New Years Eve Throw-down! Appetizer II: “Pigs in a Blanket”

Who even came up with the “pigs in a blanket” name? Either way, New Years is never NYE without these guys present at the appetizer table. I feel like people never say no to them also, and so that’s why they’re always a hit for parties, large or small.

Franks in blankets are basically small cocktail franks rolled up in crescent roll dough from the container. I cannot express how simple this recipe is, that I won’t be including a recipe at the bottom *GASP*

…still working on my flat lay and making these pics fancy but I’m just living my best life

The reason I chose to make these on my own is because I have honestly always wanted to see if I can make them just as good as the store-bought kind. Survey says, YES!

Alright, here’s the breakdown of ingredients:

  • One 8oz can of crescent rolls
  • One package cocktail franks
  • Melted butter
  • Coarse sea salt

To make these babies is totally simple:

  1. Open canister of crescent rolls and pull apart at the perforated seams.
  2. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and lay out the crescent roll dough
  3. Cut the dough into smaller portions
  4. Take a cocktail frank and start at the thinner end of one of the crescent rolls and roll from one end to the other, pinching at the end. Repeat
  5. Spray a nonstick pan with olive or coconut oil, layer the piggies on the pan, spread the melted butter on top, then sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375* (adjust heat as needed).

These will easily become a staple at any event, in fact, I’m planning these for a Superbowl party along with another showstopper: spinach dip! Nomaste 🙂

New Years Eve Throw-down! Appetizer 1: Potato Skins

365 days, 525,600 minutes (I had to get a RENT reference in there), 52 weeks, 12 months, blah blah blah… It’s the NEW YEAR BABY! I have mixed feelings about celebrating the new year. Some years I went out with friends (we did do Manhattan three times for NYE, and it was absolutely worth it), some years I worked at restaurants and made bank, and then others I spent at home drinking champs solo and eating everything I wanted. This year was the latter, minus the drinks (I had one glass) and add a pup and a husband.

When you think of traditional appetizers, whether for NYE or at a restaurant, say Applebee’s, what comes to mind? I automatically think of quesadillas, buffalo wings, spinach dip, and potato skins. My favorite are buffalo wings, but since I didn’t feel like doing those, I opted for some skins. Shockingly, these are pretty easy, but do take a while to prep and make; they also take up a lot of time in the oven – in and out three times in fact! The end result is totally worth the prep and time.

*fun fact: I worked at Applebee’s and loved every second of it. Hands down their best apps were the quesadillas, boneless wings, wonton tacos, and mozzarella sticks*

Choosing the type of potato for potato skins actually does matter. Russet potatoes tend to stand up to a triple bake and holding “loaded” toppings like sour cream and cheese. They have a bit more starch to them and can bake in 45 minutes. I started by rinsing the potatoes and placing them on a sheet pan, baking them at 375* for 45 minutes. If you sense that they are burning, fear not, just turn the heat down to 350*. Once they’re done baking, let them cool and begin to cut in half.

After cutting, you need to scoop out the insides, leaving a slight layer of potato in the skins. MAKE SURE YOUR POTATOES ARE COOL. This will burn if they are not cool enough to handle. Scoop out the insides, melt butter and spread the melted butter on the insides of scoop skins. Sprinkle some salt on then and bake again for 5-7 minutes, turning them over to brown on the top.

These babies are now ready to melt with cheese and your favorite toppings. Throw the skins back in to bake with cheese until the cheese melts. Layer onto a plate and top with chives, sour cream, bacon, etc. Fun, festive, and freaking delicious! Nomaste 🙂

Potato Skins

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 skins
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 6 Russet potatoes large
  • 2 tbsp Butter melted
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Chives
  • Sour Cream as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Rinse potatoes and place on baking sheet.  Bake in middle rack of oven for 45 minutes.  Lower heat if needed.

  3. After baking, let cool until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.  Cut potatoes in half and scoop out the centers, leaving a 1/4″ thick layer of potato.

  4. Melt butter and spread on each skin. Sprinkle salt.  Bake for 5-7 minutes, turning potato skins over to brown midway through baking.

