Host The Toast http://hostthetoast.com a Kitchen Kapers blog Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:01:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Sizzling Broccoli, Cheddar, and Chicken Skillet http://hostthetoast.com/sizzling-broccoli-cheddar-chicken-skillet/ http://hostthetoast.com/sizzling-broccoli-cheddar-chicken-skillet/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:58:13 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3529 Do you love cheese-smothered chicken?  Is broccoli and cheddar soup your weakness?  Are you afraid that I’m going to ruin your streak of healthier eating with all of these hunger-inducing questions? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then prepare to be amazed. Behold, Sizzling Broccoli, Cheddar, and Chicken Skillets.  There’s juicy, marinated chicken, perfectly-cooked... 

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Do you love cheese-smothered chicken?  Is broccoli and cheddar soup your weakness?  Are you afraid that I’m going to ruin your streak of healthier eating with all of these hunger-inducing questions?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then prepare to be amazed.

Sizzling Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Skillet!  Way healthier than those from your favorite chain restaurants, but even more delicious! | hostthetoast.com

Behold, Sizzling Broccoli, Cheddar, and Chicken Skillets.  There’s juicy, marinated chicken, perfectly-cooked broccoli, fluffy brown rice, plenty of sharp cheddar cheese sauce, and a whole ton of tastiness going on right here…

…and that’s coming from a lady who does not like broccoli.

Sizzling Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Skillet!  Way healthier than those from your favorite chain restaurants, but even more delicious! | hostthetoast.com

That’s right.  I typically avoid broccoli at all costs because I grew up eating steamed-in-the-microwave frozen broccoli and that’s just not my jam.  But as I discovered when I made this sizzling skillet, sauteed broccoli is absolutely amazing.  Who was keeping this knowledge from me?  And why?  What kind of sick, twisted person doesn’t let a girl know about how to make her veggies tasty?!  I need answers!

Sizzling Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Skillet!  Way healthier than those from your favorite chain restaurants, but even more delicious! | hostthetoast.com

But I digress.

This recipe is leagues healthier than the typical sizzling skillet at your favorite restaurant chains, but still super scrumptious! (Yes, I said scrumptious.) Plus, who doesn’t love a sizzling dish to warm them up when the cold weather hits?

Sizzling Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheddar Skillet!  Way healthier than those from your favorite chain restaurants, but even more delicious! | hostthetoast.com

Skinny Sizzling Broccoli, Cheddar, and Chicken Skillet
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 (4 oz) chicken breasts, pounded to ½ - ¾" thick
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
For the marinade:
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
For the cheddar cheese sauce:
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (light cheddar cheese, works, too)
For the broccoli:
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. In a freezer bag, combine the marinade ingredients and add in the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken breasts and reserve excess marinade. Cook until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  3. In a separate small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the flour and about ¼ cup of the milk. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring often.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and allow mixture to thicken, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cheese, a bit at a time, until melted and completely combined. Keep over low heat, stirring regularly, until ready to use.
  6. In the cast iron skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved marinade and discard the remaining marinade. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the broccoli and saute until bright green and beginning to brown lightly in spots, stirring and turning often, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Remove the broccoli and place on the plate with the chicken. Increase the heat on to high and let the pan sit for a minute or so to get steaming hot.
  8. Remove the skillet from heat and pour ½ of the cheese sauce onto the hot skillet. Quickly add the chicken, broccoli, and rice on top of the cheese sauce, and then pour over the remaining cheese sauce. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, to garnish, and serve while still sizzling.

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Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup http://hostthetoast.com/thai-coconut-curry-butternut-squash-soup/ http://hostthetoast.com/thai-coconut-curry-butternut-squash-soup/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:04:04 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3521 Right now, I’m sipping hot coffee, trying desperately not to burn my mouth. I have my coat on (inside the office), a sweater, and a t-shirt, and I’m still cold. I had to warm up my car for 10 minutes this morning. Hello, freezing Fall weather.  I’ve been anticipating your arrival. There are two ways... 

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Right now, I’m sipping hot coffee, trying desperately not to burn my mouth.

I have my coat on (inside the office), a sweater, and a t-shirt, and I’m still cold.

