Date Night Inspo: Crab Crakes and Sauvignon Blanc

Date Night Inspo: Crab Crakes and Sauvignon Blanc

Happy Friday, Loves! I don’t know about y’all, but lately date night at home seems more fun to me than going out to dinner. I can pick any wine I want and eat whatever I want all in the comfort of my home…with my hubby and pup too! Tonight, I am making the Defined Dish Cajun Crab Cakes and Remoulade for dinner with asparagus and a big glass of my current favorite white wine, Honig Sauvignon Blanc.

Because they are light and filling at the same time, crab cakes are one of my favorite meals for a hot summer night. These delicious crab cakes not only pack a big punch of flavor, but they are also Whole30 and Paleo-compliant, like most of the amazing recipes Alex creates.

Cajun Crab Cakes and Remoulade recipe excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes © 2019 by Alex Snodgrass. 

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE REMOULADE

¼ cup homemade mayo

1 tablespoon creole or dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 green onion (White and green parts), finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon capers, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce

1 teaspoon dill relish, no sugar added

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

FOR THE CRAB CAKES

16 ounces fresh lump crab meat

½ red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 green onions (White and green parts), thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

4 celery stalks, ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 cups)

3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Crab Cakes:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, bell pepper, green onions, mayo, cassava flour, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cayenne pepper and thyme. Use a fork to mix until just combined.
  • Using 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop out crab mixture and, using your hands, form into patties. Set on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for about 20 minutes so that they firm up.
  • Pour the almond flour on a plate. Very lightly dredge each chilled crab cake in the flour and tap off any excess flour. You don’t want them caked in flour or they’ll taste dry, just lightly dusted. Return the coated crab cakes to the baking sheet.
  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When very hot, but not smoking, carefully arrange the crab cakes in the bottom of the skillet, taking care not to crowd the pan. You will most likely have to do this in batches. Sear the patties until golden brown and slightly crispy, about 3-4 minutes on the first side. Using a sturdy spatula, carefully flip, and continue to cook on the other side for 3 more minutes. Transfer the cooked crab cakes to a wire rack to keep them from getting soggy before serving. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.
  • Serve with hot remoulade and enjoy.

To Make the Remoulade:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, green onion, garlic, capers, hot sauce, relish. apple cider vinegar, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

What are you cooking up this weekend?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

XO,

Brit

Chicken Encilantrada

Chicken Encilantrada

This Sunday I am cooking one of my favorite dishes! Chicken Encilantrada…I got this recipe from one of my best friends. Her mother made it growing up in Laredo, Texas and they shared it with me. It is truly one of the most delicious Mexican dishes I have ever had!

Chicken Encilantrada is the perfect meal to make on a Sunday because it takes a few hours to prepare and it is perfect to serve for your friends and family. If you’re not cooking for a group, the leftovers heat up well and you can enjoy them for a few days. My friend told me the name “Encilantrada” comes from cilantro and this delicious green sauce seeps into the chicken making the most wonderful, savory flavors.

Some of the main ingredients for Chicken Encilantrada.

Chicken Encilantrada 

Serves Four

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

1 bay leaf

1 handful of peppercorns

1 white onion

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic

5 big tomatillos 

1 jalapeno 

1 handful of cilantro

3 cups of chicken broth 

1 tbsp. cumin

1 7 oz. can of Herdez salsa verde 

1 tbsp/chicken of Knorr Caldo con Sabor de Pollo (chicken flavor bouillon) 7.9 oz

To Make:

Boil the whole chicken with bay leaf, peppercorns, carrot, garlic and some onion in a large pot. Cover all ingredients with chicken broth and water and boil for 30-45 minutes.

In another pot, boil tomatillos and jalapeño in water until they’re soft and cooked through.

Add the cooked/drained tomatillos and jalapeño to blender with a chunk of raw onion, handful of cilantro, garlic cloves, cumin, salsa verde, knorr chicken bouillon, a little broth and mix until smooth. At the end of the blending process, add a little olive oil to the mixture and blend once more.