  5. Take potatoes out and sprinkle cheese.  Bake for the third time until cheese is fully melted and bubbling.

  6. Add favorite toppings such as chives, sour cream, and bacon.

A Leftover’s Makeover: Chicken Zucchini Boats

If you haven’t heard about using zucchini as a vessel for chicken, lamb, ground beef, etc., you absolutely live under a rock. It’s a “thing,” a trendy new way to use zucchini sans making them into noodles (I have feelings about zoodles but that’s for another post).

Zucchini happens to be one of my favorite vegetables to eat. Not only is it high in water and fiber, it’s actually known to lower blood pressure and provide your body ample amounts of vitamin C. Zucchini is incredibly versatile and when made into tiny “boats,” it can turn any meal into a low-carb masterpiece!

I originally sought to make these boats in an enchilada style, but that will be a follow-up recipe. Instead of taking out more chicken and boiling it then shredding, seasoning, and making an enchilada sauce, I opted to repurpose the leftover coconut cream and tomato chicken thighs from yesterday’s blog post (that recipe can be found here). Ready for the step by step? It’s super easy that it doesn’t even require a recipe. Here’s the deal:

  1. Take four zucchini and slice in half.
  2. Hollow out the zucchini with a spoon (or melon scoop) and repeat until all are finished. Remember to not hollow all the way down to leave a “skin” of zucchini so it resembles a boat. They will soften in the oven.
  3. Preheat oven to 350*
  4. Layer in the leftover chicken (or you can use ground beef, lamb, etc.) Be generous here 🙂
  5. Place in dish (pre-sauced with any kind of marinara sauce or some leftover sauce from the chicken).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes; take out at 15 minutes to sprinkle cheddar cheese and turn oven to broil.
  7. Broil until cheese is melted about 3 minutes.

THAT’S LITERALLY IT. Here are pictures to explain visually (it’s also really not complex, just follow the steps above).

Don’t worry, if you weren’t able to use leftovers it’s really alright. Make some taco meat with taco seasonings found on Thrive Market and make taco boats! Hmmm, #idea.

Nomaste 🙂

Coconut Cream and Crushed Tomato Chicken

Just like Bubba said in Forrest Gump about shrimp, there are a million ways to make chicken. You can grill it, bake it, bread it, fry it, broil it, sauté it, and the list goes on and on. There are days where I despise chicken, especially bland, grilled chicken breast on a salad (boring AF), but when chicken is done well, and it’s not always the breast, it can be a show-stopping meal.

The finished plate with crumbled feta on top, a side of sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes.

When I was in my 20s, I was told that the dark meat of chicken is bad for you and that it’s too “fatty” and will make me fat. Now that I’ve had 10 years of learning what foods work for me and my own body, and what foods I find I can and cannot eat, chicken thighs tend to be the cut of the chicken I gravitate toward most. Sure, there is definitely more fat, and there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Ya heard? Fat will not make you fat (at least not in moderation and eating the correct fats). This happens to be a very simple recipe and will cook on its own in a dutch oven (or a crockpot –> on low for 5-6 hours). The difference this recipe makes is two ingredients: Herbes de Provence and coconut cream (NOT milk, cream). These can both be found at Trader Joe’s.

*if you don’t have Herbes de Provence you can use several dried herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, and garlic powder*

I start with the chicken thighs, organic and freshly cleaned, and place them on a cutting board. Sprinkle a generous amount of Herbes de Provence on both sides of the chicken and let sit. Another quick tip: let the chicken sit out to get to room temperature, as this allows the chicken to remain juicy and not tense up as it hits a hot pan.  I heat my dutch oven first then melt 3 tbsp of butter and add the chicken to the butter and let simmer.

Once the chicken simmers and sears on both sides, I add in the crushed tomatoes (I really like Cento 28oz as it yields a lot of sauce and is low sugar) and coconut cream. Cream is a thicker consistency and makes the sauce thicker too. I season with salt and pepper and lower the flame to low and cover. This will sit on low heat for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. That’s it.

