Running from the Law: January 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chicken Chimichangas

I'm not sure if I've ever had a chimichanga before Sunday night. I had no idea what I was missing! It was a complete accident that we stumbled upon this Godsend of a meal. Sunday afternoon I was flipping through a Cooking Light cookbook trying to figure out what we were going to eat for the week so I could go grocery shopping. I had everything picked out when Ryan requested some kind of Mexican/Southwest chicken meal for dinner that night. The first recipe I came to that qualified was chicken chimichangas. Ryan asked what a chimichanga was. I said I didn't have a clue.  But the ingredients sounded good, so I added them to the list and we'd give it a shot for dinner.

For some reason I thought chimichangas were going to be like enchiladas (with a tomato based sauce and lots of cheese), which I love, but are really hard to do "light".   However, I was pleasantly surprised (once I'd already started making them) that they were much lighter, colorful and really easy to make. After sauteeing and shredding the chicken, it took about 15 minutes to combine all the ingredients, roll up the tortillas and pop them in the oven. By the time they were done (7 minutes later), dinner was ready! I made some fresh guacamole to go on top. Ryan doused his in hot sauce and green salsa. We LOVED them!! Couldn't get enough. The cooking spray made the tops crispy and the chicken filling was very flavorful. And did I mention they are COOKING LIGHT! Guilt free baby.

2 1/2 cups shredded cooked boneless chicken breast
1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4.5 ounce) can green chilies drained
1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans
6 (8 inch) whole grain flour tortillas
cooking spray
bottled green salsa

1.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2.  Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl and toss well.
3.  Spread 1/4 cup refried beans down center of each tortilla.  Add 2/3 cup chicken mixture.  Roll.  Place in casserole dish (coated with cooking spray) with seams down.
4.  Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray.  Optional: top with a little extra cheese.
5.  Bake for 7 minutes. 
6.  Serve with green salsa, hot sauce and/or guacamole.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Pineapple Mojitos

After last week's giveaway*, I've been dying to finally try one of the recipes from Cook Yourself Thin.  Of course, I picked everyone's favorite, the Pineapple Mojitos!

I can't believe how good these were!  I let Ryan have one to taste, but after that I wouldn't even share!  They were just the right blend of fresh, sweet and sour.  Plus, they were really easy.  I'm shaing the recipe're going to thank me for this one!

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 limes cut into wedges
1 cup white rum
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup club soda

1.  Using a wooden spoon, gently crush the mint leaves, brown sugar and lime wedges at the bottom of a pitcher to release juices and dissolve the sugar.  (You can add 1 tablespoon very hot water to dissolve the sugar if necessary.)
 2.  Add pineapple juice, rum and club soda.  Stir until blended.
3.  Add ice to chill.  Serve cold straight up (or over ice).  Garnish with lime or mint, if desired.

*Rebecca, have you received your cookbook yet?  Just checking.  You must make this recipe!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mango Sorbet

I've been missing the islands!  Badly!  And I cannot stop thinking about those Mango-tinis that Ryan and I would have every afternoon in the hot tub.  There's nothing like being warm and sipping a cold drink.  So last night, we built a fire in the living room, cuddled under the blankets and had fresh mango sorbet!   Not quite as good as a Mango-tini (although it did have a little tequilla in it), it definitely hit the spot.

This recipe is about as easy as pie.  Actually, it's WAY easier than pie - making pie is hard!  The only hard part about it is cutting the mangos.  They're a little tricky, but I have some tips for you. 

-  4 mangos
-  1 cup water
-  1 cup sugar
-  3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
-  3 tablespoons tequilla
-  pinch of salt


1.  In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.  Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside and allow to cool.
2.  Peel, seed, and cube the mango.
3.  Place mango in a blender and puree. Pour in sugar water, lime juice, tequilla and salt and puree until smooth.
4.  Chill in freezer until cold.
5.  Place in an ice cream maker until set (according to ice cream maker's directions).
6.  Freeze or enjoy right away!

