Slow Cooker Coconut Braised Pork

I’m often really inspired in the mornings while I’m still feeling productive, but when actual dinner time comes around I can’t really be bothered. Because of this, the slow cooker is my Saturday morning friend lately. Doing all the work in the morning and rolling up to an already cleaned kitchen at dinner time with food waiting for you is such a great feeling. For this skype date, Amanda and I did a free-for-all make anything you want night since we’ve been so busy. The aforementioned dinner time laziness, the pork taking up space in my freezer, and the laughably low number of ingredients let me to this recipe and it’s definitely going to be one on the rotation. Plus, the smells! The aroma of this dish, ya’ll. The most difficult part of this dish is that it makes you hungry all day long in anticipation as those aromas waft into the house! Definitely try this one out next time you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to do a full grocery trip.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Sliced green onions for garnish
  • Cooked White rice for serving

Instructions: 

  1. Turn on your slow cooker to allow it to preheat (apparently this is a thing we’re supposed to be doing!) while you sear your pork.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sear your pork cubes until browned on all sides. This is where a lot of the flavor comes from so definitely don’t skip this step. Caution on the side of too long of a sear to really lock in the flavor rather than too short of a sear.
  3. Transfer your seared pork into the slow cooker and add the coconut water and fish sauce. Slow cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours if you don’t have all day.
  4. Once cooked, you can serve the pork over rice and drizzle with the liquid in the slow cooker. Top with green onions and cilantro to your liking and enjoy!

Wine Pairing: The fish sauce is strong with this one and the pork, for having so little ingredients, is really rich. I’d go with a Pinot Grigio, which would also go with the cilantro nicely. 

Amanda’s Lobster Thermidor from “The Sims”

Sims is Merideth and I’s guilty pleasure. Lobster thermidor is the top difficulty recipe in the game, and I was a little worried I didn’t have the “cooking skill.” Turns out, I was just playing the game too much- in real life, this was quick and delicious! The lobster had a great texture and taste – more savory (and less fishy) than lobster on its own. Yum! I made this for myself, but it would definitely make a good date night dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 lobster tails
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or gruyere cheese
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 Italian bread crumbs
  • 2tbs fresh parsley, chopped, or 1tbs dried parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Steam the lobster tails over several inches of boiling water (I use a collander as a steam basket). Cover and steam until fully cooked, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Remove meat from lobster tails (it will be hot! allow to cool as necessary) and chop.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and shallots.
  5. Add chopped lobster meat and paprika and stir until coated and warmed through. Set aside.
  6. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add milk, cheese, and lemon juice and heat.
  7. Mix with lobster meat and add back into lobster shells. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until heated. Enjoy!

 

Wine Pairings: I used chardonnay for this recipe, which then made a great pairing with the lobster. For a less rich wine to pair with the buttery lobster, try a Marsanne.

Butternut Squash Steaks with Coconut Curry Sauce

You know how it goes every year. With a year loaded with overindulgent and treat-filled holidays on the back end, we all want to do a little bit better with our eating once January begins. Once New Year’s Day comes around, I’m usually feeling the effects of my bad food choices (even though they were so, so worth it at the time) and ready to get back on the healthy wagon. So, for this DistanceDishes session, Amanda and I decided to go for a healthy choice so as not to allow our skype dates to derail any progress we’d made but also so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on any deliciousness.

