Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Easy Paprika Chicken

So now we're home from vacation and back to real life - which also means an empty fridge & pantry. I managed to scrounge dinner together with the following items: 2 frozen chicken breasts, a can of green beans, and some egg noodles (leftover from the Potato and Egg Casserole). 

Oddly enough, that sounds like the typical dinner of my childhood! My (skinny and very healthy) parents eat chicken, green beans, and a potato/pasta on a regular basis. Healthy but BOR-ING.

One of my most favorite food bloggers - Erika of In Erika's Kitchen - posted this recipe for Paprika Chicken a while back and I made it shortly after. It was another night like tonight where I was low on ingredients and/or pressed for time and the paprika chicken totally rocked my socks off! I knew the next time this scrumptious recipe graced my kitchen I'd have to share it.

Tonight I made a smaller batch using chicken breasts and used just "Paprika" vs Smoked Paprika. Is there a difference?

Easy Paprika Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons garlic salt
6 teaspoons paprika
  Use a 2:3 ratio of garlic salt to paprika, as needed, I happened to have a clean teaspoon nearby!

Preheat your broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil. Since we only had 2 pieces of chicken I used the pan from the toaster oven and it was perfect! 

For our 3 year anniversary back in August, Bryce bought me the Le Creuset mortar & pestle! I didn't and still don't know exactly what to use it for, sadly. I used it tonight to mush up and mix the garlic salt & paprika. Can anyone help with that one, too?

Cover the chicken completely with the mixture. Pop that funky chicken into the broiler for 7 minutes on each side.


You'll know it's finished when the chicken gets a nice crusty exterior, yum!

I served it with aforementioned green beans and noodles, such a quick and healthy dinner!

Thanks for the great recipe, Erika. This will be my go-to meal for dinner in a hurry or an empty kitchen from now on!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in California

Bryce and I just returned from a 5-day trip to California where we spent Thanksgiving with his family. It was a fun-filled, jam packed vacation with entirely too much food!

Our first Thanksgiving dinner was with Bryce's Dad and his side of the family in Visalia, CA.

11 month old Hunter really enjoyed his mashed potatoes!

We had turkey and ham, plus all the fixin's!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Potato and Egg Casserole

Happy Sunday! 

This morning I woke up early and, since the Steelers have a bye-week, was delighted to stay home and make breakfast. We're going away (to California for Thanksgiving) on Wednesday so using up the food in the house was a must. We had plenty of potatoes and eggs but no bacon or sausage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My 22nd Birthday

Today I stumbled across these pictures of my 22nd birthday. I had just begun getting into cooking and my parents bought me all kitchen-and-food-related gifts. I was a senior in college and actually thinner than I am now! My hair was much longer and darker, too.

In addition to the nostalgia these photos stir up, there are 2 other major things they bring to mind:
  1.  About a month after this birthday I decided I'd move to Hawaii! If my current (2011) self could jump into this picture and tell me then "Hey Ang, your 22nd year will be one of the very best of your life. You'll move to Hawaii, land your first REAL job, meet a fantastic guy, and successfuly make the transition to surviving on your own, all before you turn 23!" there's no way I would have believed my older and wiser self! Doesn't life always seem to be more interesting and unpredictable than you ever imagined? 
  2. Dear Old (Penn) State will never be the same as it was back then. The uncovering of the scandal and following events that have occurred in recent weeks have shaken up the University, its leadership, students, athletics, and alumni. I am so sickened by what that MONSTER did to those poor children. They will continue to be in my thoughts and Prayers. As for everyone else involved, including JoePa (who I LOVE), if they did anything that allowed Sandusky to continue on his path of destruction I believe they should be held accountable. I wish the authorities had given a little more consideration to firing JoePa the way they did but I'm sure hoping they're doing what's right. This whole thing has consumed my life for the past 2 weeks and I'm emotionally drained from it all. It's incredible how one person has ruined so many lives. Oh - did I forget to say allegedly? Sorry, I hope he gets what he deserves - either in prison or after he passes through the LARGER gates.
We are so much more than this scandal and our football program. WE ARE... PENN STATE!

