Monday, January 25, 2016

Vanilla Coconut Macaroons

Crispy, chewy, super coconut-y -- in my mind, that makes the perfect coconut macaroon.

In my younger days, I was all about chocolate, chocolate chocolate. Chocolate ice cream, double chocolate chip cookies, chocolate lava cake, yes please! And, to be clear, I do still LOVE chocolate.

But nowadays, sometimes I just want something a little lighter for dessert. Something that is just subtly sweet but loaded with great flavor. A lemon sorbet, perhaps, or a raspberry crumble bar. Or maybe, just maybe, a delicious Vanilla Coconut Macaroon.

Actually, there is no maybe. I DEFINITELY want one of these cookies...and then another and another. They are the ultimate trifecta of macaroon bliss (see above) with the added gourmet sweetness of two types of vanilla. I started this recipe by taking the caviar out of a vanilla bean and rubbing it into granulated sugar. This scents the sugar and permeates the vanilla flavor throughout the entire batter. Next, egg whites are whipped with the vanilla sugar to stiff peaks. This makes our macaroons a little more meringue-like. This is an optional step, but I think it really pumps up both the crispy outside and chewy gooey inside.

The recipe below can be easily adapted to suit you and your macaroon dreams! For a crunchier cookie, try toasting your coconut before mixing it into the egg whites. If you don't prefer that meringue-like exterior, just use a whisk to beat the egg whites until they are frothy and follow the rest of the recipe as written. I am also quite sure these are gluten free as long as you choose your ingredients accordingly - just check the labels!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pumpkin Oat Waffles

Are you anything like me?

When October hit, did you buy an obscene amount of canned pumpkin at the grocery store? Did you go through most of it? Do you still have three cans in your pantry?

I am basic and proud, and throughout the Fall I do nothing to hide my undying love for anything and everything pumpkin-spiced. Then, when I got my much-coveted waffle iron for Christmas, all I could think about was pumpkin waffles!

I'm breaking the mold, baby! Pumpkin in January! No holding us back now!

But don't leave!! Since it is January, these Pumpkin Oat Waffles are loaded with a few good-for-you ingredients that will keep you on track with your New Years Resolutions! (I resolved to eat more waffles in far, so good.)

Pumpkin is loaded with fiber and the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, so this is a great place to start for these better-for-you waffles. Oats add even MORE fiber, as well as a nutty bite that complements the sweetness of the syrup (alas, what are waffles without syrup?!) We also will sub coconut oil for butter and pure maple syrup for the sugar. Rest assured, these are still some of the most flavorful waffles you will lay your mouth on!

OK OK a few notes about these *healthy* waffles...

1. Waffles become crispy, crunchy on the outside and light, fluffy on the inside usually from BUTTER. A whole stick of butter is my preference. I've done it before and I'll do it again because WOAH delicious. But, as you will see, these waffles include precisely ZERO tablespoons of butter and just one tablespoon of coconut oil. As a result, they are a little softer and more delicate coming out of the waffle iron. Some of my edges got smushed from the tongs. This is OK! If you desire more crunch, prep the waffles the day before then the next morning, pop em in the toaster for a more traditional crunch--very worth it, and look at you meal-planning like that!

2. I don't make waffles particularly sweet because I tend to be heavy-handed with the syrup on top. These waffles have a touch of syrup in the batter, along with vanilla extract and cinnamon, I found this to be sufficient but if you have a sweet tooth, replace 1 tablespoon of the milk with an additional tablespoon of syrup.

Enough with the chit chat, I KNOW you want these waffles in. your. belly. Here we go!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Soup

A few days ago, I was sitting eating my lunch and thinking about dinner. This isn't a weird thing, as I am often thinking about my next meal while I'm already eating. It's a normal and healthy relationship I have with food, and I hope you do it too.

