Roasted Chickpea Tacos

Last night I decided to pretend that I was on Iron Chef instead of doing my work.  In retrospect, this was not the best idea.  I don’t know what it was about last night, but I wanted to do nothing related to law school.  I did everything I could to avoid doing actual work.  That meant washing nearly all the dishes in our dishwasher, which is currently broken.  I then went ahead and made dinner.  Made some random kale.  Cleaned the counters off.  Baked some rainbow sprinkle blondies.  Then it was eight o’clock and I had to watch The Following.

By the way, if you are not watching that show start immediately.  It is SO GOOD.

Anyhoo, then it was nine and I had to face the sad fact that I did, in fact, have work to do and I could not put it off any longer.  I actually ended up being very productive for the next two hours and went to bed without an ounce of guilt.

I mentioned dinner above, and it was one to put in the books.  As you might ascertain from the title of this post, I made roasted chickpea tacos ala Mama Pea.  It’s the perfect weeknight meal that is not only delicious but surprisingly healthy.  Crispy spiced chickpeas are paired with salsa, cheese and soft flour taco shells.  I didn’t even miss the meat in here because the chickpeas were so flavorful.  I have the leftovers on dock for lunch this afternoon, and I am already counting down the hours until lunchtime.

So, the bottom line is you should make these.  But preferably in a week when I am out of leftovers and you can invite me over.  I’ll bring the margaritas.


Roasted Chickpea Tacos

Photo: More tacos is always the correct answer

Ingredients:

1 14 oz can of chickpeas

2 tsps chili powder

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp water

8 taco shells

Taco trimmings:  salsa, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, etc.

Directions:

Mix together all the ingredients except for the taco shells and taco trimmings and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roast chickpeas until slightly crispy, 25-30 minutes.  Assemble the chickpeas and trimmings in the taco shells.  

Stuff your face.

Source:  Peas and Thank You

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Peanut Sauce Soba Noodles with Shrimp

I have been the opposite of adventuresome in the kitchen lately.  I’ve been adventure-less-than-some.  Adventure-if-you-eat-a-salami-sandiwch-one-more-time-you-will-turn-into-one-some.  The immediate issue is that when I get home from school the last thing I want to do is cook.  I used to say it was relaxing, but I think that was when I had some semblance of free time or during finals where anything not involving a book was the greatest thing ever.  I actually looked forward to doing laundry, and anyone who knows me knows that is ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m usually a total schmuck when it comes to dinner so I am pretty jazzed to share with you all this super-easy and super-delicious dinner.  This is something that I actually make fairly often because it comes together quickly but is still more filling than a sandwich.  As much as I love sandwiches, I always feel like I get short-shrifted when I eat one for dinner.  I don’t know.  I’m weird.

I usually make this without the shrimp (might even prefer it that way) but you can’t deny the protein-nutrient-punch that the little crustaceans provide.  Also, it makes it look prettier in a picture!  So anyhoo, make this and you can get a taste of what eating in the Tip Top Shape kitchen is like!  All you need for the full experience is to add a cookie, some wine and a chronic lack of napkins!

I really should buy some napkins.

Peanut Sauce Soba Noodles with Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 bundle soba noodles

6 shrimp, defrosted

1 tsp oil

1 cup pea pods, sliced in half

For the sauce:

Peanut butter

soy sauce

Water

Directions:

Boil water in a large pot and add the soba noodles.  Boil for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain in a collander.  Heat 1 tsp of oil in a medium sautee pan and add the shrimp.  Sautee until cooked through, 3-4 minutes.  

In a blender mix together the peanut sauce, soy sauce and water.  I didn’t measure this because it’s really up to your preference in how thick or thin you like the sauce.  I typically err on the side of more peanut butter because I like a strong taste.  Regardless, the technique for the sauce is pretty standard.  If it’s too thick add more water.  If it’s too thin add more peanut butter.  Bada boom.

Combine all the noodles, shrimp, sauce and pea pods in a bowl.  Serve at room temperature.

Parsley-Panko Crusted Tilapia

My mind is a hot mess right now.

A HOT MESS, you hear?!

Classes start tomorrow and in between buying books, reading said books and planning lunches for the week – which I forgot is really difficult, I don’t know how moms do it – I finally have a minute to sit down and blog.  Which then of course leads to me spending a long time staring at a blank page because nothing really exciting has happened in the past few days since my last post, and I sort of misplaced my camera and can’t figure out how to get my pictures from Instagram on here.  I swear I followed the step-by-step and this site just responded by giving me the bird.  And by giving me the bird, I mean only a link appeared and not the picture.

Thanks for nothing, WordPress.

So, I’m doing what I always do when I can’t think of something to post.  I went back to the old Tip Top Shape (over on Blogger) and pulled up one of my favorite recipes to share.  I was all excited to share a cookie recipe.  Because, let’s face it, nothing is really more exciting than that over here.  But then I came upon this tilapia recipe and before I knew it I hopped back here and began typing the title.

Parsley-Panko Crusted Tilapia.