Here I'm demonstrating my EVOO dispenser's usefulness. "When you come home from the bars at 2 am, do this before you put the pierogies in the pan!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let me have some wine... Paulie, more wine!

Me: Hi. My name is Angela, and I'm addicted to the Godfather movies and all things Italian.

Group in unison: Hi Angela!

There's plenty of Italian (Italian-American, really) culture in Pittsburgh, where I grew up. Moving to Hawaii was a big change for me in many ways. It's the only U.S. state with minority majority and haoles (white people) are the minority! The mainstream culture and foods here are strongly influenced by the Hawaiian and various Asian cultures. You can find spam, bok choy, Japanese cucumbers, fishcake, and so on at most grocery stores here, but cannoli shells are only sold at one!

I was shocked and excited to discover and join the Friends of Italy Society of Hawaii a few years ago. I've since become board member/the group's treasurer. Finding this group was a jackpot, it's so much fun!

This weekend we enjoyed a night of wine bottling.

Here's a clip from the Godfather that shares my feeling about wine: bring. me. more. In a plastic pitcher on the dance floor, if at all possible.

I have no rights to this clip or anything at all, just sharing!

If you've watched the movie (Part 1) or even just the video in my Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli post, you know how it ends with Paulie and Clemenza!

Wine bottling was so much fun! It sounded intimidating but was actually quite easy.

First, you fill the bottle with wine. There's a little button on the spout to start and stop the flow of the wine. Could I be a little more excited?

Once the bottle is filled with wine, you put it into this torture-chamber-like contraption and put the cork into the top. Pull that lever down and you're done - the wine is corked! Notice we have a glass of wine next to us at all times :)

Now, carefully add the stickers to the front and back of the bottle.


Bryce demonstrates how to meticulously shrink wrap the bottle's top with the hair dryer... errrrr - I mean - heat gun!

That's it! All that's left to do is enjoy a little bit of wine. Aaaaaaaaand more wine!

Bryce and I are both blessed (read: cursed) with what I like to call the "Gift of Gab", which is just a nice way to say that we both talk an extreme amount. At events like this it's not uncommon for Bryce to go missing for extended periods of time. When this happens I know he's made a new friend and is probably talking their ear off somewhere! When I didn't see him for quite some time I searched and quickly found him in the back room talking to the owner. (Told you!) I also found ALL THE WINE! How much fun is that?!

The night was all about wine, but try to find a group of Italians gathered in one place without food. We had 3 incredible antipasti trays. Unfortunately, those marinated mozzarella balls were gone by the time I got to that tray.

Look at all that CHEESE!

Roast beef, ham, turkey, salami & peppers!

What a great evening. Now, I just need to find a good excuse to go back there! Oh yeah - I should probably drink the 2 bottles we brought home first!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday Funday Discoveries

Sunday Funday takes on a whole new meaning in Hawaii, especially for NFL fans. 

1 pm kickoffs on the East Cost take place at 7 or 8 am here, depending on Daylight Savings Time. Up until last weekend most of the Steelers games started at 7 am, which means getting up around 6 am (in the dark!), donning your Steelers shirt/jersey and terrible towel, and driving to the bar to watch the game with other black & gold fans! It's not much better at 8 am, although the sun is up on the drive!

Needless to say, the Sunday Fun can get started far too early in the day and gets out of control from time to time. Watching an entire football game, spending $40+ on breakfast and drinks, getting tipsy, taking a nap, and waking up all before noon is an odd feeling!

