Back to the Real World

After a nice and relaxing summer, it’s finally time for me to return to school. I thought I was ready to go back so that I could get back into a steady routine, but we started classes this past Monday and it’s been more difficult than I anticipated. The last few weeks of my precious summer break were pretty unoccupied. I got used to getting up and going for a run, then lounging around the house for a while and then, filling my day with whatever I felt like doing. Sometimes that included running errands, which turned into unnecessary shopping sprees a few times (one good reason I’m back in school, too busy for those outings!). Having essentially nothing to do was especially nice when the Olympics were in session, I was basically glued to the TV; it was fun to see events I had never seen before, like synchronized swimming and trampoline. Making the transition from the couch to the classroom has been more work than I thought. It’s been difficult to sit still, pay attention, and keep myself from surfing the internet (something I never used to do in class). I’ve also had a hard time making myself study outside of class. I finally got some things done last night and this morning and I’m going to attempt to study this afternoon, but I’m still not totally back in the swing of things. Hopefully I’ll get it together soon and get back into the routine of studying pretty much all day every day. On the brighter side, I’m pretty excited to say that I now own my first stethoscope, it’s purple and has my name engraved on it (Look out y’all, I’m getting more and more official every day!). Anyway, I’ve managed to cook up some pretty delicious recipes the past couple weeks and I’m eager to share them. I have three today and then I’ll post another set early next week in a short post since I was a little behind on posting this week.

 

Stuffed Cod
I posted a recipe a few weeks ago about stuffed flounder that I made with my family at the beach. I decided to give it a try again at home, but the grocery store didn’t have any fresh flounder. I decided to go with cod instead since I’m used to cooking it and I knew I liked it’s flavor. I was a little worried at first because it’s thicker and more firm than flounder, but everything turned out great. I now think that this stuffing will go great with just about anything– pork chops, chicken, or any kind of fish. If you’re using a thicker or firmer piece of meat like I did, you’ll need to either pound it out (if possible) or cut into it from the side (like you would a hoagie roll for a sandwich), which is what I chose for the cod. For the stuffing, all you need to do is cook one bag of instant brown, wild, or whole grain rice then sauté whatever veggies you’d like to add in about 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Mix the rice and veggies and add any cooked seafood or sausage that you like. I used celery, green pepper, and onion for my veggies and seasoned them with Tony Cachere’s and Rendezvous Seasonings to my liking. I then stuffed the fish like a sandwich and seasoned the fish the same way. Bake your choice of meat until done and enjoy. This will make four to five servings depending on how big your pieces of meat are. Mine was too big, but I ate it all anyway because it was so good (I’m working on getting that under control again). In my opinion making the stuffing with rice is a little healthier than using white bread crumbs, anything with whole grains gives you some good nutrients. This is a really simple recipe, that’s easy to make and fun to play around with. I hope you’ll try it out sometime!

Spicy Basil Chicken
Everyone knows I love basil. I’ve been using it a lot more frequently since I have it growing in a pot on my front porch. I received this recipe by email and was a little hesitant to try it because spicy and basil just don’t seem to go together and I’m not the hugest fan of spicy food. I decided I should take a step outside my comfort zone and give it a try, and I’m glad I did. The recipe came with instructions for a couple different side dishes, but I just went with plain snap beans. As you can see I added a little too much salt; I had to dust them off a little before I actually ate. You basically cook the chicken in a skillet and add the sauce just before its done so it can thicken up. I followed the recipe and used their suggested substitution of soy sauce for fish sauce since I already had soy sauce in the cabinet. The chili paste definitely gives the chicken a kick that will clear your sinuses. It wasn’t too spicy though, I thought it was just right for me. The basil kind of counter balanced it with a nice fresh flavor that worked well with the other spices. Once again this was quick and easy and would make a great appetizer dish for a party. Not only was it a great dinner, but it made good leftovers too! Click here for the recipe.

Avocado, Corn, Zucchini Wraps
Last week I had chosen Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas as one of my recipes to make, but somehow, I never got around to it. I was going out of town for the weekend, but I had already bought the ingredients and I didn’t want them to go to waste. Before leaving last Friday, I wasn’t really in the mood for my usual salad at lunch, so I just decided I would whip something up that was similar to the tostadas recipe. I sautéed the fresh corn, zucchini, and a shallot with some olive oil and added cumin and crushed red pepper as seasoning. I made some plain guacamole with one avocado (made enough for two wraps, I shared with Caroline).  Using a whole wheat tortilla, I spread the guacamole on the bottom, added the warm corn mixture, a little cheddar jack cheese, and topped it with some fresh cilantro. It was so yummy! I’ve probably said a million times how much I like Mexican food because of all the spices that make it so delicious. This one was no exception. The cumin, crushed red pepper and cilantro gave a good spicy flavor, but the avocado and cheese balanced it out perfectly. This was a perfect size lunch all by itself, the avocado really made it filling, so I didn’t need anything else to go along with it. This one took me about ten minutes to make, which is perfect if you’re running home for lunch one day. Give it a try!!

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