I had to warm up my car for 10 minutes this morning.

Hello, freezing Fall weather.  I’ve been anticipating your arrival.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup.  I'm obsessed!  So flavorful and satisfying on a cold Fall day.  | hostthetoast.com

There are two ways that I love to warm myself up with food when the days cool down: lots of spice and hot foods.  That’s what makes this Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup absolutely perfect for this time of year.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup.  I'm obsessed!  So flavorful and satisfying on a cold Fall day.  | hostthetoast.com

My mom and I are obsessed with this soup, and to be completely honest, neither of us are normally the hugest fans of squash.  (GASP!  I know, that’s almost blasphemous to say in squash season.)

However, there’s just something about the combination of fragrant red curry paste, creamy coconut milk, sour limes, and slightly sweet squash that makes me swoon.  I could honestly eat this soup for dinner every night.  Every. Night.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup.  I'm obsessed!  So flavorful and satisfying on a cold Fall day.  | hostthetoast.com

By the way, prepare for many more soup recipes to come.  I’m thinking after Thanksgiving I may do a “7 Days of Soup” special– let me know what you think about that.

In the mean time, make this Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup, taste it, devour it all, and make it again a thousand times because it’s going to be your new favorite cold-weather recipe.

 

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/thai-butternut-soup
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • ⅓ cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, to garnish
  • Naan, to serve
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion, and saute until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add in the ginger and curry paste and stir to combine with the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add in the raw butternut squash cubes and slowly pour in the broth, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Pour the soup into a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pot over medium heat and warm through, stirring occasionally.
  4. Before serving, remove from heat and mix in the coconut milk (saving a few tablespoons to garnish), lime juice, salt, pepper, and Sriracha (if using). Mix well. Pour into bowls and drizzle the remaining coconut milk on top. Swirl the coconut milk with your spoon or a toothpick. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Serve warm with Naan bread.

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Spicy Baked Jicama Fries http://hostthetoast.com/spicy-baked-jicama-fries/ http://hostthetoast.com/spicy-baked-jicama-fries/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:22:01 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3509 Fellow french fry fiends, fear not.  I’m not about to ruin your diets with pictures of deep fried potatoes.   No, really, I’m not.  These “fries” aren’t fried at all, and they’re definitely not potatoes.  Instead, these fries are made of a different tuber called Jicama (pronounced hee-ka-ma), which is most often found in Mexican... 

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Fellow french fry fiends, fear not.  I’m not about to ruin your diets with pictures of deep fried potatoes.

Spicy Baked Jicama Fries

 

No, really, I’m not.  These “fries” aren’t fried at all, and they’re definitely not potatoes.  Instead, these fries are made of a different tuber called Jicama (pronounced hee-ka-ma), which is most often found in Mexican and Asian cuisine.  It’s sweet and crunchy and (best of all) pretty darn healthy, comparitively speaking.

Jicama looks like an oversized hybrid of a potato and a turnip, but the taste and texture more closely resembles that of a water chestnut, making it slightly sweet and great to eat raw.  I’ve eaten jicama in salads and salsas before, but it wasn’t until I found out that it’s related to the sweet potato that I really thought about baking it to make fries!

With just under half the calories, about half the carbohydrates, and more than double the dietary fiber of a white potato, it’s easy to see why someone would want to switch up their side dish with Jicama Fries!

Spicy Baked Jicama Fries!  With less than half the calories of potatoes, jicama makes for a great, healthy side dish.  You'll love this guilt-free spin on french fries!  | hostthetoast.com

For these particular Spicy Baked Jicama Fries, you’re looking at 84 calories per serving.  Compare that to a medium-sized order of fries at McDonald’s which comes in at 380 calories!

My favorite thing about these fries is the way that the sweetness plays with the spices.  The balance of the two is addictive– you’ll be eating fry after fry and won’t even feel a bit guilty about it.  I like to dip my fries, so I threw together a Cilantro-Garlic-Lime Greek Yogurt Dip to bring the flavor to the next level without bringing myself to the next pant-size.  (The mayo-based dips have not been quite so forgiving.)

