Review: Plated – Balsalmic Chicken Salad

After my first Plated meal (see here), I have finished the first box (three recipes in total) with success. Tonight was the first recipe of the second box (a salad seemed perfect for a steamy, summer day!).

the finished product

It was part of their Summer Grill Series and is the first salad I have tried through the service. They sent very fresh produce: a head of butter lettuce, green beans, and mâché still attached to the root.

what they sent

The chicken was marinated in a lovely Balsamic and herbs de Provence marinade which I will definitely recreate for future recipes. This was my first time blanching green beans for a salad and they were perfectly done (undone?) for the salad. It was accompanied by bleu cheese and Marcona almonds. I decided to toast the almonds and the increased nutty, buttery flavor was a perfect foil to a lemon and honey dressing. This is one meal that I was not sure of – my family doesn’t typically eat salads as a main course – but I was pleasantly surprised!!

(stay tuned as I try one of their desserts next time – profiteroles!)


My First Plated Box!

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Review: Plated – Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Succotash!

I have heard many things about meal kit delivery services (Plated, Blue Apron, etc.), but hadn’t tried it. My friend, Amy, referred me for a week of free meals from Plated –  the perfect chance to try it! You can select meal preferences (knowing my husband, I passed on the vegetarian entree). They allow you to select the number of people per meal (so we received three meals – two plates a piece). Here’s how it works. 

Today, I started the first day of my post-residency career and decided to celebrate with a dinner at home! The recipe George picked was a buttermilk-fried chicken and succotash. I really admire their commitment to locally sourced farms. My package arrived with four freezer packs (stated cold up to 24 hours). I threw these in the freezer to be used later!

DocLauraB Plated ingredients succotash

My Plated Ingredients – I saved the non-garlic plastic bags.

Everything was labelled for the recipe it is to be used for. They included everything (down to the butter and herbs) required for the recipe. It only required additional olive oil, salt and pepper! They have a handy recipe card with step-by-step instructions and photos.

It was true to the time stated on the recipe (thirty minutes total with fifteen minutes of active cooking).

Diced succotash veggies!

Diced succotash veggies!

I marinated chicken in buttermilk while dicing vegetables. I thought the poultry and vegetables were high quality! I started the succotash and then dredged and fried the chicken. I couldn’t help but use the remainder of the buttermilk to make a gravy!

DocLauraB Buttermilk Chicken and succotash

The Final Product (I threw some asparagus in there too!)

The Final Results:

George and I were both surprised by how much we loved the succotash. It had a hauntingly sweet quality and the garlic and thyme added a surprising complexity. The chicken was succulent and good enough to make me forget it was pan fried! I would not have otherwise tried this recipe, but I will definitely be making the succotash again. I would like to serve it with scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy!

I am looking forward to cooking the rest of my meals – and will definitely order more! The price for this meal was $11 per plate and well worth it!


Cake Batter Blondies

So these have been all the rage across Pinterest (my latest obsession and inspiration). So I went to the website that lit up Pinterest: Six Sisters’ Stuff (their inspiration was Girl Meets Life). This recipe looked so easy and sounded so delicious I had to try it at the soonest available opportunity.

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Which turned out to be the next day for a work party. They were fabulous: dense, gooey bites of birthday cake that caused childhood memories to come bubbling up! They were so rich I cut them in smaller squares and had leftovers for a gathering later that night and some to share with my family. My boyfriend would only eat a bite at a time to prevent a “sugar fit.” I like sweet sweets, but if you don’t, they may not be for you. They were a perfect fuss-free way to share cake at any event. No forks or plates needed! I used yellow cake mix beause i like the flavor better than white, but you can simpify and use Funfetti mix instead. I want to do a red velvet version with devil’s food cake next.

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Birthday Cake Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (choose your preferred color and shape!)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
  2.  Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add just enough milk to make a thick batter (I used 1/3 cup or less, but if needed  you can add more. Just know that the less milk you use, the more dense and brownie-like the outcome). 
  4. Mix in sprinkles and white chocolate chips.
  5. Spread in a 9×9″ pan (or make a double batch to fill a 9×13″ + a loaf pan – this way you have some for grabby hands in the kitchen).
  6. Bake for 20-25 mins. When you take out of the oven, they will be soft and gooey. Just wait and they will firm up. Or don’t wait and eat a deliciously gooey treat (best served with milk).
  7. I waited until mine cooled and frosted them. They  looked more festive, but they are so sweet they don’t really need it. But, if you want to…

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Frosting

I used a simple buttercream frosting, but had been wanting to try some of the new commercial neon gel food colors. So I mixed the orange and pink together for a festive fall hue. It did a great job of providing concentrated color without changing the composition of the frosting with too much liquid. The only downside is that the colors don’t swirl as well as my typical paste food coloring.

