This is THE Fall Salad

  It’s got glazed pecans. Apple chips. Garlic balsamic vinaigrette. Gorgonzola cheese. Red onion. Oh my, it’s amazing. And you are going to make it all!
I was searching online for Fall salads and this one boasted to be the copycat recipe for the Panera Fuji Apple Salad. OMG yes, am I right?? I was on board. This is the recipe for the salad and dressing. But what about the apple chips? The glazed pecans? Are we home cooks or are we HOME COOKS??   
 I have already posted a lovely recipe for apple chips previously in this blog, and you can view it here. Word of warning: don’t add the sugar and cinnamon like I did! It adds too much sweetness to the salad.  
Finally, what about those glazed pecans? They are easy, and they are fabulous! Here’s the recipe:

Glazed Pecans

2 T. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp butter
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves

Add all ingredients except pecans to skillet and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Add pecans and stir until well coated, 5-7 minutes. Spread pecans in a single layer onto parchment paper and let cool.

As for the sheer volume of tasks for this salad, spread it out! It’s what we do at the bakery I work at. Make the apple chips on Monday, the glazed pecans on Tuesday, and cook the chicken and serve the salad Wednesday. And your loved ones will be AH-MAZED!!



Easy Recipe of the Week: Fish Tacos!

Fish tacos. Are. AWESOME! The flakiness of the fish combined with creamy avocado, crunchy cabbage and the irresistible sourness of fresh lime juice is one of my favorite things. And when my husband and I planned on spending the day at Kings Dominion, I knew I needed a simple dinner that was as delicious as it was easy.

Fish Tacos 
Serves 2

2-3 white fish filets
2 limes
2 avocados
1 small head red cabbage
Various seasonings
Corn tortillas

Here’s how I did it: the day before, chop up half a head of red cabbage (green would work too but it’s not as fun!). Mix mayonnaise (enough to reach a dressing consistency) and juice of one lime in a bowl before adding cabbage. Cover and store in fridge.

When you’re ready for dinner, rinse your fish filets (tilapia, catfish, even frozen & thawed–any white fish will do), and season them with a bunch of seasonings! I added garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, ginger, oregano, salt and pepper, basically whatever I have on my spice rack.
Heat pan on medium high heat, add olive oil and/or butter and sauté fish for 3 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, wrap corn tortillas (I do 3 per person, 6 total) together in tinfoil and place in oven. Preheat oven to 300 degrees to warm them up. Grab 2 avocados, cut them open and scoop them out. Slice each one into thin pieces and place on a plate; squeeze with half a lime.

And that’s your dinner! Cut the last half a lime into 2 wedges and put one on each plate. Perfect for hungry and sore roller coaster riders! 🙂

  Nick and I at Kings Dominion 💏

Eat Yo Greens

Disclaimer: I am not a healthy eater. I like fresh, real foods, but I don’t try to skimp on the stuff that tastes good–fat, sugar, salt…however, I am getting married in less than 3 weeks. And what better time to try and curb your habits a bit, right?

I like salads. Salads always taste so good in restaurants, but their complexities always boggled my mind a little to make at home. Salads need balance; a crunchy element, a sweet element; what dressings complimented what ingredients?? And so on.  When I wanted to make a salad, I’d break out my classic Caesar, with romaine hearts, torn bread croutons and homemade dressing complete with anchovies and egg yolk. (Pictured above)

But then my lovely husband to be requested a salad every week. Who wants to eat the same salad week to week? The only thing worth eating every week is pizza! ;).

So I went all out with the next one. It’s Cobb, baby! Hard boiled eggs, bacon, homemade croutons–along with broccoli, tomatoes and green onion. Topped with ranch because it’s always in our house (good for dipping pizza crusts–I told you I wasn’t healthy!).

Next go around was a simpler salad, made up of various pantry items. Mushrooms, some leftover broccoli, feta cheese, tomato, and sunflower seeds. I tossed it with my own made up recipe of oil and (apple cider) vinegar because I’m sort of trying to avoid dairy. Sort of…

Tonight was another fancy salad! I candied some pecans in sugar and added them to this sweet salad of pears, avocado and blue cheese. Topped it off with a mustard vinaigrette.

Behold, the most summery salad of all salads! I got some of those delicious little creamer potatoes and boiled them for a few minutes, blanched them in cold water, then quartered them. Grilled corn in the husk then slipped them out and cut the corn right off the cob. Add cherry tomatoes, red onion and lettuce grown from your garden and toss with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

 This is my Summer-fading-into-Fall salad. Make it easy on yourself and dice up the meat from a rotisserie chicken. Add it to one diced green apple and half a cup of oven-toasted pecans, and toss together with red leaf romaine and a mustard-orange vinaigrette.

It’s fun finding new and interesting ways to eat lettuce! I hope this post inspired you to try your hand at making a delicious salad.