This Sunday I watched the Steelers game with my cousin Darren and our good friend and fellow Steelers fan Ben at Ben's apartment. Ben and Darren have been friends for years and Ben actually accompanied Darren on a visit to Pittsburgh where he met my whole family including my parents! I was still in college at the time and didn't come home for Darren's visit so I didn't meet Ben. Years later, when I moved to Hawaii, Ben was the bartender at my favorite after work happy hour bar. He saw on my PA license that I was from Pittsburgh, we discovered our mutual love for the Steelers, and he began giving me free drinks often! It took us quite a bit of time to realize that his friend Darren was also my cousin, and that Darren's "Aunt Carol and Uncle Andy" are my parents! What a small world island, right?! 

Ben posted a few weeks ago that he'd added bacon to a bloody Mary - BRILLIANT! As soon as he extended the invite to his house for the game, I kindly requested bacon bloody Marys. Life will never be the same!

I also highly recommend the Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka!

Here it is!

This lovely combo will most certainly be happening again in my near future. Next time I'll make the BM mix myself and add pickle, celery, olives, and a cheese stick!

Much, much later in the day I took a visit to Whole Foods. I discovered 3 particularly interesting things:

Brussels sprouts still connected to the branch. I had no idea they grew like that, nor did I ever think about it!

They remind me of a caveman's club!

Chicken feet. Gross! Dare I ask if anyone has ever cooked or eaten them and how they were prepared?

Buffalo hot dogs. My Dad would love these! He's a big fan of hot dogs and especially loves the ones that come in the Omaha Steaks variety pack. Yes... his favorite part are the hot dogs! I'll have to remember to get these for his next visit to Hawaii, or pick some up at the Whole Foods in Pittsburgh for him. Wouldn't that be funny if I put them in his Christmas stocking?!

Yesterday was a Sunday Funday filled with new discoveries! Some of which I'll be trying again and others I'll leave up to the imagination (coughcoughchickenfeet).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baby Shower 101

This weekend I threw my first ever baby shower! My dear friends Christine and Steve are expecting their first child, a boy, in January. With the help of Oh Sook, who planned the whole shower with me, and the guests who all brought a dish to share, the party went off without a hitch! 

Since my blog's first birthday party (which was a disaster from my perspective, although the guests seemed to have fun) I've learned many ways to make a party enjoyable for the host and the guests! Here's what I can tell you, although I'm clearly NO expert...


Use recipes that you've made before. I made mini red velvet cupcakes (this time with homemade frosting) and turned my favorite broccoli chicken cheddar braid into "cups". This made the recipe even easier since you don't have to "braid" the dough, cut it to serve, or dirty any utensils. Score!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas

Last week, my cousin Dan and his wife Nancy enjoyed a vacation here in Hawaii. They've both traveled all around the world and are very open to new food experiences, hooray! Well...Nancy is a micro biologist and won't eat ketchup in a restaurant (I'm also against it and you probably should be too!) or anything raw, like sushi. Those were our only restrictions :)

Bryce and I went with Dan and Nancy for dinner/appetizers at a great restaurant on Waikiki beach. We then did a double-dessert stop! First to Leonards for malasadas, then to Bubbies for mochi ice cream. Dan's holding the pumpkin, I have the chocolate espresso, and Nancy's got the chocolate peanut butter. YUM!

A few days later, once Darren (the other cousin who lives in Hawaii) arrived back on Oahu, we all went out for dinner at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas. Dan and Nancy researched and chose the restaurant in advance and they did a great job! Hiroshi describes its food as Modern Asian Inspired Tapas and Innovative Cuisine. Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Halloween has come and gone again. This year I went to 2 Halloween parties dressed as Lil Wayne (a homemade costume, might I add), visited a Haunted House, and ate both pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin mochi ice cream = success! 

I also managed to go fall-food insane in the kitchen! There were cupcakes made with candy corn and a BIG can of pumpkin that became soup, then cheesecake bars (which I've yet to blog about), and finally pumpkin snickerdoodles. Snickerdoodles have always been one of my favorites and, since they were the first cookie I ever made from scratch, have become my go-to cookie. Adding pumpkin is a smashing idea!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
makes 36 cookies

2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
3/4 cup of pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 3/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

for rolling the cookies in:
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg