For the Man

For the man in your life...Easy recipes. He can return the favor and be helpful in the kitchen. And get this: they taste good, too...

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken - my adaptation from Martha Stewart's recipe.
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper (or any pepper)
*1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
chicken breast
olive oil
1 avocado
1 lime

Mix together salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl and rub onto a chicken breast. Heat 1-2 tbsp (aka, some) olive oil in a pan and then cook the chicken until it's white inside and brown outside.

While waiting for your chicken to cook, cut up an avocado. Toss it into a bowl, and dice part of an onion to add to it. Anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of an onion should be plenty. Squeeze lime juice over the onion and avocado, and stir to mix.

By now, the chicken should be close to done. Check it...wait for it to finish cooking...put it on plates, and dump some spoonfuls of the avocado mixture on top. Congratulations, you're done!

*1/4 tsp-ish. I like more cayenne, but I like spicy food. Feel free to add more if it's not spicy enough for your tastes.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos - another adaptation from Martha Stewart's recipe.
1.5-2 lbs. chicken thighs (or breasts)
4 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tbsp chili powder (or cayenne)
tortillas/taco shells
1 lime cut into wedges
taco toppings: sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, onions, etc.

Pull out the crock pot. Dump all of the chicken into it and turn it on (high works well, it cooks for 4 hours). Cut up the garlic into the smallest pieces you can, or use a garlic press and add it to your chicken. You're going to have to cut up some of the chipotles yourself, they come whole in the can. Be liberal with the adobo sauce...maybe an extra 2 tbsp of just the sauce would taste good. Throw in some chili powder as well. Now walk away.

If the crock pot is on high, come back in 4 hours. If it's on low, come back in 8 hours. Turn the crock pot off, pull the chicken out, and rip it to shreds, either with your fingers, or with two forks.

Put the chicken into the middle of the type of taco of your choice. Squeeze some lime juice over it, load up on the toppings, and you're ready to eat.

Asian Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce - my adaptation from What Did You Eat?
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (not turkey breast or it will be too dry)
1 large egg
1/2 of a can of water chestnuts
*1 tbsp finely minced ginger root
**1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 and 4 tbsp soy sauce, separated
2 and 2 tsp sesame oil, separated
1 lime
2 tbsp water
2 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 500. (A small inferno, yes, I know.)

In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs and milk until the liquid is absorbed. Throw in the meat, egg, ginger, salt, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp sesame oil. Chop the water chestnuts (or use a food processor) and add them as well. Now here's the fun part...mix it with your hands!

After it's well combined, shape the mixture into balls, about 3-4 tbsp in size (aka, a small handful). Place the balls into a 13x9 glass baking dish. Try to leave about 1/2 an inch between each meatball. Bake them until cooked inside, about 15 minutes.

While you wait for them to cook, take a smaller bowl and dump in the juice from the lime, water, sugar, remaining soy sauce (4 tbsp), and remaining sesame oil (2 tbsp). Stir, or better yet, get fancy and whisk, the liquids until the sugar dissolves.

When the oven dings and the meatballs are ready, drizzle a portion of the sauce over each one. Place a few meatballs onto a plate, maybe along with some quinoa or rice (c'mon, you can make the instant kind), and you have a meal...well, practically. Divide the remaining sauce between each person and use it for dipping. Now you have a meal.

*Ginger is optional. An alternative to finely mincing it yourself is to buy the ready-to-use tubes from your local grocery store. I also like to add a tiny bit extra ginger to my sauce...but that's me.

**I believe that salt is bad for me, and barely ever use it. Feel free to omit it.

Summer Squash Patties - my adaptation from AllRecipes.
1-2 large yellow (summer) squash
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 egg
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
ground black pepper to taste
garlic to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Shred the squash and 1/3 to 2/3 of an onion. Put them into a colander and sprinkle it with salt. Ignore it for 30 minutes so the liquid can drain.

When you come back, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. While it heats, mix everything else in a bowl. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the hot skillet and cook until golden (~3 minutes per side). Flatten slightly with a spatula while they cook.

Serve with your favorite salsa and sour cream.

Homemade Berry Pancakes - my own recipe
*1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp vanilla
**1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
berries of choice

Melt a teeny bit of butter on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Dig a little well in the middle and add vanilla, egg, and agave nectar. Add milk as well, depending on how thick you want your pancakes (more milk means less thick). Whisk together. Now toss in the berries of your choice and gently stir until coated.

Pour batter onto griddle in small amounts. Brown on both sides (when the edges appear to harden and you can see bubbles, it's time to flip).

For a syrup alternative:

Take a few berries of your choice and toss them into the blender. Add 1-2 tbsp of water and puree the berries. If that's not sweet enough for you, add some more agave nectar and mix. Pour over the pancakes instead of syrup.

*Go healthy and use whole wheat! They're still tasty, I promise.

**Agave nectar - a natural sugar. It's optional, I only occasionally use it. If you don't have any/would prefer, use regular sugar.

For  more recipes, check out my foodie blog: Participation Required or my blog roll.

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