Just the name makes my heart go pitter-patter.  The thing that I love about tilapia is that it is literally the easiest thing to make.  Just thaw it, bake for about 15-20 minutes, and you have this amazing and healthy dinner.  This is the perfect weeknight meal.  It’s simple and elegant.

Parsley-Panko Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients:
2 tilapia filets (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg beat
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
dried parsley
lemon juice
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a cooling rack (like you would use for cookies) on a cookie sheet and set aside.
 
If defrosting the tilapia, place in a strainer and run cold water over the filets until thawed.  Pat the filets dry.  In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.  In another bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and parsley.
 
Dip the tilapia in the egg, shaking off any excess, and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.  Place the filets on the cooling rack and slide the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Finish off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

What’s your favorite weeknight meal?

Buffalo Chicken Dippers

Last night I had the world’s worst craving for Buffalo Wild Wings.  Up until this year, I had never actually gone to the place, and now I have become an addict.  I was practically shaking for it last night.  If there was a Buffalo Wild Wings Anonymous I would be the president, secretary and treasurer.  It’s that bad.  As I tried to work through practice exam problems, all I could think about was how I really wanted wings and whether or not it would look strange to go there and just order, like, four different types because that’s pretty much what I wanted.

Wings on wings on wings.

But I’ve really been trying to save money lately, along with not ruining my semi-regular workouts with copious amounts of fried foods.  So, I defrosted some chicken and got creative in the kitchen to get my BBW fix.  Miraculously, it worked!

The breaded chicken strips are baked here, so they’re moderately healthy.  After being dredged in buffalo sauce they’re nice and spicy, which is tempered by the ranch dipping sauce.  Pretty much an A+ all around.  And I’m not just saying that because I made the recipe.  Okay, I might be.  Seriously, though, you all should make this.  It’s really simple (because my brain can’t take anything complicated right now) and comes together in less than 30 minutes.  Rachel Ray would be proud and you will be amazed and delighted.  Or maybe just one of the two.  Bottom line – make this pronto.

Buffalo Chicken Dippers

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2 chicken breasts, slice into strips

1 egg, beaten

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup buffalo sauce

ranch dressing for dipping

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dip the chicken strips in egg, dredge in bread crumbs, and place on a prepared baking sheet.  

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Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  

While the chicken is cooking, pour the buffalo sauce into a shallow bowl.  When the chicken is cooked, dredge it quickly in the buffalo sauce and place back on the baking dish.  Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples

Thank you so much for your kind words on the last post.  I definitely still miss him, but it has gotten better each day.  That’s largely due to the support around me, which includes all of you.  So, thank you again.

Now, on to happier trails.  I went grocery shopping today and did not have one single impulse buy.  Can you believe it?  Usually I go all sorts of crazy in the frozen food aisle — especially the frozen vegetables (weird, I know) – but today I stayed on track.  I also had a successful interaction with the butcher.  For those of you who don’t know, butchers intimidate me so I avoid them at all costs.  I needed a single pound pork tenderloin for this recipe, though, and all they had were two pound tenderloins out.  Not wanting to pay twice as much for extra meat that I didn’t need, I put on my big girl panties and asked for help.  Obviously I survived, so it wasn’t too bad.

I’m really excited to tell you all about this recipe today.  It’s from the newest issue of Cooking Light, and when I saw it I knew it would be on the week’s menu.  I’m in love with all things fall (even as we’re slowly creeping toward winter) and this just SCREAMS fall.  Sauteed apples.  Cinnamon.  Nutmeg.  It’s an autumn dream come true.  The best thing is that it literally comes together in twenty minutes.  It’s a quick meal that’s special enough to add some elegance to your weeknights.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples

Ingredients:

1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise into 12 pieces

1/4 tsp pepper

3/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2 cups apples, sliced thinly

1 shallot, sliced thinly

1/4 cup apple cider

1 tsp fresh thyme

Directions:

Mix together the pepper, salt, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the tenderloin chops and press into the meat.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and spray with cooking oil.  Cook the chops for 3 minutes per side.  Set aside and keep warm.

Place the apples and shallot in the saute pan and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the apple cider and cook for another two minutes.  Sprinkle on the thyme and serve with the pork.

Source:  Cooking Light

Steak Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette

This is another recipe repeat from the old blog.  But I figure that since half of you are new to here (hello law lovelies!), you won’t mind too much.  For the other half (hello to you, too!) please just bear with me for this one post.  Think of it as a reminder to make this.  Because really, you should make this.

I love to add leftover meat to salads.  It adds a lot of flavor to a salad and ensures that I don’t end up wasting leftovers.  This was steak that my grandpa made on his charcoal grill over the summer.  I am obsessed with that charcoal grill.  It’s this really small and old grill that I’m pretty sure he got from some garage sale in the 90s.  It takes twice as long to cook the meat as a propane gas grill would, but the cuteness factor wins out.  Plus, it gives me more time to be outside with him just talking and drinking wine.  Yeah, I’ll take the charcoal over propane gas grill any day.

