Chicken Recipe Round Up

I recently had a dear friend ask me on Facebook for some of my favorite chicken recipes. She was looking for simple and tasty dishes that work for weeknight cooking and don’t involve cream of something or other soup or a crock pot. This is kind of my wheel house. I have a crock pot, but I haven’t fallen in love with it (read: haven’t had any success with things actually being tasty other than overnight steel cut oats).  While I much prefer fish, plant based meals, or a juicy cut of beef, chicken is just such an easy way to throw dinner together.

I replied with a few links from my blog, and several others chimed in with their favorite recipes or mentioned that they wished they could bookmark that Facebook conversation. I decided to do a post with a round up of my favorite chicken recipes to make it easier for people to reference. I have several recipes to share below that are sure to become staples in your weeknight arsenal. I would love to hear what your favorite chicken dishes are, feel free to respond in the comments section with links to your recipes.

The Waspy Momma’s Chicken Picatta

Chicken Picatta! This is where it is at people. Trust me.  Growing up we had this dish once every two weeks or so. I learned how to make it from watching over my Mom’s shoulder (she once complained that I showed no interest in cooking. I was interested but in a vaguely annoying teenager fashion).  I first attempted it myself while I was in college (to rave reviews), and it has become my go to “prepare for a suitor as to impress him with my culinary prowess without actually getting stressed out in the kitchen” dish.   It’s lemony, bright, rich, satisfying and ultimately not that bad for you compared to restaurant versions that have more butter.  Make it.  Make it immediately.

Rolled Chicken with Goat Cheese & Spinach

Excuse the poor quality photo, this was one of my very first recipes I shared on my blog back in 2009.  This is one of those dishes that is very easy to prepare but looks more elegant and complex than it really is.  If goat cheese isn’t your thing, you could substitute cream cheese or fresh mozzarella.

 Baked Chicken With Mustard And Pretzel Crust

I discovered this recipe after several of my blogging pals shared it.  It is a gem – total crowd pleaser for both kids and adults. This post also has some great tips on preparation, tricks to minimize clean up time etc. I haven’t made this dish in a year or so, it needs to get worked back into my repertoire for sure.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew

I’ve only made this dish once, but as I was perusing my archives it jumped out at me and I immediately thought to myself “Self, why have you only made this once?” It is tasty, low cal and very easy to prepare. It’s from the Martha Stewart Every Day Food cookbook, which I insist is the best resource for practical and delicious meals I’ve ever read.  It’s too hot for stew in August, but when it cools down I’ll be making it again for sure.

Chicken Cashew Chili

I would be remiss to exclude my friend Maggie aka Freckled Citizen‘s guest post with one of the tastiest chicken dishes I’ve ever had.  It has chocolate in it – so cool!  I must insist you try it.

9 Comments + Posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes

The Wasp Relocates

So as I am prone to do approximately every 9 months… I’m moving!

Pearl Sign
Pearl Brewery Signage

I found a great studio apartment at a fantastic adaptive reuse development just north of downtown San Antonio.

Pearl Brewery-6 Pearl Brewery as seen from the Riverwalk

I’ve mentioned the Historic Pearl Brewery several times on my blog in the past. It’s home to a weekly farmer’s market, fantastic restaurants and bars, retail shops, the Culinary Institute of America, and with quick access to the Riverwalk, it’s a vibrant and energetic community that I can’t wait to be a part of.

Little known fact about Waspy, I’m kind of a “new urbanism” geek. I was bitten by the city planning bug while studying for my Masters of Public Administration (which I will hopefully finish in December). For my day job in public affairs/marketing/social media, I have a few clients that I work with to promote San Antonio’s downtown core. My office is downtown, less than 2 miles from my new digs. When the temps cool down I could walk or bike to work. Since I often step out to meetings or events, I’ll probably drive most of the time – but I’ll really enjoy not filling up my car once a week. {PSA: Just because I’ll be living a hip urban lifestyle does not mean that I’ll morph into some sort of hipster. No Maam. I’m bringing preppy back to the 78215}

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been a bit of a nomad lately. The last time I lived someplace for more than a year was over 4 years ago. Post college, I’ve shuffled belongings from an apartment with roommates, to a rental house with a former beau, then into storage, then back with the roommate etc. I haven’t felt settled. I haven’t felt like I had a “home.” Honestly y’all, I’ve been a little lost. While I’ve always been a very independent person (only child, dig my alone time etc.), this will be the first time I’ve ever lived by myself.

