Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crunchy Asparagus

I was watching the show Guy's Big Bite earlier this week and he made "Crunch Crazy Asparagus Spears" and I knew I had to make it ASAP.   Here is Guy Fieri's original recipe posted on the Food Network.  How can you resist a crunchy asparagus?  I changed his recipe slightly and it came out wonderful.  I also baked them in my convection toaster oven since I only made half a pound of asparagus.  You can easily double the recipe by adding another egg and another cup of panko crumbs.  The asparagus came out crunchy and it was hard to not eat them all at once!  I will have to try making other vegetables this way.   Also, this could make a great appetizer if not a side dish.  Enjoy!

Crunchy Asparagus
Printable Recipe

½  pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a bowl (large enough to fit an asparagus spear), whisk together egg, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper.

In a separate dish (I used an 8x8 baking dish), mix together the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, paprika, and garlic powder.

Dip each asparagus spear in the egg wash.

Next, coat each spear in the seasoned panko breadcrumbs.

Place the spears on a wire rake over a baking sheet. 

Lightly drizzle olive oil over the spears so they will get crispy.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown and crispy. 

Serve immediately.

Note: I did have some leftovers the next day and reheated by toasting them in the toaster oven.  Guess what, they are still crunchy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Banana-Strawberry Ice Cream

I have made one ingredient banana ice cream many times and updated the recipe with more tips too.  I finally decided to experiment some more and came up with this healthy banana-strawberry ice cream recipe using only four ingredients!  It is so simple and takes a few minutes to mix together.  With the hot weather in DC lately, this is a perfect dessert or snack.  I hope you try this recipe soon.  Enjoy!

P.S. I gave Buddy and Ellie a little taste and they liked it too!

Banana-Strawberry Ice Cream  


1 banana, sliced and frozen
4 or 5 strawberries, frozen
2 tablespoons greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 2%.)
1 teaspoon honey (optional)


Place all ingredients in the food processor (or blender) and process (or blend).   You may need to scrape down the sides and pulse a few times.  When it looks creamy, it is ready! 

Serves 1 or 2 if you feel like sharing :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

This slow cooker honey sesame chicken dish is amazing and so easy to make!  I loved it so much that I am actually looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  I have seen this recipe all over various food blogs, but naturally I changed some of it to my taste and to what I already had.  I used organic bone-in skinless chicken thighs, but you can use boneless or even use chicken breasts instead.  I also included sesame oil and ginger in my recipe unlike some of the others I have seen.  I didn't have cornstarch to thicken the sauce so I substituted flour instead.  Overall, this was a great dish and I will definitely be making this on a regular basis. 

Here are some of the recipes I found on other food blogs:  A Cook's Quest, Chef in Training, Eat Drink Love, Prevention RD, Six Sisters' Stuff, Table for Two, and Very Culinary.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
Printable Recipe


1 pound skinless chicken thighs, 4 pieces
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons onion, diced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon flour (You may use cornstarch instead.)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, roasted


Season chicken with salt and pepper and place into slow cooker.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and ginger.

Pour honey mixture over chicken.

Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker.

Whisk 1 tablespoon flour into the sauce in the slow cooker to thicken sauce.  Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes.

While the sauce is thickening, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. 

Add chicken back to the sauce and stir to coat chicken with sauce.

Serve over rice. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.

Serves 4-6.  Enjoy!

Simple Peanut Noodles

I bought a jar of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter recently and a recipe for Peanut Pasta Twists was on the lid of the jar.  Of course, I changed up the recipe and came up with this one.  It turned out pretty good and only took me about 15 minutes to put it all together (including cooking time for pasta).  These simple peanut noodles would be great as a side dish or as a main dish if you want to add in the optional ingredients to make it more hearty.  For those with peanut allergies, maybe you can substitute with Barney Butter (almond butter), SunButter (roasted sunflower seeds), or soy nut butters.  Just be sure to check labels for anything processed on shared equipment or in the same facility as peanuts.  This dish is great served warm or cold too.  Enjoy!