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    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup butter, softened (to ice cream like texture).
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
    • 1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp.
    • Food coloring to provide desired color.

    Directions:

    1. Beat butter with mixer on medium speed until light yellow.
    2. Beat in powdered sugar on low speed.
    3. Add in extract and salt and increase speed to medium. 
    4. Add in milk to desired texture and at three more minutes.
    5. Add food coloring to taste. Frost and enjoy.
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      Sprinkles make everything better!

    Feeling the chill of Autumn? Warm up with some chicken soup.

    Earlier this week, I Stumbled Upon Martha Stewart’s Chicken Barley Soup. It inspired me to make my own version with a twist. So I came up with a chicken quinoa spinach soup. I simplfied some of it (boneless chicken breasts v. whole chicken ), fibered it up with some whole grains and spinach. Don’t be scared of the quinoa, you can find it at any large grocery store. If it’s too intimidating, substitute rice or barley.

    Enjoy this soup, it’s perfect for the beginning of fall (and great for any friends that are stricken with the flu!). It makes a large batch, so freeze some for later!

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      Chicken Quinoa Spinach Soup

      Ingredients:

      • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 8-oz. bag of baby carrots, sliced (or 4 whole carrots, diced small)
      •  6 celery stalks, diced small
      • 1 medium purple onion, diced small
      • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
      • 1  tsp. chicken seasoning
      • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
      • 1 tsp. ground pepper
      • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
      • 1 cup quinoa
      • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      • 2 cups water
      • 5-6 oz. baby spinach, washed and torn

      Directions:

      1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
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      2. Rub chicken with chicken seasoning. Place chicken in saucepan.
      3. Add quinoa, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and quinoa (roasting it in the pan will release a nutty flavor). Cook until chicken is opaque, about six minutes, stirring frequently..
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      4. Add broth and water, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until quinoa is tender. Around twenty minutes (but the longer the better).
      5. Add spinach and cook until wilted, around five minutes. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Store cooled soup in an airtight container up to four days in the refridgerator or 3 months in the freezer.
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      Salted Caramel Apple Cider

      Fall is here! And it brings the best flavors. And the coldness to merit some piping hot drinks.

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      After taking USMLE Step 3, I treated myself with a visit to Whole Foods and squealed with glee at the jugs of cider arranged so neatly. My next reward was a visit to World Market, a premiere destination for home goods and kitchen finds. Lo and behold, Torani syrup in salted caramel flavor! Not only that, but sugar-free!

      So I mixed the two and it was heaven in a cup! Up next: trying the syrup with some dark hot chocolate. I’m sure Hungry Girl will have more ways to utilize this awesome sauce (totally legit use! For my Parks and Rec peeps). I’m thinking about some Rice Crispy treats

      Oatmeal toffee cookies

      So this is my latest oatmeal cookie attempt. After two months on pediatric wards, I had brought  enough desserts to work that I was thinking about prophylatically placing a floor of nurses and residents on Metformin. So I went for something with less sugar and more fiber (but still enough of a chocolate reward).

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      These were an invention necessitated by an empty pantry. Having recently moved, I had not purchased chocolate chips, so instead used pieces of Heath bar. These are prebroken into pieces for your convience! I was also almost out of sugar, so artificial sweetner was a pinch hitter (with a little real sugar for texture). There is a LOT of oatmeal in these cookies, so they are very filling. If you like nuts, throw in 1 cups of walnuts or pecans. Enjoy!

      Ingredients

      • 1 cup butter, softened
      • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
      • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/4 cup Splenda
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1-1/4 cups flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
      • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
      • 1 cup toffee candy bar pieces

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
      2. Cream together butter, sugars, Splenda in a large bowl until smooth.
      3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
      4. Combine flour, baking soda, salt. Stir into creamed mixture.
      5. Mix in quick oats and candy pieces.
      6. I used a 1/2″ scoop to create uniform small cookies. Heaping spoonfuls would also work. Drop these onto ungreased, nonstick cookie sheets.
      7. Bake 10-12 mins or just until edges start to brown.
      8. Allow to cool and store in airtight containers for up to a week. The flavors actually intestify the longer they are stored. (If cookie get hard, place a piece of bread into the container to lend the cookies some moisture).

