A bit about this blog...

I do not profess to be a culinary artist. I wouldn't even call myself a good cook...but I do love to cook and I love to eat! In January 2011 I began trying to "mix it up" if you will. I wanted to find some new recipes to throw into our usual and boring routine. My original goal was to cook something new every night for a week. That turned into two, then three and now...I just want to keep cooking, baking and eating! It has been so fun and my confidence in cooking has grown. I will probably (most likely, actually) never create my own recipes. I just want to share the ones we have tried and enjoyed and I will always give credit where it is due! I love this new hobby of mine and I hope you can find a recipe or two that you like as well!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Until about a year ago I had never had a sweet potato before.  I know, strange right?!  Well we went to dinner at a friend's home shortly after moving to Arizona and she introduced me.  I have been hooked ever since.  So when I saw this recipe on the ourbestbites blog, I knew I had to try them.  They were delicious!  If you like sweet potatoes, give this recipe a try...you won't be disappointed!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
From http.www.ourbestbites.com

1 lb. peeled sweet potato cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks.  They really emphasized the need for all the sticks to be the same size for even cooking.  Mine were not perfect and although they turned out wonderfully, each fry was not cooked the same.  I will do a better job next time.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. parsley
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine cumin, oregano, coriander, kosher salt, parsley and black pepper in a small bowl. 

Place sweet potatoes directly on baking sheet and drizzle oil.  Toss with your hands until they are evenly coated.  Sprinkle seasoning mixture on and coat with your hands again.

Arrange pieces on baking sheet so that they are not touching each other.  Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven.  Flip them over with a spatula and situate them on the pan again.  Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until fries are lightly beginning to brown and crisp.  Let stand for 5 minutes and serve immediately.

Ourbestbites.com gives many more tips on how to make these turn out fabulous.  The recipe is also coupled with a honey lime dip that we did not try.  They really are good enough without a dip but this web site never fails to satisfy so I am sure that it is amazing as well!

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

This is what we had for dinner tonight...
I thought it was fabulous!  Salad is my kind of thing!  My husband Jason enjoys a good salad as well as the next manly man, but he doesn't really think strawberries and onions on a bed of fresh spinach mesh too well.  But even he seemed to enjoy this pretty little salad.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
Submitted by Kathy Rairigh to Taste of Home Magazine

3 Tbsp. thawed limeade concentrate
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Cup canola oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1 package (6 ounce) fresh baby spinach
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 small red onion
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted (I cooked mine on the stove with a bit of butter and sugar for about five minutes to make them a bit sweeter...they were so good!)

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine limeade concentrate and pepper.  Add the chicken, seal the bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Drain and discard the marinade.  In a skillet, saute chicken in oil until it is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, mustard and salt.  While processing, gradually add oil in a steady pattern.  Stir in poppy seeds.  I made the dressing ahead of time and put it in the fridge.  It just needed to be mixed up a bit before dinner but it was great!

Divide spinach among four salad plates, to with strawberries, peas, onion and chicken.  Drizzle each serving with 2 Tbsp. dressing and sprinkle with pecans.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate leftover dressing.