Once the chicken is cooked and cooled, shred it.

Add the blended sauce to a sauce pan and warm it through.

Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and toss to combine.

Chicken Encilantrada

You can serve Chicken Encilantrada in tortillas for tacos or on top of rice and beans for a lighter version. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my husband and I do and that you all have a beautiful Sunday! Happy cooking!

XO,

Brit

 

Brit’s Pantry Staples

Brit’s Pantry Staples

Are you one of the one in five Americans who prefer cooking at home? Even before the coronavirus pandemic caused thousands of restaurants to close and forced people around the world to stay home, a survey published in February of 2020, found that a large portion of Americans prefer cooking at home to have more control over their budget and their health.

I began cooking regularly after I moved to Houston. Although going out to dinner has always been one of my favorite things, something about the portion sizes and type of food I was eating caused me to gain 15 pounds in a two month period. After I started cooking for myself, the weight I had gained began to drop off naturally. As someone who baked a lot growing up, but never cooked much, I had a lot to learn. One of the biggest things to think about when you begin your cooking journey is to have a fully-stocked pantry.

My pantry must-haves!

When I think of my pantry, I think of it in four different categories–spices, baking, starches and sauces.

Spices: The spices you use can make or break a dish. Outside of salt and pepper, paprika is my most used spice. The items I have listed below are my go-to spices.

Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes

Baking: I definitely have the baking bug. From brownies and blondies to chocolate cakes and scones, I love baking! It relaxes me and makes me feel so accomplished when the sweet treats I bake turn out well. Because I do bake on a regular basis, I always need to have lots of flour and sugar on hand. Outside of my baking, many of these ingredients are also needed for the savory cooking I do so I always make sure I have these items around.

Flour, Panko Bread Crumbs, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Corn Starch, Vanilla, Chocolate Chips, PB2

Starches: It’s always important to have starches stocked in your pantry. I probably use rice most often…maybe two to three times a week so I always have lots of rice in my pantry. I also keep Annie’s Mac and Cheese because my husband loves it and regular pasta on hand to complete dishes.

Rice, Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Chick Peas, Black Beans

Sauces: When I think of sauces, I’m really thinking of the ingredients I need to make sauces. These ingredients can be used for making so many different sauces and are required in many of the recipes I make.

Tomato Paste, Local Honey, Coconut Aminos, Rotel, Crystal Hot Sauce, Hatch Diced Chiles, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Fish Sauce, Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil , Vegetable Oil, Anchovy Paste, Beef Stock, Chicken Broth

Not mentioned in my list: my aprons! I love cooking in my aprons. Many of them were gifts or something I bought on a trip so these aprons always bring back fun memories for me and keep my clothes clean when the oil in the kitchen is flying!

What are your pantry must-haves? Let me know what you think of my list and happy cooking!

XO,

Brit

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken

Tonight I am making The Defined Dish Black Pepper Chicken for dinner. This light, asian-inspired dish is a perfect dinner to get your week off to a healthy start.

Black Pepper Chicken recipe excerpted from The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes © 2019 by Alex Snodgrass.

INGREDIENTS:

BLACK PEPPER SAUCE

¼ cup chicken broth

¼ cup coconut aminos

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Red Boat)

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (see note)

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons avocado oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

4 celery stalks, ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 cups)

3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

MAKE THE BLACK PEPPER SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, coconut aminos, vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper and ground ginger. Set aside until ready to use.

MAKE THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with parchment paper. Use a meat mallet or the bottom of a skillet to pound the chicken until it is an even ¼ inch thick. Discard the parchment, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl with 2 teaspoons of the avocado oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then add the arrowroot and toss again.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining ¼ cup avocado oil. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, add the chicken to the skillet in a single layer (you may need to do this in two batches). Cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the celery and onion to the same skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn, about 1 minute.

Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the chicken and vegetables, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt to taste. Serve as is or with cauliflower rice, and top with a sprinkle of pepper.

NOTE: Regular old ground black pepper just doesn’t work in this dish! It’s essential that you use freshly cracked black pepper.