Peeling, seeding and cubing a mango is a little tricky.  That's why I suggest you go right away to Crate & Barrel and pick up one of these.  A mango corer.  $12.95 and worth every penny.

Voila!  Mango seeded.  Mangos are a little oblong, so make sure you align the corer up with the pit of the mango to ensure that this works.  It took me a couple times to perfect my technique, but now it's super simple. 

Next trick is to peel and cube the mango.  The mango skin is thicker than I like to use with a regular peeler (for carrots or potatoes).  And the inside is really slimy so they squirm around a lot if you try to grip them tight.  That's when I used to end up with 35 cuts on my hands and a squished mango glob of mess.  There is an easier way!  Once you have your two mango halves, use a paring knife and cut the flesh into cubes, leaving the skin uncut as much as possible.

Next, try to flatten the mango half.  This will probably tear the skin a little, but that's ok.  Use your paring knife to cut the flesh away from the skin, getting as close to the skin as possible.  And now you have cubes!

Blend everything together.

And then place in the freezer to chill.  Once cool, transfer to your ice cream maker.  I have the ice cream maker attachment that goes on my big bad-ass Kitchen Aide mixer.  It's basically a frozen metal bowl, insulated with a layer of ice in its interior walls.  It takes about 20-30 minutes and you can make up to 2 quarts of ice cream, gelato or sorbet.

As soon as the sorbet is ready, it'll be soft and sweet.  I think this is the best time to eat it.  Once you put it in the freezer for a few hours, the freezing process will make it harder/icier and will take away some of that sweetness.

And that's all folks!  Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Skate Date

Ryan spent the weekend in Arkansas fishing with the boys, so Saturday night I met up with my friends Heather and Jacquie for a date night.  Jacquie had the great idea to go ice skating at Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park, followed by dinner and drinks somewhere in the Central West End.  Sounded like the perfect night to me!

There's only one problem with ice skating...I can't do it.  I've been ice skating maybe 5 times my entire life (only once in the last 15 years).  The sad part is, Heather had only been about 3 times and Jacquie'd never skated at all!  We were definitely in for an adventure.  Just lacing up our skates had us all pretty nervous. 

It took us about 10 minutes to build up the courage to jump out there on the ice with everyone.  After pushing some children out of our way, we finally did it!  And then it took us probably 15 minutes to make our first lap around the rink, but eventually we got there! 

By the end of the night, I was feeling almost kinda nearly steady on my skates.  They were cutting off all circulation to my feet, but I did probably 10 laps without falling or breaking any bones.  Heather was also pretty good and improving.  We were slow and steady, but she could give me a run for my money.  We weren't winning any races, but we managed.  And Jacquie was the pirouette queen, mastering turns and spins on her first outing.  A natural, I tell you!  All in all, I was so incredibly proud of us!  Watch out for us in the 2014 Winter Olympics!

After skating, we went into the CWE for Indian food at Rasoi.  Jacquie and Heather had never had Indian food before, so we were really excited.  I'd been to Rasoi for their lunch buffet a few times and it's always delicious (plus the restaurant is super cute).  But because the buffet isn't labeled (or maybe I just didn't pay any attention), I have no idea what I had or what I liked, so ordering was a little tricky.  Luckily our waiter was really great and helpful and suggested a variety of foods to try in a sampler platter. 

We started off with some drinks: martinis and mojitos.  For an appetizer we had crab cakes and veggie samosas.  And then dinner was lamb chops, tandoori chicken, malai kababs, prawn angarey, lamb rogan josh, navratan korma, chicken tikki masala and two different kinds of naan.  Can you believe it!!  SO much food, but SO good!  We ate until we couldn't move.  And then we had dessert!  Mango creme brulee and some type of gooey doughy honey cinammon balls.  With the world's best chocolate martini.  I die.  I'm still full!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Honeymoon - The Food

**WARNING: This post will make you hungry!!

The food in Belize was unbelievably good. I consider myself a bit of a foodie. I'm obsessed with cooking, new recipes, learning new techniques, kitchen gadgets, Food Network and Top Chef. For those of you that know me (and have dined with me), you know that I have a very healthy appetite and am not afraid to eat my face off. My mom has been making fun of me about this for years...she's shocked at the quantities of food that I can eat. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be one of those people that barely ever eat and just lightly pick at their tiny salad, having 3 bites and they're full and never gain an ounce. Whatever, that's just not me. I eat. And in my opinion, a vacation just isn't a vacation without amazing food!

