Archive | August, 2010

Oven Roasted Summer Veggies!

29 Aug

So this is my first attempt at a Vegan/Vegetarian-style dish so it is by no means complicated, or even really all that creative but I wanted to give something new a try.  I picked up various vegetables including eggplant, zucchini, red onion, & green peppers while out the other day in an attempt to start eating healthier (haha righhhttt).

For this dish, I decided to do a take on something one of my LEAP student’s professors created for the picnic we did at the end of the semester with an oven-roasted combo of various vegetables.  His was spicy & delicious with a shug spread & tahini spread.   I didn’t have the spices I wanted to make mine spicy, so I went with some oregano, garlic, & salt and pepper. Keepin it simple.

For this “recipe” I used: 1/2 of a large eggplant, 1 large green pepper, 1/2 red onion, 1 large zucchini.

  • Keep in mind that this was for just myself (it made enough for probably two people though) and you will need to use

    Diced veggies tossed in olive oil & seasonings

    more of the vegetables if you are doing it for a large group of people (use more than you think! Veggies shrink down as they bake!)

Start off by slicing your eggplant into 1/4-inch slices and salt it.  Set these aside for now.  Then I diced up my remaining vegetables into 1/4-inch cube and minced fresh garlic. Now, get your eggplant and wipe off the salt with a paper towel, then dice.  You then toss everything with olive oil, oregano & salt and pepper.   The point of salting the eggplant is so that it more easily absorbs the olive oil.  I then baked this at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes until all of my vegetables were nice and tender.

You can use this dish in sooo many ways! You could serve this as a side dish, over rice, or as I had it on some lavah bread.   This bread has no eggs, so even the vegans can eat it! I toasted my bread flat in the oven with some of italian cheese & the vegetable mixture (no

Roasted vegetables with cheese & dressing on lavah toasted lavah bread

longer vegan of course) then topped with Caesar dressing and ate it like a sandwich.  You could also do this with hummus instead of the cheese & dressing for your vegan friends.

We’ll that’s it for my first adventure into the vegan/vegetarian world.   Hopefully you’ll see some more vegan/vegetarian recipes coming from me in the future! It was really fun to try something different.

WE ARE… on a path to healthier eating (maybe)!

My Famous Cookies ‘n Cream Brownies!

22 Aug

We’re going sweet for this week’s LION BITE with a dessert that never fails to be a hit at parties and picnics: Cookies ‘n Cream Brownies!

Everyone who has ever tried this has loved it and they’re super easy to make! Great for a last minute bake sale or picnic, these awesome brownies start from a standard brownie batter.  You can make your own from scratch or use a box (I usually use a box *shhh!* because half the point of these is a quick easy dessert!)

What You’ll Need: Brownie Batter (from the box or homemade), Oreo cookies
Optional: Powdered Sugar & Milk for icing or just powdered sugar

To start, follow the recipe or box instructions to make up a batter.  Then, crush or break apart at least six Oreos.  A neat trick for this is to put them in a plastic snack bag and crush them up. It’s a lot less messy.  Mix these into the batter then pour the batter into a pan (greased or ungreased according to your recipe or box).  Crush approximately six more Oreos and spread out across the top of the batter.
Bake according to recipe/box.  

For Topping/Icing: If you’re in a hurry you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and call it a day.  If you really want to go all out (and I suggest you do!) make up an icing mixture of equal parts powdered sugar and milk (2 tbsp usually works for me) in a Zip Loc baggie & after allowing brownies to cool (completely cool, not even warm), drizzle the glaze over the brownies. Allow the icing to set and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tips:

  • Fudge brownie mix is the best
  • If you are in a hurry but want to ice them, stick the brownies in the freezer!
  • You can also stick them in the freezer then cut them with a hot knife for clean easy cut brownie
    —-    Just allow a dinner knife (Steak knives are for steak!) to soak in a cup of hot water and use that to cut through the cold brownies

For a yummy brownie batter recipe, try this one from Hershey.