You don’t need to have charcoal grilled stake for this, obviously, but it wouldn’t hurt.  And if you can add a grandpa and homemade wine – that wouldn’t hurt either.  I paired the steak with some sauteed zucchini and romaine.  The dressing is a really simple lemon viniagrette with parmesan cheese.  The steak pairs beautifully with the buttery zucchini, and make sure to load on the dressing!  It definitely makes the salad!

Steak Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette 

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Ingredients:

1 steak filet, sliced

1 zucchini, chopped
olive oil
lemon juice
parmesan cheese
1/2 head romaine, chopped
 
Directions:
 
I’m putting more winter friendly directions here for cooking the steak.  Leave the charcoal grills for the summer!
Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Season the filet with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place on the grill pan and cook roughly 5 minutes per side for a medium-rare steak.  Set aside and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
 
In a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped zucchini and cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender.  Set aside. 
 
For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified.  Adjust the amount of each depending on how acidic you like your dressing.  More lemon if you enjoy acidity, less if you don’t.  Mix in the parmesan.  Combine all of the ingredients and toss to mix.
 
Serves: 1

Mediterranean Couscous with Olives and Artichokes

Study groups are a big deal in law school.  Like, a big-Rod-Burgundy-deal.  Everyone talks about them.  Every information session about how to succeed in law school, blah-blah-blah, talks about them.  Naturally, I formed a study group only to find out a few meetings (okay, more like one meeting) later that study groups and me do not mix.  I didn’t want to leave the group, though, because I had pushed to form it in the first place and it was made up of all of my friends.  Plus, we watched a lot of fun Youtube videos.

I finally bit the bullet yesterday, though, and told them that I would be leaving the study group.  Funny enough, I felt like I was going through a break-up.  I was all uncomfortable and no-it’s-not-you-it’s-me.  I saw one of them in the hallway later that day and thought, Do I say hi?  Do I wave?  My hands, what do I do with my hands?!

It was freeing to finally admit that the study group wasn’t working for me, though.  I tried to stick with it because everyone else was in study groups, and I had this feeling that if I wasn’t in a study group then I wasn’t doing something right.  I had a chat with a friend earlier this week about the constant need to measure up to everyone else here, and it was really enlightening.  He told me that we all needed to stop comparing ourselves to others and run our own race.  Simple words, but they struck a chord.  I love it here and I love the people, but I do sometimes find myself comparing my work and progress with other people.  Sometimes it doesn’t faze me.    Sometimes it makes me reach for anti-acids.  The bottom line is that I don’t want to do it anymore.  What works for one person might not work for me.  I need to find my own way.

I need to run my own race.

One thing that I’ve learned I absolutely need here is to cook.  I love coming home after a lllooonnnggg day at the law school and parking myself in front of the stove.  It’s relaxing.  It’s comforting.  And then I get to eat afterwards.  I mean, I really can’t think of a better way to unwind.  This is a great dinner to make because it’s quick and nutritious.  Most of the ingredients were straight out of the refrigerator or pantry and it made enough for a few days.  Added bonus — the leftovers taste even better because all the flavors have a chance to meld.

Mediterranean Couscous with Olives and Artichokes

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sliced olives
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed
5 artichoke hearts, quartered 
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 cucumber, quartered and sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt/pepper

Directions:
Cook couscous according to directions on package.

Combine all the ingredients, up to the balsamic vinegar.  In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic and olive oil until emulsified.  Pour into the couscous mixture and toss to coat.  Serve either on its own or with a main dish.

Frittata with Fontina Cheese

It’s no surprise that I love feeding people.  It’s the little old Italian grandmother in me that gets a ridiculous amount of satisfaction from making food and sharing it with the people in my life.  My neighbors must love this about me because I feed them about every other day.  Okay, slight exaggeration, but we do get together for dinner every week and one of us cooks.

Last week I invited them over for some pork chops midweek, but had neglected to think of a side dish.  I ALWAYS do this.  Maybe its’ just a weird Liz thing, but I will have the entire main dish planned and then five minutes before I start cooking go, “A side dish!  What the hell do I make for a side dish?!”  Not wanting to go through an entire bag of frozen vegetables, I decided that a frittata was really the only way to go.  When in doubt, go with a frittata.  Words to live by, folks.

For those of you are unfamiliar with frittatas (the horror!) it’s basically an Italian omelette.  Instead of dealing with flipping and all that jazz, though, the added ingredients (i.e. meat, cheese and veggies) are baked right into the egg.  It starts out on the stove and then finishes up in the broiler for a nice golden top.

Btw — any New Girl fans out there?  I pretty much died when Schmidt made the frittata reference last night.

“Are you cooking a frittata in a sauce pan?  What is this, prison?”

You gotta ❤ Schmidt.  Seriously.

Frittata with Fontina Cheese

Ingredients:

5 eggs

1 tbsp milk

4 oz fontina cheese, cubed

parmesan cheese

Directions:

Crack and beat the eggs in a bowl.  Pour in the milk and fontina cheese, and mix until combined.  Meanwhile, heat an oven-safe saute pan over medium heat.  Pour in the egg mixture and top with parmesan cheese.  Cook until the egg is set, 10-15 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and put in the pan for 3-4 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Cut into wedges and serve.