Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Dave’s Dish of the Week: Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chicken Wings

With a fresh new year, I’ve been thinking of some fresh new ideas for bloggage.  And here it is my friends….

Dave's Dish of the Week

Dave insisted that his head be super imposed on the body of the Swedish Chef from the muppets – and let’s just say the resemblance is frightening

Dave – my husband, my partner in crime, my doggy-daddy, the ‘other half of the newlywed whole’ fueling this blog – really hasn’t gotten much air time since we started just about a year ago.  Sure he’s there in the kitchen for better or worse recipes, often times taking the reigns himself and coming up with some really great meals, but to be honest with you, I like to enjoy the full benefits of being cooked for, which includes throwing my feet up with a glass of wine and control of the remote while Dave slaves away in the kitchen.

Diva alert.

So once a week, coming to a kitchen near you, is Dave’s Dish!  (let’s hope he doesn’t make quite as much clamor and is easier to understand than the real Swedish chef :))

First up is these AMAZINGLY delicious Maple Chicken wings that we made for that um…big sports game on Sunday night (too soo…still too soon).  For those of you that will be continuing to watch football in the next couple weeks, these are a perfect finger food for watching.  Took a little bit of patience, but as with most recipes that take a bit of doing, it was well worth the wait.

Maple Chicken Wings
*Adapted from Southern Food

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 3 – 4 dozen chicken wings

    4 pounds chicken wings
(preferably the type that are ready to cook so you can avoid the clipping/prepping/etc.)

    1 cup maple syrup, dark or grade B
(we used pure Vermont Maple Syrup)

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    2 cloves garlic, finely minced

    3 green onions, chopped

    1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

    1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  2 pinches of cayenne pepper, optional

   *Cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onions, for garnish
(we used green onions & sesame seeds)

1) Line a large baking pan bottom and sides with heavy duty foil.

2) Wash the chicken wings and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, teriyaki, and peppers.

Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chicken Wings

3) Add the chicken wings to the bowl with the marinade.  Coat wings evenly with the marinade and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting the wings marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight (the longer the better).

4) After your wings have marinaded, arrange the chicken wing pieces in the prepared baking pan and pour the sauce over them.

5) Bake the wings for 1 hour at 350 degrees, turning 3 to 4 times during that hour. After an hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes longer, turning the wings every 10 minutes to brown evenly.

Maple Chicken Wings

6) Remove the wings to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onion.

Maple Chicken Wings

“Bork…bork…bork!”

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Peanut Butter and Nutella Quinoa Bites for Dessert

Peanut Butter & Nutella Bites

Sorry for the lull in Quinoa bite postage gang! But as with most things, I prefer saving the best for last – the DESSERT!

When I said that Quinoa is a power food, you probably assumed that all these bite recipes would be healthy and good for you. Well – all good things can go bad sometimes.  And when I say bad, I mean the good kind of bad – the AMAZING kind of bad.

Peanut Butter & Nutella Bites

I needed a ‘dessert’ quinoa bite.  So I thought of 2 of my favorite things on the planet – peanut butter and nutella – and then I went crazy – and crazy won – love when that happens!

Peanut Butter & Nutella Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 2 dozen bites

1 cup cooked quinoa, warm

1 cup quick oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup your favorite brand of creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup Nutella

2 cups corn flakes, crushed into crumbs
(preferably in a food processor)

6 oz. Dark chocolate for drizzle

1) While your Quinoa is still warm, place it in a large mixing bowl.  Add the quick oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter, nutella and corn flakes to the warm Quinoa (the heat from the Quinoa will help all the ingredients to combine together).

2) With a small spatula (or your hands!) mix all of the ingredients together until fully combined.  I started doing this with a spatula but then just went right in for the kill with my hands, and it made it much easier to combine the ingredients (and I got to lick them after!)

3) Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill it for about 1/2 hour in the refrigerator.  After the mixture has chilled, take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, roll it between the palms of your hands to form a ball and place each ball on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

4) Once all your balls have been formed, melt your chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over the quinoa balls.  Can be served immediately or stored in the fridge for up to a week! (but trust me, they won’t last that long)

O.M.G.  When I tell you that these are amazing, I’m not lying.  The Corn Flake component may seem a little strange, but I felt the mixture needed a sort of ‘glue’ to hold it together, being that there were no eggs for this recipe.  The Corn Flake crumbs acted almost as bread crumbs do with meatballs, giving them some holding power and a little somethin’ more to sink your teeth into.

