Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I love a good lettuce wrap. They are light and healthy yet still filling. Joel on the other hand, does not share my sentiments. He put on his super sad face when he found out what we were having for dinner. And instead of being a sweet, caring wife I kind of laughed at said sad face. He’ll survive.
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The combination of the cool, crisp cucumber slaw and the hot, orange sesame chicken is out of this world good. I’m pretty sure I dreamed about them that night. Then I wanted to make them for dinner the next night….I didn’t but that would have been funny!
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These are perfect for summer. Serve alongside some grilled zucchini for the ultimate light, healthy and delicious meal.

Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps
recipe adapted from Alexandra Cooks

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes
1 green onion, green and white parts, sliced
8 to 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes or strips

For the cucumber slaw:
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 thick carrot (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/8-inch strips
1 cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch strips
2 to 3 green onions, white and green parts, sliced on the diagonal
16 lettuce leaves (romaine, Boston, Bibb, or green or red leaf)

1. First make the marinade. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, oils, ginger, garlic, chili flakes and green onions. Pour into a zip top bag and add chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (I marinated for 3 hours).

2. Meanwhile, make the cucumber slaw. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and ginger. Stir in the carrot, cucumber and green onions. Let sit in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. To cook the chicken, heat a skillet over medium high heat; add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Cook chicken in one layer at a time until browned and cooked through.

4. To assemble, lay a lettuce leaf on a plate then top with cucumber slaw and chicken.

Double Orange Muffins

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I’m sure it’s no surprise to you all by now that we enjoy our fair share of muffins around here. I mean, just look at all the muffin recipes I have shared with you over the years….14! And now 15 with these double orange muffins.
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I love how easy muffins are to mix up and have on hand for easy breakfasts and snacks. Noah loves helping me cook so they are simple enough that he can help through the whole process (with the exception of the oven).
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These muffins are definitely more dense in texture than the typical muffin but the sour cream lends so much moistness that it’s not a heavy, dry dense. They are bursting with bright orange flavor from all the fresh juice and zest, making them feel a bit lighter and very summery.

Luckily, I gave most of these away otherwise I probably would have hid them from the husband and son I love so much so that I could eat all of them myself. Ok, maybe I would have saved one for them….maybe.

Double Orange Muffins
recipe from Damn Delicious

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I didn’t quite use it all)
2 tsp. fresh orange zest

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease generously with non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sour cream, egg, orange juice and zest. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined (stirring too much will result in tough muffins).

3. Scoop into prepared muffin tin (I use an ice cream scoop to ensure all muffins are of equal size and bake evenly). Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

4. Meanwhile, stir together the powdered sugar and orange zest. Slowly drizzle in orange juice, whisking, until desired consistency has been reached.

5. Dip cooled muffins in prepared glaze and place on a cooling rack with parchment underneath (to catch drips). Allow glaze to set and store in an airtight container.

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Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce 1
I love cookbooks. Seriously. LOVE. I have a ton and am running out of room to store them in my kitchen. I’m starting to consider a bookshelf or wire baskets hung on the wall so that I can continue my obsession collection. Wouldn’t three of those baskets hung vertically on the wall be really cute! I think I’m going to do it in my dining room since I don’t have any real wall space in my kitchen.
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But in the meantime I should probably stop purchasing them. The addiction still calls my name so when I take Noah to the library every couple weeks, I always hit the cookbook section and borrow a few. When I recently spotted Michael Symon’s 5 in 5, I snatched it up since I’m a big fan of The Chew and his 5 in 5 segments.
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Let me start off by saying this recipe is delicious but it definitely took me more than 5 minutes to make. Maybe it was because I move too slow or perhaps because my sous chef is 3 years old rather than a culinary trained celebrity chef. Either way, it was still a quick weeknight meal that was packed with bright flavors.
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Citrus, jalapeno, peanuts and cilantro all combine to create a zippy Thai flavor profile. And have I told you that I love chicken thighs. I’ve always been a white meat kind of girl (and still would usually choose it) but it’s a nice change every once and awhile. So much more flavor and juiciness. To make it a bit healthier, you could switch to boneless, skinless breasts but I think the extra fat is totally worth it here.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
recipe from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5

2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
8 (4 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange zest, orange juice, jalapeno, soy sauce and olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with half the peanut sauce.

3. Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto skewers (I skipped the skewers but it would make it easier). Grill for 3 minutes, flip and cook another 2 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from grill and drizzle with some reserved peanut sauce and top with cilantro.

Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo

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So, I’ve been trying to write this post for about two hours but I’m just drawing a blank. Probably because the little miss has been waking up about every 10 minutes so I have to go in her room and pop her pacifier back in her mouth. You could guess that sleep has been a precious commodity around here lately. One that I’m not getting. Noah has been sleeping more than she has….there is something majorly wrong with that picture. Luckily, she’ll sleep for a few hours straight at night but naps have been non-existent.

No sleep = unhappy, grumpy mama. You know what does make me happy though? These pork chops. They have a warm smokiness due to the cumin and spices and a yummy zip from the citrus. It really is a perfect combination.
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Plus they are pretty quick and easy to make. If you don’t count the marinating time, I would say they only take about 15 minutes from start to finish. A perfect weeknight meal with some major Cuban flair.

Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo
recipe from Food Network

1 cup plus 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup  vinegar
4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried  oregano
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white wine

1. In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, and vinegar.  Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.

3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, and white wine. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.

4. Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half.  Pour over the chops and serve immediately.

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette Since starting this blog, I’ve began making a lot more things from scratch and dressings are one of my favorites. It’s amazing how much healthier and cheaper it is to make your own. And bonus, it’s incredibly easy. Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

This weekend I tried a new pork chop recipe that incorporated lots of citrus so I wanted to serve a simple salad alongside them to get in our greens for the day. I did a little searching and found this simple, delicious vinaigrette. It’s creamy, zingy and perfect atop some mixed greens sprinkled with toasted pecans. Just throw everything in your blender and let her run for a few seconds. Way better than buying a bottle! Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette
recipe from The Kiwi Cook

½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Zest + Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Grated ginger (to taste – I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh herbs (like flat-leaf parsley, basil, lemon basil, chives, etc.)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until incorporated and creamy.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies {Christmas Tray 2013}

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Now that it’s November, I think it’s acceptable to start talking Christmas and I’m very excited to be sharing my first treat of the season. My dad loves these kind of cookies so when I came across a recipe in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, I knew it would be a great cookie to whip up and share with you all for your Christmas baking (and take to my parents so that I wouldn’t eat them all).
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
The original recipe called for cranberries and raisins but I decided to change it up a bit and use craisins instead. The thing that really jumped out at me with this recipe is the use of orange zest. I knew it would be amazing with the tart craisins and it totally is. I love the texture of the oatmeal and the sweet, creaminess of the white chocolate too. They are basically perfect for Christmas. You have to make them, mmkay?
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
recipe adapted from Best Loved Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups craisins
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 pkg. (12 oz.) white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl then add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, craisins, orange zest and white chocolate chips.

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Spring Sangria

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Looking for the perfect cocktail to serve at all your spring and summer barbeques? Well, I’m sharing it with you today! While I can’t report on the full tastiness of this because of that big news I told you on Friday I can say I sampled it before the wine was added and it was so yummy. I can only imagine how much more tasty it was with the Moscato.
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But, don’t worry, I got the full report from the peeps I made it for and I totally trust their opinions! It was light, refreshing, citrusy, bubbly and (a bit to Joel’s disappointment) not very boozy. It’s a wine cocktail for goodness sakes, it’s just supposed to taste good. That’s what I think at least. I personally really don’t like the taste of any kind of alcohol and would almost always opt for a cherry coke over a cocktail. I’m not a big wine fan (and now you are wondering why I’m writing about wine) but if I am going to drink it, I like the fruity, bubbly, juice tasting variety. So, I know I would have liked the spiked version of this.

It was just amazingly refreshing and will be especially perfect once the hot, humid weather strikes! I can’t wait to be able to try the full version of this.
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Spring Sangria
recipe from Eat, Drink, Love

1 (750 mL) fruity white wine (I used Moscato)
3 cups lemon lime soda
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Sliced lemons, limes and oranges
Sugar, optional

1. In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, lemon lime soda, pineapple juice and the orange juice. Then gently stir in the slices of fruit.

2. Place the sangria in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and serve. This is something you don’t want to make ahead of time because of the fruit. If you do need to make this more than two hours in advance, mix all the liquid ingredients together and chill. Then right before serving, add the sliced fruit.

3. If you want to pretty up the rims of your glasses, dip them lightly in water then in a shallow dish filled with sugar. Then fill ‘em up and enjoy!

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