All the Feels: BBQ Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas

Sometimes… Life is overwhelming. My life in particular has been a roller coaster of feels this week — all good things: My thesis project is coming along, I’m preparing for my executive internship in the spring, I’m researching career opportunities post-graduation, one of my good friends from home just got engaged (ahhh, congrats again Chanel!), and my best friend Natalie is getting ready to jet off to Miami for an audition that she is TOTALLY GOING TO ROCK.

I’d like to think I’m not the only one, but sometimes my head gets clogged with feelings. And even if it’s all good things, sometimes I just need to slow down.

…rephrase. Sometimes I just need to slow down and eat (I named my blog “Eating My Feelings” for a reason!). And the truth is, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, the last thing I want is a salad.

THESE bad boys are delicious. Parker and I made them a week ago and I’m tempted to make them again tonight because they are everything my heart desires right now: Bacon, BBQ, avocados, and cheese.

Thank you Inside BruCrew Life for the epic recipe, I owe you one.

BBQ Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas: Serves 4 (…or serves 1, don’t judge)

Ingredients

  • 2 whole flour tortillas
  • 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. shredded chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 c. avocado chunks
  • Pancetta (as much or as little as you want — it can be salty, so be careful!)

Instructions

  • Heat a skillet up on medium heat.
  • Lay 1 tortilla shell in the bottom and sprinkle half of the shell with 2 Tbsp. cheese.
  • Combine the chicken and sauce.
  • Top with 2 Tbsp. chicken.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 c. avocado chunks on top.
  • Sprinkle with another 2 Tbsp. cheese.
  • Fold the shell over and heat for about a minute or two.
  • Flip the shell over carefully and heat the opposite side for another minute or two.
  • Repeat with the remaining shell and ingredients. Makes 8 wedges.

Be right back, drooling at work just thinking about these sinful things. Happy eating y’all, and cheers to a worry-free week!

 

Thai Quinoa Chicken Salad

Sunday Funday for me is more like Sunday Meal Prep! I stumbled upon this salad recipe last week and it’s super easy to make, and fun to eat! I love finding recipes that I can make ahead of time for work, don’t you?

And, thanks to the peanut butter dressing, it got the boyfriend stamp of approval – Always a good sign! Speaking of the dressing, a way to make it last longer is to mix in the dressing when you’re ready to eat it, that way the vegetables don’t get soggy and mushy and sad.

Thai Quinoa Chicken Salad: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 heaping cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup edamame
  • ½ cup cashew halves (or roasted peanuts)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced green onions

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • Water to thin, if necessary

Instructions:

  • Cook quinoa according to package directions. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
  • For the dressing:
    Add peanut butter and honey to a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for about 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil and sriracha and stir until smooth and creamy. If necessary, thin the dressing by adding a little more olive oil or some water.
  • Drizzle half of the dressing over the cooked quinoa.
    In a large bowl combine the red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, edamame, cashews, and cilantro. Fold in the quinoa.  Add as much of the remaining dressing as you’d like (to taste). Garnish with green onions. Chill until ready to eat.

Thanks to Tastes Better from Scratch blog for the recipe! Happy eating everyone!

Colorful Shrimp Tostadas

I know I’ve said this before, but I love cooking for my friends. It’s such a great way to get everyone together and escape from the real world for a little bit. Whether it’s for a football game (unlikely given the fact that SMU literally could not suck more at football right now if they tried), or for a movie night (much more likely), my friends are quick to volunteer to be my culinary guinea pigs!

Now, I discovered this recipe only three weeks ago… And I’ve already made it twice for my friends, I tested it out with my old roomie and her boyfriend, and then they requested it specifically for the next time we had the whole group over. I was in no position to say no — after all, I wanted to eat them again too!

