Thai Kitchen

Thai Kitchen

Thai Kitchen

2302 Texas Av.  Lubbock, TX 79411

Thai Kitchen is the true epitope of a hole in the wall restaurant that you discover through friends. Sure, the first impression may be that you put the wrong address in Google Maps after you pull in the isolated outskirts of Downtown Lubbock. It isn’t hard to miss though, because it is surrounded by covered parking, which is a rare find at restaurants and a nice perk here.

Once we walked in, we were seated immediately and served a free appetizer of shrimp puffs aka prawn crackers, a popular snack food in Southeast Asia. The interior of the restaurant was clean and they had a clear display near the register with purses and other merchandise they were selling. A quick look at the menu showed all the traditional Thai dishes for reasonable prices around $7. I ended up ordering the Panange Curry ( Panange Curry Paste with Coconut Milk, Peppers and Chicken). Panange gets its name from the city island off the west coast of Malaysia bordering southern Thailand. It’s a salty and sweet curry with a hint of a peanut flavor. My first few bites had a little kick of spiciness after I swallowed, but after that it was fine and tasted mildly spicy.

I’d definitely come back here for a second visit and look forward to trying another Curry or the Drunken Noodles with some Thai Tea! Thai Kitchen

What’s you favorite meal at Thai restaurants?

Mini Pumpkin Bread Loaves

pumpkin bread

After quite the long pause, I’m excited to be back! Studying got the best of me and hopefully with better time management you’ll be seeing more posts here.

We’re in the midst of a fall frenzy once again that just always seems to start and end too early. If you’ve been to World Market then you know that they have all their winter stock already on shelves ready to be sold. I even read an article about people who protest pumpkin spice lattes being sold “too early” and they’ve even started a #stopprematurepumpkinspicing hashtag trend. This is one of my favorite seasons so I try to take advantage and enjoy the pumpkin spice flavored everything- I’ve seen it in cereals, coffee, tortilla chips, salsa, hummus, etc. The best thus far has been the pumpkin spice chocolate covered almonds; so good that I may even have to hunt them down in other stores and stock up!

Ok onto more important topics such as what this blog post is really about- mini pumpkin bread loaves. Personal sized of course and perfect for sharing or storing in the freezer for a later dessert or coffee pairing. These are everything you love about that Starbuck’s pumpkin bread- moist, dense and truly satisfying. They’ll stir up childhood memories or create new ones of sweet autumn spices.

pumpkin bread

Mini Pumpkin Bread Loaves

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

pumpkin bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (or homemade recipe- in tips)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups canned/homemade pumpkin puree
  • optional: pecans, chopped

Maple Syrup Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well incorporated. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and oil together.
  3. Beat in the flour mixture alternating with the pumpkin puree until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter in a greased pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  6. While the loaves are cooling, prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and maple syrup together. Drizzle over the cooled mini loaves.

Tips:

-Homemade pumpkin spice mix: 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

-Add more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze or more syrup for a thinner glaze.

 

 

 

Naan (Flatbread)

 

 

Naan1

Everyone has at least one food obsession- something that you can’t say no to no matter how full you are. For me, it’s bread. Soft, fluffy, and fresh from the oven. While trying to think of words to describe the satisfaction that comes with making this bread, I suddenly had a craving for it. Considering all the ingredients are kitchen staples, making a decision has never been so easy. As I type away now, there is a bowl of dough rising  in the corner that will soon become steaming fresh naan.

This flatbread is versatile because you can eat it bare in its simplicity or pair it with some tikka masala or other saucy dish to scoop up the flavors as pictured above. You can also add a spread on it like za’atar (oregano thyme spice blend) with some olive oil and toast it for a few minutes for a fulfilling breakfast or midday snack as shown below.

Naan

Naan

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Print

Chicken Tikka

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes. You will see a thin layer of foam develop.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar together and set aside.
  3. Add the yogurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this into the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork initially till most of the flour is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for a minute or two forming it into a ball. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft. If you feel that it is too sticky, add flour as needed (I added about an extra 1/4 cup of flour).
  5. Lightly oil a medium sized bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Warm a large cast iron pan or a nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Dust a clean surface with flour and separate the dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece into an oval shape, taking care to dust the dough with flour so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.
  7. Put the dough into the dry heated skillet and cook until you see the top bubble up, which should take a few minutes. Flip the dough and cook the other side for another minute or two until you see the browned spots.
  8. Remove the naan from the pan and brush generously with the melted butter on both sides. Place the naan in a towel lined basket or dish to keep it warm.