      Need a Chocolate Bourbon Cupcake with Salted Caramel Frosting? Yes, Please!

      April 22, 2011.

      I was inspired by the 8th Annual Four Roses Mint Julep Competition hosted at O’Shea’s Irish Pub on April 21, 2011. It was a fun event featuring ten of Louisville’s premiere mixologists offering up such delights as Italian wine julep with rose ice cubes and a Julep Float. I was invited to attend by my medical school colleague and friend, Megan. She recently ran the Boston Marathon and eagerly anticipated post-training cupcakes. So what better things to combine than bourbon and cupcakes! I did exactly that yesterday.

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      I adapted Bourbon Chocolate cake recipe  from Better Homes and Gardensand a Salted Caramel Frosting Recipe from Chow.com. I used Ghiradelli chocolate and Woodford Reserve Bourbon (it was all I had on hand, otherwise I would have saved it for drinking!). These cupcakes were very well recieved by all. The cake was lighter than I had anticipated, but with a rich bourbon and chocolate flavor. The frosting was fabulous, with a complexity created by the homemade caramel and the sea salt. Homemade caramel can be intimidating, especially for a candy novice like me (I don’t even have a candy thermometer!) So I added some tips garnered from my experience (my first batch was a throwaway).

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      Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

        Ingredients

      • 1 cup butter
      • 3 eggs
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 tsp. baking soda
      • 1/2 tsp. salt
      • 1-1/2 cups water
      • 1/3 cup bourbon
      • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
      • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

        Directions

      1. Set butter and eggs out to become room temperature.
      2. Line muffin pans with liners, I needed 32 with this recipe.
      3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
      4. Pour water and bourbon together in a glass and let set.
      5. Microwave unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate for 1 minute, stir and reheat for 30 seconds if needed to melt. I used Ghiradelli because they have bittersweet chocolate chips (less chopping needed).
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      6. Preheat oven to 325°. 
      7. Beat butter with electric mixer for two minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow.
      8. Gradually add sugar (1/4 cup at a time) and beat on medium speed until combined with butter.
      9. Add eggs and beat on medium for two minutes.
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      10. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.
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      11. Alternate adding flour mixture and bourbon/water mixture beating on low speed until all is added (I split each ingredient into fourths). At this point, the mixture should be very light and fluffy, resembling a mousse. 
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      12. I used a scoop to place batter into muffin cups and pressed the tops down (will be fluffy) with the backside of the scoop. A spoon would work as well. 
      13. I baked my cupcakes in a stoneware muffin pan, and 18 minutes was perfect (a wooden toothpick inserted in the center came out clean). Remove cupcakes and placed on a wire rack to cool.
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      Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

         Ingredients

      • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
      • 4 tablespoons water
      • 1/4 cup heavy cream
      • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
      • 1-1/2 tsp salt (sea salt)
      • 2 cups powdered sugar
      • 2 tablespoons bourbon

          Directions

      1. Stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. From this point on, Do not stir! This is key. I stirred my first batch and had to start over.
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      2. Bring to boil over medium heat. Do not walk away for anything, it takes about six minutes for the mixture to turn a dark amber color. However this happens quickly and it only takes seconds to burn. Here is the progression to a nice carmel color.
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      3. Remove from heat and slowly (by the tablespoonful at first) add in cream and vanilla. Stir with wooden spoon until smooth. If parts of the mixture cool and crystallize before thoroughly mixed, place pan on low heat and continue to mix until blended. Set aside to cool.
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      4. Beat butter until fluffy, about two minutes. Reduce speed and blend in powdered sugar until combined.
      5. Turn off mixer and pour in caramel and salt. I used a sea-salt grinder, but kosher would work. I happen to like the flavor and crunch of a coarser salt.
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      6. Add in bourbon to taste. Beat frosting on low to combine and then on medium-high for two minutes until airy and thoroughly mixed.
      7. Decorate cupcakes and enjoy! I found the frosting easier to use after letting it set up in bowl for twenty minutes. This recipe made plenty of frosting to make a large swirl on each of my 32 cupcakes.

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      Let me know if you try this recipe and have any additions or comments. I would like to try a moist filling similar to Cakespy’s Chocolate Stout cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Filling.