Cauliflower steaks are sooo 2018. Though I do enjoy a good cauliflower steak, I was much more excited at the idea of a butternut steak as the internet predicts as the next healthy craze. I adore butternut squash, and they’re currently in season and last forever untouched in the pantry. Though this recipe unfortunately required breaking down your own squash, that’s nothing that some gloves (if they bother your hands like me) and newly sharpened knives can’t help with (I was a little jealous of Amanda acquiring a cleaver for Christmas while I was preparing this recipe–that would have been handy here). Butchering a squash aside, this recipe is a real treat and has some nutrition as well. Definitely worth trying even as a side to something more sinful, or as a main event.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large butternut squash (preferably with a long, fat neck)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Coconut Curry Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat Coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tsp Fresh squeezed Lime Juice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel your butternut squash, trim the ends and separate the bottom bulb-y part from the neck. You can Seed and dice the bottom portion for a future use.
  3. Slice the neck long-ways into 1 inch thick slices and about 3-4 inches tall. I got about 3-4 “steaks” from a small squash but a bigger squash choice could yield 4-6.
  4. Place your steaks on a wired rack on top of a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil on both side. Sprinkle evenly on both sides with Garam Masala, salt and pepper. Rub in so there is an even coating of oil/spices.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through.
  6. While the squash is cooking, make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add your coconut milk, curry powder, salt and pepper. Stirring regularly, bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes until reduced by 1/3 and thickened. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and stir in the lime juice.
  8. Once your steaks are done, transfer to a plate and cover with a decent spoonful of the sauce. Enjoy with other vegetables of your choice or a real steak, whatever you like!

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Wine Pairing: Since you’re making such a light recipe, that means you can have an extra glass of wine, right? Just kidding (?) 🙂 If you do decide to have a glass, a Viognier or  you could go with a Pinot Noir if you prefer to go red. Antioxidants and what not, right? 

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Sometimes you get into a culinary rut and as much as you want inspiration to strike, it’s not coming. For this distancedishes date, Amanda had a night to herself and treated herself to a dinner she found quite exciting. Feeling a bit gloomy and uninspired that weekend, I was much more excited to lay in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. Still wondering what I would make, even a few hours before our skype session, I thought that I would make something for those nights when nothing sounds good.

Sometimes, you’ve just been really on point all week and you’re just tired of bringing it. Sometimes you feel like you’ve been doing the same old thing for all your dinners lately and everything is so…blah. Sometimes, its a weeknight and you had a long day at work and just need food. Sometimes, you don’t want to deal but your tummy is still a-grumblin. All of that is fine. You should still probably eat though.

I know there have been quite a few pizza type things from me lately, but it’s so easy if you take a few shortcuts and I’ve been in the mood for easy lately, okay? It’s comfort food with its cheesy and bready goodness and you can make it as easy or fancy as your heart desires (and depending on where you are in your food rut). A buffalo chicken pizza is pretty low maintenance, especially if you get creative with the crust (go store-bought, or hey, use a tortilla, whatever). It’s a nice break from the traditional tomato and cheese flavors but still so comforting. Give it a try when you’re feeling good or just need a break, it’s great for all times!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (however you wanna get there, store bought rotisserie, some instant pot breasts, or just bake)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (plus a little extra)
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped with whites and greens divided
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing.
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & Pepper as desired.
  • Pizza crust of your choice (see above–yeah I did not go homemade this time)
  • Cornmeal for dusting

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the buffalo chicken spread, stir together shredded chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, the whites of the green onions and salt and pepper if you would like. If you’re using cold chicken, it may take some effort for this to come together and I would recommend a stand mixer. If you’re really not feeling cooking, you can stop here, warm this up and curl up with a bowl of this and some corn chips and dip to your heart’s content. We usually make this as just a dip for potlucks (some ranch dressing in it makes it even better!).
  3. Roll our pizza crust onto a peel or baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Brush your ranch dressing onto the crust, leaving about 1/2 inch unbrushed on the outside all over.
  4. Spread your buffalo chicken spread evenly onto the pizza and top with the mozzarella cheese evenly. Sprinkly the greens of the green onions on top.
  5. Bake on the baking sheet or pizza stone/steel (or both) for 20-25 minutes until crust is cooked, cheese is melted and a little bubbly, and everything is a little golden. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing–everything usually becomes a melty mess if I try it before cooling. Drizzle a little extra hot sauce over the pizza so you feel fancy, slice, serve and enjoy while you await for culinary inspiration to return to your life.