In the cookbook, Alex suggests serving the black pepper chicken over cauliflower rice, but my husband loves white rice so I served mine tonight with Lundberg Farms Jasmine rice. If you want a little more spice, peppers would be a great addition to this dish, but it is really delicious the way it is.

I hope you love this dish! Leave me a comment and let me know what you are cooking tonight!

XO,

Brit

Easy Red Coconut Curry

Easy Red Coconut Curry

Even though we are in quarantine and I am home all of the time, I still feel like my weekdays are crazy busy! Because of that, I love cooking healthy, one-pot meals throughout the week. Tonight I’m making my favorite red coconut curry recipe from Averie Cooks.

Thai food has always been one of my favorite cuisines and after living in Houston, Texas, for the better part of a decade, I got pretty spoiled when it came to getting the best Thai food or really any kind of food just down the street. My husband and I recently moved to Austin in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic so we know a little bit about the food scene here, but definitely not as well as we knew our favorites in Houston. Today I was craving curry, so I decided to make this delicious recipe instead of ordering-in.

All the ingredients you will need for the coconut curry recipe.

I’ve made this recipe about 10 times and I’ve decided the only red curry paste I like to use for it is the Exotic Thai Red Curry Paste. I’ve tried a few other brands and it really makes or breaks this dish if you don’t get a good paste.

The creator of this recipe, Averie Cooks, claims this fresh, nutrient-rich recipe is only 141 calories per serving. I serve my curry over rice so of course that number will go up. One cup of rice is generally 160 calories so you will be at 300 calories for one serving of this dish, which is amazing!

Not only is this dish healthy, but it is SO easy to make, you can make it all in one pan and it only takes about 20 minutes, which means you’ll have an easy clean up too!

Let me know what you think and if you try this recipe out!

XO,

Brit

Rumbi Grill-Inspired Teriyaki Bowls

Rumbi Grill-Inspired Teriyaki Bowls

Teriyaki bowls are one of my all time favorite meals and have been since childhood. They are such a perfect blend of nutrients and carbs and they are so easy to make. A little bit of rice, some chicken and veggies and you’re good to go. Tonight, I will be recreating one of my favorite restaurant versions of a teriyaki bowl from home.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, there was a little restaurant right by my school that my sister and I would go to all the time called the Rumbi Island Grill and we would have the best teriyaki bowls there. After my family and I moved away from Salt Lake, I would crave these bowls. I finally tried to re-create them and I think the recipe is pretty close!

Rumbi Island Grill Fire Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl

Brit’s Rumbi Grill Recreation

Serves four

Ingredients for the bowls:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders

4 cups of sushi rice

1 cup matchstick carrots (uncooked)

2 crowns of broccoli (chopped)

1 zucchini (quartered)

Sesame seeds

Ingredients for the Sauce:

3/4 cup coconut aminos teriyaki sauce

2 tbsp. coconut aminos soy sauce

2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce

1 tsp. dried or fresh ginger

1 tbsp. local honey

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

To make the bowls:

Pound chicken tenders with a mallet and season both sides with salt and pepper. It can be grilled or cooked in a pan on the stove, cook for three minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let the tenders cool and then cut them into small cubes.

Sautee zucchini and broccoli in a pan with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. cook for 8-10 minutes.

For the sauce:

Combine teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, ginger, honey and brown sugar in a pot. Once the mixture reaches a boil, add corn starch mixture and let the sauce thicken. Remove from heat.

To serve, scoop one cup of sushi rice per bowl, top with grilled chicken, matchstick carrots, broccoli and zucchini and top with as much sauce as you prefer. To garnish, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!

Brit’s Rumbi Grill Recreation

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Happy cooking!

XO,

Brit

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations at Home

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations at Home

Can you believe Cinco de Mayo is just one week away?! Yes, it does fall on a Tuesday this year so even more reasons for celebrations! I have always loved Cinco de Mayo, not only because of my love of margaritas and queso, but also because it is my dad’s birthday!

Dad enjoying a margarita in San Diego!