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Spicy Baked Jicama Fries
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
For the Jicama Fries:
  • 1 medium jicama
  • 1 tablespoon oil of your choice (coconut oil or canola oil both work great)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch cayenne or chili powder (or more, to taste)
For the Cilantro-Garlic-Lime Greek Yogurt Dip:
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of ½ lime
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Peel the jicama and cut into skinny fries. You don't want to make these thick, they don't bake as well when they're wider.
  3. Place the jicama in a microwave-safe bowl with a tablespoon of water. Cover and microwave for 6 minutes. This will prevent the jicama from staying too crisp and raw inside when the outside bakes.
  4. As you wait for the jicama to precook in the microwave, mix together the yogurt dip ingredients and set aside.
  5. If there is any water left in the bowl holding the jicama, pour it out. Drizzle the jicama with the tablespoon of oil and add the spices. Toss until evenly coated. Beware! Turmeric will stain your hands temporarily so you might want to use a utensil!
  6. Spread the jicama fries out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until they begin to brown in spots, tossing once.
  7. Serve warm with the dip.

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Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies http://hostthetoast.com/pumpkin-apple-cider-oatmeal-creme-pies/ http://hostthetoast.com/pumpkin-apple-cider-oatmeal-creme-pies/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:34:58 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3500 Go ahead and throw all of your stereotypes at me because I have fully embraced my love of all things fall-related.  I’m drinking a Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee right now and wearing a football-themed sweatshirt and I keep thinking about how I need to plan an apple-picking trip.  Next thing you know, I’ll be stocking... 

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Go ahead and throw all of your stereotypes at me because I have fully embraced my love of all things fall-related.  I’m drinking a Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee right now and wearing a football-themed sweatshirt and I keep thinking about how I need to plan an apple-picking trip.  Next thing you know, I’ll be stocking up on autumn-leaves-scented candles and filtering instagram pictures of the trees changing colors.  I’ve accepted my fate as a woman in her early-to-mid twenties.  There’s no use fighting Fall Fever.

Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies.  The pumpkin oatmeal cookies will make you swoon by themselves.  With the apple cider creme?  Oh, words cannot express that level of fall deliciousness. | hostthetoast.com

Have you thought at least 3 times this month that a pumpkin-carving party would be fun?  Have you been google and pinterest searching for the perfect Halloween costume?  Have you worn a flannel shirt to a hay ride?  If so, you’re as far gone as I am, and these Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies might induce tears of happiness.

Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies.  The pumpkin oatmeal cookies will make you swoon by themselves.  With the apple cider creme?  Oh, words cannot express that level of fall deliciousness. | hostthetoast.com

Real tears, people.  Real.  Tears.

Even if you’re not jumping in piles of leaves in your spare time, you’ll still love these.  James was obsessed, and he is not your typical fall-flavor-fanatic.

Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies.  The pumpkin oatmeal cookies will make you swoon by themselves.  With the apple cider creme?  Oh, words cannot express that level of fall deliciousness. | hostthetoast.com

So what exactly are Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies?  Well, it all starts with ultra soft pumpkin oatmeal cookies which are studded with cinnamon chips and smell like heaven when you pull them out of the oven.  You try very, very hard not to eat them at this phase.  You accidentally eat two.  Then, you sandwich the remaining oatmeal cookies around a sweet apple cider creme.  Next, you take a picture and share it with your friends because you are so proud of how awesome your Oatmeal Creme Pies look.  Lastly, you devour every last bit of them.

All of those steps are necessary.

Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies.  The pumpkin oatmeal cookies will make you swoon by themselves.  With the apple cider creme?  Oh, words cannot express that level of fall deliciousness. | hostthetoast.com

You’re going to crave these year-round, so make sure you stock up on the pumpkin puree and cinnamon chips.  Some things are too good to be “seasonal”.

Happy baking!

