Anyone else feeling a little freaked out by all of the food recalls lately? It seems like every day a new food is being recalled. Flour with salmonella, salmon with listeria, Romaine lettuce with e.coli and chicken with plastic contamination! And that was all in one week! It has me wondering what foods are actually SAFE to eat.
All of the recalls have inspired me to take more of a proactive role in my food safety. I wash ALL fruits and vegetables that I bring into my home now and I'm using my thermometer to ensure that meat, chicken and fish are cooked to proper temperatures, far more often than usual. I also quit eating raw cookie dough. Tragic - I know. 😂 It's hard to admit but the research shows that the uncooked flour in raw cookie dough is potentially more harmful than the raw eggs!! That's possibly the most disappointing news of 2019.
I've always taken food safety seriously but I've definitely stepped up my food safety game this year because of all of the food recalls. I know I look like a crazy lady when I dawn my rubber gloves and frantically start wiping down my kitchen sinks, counters, cabinet and drawer handles and light switches with bleach, but it's all in the name of avoiding cross contamination. It's probably overkill but it makes me feel better about the food that I prepare and serve to my family.
I learned a lot about food safety when I did my personal chef training and one of the things that they really emphasized was marinade safety. I wasn't aware that it isn't common knowledge that cooks shouldn't be marinating raw meat and then reusing that same marinade on cooked meat - UNLESS it's cooked in between to kill bacteria. As a general rule - if you use a marinade - "toss it out or cook it out" before you eat it.
This Greek Chicken recipe uses a delicious blend of oil, fresh herbs and spices and a hint of lemon in a marinade to infuse the chicken with scrumptious Greek flavor. Once the chicken is removed, be sure and bring the marinade to a rolling boil and a minimum of 165 degrees. Just trying to keep all of you safe from food born illnesses. 😅
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts
juice from 1 lemon
If you follow my blog at all, you know that I'm a big fan of grilled chicken. I made a double batch of this deliciously marinated chicken and turned the leftovers into some very tasty chicken noodle soup. Grilled chicken leftovers are the best!
Do you experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? I'm such an introvert that I feel like I'm much more likely to experience FOMH (Fear OF Missing Home) than FOMO. 😂OK, so FOMH my not be an actual thing but it describes my attitude towards social situations perfectly. It's a good thing that I'm married to my complete opposite. My social butterfly husband forces me out of my comfort zone and into situations that stretch my personality. If it weren't for him - I would probably be living as a hermit, deep in the woods somewhere. 😂🌲
Our divergent personalities even carry over into our dinner decisions. It probably won't surprise you that my extrovert husband likes the social interaction of going out to eat. And even though I can appreciate being served a meal that has been prepared by someone else, probably even more than most girls, I also really like to eat my own food. I have comfort in being able to control exactly what goes into my meal and I love the fact that I can prepare my food exactly the way that I like it. There's no apprehension about ordering something that I won't like. Maybe I have FOESEF. (Fear Of Eating Someone Else's Food) 💁🏻♀️
I normally don't order things at restaurants that I can make for myself at home. I like to try and recreate the meals that I get served at restaurants in my own kitchen though. The delicious rolls from my favorite steakhouse, the savory soups that I first tasted at Panera, the pizza from Alini's and the tiramisu from the Macaroni Grill. Some of my recipe recreations have worked out better than others. 😉 There was a copycat Bloomin' Onion debacle that we just don't talk about anymore. 🤣
My family thinks I'm crazy but I actually really like to order salads at restaurants. I like to sample the fun salad combinations that restaurants put together. I'm always looking for new ways to spice up my salads at home and taste testing them at restaurants is a great way to give them a trial run. I gave this salad (minus the steak) a test run at a local pub recently. It was really yummy and I decided to make it more Ben-friendly by adding a little grilled steak to the top.
Mediterranean Steak and Pita Salad
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 (8 inch) pita bread, cut into triangles
2 teaspoons cumin
1 pound skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
2 Romaine hearts, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 avocado, sliced
Add lettuce, mint and pita to bowl with tomato mixture. Toss to coat. Top with sliced steak.
We're officially in the Dog Days of Summer. It's 106 with the heat index in Atlanta this afternoon and I feel like I'm melting faster than an ice cream cone in the sun. I crave cool, crispy salads on days like today. They're a great way to eat healthy and stay cool on these ridiculously hot days.
Fried chicken and beer - it's a match made in heaven, right? There's only one problem - I don't like beer. 🍺🍗 (Please don't judge me.) It actually looks very appealing with it's frothy, golden color but unfortunately - I've really just never acquired a taste for it.