During this lunchtime dinner brainstorming session, I realized I had a couple of cravings. One craving was for curry - a rich, spicy stir-fry with red curry paste and coconut milk cascading over a bed of rice. I think I get this craving from time to time because we live near a really great Indian restaurant and I often get whiffs of delicious food walking through the neighborhood with my pup. Anyway...craving number two was a craving for a warm, steamy bowl of soup! Chicken soup, in particular, because the Boston winter seems to finally be creeping around the corner and snow flurries are becoming fairly regular around here and surely the only way to stay warm was with a big pot of chicken and rice soup.

All of this back and forth of what to eat for dinner that night actually, and probably not surprisingly, led to a pretty happy meal that was the best of both worlds. This recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Soup is just what we need to keep us satisfied. The flavors are complex and exciting, which makes this a chicken soup worth remembering!

To amp up the curry flavor, this soup has two sources of that wonderful spicy, smokey, earthy taste - curry powder and red curry paste. Both are very easy to find in grocery stores with larger Asian offerings. The spice is intensified because, before adding chicken broth and coconut milk to our stock pot, we saute the curries and a small can of tomato sauce with our chicken and vegetables. You will immediately get a whiff of the wonderful flavors that will take over every bite of this soup!

Grab your favorite cuddle buddy, a big blanket, and a hearty helping of this soup - winter's got nothing on us!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Greek-Style Chicken Cutlets

Crunchy chicken. Salty feta. Juicy tomatoes. Crisp cucumbers. Fresh herbs. Sweet balsamic reduction. Mouth watering.

This dish is truly a party on a plate. Colorful and fresh, this meal is going to be on rotation again and again this year! It is indulgent enough to get us through the long winter, but cool enough to eat again and again this spring and summer! You're absolutely going to want to give this a try.

My recipe for Greek-Style Chicken Cutlets is a quick but flavorful meal that everyone in your family will love. I start by breading my chicken cutlets with panko breadcrumbs - these Japanese-style breadcrumbs keep the chicken extra crisp with a light and airy crunch after a simple pan-fry in olive oil.

For the topping, a greek salad, sans any lettuce, is essential to keep this dinner fresh and juicy. Diced cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley and a shallot get the party started. Feta can't be forgotten, because - CHEESE. Lastly, all the vegetables get tossed together with a glug of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice and a spritz of white wine vinegar. Too good!

The icing on the cake, the cherry on top if you will, is the rich, thick drizzle of balsamic reduction. P.S. I used a store-bought reduction this week, but way way back in the early years of GSG, I made a somewhat similar recipe and made my OWN reduction. Instructions here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Favorite Recipes of 2015

Happy New Year! 2016, can you even believe it?!

Before we jump into a new year, I wanted to take some time to go through and reminisce about your favorite recipes from 2015! Going through these really made me hungry - it's no surprise they were the most visited pages on Gas Stove Girl this year...yum!!

5. Beef Harvest Stew in the Crockpot

This stew is warm, comforting, and packed with all the great flavors of fall and winter. Added bonus: it's so easy! Just brown the beef and pop everything into your Crockpot! I really love my Crockpot - and it looks like you guys do, too :-)

4. Vegetable Lasagna Rolls

A fun twist on an old favorite! These veggie-packed lasagna rolls are good enough to share. And of course, these rolls are packed with everything that makes lasagna a universal favorite - cheese, cheese and more cheese!

3. Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

I love these meatballs and can't resist piling them high on top of a pile of whole wheat pasta tossed in a homemade pesto sauce. The contrast between the crispy crust and moist, zucchini-filled center of these meatballs makes them out of this world - totally decadent, but secretly pretty good for you! Perfect for the new year.

2. Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Cookies

These cookies are the way to my heart. They are completely out of this world. Packed with gourmet vanilla flavor and almond flour and studded with tasty chocolate, these are little clouds of happiness that will make anyone melt.

1. Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fire Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This pork is so delicious, it was the star of my Christmas dinner! This recipe is dressed to the nines thanks to a decadent, flavorful roasted red pepper sauce. I always say that pork is my favorite chicken alternative, and this dinner makes it obvious why!

So there you have it! Looking back at these delicious recipes makes me excited for a happy, healthy, tasty 2016!

Is there a recipe you've been dying to try? Leave a comment and I'll try my best to share it with you!