I’m so excited about this fresh start. Excited about 630 sq feet all to myself. Excited about a pretty nice kitchen considering the small size of the apartment. Excited to be able to walk out my front door and see fantastic examples of urban revitalization and one of the nation’s top linear parks.

Pearl Brewery-3 Ducks chillin in the River North section of the San Antonio Riverwalk

And for the times I’m not in a “one with nature, one with my city” kind of mood, I’m excited that I’ll also be near bars and restaurants so that I can instead be “one with a cocktail.”

Pearl Brewery-13 Parisienne Cocktail at Blue Box

I’m moving in 2 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll share more about my space as I work on making it my own. Hopefully I’ll be back in the kitchen and making recipes more often. I look forward to blogging more regularly. In the meantime, I’ve got to work on getting rid of the things I don’t need so that I can lead as minimal a life as possible in this storage-lacking studio. Fair warning, I’m consigning a ton of cute clothes and handbags, so head on over to Otra Vez later this week to score some great deals from the Waspy closet.

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How To Enjoy Twitter Free of Olympic Spoilers

You don’t have to give up social media completely during the Olympics to avoid hearing spoilers and results before they air.  On Friday afternoon, I went through the folks I’m following on twitter and removed all major news outlets.  I  sent a tweet listing the media outlets I had just unfollowed, then I favorited my own tweet.  This way it will be easy for me to refollow those media outlets once the games are over.

Removing media outlets from your account temporarily will help, but won’t prevent you from seeing retweets or spoilers from other people you follow.  It’s not like they’re maliciously trying to ruin your Olympic enjoyment – it’s just probably not as important to them to be able to watch a race without knowing the result, or maybe they’re in different time zones etc.

To be able to tweet back and forth with your other Olympic obsessed pals – free of the fear of spoilers, your best bet is to create a list of just those folks, and then view that list in a 3rd party app like Hootsuite.  That way, you’re only seeing the messages from your other Olympic nerd pals. Here’s how to do it:

  • On twitter.com, create a new list and title it something related to the Olympics.  Carefully select people you know won’t share spoilers.
  • Then download Hootsuite to your mobile device (there is also a desktop version, if you prefer to use your computer).
  • Set up a “stream” for the list of Olympics folks you just created, as well as a stream for mentions.
  • Instead of using the twitter app, use hootsuite and only look at your olympics list and your mentions.  All the other people you’re following are still there – you just won’t see them if you stay on those two streams.

Voila!


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My Family’s Olympic Traditions

The Olympics are a pretty big deal in my house, they have been for as long as I can remember. Every 4 years when I was growing up, my family would check out from the distractions of our usual routine for a while and dedicate ourselves to cheering on team USA. Now that I’m grown, there are few things in this world I love more than the Olympics. I think it has a lot to do with my fond childhood memories of spending time with my parents, it probably has a little to do with the pageantry and media circus of the whole thing, but mostly it has to do with the fact that I’m a total achievement junkie.

I’m a rather emotional person (not in a crazy mood swings kind of way, just in a I cry at commercials kind of way), but NOTHING chokes me up more than witnessing truly remarkable human achievement. The fact that these athletes dedicate their entire lives training to be the best they can be at their sport, forsaking small goals in pursuit of a lifetime goal, just gets me weepy. When someone wins a race, or just competes to the best of their ability and gets emotional once they’re done – I am overcome.  It’s like I AM THE ONE who just stuck the landing, or beat my personal record.

I think the Olympics are a remarkable opportunity for bonding with your family, friends, and coworkers. Think about it, the Olympics are about peace, tolerance, diversity, competition, dedication, integrity and accomplishment. I think we can all get behind that.

One of our biggest family traditions related to the Olympics is to either prepare or get take out food from the culture of the host country to eat in the living room while we watch the opening ceremonies. We had gyros in 2004, Chinese takeout in 2008, and tonight we’re picking up fish and chips and knocking back gin and tonics. It won’t be fancy, it won’t be haute cuisine – but it will be special none the less.

Earlier this week I made some curry pastys to get in the Olympic spirit. Pastys are like little hand pies or empanadas that are a big street food in the UK. They can be filled with almost anything you can think of. I made curry beef pastys because it seemed appropriate considering the Indian influences on the cuisine of the United Kingdom. They are so easy to make, and quite tasty if I don’t say so myself. You could modify the filling to include your favorite ingredients, and the crust recipe is one you’ll want to file away for later. Or maybe you could start a tradition with your family and make these for the closing ceremonies?

Curry Pasty

Pastry dough recipe: Each batch of this recipe yields 12 pastys. My filling recipe makes enough for three batches.  I don’t recommend doubling or tripling the pastry dough recipe, just make it one batch at a time – it comes together really quickly, I promise.