Simple Peanut Noodles
Printable Recipe

½ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter.)
¼  cup ketchup
¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ pound dry pasta, cooked (I used linguine.)

Optional Ingredients
red bell pepper, diced
sesame seeds, toasted
scallions, sliced
cucumber, sliced
firm tofu, diced
chicken, cooked and shredded/diced


In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, ketchup, water, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic powder until well blended.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Toss hot pasta with peanut sauce until evenly coasted.   Garnish with optional ingredients if desired.

Serve immediately warmed or serve chilled. 

Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, stir in 2 tablespoons warm water per portion; serve cold or reheat in microwave.

Serves 2 as main dish or 4 as a side dish.

Top with some roasted sesame seeds.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Easy Black Bean Brownies

The first time I ever had black bean brownies was when my friend Wendy made them for my birthday.  They were surprisingly delicious!  The brownies were moist and fudgy!  I had no idea you could use black beans in brownies.  Wendy got the recipe from Skinnytaste - a great food blog which I now follow.  I can't wait to try other recipes from Skinnytaste.  What I love about this recipe is that you only need 2 ingredients.  My favorite brownie mix is by Ghirardelli but all I had was the Market Pantry Fudge brownie mix that I got at Target recently, but they still came out great.  I had made these brownies last night for my other best friend Cindy's graduation party today, but during my rush this morning when leaving my place, I forgot them!  I am currently petsitting for my brother and his wife's 2 dogs, so I have 4 dogs during this long Memorial weekend.  Maybe I'll have to try to make another batch of brownies today...

 Tino is hiding under the tree...while Buddy and Tango are sunning themselves :)
Here is Ellie with Tango sniffing around the yard...they both chased a bird that flew over them too!

19.8 ounces package brownie mix
15.5 ounces can black beans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease baking dish.

Drain can of black beans and rinse well until water runs clear. 

Put black beans back in the can and fill with water to top of can.

Put black beans and water in a food processer (or blender) and pulse until beans are pureed and smooth.

In a bowl, stir together brownie mix and pureed black beans until mixed well.

Pour brownie batter into greased baking dish (I used a 14x9 in baking dish).

Bake brownies according to your package directions.  I baked mine for 28 minutes. 

To cut warm brownies easily, use a plastic knife.  Cool and serve.  I was able to cut 24 brownies.

 So good!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Yesterday, I had grilled steak fajitas for dinner at my best friend Sarah's house.  I was definitely looking forward to a nice home-cooked meal after eating out for every meal while traveling.  It also happened to be her husband, Daniel's birthday too!  I surprised Daniel with a variety of cookies for dessert from Larry's Cookies.  Their baby also had her first taste of a cookie too - oatmeal raisin, it was the most healthy cookie of course.  She loved it too!  My favorite was the heath bar cookie because I love toffee anything.  Thank you both for pet sitting and having me over for a great birthday dinner!  Also, thanks Sarah for taking pictures to document this dinner for my blog, what a great best friend :) Sarah adapted this grilled steak fajitas recipe from Simply Recipes.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound flank steak
1 onion, sliced
2 or 3 bell peppers, sliced
freshly ground black pepper
flour tortillas

For the Marinade
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ Jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds)

Cooked rice
Shredded cheese
Sour cream


In a large dish (13x9 inch baking dish), mix marinade ingredients and coat the steak.  Let steak marinade overnight. (You can also do this in a large Ziploc bag too.)

When ready to grill, wipe off most of the marinade and season steak with salt. 

In a bowl, mix sliced onions and bell peppers with vegetable oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill marinated flank steak until medium-rare to medium for about 3-5 minutes on each side. 

Grill vegetables for about 5 to 6 minutes. 

Slice meat into thin slices, be sure to slice against the grain, otherwise the meat will be tough and chewy. 

Serve with warm flour tortillas, rice, shredded cheese, salsa, and sour cream.