Thursday, October 13, 2016

Greek Chicken Rice Bowls


Time sure flies when you're having fun...living life...all of the above! I didn't realize it had been a minute since I last wrote a post. [insert embarrassed emoji] Life has been crazy and if you've followed my blog long enough, you will know that is a common theme in my life. Just busy working, living life, dating, etc. You know the usual. Somehow, I still manage to make delicious creations like this Greek Chicken Rice Bowl I'm about to share with you. So easy and so delish you'll have it on your rotating schedule of easy meals to make. The best part of these recipes is that they are so versatile. Can't eat dairy? No problem! Can't eat gluten? No problem! Not a lot of time? No problem! You could even make this low carb if necessary. But who am I kidding? Carbs are LIFE.

I got the idea for these Greek rice bowls when I lived in Sacramento. One of my coworkers introduced me to this place called PitaQ. It's basically the Chipotle for Greek/Mediterranean food. It was love at first bite. I think I went there 3 times in a week once, I loved it so much. When I get hooked on something, I freaking commit to that ish. This place was no exception. There's a menu with a bunch of options and then you build your [pita/salad/bowl/plate]. It wasn't until I came back to Phoenix that I realized I needed PitaQ back in my life. These rice bowls were the closest thing I could come up with to copy it. So hopefully you love these bowls as much as I do.

I'm going to make my intro short and sweet because let's be real, we're all here for the food. So let's get cooking!

Greek Chicken Rice Bowls

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 bowls
Serving Size: 1 bowl

Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken thighs or breasts 
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • 4 cups lettuce or leafy greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup Greek Vinaigrette Dressing (chicken marinade)
  • 1/2 cup Dairy Free Tzatziki 
Optional Ingredients:
  • Feta cheese
  • Kalamata olives
  • Red onion
Individual rice bowl ingredients:
  • 1 chicken thigh cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of rice (or no rice for low carb options)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Persian cucumber, cut into coin sized pieces
  • 1 cup of lettuce
  • 2-4 tbsp. dairy free tzatziki
  • 1 tbsp. Greek vinaigrette dressing (optional for extra zest) 
  • Optional ingredients listed above
Method:
  1. Chicken Prep - place the chicken and 1/2 cup of vinaigrette in a zip lock bag in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to marinade.
  2. Rice - you will want to cook the rice to specifications on packaging. Or you can bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil, add the rice, cover and cook for 15 minutes on low. Once 15 minutes is up, remove from heat and keep covered for another 10 minutes. You will have the most fluffy and perfect rice there ever was. Welllllll...if you are using white rice. I can't guarantee how brown rice will turn out since I don't eat it...much.
  3. Veggie Prep - wash tomatoes, cucumbers and greens and then pat to dry. Then cut the veggies into bite size pieces. I typically like to halve the tomatoes and slice the cucumbers into coin size pieces with the skin on or peel them. If I'm feeling frugal I will buy a head of lettuce and then prep it or if I'm lazy I will buy a package of pre-washed lettuce. Sometimes laziness wins... -_-
  4. If you don't have the vinaigrette and/or tzatziki prepped already, now would be a good time. Click on the links for ingredients and instructions. Trust me, you want to the try them out because they are DELISH. #shamlessplug
  5. Cooking Chicken - Heat up your grill or in my case, the good ol' George Foreman. Grill chicken until no longer pink in center or 165 degrees if you really want to be specific. Don't have a grill or a George Foreman? You can pan fry the chicken. Typically 10 minutes per side or until a golden brown crust forms.
  6. Prepping the Bowls - Here's where you can get creative and make your rice bowls purdy. Combine the following: chicken, rice, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, tzatziki, more Greek dressing and the optional ingredients listed.
  7. Brace yourself for a mouf party. 

Let me know what you think of these Greek chicken rice bowls. Tag me on social media @thehungrylatina on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, basically all of the social media platforms! Until next time my friends!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dairy Free Tzatziki


I LOVE Tzatziki. When I eat Greek or Mediterranean food, I drown my food in that creamy, yummy sauce. I like food as a side to my tzatziki. Anyone else like that? The only downside to tzatziki for me is that it's usually made with dairy products. Dairy and I have NOT been getting along lately. I started thinking about ways to make this sauce myself so that I could eat as much as I wanted without getting sick. After some testing in Kitchen de Timo, I finally came up with the perfect recipe for dairy free tzatziki that doesn't compromise flavor! It's even vegan for those of you who live that lifestyle. The best part of this recipe? It's SO easy to make! You dump all of the ingredients in a food processor and voila, you have instant tzatziki! My type of recipe. 
 I really enjoy flavorful food that is easy to make. Life has been crazy and I need to be able to make quick, yet delicious recipes and this was an easy thing to make and add to my Greek chicken rice bowls. That is an upcoming post, so be on the lookout for it!

Ready to get cooking? Let's goooooo!