This recipe requires a lot of prep work, but it’s totally totally worth it! I apologize in advance for how sore your arm is going to be cutting up the summer squash… If anyone knows any tricks on how to make that process easier please for the love of God pass them my way! I recruited the boyfriend to chop that sucker up the second time I made this dish. “Oh no hun, it’s really not gonna take long at all…” Mwhaha.

Also! I highly recommend doubling the recipe for the cilantro mayo spread. It’s delicious, and tends to go quickly when people are making up their tostadas!

Colorful Shrimp Tostadas: Makes 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Old El Paso Flour Tortillas (10)
  • 1 package Old El Paso Mild Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound summer squash, julienned
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 50 shrimp, deveined
  • 4 tablespoons Chilli powder
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (Feta cheese is an easy substitute)
  • Radish slices, optional
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  • Brush lightly flour tortillas with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle flour tortillas with taco seasoning and bake under the broiler for 1 minute on each side, turning once.
  • Prep veggies. Marinate cabbage with vinegar and . teaspoon taco seasoning mix, set aside. Roast squash on a 450F oven for about 5 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil and teaspoon taco seasoning, set aside.
  • Make a cilantro aioli by blending on a food processor mayo, cilantro and garlic. Blend until well combined, and add salt to taste.
  • Cook shrimp in a skillet with olive oil and chilli powder for about 5 minutes until shrimp turns pink and cooked through.
  • Assemble your tostada by spreading the cilantro aioli on the tortillas followed by cabbage, shrimp, squash, cotija cheese. Garnish with radish slices and cilantro.

This is such a fun recipe to make for a big group of people, because people get to mix and match ingredients and make their own. Have a few friends bring chips and salsa to snack on while they wait for their main course — and you’re all good to go! We chomped down on these tostadas (read: there wasn’t a drop of food left by the end of the night) while watching Robin Williams’ stand up comedy routines. Can’t go wrong with a night of laughter, friendship, and damn good food! Happy eating y’all, and good luck!

 

Citrus Chicken Rice Bowls

So here’s the thing. I really, really like food. And I really, really don’t like working out. As you would imagine, this poses a bit of an issue. Ever since I tore my ACL my senior year in college, I have yet to find a workout routine that I truly enjoy and allows me to eat all the carbs and cookies my little heart desires (which is a lot). I used to do in Insanity which literally kicks your ass left, right, and sideways into shape, but because of all the jumping and lateral movement my knee just laughs and laughs at the thought of doing that again. Because of this I-want-to-eat-everything-in-front-of-me-but-not-look-like-a-beached-whale issue I have, I’m constantly searching for delicious, filling recipes. I refuse to give up good food! And there’s gotta be a way to eat healthy and make it tasty, right?

I tried this recipe out at home this summer with my parents, and not only is it busting with flavor, it’s got all these don’t-feel-guilty-eating-them ingredients. I’m a big citrus fan (though I hate oranges by themselves, weird right?), so this dish hit the spot and was filling too!

Citrus Chicken Rice Bowl: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  •  1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  tablespoons lemon juice
  •  tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  •  teaspoon orange zest
  •  teaspoon salt
  • ⁄2 teaspoon sugar
  • ⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  •  lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  •  cups rice, cooked
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
  •  cup sugar snap peas, cut in half
  • 1⁄2 cup scallions, finely chopped

Instructions:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, orange zest, salt, sugar, and pepper.
  • Place chicken in a zip-top bag and add 3 tablespoons of the citrus dressing. Seal bag and flip a few times to make sure the chicken is fully coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
  • Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Take chicken out of bag and dab any excess marinade on a paper towel. If the chicken is dripping with marinade when it goes on the grill, chances are it will burn. Grill chicken 7- 8 minutes on each side or until chicken reaches 165° F. Remove from grill and slice thinly.
  • In a large bowl, combine rice, carrots, sugar snap peas, and scallions. Add 4 tablespoons of the citrus dressing and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve chicken over rice and drizzle with remaining dressing, if desired.

