Paleo Pumpkin Chicken Chili

In need of some fall flavors that have fewer calories than the infamous pumpkin spice latte? Look no further! I decided to give this paleo thing a try, and in the process came across this deliciously filling chili recipe. I made the full batch — which is huge by the way, so I would recommend freezing the leftovers — and I can say I made everyone in my office jealous when I heated it up for lunch. It. Smells. SO. Good!

Paleo Pumpkin Chicken Chili: Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs chicken cubed
  • 2 cups diced red onions
  • 2 cups diced bell peppers (any color)
  • 3 jalapenos (diced and seeds removed)
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 28 oz of diced tomatoes (with juices)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp diced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Sauté onions until lightly browned, then add bell peppers, jalapeños, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in chicken, chicken stock, white wine, organic tomatoes, organic tomato paste, chili powder, pumpkin pie spice, coriander, salt, and cinnamon stick and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in pumpkin, cilantro, and cocoa powder and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low and let sit until ready to serve, or serve immediately. If there is too much, you can freeze it to eat later in the week.

Be on the look out for more paleo recipes! I’m finding that I feel so much more energized after following the paleo guidelines — granted, it’s only been a week, and I definitely cheated and scarfed down two tacos after the football tailgate, but I’m noticing a difference already! Food shouldn’t have to weigh you down!

Enjoy y’all, and happy eating!

Movies and Mussels: Guy Fieri’s Spicy Steamed Mussels

This is post #100! Thank you to everyone who reads my quirky little stories and enjoys these delicious recipes. Your interest and support means the world! A big thank you to my biggest supporter, best friend, and cooking partner and crime: my boyfriend, Parker. As you always strive to support the craziness of my life, I wanted to dedicate this 100th post to you: Mussels and movies, what more could you want? 

Happy Thursday! I, for one, have never been so excited for the weekend. My boyfriend and I are headed to NYC for Fall Break, something both of us are in desperate need of (thank youuuu thesis projects). But before I happily wave goodbye to Dallas for this five day weekend, I wanted to share a recipe Parker and I made a little while back. One of his favorite things in the whole world are mussels and, to his dismay, I had never actually eaten them until this past year.

SO! We decided to tackle a mussels recipe from Guy Fieri’s cookbook (the host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with the whacked out bleached blonde hair), and it did not disappoint! There are going to be a few more recipes posted up here from his book, so if you are interested in purchasing the cookbook, you can find more information about it on my Recommended Cookbooks tab.

This post also has a second agenda, hence the title “Movies & Mussels”. Since I’m sharing one of my boyfriend’s favorite recipes, I thought I would also take a moment to share with you his senior thesis project. As I’ve mentioned before, both of us are in the midst of our thesis projects. While mine is a crazy academic research project (woooo!), my creative other half is making a short film. The subject is near and dear to my heart, and I’m incredibly proud of the work he has put into the project thus far. In an effort to help him reach his goal of raising $2,000 for the production, I wanted to share the link to his IndieGoGo campaign. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated and will make a huge difference! I’m actually going to cater for the set and cook for his film crew, so you’d be doing me a huge favor too. If nothing else, read about it and see what he’s up to! Here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lucky-thesis-short-film.

Anyways! Thanks for letting me shamelessly beg y’all for money so my boyfriend isn’t a completely stressed out loon for the rest of the academic school year. Back to the food! Some tips and thoughts for this recipe…

  • You can replace white wine with apple juice if you aren’t interested in buying an entire bottle of white wine.
  • If you’re not a curry person (it’s okay, I’m not either) don’t let the presence of curry in this recipe deter you from making it! It doesn’t over power the dish by any means.
  • You can make this as an appetizer or main course. Parker and I split it and it was plenty for dinner (even though it’s meant for 4).