When the chicken is done, it’ll be beautifully pulled and in shreds, incredibly tender and juicy, and delicious with the coconut tomato sauce. Serve with any veggies and potato, or over rice and beans, maybe even fusili pasta?! The possibilities are truly endless 🙂 Nomaste!

Leftover chicken in coconut cream tomato sauce – can be reused for enchiladas…add some chili powder and BOOM!

Coconut Cream and Crushed Tomato Chicken

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chicken
Keyword Chicken, coconut, cream, dinner, dutch oven, easy, healthy, simmered, tomato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 6 Chicken thighs untrimmed
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3/4 can Coconut cream NOT milk
  • Herbes de Provence generous seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Clean and pat dry chicken thighs and lay on a cutting board. Sprinkle Herbes de Provence generously on both sides of the chicken.  Let sit.

  2. In a dutch oven, melt butter and place chicken into pan.  Searing both sides of chicken, about 5-7 minutes each side.

  3. Add in can of crushed tomato sauce and 1/2 can of coconut cream.  Stir to mix liquid.  Judge here if you need more coconut cream, if so, add in a drop more.

  4. Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer for 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

  5. Serve immediately with vegetables or sides of choice.

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip “Health” Cookies

I am not a baker. I don’t pretend to be one nor do I play one on television. I just love food. Today, I received my first ever Kitchen Aid hand mixer and was super excited to make homemade chocolate chip cookies. For the most part, I have an idea of what goes into making chocolate chip cookies and was able to gather ingredients easily. However, I always like to alter ingredients and see what I can substitute with healthy ones.

The finished product!

A few years ago I fell upon a type of sugar called coconut sugar and I swear by it when baking. It is relatively a 1:1 substitution for regular cane sugar and is made from the heart of the coconut. I actually use it for a substitution of brown sugar as well, but this recipe calls for both coconut sugar and light brown sugar. It’s low glycemic and has a beautifully sweet smell, except it doesn’t yield such a strong sugary flavor *disclaimer: I did mention these were going to be healthy chocolate chip cookies, so if you’re a sugar-fiend or really enjoy a traditional Toll House cookie, this may not be for you, but in fairness, give it a try and see what you think!* 

I started with my dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking the flours (1 cup cassava, 1 cup A.P (all purpose)) salt and baking soda. Setting that aside, I took my butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar and whisked together with my fancy new hand mixer *ooooh, ahhhhh* until it was fully blended and smooth.

After the mix blended, I cracked an egg into the brown sugar and butter mixture and blended on medium speed one at a time (two eggs in total) until fully immersed. I slowly added in the flour and mixed until all the flour was fully blended in and the batter became sticky. I decided to throw in two kinds of chocolate chips: milk chocolate chips and stevia dark chocolate mini chips because #yolo.

On two separate baking trays, cut parchment paper and scoop a tablespoon of batter into your hands and form small balls with the batter. Place on the rack and fill with three rows of four balls (12 in total per rack, 24 balls altogether). Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, switching the top and bottom cookie trays halfway to cook evenly (and NOT do what I did and have one batch be perfectly brown while the other had black bottoms, sigh… I did say I’m not a baker…)

Let cool and enjoy 🙂 Again, these are not your typical chocolate chip cookies; they will be chewy, a little doughy, definitely healthy, and altogether quite tasty! I can’t wait for you to give these a try! ~ Nomaste

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip “Health” Cookies

Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American, Cookies
Keyword cassava, coconut, cookies, healthy, paleo
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter (or 1 1/2 sticks) room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure oven racks are in the middle of the oven.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside

  3. In another large bowl, blend together on medium speed the unsalted butter and two different sugars until fluffy and creamy. About 4-5 minutes.

  4. Crack in one egg at a time into the butter mixture and continue to beat until fully blended.  Add in the vanilla extract and mix.

  5. Slowly begin to pour the flour into the butter mixture and blend on medium speed.  Add in the chocolate chips and mix well, about 2-3 minutes.

  6. Scoop some of the cookie batter into semi-wet hands to form balls and place on two baking trays lined with parchment, making 3 rows of four balls each tray (24 balls altogether).  Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom halfway through.

  7. Take trays out and let cook on the baking trays for 5-7 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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