Wine Pairing: ugh, I don’t know, what do we even have? Yeah ok, pour me some of that.

But seriously if you have more energy than I had, a dry Rose, Riesling or even Champagne would be a nice match. 

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Coconut Shrimp: Air- and Deep-Fried

I love my deep fryer, but nights I want to use it are guaranteed to be a mess. What my new air fryer lacks in deep fried goodness it makes up for with fast, low maintenance recipes. Or does it?

With the two fryers and a lot of time on my hands, I tried a few foods in both the deep fryer and the air fryer: coconut shrimp, fried pickles, and deep fried Oreos. Some things I learned

  • You can’t put something battered in the air fryer without splattering it everywhere. So, no deep fried Oreos.
  • Instead of batter, coating it in a faux breading with bread crumbs works!
  • Unsurprisingly, the deep fryer food was delicious. But I can still see a place for the air fryer in these traditionally deep fried foods for a healthy alternative!

I’ve included below a recipe for the batter I used for the deep fryer.

Air Fryer Batter

I set up a bowl of 2-3 eggs, whisked, and a bowl of 2 cups bread crumbs for the air fryer experiments. Since this was coconut shrimp, I added 1/3  cup shredded coconut to the breadcrumbs.

Deep-fried (left) and air-fried (right)

Deep Fryer Batter

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/4 cup vodka (*this extends its longevity while you cook!)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 quarts canola or peanut oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl with a fork.
  2. Whisk egg and vodka together. Add to dry ingredients and stir vigorously until well blended.
  3. Toss shrimp (or whatever you’re frying) in batter. Fry at 350 degrees or according to manufacturer instructions until batter is golden.

Thai Basil Beef Tacos

Come on, you missed us didn’t you? Well fear not! We’re back! Amanda and I each had fairly active summers, which made Skype and planning our next meal a little difficult. So, we took little break this summer but are back in the kitchens now that autumn is upon us.

For this DistanceDishes dinner, we wanted to make a meal that summed up our food experience of the summer. While Amanda had her own epic adventures (we’re talking international y’all), that I’ll let her sum up later, I had my own fair share of trips to the airport. For work, I was back and forth to Washington DC a few times this summer which allowed me to escape the usual food haunts at home. I’ve been back and forth to DC a few times this year and I’ve begun to make it a tradition to treat myself to delicious Thai food. I was also lucky enough to meet up with some great DC friends at a Jose Andres restaurant and gorge myself of delicious tacos (and margaritas). I wanted to combine these two great memories into my “summer dish” with some Thai themed tacos.

Two other, slightly lazy but also semi-appropriate reasons I went with this dish. With all the travel, I have become terrible at getting to the grocery store regularly. Also, as I was gone, my Thai Basil plant grew too large for itself and fell over. Since I only had a few days to use it up, these Thai Basil tacos were the perfect meal. Believe me though, my laziness is your benefit. This makes for a very flavorful, quick and easy meal any night whether you’ve developed a DC Thai food addiction or not.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 green onions, diced with greens and white separates
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (I used a combination of red and green)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped Thai basil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Tortillas
  • Lettuce for topping

Avocado Lime Topping:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • salt to taste (1/4 tsp to start)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic, the whites of your green onions, fish sauce and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Over medium heat, add the ground beef to a medium skillet or saucepan. Break up the beef and cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the beef from the pan and transfer to a small bowl (or whatever holding area you prefer–paper plate for easy cleanup? Sure!) and drain excess fat (for responsible discarding).
  3. Return your pan to medium heat and add your diced yellow onion and bell peppers. Cook until onions become slightly translucent and bell peppers start to become soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Return the cooked ground beef to your pan with the onions/peppers and pour your soy sauce mixture over ingredients in pan. Stir to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Soy sauce mixture should begin bubbling and stir for an extra 1-2 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in your Thai basil and continue stirring until basil is just wilting.
  5. Remove from heat, garnish with greens of the green onions and prepare your tacos to serve.