Dairy Free Tzatziki

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
Serving Size: liberal, but 2-4 tbsps.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Persian cucumbers (seeds removed and chopped into large chunks)
  • 1 cup dairy free unflavored yogurt (I used Silk yogurt)*
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (depends on how garlicky you want it)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I use 1/4 tsp of salt & pepper)
Method:
  1. First things first, make sure veggies are properly washed and cleaned. I'm talking about the cukes, lemon and dill.
  2. You can peel the cucumbers if you want. I left the skin on because I'm lazy. Cut the cucumbers in half and spoon out the seeds. If you don't, you will have watery tzatziki. That's not my style so do what makes you happy. Once the innards have been scooped out, cut into chunks so they can fit in the food processor.
  3. For the dill - I will pick off the leaves and put them in a measuring cup to get the amount I need. You can keep the stick part of it, but it's not my preference.
  4. In a food processor, put the chopped cucumbers, yogurt, dill, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Blend until all ingredients are semi smooth. 
  6. Do a taste test. See if you need more salt, pepper, etc. 
  7. Proceed to cover food in sauce. 

Notes:
  • If you can handle dairy, you can use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt in place of dairy free yogurt. I chose to make it this way because dairy does not agree with me most days. Greek yogurt will give you thicker texture than regular yogurt.
  • If you don't have a food processor, you can easily make this in a blender.
Let me know what you think! I'll be sharing my Greek Chicken Rice Bowls shortly which I put this sauce on. Tag me @thehungrylatina or use the hashtag #thehungrylatina on social media when you make this. I love to see the food porn pictures!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Hungry Latina Turns 5!


Facebook is great for reminding me of things that have happened in the past. For instance, today, it reminded me that 5 years ago today, I started my blog! What?! I can't believe that The Hungry Latina turned 5 today. How quickly time flies when you're having fun. A LOT has changed since then as well.

Originally, I started the blog as an creative outlet during a tough time (depression sucks). It has evolved over the years and has turned into a myriad of different things. I've learned so much along the way and keep growing as a blogger. I never thought that it would grow into what it has today and I'm so thankful that people actually find my content interesting. So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

It's been a while since I posted and I have mixed feelings about this. Life has been somewhat crazy and the blogging has been set to the back burner. This is not due to a lack of content. I have TONS of material I want to write about, it's just finding the time and bandwidth to do so. My day job has been keeping me at work for 10-11 hours and by the time I get home, I am mentally exhausted and just want to veg out. This is okay occasionally, but it's gotten out of hand. It's time to take back my life again and have a good work/life balance.

So my goal is to join the 5AM workout club again in order to get my fitness on again. I hate mornings, but getting it done first thing in the morning will be the recipe for success. I've done it before, so I can do it again. It's just going to take accountability and A LOT of coffee.

I also want to make sure that I'm getting at least 2 posts a week for you guys. Great content is crucial to keep a blog going, and that's my promise to you. So be on the lookout for more posts and yummy recipes to try out.

In the meantime, here's a few recipes to hold you over until I get new content posted!





Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

Growing up my Mom always made side salads to go along with her meals. Every now and again, she'd convince me it was a good idea and serve me up one too (moms can be sneaky). They weren't anything fancy. She would mix lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and my favorite Greek Vinaigrette Dressing. Ever since I could remember, my mom has always done her best to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into our diets growing up and tried to eat as healthy as possible. I remember wanting the latest candy that turned your mouth blue and she would tell me no. The coloring will give you cancer. You don't want to die of cancer, do you? Of course she would say in Spanish so it sounded more like Ese bavosada tiene colores malos para ti. Te va a dar cancer y te vas a muir. Ya vas a ver. Always so dramatic. At least that's what I thought then. Now I think about it and of course, Mom was right. -__-

I'm not sure where she got the Greek vinaigrette dressing from, but it's always been in the family. It's so easy to make and can sit on the kitchen counter for a few weeks without going bad. I always recommend refrigeration if you don't trust the counter, but mine can sit out for 2 weeks and still taste delicious. I put it on salads, use as a marinade or spice up a rice bowl. It's very versatile and so easy to make. The best part is? It's made with all natural ingredients that are good for you. Bonus in a bottle. Another thing I love about this dressing? You dump all the ingredients into a food processor or a blender and then BAM. Instant dressing. SO EASY PEOPLE.

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2-1 tsp. salt (depending on how salty you like your dressing)
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 c olive oil
Method:
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until fully mixed/combined.
  2. Pour contents into a dressing bottle or container of choice.
  3. Proceed to put on all of the things.
  4. Can be refrigerated or stored in a cool location. Please note - refrigeration can cause the olive oil to solidify.
  5. Makes 1 cup of dressing.
  6. Serving size: 1-2 tbsps.
Tag me at @thehungrylatina on social media when you make this dressing or use the tag #thehungrylatina! What were some things your mom would make you eat as a child that now you are grateful for?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice, Beans & Mango Salsa


Back when I lived in the Bay Area, there was this Caribbean restaurant that I would go to often that had the most amazing jerk chicken I've ever had. Everything on their menu was delicious and it was very diverse with their offerings. The other day I had a mad craving for some Coconuts jerk chicken, but unfortunately I no longer live there so that was out of the question. I decided to do some research on Pinterest and I found a few different recipes that I decided to combine. This is how I created my own version of jerk chicken with coconut rice, beans and mango salsa. I topped it off with some homemade mango salsa and it was a mouf party to the max. It didn't taste exactly like Coconuts recipe, but it hit the spot and satisfied my craving for jerk chicken.

