One-pan Eggs, Asparagus, and Smoked Salmon

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We all need a break. Sometimes its from school, sometimes its from work, sometimes its from making a nice breakfast. For me, this usually means a Quaker’s Real Medley oatmeal or a serving of greek yogurt with a banana. Although this combination sounds pretty healthy and decently tasty, it gets really old, really fast. So when I stumbled across this recipe at 1 in the morning the night before I had work the next, I jumped at it.

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Since its in the middle of summer, I’m temporarily staying at a different apartment on campus. I woke up around 8 AM the day-of, not knowing how long this process would actually take. I stumbled my way into the kitchen of my new apartment kitchen and started preheating my oven before I took a shower. After preparing myself for the day and getting the asparagus cleaned and ready, my oven was finally preheated. I always individually snap off the ends of my asparagus to ensure tender spears.

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The original recipe started with strips of bacon, removing the bacon to cook the asparagus in the rendered fat, and finishing with the eggs. I substituted this with olive oil which allows me to serve vegetarian portions and add smoked salmon to jazz up the dish for non-vegetarian portions. After a light coat in vegetable oil, a sprinkle in thyme, salt, and pepper, the spears were tenderized in the oven for around 6 minutes for my thinner spears.

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At the 6 minute mark, I removed the pan, cracked eggs on top and returned the dish to the oven to finish up while I started toasting a tortilla to serve along my soon-to-be breakfast. I prefer a cross between a semi-set and runny yolk so I pulled it out just before the 5 minute mark. The result was a tender yolk that was just slightly runny which I scooped up with my tortilla and smoked salmon.

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At around 8:45 I was done eating and ready to go to work, a full hour earlier than the time I usually leave my apartment. I ended up using this time to read from my new book gifted to me by my mentor titled “Leadership on the Line. here wasn’t even any dishes to wash since I was able to toss the foil that everything was prepared in. For those of you who need a simple something to start your day, definitely consider this recipe. Head over to Simple Bites to see how the recipe is prepared with bacon and give both a try. Add some variety to your breakfast menu, without any additional time!

One-pan Eggs, Asparagus, and Smoked Salmon

Adapted from Simple Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs per person
  • 5-6 spears of asparagus per person (I definitely used more for myself…)
  • 1 oz of smoked salmon per person
  • pinch of salt, thyme pepper (and your other favorite herbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. While the oven preheats, wash asparagus thoroughly. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. For thicker spears, use a vegetable peeler to remove the bottom half of the peel.
  2. In a roasting pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil, Add asparagus to the pan and shake it around to coat the spears. Arrange in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and other herbs if you’d like.
  3. Roast thicker asparagus spears for 8 minutes, and thinner spears for 6 minutes or until they soften. Remove pan from oven and gently crack eggs on top of the asparagus. Return the pan to the oven for 4 minutes for soft egg yolks, 5 minutes for medium cooked egg yolks and 6-7 minutes for firm egg yolks.
  4. Place strips of smoked salmon over the eggs and serve with toasted tortillas or bread.

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Sriracha-Soy Fried Chicken

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Every once in a while my little sister comes across a recipe I find slightly questionable, disregards my opinion, and makes me go through with it. This Sriracha-soy fried chicken definitely started that way. They also started in high school, where my kitchen was more limited, ironically, than it is now in college. It was a time where experimentation was overruled by tradition, and frying was definitely out of the question.

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We still made it happen. Granted my aunt and uncle weren’t too happy about frying things… it happened. Although originally taken from a old issue of Bon Appétit that was randomly laying around the house, this was one of the few recipes that I’ve actively taken time out of my day to find (googling fried chicken recipes probably wasn’t my best move ever).

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This fried chicken is marinaded in Sriracha and soy sauce which gives it a rich asian inspired flavor. Added to the marinade is ginger, garlic, and green onions which helps cut down the meaty flavor of chicken and provide a hint of warmth to the chicken pieces. To make dealing with raw chicken (and dealing with marinade in general) a lot easier, the chicken and marinade ingredients were thrown into a freezer ziplock bag, zipped up, and massaged gently until everything was combined.  Instead of dredging in flour, egg and bread crumbs like my chicken katsu, the chicken is simply coated in potato starch, the secret to asian popcorn chicken. The result is a moist, succulent fried chicken that is crispy and slightly flakey on the outside but moist and tender on the inside.

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Since the recipe uses chicken thigh, frying this was a lot easier than frying drumsticks. I was able to use my handy cast-iron skillet to heat up the oil and fry the chicken. Although this required me to monitor the oil more frequently throughout the process, it wasn’t too difficult and I definitely encourage you to give this a try even if you’ve never fried before. Remember when frying to leave at least an inch from the top to account for oil splattering and to never crowd the pan by adding too much chicken. If too much chicken is added at once, the oil temperature drops too quickly and cold oil will make the crust soggy.

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To serve this as an appetizer or finger food, serve the fried chicken on romaine lettuce leaves and garnish with some radish, mint and cilantro. I ended up serving this as an entree by serving it as is with other sides. Every time since I’ve made the fried chicken, Michelle has made me prepare this fried chicken for her. In fact, my friends enjoyed this so much the first time I made these, I ended up making a double batch fried each batch right before I was going to serve them. Although I don’t necessarily share Michelle’s overwhelming passion for fried chicken, you might! Give this a try and let me know how it goes!