Super simple, guilt-free, and delicious! If y’all know of any other healthy and easy dinner ideas, feel free to send them my way! I’m a big believer that the best way to look great and feel great is with balance: Workout and eat healthy, but eat the damn cookie every once and awhile. After all, I think food, chocolate in particular, makes you emotionally healthy – and that’s important too! Hope ya’ll had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Final Days of Summer: Smoky Buttery Crab Legs

Yesterday was the first day of school for students across the country, which means two things: 1) Summer is over and 2) My mom probably beat me in the summer license game challenge…again. In an effort to make summer last a little bit longer — though it’s 102 degrees in Dallas right now so summer still feels very present — I thought I’d share this recipe my boyfriend and I made this summer while he was interning in LA.

I lived out of a suitcase for roughly two months this summer, and right before that my boyfriend spent the semester studying abroad in Prague. So after 7 months of a super-duper-duper-long distance relationship, my last stop of the summer was on my way back from Hong Kong to visit him in LA, and we had an absolute blast! We had all these grand ideas about site-seeing in LA (I had never been before except to look at colleges my junior year of high school), however, my two continents in under two months exhaustion plus jet lag resulted in all day Netflix binge and lots of homemade meals. That being said, we did manage to check out the Sony Pictures lot (saw the Breaking Bad RV and GEEKED OUT like no other), walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard, and ate at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant The London at West Hollywood — which was delicious! We also ventured out to an awesome event called “Eat See Hear“. It was held outside the LA zoo on a gorgeous summer night, and ten plus food trucks park outside while you listen to live music, followed by a film screening (we saw Jaws – um, how perfect is that?!). All in all, a fun trip to celebrate the fact that we survived being miles apart for so long.

This was one of the two new recipes we tried during that visit, and it was a fun buttery mess! Eating crab legs always reminds me of this restaurant in Chicago my family and I used to go to when I was a little kid called Shaw’s Crab House. I have memories of crab the size of my face, bowls of butter, and my Dad rocking a gigantic bib. So not only is this dish delicious, it brought back some fun foodie memories from my childhood!

Smoky Buttery Crab Legs: Serves 2
Note: This recipe was originally designed for crab claws, that makes 8 appetizer size portions. We couldn’t find any at the store, so we improvised!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lean smoked bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound fresh crab legs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Instructions:

  • Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, and discard dripping
  • Melt butter in skillet; stir in garlic and green onions
  • Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes
  • Stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire, and crab legs; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.
  • Stir in parsley and bacon
  • Serve immediately

This was a fun date night recipe for so many reasons, we had a blast cooking this one! And laughing our asses off while trying to eat them because we didn’t have those little tiny forks that makes eating crab so much easier. Words can’t express how happy I am that my eating partner-in-crime is finally back in Dallas with me, so stay tuned for more date night ideas, as well as some more stories of our eating adventures this summer (*cough*Diners Drive-Ins and Dives inspired roadtrip*cough*). Til next time, happy eating! And hang onto the fun of summer as long as you can!

 

Welcome Back Chicken Enchiladas

Good news!! After a crazy summer of traveling, I’m finally ready to get back to blogging – and boy do I have a number of stories and recipes to share with y’all. From France, to road-tripping and hunting for Diners Dive-Ins and Dives restaurants with the boyfriend, to Hong Kong… I’ve had the wonderful experience of tasting and trying so many new and great things!

That all being said, I wanted to start off again with a recipe that I made once all my crazy travels had ended. I spent the last month of this summer with my parents up in Wisconsin for some much needed rest, relaxation, and home-cooked meals. While eating out for roughly every day for two and a half months was an epic foodie adventure, sometimes you miss the homey things (my mom’s chocolate chip cookies in particular). My parents recently moved from Chicago to Wisconsin, and while I was sad about the change (read: I was sad to no longer be a reasonable driving distance from Giordano’s pizza), I have to say their new place is perfect. It’s in this calm quiet tiny town with more vowels than I’ve ever seen in a city name. From cute boutique shops on the main street, to jet-skiing at the lake down the street, to being surround by trees in what I’ve affectionally coined “middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin,” this new home feels like we’ve been there all our lives and I love it.