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting the food in Belize to be, but it was above and beyond anything I was prepared for. It was a mix between Thai, French and Mexican - my three absolute favorites. And was ALL seafood (mostly crab and lobster), of course. Culinary heaven, in my opinion. No wonder I my pants didn't fit when I got home!

Our first night in Belize, we took a water taxi to town and ate dinner at the Blue Water Grill (not the most original restaurant name; I've now been to 4 different Blue Water Grills). We started with some fresh shrimp ceviche and martinis. I had the spiny lobster dinner and Ryan had an unbelievable snook dish with plantains and curry. He definitely out-ordered me and I wanted his dish, so I knew we were going to have to come back so I could try that one.

On Christmas Eve, we walked down the beach from our resort to a little restaurant called Capricorn. It was an open air restaurant, right on the beach. Cozy and comfortable, with great views and amazing food. They set up a little romantic table for us out on the beach, lit by candlelight. We ate with our toes in the sand.

We split a plate of escargot for an appetizer, finishing every last drop by dipping the homemade crusty bread in the sauce. For dinner, I ordered a massive plate of chilled stone crab claws. (Thank you Mike and Erica for introducing me to this amazing dish.) They were the fresh catch, right out of the ocean that morning. Ryan ordered a seafood combo with stone crab, lobster and grouper. We were pretty much in heaven.

My plate before...


And after.


Christmas Day we walked up the beach to a little Thai restaurant called Rendezvous, where we had the best Pad Thai I've ever had. Ever. I mean it was unreal good. I really thought I made a good Pad Thai until I had this dish. Wow.

The next day we rode our bikes into town and had lunch at a little place right on the beach. It had sand floors and one giant menu written on a chalkboard in the other room. Apparently your order came with your own dog. This was ours. We nicknamed him Sandy. He really liked Ryan's foot.

Remember those spiny lobsters were caught on the fishing trip? Hello dinner! Check these babies out. We went to the restaurant in the resort next-door and got some butter to use to cook our lobster with. We ordered a side salad and a pasta side dish.

I prepared the meal and Ryan prepared the drinks. (Yes, I know I have something in my teeth, deal with it.)


We also ventured up to the Mata Chica Resort for dinner at Mambo.

The appetizers were amazing! We had fresh snapper carpaccio and spring rolls. I had some kind of amazing curry shrimp dish for my entree, but apparently forgot to take a picture.

Mata Chica has their own water taxi to and from their restaurant. Again, I got to drive.

Portofino was another restaurant at a resort North of our resort. The drinks were great and the food sounded so promising...

Those are two giant spider crab claws, which were rather delicious. However, see those round lumps with sauce on them? Fried ball of fish with the richest sauce ever. Why?! Seafood is supposed to be light and healthy and fresh. This food was so heavy and thick and rich we both felt sick afterwards. Not good.

On our next to last night in Belize, we went back to town and back to the Blue Water Grill. I was determined to have that curry plantain dish again. Unfortunately, as our water taxi was supposed to arrive, there was a torrential downpour. I mean serious rain. We put on our rain gear, headed out to the dock and waited. And waited. And waited. Apparently Belizeans don't like the rain and the taxi had stopped running until the rain stopped. So we kept waiting. Eventually we made it into town, completely soaked from head to toe, but in good spirits and starving!

A couple of these helped take the edge off. We took a few minutes to contemplate what we wanted to order. So many choices... Hmmm...what to have?

Oh right!

Food makes us happy!