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Posts published in “Recipes”

Yogurt-marinated chicken

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I love using yogurt as a marinade for chicken. It works because the lactose in the dairy helps tenderize the meat but more importantly is a great carrier for flavorful spiceslike cumin, turmeric, and other Indian-inspired flavors. I used 0%, non-fat but you can use 2% or even whole milk yogurt for extra richness. Either way, the yogurt chars a little when cooking and develops little, crusty bits which I think are especially delicious.

I always make sure to set aside some of the marinade at the beginning to use as a sauce for serving at the end. As a reminder, it's never a good idea to reuse marinade after it has been in contact with raw meat.

To make the recipe extra easy and mess-free, you can go the tried-and-true route of combining all of the ingredients for the marinade and the chicken in a large, gallon sized plastic bag. Zip the bag and massage to combine. You still might want to place the bag in a bowl, glass or aluminum baking dish, or on a baking sheet pan to catch any dripsjust in case the bag has tiny holes that you otherwise aren't able to see.

I like the plastic bag option if I am going to be grilling elsewherelike at a friend or a family member's house or for a BBQ at the park or beachbecause it travels better and takes up less space if I am putting it into a cooler. If I am staying at home, though, I typically like to use my largest Pyrex glass bowl that has a nice, matching lidthere's no sense in using then tossing a plastic bag if I can avoid it.

The chicken is great by itself with a side of rice, couscous, or a vegetable but I especially love it served as a sandwich or a flatbread made with naan.

Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with or paid by any of the brands mentioned here—only offering a few suggestions based on things my family and I have tried and enjoyed.

Elotes, otherwise known as Mexican street corn, is a hot food trend right now for good reason: it's really, really good.

The topping is a perfect, creamy addition to fresh, sweet, in-season corn that gets sprinkled generously with Mexican-style seasoning blend (make your own or use one from the grocery store that's pre-made; there is a chili-lime one that tastes really good, called tajin) and cotija cheese. Cotija is a firm cheese that typically comes wrapped in a small wheel and can be easily crumbled, similar to feta but much milder in flavor. If you can't find this in a store near you, substituting a shredded Mexican-style cheese blend or cheddar cheese blend works (but definitely try the cotija, if you have that option!)

The recipe makes enough topping for about 6-8 medium ears of corn. You can always cut the corn in half, too, to double the number of portions—this is a nice idea for a buffet when you have multiple side dishes that people can choose from. When corn is not in season, frozen, small ears of corn can also be used, such as Green Giant® brand Nibblers®.

Mexican-style Spice Blend

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with or paid by any of the brands mentioned here—only offering a few suggestions based on things my family and I have tried and enjoyed.

This is an easy Mexican spice blend that uses just five spices from your pantry. You can use it as a topping for elotes as well as for tacos, fajitas, or grilled meats—I like it on chicken or steak.

Toast your spices for maximum flavor—it's an extra step that brings out their flavor. (Admittedly, I don't always bother doing this, but here it makes a huge difference.) You can buy spices pre-toasted and ground, such as McCormick's, or make your own.

One of my favorite places online to buy spices is My Spice Sage. They have a nice assortment of whole spices, spice blends, and other pantry ingredients available in different size containers—from 2 oz bags to small glass jars, larger 8 oz and 16 oz bags, and even larger wholesale sizes. I like their lemon pepper spice blend a lot.

To toast spices, you'll need a small skillet, whole spices, and a little bit of time and attention. Add the spices to a cold skillet and turn the heat to medium. You'll want to keep the pan moving so the spices don't stay in one place for too long and burn. It only takes a couple of minutes for them to toast and during the process, they may start to crackle and pop a little bit, but they shouldn't blacken or darken considerably—if that happens, they're burnt and will taste bitter, so it's best to start over.

Devils on Horseback

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Also known as stuffed dates, these are a great addition to your tapas board or as a quick and simple appetizer with cocktails before a meal. They're salty, sweet, and incredibly addictive... impossible to eat just one! This recipe makes a dozen but it's foolproof: scale it to make as many as you'd like.

If blue cheese typically isn't your jam, a creamy gorgonzola is a good choice that is a little milder. If you love blue cheese as much as I do, St. Agur is fantastic, probably one of my favorite blue cheeses to both use in recipes as well as just eat by itself with some crackers, since it's so damn delicious. It's also made with vegetarian-based rennet.

Spicing-up take out: Chinese

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What's that one thing you really crave when a food craving hits? Pick your poison: savory or sweet. Maybe it's a really decadent chocolate dessert? Or a fresh, piping hot pizza with all of your favorite toppings?

You know that feeling of having a craving that just needs to be satisfied. A desire for something, you can practically taste whatever it is. Sometimes, the end result is amazing. Other times?

One of the worst food-related things that can probably happen in my opinion is having a craving for something, finally eating it, and having it be an epic fail. Talk about a letdown!

This happened to me recently with Chinese food. Dave and I try not to get take-out food too often, since it's expensive and not always the healthiest. But one night recently, neither of us felt like turning on a stove, firing up the grill, cutting seemingly endless amounts of produce, or doing anything for dinner other than picking up a fork (or chopsticks) and calling it a day. I ordered shrimp with broccoli, no sauce, and I couldn't wait to eat it after not having it in a while.  

Granted, it came without sauce, but on the first bite... something wasn't right. It didn't taste bad, i.e. spoiled, but it didn't hit the spot. Added a little soy—still not right. 

Then, the lightbulb went off in my head: make a quick sauce. Soy sauce needed some help from its friends ginger and garlic if there was any hope to save this dish.

The quest for a less-sweet lemon bar: The classic

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Every time I make one of my all-time favorite desserts, lemon bars, I'm always reminded of the insane amount of refined sugar that most recipes require. I tell myself the next time I'll find a better recipe that uses less sugar. But when that next time comes, the same thing happens.

I mean, 3 cups of sugar for a filling? Lemon bars are supposed to be sweet, but... yuck...

For that reason, I adapted Ina Garten's recipe to create a less-sweet version that cuts out half of the sugar in the filling and half in the crust.