Adapted from OnceUponAChef

 

Step By Step Photos

Naan

Yeast mixed in with the warm water and sugar, notice how it is starting to foam up

Naan

Dough ready to rise in an oiled bowl

Naan

After dough is done rising, cut it up into 6 pieces

Naan

Roll each piece out into an oval shape to your desired thickness

Naan

Place the rolled dough into a heated cast iron or nonstick skillet and you’ll see it bubble up

 

Naan

Flip it over to cook the other side

Naan

After a minute or two, flip it and you’ll see these beautiful brown spots

Naan

Be creative, eat your naan in its simplicity or spread some za’atar on it

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

I recently went to a local Indian restaurant that opened up in town where I ended up ordering Chicken Tikka Masala which came with some basmati rice and naan. It turned out to be a little on the sweet side and the naan was an embarrassment- a thin and small piece of pita bread that supposedly passed for naan. No pictures survived the incident haha. If I ever go back, I’ll have to order another dish to see if another menu item will be able to redeem themselves.

A few weeks later, I decided to recreate the meal and take a shot at making homemade naan too. The meal was a success. The Tikka Masala was rich and silky with an acceptable spice level. The creamy tomato sauce was perfect for scooping up with naan. Sooo the naan. The joy I felt was indescribable after seeing the naan rise on my cast iron pan and that first fluffy soft bite sealed the deal. The best part about it was that I was able to use it in other dishes even breakfast. The naan recipe will be coming soon so keep posted this weekend!

Chicken TikkaChicken Tikka Masala

Printable Recipe Here

Servings: 2

Ingredients

For the Marinade

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

For the Tikka Masala Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients: the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Mix in the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for an hour. If you are patient or have some extra time, you can refrigerate it for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Cook the chicken on a grill or in an oven or pan and set aside. I used an indoor grill and it took about 15-20 minutes to cook it because of the heavy marinade. Timing will vary based on the size of cuts and cooking method.
  3. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and garlic until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Season with the  garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and paprika. Stir to combine and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens over low heat. Add cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice and chopped cilantro.

Tips

-If you do not have garam masala I suggest checking the ethnic foods aisle at your grocery store or going to your local Indian grocery store. I ended up making my own garam masala and I found it to be a good substitute for me. Recipe can be found here. You can click on the serving size and change it to 5  otherwise you will have some extra garam masala.

-One of the key parts to making a sauce is taste, taste, taste! Always taste it after adding spices and adjust it to your own liking.

-Double the recipe for a larger serving size. Be careful with spices though because the ratio does not apply to them. Best option would be to add spices slowly and taste as you go.

Chicken Tikka

Loaded Nachos

Taco salad

This is one of my guilty favorite meals/snacks/whatever you wanna call it. It is very customizable so you can make it with anything you have laying around in your fridge or pantry. I’ll give a rough breakdown of ways you can develop this dish to make it your own. I’ll also have the recipe I used towards the end if you are the type that needs to have a step by step guide rather than a general outline.

Rough Outline

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Meat
    • I used ground beef, but you can also use sausage, ground turkey, etc (saute some diced onions, mix in the meat, then season the meat to taste with chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper)
  • Cheese
    • Use your favorite type, I like the sharp intense flavor from sharp cheddar cheese and grated an 8 oz. block of it
  • Greens
    • Diced avocados, chopped cilantro, chopped romaine lettuce, chopped jalapeno
  • Reds
    • Diced tomatoes, if you don’t have tomatoes you can also use red bell pepper, the contrast of the red is a nice pop with the other colors in these loaded nachos
  • Additional optional garnishes
    • Sliced black olives
    • Dollop of sour cream ( a must for me- not optional!)
    • Lime juice
    • Beans

Loaded Nachos

Printable Recipe Here

Makes:  8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • tortilla chips
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 /4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil and add the diced onion. Cook for a few minutes until soft and then add the ground beef. Cook until browned, stirring to crumble the beef. Drain the fat and then add the seasonings: chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  2. Layer the tortilla chips with the meat and cheese. Warm it in the microwave for 30 second increments until the cheese has melted. Add on the tomatoes and avocados. You can make as many layers as you wish.
  3. Top with some chopped cilantro and sour cream before serving. 

