Thursday, June 25, 2015

Green Bean Salad with Asian Style Dressing


Holy cow it’s been 2 months since I last posted?!? Needless to say May & June are pretty busy months for me. May is the month of Elliott’s birthday and then I have a big work project that ramps up and ends mid-June. I always feel I need a week or two to catch up and recover from it. Once my busy time is over, I feel like summer is just beginning, and then next thing I know it’s almost 4th of July. I’m sporadic at posting as it is, but as always I’ll try to do better.

Back in mid May we got invited out to have dinner with friends who were grilling an Asian flavored meal. I offered to bring a side, and I knew I wanted to use the perfect, fresh green beans from my Green Bean delivery bin I’d received just the day before. I wanted a simple, light side that made the beans the star, and this was it. The dressing was simple to prepare, and the dish tasted great. I loved that the beans still had their crunch from just a quick boil. This time of year with fresh vegetables the simplest preparation is often the best!


Green Bean Salad with Asian Style Dressing

Pairs perfectly with an Asian flavored grilled shrimp or steak.


3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
a 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 pounds green beans, trimmed


In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, soy sauce, garlic, ginger root, and sesame oil. Add canola or vegetable oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

In a small dry skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and transfer to a small bowl.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer beans to a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain beans well.

In a large bowl, combine beans, sesame seeds, and dressing and toss well. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sesame Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas

IMG_7284Nothing groundbreaking here, just a delicious meal that comes together pretty easily. I had some chicken tenders I scored on sale, and sugar snap peas in my Green BEAN delivery.

We really enjoyed this meal. As I was prepping the ingredients I realized we were out of rice, so I used some rice vermicelli I randomly had in the pantry. As I said, I’m trying to get more of my quick meals on the blog for easy access, and this one fits the bill as something that comes together quick with a tasty kick.

Do you have any favorite quick fix meals to share? If it’s an original recipe, you should enter it in Grean BEAN’s #PlateProud contest. They are giving away $1200 worth of prizes spread out through 5 categories. Each category will have a winning prize pack, and a $50 runner up prize. Some of the categories include Grilling, Kid-Friendly, and Veggie Side. You have until May 22th to enter. You do NOT need a blog to enter!! For all the details, check out the contest page!


Sesame Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas

Yield: 4 servings


1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. sesame seeds
3 Tbs. peanut oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Serve with steamed rice or cooked rice noodles.


Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds, coating the meat evenly and patting firmly so they adhere.

In a wok or large fry pan over high heat, warm the peanut oil. Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until golden and nearly cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the bell pepper, sugar snap peas and garlic to the pan and stir-fry until the vegetables are barely tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the broth, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

Divide the chicken and vegetables among shallow bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Chile Bison Burgers


Here at my house we rarely eat ground beef. Instead I opt for ground turkey, chicken, or bison. Ground bison can be pricy, but we love the flavor & health benefits of it. We have a deep freezer, so whenever I catch ground bison on sale I buy a couple packages. I gotta admit, more often than not this is what I do with it! I’ve made this burger recipe so many times because it’s SO easy, and incredibly delicious. My goal is to get more of my go-to easy dinner recipes on the blog. I already have a lot on here that I make over and over, but because it’s so hard to find time (& daylight!) to snap a picture, there are a lot of recipes that aren’t on the blog yet. I’m slowly working to change that!

This recipe calls for so few ingredients. Just ground bison, a can of diced green chills, pepper jack or monterey jack cheese, salt + pepper, & buns. That’s it! For little effort you get a lot of flavor. You can make this with ground beef or turkey, though I haven’t tried it. We’ve cooked these on the grill, as well as in a cast iron skillet.

This time I served the burgers with corn on the cob I bought at the store, and green beans from my most recent Green BEAN grocery delivery. You still have time to use my coupon code bc6effi to save on your first order. It expires May 10th. Also, Green BEAN announced they are extending a discount to former Plumgood grocery delivery customers. If you used Plumgood and are interested in the Green BEAN service click here.


Green Chile Bison Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers

Prep Time: 5 min


1 pound ground bison or lean (90% or leaner) ground beef
1 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
4 slices pepper jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted

Optional toppings:
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 additional can of diced green chills, drained


Preheat grill to medium-high (or see Stovetop Variation).

Place bison (or beef), 1 can drained chiles, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Gently combine without overmixing. Form into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.

Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F (165°F for beef), 4 to 5 minutes per side. Top each burger with slice of cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute more.

Optional toppings: If desired, top with sliced red onion & extra can of diced green chiles. I think the green chile flavor is strong enough without, and I don't like raw red onion on my burgers so I did without these.

Tip: To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Stovetop Variation: Coat a nonstick pan, preferably cast-iron (or a grill pan), with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add burgers, reduce heat to medium and cook, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer registers 155°F (for pork and bison) or 165° (for beef or chicken), 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Per serving: 349 calories; 15 g fat (6 g sat, 5 g mono); 75 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 3 g added sugars; 31 g protein; 4 g fiber; 678 mg sodium; 596 mg potassium.

adapted from EatingWell

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Guinness Stout Cake with Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting & Guinness Stout Ganache

IMG_5362On one hand I’m giving you this cake recipe really late (as in I made this cake in March of 2014), but on the other hand I’m giving it to you just in time for all your St. Patrick’s Day-Guinness beer fueled celebrations. Nathan turned 40 in March of 2014 and wanted an epic birthday. We did a fabulous fancy affair catered by Karl of Biscuit Love, with a whole hog, spicy greens, & roasted potatoes with Alabama white sauce. Of course an epic dessert is needed to top off that fantastic meal, and this cake was it. In case you don’t remember me mentioning it, Nathan is a “craft beer nerd”. Sometimes I feel like our lives revolve around beer. I refer to myself as a “craft beer widow”. His party was a huge, hours-long craft beer tasting party. So the cake needed to be beer themed. Using recipes from various sources I put together this cake and I must say I was quite proud of my newest cheesecake cake!


The cake itself was not too sweet, which served as a good counterpoint to the rich cheesecake, light & sweet frosting, and dark, rich ganache. The Guinness flavor is subtle, and is perfect for an adult palate. It was a certain hit at the party! If you’re unfamiliar with these cheesecake cakes, I’ve been doing them since 2010. I figured out that if you make the cheesecake ahead of time & freeze it, it’s easy to transfer & assemble between the cake layers. They aren’t necessarily difficult, but they are time consuming. I like to make the cheesecake the weekend before and freeze it. Friday night I make the cake. Then Saturday all I need to do is make the frosting and assemble. (That’s assuming you’re going to serve it on a Saturday.) Breaking up the components into different days makes it much less daunting. I love coming up with new combinations & variations. The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few of my past ones:
Lincoln’s Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake
Oreo Cheesecake Cake

And, my friend Jen at Beantown Baker has done some awesome variations after trying mine. Here’s some of hers:
Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake
Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake

Some tools I find helpful for making cheesecake cakes (and cakes in general):
Wilton Bake Even Strips
Nordic Ware Cheesecake Springform Pan
Wilton Angled Icing Spatula

(Click Read More for the recipe!)

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