For the avocado lime topping:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Place a dollop on top of a hefty scoop of your basil beef on top of a flour tortilla. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: There are a lot of (delicious) flavors going on here, but a classic like a Cabernet Sauvignon probably wouldn’t be a bad choice. Cheers!

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Appetizer Sliders Three Ways

With the turn of the season and the heat in full swing, something about the start of the summer makes me want to entertain. For this theme week, we wanted to do some easy appetizers with a running theme that could be crowd-pleasers without being too much effort. While Amanda did amazing and fancy things with Balsamic Vinegar, I decided to go a little more “game day” with a series of sliders.

Since I was making a couple options, I knew I didn’t want any one type to dominate my time. With the electric pressure cooker to do the heavy lifting for the pork sliders, I was freed up to work on the other two options. I thought I’d cover my bases with the shredded pork in the pressure cooker, ground buffalo chicken sliders with ranch dressing and a vegetarian option of goat cheese and zucchini sliders. The zucchini was the surprise hit, and the herb yogurt sauce was such a great addition to this yummy little snack.

It is worth mentioning, if you don’t feel like standing over a pan or two waiting for all of these little patties to cook, you could always make these full size. Or if you don’t think this is enough slider options, check out our previous burger recipes, the Greek Chicken and Chickpea burgers which could easily be divided into more patties just before cooking.

Pork Slider

Blackberry Pulled Pork

  • 12 oz fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pork tenderloin (can also use about 1 lb pork shoulder preferred)
  • Salt &  Pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Slider Buns

Instructions:

  1. Generously coat your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper on all sides. Add it to your instant pot along with the chicken broth. Seal your instant pot and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally when done.
  2. After the pressure has been released, remove the pork tenderloin and shred the meat with two forks. Return the shredded meat to your instant pot to keep warm while you cook the sauce.
  3. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, stir together the blackberries and wine. Allow the mixture to boil and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes.
  4. When reduced, pass the mixture through a sieve to filter out any seeds and bits of berry.
  5. Place some of the shredded pork on a slider bun and top with a spoonful of the sauce. These are now ready to serve and enjoy!

*Mer’s Note: So there are some flavor combinations that are just classic, and I completely forgot Amanda did something similar previously. Because I was trying this one as a keto recipe, you might want to check out hers as an alternative as well. Both could be converted into sliders!

Buffalo Alternate

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 5 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 1 stalk celery finely minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 3 green onions, greens and whites minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Ranch Dressing to serve
  • Slider buns to serve

Instructions: 

  1. Combine the ground chicken, buffalo sauce, celery, carrot, green onions, 1 tsp salt & pepper, garlic powder and breadcrumbs. Combine with your hands until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Separate the mixture and form/flatten into 16 equal patties.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat or a grill, cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Place the cooked patties on slider buns and top with a dollop of ranch dressing to serve. Enjoy!

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Zucchini Sliders

  • 2 medium zucchinis, coarsley shredded
  • 1 tsp salt plus a pinch extra for seasoning zucchini
  • 2 oz herb goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp neutral, high smoke point oil (like canola)
  • Slider Buns to serve

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon

 

Instructions: 

  1. Sprinkle the zucchini with the pinch of salt and squeeze the shredded zucchini over a sieve and sink to release as much water as possible. If time allows, wrap the zucchini in paper towels and place in the sieve with something heavy on top to drain over an empty container for 30 minutes to an hour. While allowing the zucchini to drain, mix together your yogurt sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, herbs and lemon juice together and allow to sit in the fridgefor at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together.
  3. Once you have released as much moisture from the zucchini as possible, combine the zucchini with the goat cheese, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, and the egg. Mix together and form into 16 flat patties (they will be very delicate).
  4. In a wide bowl or container, combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining salt and pepper to your liking. Meanwhile, heat a large pan with the oil over medium heat. Dip each zucchini patty into the breadcrumb mixture until you have an even coating and transfer directly to the heated pan. Until cooked, these patties are very delicate so I would recommend as little handling as you can manage.
  5. Heat the patties for about 1-2 minutes on each side until a brown and crispy, and the egg firms up the patty a little bit.
  6. Transfer to a slider bun and top with a dollop of your yogurt sauce to serve. Enjoy!