Tips:

-You can adapt this recipe for smaller servings by changing the ratios to your needs. Using 1/4 pounds of ground beef for example for a 2 person serving along with 1/2 cup cheese, 1 tomato, 1/2 avocado, and 2 dollops of sour cream.Taco salad

Asian Shrimp Salad

Asian Shrimp SaladThe new dish of this week is: Asian Shrimp Salad with a Creamy Peanut Dressing! On the side is a Japanese Hokkaido Milk Roll (recipe coming soon for those). I decided to cook with seafood this week and got a bag of jumbo frozen shrimp and some ahi tuna steaks. I used the jumbo shrimp first and made a delicious salad with them. I was a little doubtful about how the peanut sauce would turn out because I’ve never made a dressing like that but I actually loved it and look forward to making it again in the future. The peanut taste is not too strong due to the variety of sauces and honey that you add to it. This dish would also look great in a mason jar- if you wanted a quick to-go lunch for work or school.

I first added the chopsticks as a prop just for the picture, but I ended up eating with them and it made for a complete experience. You’d think that lettuce leaves would be hard to pick up with chopsticks, but it was easy and worked out nicely. The cilantro-lime shrimp balances out the peanut dressing and the lime juice drizzled over the salad adds the perfect hint of acidity. Enjoy this dish and add your own special twist to it!

Asian Shrimp Salad w/ Creamy Peanut Dressing

Serves: 2

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients

-For The Cilantro-Lime Shrimp

  • 1 lb tail-on jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

-For The Peanut Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

-For the Salad

  • 3 cups mixed leafy greens
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Other optional additions: sesame seeds, cashews, bean sprouts, sliced onion

Directions

  1. If frozen, place the shrimp in a colander or sieve and thaw by running cold water over them for about 5 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt, black pepper, and chili powder and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet and add in the garlic. Sauté the garlic for a few minutes and then stir in the shrimp.
  3. After 2 minutes, add in the cilantro, butter, and lime juice. The shrimp will be done when they turn pink and opaque and you no longer see any grey. Keep in mind that if using smaller shrimp, they will cook faster.
  4. Remove the shrimp from heat and prepare the creamy peanut butter dressing.
  5. To make the dressing, mix together all the ingredients until smooth and incorporated.
  6. Add the leafy greens to a bowl and top with the shrimp and optional sliced mango and diced avocado. Drizzle the dressing and lime juice over the salad and serve.

Adapted from Rasamalaysia and FoodsofOurLives

Tips

-Jumbo shrimp means that a 1 pound bag will have 16-20 shrimp. Choose another size based on your preference but keep in mind that the cooking time will change. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp as they cook rather quickly, 4-5 minutes for the jumbo shrimp and less if they are smaller.

-If you don’t live near water, I would suggest not to buy “fresh” shrimp because it would have already been frozen and thawed at least once. In this case, it’s better to buy frozen shrimp and thaw it yourself.

-What type of shrimp to buy? Wild is better than farmed as majority (94%) of our farmed shrimp supply comes from India, Indonesia, and Thailand and these suppliers are not regulated in the antibiotics/harmful chemicals that they add (prohibited in the US). If buying farmed US shrimp, make sure it says no antibiotics on the package.

-Have fun with the salad. I made it with mango/avocado because that’s what I had on hand at the time. Other nice additions could be red bell peppers for that nice pop of color or even bean sprouts for that slight crunch.

-You can also blend the peanut dressing instead of mixing it with a fork. Mix it quickly and you will notice the texture of the dressing change as it all starts to combine and take on a smooth texture.

Nutritional Content of Shrimp

-low in fat and carbohydrates

-low in calories (7 calories per shrimp) and high in protein (3 grams per shrimp)

-contain selenium, B12, and phosphorus

-have antioxidants- selenium (fights damaging particles) and astaxanthin (color pigment in shrimp that reduces inflammation)

Asian Shrimp Salad

 

What twists on the everyday salad have you made?