My Favorite Dinner


While there are plenty of unhealthy activities I enjoy (baking–and eating–cupcakes, fried and/or fast foods, drinking too much, soaking up the sun, being lazy…), there are definitely times where a dose of healthful living is necessary. Enter, one of my favorite meals. Not only is it simple, it’s flavorful, refreshing and makes you feel great afterwards. This is one of my go-to dinners when I’ve been behaving badly. 🙂
First, I dice up tomatoes, onions and jalapeños, throw them together in a bowl and squeeze half a lime over it. (The amount is dependent on how many mouths you feed.) Stick it into the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes, an hour, a few days–your choice. When it’s dinner time, put a pot of water on the burner and preheat the oven to the temp needed for your fish. I made tilapia at 425 degrees. Spread a little olive oil onto a rimmed cookie sheet, then lay your fish down and season the way you like. I used butter, white wine, lemon juice with the peels, and my Feisty Fish seasoning. Liquid is important when baking fish to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
When the water is boiling, throw in your rice and cook as directed.
Bake your fish at the time needed (fish varies depending on size and variety), and then create your masterpiece! I lay the rice down in a flat spread, then the fish, and then spoon the salsa mixture on top. Gorgeous and absolutely delicious, it’s a treat every time. 😉


Poulet Parfait

20130909-163600.jpgPerfect chicken

Cooking meat is not my specialty. I can bake with the best of them and make a mean risotto, but cooking meat until its done (not over or under) has always been a challenge. I aim for rare with steak and I get well done; I aim for juicy and moist chicken breast and I get an alarming pink center. However, recently I have been cooking beautiful, moist chicken breasts, without a hint of pink. If you struggle like me, then I am here to tell you, the fight is over! Follow this recipe and the results will amaze you.

Perfect Chicken

Pound chicken breasts to the same height with the handle or flat of a knife. Heat sauté pan on Medium High heat. When hot, add dash of olive oil and a scoop of butter and swirl then around in pan. Lower heat to medium and add chicken breasts.
Feisty note: I generally like to marinate my meat, but if you don’t have the time, season with salt, pepper and whatever else you want to use. Chopped rosemary is a favorite of mine and is very easy to grow.
Sauté chicken for one minute to brown. Flip over, then cover pan and set heat to Low. Now for the trick: set timer for 10 minutes and DO NOT TOUCH. Leave it to cook and walk away. When timer goes off, turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.
Cut into it if you must, but I’m telling you–I’ve tried this twice and it works amazingly. Now all I need is a perfect steak method…

Love, Feisty

Home Cooking

This past week, I’ve ended up having breakfast burritos for dinner twice.  Maybe that doesn’t sound weird to you, but I usually don’t like to repeat dinner items during the week.  I’m not going to have a burger on Tuesday and be in the mood for a burger again on Thursday, you know?  Not so with the breakfast burrito, not so.

I decided to update the breakfast burrito of my past, Dad’s simple scrambled eggs, bacon & cheese combination, by adding some veggies and some hashbrowns.  Oooooh boy, you are in for a treat!

What you will need:
2 saute pans
burrito-sized tortillas
hashbrowns/shredded potatoes

Anything you don’t like, want to change out, whatever; go ahead!  This isn’t a strict recipe, just my idea of a delicious breakfast burrito!

First, get your bacon frying in one of the saute pans.  I did 3 pieces of thick cut bacon for 2 people, which was more than enough.  For thinner pieces of bacon, you might want to do 2 per person.  If there’s leftovers, just eat them! 😉
While the bacon is frying, dice up your veggies until they are uniform in size, about small enough to be combined easily with the egg while not being too small they disappear.  You want to taste them!  The amounts are completely up to you.
When the bacon is about done, get your other saute pan on the heat and put some oil in there.  Once that’s heated, throw in your shredded potatoes to make the hashbrowns.  I am shamed to say we just bought some frozen shredded potatoes, which makes it a hell of a lot easier but not healthier.  I prefer to shred potatoes when making hashbrowns, but sometimes you want time on your side.
Get the potatoes cooking only when the bacon is done and out of the pan onto some paper towels.  Scoop out as much of the crud in the bacon pan as you can, reserving about a tablespoon (just eye it) of the bacon grease.  Get that back on the heat and add your veggies.  Cook them down for a minute or two and then throw your eggs in.  We did 4, 2 eggs per person, which worked out well.  We probably could’ve done 3 total!  I think we eat too much.
So, recap!  You are now cooking your eggs, stirring regularly to scramble them, while your potatoes are browning.  Flip the hashbrowns at some point, usually after 3-5 minutes.  The goal is to have everything cooking done at the same time.  In my house, THIS NEVER HAPPENS.  So don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen for you.  Our eggs were always done first, but as long as something is hot in that burrito, it will all be hot.

Now, get your tortilla spread out and ready on your plate.  You could heat up the tortilla if you wanted to, but we didn’t bother.  Put the cheese down first.  Doesn’t matter what you use; Ryan and I are partial to Boar’s Head Chipotle Gouda right now, and that worked great!  Creamy & spicy, yummmmmm.

Once you have your cheese on your tortilla, start scooping the food in.  I like to add the eggs & veggies first, as the heat will melt the cheese.  Then add your hashbrowns, and finally, break the bacon into bite-size pieces as you place it in your burrito.  Wrap it all up (if you can!) and voila, a heavenly dish.  Good for dinner, or breakfast, I’m sure! 😉  The nice thing is it really doesn’t take that long to make.  No photos because we scarfed them up!!

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