Thursday, May 8, 2014

Recipe: Thai-Inspired Cucumber Chicken Salad with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

I came across a similar recipe a few weeks ago on OhSheGlows, and I've adapted it to meet our family's needs.  We all loved it!  I served the leftovers to my mom, and she agreed - this one's a keeper!  I'll update this with pictures the next time I make it (which shouldn't be too long.)
Thai-Inspired Cucumber Chicken Salad with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

•1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
•1.5-3 tablespoons natural cane sugar, to taste
•1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
•3 medium field cucumbers
•2 red pepper, diced
•1 cup diced red onion
•1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro (optional)
•1/2 cup chopped roasted cashews, for garnish
•Roasted spiced chickpeas (recipe follows)
•Chicken breast, sautéed and cubed with olive oil, garlic, cumin, and chili powder
1. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and adjust to taste. Feel free to add more sweetener if you prefer. Set aside.
2. Peel cucumbers, slice off the ends, and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Slice halves into 1/8-inch “half moons” and toss into a large bowl. If your cucumbers are really big you can slice the half-moons in half as well.

3. Dice the red pepper and red onion and add into bowl. Roughly chop cilantro and add into bowl. Pour in all the dressing and toss to combine. Let this salad sit for about 30 minutes in the fridge, tossing every 10 minutes or so to help the dressing soak in.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the roasted chickpeas (if desired). Recipe follows.

5. Portion into bowls and top with cashews, chicken, and roasted chickpeas. Serve immediately.

Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

•2 (15-oz) can chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked)
•1 teaspoon olive oil
•1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
•1 teaspoon garlic powder
•1/2 teaspoon chili powder
•1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
•1/2 teaspoon cumin
•1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a medium baking sheet with a couple pieces of paper towel.
2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and place onto paper towel. Add a couple paper towels on top and roll the chickpeas around until completely dry. This helps them crisp up in the oven.
3. Add the chickpeas into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the oil until coated. Now stir in the rest of the seasonings.
4. Discard paper towel and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Add chickpeas back onto the baking sheet.
5. Roast at 400F for 20 minutes. Give the pan a gentle shake to stir the chickpeas and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until golden and lightly charred on the bottom. I roast for a full 40 minutes because I like them on the crispy side, but keep an eye on them as oven temps vary.
6. Cool for 5 minutes or so and then top on your salad. They will lose their crispness quickly so these are best enjoyed immediately. You can also freeze the chickpeas once fully cooled and reheat them in the oven for 5 minutes or so to bring back the crispness.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Game Gear Organization!

Kids + Sports = Fun
Kids + Laundry = No Fun
Kids + Sports + Laundry = Recipe for Disaster
How many times have you asked your kids the night before a game if they have all of their sports gear together? How many times are they missing a pair of shorts or one specially colored sock?
I have finally found a solution that works for our family. Each game uniform/performance outfit has its own zippered mesh laundry bag. When the child comes home from the game or performance, they put the entire uniform in the mesh bag and into the laundry.  When I am finished washing the uniform, I hang the uniform and the matching mesh bag in our mud room area on a regular hanger (jersey/top) and a skirt hanger (bottoms, socks, tutus).  We keep the corresponding shoes in a wooden bench with open cubby holes beneath the racks.  (Helmets and balls are in separate storage as they are so bulky.) I haven't had any missing uniform pieces all season!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recipe: Orange-glazed Hake Fish and Roasted Beet, Avocado, Mandarin & Arugula Salad Toasted Pecans

Orange-glazed hake fish, brown & white rice, and roasted beet, avocado, mandarin and arugula salad with toasted pecans
This was a yummy meal!  Even the kids cleaned their plates (although I did omit the red onions in their salads.)

Our oldest doesn't care for brown rice (or barley or *gasp* risotto), but I can sneak it in with 1/2 brown and 1/2 white rice, and he'll eat it without even flinching.  So, the side that you see in the picture is1/2 and 1/2. 

6 large red or yellow beets (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large avocado, peeled
Mandarin oranges in natural juices (not syrup)
1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°.
Remove root and 1 inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Boil beets in a pot of water for 1 hour or until tender. Cool; rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/2-inch slices.
Combine zest and next 6 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Toss half of juice mixture with beets, and bake beets for 10 minutes.
Pour liquid from canned mandarin oranges in pan and reduce by 1/2. Add 3 T butter and melt. Pat hake fish loins dry and season with salt and pepper. Depending on the size of your fish, cook for 2-4 minutes per side. Drizzle remaining sauce from pan over the fish.
Cut avocado in half lengthwise. Slice each half into 8-12 slices. Place arugula on a platter; top with beets, orange sections, onion, and avocado. Drizzle remaining juice mixture over salad, and top with toasted pecans.
Serve immediately.