Thursday, August 30, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I was recently tasked with buffalo chicken for my friend's 80s party and I decided to make a dip out of it! Unfortunately in the midst of getting my 80s on, I forgot to take a I'll eventually update this post. It's a very easy recipe and people really enjoyed it. Serve it up with some crostinis, chips, and celery!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Serves 10-12)
Time: 2hrs

- Rotisserie Chicken, Shredded or Chicken Breasts (Use Crockpot Recipe with 2-3 breasts)
- 1 1/4c Hot Sauce, I used a mixture of Franks and Sweet Baby Rays
- 1 oz Package of Dry Ranch Seasoning
- 1/4tsp or pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4tsp Garlic Powder
- 20-24oz Cream Cheese
- 1-2c Cheddar Cheese
  1. Place shredded chicken and sauce on low setting in crockpot or stovetop. Let chicken simmer in the sauce for about 1hour.
  2. Add cream cheese, spices, and ranch seasoning to the pot. You can soften and melt the cream cheese in a small pot and add if you'd like or use your spatula to smooth out the cheese.
  3. You can add the cheddar cheese to the crockpot and serve it from there, or do as I did and put the mixture into a small casserole dish and top with cheese. 
  4. Set your oven to 350 degrees and allow the cheese to brown, about 10-15mins.
Hope you enjoy and it's just in time for football season! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

Needless to say I love Mexican and Spanish inspired flavors! This quinoa salad was perfect for a Mexican themed birthday potluck. While it isn't quite authentic, it's still good and healthy! You can serve it as a side or add some more vegetables/protein and make it a meal. I love getting together with my girlfriends for homemade dinners, we cook with flavor in mind and always have plenty of leftovers to take home!

Fiesta Quinoa Salad (Serves 10)
Time: 20min Prep and 25min Cook

- Quinoa 1c rinsed
- 2c of Chicken Broth
- 2 Avocaods
- 1c Cilantro
- 1c Tomatoes (Optional)
- 1/4-1/2 Onion, Diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
- 1 1/2c Corn, I use frozen and thawed organic sweet corn
- 1 15oz can of Reduced Sodium Black Beans, Rinsed
- 1/2-1 lime, Juiced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/4tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2tsp Cumin
- Chipotle Powder, Salt, Pepper 
  1. Add your quinoa and chicken broth to a pot and set it on high until it begins to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and let it sit for about 20-25mins until liquid is absorbed. 
  2. Take quinoa off of heat and set aside.
  3. Mix together your chopped vegetables and cilantro in a medium sized bowl and prepare the dressing by mixing together the olive oil, lime, and spices. Pour the mixture into the vegetables and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Add your vegetable mixture to the cooled quinoa and add salt, pepper, and chipotle powder to your liking. Prior to serving, top the salad with avocado and enjoy!
If you're not a fan of quinoa or don't have any on hand, just make a light corn and bean salad instead!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dining Adventures: Denver

It has been about 1.5yrs since I left Denver and I was so excited to go back and visit for a few days. Aside from spending time with some great friends and their kids, I got to dine at a few of my favorite spots! Coloradans, you already know that there is an abundance of great restaurants and places to visit in town so I don't need to tell you that, but for those of you planning a trip to Denver hope you can check out some of the spots below!

The Brown Palace
“Sumptuous what remains an opulent setting.”
- Bon Appetit

The Afternoon Tea at The Brown Palace is a must! Sip some tea while enjoying the harpist or pianist. The tea is served with a variety of scones, clotted cream, and tea sandwiches. It was always fun to get a little dressed up and feel like an elegant lady! If that's not your cup of tea, go for the Sunday brunch. They have an amazing selection and great food!

Colorado Cherry
We stumbled upon this cute little gem while driving back from Rocky Mountain National Park. They have a great selection of ciders, jams, and of course, amazing cherry pie! Neither myself or my husband are fans of cherry pie, but theirs was amazing! It wasn't overly sweet or made from a can, instead it was fresh and just tart enough! I wish I could get this sent to my house...but I doubt it would get here in one piece.

Green Russell
GR was my first speakeasy experience! Wednesday's Pie serves as the storefront for this great bar. I finally got to go when my friend Karina came to visit me. We stopped by and sipped on great cocktails made by their talented and knowledgeable bartenders. While we didn't order any appetizers, we shared a strawberry rhubarb pie that was delicious! I'm sure the rest of their menu is pretty good too. I would recommend making a reservation if you plan on visiting!

For my champagne lovers, there is a great bar down the street called Corridor 44 that makes some great champagne cocktails! I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for champagne!

Snooze is one of my favorite breakfast spots! The food is great and the atmosphere is fun. You do need to show up at a decent time if you don't want to end up waiting too long, but for me it's worth the wait. They have fun benedicts and great pancakes that you can create a flight of!
On this particular day, my hubs got  bacon (which was crispy and not greasy) and a pancake flight that consisted of: The Vermonter, The Pancake of the Day (Carrot Cake), and The Coffee and Donuts pancake, which came with a side of espresso cream-YUM! I got the Chilaquiles Benedict. Corn tortillas were topped with carne asada, pico de gallo, and cilantro...I need to make this at home asap! Check out their website for locations!

Korean BBQ
Since I can't seem to find a good Korean restaurant around here, I loved getting some good BBQ in Colorado! Of course it's not as good as mom's cooking, but it'll do.  I posted a few different photos below for you to enjoy. Typically there are several side dishes as you can see on your left. Spicy, sweet, pickled, name it! The jalapenos and garlic are meant for you to grill or enjoy with your meat.
Kalbi or Bulgogi - Awesome Korean BBQ, it's fun when you can make it table side! When we get together with family my parents often make this. Mom marinates the meat and dad fires up the grill for some smoked goodness!
My aunt ordered a seafood soup as well, it may be for the adventurous foodie, but it's delicious and spicy. I also like to order soondubu, which is spicy and made with soft tofu. It's delicious, try it if you get a chance!
- Shin Sa Dong BBQ in Denver
- Silla in Denver
- Chodangol in NYC (The husband went here while traveling and loved it!)