Peanut Butter & Nutella Bites

So there you have it folks – what’d we learn from this series?

Quinoa is DA’ BOMB!

Southwest Quinoa Bites for Dinner

Southwest Quinoa Bites

Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s a fun Friday Quinoa fact for you:

2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations (thank you Wiki Wiki Wack Wikipedia).  Looks like we were one step ahead of the game with this Quinoa Bite series eh?

Ok, enough jib jab.

One of my favorite things is when you throw a bunch of stuff together, throw it in the oven and keep your fingers crossed that it will come out delicious and it does! That’s just what happened with these Southwest Quinoa Bites.  I love me some southwest flavor, as you’ve seen in recipes like Southwest Chicken Burgers and Mexican Pizza.

So why not share the Southwest wealth with Quinoa Bites?

Southwest Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields 12 regular muffin sized bites

2 cups cooked Quinoa

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup canned corn

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 scallions, chopped small

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

salt & pepper to taste

ranch dressing for dipping

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place your Quinoa, bread crumbs, cooked chicken and cheeses in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3) Heat your olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add your black beans, corn, red pepper, garlic, scallions, cumin and chili powder and saute for 3-5 minutes.  The goal here isn’t to cook the vegetables through, but simply allow the flavor of everything to combine a bit before adding it to the rest of the mixture.

4) Add the veggie/spice mixture to the quinoa/chicken/bread crumbs/cheese and allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs (about 5 minutes).  You can then add the beaten eggs and combine the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5) Take a regular sized muffin tin (12 muffins) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add about 1/3 cup of the mixture to each muffin slot.

4) Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of Ranch dressing for dipping!

Since this was dinner, I decided to use a regular sized muffin tin vs. the mini-muffin tin, but these would certainly be great bite sized as well!  Served with a nice side salad, it was a perfect, healthy and scrumptious dinner.  If you wanted to add a little kick to these, you could always toss some crushed red pepper flakes in with the cumin and chili powder! I personally like when my lips aren’t on fire, but to each his own 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites for Lunch

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

Worst part of this week = having to pack a lunch for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! It’s been weeks since I’ve put in a 40 hour’er – the joy of Christmas brings with it the joy of consecutive 4-5 day weekends.  But now, the grim reality that the next company holiday won’t be here until the snow is melted and my brown puffy down coat has been retired for the Winter.  Sigh.

Thank god I have these delicious Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quinoa bites to look forward to at lunch 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 34 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small jar of roasted red peppers, chopped

2 cups frozen chopped spinach

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, lightly beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add chopped red peppers, spinach and minced garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes, until all the liquid from the peppers and spinach has evaporated. Remove from heat.

instruction1

3) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach/red pepper mixture and crumbled goat cheese.  Mix together to allow the goat cheese to melt.  Once the mixture has cooled a bit more (about 10 minutes), you can then add the eggs and mix together.  Season the mixture with salt & pepper to taste.

instruction2

4) Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the top of the pan as well to avoid the bites from sticking.  Place one tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin slot and bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

instruction3

These are a nice light option for lunch or even a snack.  They’d also be a great appetizer for your next ladies night! Healthy, yummy and would go nicely with red OR white 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites for Breakfast!

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

First full week back to work = a fresh week to start a great series with a yummy little ingredient I’ve been seeing a LOT of lately – Quinoa – reminds me a little bit of Cous Cous, but much heartier and packed with protein.  I’ve come to learn too that it’s a great base for a lot of fantastic recipes too – Quinoa bites in particular.  A while back, I tried these delicious Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites from Miki’s Kitchen and they were a perfect, healthy snack for anyone out there that is as Buffalo Chicken crazy as I am.  Bites are perfect really – they’re small – they’re cute – you can eat them with your fingers, and it’s generally assumed that you can have one or two extra, cuz’ hey! They’re bite sized!

Why else am I pushing Quinoa? Well, due to it’s protein punch package, it’s considered a power food which I’ll be needing a lot of lately as I begin (or, more like “focus” on) my Half Marathon training schedule.  There I said it out loud.  Some of my besties from home and I are headed down to Disney in just a few short weeks to do the Princess Half Marathon – and while I can’t WAIT to get down there, catch some rays, eat some Dole Whip, and hopefully get a glimpse of Mickey & Minnie, there’s that whole 13.1 miles to get through first, and I’ve got a ways to go training wise.  So come on Quinoa, help a sistah out will ya?