I invited my friend over for dinner on Sunday so he could try this delicious creation. Little did I know that he didn't like coconut rice or mango salsa. LOL. Oops! Turns out, he liked my version and went for seconds. So it goes to show - don't knock it until you try it!

Originally I made this recipe with chicken wings I had in the freezer, but you can easily make this with chicken thighs or breasts (thighs are way better in my opinion). I grilled mine on my George Foreman grill. Have I mentioned how AMAZING that thing is?! GAME CHANGER. It really is the little things. Thanks Mama Shirley! :) Where has it been my whole life? Ten minutes and your chicken is grilled to perfection without leaving my kitchen. That is the closest I'll get to being a grill master. I'm horrible at figuring out the grill. So George Foreman it is!

Ok so enough about my love affair with my new George Foreman grill. On to the good stuff: the actual recipe. Now don't be alarmed, there are a lot of steps to this but trust me, it's totally worth it. This is my lazy version of jerk chicken with coconut rice and beans.

Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice and Beans
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes (depending how long it takes you to chop veggies)
Cooking time: 10-40 minutes (depending on if you use a George Foreman or grill)
Servings: 4-5
Jerk Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used Trader Joe's chili olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. jerk chicken seasoning (I used Spice Hunter Jerk Seasoning)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp. red chili flakes (optional, for extra heat)
Coconut Rice:
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 can coconut milk (like Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken stock 
  • 2 tbsps. unsweetened shredded coconut
Beans:
  • 1 can of beans (black or red kidney work fine)
Chicken:
  • 2 lbs. chicken wings/drumsticks OR
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs OR
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts 
Mango Salsa:
  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, to taste

Method:
  1. Jerk Chicken Marinade: Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Place chicken and marinade in a large ziploc bag. Place in fridge overnight or at least an hour to combine.
  2. Coconut Rice: Combine rice, coconut milk, shredded coconut and water/chicken stock in a rice cooker. Set rice cooker settings for 1 cup of rice. Let the rice cook in the background while prepping the other ingredients.
  3. Beans: Open can of beans and place in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium until they warm up.
  4. Mango Salsa: Spray produce with veggie wash and rinse. Next, you will chop the veggies: jalapeno, red onion and cilantro. Once you've cut the veggies, peel the mangoes and then cut slices around the seed. Cube the mango. Finally, you will mix all the veggies, mangoes, salt, pepper and lime juice. Place in fridge until ready to eat.
  5. Jerk Chicken: Once the jerk chicken has had time to marry itself to the marinade, heat up your grill or George Foreman grill. Once heated to optimal temperature, place chicken on grill and cook until no longer pink in the middle (approximately 165 degree Fahrenheit). If using a George Foreman grill, set your kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Grilling will take 30-40 minutes versus 10 minutes on a George Foreman.
  6. Once the chicken, beans and rice have finished cooking, you can now plate your food!
  7. Serving suggestion: 1 chicken thigh/breast OR 6 chicken wings, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 cup mango salsa (optional)
  8. Jerk Chicken rice bowl option: layer the ingredients for an easy rice bowl meal! Layer in the following order: rice, beans, cubed chicken and mango salsa. Mix and let the mouf party begin!
Tag me on social media if you make this recipe! What other easy meals do you enjoy making? Until next time my friends!

Credits:
Jerk Chicken Marinade

Affiliate disclosure - I have partnered up with Amazon and they give me a (small) commission if you buy anything in the links at no extra charge to you. It's snack money and helps keep this bloggy blog free for my wonderful followers. The links are items that I actually use and love. Ok carry on!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Cilantro Salad Dressing - Copycat Recipe

 If you didn't already know, I LOVE Trader Joe's. It's one of my favorite grocery stores and I try to go as often as I can. There's just certain things that TJ's has that no one else does. Like this Cilantro Salad Dressing. It was love at first taste. I mean that stuff was amazing. So much goodness in one bite. I loved it so much I wanted to replicate it and share it with everyone who may or may not have access to TJ's. This is how I came up with the Trader Joe's Cilantro Salad Dressing copycat recipe.

I took a gander at the ingredient list on the original bottle. Some of them were interesting. I got the necessary ones that are the bread and butter of this lovely dressing and decided to play mad scientist. It really wasn't that hard. In fact it's really easy and doesn't take that long! The longest part was roasting the Anaheim peppers which gives them a nice smokey flavor necessary to make this dressing work.

When I originally tried the dressing, I put it on my chicken burrito rice bowl and it was an instant hit. Thank you Trader Joe's for creating a major mouf party. It was soooooo good. I promise you will love it too. The ingredients were easy to find and I was able to find them all at my local Fry's (aka: Kroger) so it was a one stop shop which is definitely a plus for me.