French Macarons

Macarons

I recently bought some edible rose buds from Chinatown and love using them every chance I get. We had a Valentine’s Day bake sale coming up and I figured, why not make some macarons? It was a good opportunity to make them considering we just had an exam aka post exam stress-relief. Macarons themselves are not difficult to make. It definitely takes practice though to become familiar with all of the steps required and getting used to using the scale for measurements. With practice you’ll be on your way to success. Bake these macarons whether it’s for Valentine’s or even just to treat yourself (because you know you deserve it).

For ideas on other flavors of macarons to make check out my previous posts on Chocolate, Green Tea, Lemon, Pineapple, or Pistachio macarons. You can also go the extra step and make a Macaron Tree if you’re having any special events!

Macarons

Printable Recipe

Makes: 35 macarons (1 ½″)

Ingredients:

  • 110 grams almonds or almond flour (~ 1 cup)
  • 200 grams confectioner’s sugar (~ 1 2/3 cup)
  • 100 grams egg whites (3-3 1/2 eggs- no need to age)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (~1/4 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • food coloring (optional)

**Highly recommend to invest in a scale (cheap on Amazon) and measure out the ingredients in grams- I have used both methods and my success rate is always higher using grams**

Directions:

  1. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper and draw your desired circle size. You can use a bottle cap or print out a template and trace it.
  2. If you don’t have almond flour, blend the almonds in a food processor until very fine. Add in the confectioner’s sugar and pulse until incorporated. Sift the mixture using a sieve into a medium bowl and set aside. Add any large pieces that don’t go through the sieve back to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and whip at medium speed, until foamy.
  4. Mix in the granulated sugar and salt and whip for 3-6 minutes until stiff peaks form. If you lift the whisk, the peaks should remain standing and will look shiny and smooth.
  5. Add any food coloring at this point (I took a toothpick, dipped it in the pink gel food coloring, and wiped it into the mix). Blend until the color is distributed.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to fold your almond-sugar mixture into the stiffened egg whites. You won’t expect it to come together at first but after 40-50 strokes (it’s really important to keep track!), the macaron mixture should look like the consistency of lava. If you spoon up the batter and drop it back into the bowl, it will take about 10 seconds to incorporate itself back in. Watch this 1-minute video here if you are unsure of how to complete this step; it will be well worth it.
  7. Spoon your batter into a large piping bag (18″) fitted with a large circle tip (1/2″). Don’t overfill your bag or it will be harder when piping the macarons.
  8. Pipe the macarons onto your templates. Don’t fill the whole circle because the macaron batter will spread by a small amount.
  9. Pick up the pan and drop it onto the counter about 2-3 times to get rid of any air bubbles which can cause your macarons to crack.
  10. Preheat the oven to 300 F°. Let the macarons dry for about 30 minutes to 1 hour in an undisturbed area before baking them. You will know when they are ready when you touch the top of the macaron and it doesn’t stick to your finger.
  11. Bake the macarons for about 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tips:

-I use a macaron silicon mat that I place underneath the parchment paper and use as a template when piping. After I pipe one sheet of macarons, I quickly slide the silicon mat out so I can use it for the next sheet.

-Sprinkle some crushed edible rose on top and color the batter with pink gel food coloring to make the macarons pictured.

-For more tips check out the Ten Commandments on Macarons here

Macarons

Chocolate Ganache

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl and set over the saucepan (should not be touching the water).
  2. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt.
  3. Set aside until cooled and thickened while mixing occasionally.

Tips:

-The ganache can take about 30 minutes to thicken at room temperature. It is important to stir it frequently so that no clumps form. You can refrigerate it for a few minutes so that it can thicken faster.

Macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen” -John Steinbeck

After reading this quote in a cookbook earlier, it just stuck. I love the versatility of it in that it can apply to any realm that you are inquisitive about. Well, I’ll have to assume you’re at least passionate about food-related subjects if you’re reading my blog post. Whatever it is that you are craving and cooking now or even experimenting with, it takes a few tries to know the ins and outs of your dish before you are comfortable enough to help others with troubleshooting. If ideas really were like rabbits, then I’m sure many of us would be hoarders haha.

Anyways, for the past few weeks, I was on a smoothie roll. I kept it to the basics- frozen fruit, milk, honey- and it was satisfying for both breakfasts and study snacks. It got a little boring though and I figured I would change it up, while still keeping it simple. No one wants to make a 20 ingredient smoothie in the morning.