 

 

Smokey Bison Chili, Inspired by Westworld

Merideth and I have had a lot of fun in the past coming up with foods I inspired by our favorite movies and t.v. shows, and I’ve been itching to try bison since I saw it unexpectedly at my grocery store, so the premiere of Westworld last month was perfect! Much easier to figure out than this season’s plot, so far 🙃

I used hickory salt to give this chili a Western type flavor along with the seared vegetables, but feel free to substitute with 3tbs of liquid smoke at the end. If you can’t find bison, ground beef is a just as tasty (though not as lean) alternative.

Ingredients

  • 2lbs ground bison
  • 1 8oz can each, red and black beans
  • 1 8oz can hominy
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 corn cobs
  • 1 bottle dark or amber beer
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • hickory salt
  • 2tbs oregano
  • 2tbs cumin
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Crumble bison and season with hickory salt and pepper. Brown in grill pan over high heat.
  2. Do not drain pan. Coat peppers and other vegetables with olive oil and season with hickory salt. Sear vegetables on all sides using tongs, until tomatoes and peppers have blistered.
  3. Dice vegetables, slicing roasted kernels off the corn cobs. Add to large soup pot or, if using slow cooker, to slow cooker bowl.
  4. Add ground bison, onion, garlic, beans, sessonings, and hominy to pot.
  5. Pour bottle of beer into pot, adding more water one empty 8oz can at a time as necessary.
  6. Simmer for 45 minutes or, if using slow cooker, cook 4 hours on high.

Chimichurri Steak Pizza

One of the new kitchen toys Amanda received for Christmas was a baking steel. I had acquired one over the summer in an impulse purchase and we both love when one of us gets a new kitchen gadget upgrade. While we’ve both made a few recipes on our baking steels independently (let me tell ya, it’s a game changer), we decided to really test them out we needed a flatbread theme night. I had recently tried an out of the bow Asian-fusion pizza place and so I was interested in making something a little different than the normal pizzas. As you can probably tell from my trend of recipes, tomatoes don’t really excite me, and so traditional pizza doesn’t really excite me (much to my husband’s frustration). So for this DistanceDishes night, I wanted to make a pizza with some non-traditional theme and without tomato sauce.

Amanda’s Korean Styled pizza turned out excellent, and I will be making her recipe in the very near future as just her picture of the result made my mouth water (and you know how I feel about anything Bulgogi related). I wanted mine to be different enough, so I bring you the South American flavors in a flatbread with delicious chimmichurri as the sauce alternative. Each bite was an explosion of flavor, and so satisfying. If you don’t feel up for making a whole pizza out of these ingredients, the steak marinade is worth checking out alone. I was sneaking some bites as I assembled, and no part of this recipe disappoints. Don’t worry if you don’t have a baking steel, a stone or baking sheet will work just fine.

Steak Marinade Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp aji amarillo (Optional)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Finely grated lime zest
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp Sharp Paprika
  • 1 lb flank steak or skirt steak, cut into large strips
  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients and pour over steak strips in a shallow dish or plastic bag. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  2. After, remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sear the strips of steak so that they have a nice brown color on the outside and are rare on the inside. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then cut the strips into 1/2 inch cubes. This can be done ahead of time, or while your pizza oven is preheating.

