Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pulled Pork Spring Rolls and Wonton Tacos

Are you a leftover person?

My dad was definitely the leftover person of the family growing up. He was always heating up the leftover lasagna or putting the extra meatballs on a sandwich. Every now and again we would have a "leftover dinner"... you know, a clean out the refrigerator because there are too many tupperware containers in there dinner. I think I always enjoyed them because you got to eat a little bit of everything. And you know I love just about everything food related.

These days, leftovers are an inevitable part of my cooking. Sometimes I do the cooking for one but many times I'll make enough for 2-6 either because the recipe goes that way or so that I can have leftovers for lunch the next day. Every now and then, I like to repurpose my leftovers into something new. Here are two of my favs. Honestly, you don't have to use pulled pork and coleslaw; these are good with just about whatever you want to stuff into them.

Leftover Pulled Pork Spring Rolls and Wonton Tacos
Leftover pulled pork
Leftover vinaigrette coleslaw
wonton or egg roll wrappers


For the spring rolls, lay the egg roll wrappers on a clean surface. Place about 1 tbsp pulled pork and 1 tbsp coleslaw on each wrapper. Fold and roll up, sealing with water. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat the tops with cooking spray. Bake at 425F for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

For the wonton tacos, place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Drape the wonton wrappers over the rack. Bake at 400 F for about 3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Fill the tacos with leftover pulled pork and coleslaw.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chicken Gyro Lettuce Wraps

You know how some days you feel like you are running around like a crazy person? That you keep doing lots of work but somehow it feels like the to-do list keeps growing and never shrinking? What happens when that is your life for months on end? Does that just make you a crazy person?

Hi, my name is Julie and apparently I am a crazy person.

At least I still make (sometimes) and eat (most of the time) yummy food. Very rarely lately do I share it with you, but what can I say? I'm a crazy person. Enjoy these quick and easy chicken gyro lettuce wraps. They'll make you feel a little less insane.

Chicken Gyro Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)
1/2 cup shredded cucumber
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 cup chopped fresh chives
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
Romaine hearts, for serving
Chopped pepperoncini and tomatoes, for serving

Place the cucumber in a colander and generously salt. Let rest for 10 minutes and then press out the liquid. Add the cucumber, yogurt, fresh herbs, 1/2 of the lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic and 1/4 tsp cumin to a food processor. Puree until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine the other half of the lemon juice with the other clove of garlic and about 1/8 cup oil. Mix in the paprika, oregano, coriander, and 1/2 tsp cumin. Place the chicken in the marinade and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Shake of any excess marinade. Cook, flipping halfway through, for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Slice into pieces.

Serve the chicken on top of the romaine hearts garnished with pepperonicini, tomatoes, and cucumber sauce.

Serves 2.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala (Slow Cooker)

Probably at least 7 out of 10 people who you ask their go-to Indian dish will answer chicken tikka masala. In my opinion, it is the gateway Indian food. No matter where you get it, you know it will be yummy. There is just something about that creamy, spicy (although not too hot) tomato sauce that is perfect to lap up with naan. I had been wanting to make this at home for awhile and when I stumbled across a version for the slow cooker, I knew this would a great place to start. Since it is in the slow cooker, the chicken basically falls apart so, as you can see below, it resembles a pulled chicken more than the typical chopped chicken. But don't let that scare you away. It is exactly what you were dreaming of... or at least what I was dreaming of.

I served it with some cooked rice and naan bread. My only regret- I didn't have time to make my homemade naan. Ah well, next time, for sure.

Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from Table for Two)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken (combination of breast and thigh or whichever you prefer)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
29 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fat free plain yogurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup half and half
3 tbsp cornstarch

Combine the onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, yogurt, oil, garam masala, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and CRP in the crock of a slow cooker. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and make sure it is completely covered. Place the bay leaves on top of the sauce.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours, turning to warm after that time if you aren't ready to eat. 30 minutes before the meal, whisk the cornstarch into the half and half and mix into the crockpot. As you mix, gently shred the chicken with the spoon. Cook on high for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with cooked rice and/or accompanied by naan (homemade if you have time!).

Serves 4-6.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Roasted Chickpeas

Oh chickpeas. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Creamy in a hummus
2. Mixed into a salad
3. Smashed on a sandwich

And I'm adding a new one today.

4. Crispy and by the handful

Roasted Chickpeas (Cooking technique from A Spicy Perspective although it is all over the internet)
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt*
freshly ground pepper*

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Spread the chickpeas on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper-- I think I used about 1/4 tsp of each. Mix to coat.

Bake for 15 minutes. Stir to mix well. Bake for additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before eating. They will crisp up a little bit.

*Feel free to try out whatever seasonings you would like.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tempeh Greek Wrap

I remember my first experience with tofu on the college salad bar. It was this gross watery white sponge without texture and flavor. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it. But then I learned to love tofu. It is great when marinated and paired with bold flavors.

After I gained an appreciation for tofu, I wanted to venture out to other high protein soy products. The one on the top of my list was tempeh. Finally I have conquered that task.

Here is my take on tempeh--- first off, do not expect it to be anything like tofu. It is actually a hard pressed soybean product so the texture is completely different. You can actually see the soybeans! It is chewy and therefore holds up well for sandwiches. Like this Greek wrap. The flavor of the tempeh is lemony because that's what you cook it in. But paired with the salty feta and olives plus a tangy Greek yogurt spread and lots of fresh vegetables make this perfect for any summer lunch or quick dinner.

The verdict-- I like tempeh. I think I'll play around with it some more.

Tempeh Greek Wrap (adapted from Cooking Light)
4 oz tempeh
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground pepper
Diced tomatoes and cucumber
Spinach leaves
Sliced red onion
Crumbled feta cheese
Sliced olives
Tortilla or wraps (I like 100 calorie La Tortilla wheat wraps)

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the tempeh and cook for 2 minutes on each side to brown slightly. Reduce heat to medium and pour in the water and juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Simmer for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from pan and slice into 6-8 pieces.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, the other half of lemon juice, lemon zest and chives. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread about 2 tbsp of the yogurt mixture on the wrap. Top with half of the tempeh. Add tomatoes, cucumber, spinach, onion, feta and olives. Roll up.

Makes enough for two wraps.