Chili Lime Chicken Quinoa Tostada

Look, I know what you're thinking.

What the heck is a "Chili Lime Chicken Quinoa Tostada"?!

Well I'm glad you asked! Because I was going to tell you anyway.



It's honestly just the best thing ever. It's bursting with so many flavors. If you feel like you're in a flavor rut, make this for dinner and I swear it will breathe new life into you.

The best part? I came up with this recipe in my sleep. If I've ever cornered you to tell you about one of my dreams, then you know my sleeping brain is kind of insane. I've been known to shout things like, "the elephants are trying to steal my blanket!" I'll sleep walk in the middle of the night and start getting ready for the day like it's completely normal. It's not. It's ridiculous.

Thankfully my dreams like to help me out sometimes. When I was studying fashion design in college, I was trying to figure out how to create the bodice for a wedding dress. It was a particularly tricky design, and involved piecing together strips of fabric with strips of metallic trim. And -- you guessed it -- my brain worked it out for me in my sleep. I dreamed up the perfect way to sew the dress.

So after I found this quinoa pizza crust recipe and made it a few times I knew there was a way I could change it up to make it exactly what I wanted. I LOVED the idea of blending up quinoa with a few simple ingredients and using it as a gluten free pizza crust (major props to Alyssa!), but I didn't love that I could taste the quinoa so strongly.

Then it came to me. Blend in cilantro, lime and spices (like the Mexican quinoa I typically make) to create the perfect flavorful crust.

And then top with blackened chicken and cilantro lime dressing.

And basically put all of my favorite things in one pan!

So I did. And the outcome was incredible.


There are a lot of moving parts to this dish, and while I did everything (from chicken to tostada) in about 45 minutes to an hour, prepping the chicken the weekend before will free up some time on a week night.

The only thing you really have to plan the day of is soaking the quinoa. The quinoa needs to soak in water for about 6-8 hours (or overnight) to become soft enough to blend. The original recipe recommends you do this in the morning while you make your coffee. Since I work from home, I'll set an alarm to tell me when to start soaking. It only takes about two minutes, so working it into your morning routine won't be difficult.

Making the crust will probably reveal your inner skeptic, but trust me. It'll be good in the end. You can blend the ingredients in any blender (I used my NutriBullet). The consistency should be similar to pancake batter.



The crust has to bake for 10 minutes on either side before toppings can be added. This ensures a nice crispy crust!

You can use any chicken recipe for your grilled chicken, but lately my favorite grilled chicken marinade comes from Jessica Gavin. Side bar, the tacos in that recipe are to die for. Brandon and I are always making them. The marinade makes enough for about 4 pieces of chicken. I marinated two pieces and saved the extra piece for a quick dinner option. The chicken will need to marinate for about 20 minutes to an hour.

One of the best parts of this recipe is the amazing cilantro lime drizzle featured on Spoonful of Flavor. I added avocado to the drizzle once and I did not regret it. For this recipe, I made the drizzle as is since I knew I was adding chopped avocado to the top of my tostada.

Any additional toppings are completely up to you. I baked my crust with chicken, black beans and shredded cheese.



Once it was out of the oven I added fresh avocado, the cilantro lime drizzle and a little bit of fresh cilantro. I accidentally went with a very green theme here. Next time I want to add pico de gallo or fresh tomatoes.





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Chili Lime Chicken Quinoa Tostada
A gluten free spicy tostada with yummy blackened chicken and cool cilantro lime drizzle that's bursting with flavor!
Ingredients

Crust
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Blackened Chicken
  • 2-4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (plus zest of 1 lime)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Cilantro Lime Drizzle
  • 1/4 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey or agave
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Pinch of salt, garlic powder, and chili powder
Optional Toppings
  • Drained black beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • 1/2 of an avocado
Instructions
1. Soak the quinoa in water, covering it by at least 1″, for 6 – 8 hours.
2. Mix chicken marinade ingredients together and coat chicken. Let marinate for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Once marinated, grill until done.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick oil spray, making sure to get the sides.
4. Drain quinoa and add to blender. Add remaining crust ingredients and blend until smooth. Should resemble pancake batter.
5. Pour into pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove, flip crust and bake for another 10 minutes.
6. Top with grilled chicken, cheese and black beans. Bake for another 7 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are crispy. Let cool in pan for a few minutes.
7. Blend cilantro lime drizzle ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
8. Remove tostada from pan. Garnish with avocado, cilantro lime dressing, tomatoes, pico de gallo, or whatever you wish.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 Tostada




What toppings will you add? The combinations are endless!