Cook Something Fun

This year, my Cinco de Mayo celebrations will be a little bit different than usual. I won’t be celebrating with my dad which is the worst part, but I will be celebrating in his honor at home. A couple of weeks ago I was going through The Defined Dish cookbook and found my new favorite recipe. The Enchiladas con Carne that Alex created are SO good, I truly couldn’t believe I cooked something so good. My husband literally said to me, “this is the best thing you’ve ever made, why do we go out to eat anymore?” It was one of my proudest moments.

The Defined Dish’s Enchiladas con Carne

Needless to say, I cannot wait to make these again!! In addition to serving the enchiladas, I will be making Clayton’s Grapefruit Margaritas and my own little guacamole recipe.

Wear a Cute Outfit

A celebration is not complete without a fun outfit and right now I am loving my Mi Golondrina headband and this amazing “Spicy” clutch by Trina Turk which will be the perfect accessories for a fiesta at home!

Mi Golondrina Headband
Lime Topo Chico with a side of a Spicy Trina Turk Clutch

Spice Up Your Life with Fiesta Decor

Finally, decorating an area of your home with festive fiesta decorations can instantly create a party mood. I found the cutest mini llama pinatas and this balloon fiesta sign on Amazon.  I plan to use leftover llama garland from a previous holiday party to decorate my bar cart along with margarita glasses and all the ingredients necessary to make margaritas all night long!

a fun bar cart is the perfect compliment to any party!

What are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? Leave me a comment below to let me know how you will be celebrating this year!

XO,

Brit

A Taste of Bistro Menil at Home

A Taste of Bistro Menil at Home

I am drawing on the inspiration of one of my favorite lunches to create my dinner tonight. In Houston, tucked away in the lush area between the Museum District and vibrant Montrose neighborhood is the Bistro Menil. In a city that is known for its heavy Tex-Mex and love of meats, Bistro Menil delivers refreshingly light European fare.

One of my absolute favorite things to do in Houston is to spend the day at The Menil Collection. I start with lunch–a glass of sparkling rosé with the bistro Caesar salad with salmon at Bistro Menil for lunch and then hop over to the Menil to see the works of Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko and so many more, and finish off the day by sitting on a blanket in the many green spaces between the iconic museum and the Rothko Chapel.

Picnic at the Menil

Of course I can’t do any of this right now because of Coronavirus restrictions so I am bringing the Menil to my kitchen in Austin tonight. To make the Caesar salad, I am going to use a version of The Defined Dish’s Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad *minus the chicken* and my pan fried salmon recipe.

Pan Fried Salmon with The Defined Dish’s Caesar Pasta Salad

To make the Salmon:

  • 2 (4 oz.) salmon filets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

Pat salmon dry and coat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, when oil is hot, but not smoking, add salmon–skin side up. Season skin with salt and pepper and cook for about six minutes. Flip over and add chicken stock and lemon juice. Serve with with The Defined Dish’s Caesar Pasta Salad and enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this recipe and what you are cooking tonight!

XO,

Brit

Baking Classics with Ina Garten

Baking Classics with Ina Garten

I have always loved baking and I’m not sure if I have been doing it more this month because of all of the free-time I have or because my sweet tooth has gotten much bigger! But either way, my favorite baking recipes to follow are from Ina Garten. Most recently, I have made Ina’s Blondies with Chocolate Chunks and her classic Beatty’s Chocolate Cake.

Blondies with Chocolate Chunks and Vanilla Ice Cream

I made Ina’s Blondies the other night when I served salad as an entrée for dinner. I thought because of the lighter meal, I could make a fun dessert. My husband LOVED it! Ina traditionally makes this recipe in a square baking dish and uses walnuts. I don’t really care for walnuts and they are high in calories so I kept them out and just stuck with the chocolate chunks. I also baked this is a round cake pan because it was the first dish I found in my cabinet… it is a really easy recipe to follow and modify if you want to. I served it here with vanilla ice cream and it was sooo good!

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

This Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe was also divine! It was relatively easy to make and I loved the little bit of coffee grounds Ina calls for in this cake, it just takes the whole recipe up another level. This was my first time making it and I will definitely make it again soon!