This dressing is extremely versatile and can be used on salads, rice bowls, or anything else you want to add a punch of flavor to. So enough of the gab, let's make this bad boy!
 Trader Joe's Cilantro Salad Dressing - Copycat Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup cilantro, leaves only
  • 1 roasted Anaheim pepper (can sub with canned mild green chilies)
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds 
Method:
  1. For the roasted anaheim pepper - Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pepper on greased baking sheet. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Once timer goes off, flip pepper. Leave in oven for another 10 minutes. Skin should be charred and blistered. Total baking time will be 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can touch it without burning yourself. You will then need to cut the stem off, take the seeds out, and remove the blistered skin. The skin should easily peel off. Cut the pepper into chunks and place into food processor or blender with other ingredients.
  2. For the rest of the ingredients - Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until you get a smooth consistency. Approximately 1-2 minutes. Pour salad dressing into a container for storage. Stores up to a week in the fridge.
  3. Makes approximately 1 cup of dressing. For more dressing, double the recipe. 
  4. Serving size: 1-2 tbsps.
  5. Prepare yourself for a mouf party.
See how easy that was?! Let me know what you think of this dressing. Tag me on social media when you make this! Stay tuned for more recipes for busy people.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Easy Tex-Mex Chicken Salad


Why hello there. It's been a while. A lot has happened since my last post. I got a new job and it's been challenging me in more ways I knew a job could be. I've been working long hours so making easy meals has been crucial and life saving for me. Insert the Easy Tex-Mex Chicken Salad. Last summer when I was a sales rep working out of my car, I tried 2 similar recipes that I became addicted to (links below). From these two recipes, I created the Easy Tex-Mex Chicken Salad. Not only is it stupid easy to make, but it is SO GOOD. Yea, that required caps.

Not only is this recipe easy, but the ingredients are extremely versatile. Don't want to use canned corn/beans? No problem. Substitute for fresh roasted corn on the cob or make your own batch of crock-pot beans. You want to take the time to grill chicken rather than buying a rotisserie chicken or Del Real's Pollo Asado. Go for it. P.S. the Del Real's Pollo Asado was a hidden gem I found at my local Kroger store. That is some good chicken. HIGHLY recommend it if you're feeling lazy but want grilled chicken. You won't be disappointed!

Are you starting to see a theme here? This salad is for people who are busy and don't exactly have the time to slave over the stove top creating time consuming meals. Not that there is anything bad with that, but after you've worked a 12 hour day, the last thing you want to do is spend another hour or so cooking. Ya feel me?

So enough of the gab, let's make this salad. It's co-worker approved. Psst. She said it was her favorite thing I had made so far. So that says something...amirite?!
 Easy Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
  •  1 can of beans (I prefer black - pinto works great too)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1/2 C mayo (this is my absolute favorite mayo)
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar (I used white)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 C chicken (shredded, grilled, etc. It's all good!)
  • Ground pepper to taste
Optional Ingredients & Garnishes:
  • Cotija cheese
  • Salsa (spice it up a bit)
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1/2 of an avocado
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Servings: 3 (1-1/2 cups of salad)

Method:
  1. Open the cans of corn & beans. Rinse and drain. Once drained, place them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Veggie Prep: Wash/rinse the green onions and cherry tomatoes. I like to use this veggie wash to make sure they are extra clean. Set the veggies in a strainer over the sink to rid of excess water. Then you will take a small handful of cilantro, spray with veggie wash, rinse, and set aside in the strainer to dry while prepping the other veggies.
  3. On a cutting board, cut the onions into small pieces and place in mixing bowl. Next, you will cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in the bowl with the other ingredients.
  4. Next you will finely dice the cilantro. I like to tear the leaves from the stems so I'm only cutting up the leaves and not the stems. It's a little extra work, but it looks prettier. ;) Place diced cilantro in the mixing bowl.
  5. You then add the chicken to the mixture. If using grilled chicken, cube the chicken before adding to the mixing bowl. If using rotisserie chicken, make sure to shred it before placing in with the other ingredients.
  6. Finally, add the mayo, cumin, chili powder, vinegar and lime juice. You can also add pepper to add some more flavor.
  7. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. Make sure to taste test it to see if anything is missing or if you need to add more of a particular ingredient (I always end up adding more lime juice).
  8. Serve in bowls and top with cotija, avocado, or salsa. I like to eat my salad with tortilla chips.
 What are your favorite easy go-to recipes? Stay tuned for more easy recipes for people on the go in the upcoming weeks!

Recipe Credits:
Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad
Tex Mex Chicken Salad
 

Affiliate disclosure - I have partnered up with Amazon and they give me a (small) commission if you buy anything in the links at no extra charge to you. It's snack money and helps keep this bloggy blog free for my wonderful followers. The links are items that I actually use and love. Ok carry on!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Caramel Toffee 'Tastic Cheesecake: A Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Recipe


The other day I came across an article from AZ Central in regards to the Cookie Dessert Challenge that the Girl Scouts of Arizona host. This is the third year that they have done this and they challenge local restaurants to incorporate the cookies into desserts for the month of February. If I'm not mistaken, they even had a contest for bloggers to submit their recipes. Of course I found out about it on the 19th and the deadline was the 20th. Womp. Womp. In solidarity, I decided to buy more Toffee 'Tastic cookies and create a cheesecake inspired by the only gluten free Girl Scout cookies. Not one of the restaurants offered a gluten free option. This made me incredibly sad. Good thing I can bake because I'll have my own dessert competition. Party of uno. Moi.
 I decided to use my go-to cheesecake recipe as it's a winner and has been tested with lots of taste testers. I originally tried this recipe back in high school when I was trying every fad diet out there. I found a cheesecake recipe from Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight (don't judge) and have modified it in true Timo fashion. This and a few other recipes have been the only thing that has stuck from that diet...LOL. Oops.