WE ARE…

Ginger’s on Fashion Ave

19 Aug

Hey everyone! Sorry for the late update! It’s been a busy week!  This past weekend, I was in restaurant heaven — NEW YORK CITY!!!

I figured what better way to do my first restaurant review on LION BITES, than to do it in New York! While there were many restaurants I would have loved to have eaten at, we were on a budget (a budget spent on purses 🙂 ). It was my goal to find one interesting and good restaurant while we were there, and eventually we did when we found Ginger’s, an Szechuan & Chinese cuisine restaurant located on Fashion Ave between 37th & 38th.

For us, it was something quick & different.  We were surprised by the service, speed, taste & portions of the food here!  Especially for the prices! They hovered between $9-15ish. As soon as we were seated, our orders were taken, with each of us choosing a different dish (pretty typical, right?) & some hot tea.

What made Ginger’s not typical was how the food was served. First, it was so quick! We ordered and then our food was there, just like that! Also, while not served family-style, per se, we were each served our own HUGE portion of each dish & given an empty plate to fill with all of the different food (given that everyone is in the mood to share this is great!).  Gorgeous place settings! Love the teal!

I loved it because I enjoyed trying everyone else’s food as well as my own.  My family all went with pretty standard order dishes they stick with and love: General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken & Broccoli and Sweet & Sour Chicken.  I wanted to try something new (this was New York after all) and went with Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken.

There are an abundant amount of selections on the menu and all of the dishes we had were great. The broccoli in the Chicken & Broccoli was so fresh tasting which really made the dish much more enjoyable than standard mediocre Chinese takeout.  The Sweet & Sour chicken was not greasy and fried as you sometimes get.  I actually enjoyed it, even though it’s not usually my favorite.  The General Tso’s was good as well and had a beautiful presentation with a cute carrot flower on the side.General Tso's Chicken

My dish was my favorite: Pineapple Fried Rice & Chicken.  I could just slightly taste the pineapple flavor in the rice which was nice.  There were vegetables, pieces of pineapple, chicken & cashews in it as well.  The cashews really made the dish in my opinion.  I can’t wait to try and replicate this dish at home!

Ginger’s is a great little place & I highly recommend it if you find yourself in the Garment District craving Chinese food, skip the random takeout stand and stop by Ginger’s! The reasonable prices, quick service & yummy food options will leave you wanting to go back again (I know I do). Just don’t be surprised if later you find yourself really hungry for pineapple fried rice!

If you want to read more reviews of Ginger’s click: Here

WE ARE… hungry for Chinese food…

Away for the weekend…

16 Aug

Hey all!ny

Just wanted to let you guys know, I will be posting Tuesday evening this week in place of Sunday.  I went away for the weekend, then came home to visit without stopping by my apartment to pick up my computer. Sorry for any disappointment! Please check back Tuesday!

Grilled Potatoes with Cheddar Cream Cheese Sauce

8 Aug

I have a ton of ideas running through my head for new food creations for this blog, but today I decided I would try to make due with what I already had here instead of running to the grocery store (going to NYC next weekend! Gotta save some cash!).  Of course this left me puzzled, because as a college student eating of a meal plan for the summer, I don’t have a whole lot in my apartment.  I wanted to do a grilled veggie pouch (hopefully another week!) but without going to the store it would just be boring carrots & potatoes.  This left me searching the web for something new to try with potatoes.  Thanks to Paula Deen & Food Network, I found the recipe for Grilled Potatoes! I love cheese on everything (and especially love cream cheese with potatoes), so to make it a little more interesting, I decided to try and come up with a cheddar & cream cheese sauce.

Following the recipe, I cut two potatoes (for myself) into 1/4 inch slices & boiled until slightly cooked, but still with a raw center.  While they were boiling, I put some olive oil on low heat in a sauté pan with some fresh thyme to coat my potatoes with (olive oil is healthier than butter — Sorry Paula!) & grated 1 1/2 cups cheddar.  After the potatoes were “boiled” I coated both sides with olive oil, garlic salt & pepper and put them on the grill until cooked through.