The great thing about most of Ina’s recipes–whether it is a cake recipe or scrambled eggs, she includes videos and lots of tutorials to help you master the dish, even if you have never cooked or baked in your life! I hope you enjoy these recipes and would love to hear how they turn out for you!

XO,

Brit

Quarantine Meal Planning

Quarantine Meal Planning

Coronavirus and quarantine have totally changed the way I plan for meals. In the days before COVID-19, I considered grocery shopping to be one my favorite hobbies. Heading to Central Market, grabbing a glass of wine and leisurely strolling the aisles until I found something totally inspiring to make for dinner was part of my weekly routine.

I’m not sure why, but I hate having a lot of food in my refrigerator and until a month ago, I only used my freezer to freeze blueberries and bananas for my daily smoothie. Because of this, I would go to the grocery store three or four times a week and only buy exactly what I needed for the meals I was making. But now, going to the grocery store is no longer a thing of leisure, it is an essential task that needs to be taken seriously.

Before I make my trek to the store, I open up my favorite cookbooks and make a meal plan for the week. My biggest sources of culinary inspiration come from *Queen* Ina Garten, Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish and Tanya Zuckerbrot of F-Factor. All three of these women create the most incredible recipes that are accessible and easy to master at home. After deciding on which recipes to make, I take an inventory of my pantry, spice cabinet, refrigerator and freezer to make my grocery list. By making a detailed list for the store, you ensure that you will not only get everything you need for your meals, but you will also avoid spending too much time in the store, which in turn, keeps you and other shoppers much safer.

Monday: Oven “Fried” Chicken with a honey glaze, rice and an HEB salad kit.

Oven “Fried” Chicken with a honey glaze, rice and an HEB salad kit.
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch + 1/3 cup cold water

To make the chicken tenders, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter completely and pour it on a sheet pan. Pound the chicken tenders with a mallet. Combine flour with cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip chicken tenders first in the flour and coat on both sides, then dip into the eggs and finally in the panko bread crumbs. Set the chicken on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on one side, flip the chicken and bake for another 10 minutes. To make the sauce, combine honey, soy sauce and minced garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once the mixture starts boiling, stir in corn starch and water mixture to combine.. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken, serve with rice and salad.

Tuesday: Pederson’s uncured kielbasa sausage with mushrooms, onion, orange bell pepper and spinach, served over rice.

Sausage with Veggies and Rice.
  • 1 Pederson’s uncured, no sugar kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2-3 handfuls spinach

To make this dish, sautée the sliced and divided sausage in a deep pan with 2 tbs. olive oil for 5 minutes. Next, add onion and bell pepper, stir for another 3-5 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Finally, add spinach and stir to combine and serve over rice.

Wednesday: Pan fried salmon served with F-Factor cauliflower fried rice.

Pan fried salmon served with F-Factor cauliflower fried rice.
  • 2 (4 oz.) salmon filets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

Pat salmon dry and coat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, when oil is hot, but not smoking, add salmon–skin side up. Season skin with salt and pepper and cook for about six minutes. Flip over and add chicken stock and lemon juice. Serve over F-Factor Fried Rice and enjoy!

Thursday: The Defined Dish’s Cajun Chicken Pasta.

The Defined Dish’s Cajun Chicken Pasta

Friday: Roasted Halibut served with Ina Garten’s Rosemary potatoes and an HEB salad kit.

Halibut with Roasted Potatoes and salad.

The Defined Dish is an excellent resource for healthy and often Whole30 compliant meals that are also incredibly creative and easy to make. F-Factor recipes are all very healthy and light on calories. I love learning from Tanya about how to live a healthier lifestyle and as a registered dietician, her insights on portion recommendations and substitutes for cooking have been so helpful for me. I use Ina Garten’s recipes when I am looking to make a really classic meal and also when I am trying to make something for a special occasion.

I hope you enjoy the recipes this week! Leave me comment to let me know how they turn out for you and if you have any questions for me!

XO,

Brit