River rats

…well, my husband and I are more like beach bums but for last weekend, we were totally digging being river rats!

My sister-in-law and her husband have a vacation home in Parker, AZ right next to the Colorado River. They have been going nearly once a month for the past several years and this past weekend was the first time we were able to join them. So much fun!

We spent the weekend lounging around on the boat, making rustic foods, and drinking beer. They took us up and down the river to see the different landscapes and homes. We went to a couple of bars to hang out and also relaxed at the sand bar. I got to try SUP-ing  (stand up paddle boarding) for the first time while my husband got his first time experience with wake surfing. Both of us really enjoyed those sports!

What an amazing place. Sure it was 100+ degrees every day but while we were on the water, it was refreshing. The best part was taking a few days to reconnect with family, the most important people in our lives.

10500401_10152588220657276_5510687319805375040_n

 10550938_10152590608607276_4172130516961356652_n

 

The Best Pizzas in NYC

We recently got back from a vacation in New York City. I basically flew 2800 miles to eat pizza. Sure there were other foods I enjoyed tremendously during our time in the Big Apple but nothing quite came close to their perfect pie. It seems that every corner we turned there was a pizza parlor of sort serving NY’s famous thin crust pie.

Here are a handful of my favorite joints serving up my favorite food.

  1. Di Fara Pizza (in Brooklyn)
  2. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
  3. Bleecker Street Pizza
  4. Joe’s Pizza
  5. Patzeria Perfect Pizza
  6. NY Pizza Suprema

Next time you’re in NYC, be sure to stop by and enjoy a glorious slice of this cheesy, crispy goodness!

10444610_10154257817395183_8060098811288999434_n

Chicken Enchiladas

I just got back from a 4-day business trip in San Diego when I made this dish. When in San Diego, one must eat copious amounts of Mexican food – that’s the rule of thumb. Once I got home, I still had Mexican food on my mind when I decided to make this Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas recipe.

This dish was everything I wanted – smokey, cheesy, and meaty! By simply seasoning the chicken and browning it before I shredded it, it provided the sauce so much flavor. I opted to make my own Mexican seasoning since I couldn’t find it in my local market. With the leftover spice mix, I saved it in airtight container to be used for my next Taco Night!

Enchiladas always take more time than you originally planned, just like lasagna in that respect. But this end product was glorious. My husband raved about it for days!

image

Mexican Spice Blend

recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen

  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned diced green chiles
4 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tablespoon Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in chicken drippings until tender. Add corn,chiles, and 1 tablespoon Mexican spices. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes, saute 1 minute.
  3. Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to saute pan, combine with vegetables.
  4. Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable.
  5. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce.
  6. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat.
  7. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream and chopped tomatoes before serving.

image

 

Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken

After our trip from NYC, I was desperate for some home-cooking. As much as I enjoy eating variety of foods and dining out, my soul food is home-cooking goodness. I can eat my mom’s and husband’s cooking every day and be satisfied. My cooking, on the other hand, is hit or miss…

This Asian-Marinated Baked Chicken recipe from Chow will for sure be a hit in your family! I’ve made a few tweaks to the overall recipe but I love changing recipes to fit my own mood and preferences. For this recipe, I wasn’t feeling the ginger that the original recipe calls for so instead I subbed in all spice seasoning. Also, I wanted a more natural sweetener so I used Coco Rico soda. My local Asian market carries both the all spice seasoning and the Coco Rico soda. IMG_0939

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Coco Rico soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of all spice seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Instructions

  1. Place everything except the chicken in a 13-by-9-inch broiler-proof baking dish and whisk to combine.
  2. Lay the chicken in a single layer in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover, refrigerate, and marinate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours, turning the chicken at least once during the marinating time.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 475°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  4. Turn all the chicken pieces skin-side up in the dish. Bake until the chicken is starting to turn a dark brown color, about 40 minutes.

Big Apple

We just got back from our week long trip to New York City. This trip was totally spontaneous and I love that! My husband and I were browsing online and came across a Delta flight deal to the Big Apple for only $320, round trip, non-stop flight – definitely a steal! We also got a good deal for hotel on Hotwire so we finished the logistics for our NYC vacation within an hour. My kind of planning!

I haven’t been to NYC since I could legally drink so I was super excited to see the nightlife of the big city. While living in SoCal has endless perks, there isn’t a nightlife that’s comparable to the city that never sleeps. Besides that, a far more important, we flew 2800 miles to eat food – really, really good food. Mostly pizza, yum!

Some of the highlights from this trip were exploring the city, relaxing at the parks and by the river, as well as catching up with family and friends. The weather was perfect, which allowed us to picnic in the park and lounge under the shade of trees. Also I fell in love at Chelsea Market. It’s super chic marketplace filled with artisan breads, organic cheeses, farm-to-tables eateries, and cafes.

nyc