Guy Fieri’s Spicy Steamed Mussels: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 2-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 large ciabatta loaf, cut into ½-inch-thick diagonal slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions:

  • Pick through the mussels, making sure they are all tightly closed and all the beards have been removed
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and pour in vegetable oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook until translucent but not brown (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano and cook 1-2 minutes
  • Then add the curry powder, coriander, wine, and water and bring to boil
  • Add the mussels and cover. Steam the mussels for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have all opened
  • Preheat a grill pan over medium high-heat. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and grill 1 minute per side
  • Remove the mussels from the heat and discard any that are still closed
  • Place the mussels on a large serving platter and cover to keep warm
  • Return the pan to the heat, add the cream, season with pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer
  • Add the cilantro, green onions, and lime zest and juice
  • Pour the liquid over the top of the mussel
  • Serve the bread with the mussels

This recipe is incredibly simple and easy to make, yet I was completely blown away by the rich flavor — especially of the broth! I can guarantee I’ll make this one in the future. I hope y’ll have a wonderful weekend! I can’t wait to start eating all my feelings in NYC!! Til next time.

Bacon on Bacon: Rosemary Balsamic Pork Loin

October is officially here! And even though it’s 90 degrees outside (thanks Dallas), I’m wearing my favorite comfy sweater and you can’t stop me. Fall is one thing I miss the most now that I live in Texas. Literally nothing could beat a crisp fall day, crunching leaves under your feet, and living in sweaters, jeans, and boots like it was your job. Sigh… I guess I just have to wait til “winter” here in Dallas.

To celebrate the beginning of “fall” I’m sharing with you one of my new favorite, and remarkably simple, comfort food dishes. I was trying to be clever and make something with pumpkin buuuuuut with all the work I’ve been doing lately, it completely slipped my mind. So hopefully this is an acceptable substitute! I feel like fall is the perfect time for slow-roasted or baked food — I love it when my entire house takes on a certain smell, which in this case was bacon. And lots of it.

I pitched the recipe to my boyfriend, and at first he wasn’t that excited. Yeah we wanted to make pork, but what was so exciting about Rosemary and Balsamic? I then told him the pork loin is wrapped in bacon. Ah, it was as if I was suddenly speaking his language.

Rosemary Balsamic Pork Loin: Serves 6-8 (shout-out to Little Leopard Book for the amazing recipe!)

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless pork loin
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp steak seasoning
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 6 slices bacon

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
  • Brush the pork loin on all sides with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • Cut six slits in the loin to make a nice little home for the crushed garlic.
  • Use a garlic press to crush one clove of garlic into each slit, then push the crushed garlic well into the pork.
  • After the pork is all garlic-ed up, put the spices together and get ready to rub!
  • Place the steak seasoning, black pepper, 4 sprigs chopped rosemary and 4 sprigs chopped thyme in a small bowl together.
  • Rub the spice mixture on to the loins, making sure to cover both sides evenly.
  • Place 2 sprigs of rosemary and 2 sprigs of thyme on the loin.
  • Wrap the loin in bacon, making sure to wrap up those sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
  • Place in the oven to roast.
  • After 40-45 minutes, place a meat thermometer into the center of the pork.
  • The pork will register at 165° F when ready.

I was shocked and amazed that the pork was perfectly juicy and delicious. I was afraid I would have inherited my mother’s pork curse, no matter what it’s typically undercooked and then the microwave tries to save the day but then it ends up overcooked…  (sorry, Mom, but it’s true!). Maybe this is a recipe I can teach you this time!!

Word of caution — This recipe can be very garlic heavy, and the pieces of crushed garlic inserted into the pork loin is pretty strong when you’re eating it. I ended up scraping my garlic pieces out of the pork loin — after all, it still soaked up the flavor, I just wasn’t planning on fending off vampires later that night so I figured I wouldn’t sacrifice my breath.

Happy fall everyone! And I hope you enjoy this pig-loving comfort dish!

Oh You Fancy: Chilean Sea Bass with Bell Pepper Sauce

Finally. I finally have a moment to sit down and share a recipe with y’all. Honestly, why is graduate school so time-consuming. Sheeeeesh.