Instead of using a graham cracker cookie crust like I normally do, I used the Toffee 'Tastic cookies as the crust. These cookies are delicious. Short bread goodness with toffee bits. Yum. Yum. I got to try these last year for the first time as they tested them in Sacramento, CA back when I was living there, to see if they would be successful. I was so excited to be able to eat Girl Scout cookies again. They do not disappoint. Finally, the cheesecake is topped with caramel sauce because who doesn't love toffee and caramel? The combo is delicious and it just worked. See?
 I've always said that cheesecakes are a labor of love since they do take time to make. This one is no exception as the whole process takes right around 4 hours. Don't let that deter you from making it. Three and a half of those hours include baking and cooling down. What I'm trying to get at is, this is not a dessert to make if you're in a hurry or have procrastinated. This takes time and most importantly, love.

The last day to buy Girl Scout cookies is February 29th (hello leap year!). So...what are you waiting for? GET ALL THE COOKIES.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. :)

Cheesecake Ingredients:
  • 2 - 8 oz. packages non-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C Splenda or sweetener of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 32 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt
Cookie Crust Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 packages of Toffee 'Tastic Girl Scout Cookies (approximately 21 cookies) + 1-2 cookies for garnish
Topping:
  • 1 jar of caramel topping (fancy, I know!) or you can get classy and make your own. But why would you want to do more work? I used Archer Farms Salted Chocolate Caramel dessert sauce.
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the Crust - Combine cookies in a food processor until finely ground. The cookies already have their own oil so you don't need to add additional to bind.
  3. For the Cheesecake - In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sweetener. Beat with a mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, making sure that they get mixed in evenly.
  5. Next, add in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt.
  6. Once the ingredients are fully combined, add in the Greek yogurt until evenly blended.
  7. Lightly spray a springform pan with cooking spray.
  8. Press the cookie mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan.
  9. Once the crust is complete, pour the cheesecake mixture on top.
  10. Fill a roasting pan with 1 inch of boiling hot water. Next you will need to wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil so that water doesn't accidentally leak into your cheesecake.
  11. Carefully place the cheesecake into the roasting pan and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  12. Once the timer goes off, DO NOT open the oven. Turn off the oven and reset the timer for 1 hour. After an hour, you will take the cheesecake out and allow to cool before covering and placing in the fridge (approximately an hour).
  13. Once the cheesecake is ready to be served, remove the cake from the springform pan. Heat the sauce up and then drizzle the caramel sauce on top. Crumble more cookies and sprinkle on the cheesecake for garnish
  14. Proceed to shovel the cheesecake in your mouth and prepare for a mouf party.
  15. Makes 12 servings (or less depending on big your slices are).
What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies? Have you ever tried to make desserts out of them?

This week is all about the sweet treats... Stay tuned for my next post: Gluten Free Lemon Olive Oil Cake.

~The Hungry Latina

Monday, February 1, 2016

Slow Cooker Meatballs...AKA: Albondigas


I work with a large group of Latinos and we're always talking about food. A typical conversation may sound something like this:
Co-Worker: So what did you bring for lunch?
Me: I brought [insert latest homemade meal].
Co-Worker: Oooooh that sounds good
Me: [smiles] I brought extra!
Co-Worker: [big grin] Can I have some?
Me: Sure!

I am always sharing food and bringing in baked goods for them to try. I mean if I don't share, then that means I HAVE to eat it. I love eating and all, but my figure isn't going to keep itself. Soooo...that's when the sharing comes into play. Sharing is caring!

The other day my cell mate...I mean my cube mate started telling me about the albondigas that her mom made the previous night. She went on about how she loves her mom's albondigas, but they are high in fat due to the type of meat she uses and my cube mate has been working out and trying to eat healthier. This got me thinking about my own albondigas recipe that I had posted a while back. While it's simple to make, it's labor intensive when you "fry" up the meatballs. What if I recreated the original recipe into a slow cooker recipe? It could work, right?! IT TOTALLY DID! They are leaner than the original recipe since I didn't fry them so these will not break the calorie/macro bank. The flavor is still amazing and you will not believe that they are the healthier version of my original recipe.

I don't know why I didn't think of this way of cooking the albondigas sooner. I am always trying to simplify things in the kitchen and using a slow cooker is the best way to maximize your time when cooking. The slow cooker and I have not always had a great track record. I've probably destroyed more meals in that thing than I've had successes. I'm proud to say that this recipe was a slow cooker success. YAY! <happy dance> You would think the ease of use would equal great success. For me, not so much. I think the simplicity of it screws me up. Anyway, I digress.
The meatballs can be made gluten free and paleo if that's your thing. Making them Paleo also makes them low carb so all you Atkins, Keto, low carb peeps can participate in this deliciousness. Feel free to fry them up before sticking them in the slow cooker for extra fatty goodness. Or not.

Are you ready to get your cook on? Let's go!

