Sunday, May 20, 2012

Green Bean, Artichoke, & Mushroom Casserole

After finals, I was craving something warm and gooey to reward myself. Which is funny because all I did over finals was eat my feelings, so I knew this was not a good thing. I found a compromise with this dish. It's a soulful, hearty casserole, but it features spring vegetables! (You can always feel better when there's green stuff in it!) And while it is slightly decadent (there is butter in the sauce after all), it reallyyyy could be a lot worse when it comes to comfort food. And it tastes more decadent than it is. Not to mention it's yummy. Really yummy. I finished the casserole a few days ago, and I'm already craving it again... how is that possible?!

Simply put, this dish rocks. I know that all of us red-blooded Americans are familiar with green bean casserole come Turkey Day, but this dish takes it to the next level with the addition of artichoke and mushroom, and it is seasonal now! So, get your paws on the goods, and get to cooking. I think you will absolutely love this dish!!

Note: This dish pairs very nicely with my Italian Breaded Chicken, and it also utilizes some of the same ingredients, which makes for much easier menu planning! Awesome.

Easy Italian Breaded Chicken

Hey all, I have been wanting to post a basic breaded chicken recipe for a while now. It's something that seems fancy, but once you get down the technique, it's a simple, and incredibly adaptable way to invigorate an otherwise boring weeknight meal. This chicken goes with just about anything -- rice, pasta, seasonal vegetables, served over a bed of greens, etc. -- you name it, and it will be a wonderful, crunchy complement. It is also a versatile dish that will easily suit your mood, or the particular ingredients you have on hand. For the last coating stage (#4 below), instead of using Italian-seasoned bread crumbs, you can substitute crushed corn flakes, crackers, or panko (Japanese style bread crumbs), and then spice it up however you like.

This post is really aimed at showing you a simple way to get good results every time. You will use a few dishes to get everything prepared, but if you take a few minutes to organize at the outset, it will save a lot of stress in the end. Beware: it WILL be a hot mess if you DON'T have an organized plan of attack! So here goes... 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mango-Nut Granola

Welcome to my heaven. Granola and yogurt heaven. Okay, it's not a big piece of pie, or a decadent slice of cake, but I promise, it's something I enjoy eating almost as much. And it's something I eat everyday. Yup, everyday. It's one of the absolute best breakfasts. Or side dish in a packed lunch. Or snack. OR dessert. As you can see, it's easy to fit in there somewhere. :)

And despite being a diehard granola enthusiast, I must admit that this is the first time I've ever made it myself (shameful, I know). I've had it plenty of times from my wonderful (and very granola) Mom, who has sent it to me in many-a care package over the years. But usually, my granola consumption begins with grabbing a box in the store once a week.

I had dreams about making this recipe over finals (having healthy snacks around and such), however, finals craze took over, and I had to put it off until after. Luckily, it came at a good time because I have been quite enjoying it over these lazy summer days (until next Monday, at least). Also, I'm going to Austin this weekend, which means a belated Happy Mothers Day treat for my awesome Mom (who has served as much of my culinary inspiration). Love you, Mom!!

And here it is. I hope you all try this out -- for yourselves, or a granola-lovin' loved one. It's SO easy, and wayyy better than anything you can find in a bag or box, I promise! Also, this recipe can easily be adapted. I love this particular mix, but you can change it up to your taste using your favorite nuts or dried fruit. Enjoy!