The mango in this smoothie is complimented by the creaminess of the coconut milk and the slight acidity of the lemon juice. It’s a guilt-free smoothie and perfect for those who are dairy free or vegans. Of course, you can adjust it to your like. If you like smoothies that are thicker, add more frozen mango chunks or if you like it on the watery side, you can reduce the amount of mango. This is a great base for any smoothie and if you want to highlight a distinct fruit then simply switch out the mangos for something like pomegranate or raspberries.

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

Adapted from KitchenConfidante

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie For One (Or Two)

Chocolate Chip CookieHave you ever craved a cookie but didn’t want 20 extra cookies staring at you after you’ve satisfied your stomach’s needs? Or maybe you just want a quick treat after studying all day long? And above all, a dessert that doesn’t turn your whole kitchen upside down. Finally, a soft and chewy cookie recipe for one! Or two…. If you’re really feeling generous and kind that is. It took some self control to take a picture of this cookie without tasting it first, but it survived haha.

You can be creative with this cookie and put M&Ms inside instead. You can also bake it in a mini cast iron skillet and serve it with a scoop (or a few scoops) of ice cream on top. Make it your own & enjoy this personal cookie for one!

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie for One (Or Two)

Printable Recipe

Makes: 1 large 7-inch cookie

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon whisked egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons chocolate chips, divided

Preheat: 350 Fº

Directions

  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, 1 tbsp egg whites, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and baking soda until well combined.
  3. Fold in 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Shape the dough into a disk and place onto the prepped baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of chocolate chips over the dough and push them in on top. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 Fº. You want it slightly undercooked which is the secret to a soft and chewy cookie.
  5. Remove the cookie and place on a wire rack to finish cooling or eat it warm with a cold glass of milk.

Tips:

-For the tablespoon of eggs, you can also just whisk a whole egg and use a tablespoon from that if preferred. I just happened to have egg whites left over and used those in the cookie.

-Use a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips for more variety. You can even sprinkle some sea salt on the cookie before baking it.

Adapted from Cooking Classy

 

Spanakopita

IMG_2183

You know your study break is going great when it includes the word food. I recently had some authentic spanakopita from Niko Niko’s (featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives!) and since then have been wanting to recreate it at home. I figured I would attempt it today and decided to make extra to freeze as a quick snack or perfect addition to any meal. Before I knew it, my meal cooking expanded and I ended up making beef and bean burritos to add to my freezer meal haul. Overall my freezer meals were a success so I wanted to share the spanakopita with you all.

IMG_2180

the spinach mixture cooking over the stove

Freezing them will stave off any future spanakopita cravings you may have . Hope you enjoy these flaky, buttery bites of satisfaction as much as I did!

Printable Recipe Here

Spanakopita

Makes around 25 spanakopita triangles

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed**
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 sheets frozen phyllo dough
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

**Place the spinach in a strainer and drain well. Use your hands or a paper towel to squeeze all the excess water out

Directions

Preheat: 375 Fº

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened . Stir in the spinach and cook for a few minutes to evaporate any extra moisture. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add in the feta cheese, salt, and spinach mixture and stir until combined.
  3. Remove 2 phyllo sheets and place on a large clean surface. Cover the remaining phyllo dough sheets with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
  4. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat each sheet with melted butter. Cut the phyllo dough lengthwise into 3 strips.
  5. Place a teaspoon of filling in one corner and fold it diagonally. Hold the corner and fold up to make a second triangle. Keep folding until you have reached the end and fold the edge over. **
  6. Place the triangles on a parchment covered baking sheet. Repeat the same process with another 2 sheets and continue till you have used all the filling. Brush the tops of the triangles with any butter left over.
  7. Bake in a single layer at 375 Fº until golden brown, about 15 minutes. You can also freeze them and bake them while frozen, adding a few minutes to the bake time.

Tips:

**Here’s a great visual below from the MommiesNetwork blog on how to fold spanakopita:

Photobucket

-You can make these as small or as large as you want depending on how you cut the phyllo dough. I cut the sheets into 3 strips, but you can cut them into 2 (for larger spanakopita) or 4 (for mini spanakopita). Just be sure to adjust the filling.