For the cheddar cream cheese sauce, with nothing really to go on, I started it out out like cream cheese Alfredo sauce.  First a roux (equal parts flour & butter) & add in 3 unrounded tablespoons cream cheese, whisking as you go.  Then I added a dash ofWorcestershire sauce, nutmeg & a dry mustard (still whisking). After removing the sauce from the heat, I whisked in the grated cheddar until smooth.

To plate, I put a few heaping spoonfuls of the cheddar sauce onto the plate & topped with my grilled potatoes so I would get a little bit of sauce in every bite then garnished with fresh thyme.


My Tips:

  • Baste the potatoes with butter using a pastry brush to get nice char marks (following Paula’s recipe)
  • Season the potatoes to your liking whether it be thyme like I used, just salt & pepper, or anything else you like!
  • If you don’t want to make your own cheddar cheese sauce, you could melt down some Velveeta or another cheese sauce like you would put over steamed broccoli!
  • Try grilling other kinds of vegetables too!

If you want to make grilled potatoes, check out Paula Deen’s Recipe: Here

WE ARE…really getting a lot of use out of the grill this summer!

Ranch Juicy Lucy Burgers & Homemade Steak Fries!

1 Aug

It’s summer time, so that means lots of cooking on the grill! If you’ve already gotten tired of typical burgers and hot dogs with a month of summer still left, I encourage you to mix things up with these delicious turkey burgers!!!

Over the past year, I’ve been substituting ground turkey for ground beef in a lot of recipes, and I’ve grown to love turkey burgers! I just really enjoy the flavor more than traditional hamburger meat.  The idea for this dinner stemmed from the Hidden Valley commercial about ranch burgers.  I figured, if it tastes good with ground beef, it will taste even better with ground turkey!  The idea evolved one day when my boyfriend, Ryan, and I were eating some simple ranch turkey burgers & he suggested to put cheese in the middle & make them Juicy Lucy’s!!!  So finally, this past friday we decided to give them a try along with some homemade steak fries!

Our Shopping List: Ground turkey meat (we got 2 lbs so we’d have leftovers), shredded mild cheddar cheese (or colby jack), Hidden Valley dry ranch seasoning/powder (we used 1 pack but if you love ranch, I’d recommend 1 pack per lb of meat), hamburger buns, 3 (roughly — I’d estimate for 1-1.5 potatoes per person) large Idaho potatoes

Ryan was in charge of the steak fries since they were his idea & I started in on the turkey burgers.  I put all of our ground turkey into a large bowl and slowly mixed in (with my hands! don’t be afraid to get messy!) the dry ranch little by little. Once mixed, form a bunch of hamburger patties out of the meat.  Try to make them more thin than you would for a normal burger.

Our fries -- fresh out of the oven!

After all of the patties are formed, you top them with some cheese & then another burger patty! The point is to get a juicy burst of cheese in the middle of the burger, hence the name Juicy Lucy!  Make sure to pinch the edges of the two patties together on each burger so all of the cheese doesn’t ooze out the sides while the burger cooks.  You can bake them in the oven or in a skillet, but since it’s summer, enjoy the time you have with your grill! That’s what we did!

For the fries, Ryan preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  He cut the potatoes into long wedges and tossed them with olive oil, steak seasoning (use whatever seasoning you like!) and salt & pepper.  We spread these out on a large baking sheet & put into the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes (turn them over halfway through if needed)

Top the burgers with mayo, more cheese (we love our cheese!) and any veggies you like (tomato, lettuce, onion, etc) & enjoy with your oven baked potato wedges!  We topped our fries with cheese (loveee it!!!) & “real-bacon” bacon bits and dipped in Ranch dressing.

Yum!!! 🙂

My Tips:

  • Experiment with your cheeses! Use what you like best!
  • Use the ranch powder to taste.  Start with 1 packet, but if it isn’t strong enough, next time try two!
  • Get the burgers started on some aluminum foil (turkey burgers tends to fall apart because it is so lean) then move to the uncovered grill if you want nice charred marks on your burgers

WE ARE… on ranch & cheddar overload!!!