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. 96/4 lean ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. gluten free oat flour*
  • 1 tsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce**
  • 2 eggs
  • 20 mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
*For Paleo/Low Carb, use almond meal.
**For Paleo use coconut aminos; Low Carb use Braggs Aminos or Gluten Free soy sauce

 Sauce Ingredients:
  • 6 vine ripe tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

 Method:
  1. Combine the ground beef, minced garlic, oat flour, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, mint, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly. I’m weirded out by touching raw meat and a total germaphobe so I put disposable gloves on to mix the meatball mixture.
  2. Once the ingredients have been mixed together, you will take a tablespoon sized portion of meat and roll it in your hands into a ball shape. Do this with the rest of the meat. You should end up with approximately 35-40 meatballs depending on how small you make them. Place them in the slow cooker as you roll them.
  3. Set the meatballs aside while you prepare the tomato sauce.
  4. Cut the tomatoes and onions in large pieces and place in a blender or food processor with the salt, garlic and cilantro. Blend until smooth.  
  5. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cover.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. I cooked them for 8 hours on low and dinner was ready when I got home from work. My apartment smelled amazing AND I didn't have to cook. I call that a win.  
  7. Serve with rice, quinoa, or as is for the Paleo/Low Carb version. Top with cotija cheese or queso fresco.


Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I always have. It was one of my favorites growing up. What slow cooker recipes do you enjoy making?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Damn Good Guac

 
I am one of those people that will pay extra money at Chipotle for guac. I LOVE it that much. I mean what is life without the deliciousness that is guacamole? I would die without it. I want to get that shirt that says "I know guac is extra" and wear just when I go to Chipotle. I'm a regular there, YOU SHOULD KNOW I DON'T CARE IT IS EXTRA. Ok rant over.

Anyways, I grew up eating avocados with everything. Maybe it's a Latino thing, I dunno, but avocados are amazing. I remember my mom making me avocado sandwiches that only had avocado, cotija, salt, pepper in between two slices of bread. HEAVEN. Then when she would make guac, I would be as happy as could be. Hers was always plain. Just avocado, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper. Nothing like the recipe I'm going to present you with here shortly. I don't even know how I came up with it, but if pico de gallo and guacamole had a baby, this is what you would get:

Isn't it beautiful? Let's just take a moment of silence for the beauty that is in front of us.

<silence>

Guacamole is one of my go-to recipes when I'm feeling lazy and need to take a dish with me to a get together, picnic, or Superbowl parties. You can impress your friends with this awesome and easy recipe. It will be the thing you are known for. You'll be the MVP of the party for the best appetizer. People will beg you to bring it to the next function. How do I know this, I am that person. Ha.

Ok, are you ready for this recipe? It's fairly simple to make, the key is getting the avocados ripe enough that they still have their pretty green color like this:

I waited a week for these bad boys to get this color. The key is getting them when the skin is green and letting them ripen naturally in a fruit basket or on the counter. Once they turn brown and soft to the touch, then you put them in the fridge until they are ready to be made into guac. If you don't have a week for them to ripen, you can put them in a paper bag over night and they should be good to go the next day.

Alright, it's go time!

Ingredients:
  • 6-7 avocados (I use Hass avocados)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (seeds taken out)*
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (omit if you are a cilantro hater)
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (depends on how garlicky you like things)
  • 2 limes, juiced (these are key to keep it green the day after)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 jalapeno (optional, adds a nice kick)
*In order to avoid watery guacamole, you really need to take the seeds and all tomato juice from the tomato before cutting and tossing into the guac.

 Method:
  1. Prepping the avocados - I will cut them in half, scrape the meat out of the skin and put them in a large mixing bowl. I discard the seeds. That old adage of putting the seeds in the guac to keep it from browning? ALL LIES. Lime juice is the secret. 
  2. Once you have prepped the avocados, take a potato masher and mash the crap out of them. They should have the consistency of mashed potatoes once you're finished getting your aggression out on them. Feel better? Yea I did too. ;) Set the bowl aside.
  3. Next comes the tedious part, chopping up the veggies. First make sure to wash them so they are nice and clean. No one likes a dirty veggie.
  4. Prepping the tomato - cut the tomato in half. Take a spoon and scrape the guts out and toss (or you can add to a salsa). Cut the tomato into small pieces and put in the bowl with the avocado.
  5. Chop the onion into small pieces. Toss in the bowl with the mashed avocados and tomato.
  6. Prepping the cilantro - take 5 branches and pluck the leaves so you don't have the stems. Put the leaves in a pile and then proceed to take a sharp knife and finely dice the leaves. Add the cilantro to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  7. Next you will either finely dice the garlic or use a garlic press. Add the garlic to the bowl. Garlic presses are such a delightful tool to have in the kitchen. If you don't have one, you are missing out on working smarter in the kitchen. I'm telling you, YOU NEED TO GET ONE NOW. Okay carry on.
  8. Add 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
  9. Mix the ingredients together and do a little taste test. Is it salty enough? If not, add another 1/4 tsp of salt. If it's up to your salt expectations, let's move on to the final ingredient: the lime juice.
  10. If there's one ingredient you cannot skimp on (aside from the avocados, duh), it's the lime juice. They help keep the guac nice and green. No one likes brown guac. Trust me, lime juice is key. I've tried lemon juice and it's not the same. Just use limes, mmkay?! Cut the 2 limes in half and then put them in the lemon/lime squeezer (another excellent tool to have in the kitchen). Pour the juice into the mix. 
  11. Taste the guac to make sure that it passes the taste tester's seal of approval.
  12. Serve with tortilla chips, plantain chips to make it Paleo, jicama slices, veggies, etc.
  13. Can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days.
Let me know if you make this for the Superbowl! What are your favorite appetizers to have at Superbowl parties?

