My Favorite Recipes

I know you've seen that collection of most popular recipes on my sidebar. They are all great recipes, but they are not truly the best. The same few recipes continue to be the most viewed because they are easy to access, therefore getting the most hits. So in honor of my 1 year anniversary of the birth of this blog, I want to do this little segment on my favorite recipes from my archive. I often will go back to recipes so that I can re-make them. I probably use this blog to cook from as much as (or more than) anyone else does.

1. Possibly my favorite recipe actually came from the creative brain of my boyfriend, Tom. I'm not sure if I could ever go back to Manwich.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

2. Ok, this recipe is a contender with the Sloppy Joes. Because it involves bacon.

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

3. This one has changed how I will make burgers forever. Onion juice is a magical ingredient.

Onion Burgers with Avocado Dressing

4. Another one credited to Tom--I use this recipe all the time when I'm especially broke or not feeling creative.

Easy Pasta Alfredo

5. When the veggies in the garden are ready, I am going to make this all the time. This one has even been published.


6. I have finally found the cole slaw recipe that is no-fail perfection.

Cole Slaw

7. I haven't made this one a second time yet, but I really really want to.

Five Layer Dip

8. Stir fry is a gift from God for poor college students. I don't like the stir fry in the dining commons, but when it's homemade you can make it any way you like.

Sweet and Sour Stir Fry

9. My cousin Jessi's recipe for guacamole is THE BEST.

Jessi's Guac

10. Aaaand for dessert we have these mini cherry cheesecakes.

Cherry Cheesecake Tarts

Garlic Avocado BLT

The reason that the title of this recipe begins with the word "garlic", is because when Tom and I made these sandwiches, we put way too much garlic. We had one of those colossal garlic heads where one clove was equal to about three normal cloves, and we used two of them. I love garlic, but I admit it had a bit of a bite. But nothing that prevented these from being the best BLT I've ever made.

1 sesame seed bagel
2 slices tomato
4 slices maple bacon
1 large leaf Romano heart lettuce
1 slice American cheese
1/2 avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp mayonnaise

To make the garlic avocado spread, mix together the avocado, lemon juice, garlic, onion, mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the bacon in the manner you like it. Toast the bagel. Spread the mixture onto the bagel and add the bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Enjoy!

Simple Sangria

As soon as the weather begins to get nice, I start craving summery food and drink. I start making copious amounts of pasta salad and grill outside every chance I get. Yesterday I spent over an hour outside, soaking up sun (I burnt a bit) and reading. After all the sweating, I wanted something refreshing. I have always wanted to make sangria, so I suggested it to Tom and we whipped it up with what was in his fridge.

3 cups of red wine
1 whole orange
1 whole apple
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon lime soda or club soda
2 tbsp sugar

Cut half of the orange into thin rounds. Squeeze the other half to make fresh orange juice. Then add the wine, lemon juice, other orange juice, soda and sugar and stir. Add the fresh fruit and crush a bit with a spoon to get more of the juices out. Let sit for a few hours for best results.

If you have any other fruits laying around, throw them in. The more fruit, the more flavor. Now that I've tried this once, I want to make it again trying different types of wines and juices.

Looking for a dish to bring to your Cinco de Mayo party? Pair this sangria or some Mexican beer with my crowd pleasing Five Layer Dip.

Strawberry Glazed Chicken Breasts

It is beginning to be that awkward time of year, when you aren't quite sure if you should put away your warm clothes for good or not. I am also discovering that this is the awkward time when you realize that all the food I have bought over the past year needs to either get eaten or thrown out by move out time. I'm leaving this apartment (good riddance) in a few weeks, so new recipes need to come out of terrible ingredient choices.

Today I was looking at this collection of recipes on a Word document that my dad sent me. He told me he hasn't tried this one yet. I'm really glad I found it, because it was delicious and I already had the ingredients (sort of).

1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I only had apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup strawberry jam
2 tbsp cooking oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 clove minced garlic
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, mustard, vinegar, and jam. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chicken breasts in oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the skillet, and pour in the broth mix to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and cook for about 5 more minutes, until it is cooked through. Once the chicken is done, set aside and wrap in tin foil. Bring the liquid to a boil for about 3 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to a thick glaze. Pour over the chicken and serve with rice. 