Source: The Best Recipes In The World, Mark Bittman

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more
1/2 cup cornmeal or more all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in the food processor and process for about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the 1/2 cup shortening or oil and process for 10 seconds. Then, with the machine running, add about 1/2 cup cold water, just enough for the dough to form a ball. Don’t add more water than necessary; the dough should be fairly dry. Knead by hand until smooth, just a minute or so.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface, divide into 12 pieces. Roll into balls, and wrap in plastic or cover with a damp towel and let rest for at elast 20 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough overnight; be sure to let it come to room temperature before proceeding.)

Curry Pasty Filling

Filling recipe:

2 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 cup curry powder
4 generous squeezes of sriracha (very accurate measurements, I know)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup frozen peas
water, as needed

In a skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground beef for 2-3 minutes or until most of the pink has gone away. Add the curry powder and stir regularly to evenly distribute as the meat browns. Add sriracha to your taste, cook for another 5-7 minutes and your meat should be well browned. Reduce the heat to medium. Make a slurry with the soy sauce, vinegar, sour cream and cornstach. Add the slurry to the skillet and stir to incorporate. If the mixture is a little too solid, add some water, probably about 1/3 a cup. Add in the frozen peas, and cook for another minute or two till they are warmed through.

Curry Pasty unbaked

Allow the filling to cool down for at least 15 minutes before beginning to make the pastys.

Roll out the balls to 6 inch rounds, using additional flour to keep them from sticking. Add approximately one tablespoon of filling to the center of the round, the fold over on itself to make a half moon shape. Press the edges together with your finger, and either seal by pressing the tines of a fork into the dough, or like I did, fold it over on itself and pinch.

Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment.  Brush with the mixture of one beaten egg and a few tablespoons of water. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

These are great at room temperature, so they make ideal party foods.  The pastry holds up well in the fridge for a few days, so they are nice leftovers too.

Cheers!

 

3 Comments + Posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes

My Favorite YouTube Makeup Channels

After last week’s post about my recent love affair with makeup, skin care and all things girly, several of you asked for a list of some of the YouTube beauty experts I’ve found helpful.

If you’re so over me talking about makeup, don’t worry – I’ll be back with a recipe next week.

The Brits: These gals are great resources far as techniques for application go, but they often use UK brands we don’t have access to here in the states. I usually don’t mind, because you can replicate what they’re doing with things that are available here.

 Lisa Eldridge is a London based professional makeup artist who has done magazine covers and red carpet looks for some of the biggest celebrities in the world. She has this dreamy lilting accent. I really like Lisa’s videos because they are wearable, and she focuses on emphasizing glowing skin rather than caking on a ton of goop.  The production value of her videos is unparalleled.

 Samantha and Nicola Chapman of Pixiwoo are sisters and makeup artists from Norwich. In addition to making videos and teaching courses at their studio, they even have their own line of makeup brushes sold here in the states called “Real Techniques.”  Some of their looks are fun, but pretty avant garde, and not very applicable to what I might try in real life .

 

Tanya Burr of pixi2woo is less polished, but still very talented.  I like watching her videos to get inspiration for options for when I’m headed for an evening out.  Her style is a bit more glamorous than I would be into for a day to day kind of thing.  Fun fact, she is dating the Pixiwoo sister’s little brother Jim and got started on YouTube as one of their models for videos.
The American Gals: In addition to tutorials on specific looks, each of these gals does monthly “favorites” videos where they review products for hair, skin and makeup.

 Emily Eddington is a morning news anchor in Illinois. She puts her televisions skills to use on her YouTube channel Beauty Broadcast.  While Emily is self trained and a little less of an artist with makeup, she is one of my favorite YouTubers to watch because she’s more comfortable in front of the camera.  She also uses drug store brands the majority of the time.  Even though I’m loving luxurious fancy makeup these days, it’s nice to see what some affordable options are.
MakeupbyTiffanyD is one of the first YouTube videos on make up I ever watched.  She is really great at teaching techniques step by step.  She can be a little spacey sometimes, but I don’t mind so much.  I really enjoy her review videos where she talks about favorite products for skincare, hair, and makeup. She has oily skin like me, so I find her product recommendations more useful than some of the other channels I watch.

 

There are a few others I watch off and on, but these are my favorites or the ones I’ve actually learned something from. I really wish there had been something like this around when I was an awkward teenager.

4 Comments + Posted in: Beauty, Life & Style, Uncategorized

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