting the ingredients they like to the side before you mix in all the dressing.

Mango, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

recipe courtesy of Good & Fresh Magazine

1 mango, seeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 tomato, cut into chunks
1/3 c. thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, cut into chunks
lettuce leaves (optional)

1.  In a medium bowl combine mango, tomato, and red onion.  For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine cilantro, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cover and shake well.  Pour dressing over mango mixture.  Toss gently to coat.  Cover and chill for 1-4 hours. (I didn't have time to do this and it still tasted great)
2.  Just before serving, stir in avocado.  If desired, serve with lettuce leaves.  Makes 4 servings.

166 calories per serving

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pan-Seared Salmon with Citrus Vinegar Glaze and Green Beans

Melissa's Notes: I must say, I'm not completely comfortable cooking fish at home, mostly because I really haven't done it all that much.  But last weekend James wanted a lighter dinner, so I decided to go out of my comfort zone and go for it...I'm so glad I did!  The fish was perfectly cooked and dinner was on the table in less than 15 minutes, not to mention everybody loved it and cleaned their plates without complaint.  It has inspired me to incorporate fish more regularly into our weekly menu.  If the glaze isn't your cup of tea, I urge you to still try this simple way to prepare salmon, it's delicious even without the glaze and so easy.  Just FYI, I halved the recipe for the glaze and it still made more than enough. Also, I made sure everything was ready to go before I put the salmon in the pan, that made the dinner super quick and stress-free.

recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2


4 salmon fillets (6-oz. each)
EVOO, for brushing fish
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. dry white wine (I'm sure you can substitute this with water or white grape juice if you want)
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
orange or lemon rind slices


1.  Preheat a cast-iron pan or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.  Brush the salmon fillets with oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook salmon until just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
2.  While salmon cooks, bring wine, vinegar, citrus juices and brown sugar to a boil over high heat.  Reduce glaze 3 or 4 minutes, until thickened (I found this took more like 6-7 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper.
3.  To a second skillet, add green beans, pieces of orange and/or lemon rind and 1/2 inch of water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 3 or 4 minutes.  Drain the beans, toss with a drizzle of EVOO and season with salt and pepper.
4.  Drizzle glaze over salmon fillets and serve with citrus green beans.