I’ve Moved!

June 2, 2010

My cooking blog has a new home… right under the roof of my other “home”, my coaching blog.  Yup, it’s one stop shopping now for all things moi.

Please update your links, bookmarks, Google reader, whatnots… all my past recipes are archived on the new site as well, so I’ll eventually be taking this one down.  (Just to tidy up my corner of the internet.)

MegEats is now located at: http://megcline.com/category/cooking/

See you there!

Thanks to my wonderful friend Heather D. for her hard work to combine all my blogs into one.

What could possibly be better than going on a tour of wine country with four of your best friends?

How about if those four friends also have to be phenomenal cooks?

I just got back from a trip to Sonoma with my college girlfriends, and while vineyards were certainly the high point of our trip, one of my other favorite parts of the trip was gathering with my friends in a beautiful kitchen every night and taking turns cooking and sharing our joy of food with each other.

4 1 10 Wine Country 142Wine Country Kitchen, Best Friend Cooks.

We were there for 3 nights, so we shared cooking duties – each of taking on appetizers, side dishes, main entrees, and of course, dessert.  Many of the meals were as healthy as they were delicious, so I thought I’d share them here.

Our first night there, Jess was in charge of the main entree.  Her meal was a variation of a recipe she’d come across in Real Simple, and it was exactly that – but very delicious too!  She grilled both London broil and chicken (catering to our various preferences) and cooked couscous on the stove.

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She also caramelized onions, tossed with pine nuts.  The onions/pine nuts were tossed with spinach, and an olive oil / balsamic mix and then the steak and couscous were placed on top.

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Simple, but delicious, and we all loved it.  (Paired with the Friends Red from Preston Vineyards.)

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A few notes about couscous if you’ve never tried it… it’s definitely a love/hate kind of food.  It’s fluffy, and a little bit like orzo or rice.  It’s a whole grain, which means it’s a great source of fiber, b vitamins, niacin and selenium.  It’s about calorically equivalent to rice.

(Picture does not represent the following… my portions were a little larger today!  But here are some stats: 3 oz steak, ¼ cup cooked couscous, 1 cup spinach with a 1T:1T oil/vinegar mix = 345 cals, 33g protein, 17g fat (3.5 sat), 10 g carbs.  Lots of yum.)

Quiero Fajitas.

April 15, 2010

Fajitas!  Fajitas fajitas fajitas.  How have I been going on and on about my food for so long and not talked about fajitas yet?  This is an every few weeks standard in our house because: 1) it’s easy. 2) it’s fast. 3) it’s healthy.  Win, win, win.  Also, living in North Carolina, you really can’t escape falling in love with Mexican food.  When you make Mexican at home though, you don’t have to do battle with the chips basket!

You can do any combination of protein and veggies that you want, and it’s basically just a matter of chopping and heating.  I’ll give you the run down of what I made the other night, but honestly, you could open your fridge and make these tonight with what you have on hand.

(I’ll show you the sauce I made too, but you can just use olive oil, some chili powder and garlic to flavor it.)

Okay, enough talk.  Let’s HEAT!

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Here’s the cast and crew.  Some protein (chicken in this case), and veggies (peppers) and tortilla shells.

For the sauce: limes (or lime juice), Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco *Chipotle* sauce.  This a combo my friend Kate suggested a long time ago, and I’ve used it ever since to give my fajitas a smoky taste.

For those of you who like precision in the kitchen: the juice from 2 limes (~1/4 cup), 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce and 1 Tbsp of the Chipotle sauce, depending on how much heat you want.

fajitas collage.jpg

Chop veggies up into 2-bite pieces.  I usually use peppers and onions.

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Kitchen hint!  To make clean up easier, I put a plastic grocery bag inside a bowl.  Throw all your cuttings in there, and when you’re done, just scoop up the bag and throw it out.  This will save you from having LOTS of clean up when you’re all done.  (Obviously you could compost it, too… I’m not there yet, but maybe YOU are!)

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Onwards!

Put your cut-up veggies off to the side, and get your protein out.  You will cook this first, but cutting it second prevents you from having to get a second cutting board out.  (Another kitchen tip, free from me to you!)