Pumpkin & Apple Cider Oatmeal Creme Pies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
For the cookies:
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and ¾ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
For the creme:
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
For the apple cider syrup:
  • ⅓ cup apple cider
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Beat in the egg, and then add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  4. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in the cinnamon chips.
  5. Drop 2-tablespoon-sized heaps onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets with plenty of space to spread, and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are golden but the cookie is still very, very soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to move to a cooling rack. Repeat with as many batches as necessary.
  6. As the cookies cook, make the creme.
  7. The creme requires apple cider syrup, which is made by simply heating ⅓ cup of apple cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil, and then reducing it to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the cider has reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon. It will thicken more after it is removed from heat, so don't overdo it or you will wind up with candy rather than syrup. The cider syrup will stay good in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 week.
  8. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  9. Beat in the cider syrup and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice.
  10. Mix in a cup of the confectioner's sugar. When well-combined, mix in half of the flour. Then, mix in another cup of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in the remaining flour. Mix in the remaining confectioner's sugar. (Mixing in a bit at a time this way prevents chunks or unevenness.)
  11. Scoop the creme into a plastic freezer bag and cut off one of the bottom tips of the bag. Seal the top of the bag and squeeze the bag to pipe the creme.
  12. Pipe a generous amount of frosting on the underside of a cooled cookie and sandwich another cookie on top. Repeat until all of the cookies have been sandwiched.
  13. Serve immediately or refrigerate. The cookies will stay fresh for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken http://hostthetoast.com/baked-sweet-chili-garlic-popcorn-chicken/ http://hostthetoast.com/baked-sweet-chili-garlic-popcorn-chicken/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 13:47:22 +0000 http://hostthetoast.com/?p=3492 Believe it or not, in between chowing down on all things cheesy or chocolaty that I put up here, I try to make healthy choices. Well, at least sometimes. And I know that a lot of you are right there with me, trying to keep your snacking down and your salad-consumption up.  However, just because... 

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Believe it or not, in between chowing down on all things cheesy or chocolaty that I put up here, I try to make healthy choices.

Well, at least sometimes.

Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken.  I could eat these all day.  Great for Game Day and you won't even miss the fried wings! | hostthetoast.com

And I know that a lot of you are right there with me, trying to keep your snacking down and your salad-consumption up.  However, just because you are trying to steer clear of fried foods doesn’t mean you have to write off tasty foods.  For example, you can pop a bunch of this Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken in your mouth, and you won’t even miss deep-fried wings.  No, you won’t miss them one bit.

When I first started making these, I accidentally used a spicier sauce, more similar to sriracha, and that was a bad idea.  Don’t do that, even if you like spicy food.  Mind you, my friend Kait (who was over to “taste test”) and I ate them all, but I think we may have given ourselves stomach ulcers from all of the heat.  Learn from my mistakes.

Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken.  I could eat these all day.  Great for Game Day and you won't even miss the fried wings! | hostthetoast.com

Instead, you want to use a sweet chili garlic sauce, which is lighter in color and a bit more transparent.  Double check the bottle (or jar) when you buy it.  Triple check.  Quadruple check.  You get the idea.

These are perfect for Game Day, party appetizers, or even for dinner that even the pickiest people will love!

Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken.  I could eat these all day.  Great for Game Day and you won't even miss the fried wings! | hostthetoast.com

Baked Sweet Chili Garlic Popcorn Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3-5
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½" thick and cut into small chunks
  • ½ cup flour
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1½ cups Thai sweet chili garlic sauce
  • Sesame seeds, for topping
  • Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and mix in salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. In a second shallow bowl, mix the 3 eggs with a tablespoon of water.
  4. In a third bowl, whisk together the panko bread crumbs and plain bread crumbs.
  5. Pour the sweet chili garlic sauce into a fourth bowl.
  6. Flip the chicken pieces in the flour until lightly coated. Then, dip them in the egg, making sure to coat all over. Allow excess egg to drip off. Press the chicken pieces in the bread crumb mixture and pat the mixture on top, pressing gently to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere all over the chicken pieces. Lastly, dip the chicken in the sauce, shake off excess, and set on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue until all of the chicken has been breaded and coated.
  7. Sprinkle all of the chicken bites with the sesame seeds.
  8. Spray the chicken pieces lightly with cooking spray (this will help them get crispy).
  9. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until crispy, gently tossing half-way through.
  10. Serve with chopped cilantro, to garnish.

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