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Sriracha-Soy Fried Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Chicken

  • 1 cup minced green onions
  • 6 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup potato starch

Directions

  1. In a ziplock bag, combine green onions, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken pieces to the bag. Close the ziplock bag and mix by massaging gently. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to a day in the refrigerator.
  2. Right before frying, coat chicken pieces in potato starch.
  3. Heat oil to 350 F. Gently add chicken pieces, about 5 pieces at a time, to the oil. Fry until golden brown and allow the chicken pieces to drain
  4. If desired, create a dipping sauce with Sriaracha sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice. Serve with chicken on the side along with romaine lettuce or rice.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

SGF01As my previous post suggests, I’m currently going through finals week. My last finals week before I begin my last year of college. But to me, that also means that its a prime time for me to start random projects. Or test recipes that I’ve always wanted to. In this case, it was both! Since its graduation season here on campus, senior portraits are happening and requests for photographs have begun. I decided to shoot two birds with one stone, and splurge a bit as a method of retail therapy to purchase some new shooting gear. More excitingly, I also discovered about 18 pounds of chicken laying in my freezer.. so here we go with that…

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I have the world’s best mentor. Her name is Heather Belk. She is the Director of AS Administration at our school, loved by basically everyone who meets her, and is teaching me the ins and outs of student affairs to get me ready. But aside from dealing with a couple hundred of crazy college students, she’s also a wife and amazing chef. Seriously people, I don’t know how she does it. Literally, the best. Not only did she introduced me to slow cooker chicken and help me figure out what to do with this ridiculous amount of chicken, she also inspired me to use my slow cooker more.

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This recipe is a result of that. Heather introduced me to a slow cooker recipe (which I can’t wait to share with all of you as soon as I get pictures taken) which lead me to finally getting around to make chicken tortilla soup, one of my staples at any mexican restaurant. Although I do enjoy refusing to engage in any finals-related festivities, I do recognize that I must occasionally indulge myself in my studies. That being said, a slow cooker version of the soup was in place!

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This is one of those recipes where you just throw everything in a pot, cross you fingers, walk away and hope it turns out ok. Quite honestly, I’m glad I did walk away since I started this at 4 in the morning, but  with over 4000 ratings at 4.5 half stars on allrecipies.com, I doubted anything could go wrong. When I woke up the next day for a brunch, my nose and soon my stomach told me that I was indeed correct.

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What I love about this recipe, is how hard it is for someone to mess up. Honestly, throw everything in a pot, and walk away for 8 hours. Feel free to include a bag of frozen corn, a can of drained black beans, or make any modifications you’d like. I’ve made this soup twice already, and both times it was quite delightful. I do caution against cooking the rice with the soup since it turned into chicken tortilla porridge the last time I tried that.

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Try it out and let me know what modifications you decide to make!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients. Leave on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  2. If desired, prepare brown rice an hour before serving.  Preheat oven to 400 C. Thinly brush tortillas with vegetable oil and slice thinly. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp.
  3. Garnish with tortilla chips, avocado, rice, and lime wedges and serve.

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Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

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Finals week suck. If you’re an undergrad somewhere out there, you get it. Its a week where people have an excuse to eat all the junk food they want, not shower for a few days, and show up to the library in sweats. To be completely honest, I personally avoid the library on our campus not because of how packed it is (which it is) but because of how bad it smells.

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But then, finals end – people rejoice,  the sky is blue again, and the air is, once again, breathable. I have a horrible finals week. Absolutely horrible. I’m seriously going to hate every second of it. So of course, I in the middle of this chaos I had to run home and bake something new. It helped that my friend entertained me on the guitar while this happened…

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Blondies aren’t a new concept here at boomie’s kitchen. I’ve done with with salted caramel, and I’ve done one with peanut butter. But these blondies are different. The salted caramel makes the blondies chewy but the batter used is moist, dense, and tender. The bacon adds another dimension to the flavor profile by enhancing the sweet and salty profile with savory and smokey notes.

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The recipe is simple. The most time consuming portion was frying the bacon and the most difficult part was making the salted caramel sauce. I saved some time by frying the bacon in one pan and starting the salted caramel next to it. Of course, you can leave the bacon out and this recipe will work just fine (I’ve done it before!). You can probably also use store bought salted caramel sauce but challenge yourself to make some caramel, its fun and rewarding, I promise!

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These bars look especially pretty with the lattice like topping. This is done by dropping spoonfuls of dough all over the batter. When you’re doing this don’t be too precise and don’t worry if it seems like theres not enough batter – it’ll work out! To serve, I recommend waiting until they completely cool or the caramel won’t have set yet which will lead to the top layer to move around when you cut it. I used a chef’s knife with a light spritz of pam to help me cut them and I was able to get perfect edges.

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Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

Adapted from: Butter Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 recipe of Salted Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a frying pan, fry bacon until crisp, allow to drain on a plate.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade, add the unsalted butter and brown sugar. Cream on medium until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  5. Add salt and flour to the bowl and mix until just combined. Remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. Crumble all but 1 slice of the bacon into the dough and mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the bars will be tough.
  6. Spread the batter with bacon into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish evenly. Pour the salted caramel sauce over the batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter on top of the salted caramel.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden brown. Crumble remaining slice of bacon before the caramel sets. Wait until completely cooled to slice.

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