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

HolidayCookies6

I’ve been on the search for a satisfying chocolate chip cookie that is irresistibly chewy, soft, and complete with a large glass of cold milk. A glass of milk with cookies is like eating cake with icing, so much so that I might as well include milk in my list of ingredients haha. I’ve made this recipe twice during Thanksgiving because it was that good and found myself making it again yesterday, despite having to study for an exam. I froze a few to stave off any cravings I may have during the next few weeks for these cookies, who I know will be calling my name.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you need to destress or procrastibake to avoid that monster of a exam that you’ll be facing in a week, then take a break. Give these cookies a chance, you’ll be delighted.

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat: 350 Fº

Directions

  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cut the butter into slices and place in a medium skillet over medium heat. As the butter begins to melt, whisk constantly for several minutes until it starts to smell nutty and you see brown bits forming on the bottom. You now have browned butter. It will add a different dimension to the cookies with it’s nutty aroma.
  4. Remove from heat immediately and set aside in a separate bowl to cool.
  5. Beat together the cooled butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  6. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and greek yogurt on low speed, until incorporated for about 10-15 seconds. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. This will prevent you from over mixing the dough, which will cause a stiff cookie.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips. Chill for an hour in the refrigerator. Don’t skip the chilling step, you’ve already made it this far.
  8. Roll the cookie dough in balls about 3 tablespoons of dough each and place on the prepped baking sheet.
  9. Sprinkle as much or as little sea salt as you like on the cookies before placing in the oven. Bake for 9-11 minutes at 350 Fº.
  10. Remove the cookies and place on a wire rack to finishing cooling.

Adapted from the Ambitious Kitchen

Tips

-For more variation, you can use both milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips, adding ¾ cup of each. Even better, you can use chunks, mini chips, or whatever type of chocolate you desire.

-The longer you refrigerate the dough, the better the flavor of the cookies.

-This recipe can be made without a mixer or electric beater for ease and convenience as well.

-Underbaked cookies are the secret to having soft and chewy cookies the next day so be careful not to go over the 9-11 minutes.

-You can freeze this dough for up to 3 months. Roll into balls and place into freezer friendly bags. To bake, simply place on a baking sheet and bake as directed adding a minute to the bake time.Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Green Bean Bacon Bundles

With a 2 ingredient recipe, it’s hard to turn this one down (assuming you have olive oil and the salt & pepper of course). This was a pretty spontaneous side dish that I prepared for Thanksgiving. It makes for a delicious substitute for a green bean casserole if you’re looking for a dish that’s out of the ordinary. It may even tempt little ones who are finicky with their foods to try a healthy green!

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 10 turkey bacon strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat: 350 F

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.
  3. Blanch the green beans by placing them into the boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove them and immediately place into the ice water. This will preserve the color and stop the cooking process.
  4. Dry the green beans and place aside.
  5. In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, cook the turkey bacon until cooked but not crisp, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove cooked bacon to paper towels.
  7. Toss the green beans in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  8. Use about 8-10 green beans to assemble each bundle. Wrap the bacon around the green beans and place in a baking dish with the loose end of the bacon facing down.
  9. Bake in the oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Green Bean Bacon Bundles

For a sweet bacon inspired dish, check out my Maple Bacon Brittle Icecream!

 

Lavender Honey Shortbread Cookies

Lavender cookies

Just recently, I was at a farmer’s market that had everything from local honey to farm fresh eggs. It was a local event held on someone’s farm where they invited other farmers to come and share their produce. One of the highlights was getting to see the miniature ponies and even a 3 day old calf on the property (animals not for sale though)!

We passed by a lavender stand that had everything lavender themed- essential oils, laundry spray, hand cream, you name it. The last product that the vendor showed me was culinary lavender. Once I heard the word “culinary”, a lightbulb turned on in my head and I started brainstorming of recipes to use it with.  A quick Google search revealed that lavender can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as shortbread cookies or even a lavender rub for a pot roast. I decided to make the lavender shortbread cookies and loved them!

These lavender cookies are simple and fragrant delicious bites. Dangerously addicting.

Printable Recipe

Lavender Honey Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lavender buds, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat: 350º F

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, honey, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the flour and salt and mix until well combined, taking care not to over mix.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until firm. Roll out to about ¼ inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can also place the dough on parchment paper and shape it into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Freeze for 30 minutes and the remove the dough and cut into slices.
  4. Place the cookies on a sheet and bake at 350º F for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from My Fancy Pantry

Tips:

-If you used cookie cutters for this recipe, you can place the baking sheet of cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes so that they firm up and maintain their structure when baked.