Stay strong my friends. Until next time!

Affiliate disclosure - I have partnered up with Amazon and they give me a (small) commission if you buy anything in the links at no extra charge to you. It's snack money and helps keep this bloggy blog free for my wonderful followers. The links are items that I actually use and love. With the exception of the Guac tee-shirt. I don't have that...yet... ;) Ok carry on!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Recipe Review: Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup [DF | GF | WF]


I am always scouring Pinterest for weekly food inspiration for meal prep Sundays. This week was no different and I had a specific ingredient I wanted to use: pork sausage. I also wanted soup. I came across a few tempting recipes that involved sausage soups but most had gnocchi and I wasn't entirely sure where I could find a gluten free option without going on a wild goose chase in Phoenix. I did not have the time nor the energy to do so. Don't even ask about hand making it. <scowls> One thing you will learn about me, is that I can be a lazy cook. If I can get it packaged and make it semi-homemade, I'm happy. If I have to go to the extremes of hand making everything for <ahem> party of one <Moi> then no thanks. I'M GOOD.

I found a Sausage, Potato and Spinach soup that looked promising. If you read the title, you will notice that in true Timo fashion, I did not follow the recipe as it was written. Whoopsie! Sorry not sorry. A little deviation never hurt anyone and this one turned out mighty tasty. In my defense, I followed the recipe about 80% and then went off the beaten path to make it my own.

The original recipe calls for heavy cream and while I love heavy cream, my body does not. For some strange reason, dairy has been like an evil invader and wrecks havoc so I am steering clear of the dairy as much as possible. It's been quite the challenge, but it's been totally worth it. I used coconut milk and you can't even tell the difference, but shhhhhh....don't tell my friend because he doesn't like when I make things healthy. HA. He happened to be sick the night I made it so being the good friend that I am, I made extra for him. Who doesn't enjoy a hot bowl of soup when you're sick? Needless to say, he really enjoyed it and while it may not have cured him of his ailments, it sure did make his tummy happy!

You ready for this rich and delicious soup recipe? You are going to LOVE how easy it is to make! I sure did.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 lb. red potatoes
  • 1 lb. sausage (I used Jenny-O breakfast sausage)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Clean and rinse the kale and potatoes.
  2. Cut the potatoes into cubes. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Remove the stems from the kale so that you just have the leafy part. You will then coarsely chop the kale. Set aside in the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Mince the garlic. Place in a small ramekin until later.
  5. Dice the onion into small pieces. Set aside in another bowl (there is a reason that my kitchen looks like Hurricane Timo hit after I'm finished cooking...).
  6. Heat a large soup pot to medium. Place the breakfast sausage in the pot and break it up with a wooden spoon. Stirring occasionally so that the meat browns evenly. 
  7. Add the onions to the meat mixture before it completely browns. Continue cooking the meat and onion mixture until the onions become translucent and fragrant.
  8. Add the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir for a minute or so to evenly combine.
  9. Pour the chicken broth and add the bay leaf to the mixture. Turn heat up so that the soup starts to boil. Once boiling, turn heat back down to medium.
  10. Add the potatoes and kale.
  11. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Once potatoes are soft, turn heat off and add the coconut milk. Stir until completely mixed. 
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I did not have to add any additional salt as it was plenty salty with the sausage and chicken broth.
  13. Makes approximately 10 cups of soup.
Additional thoughts:

This soup was extremely rich and filling. If it was cold here in Phoenix like it is out East, I would say it warmed me up, but I don't live out East and it's not cold in Phoenix. Sooooooo...it did its job of warming my belly and leaving me satisfied.

I will definitely be adding this to the soups to make come winter and I highly recommend you try it. You will not be disappointed!

Note:

I did not get any compensation to write this review. I simply tried a recipe that I enjoyed and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. If you have other recipes that you would like me to try, please feel free to email me at: thehungrylatina@gmail.com. If it's a recipe that is not gluten free, I will convert it so that I can eat it. ;)



Monday, January 25, 2016

Comfort Food: Meatloaf [Gluten Free & Wheat Free]

 You are either team meatloaf or you're not. I grew up team meatloaf because it's fairly inexpensive to make and tasty. I have tried various types of meatloaf recipes and always keep going back to the one my mom would make growing up. It was not a complicated recipe. In fact, you can find it on the back of the Lipton French Onion Soup box. This recipe has always been in my arsenal of go-to recipes ever since I flew the coop and started off on my own adventures.

Once I made the change to go gluten free, I was heartbroken that I would not be able to make my favorite meatloaf with the same ingredients. I decided to go on a mission to find a gluten free version. It didn't take me long to find what I was looking for in one of my favorite grocery stores: Trader Joe's! Not only is it affordable, but it is gluten free. My inner kid squealed in delight and I bought a few packets to test out the recipe once again.