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

Ok first up, Quinoa Bites for breakfast, the most important meal of the day! And this combination of quinoa, apples and a sweet sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar will start your day off just right 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 26 bites

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup quick oats, uncooked 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup chopped apples

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large mixing bowl, add your cooked quinoa and quick oats.  In a separate smaller mixing bowl, combine your cinnamon, nutmeg and sugars and then add the spice mixture to the quinoa and oats.  Then add the maple syrup, apples and eggs and mix until just combined.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

3) Spray your mini muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray.  Make sure to spray the top of the pan as well.  The quinoa bites will overflow out of the cup a little bit, so you don’t want the tops to stick.

4) Fill each muffin slot with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

Oh yummmm – these were like little hearty mini muffins packed with deliciousness and nutritiousness – the best of both worlds!

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s a Friday present for you:

4 ingredients.

4 steps.

1 of the most delicious tasting and easy desserts ever.  EVER.

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 20 truffles

 6oz of cream cheese (3/4 of an 8oz block)

1 regular sized package of Oreo cookies

1/2 cup of your favorite creamy peanut butter

12 oz. Milk Chocolate
(You could use a bag of Milk Chocolate chips, or, as I do most times when I use melted chocolate, about 3/4 of a  Trader Joe’s 1lb Belgian Chocolate Bars)

*Peanut Butter Drizzle
(an optional step that can be achieved with either Wilton’s Peanut Butter Flavored Candy Melts or by melting about 1/2 cup of peanut butter over low heat in a saucepan)

1) In a food processor, pulse your Oreo cookies until they become a fine crumb texture.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and peanut butter on low speed until fully combined and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Slowly add in the Oreo crumbs until a dough like mixture forms.

3) Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Take about 2-3 tablespoons of the dough and roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball and place on the waxed paper.  Once all the dough has been shaped into balls, chill them in the freezer for 1/2 hr – 1 hr.  Cream cheese based dough can soften very quickly so this step is important!

4) While the dough is chilling, melt your chocolate in a double boiler.  After the balls have chilled, dip each one in the melted chocolate and place on the waxed paper to allow the chocolate to dry.

5)*Optional Step: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to add some peanut butter drizzle, you can either melt about 1/2 of a 12oz bag of Peanut Butter flavored candy melts or you can simply melt 1/2 cup of Peanut Butter over low heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly.  Then just dip the fork in the melted peanut butter and drizzle it over the truffles (these chocolate squeeze bottles also create a really nice drizzle effect – you can find them at any Michaels or A.C. Moore in the Cake decorating/candy making section).

Happy 1st Friday of 2013 everyone!

Ginger Pomegranate Sparkler

Ginger Pomegranate Sparkler

I think the days following January 1st should have a disclaimer that reads “Don’t operate any heavy machinery today”.  Ugh.  The excitement level has dropped about 20 notches, our wallets are a lighter, our tummies heavier (or mine anyway) – back to work, back to reality, back to winter in New England (or in whatever area of the world you’re in – although summer’s just starting for you other side of the world’ers – jealous)

BUT on the bright side, it’s a brand new year! So many opportunities & new experiences to get excited about – so while the letdown is inevitable, my mind is turning to all the great new things that 2013 will bring.  As Anne of Green Gables always used to say “Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it”, and a new year is just the same (minus the mistake already made of eating Five Guys for dinner last night – BAD idea – even my forgiving stretchy pants are feeling a little snug today)

I know NYE is already a thing of the past, but I have to share a delicious cocktail concoction that I made to ring in the new year.  A combination of Pomegranate juice, Domaine de Canton (ginger liquor) and a few other goodies, topped with a splash of bubbly  – the perfect libation to end a nearly perfect 2012!

Ginger Pomegranate Sparkler

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 8-10 6oz servings

1 cup Pomegranate Juice
(You could also use cranberry juice or a cran/pomegranate mixture)

1 cup Domaine de Canton (ginger liquor)

Juice of 1 large lime or 2 small ones

1 cup triple sec

1/2 cup brandy

Prosecco

1) In a glass pitcher, combine all ingredients except the Prosecco and let chill for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

2) Once mixture has chilled to your liking, fill 1/2 a champagne flute with the Pom/Ginger mixture and top the rest off with Prosecco.  Feel free to adjust the juice to prosecco ratio, putting more or less of each.  But the 1/2 and 1/2 combination will yield about 10 servings (if served in champagne flutes, which usually hold about 6 ounces).

Yum.  A bit on the boozy side yes, but New Year’s eve is special and deserves a stiff cocktail that’s pink and has bubbles 🙂


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