-To get your butter to room temperature faster if in a rush, you can slice the stick of butter and spread it out on a plate. The greater surface area will allow the butter to soften quicker.

What recipes have you used lavender in?

 

Twisted Root Burger Co.

Twisted Root

Only at Twisted Root will you hear Tinkerbell and Lady Gaga being called out over the loudspeaker. Instead of handing out customers numbers for their orders, they give out a small card with a name on it. This is one restaurant with an atmosphere that is hard to experience elsewhere. It has a casual & laid back vibe with high ceilings and an open floor plan with outdoor seating as well. Whether you are on a cheat day or trying to be healthy, this restaurant will cater to both needs with the Fried Stuff and Healthy Stuff sections on its menu. They also have Handspun Custard Shakes which come in flavors you can’t deny such as Cookie Dough & Brownie, Hershey’s Chocolate, Toasted Coconut Cream Pie, and much more. It really makes for a tough decision when you have already ordered a burger with fries. Really though, it just makes for another excuse to come by Twisted Root again to try out their shakes. Twisted Root is also right next to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema so it’s the perfect stop for lunch or dinner before a movie or in our case, the optimal study break from hours in anatomy lab.

Pictured above is the Big Tex burger with guacamole, fried onion strings, and chipotle sauce. You can order any of their burgers in beef, turkey, vegan, or a specialty game meat. The only downside to the burger was that it did not come with any sides. You have to pay extra for any side items such as fries. We tried the fried pickles as well, which I would recommend only getting with a group as they can be too salty for one person. Overall, this is one burger joint I would revisit!

Here are some of the other burgers on their menu:

THE SPICY GOAT • Chipotle sauce, Glenview Farms goat cheese & bacon
THE KEVIN BACON • 3 pieces of bacon & Danish Blue Cheese
RANCH HAND • House-made peppercorn ranch, bacon & Aged Swiss
SOUTHERN COMFORT • Cheddar Cheese, Fried green tomatoes & Bourbon BBQ glaze
LOTS-A-SHROOM • Baby ‘Bello Mushrooms, garlic & Aged Swiss
THE VERDE • Hatch green chilis, guacamole & Pepperjack
FRESHMAN 15 • French fries, cheddar cheese, a hard egg & 2 pieces of bacon
SEXY HAWAIIAN • Jalapeño Jack cheese, teryaki sauce, pineapple salsa & prosciutto
THE WESTERN • Pepperjack, bacon, fried onion strings & jalapeños
BIG TEX • Cheddar, guacamole, fried onion strings & chipotle sauce
ENOUGH SAID • Aged Cheddar, bacon-ranch sauce & potato chips on top

Twisted Root

Twisted Root Burger Co.

116 W. Loop 289, Ste 200, Lubbock, TX 79416

Farmer’s Market Haul #1

Farmer's Market Haul

Some people get excited about makeup hauls or drugstore hauls, but one of my weekend delights is a Saturday morning farmer’s market haul. It’s always exciting to see what new goods are out. Some of my favorites thus far have been the farm fresh feta cheese and the white grapes (not pictured). The feta cheese was a lot more creamy and not as tangy as the ones you find at the grocery store and the grapes were very sweet with a nice crunch from the little seed inside. Fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets have that special local feel and that is probably the only place where you will get to meet the direct people who picked them that morning or last night. Depending on what you get, some foods are cheaper than what you can find in the grocery store or very comparable at the least. Featured today is a haul containing mushrooms, cucumbers, squash, and bell peppers. Here is a little of what I have planned for these ingredients:

Button Mushrooms– cream of mushroom soup & marinated mushrooms (great for adding to salads)

Zucchini/Yellow Squash– zucchini chips, vegetable tian (dish with spiraled veggies including potatoes, onions, and tomatoes)

Bell Peppers– roasted vegetables mix with pasta

Cucumbers– spring mix salads, cucumber yogurt dip

I hope this inspires you to check out your local farmer’s market and get creative with what ingredients you find! Farmer's Market Haul

Farmer's Market Haul

What are you making with your farmer’s market finds?