But before you start sending me your beer suggestions, I should tell you that I've sampled a lot of beer. Dark beers, pilsners, craft beer, fruity beers, pale ales, stouts and lagers - I've yet to find one that appeals to me. At the risk of offending beer drinkers all over the internet - I have to say that I just don't like any of it. I apologize to all of my beer loving followers. 🤷🏻♀️ Please don't unfollow me.
I may never be a girl who drinks a beer with her fried chicken but that doesn't mean that I can't be a girl who GRILLS her chicken with a beer glaze. Turns out, this non-beer drinker is a big fan of grilled chicken smothered in a drunken beer glaze. Who knew?
Something magical happens to a beer when you add spice, sugar and garlic. It transforms it from a hoppy, bitter brew to a flavor rich, full bodied, spicy glaze that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken. Maybe I should just order my beer with sugar and spice from the bartender from now on. 🍻🌶🥣
In case you're curious, I did taste the Mexican beer that I added to the recipe - and.... I'm still not a fan. I'll leave it at that.
Beer Glazed Chicken with Summer Vegetables
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup dark Mexican beer
6 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons piloncillo (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 chicken leg quarters
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" slices
1 red onion, cut into 1/4" rounds
2 ears corn, husked and halved
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Serve vegetables with chicken.
This grilled chicken was a big hit with my family. What better way to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year?
I am a quirky girl. There's no denying it. I have more than my share of undeniable, irrational and unexplainable quirks. I don't like to watch people brush their teeth. I park in the exact same aisle every time I go to the grocery store. I eat my dinner, one food at a time. And don't even get me started on the sounds that people make when they're eating and drinking. 😬 Quirky is an understatement.
One of the many quirks that most of you don't know about me is my aversion to eating meat off of the bone. I am a huge chicken lover but the thought of holding a chicken bone in my hands while eating the meat, makes me cringe. I'm convinced that my weird chicken eating animosity is directly related to the bone because I'm not at all opposed to holding food in my hands. I love burgers, tacos, crab legs and sandwiches. I can eat an apple out of my hand but for some reason, I can't bring myself to pick up a drumstick or a spare rib and eat it. 🍗
Wing eating purists would say that cutting the meat off of a chicken wing with a knife and fork diminishes the experience of eating them. I disagree. For starters, it takes a great deal of time to actually carve the meat from a tiny chicken wing and it slows my abnormally rapid eating speed to a more normal pace. I'm also not a fan of chicken skin (another quirk) so I can eliminate the skin and excess fat from by chicken by using utensils. And most importantly - I can coat every bite with wing sauce for maximum flavor and kick. Isn't that why we eat chicken wings after all?
So whether you're a chicken wing carver or a normal person without bone quirks, you will want to give these Grilled Chicken Wings a try. The brine makes them super tender and juicy. The grill adds that nice smoky flavor and the sauce - well - it's just awesome. These might just be the most flavorful and delicious chicken wings that I've eaten.
Grilled Chicken Wings
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Transfer wings to a platter. Reheat sauce and toss with wings.
Please tell me that I'm not the only person in the world who doesn't like to eat meat off of a bone. There must other people who share this weird quirk. I'm trying to convince my family that it's so common that it's even been given a scientific diagnosis like "bone phobia." So if you're a knife and fork kind of wing eater like me, please let me know. I need your support.
More plants - Less meat. Why is it so hard for me to keep this in mind when I'm menu planning? I've been trying to re-train my brain to eat more plants but my first instinct is still to choose a lean protein like chicken or fish and THEN plan the vegetables and side dishes to compliment the meat. It just seems completely unnatural to me to plan the vegetables FIRST and then come up with a lean protein side dish to accompany them. I really like vegetables, why is it so hard to make them a priority in my menu planning?
I'm trying to change my pattern of behavior by featuring a plant based - vegetable driven main dish on the blog today - stuffed portobello mushrooms. This nutrient rich meal is the perfect thing to get my mind off of meat proteins and onto more plant based vegetable forward meals.
I love these mushrooms so much and Ben and I really don't even miss the protein when I serve these for dinner. I haven't worked up the courage to serve these to my children yet because quite honestly, I'm not sure that my ego can take the scrutiny of their uncensored opinions. For now, I'll stick to serving these hearty mushrooms on nights when it's just the two of us.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
1/2 cup + 1 T. olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
10 ounces spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
Bake 4 minutes at 475. Serve.
I have a hard time planning side dishes to go with these mushrooms though because I feel like they act as a main course and require no additional protein. They're also a great source of vegetables so I don't feel like I need to add any more veggies either. So what do I serve with main course mushrooms? Sometimes I serve fresh fruit and a healthy grain. Quinoa, wheat berries and farro are all good options for healthy side dishes for this delicious meal. Tonight - it was toasted pita bread and raw veggies. I'd love to know what you're serving with your vegetable, plant-based meals. Send me a comment.
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