This dish is a throwback to when me and my boyfriend actually had a life and time to cook (read: before our thesis projects starting taking over our lives). I’m hoping that in the next week or two we’ll have the time to relax, unwind, and eat our feelings, but in the mean time… I’m gonna think about the “good ole days” aka two weeks ago.

This recipe is from our favorite cursing, angry, British chef: Gordon Ramsay. Known for his “colorful” language and crazed antics on Hell’s Kitchen, he has quickly become one of Parker’s and my favorite celebrity chefs. We’ve been to several of his restaurants so far (life goal: visit them all!), my favorite of which was either his stellar restaurant Burgr or Ramsay’s Pub & Grill — both located in Vegas.

So in an effort to cook up some fancy food and challenge ourselves a little bit, we looked up one of his recipes and this is the one we chose! And I have to say, it was an overwhelming success.

…well, minus the fact that my stove vent got blocked up and we almost smoked out my entire apartment when we started cooking the fish, but that’s beside the point.

In case you want fancy video instructions, Gordon Ramsay actually made this recipe one of television shows. You can cook alongside him — and feel like a total amateur — here:

Also, some things Parker and I learned cooking this…

  1. That skin is tough as hell to score. Best of luck! We ended up using a serrated knife, which hacked it to hell but luckily you serve it skin side down, so it still looks pretty!
  2. Star Anise is nearly impossible to find in a grocery store. You can substitute it with Chinese Spice Mixtures (it has the star anise in it), but don’t use a lot of it because it can be remarkably overpowering. The sauce tastes just as good without them, so don’t fret if you can’t find it!
  3. A nutribullet is a beautiful substitute for a real blender.

Chilean Sea Bass with Bell Pepper Sauce: Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Filets of Sea Bass
  • Bell Pepper – 1 large red and 1 large yellow, or several of both
  • Shallots – 3
  • Star Anise – 3
  • White Wine Vinegar – 1 1/2 Tbs
  • Vermouth – 2 Tbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Thyme Sprig leaves
  • Salt
  • Fresh Basil – 1 very large sprig, or two smaller ones
  • Water

Directions for the Sauce:

  •  Julienne the bell pepper, do the same with the shallots.
  • Heat olive oil in a hot pan, then add the peppers and shallots, add star anise and a pinch of salt.
  • Stir well and cook for several minutes until the peppers are beginning to soften up.
  • Add the basil whole, and pour in the white wine vinegar and vermouth.
  • Reduce for several minutes over moderate heat until liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Add enough water to the pan to cover the peppers half way.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid is about half gone.
  • Carefully add all of the ingredients to a blender and liquify.
  • Be sure to hold the lid on the blender.

Directions for the Fish:

  • Lay the fish on a cutting board skin side up. Score the fish every half inch along the length of the filet. Add salt and thyme leaves to the inside of each score, then drizzle with olive oil. You can now lovingly hold and caress the filet in your hands if you’re as crazy as Chef Ramsay about food, if not, you can skip the caressing.
  • Heat olive oil in a hot pan and add the fish, skin side down. Hold the fishdown with your fingers for 30 seconds to prevent curling. Ninety percent of the cooking will take place with the skin side down. Watch the fish and turn it when most of the meat has turned a bright white. Finish up cooking and remove from heat.

Serving Instructions:

  • Pour the sauce onto a plate with a large enough lip to hold the sauce – fill the bottom of the plate. Add cooked Sea Bass, skin side up. Drizzle olive into the sauce circling the fish. DONE.

The sea bass practically falls apart in your mouth, and the spices in the bell pepper sauce are the perfectly compliment. While my wallet wasn’t too happy with the cost of sea bass, my stomach prevailed — I would make this again in a heart beat!

Best of luck with your fancy foodie endeavors! It’s an exciting feeling being able to cook something so darn pretty. I’m off to Cane’s for drive-thru chicken becauseeee #gradschool. Til next time, happy eating!

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!