Grandma's Fantasy Fudge

You know those weeks when everything goes wrong?

Like...when pest control comes to spray for ants and tells you ants are probably in the whole building and it's going to be really hard to get rid of them?

And...

Okay, so not everything is going wrong. Just ants. I'm on ant watch 24/7, and thank goodness they aren't on my furniture because I would seriously be going crazy.


Luckily they didn't get into any of my fudge ingredients! I would have lost my mind.

I needed to make fudge this week for two reasons: 1) I needed some comfort from my ant problems, and 2) it seemed like the best way to honor my grandmother's passing.
Grandma Ramsey and I when I was a baby!

My grandma was so lovely. She gave me my love for perfume, jewelry and people. She never went anywhere without lipstick on and she always had a ring on every finger. 

She lost her battle with cancer in October two years ago, but until that point she always had a smile on her face and was never without joy.

I wanted to share a little bit of that joy with you today by way of her famous fantasy fudge!



While her batch would have had chopped pecans mixed in, I prefer to go without. Feel free to add some in for extra texture!

Making fudge can get a bad rap because it can so easily turn out grainy. But there are a few simple tricks to make sure it's perfect every time.

Before you start heating the sugar, butter and evaporated milk, be sure you have the remaining ingredients prepped. Once the sugar mixture is ready it is essential that the remaining ingredients are mixed in as quickly as possible.

Make sure you're stirring the sugar mixture constantly so nothing sticks to the pot. From a young age I was taught to stir in a figure 8 (not just in a circle) to insure nothing was sticking.

Once the heating mixture has reached a rolling boil, cook for five minutes and then remove it from heat. Now add the chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, and vanilla as quickly as humanly possible. You want to get the mixture into the pan and into the fridge as quickly as you can to prevent unwanted crystallization, which makes the fudge grainy.

When the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the mixture into the prepared pan. You may notice that it's already starting to set up, so keep movin'! I never spread the batter out with a spatula or spoon, I just tilt the pan until everything looks even and level. Now quick, pop it in the fridge!


Honestly, it's so tasty.

I used a 9x13 pan so I had a LOT to share with friends, but feel free to use a 9x9 pan if you want thicker fudge. I've only ever used a 9x13 pan, but (as my friend Sierra says) you're the gatekeeper of your own destiny. Do whatever feels right!

I recommend keeping the fudge in the refrigerator because it gets REALLY soft at room temp. It's still delicious, but a little trickier to cut and eat.

All in all, making this recipe was so good for my soul. I hope you enjoy it just as much!



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Grandma's Fantasy Fudge
Melt in your mouth chocolate fudge that's sure to please even your toughest critics!
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 12 oz (2 cups) chocolate chips
  • 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions
1. Spray a 9 x 13" baking pan with non-stick spray.2. Mix butter, sugar and evaporated milk in a large cooking pot. Heat over medium heat to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.3. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in remaining ingredients until fully incorporated and pour into prepared pan. Cool in refrigerator until firm.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: About 35 pieces




Do you have a family recipe that you love to share?

The Best Blueberry Pancakes Ever

Let's talk brunch.

Brunch and breakfast food are some of my FAVORITE foods to eat that I will eat at any time of the day. I firmly believe that if certain fast food places (cough cough Chick Fil A) served breakfast all day they would double their profits.

And TBH, brunch dates are how me and Brandon started officially got together. So shout out to all the morning foods.

