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Easy, delicious, and cozy, both of these dinners made it into the week’s meal plan, and they will have a permanent location the rotation moving forward. I’ve been in a major cooking slump for some time, and I am excited to be interested in cooking again and in craving my own food rather than takeout or restaurant meals, which have been happening way too often!

pesto shrimp and pasta

Pesto Shrimp and Pasta -

I had been craving pesto in a major way for a while, and while I usually consider it more of a summer sauce, with basil being in season and all, I have a really great, easy winter pesto that I love. Like most of my “recipes” this calls for mixing things up until they taste good to you. I use a mix of spinach, grated parmesan cheese, walnuts, tons of garlic, and olive oil, which I picked up at the Olive Connection. The pesto would be great on chicken, any pasta and as a side to a gooey wedge of brie and a baguette for a quick and easy Christmas appetizer. This dish could be made vegetarian with the addition of white beans in place of the shrimp. I think that would be a delicious substitute!

slow cooker chicken tikka

The other, absolute must-make, if you love Indian food. This Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala was SO easy and delicious, with a side of Basmati rice and steamed spinach for a bit of green. I used a recipe from The Kitchn; please see below for the recipe I started with. I cooked the onions, garlic, ginger, spices before adding to the slow cooker, and I used a lot more Garam Masala and ginger. My palate loves strong flavors, and when making this again I would add some chili peppers for extra spice. Overall though, this meal was incredible and the leftovers made me look forward to lunch the next day. To make this vegetarian, cubes of pan-seared tofu or chickpeas would sub in really well. Make it vegan with coconut milk. It’s all about the sauce!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala


Serves 4 to 6

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked rice, to serve

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and kosher salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.

If you have the time: Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt for up to 6 hours. Shake to remove excess yogurt before transferring to the slow cooker.

→ If you have the time: Sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until softened, then stir in the ginger, tomato paste, and spices until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the chicken and diced tomatoes. This will give your tikka masala more depth of flavor.

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Tags: cooking, Food, food blog, homecooking, recipe

Travel, Wine, and Dine has definitely been focusing more on the travel and wine lately, with a departure from the recipes and cooking that used to be a bigger part of my blog and my life. Life happens, people change, and there are times when being in the kitchen is a little less appealing that being out and about, working really hard on growing my career, and seeing as much of the world as possible.

twice baked sweet potato mash

I do still cook, in between nights out and takeout and those nights where cereal is the only thing that is possible. I’ve been trying to make lots of entree salads as well as shrimp, veggies, some sort of sauce, and pasta.

This twice baked sweet potato dish was inspired by one of the many articles that I have been reading, trying to find quick, healthy recipes for weeknight meals. While it’s getting warmer out, nights are still chilly, so this sweet potato mash is perfect either on its own or with main dish. Greek yogurt adds in protein, and the sweet potato and kale are chock full of nutrients.

How to make it:

I simply baked two large sweet potatoes until they were soft, scooped out the filling and mixed it with the following:

2 cups chopped kale and 1 cup chopped yellow onion, sautéed in oil until soft

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

dash garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper, all to taste

I pureed the ingredients together until soft and silky, then topped with a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta. I put back in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes and this easy Meatless Monday meal was ready to serve.

I’m excited for gardening and farmers markets and all of the beautiful seasonal produce they will bring!

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Tags: easy recipes, Food, recipe, Vegetarian

Detox, sober January, weight loss, gym memberships. . . my blog inbox has been completely inundated with press releases this week, and I have tossed all of them. I’m not one for extremes, especially when they all hit me at once. I am a firm believer that you can eat, drink, and be merry and also maintain a healthy balance.

Our lives haven’t changed much since the holidays, except for the fact that we have tried to work in more movement, more veggies, and a little less wine. Manageable improvements I can fully support.

This carrot salad is the perfect counterpart to a rich roast or some ginger beer pulled pork. It’s bright, tangy, and full of nutrition. It’s also great on its own or with some chickpeas and goat cheese for a little something extra. This salad is a reminder that healthy can be easy to integrate into a lifestyle and it never has to be all or nothing.


2 cups shredded organic carrots

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1 cup dried cranberries

1 large shallot, diced

1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar

black pepper to taste

Mix it all up and chill.

This salad is as easy as it gets, it lasts for several days, and it’s really yummy.


carrot salad

Have you made any diet/exercise changes in 2015?

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Tags: delicious, Food, food blog, foodie, healthy, recipe, side dish, vegan, vegetarian recipe

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