Cut the chicken (for whatever protein you are using) into 2-bite pieces as well.  Do ya’ll know what I mean by 2-bite pieces?  Hopefully that’s self-explanatory, but you know, a piece you could eat in… 2 bites!  (This makes it easier to eat AND cook.)

Add some olive oil to a medium-heat pan.  For fajitas for 2, I use 2 Tbsp of olive oil.

Add the chicken to the pan, and cook it to almost finished.

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Add the vegetables, and cook to the texture you want.  (I like ‘em crispy.)

By the way, you probably want a bigger pan than what I used here.

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Add the sauce that you mixed up earlier.

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While the sauce simmers with the fajita mixings, put tortillas on a plate with paper towels and a little sprinkle of water.  Microwave for 30 seconds.

Scoop the fajita mixings into a bowl.  Serve with sour cream, salsa or whatever you want!

And then… it’s time to EAT!  “Vamos a comer!”

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(Directions for homemade tortilla chips to be forthcoming!)

Ever since my first job as a barista at a canal side coffee shop, I’ve been kind of obsessed with chai tea lattes.  I made them with various mixes and eventually graduated to buying bags of chai tea and just mixing it with hot milk.  Last year a friend of mine brought me back real Chai from India and I was smitten.  It was a whole new flavor experience…. Kind of like going from Boone’s Farm to a Cakebread Chardonnay.  (Sorry, any Boone’s fans out there…)

A few months ago, I posted a blog about my chai tea recipe and I was pretty psyched when I got a follow up comment from Ricardo from Yogic Chai.  He offered to send me some tea samples, and I said sure, cos who doesn’t love free things right?  I wouldn’t say I was skeptical, but I wasn’t expecting much more beyond my already delicious chai.

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Ya’ll.  There are different kinds of chai tea.  Did you know this?  I did not know this!

I took my first sip of coconut chai tea and thought …wow.  No bitter after taste.  Silky smooth.  I didn’t even need to add honey… (Which was good, because apparently my Southern to the bone hubby had used it up on biscuits the night before. )

The next one I tried was coconut chai.  COCONUT.  I’d be stretching a little bit to say that I felt like putting a tiny umbrella in my cup and kickin’ back on a beach… but it was pretty darn delicious and lovely.  (It ended up being my fave, in fact.)

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BUT ANYWAYS… the rest were all delicious too.  I even got to the point where I was just having the tea sans latte part.  I know that’s going to sound crazy to you veteran tea drinkers out there, but i really have never just liked straight up tea.  But, I’m a convert.  It can be done.

So now that I’m done gushing, go ahead and check out his site.  If you break each order down by the cup, you’ll be amazed at how affordable it is.  (Especially when I think about what I pay to go through a certain drive-through once a week and get my tea of the week latte.)

(And for the record and doing right by the FTC, Yogic Chai did not pay me any moola to promote their products.  Just tea.  And since it was delicious, I am passing the rec on to you.  Go, go get it.)

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Self-Portrait of Tea Time

Save 15% on your order at Yogic Chai using the code “meghan” if you shop by Wednesday, March 31st!

 

Ever since living in Baltimore, I have become enamored with crab cakes.  However, most of the time when you order them in a restaurant they tend to be more filler – mayo and bread – than actual delicious, good for you crab meat.

But, I’ve got good news for you: you can make them at home, they’re quite easy and they can be healthy and delicious.

(And by the way, if you can’t eat shellfish, you can buy imitation crab which is usually another white fish, like Alaskan Pollock.)

Assemble the ingredients: 1 pound lump crabmeat, 4 egg whites, 1 piece whole wheat bread, Old Bay Seasoning, olive oil.

Mash up the crab meat with a fork, breaking the pieces up.  The smaller they are, the easier your cakes will hold together – although I personally love crab cakes with bigger pieces!  So this is up to you.

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Add the 4 egg whites.

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Pulse 1 piece of whole wheat bread in a food processor or blender and add crumbs.  *You can also skip that step and use 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko.

Add in Old Bay seasoning.  This is a must!  Ok, if you don’t have this on hand, you can add salt, pepper, a pinch of paprika, mustard and celery seed.  But really… if you’re going to make crab cakes, you should have Old Bay seasoning.

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Shape into patties.  The smaller they are, the easy they will be to flip in your skillet.  Using a pound of crab meat should make about 6-8 patties.

Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a hot pan, and add the crab cakes.  Cook on each side until golden brown.

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I love to serve these on a bed of green lettuce.  They are the perfect complement to greens!

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You can also serve them the old-fashioned way with tartar sauce, but try mixing in some greek yogurt to your mayo to cut down on the mayo.  Once you add in the pickle relish and a squeeze of lemon juice, you won’t pick up on the yogurt at all.

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Then, sit back and enjoy!  I like to pretend I’m sitting at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, about to get ready to go see the O’s play at Camden Yards! 

megs and dad at camden Dad & Meg, Camden Yards, 2005

(Stats: I use 2 Tbsp of olive oil total, a Tbsp for each batch of 4.  That’s included in the stats.  Each patty is 100 calories, 4 g fat,  10 g carb, 6.5 g protein.)

Eggs In Ham Cups

March 21, 2010

 

My friend Heather sent me a link for making these egg cups, and forgive me because I lost the link.  I do remember that the recipe came from Gourmet magazine, but to be honest I didn’t follow it exactly, so I’ll just write out what I did. 

I wanted to make them because they were pretty, but fortunately for the person in my house who likes to eat food and not just take pictures of it… they were delicious.  They’re also a healthy, protein-friendly breakfast or brunch!

Assemble the ingredients.  You’ll need: thin sliced ham, mushrooms, eggs, sour cream, and optional cheese.

Heat oven to 350 and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place ham into muffin cups.  The slices of ham I had (Hormel) were pretty thick.  They weren’t as flexible as a thinner slice would be, and I had a little trouble getting them to conform to the muffin tin.  I’d recommend using a thin slice of ham. 

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In a pan, cook the mushrooms until they are tender.  I used a little bit of olive oil to sauté them, and it took about 8 minutes for them to be perfect.  (Have I mentioned how much I adore sautéed mushrooms?  I bet you didn’t know that about me.) 

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Remove them from heat and stir in 3 spoonfuls of sour cream.  (The original recipe called for crème fraiche but sour cream will do the trick, and will be a little bit lighter.) 

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Spoon the mushrooms into the ham cups.  If you want, add a little bit of cheese.  I used an aged cheddar and put in a cube no bigger than my pinky tip in each one and that was enough to give it some taste.

Crack an egg into each cup.  Note: I cracked the eggs into a bowl, one by one, and then poured them into the ham cup.  This seemed to keep things a little less messy.

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Bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes.  You want to whites to set, but the yolk can still be a little bit runny.

Then the tricky part: getting them out.  I used two spoons, and kind of went around the edge to loosen them from the pan, then slowly lifted them.

The link I had showed these served with roasted asparagus which would be delicious.  We had a chicken sausage on hand I needed to cook, so that’s what I served them up with.  They were delish!  They look really impressive, but they’re actually quite easy to make and would be an ideal thing to make for a brunch with lots of people. 

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So good!  And don’t they look pretty?  I’m guessing you could make these and keep them in the fridge for a few days to reheat as needed.  We didn’t have any leftover, though. 

That says it all, doesn’t it?

Whole Wheat Pancakes

February 17, 2010

I LOVE me some breakfast foods and I’ve been on a serious mission to find a good whole wheat pancake recipe.  Most of the ones either had ingredients I don’t keep on hand (and didn’t want to get out of my pajamas to go get) or ended up tasting like cardboard.  I finally! finally! stuck upon a winner.  These are the whole package: good flavor, good texture, and easy to make.

I used this recipe from food blogger Natalie, and for once I didn’t make any tweaks.  So, even though it’s a bit of a cop out post, I’m just going to send you over to her blog.

2 15 10 Broccoli and Cheese Soup 052 Even my pupdog is eyeing them!

2 15 10 Broccoli and Cheese Soup 059Oops, I lied – I made one tweak.  I didn’t have blueberries, but I did have frozen cherries… so I tweaked the syrup.  How good do these look?

My batch made 12 pancakes, which I froze 2 at a time.  (‘Cept the first day when I ate 3… couldn’t resist them hot off the griddle!)  At 12 per batch, they were 122 calories each. 

And did I mention they are delicious?  Cos they are. 

(Thanks, Natalie!)

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