Omeletes, skillets, eggs benedict, chicken and waffles -- I love them all. And, if you're crazy like me, you also get to drink your weight in coffee. What. A. Deal.

But also: pancakes.
Like these blueberry pancakes. Friends, let me tell you: these are the fluffiest pancakes I've ever had, and I grew up eating pancakes. So I'm kind of a expert.

Growing up, whenever we would go to my grandparent's house, we would have pancakes for breakfast. It's one of my favorite childhood memories. My Grandpa would make them in Mickey Mouse shapes, or add chocolate chips, or make a smiley face. It's one tradition that my family has never stopped, and I'm so thankful for it.

I'd like to think that making good pancakes is in my genes, and these pancakes make a good case for it.

You'll be able to tell when mixing up the batter that they're going to be thick and delicious because the batter will be very aerated. Don't even think about over mixing! The trick is to slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a little at a time until just incorporated.

Any filling would be good in these pancakes, or just leave them plain! To this day my dad still puts chocolate chips in all pancakes. We top them with peanut butter and syrup -- it's a family staple.

This recipe makes plenty of pancakes (read: too many for just me), so I stuck half of them in the freezer for a rainy day. This is definitely more of a family sized recipe!

I mean, look at dat stack.

Honestly, that's not even all of them. I was making these babies as a breakfast for dinner treat and my light was fading fast so I had to grab this shot before the sun went down.
Now, let's talk about toppings. If you made the pancakes with blueberries like I recommend doing, then you HAVE to top them with a chopped banana and maple syrup. I'm used to buying the cheapest syrup at the store, but splurging a little bit on the maple syrup was so worth it.

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The Best Blueberry Pancakes Ever
The name says it all: these are the best blueberry pancakes ever. Fluffy, tasty and incredible.
Ingredients

Dry Mixture
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
Wet Mixture
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • blueberries
Instructions
1. Sift flour into a medium sized bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar, as well as the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift all ingredients together and set aside.2. Melt butter and set aside to cool. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, but keep both. Whisk the egg whites until fluffy, and add buttermilk to egg whites.3. In a separate bowl, stir the yolks until blended. Stir in sugar. Add the cooled, melted butter slowly to the yolk mixture. Slowly whisk the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture until fully incorporated.4. Slowly whisk the dry mixture in to the wet mixture so that no clumps form. Mix until just incorporated and refrigerate for ten minutes.5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the pan. Add blueberries. Don't press on the tops or move them around. Once you see bubbles forming in the middle and slight browning on the sides, flip them. Only flip once.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: About 15 pancakes

Recipe from Matty Matheson.


What's your favorite brunch/breakfast food?


Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

YOU GUYS.

I can't tell you how excited I am to tell you about these cinnamon rolls. They've got me so jazzed.

Although that might be the sugar rush from eating one of them...

Nope, I'm going with excited.

Every time I'm thinking out loud of what to make next Brandon always says, "Well, you could make your world famous cinnamon rolls that I've never tried." Subtle, that one.

Since I had a bit of extra time this weekend I decided to do him a solid and make the cinnamon rolls. Plus, it's dropped to below 95 degrees (most of the time) in Texas so I'm charging forward in full fall mode.

I went to grab the recipe and couldn't find it anywhere, so I started to look for a new one. The last time I made cinnamon rolls, they ended up dry. The time before that, they weren't done in the middle. I'm not looking so "world famous" at this point, and I was starting to get a little worried.

Well thank goodness I lost my original recipe because this new one is so. good. I don't have a rooftop to shout about them on (I could do it on my balcony, but my neighbors might get a little weirded out), so this is my metaphoric rooftop.



Whenever I think about making cinnamon rolls, I always remember how long it takes to make them. I wasn't so sure I wanted to use my precious Saturday afternoon lazy time to spend hours in the kitchen. Luckily, everything came together pretty quickly. You do have to let the dough rest for about 1 hour 45 min total, but honestly that makes them the perfect lazy afternoon task.