Chicken with Prosciutto

My cousin Jessi, the one with the famous guacamole recipe, sent me a couple of new recipes to try out. I finally got around to her simple chicken breast and prosciutto dish, which sounded delicious, and came out even better than I imagined. The recipe only calls for a couple of ingredients so it's great to make when you don't have a lot on hand.

2 thin sliced chicken cutlets
4 thin slices prosciutto
1 tbsp pesto sauce
1 tsp garlic, chopped
ground pepper

makes 2 servings

Roll up the individual pieces of prosciutto and place 2 on one half of each chicken cutlet. Spread pesto on prosciutto. Fold over the other half of the chicken and use toothpicks to hold in place. Sprinkle pepper and oregano generously on the outside of the chicken. Cook in oil and garlic over medium to medium-high head until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove toothpicks and enjoy!

As you can see, I didn't have thinly cut chicken, so it's not as pretty or as easy to cook as I would have liked. The recipe called for fresh basil, which I did not have. But I did have some of my dad's homemade pesto sauce in the freezer, so I substituted and think that it gave an even better flavor than the basil alone would have. It also called for thyme, which my spice self seems to be lacking. I poked around on the internet and looked at other chicken and prosciutto recipes, and oregano seemed common in many other ones. 

Open Faced Spinach Breakfast Sandwich

I almost feel silly posting this as a recipe, because it requires no technique or measurements, just a bit of creativeness and a skillet.

This is a great substitution for the egg-themed breakfast that seems to occur a little too often when there isn't much else in the house. I used chopped frozen spinach and it was pretty good, but of course I'm sure that fresh spinach would be much better. I just sauteed the spinach with some oil and garlic, then fried an egg over easy and placed it on top of a piece of toast. Just sprinkle with ground pepper and your meal is complete. This isn't too filling, but it makes a good mini breakfast or post-workout snack.

Deals and Steals

No, I am not going to give you a lesson on couponing. (Though if you want to learn, I suggest Deals and Steals is actually the name of a grocery store. I just returned from my first visit there, and I had to blog about it as soon as I got home. If you are anywhere near the Northampton, MA area, you need to take a trip to this place.

My internship boss recommended this place to me, but I didn't realize how incredibly cheap this plethora of organic food could be. I am interested in eating healthy and organically, but thought that stuff was for people with money. I live off of frozen meals and endless amounts of pasta dishes. Rice cakes and organic stuff are for the rich. I now realize my misconstrued assumptions.

Here is a link to their website for location information. I guess they have a clothing store as well, but I didn't end up checking that out today.

Literally, this grocery trip was cheaper than Stop and Shop and I got much better food; I was able to get things I wanted rather than the basics that I needed.

My total? $11.92.

I couldn't believe it when I got to the register. If you aren't convinced yet, just take a look at what I made off with.
  • Annie's Cheeseburger Macaroni - $0.99
  • 20 mini tortillas - $0.99
  • Power Bar Harvest Energy - $0.50
  • Caramel rice cakes - $0.99
  • 365 brand Peach Snack Bowls (pk of 4) - $1.99
  • "Darn Good" Chili Mix - $1.99
  • Mr. & Mrs. T brand strawberry daiqueri mix - $0.99
  • Alfredo risotto - $0.99
  • 2 cans chicken broth - $1.99
This place has a large selection of teas, you can even mix and match your own. They have a hair care/cosmetics section as well as a lot of gluten-free products. If you like bizarre foods there is plenty of that as well. And they carry Jones soda and other popular organic drinks at a reduced price.

It is definitely worth the trip even if you don't live too close to Northampton. I suggested that my mom stop by  the next time she is out this direction. She used to shop at Whole Foods a lot but I think it just became too expensive. 

I'm so excited to be eating better and for a lower price! I still can't get over the fact that shopping for organic food has become cheaper than eating crap. Like even cheaper than the JBC I bought on the way there.