SO, once I got back to Wisconsin I went on a Pinterest binge and picked out a bunch of recipes I wanted to try out, and this was the first one I made for my parents and it was a smashing success! I kept hearing my Dad mumbling under his breath while he was eating, “Yeah, this is good” or “Mmhmm yup we can have this again.” I couldn’t agree more!

I snagged this recipe from the food blog Smells Like Home — which is also where I found this delicious recipe for homemade pretzels. While I appreciate all the support for this blog, you really should check this one out!

Chicken Enchiladas: Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 15 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
Ingredients for Serving:
  • Diced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Extra chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  • Combine the onion, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 165° F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425° F. Lightly spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the bowl along with the onion mixture. Add in ¼ cup enchilada sauce, 1 cup of each cheese, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to combine.
  • Stack and wrap the tortillas in a moist paper towel, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds. Working with one tortilla at a time (keep the others inside the warm towel), place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in the baking dish.
  • Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes, until the tortillas are starting to brown slightly on the top.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 400° F. Remove the dish from the oven and cover the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I will definitely be making these for my friends in Dallas in the immediate future (you’re welcome, y’all), and I encourage you to do the same! People will love you for it. And if not… Do you really want people in your life that don’t appreciate good chicken enchiladas? I think we all know the answer to that one… Happy eating y’all, and I’m so excited to be back!!

Rice Bowl with Avocado and Fried Egg

This recipe was a brilliant discovery! I found it on Yahoo — of all places — and I’ve made it 4 times since then. It’s simple, but the flavors are fantastic! There’s a good bite to it that I didn’t expect considering the ingredients are so simple. Needless to say, I’m a big fan!

Be warned, this recipe goes to show that simple ingredients does not guarantee a simple cooking process. I almost smoked out my apartment by trying to cook a fried egg. I encourage y’all to spray the skillet with pam or SOMETHING so that the egg doesn’t stick…  Sigh, have I not learned anything from my hours of watching the Food Network? Here’s a nice little tutorial I probably should have watched prior to attempting this recipe. Also, be careful slicing the avocados. As y’all know, when avocados are ripe they get nice and squishy (look at me with all my technical food lingo). So when you cut them with a knife, you don’t need to push that hard… Yours truly sliced her thumb WIDE open making this dish for a second time. My roommate went into full lifeguard mode and saved the day! …I really can’t handle the site of blood so I’m grateful she was able to swoop in.

Potentially burning my apartment down and personal injury aside… I highly, highly recommend giving this healthy lunch/dinner dish a try!

Rice Bowl with Avocado and Fried Egg: Makes 2 Rice Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Hot sauce (optional; for serving)

Instructions:

  • Mix scallions, rice, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crack eggs into skillet; season with salt and pepper and cook until whites are set around the edges, about 1 minute. Flip eggs and cook to desired doneness, about 30 seconds for a runny yolk.
  • Divide rice among bowls; top with eggs, avocado, and hot sauce (optional)

I had been looking for a lunch or dinner recipe to make ahead of time, and this one works really well. Simply make a bigger batch of rice ahead of time, and add the fried egg and avocado when your’e ready to eat — It’s so easy! It was very filling and a new healthy option (I’m so over salads).

On another note, this will be my last blog post for awhile. I’m going to Frances for the Cannes Film Festival for an internship, and then studying abroad in Hong Kong for a month this summer! Which sadly means I won’t have access to a kitchen, but I’ll have many foodie adventures to share with you once I get back! I’ll save up any recipes I make over the summer to send your way in a few months. Thank you to everyone who reads and supports this blog, I really have so much fun with it! So don’t worry, I’ll be back! Happy eating everyone!! :-)