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Chimichurri Pizza Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup curly parsley
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions: 

  1. Roughly chop the parsley, cilantro and the garlic in a small bowl or blender. Add the oregano, pepper flakes, salt, lemon juice and olive oil and stir to incorporate.
  2. Using an immersion blender (or the regular blender), pulse to for break up the herbs and garlic until you have a paste-like consistency, but can still make out individual herb pieces. It should be only about 10-20 seconds of blending needed. Store the sauce in the fridge until ready to assemble your pizza.

Pizza Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust of your choice, go as store bought or homemade as you want
  • Cornmeal for the bottom (if desired–you could also use semolina flour if you’d like)
  • Diced Red Onions
  • Diced Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Diced Bell pepper
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Shredded Oaxaca Cheese
  • Chimichurri sauce from recipe above
  • Steak, cut into cubes from recipe above.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F, and if you are using a stone or a steel, turn your oven on for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the stone/steel can thoroughly heat.
  2. Roll out your pizza crust if needed. If transferring to a stone, sprinkle the back of a baking sheet or a pizza peel with cornmeal to form an even layer. Otherwise, sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal on the actual baking side. Place your pizza crust on top of this layer.
  3. Spread a layer of the Chimichurri sauce over the crust, top with the above listed toppings in the distribution of your choice. Place your baking sheet in the oven or slide the pizza off of the back of the baking sheet or peel and onto your stone/steel.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is slightly golden and cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: Even though we’re talking steak here, with all the spices in the marinade and pizza sauce, I think a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc would be a really nice pairing with the spicy flavors.

 

 

Za’atar Chicken Hummus Wrap

I originally bought my slow cooker with the intention to never be limited by its size when I wanted to make a meal, which turns out to have backfired. I bought a larger model so that I could cook large, cheap cuts of meat without thinking about the leftover implications. Usually when I use my full sized crockpot, those leftovers sit in the fridge for far too long with my excitement over eating a crockpot creation waning with each reheating (chili again?),. Sure, I could freeze soups for another day, but my freezer is pretty full and since I’m mostly cooking for two, the slowcooker does not make an appearance as often as it should in my home. So, when Amanda and I decided on slow cooker theme week, I knew I needed to make something that would keep me coming back for more.

So as not to get too tired of those leftovers, I knew my plate after the night of the wonderful slow cooker whole chicken dinner had to look different enough to entice me. Chicken is so versatile, and I decided to shred what I did not devour on the first night to turn into a healthy and fresh wrap for the following evening. The result, I think I liked even better than the original intended slow cooker meal. What’s that you say? This wrap looks so delicious but you don’t have the time to cook a whole chicken and deal with that whole other recipe? Well, this one could easily be made into a weeknight meal with some leftover grocery store rotisserie chicken or quick pressure cooked chicken breast–whatever floats your boat. I think this recipe will be making an appearance whenever I get that magical combo of feeling lazy but also wanting to stay pretty healthy (that’s a lot…it happens a lot…).

Oh, and if you do happen to shred your own whole chicken for this recipe, be sure to save the bones to make some broth, like Amanda does (you could even do it in the slow cooker)! That can help turn one slow cooker Sunday into a week of dinner delights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
  • 1 tsp za’atar seasoning

Toppings:

  • Spinach
  • Red onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber, seeded and sliced thin
  • Bread wrap of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together your za’atar, lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt and oil to create an emulsion vinaigrette.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette over your cup of shredded chicken with an additional 1/2 tsp of salt and mix
  3. Spread a layer of your hummus onto your wrap bread to create a cement for the rest of your ingredients.
  4. Add a layer of spinach, chicken, tomato, cucumber, and feta cheese. Drizzle an addition tsp of your vinaigrette over all of your ingredients and close your wrap as tightly as you can. Slice in half if desired and enjoy!

Wrap Alternate pic

If you wanted to go the pita route, that’s a delicious option as well!

 

Wine Pairing: I really want to sit outside on some Mediterranean island while enjoying this wrap and in my mind, a chilled Rose just works with that image. Something medium bodies would stand up nicely to all the acid in this wrap, while also keeping with the lighter feel of the whole experience.