There is an abundance of great breweries, wineries, and distilleries in Colorado, to the left is just one of them. I've only had the chance to enjoy MillerCoors and New Belgium, but there are several free tours for you to enjoy!

Click here to see more...

Rioja quickly became one of my favorite restaurants after my first dining experience. Now I don't want to hype it up too much because I know we all have different tastes, but check out the menu and head over if you're in town. Chef Jen has worked at several renowned restaurants, served as a sous chef for Wolfgang Puck, and even worked in Paris at Ledoyan, a Michelin two star resturant. She won't disappoint!
You will start your meal with a choice of several breads. My favorites are the rosemary and goat cheese biscuit and the lavender sourdough. The sourdough goes amazing with the artichoke torellini posted below. This past visit we started with an amuse bouche of spicy duck sausage and a gelee before moving onto our starters.
I had the artichoke tortellini which is served in a white truffle and artichoke broth. If you know me, you know how much I appreciate truffles! You can choose a smaller portion or make this into a dinner sized portion.  Just a heads up, the tortellini is very rich and flavorful! Don't forget to soak up the artichoke broth with your lavender sourdough bread!
For my main course I chose the Hawaiian Blue Prawns. It was served with a cold soba noodle salad and an uni broth. The husband went with a delightful lamb dish served with a saffron goat cheese risotto and a sweet and savory side of fava beans, dates, and chorizo.

For dessert I enjoyed my first baked alaska which was very tropical in flavor. Though I wouldn't order it again, it was good. The hubs got a beautiful plate of chocolate desserts...he won this time!

Rioja holds a special place in my heart as it is the place where B and I enjoyed our engagement dinner. Since it's a favorite spot of mine, he brought me to dinner after the proposal. Nothing like great food after one of the happiest moments of your life.

Hope you get to enjoy some of these great spots on your next visit to Denver! Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

While I love some fried buffalo wings, I thought I'd make something a tad healthier and just as delicious! This shredded buffalo chicken was so easy and versatile. We made these into wrap, but you can put it on your salad, make spring rolls with them, or wrap them in lettuce shells...whichever way you choose I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken (Serves 4-5)
Time: 6-8hrs

- 4-6 Chicken Breasts
- 1 Onion
- 2-3 Stalks of Celery
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 1/2-2c Hot Sauce ( I used Franks and Sweet Baby Ray's)
- 26oz Unsalted Chicken Broth
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/4tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1tbsp Butter

  1. Place the chicken in the crock pot and cover with broth and cayenne pepper, add a little water if your broth doesn't cover the chicken. 
  2. Add your chopped vegetables and garlic cloves into the pot and let it cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Skim off any fat from the surface and remove chicken and celery from the pot. Reserve 1c of broth to mix with hot sauce.
  4. Shred the chicken and place it back into the pot.  Add 1tbsp butter, chicken broth, and 1-1/4c of hot sauce to the chicken and let it sit for another 30min-1hr.
I served yogurt ranch dressing on the side to go with the wraps. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Braised Pork Chops with Swiss Chard

Braised Pork Chops with Swiss Chard ( Serves 4)
Prep and Cook Time: 1-1.5hrs

- 4 Center Cut Pork
- 1 Bunch of Swiss Chard
- 1 Sweet Onion
- 5tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1 14.5z Can of Tomatoes
- Salt and Pepper
  1. Chop your swiss chard and boil in salted water until wilted, about 7-10mins.
  2. Brown your pork with 3 tbsp olive oil in the pan and set aside, about 5-6mins. 
  3. Lower the heat and add remainder of olive oil, chopped onions, and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 4-5mins.
  4. Finally, add your tomatoes, pork, and top with chard. Cook on low heat for 45mins-1hr.             You can set your chard aside and add right before serving as well!  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is great for your health! It aids in muscle recovery, provides your body with antioxidants, and can lower cholesterol. I'm going to give a shout out to my friend Wendy, The Fuelin' Roadie, for bringing this into my life.

Tart cherry juice can also be used as a healthier alternative for your drink mixers, check out the links below for more information and grab a glass today!

Livestrong - The Health Benefits of Tart Cherry Juice

Looking for Fitness in a Glass of Juice

Monday, August 6, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Bake

This dumpling turned bake paired perfectly with my braised pork chops last week! The recipe was supposed to be for dumplings, but I completely missed a step and ended up turning it into a bake. It was still just as delicious, hope you enjoy it in either form!

*Original recipe from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook

Spinach and Ricotta Bake ( Serves 4)
Prep and Cook Time: 1-1.5hr

- 1 1/4c Whole Milk Ricotta
- 10z Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 Egg and 2 Yolks
- 1/2c Parmesan, plus extra thinly sliced pieces to top
- 2 1/2tbsp Flour, plus extra for dusting
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 4tbsp Butter (Optional)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1-2tbsp Truffle Oil (Recommended!)
  1. Mix together ricotta (drained in cheese cloth, if making dumplings), drained spinach, and eggs. To the mixture add spices, cheese, and flour. 
  2. If making dumplings, place in fridge for 30mins to harden mixture. Make 1 inch balls and cook in salted and boiling water for about 3mins or until they float.
  3. To make a bake, place the mixture in a casserole dish and bake for 20-25mins at 375 degrees.
  4. You can broil for the last few minutes to brown your cheese. I would've done the same if my dish was broiler safe!
  5. Drizzle truffle oil on the bake or dumplings and enjoy!