This recipe calls for fast-acting instant yeast, so that does speed things up a bit. I always buy the Fleishmann's brand yeast, and buying them in the individual packets is so handy. If you have a jar of yeast already on hand, feel free to use that. Anything works as long as it's fast-acting instant yeast.



When mixing together the warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter and eggs, I found it best to do so by hand. I started off with my whisk attachment on my mixer, but ended up having to mix it by hand because it was too soupy for the whisk to even break the yolk or do damage on the butter. I mixed mine until most of the butter was incorporated, but didn't worry about getting it completely smooth.

Once you add in the flour, the dough comes to life. Now, I have a weird obsession with sweet bread dough. It's just so fun to knead. Honestly, the fact that the dough hook does all the work here (though decidedly faster), kinda bummed me out. If you don't have a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix in as much flour as you can with a spoon and then knead the rest out on a floured surface. You won't regret it.



The dough will be slightly tacky to the touch when it's ready and will pull away from the edge of the mixer. I know it's good if I can hold it in my hand and it's soft and pliable. Dry dough is not welcome here. When the dough is ready, place it in a slightly greased bowl and cover with a towel to rest for about 1 hour. Since the dough rests for an hour, feel free to clean up the kitchen....or catch up on some old Real Housewives of New York episodes like I did.

When the dough has doubled in size, it's ready. Give it a solid punch down and roll out on your chosen surface. The original recipe calls for a greased baking pan, but I chose to roll mine out on parchment paper. If I did this again I would slightly wet the counter so the paper sticks better because it was sliding around a lot.

Enter: a small mistake, or what we'll call here, a "misguided judgement."

I had read recipes in the past where butter was directly mixed in with the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture instead of sprinkling the mixture on top of the butter. Supposedly turning it into a "cinnamon butter" type texture. So I took my melted butter and I poured it into the cinnamon/sugar mixture...and it was clearly too much butter. A bit too runny. It kind of oozed out the sides and onto the parchement paper as I rolled up the dough.

But is it really that big of a mistake if it tastes amazing in the end? Exactly.

Slice the dough into 12 equal parts (about 1-2 inch per slice) using a serrated knife, or whatever you normally slice dough with. Arrange them in the pan, cover with a towel and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Pop these babies in the oven, and whip up the frosting!



I don't have enough words to describe this frosting. I typically don't like cream cheese frosting because it always has a fake taste to me. But I was tired of the normal powdered sugar, milk and vanilla icing approach, so I decided to try out the cream cheese.



Holy moly. It's so incredible. It's been at least an hour since I've had some and I'm STILL dying over it. It's definitely not low-cal, but it's definitely worth it for a little treat.

The cinnamon rolls are done when they are lightly browned on top. Spread the icing on them while they're still warm, and try not to drool. Shower every single person you meet with one of these rolls, or pop them in the fridge for another time. It's win win.



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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
These melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls are the ultimate crowd pleaser. For breakfast, snack, or dessert they are sure to win over the hearts of many. I'm pretty sure they could solve a world war if needed.
Ingredients

Dough:
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon (or 1 packet) instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
Glaze:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs with fork. Add in flour. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on to a low speed.2. Once the flour starts to incorporate into the dough, increase the speed to a medium range. Add more flour as necessary so that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough mixture should be tacky, but not stick to your hands. It should be soft.3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.4. Prepare your desired surface for rolling dough. Punch down the dough, and roll into a 12x18 inch rectangle.5. Spread softened butter over the entire rectangle. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle on top of the spread butter. Lightly press the mixture into the butter. Roll up tightly lengthwise so you have one long roll. Use plain dental floss or a serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 equal parts.6. Place the slices onto a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes.7. Preheat over to 325 degrees. Bake the rolls for 14-17 minutes, until very lightly browned on top.8. While the rolls are baking, make the cream cheese frosting by whipping the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until fluffy. Whip in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add milk until desired consistency is achieved. 9. Frost rolls while still warm. Serve immediately or cool and store.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 rolls

Recipe adapted from The Stay at Home Chef.


Let me know if you try out this recipe! I would love to know if you love it as much as I do.

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