Let me just say this, I was not disappointed! So let's get cooking.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. 96/4 lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 packet of gluten free onion soup (Trader Joe's has a gluten free version!)
  • 3/4 C gluten free bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1/3 C sriracha ketchup*
  • 1/2 C BBQ Sauce (you can add before baking or after)** 
*I got my sriracha ketchup from Fry's (Arizona's Kroger equivalent). If you can't find it, you can use 1/3 C regular ketchup and 1-2 Tbsp sriracha depending on how spicy you want it. This happened by accident as it was the only type I had. This was a good accident to have happen.
**I prefer my BBQ sauce to be added after it's been baked, but it tastes just as good if you add on before baking.

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ingredients in order given. 
  3. This recipe calls for you to get in hands deep to mix things up. Since I'm a germaphobe, I will put vinyl gloves on before sticking my hands in the mixture. I suggest you do the same too. Plus it's easy clean up. Work smarter, not harder. ;)
  4. Before you get your hands full of meatloaf mix, you will want to make sure your loaf or mini loaf pan is ready to go. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands. 
  5. Once the ingredients are mixed together, scoop the meat mixture and pat it into the loaf pan so that the top is flat.
  6. Place in oven for 1 hour.
  7. Once meatloaf has cooked, I recommend letting it sit for about 10 minutes to cool before serving.
  8. Serves 6-8 (depending on type of pan used) 
  9. Add BBQ sauce if you didn't already put it on before baking.
  10. Recommended sides: potatoes and green beans
Additional Thoughts:

This was my first time using the mini loaf pan and I really liked the way it turned out. They definitely helped with portion control and it was the perfect amount of meatloaf. Using a loaf pan can be great, but it's hard to control the portions when you have to cut them yourself. A whole loaf is a serving size, right?!

Turning this recipe gluten free did not change the taste or texture of the original recipe. In fact, you cannot even tell it's gluten free! It's still very moist and juicy and most importantly, tasty!

Let me know what you think of the recipe and if you make it! I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Stay strong my friends! Until next time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Carrot Spice Protein Bread [DF | GF | WF]

I have a sweet tooth and my motto has always been "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first." I LOVE me some dessert. Doesn't matter the time of day, I'm game for it all. So it comes as no surprise when I try to incorporate sweets when I'm watching what I'm eating. Enter flexible dieting aka: counting macros. While I'm not actively counting them at the moment, this recipe was a go-to when I was hitting the gym something fierce. Don't get me wrong, fitness is a part of my life, but at the moment it has taken a backseat temporarily.

Remember that 2 year hiatus I took? There was a lot of struggle that went on. I won't give you the long story, instead I'll give you the shortened version... The guy I moved to California for...yea...we broke up. That caused a domino effect of...stuff. I moved 4 times after that and eventually ended back in Phoenix. I will say, the break up taught me A LOT. I'm a whole lot stronger and have a clearer vision of who I am and where I want to be. Which brings me back to the blog...

Okay now that I've gotten that off of my chest, we're going to do my second favorite thing in the kitchen: BAKE! I originally found this recipe on Pinterest looking for low calorie sweet treats that satisfied my killer sweet tooth. The original recipe is somewhat gluten free as it uses oat flour, however, I've done my research and know that not all people who are gluten free can eat oats. I decided to experiment with various gluten free flours but I wanted to keep it simple. My eyes glaze over when the recipe calls for 5 flours, 3 starches, every expensive ingredient at Whole Foods, and the tears of a baby. I like to work smart, not harder in life and this ideal translates nicely in the kitchen. If it's too difficult or I have to buy 50 ingredients I'll use once, no thanks. Part of the idea of starting up this blog again is to simplify gluten free recipes. Not to discredit the original author, I just don't have the time or the resources for fancy schmancy ingredients. I'm trying to be frugal and being on a gluten free diet makes that a pinch more challenging.

I decided to play around with sorghum flour because it had a nice nutty flavor and didn't turn my baked goods into rice flavored bites. Ever bake with rice flour and wonder why it tastes like you're eating sweetened rice? I mean if that's your thing, then by all means. But for me, rice is good as rice pudding or with a main dish. But in my sweet treats? Ummm...no thanks. I read around that you still have to use a starch with sorghum to make it fluffy. <SIGH> Again with the massive amounts of ingredients! I was starting to feel like I was conducting a chemistry experiment. In reality, I was. Gluten free baking is more precise than regular baking will ever be. It lacks that little thing called gluten...aka...the glue. This is where xanthan gum comes in really handy as it acts as the binder/glue to make gluten free goods nice and fluffy. Trying to figure out the perfect combination was an absolute nightmare. Luckily for you, I figured it out so you don't have to.

On to the fun stuff! This recipe was adapted from Jamie Eason's Carrot Cake Protein Bars so I can't take all of the credit for it. Also, before I forget... Affiliate Disclosure - In order to keep my blog free for everyone, this post contains sponsored links from Amazon.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (unflavored is fine)*
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (whatever your macros will allow for - this tastes good with or without) 

Wet Ingredients:
  • 4 egg whites** 
  • 3/4 cup sweetener of choice (I use Splenda)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food***
  • 4 oz. water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (if using unflavored protein powder) 

*For the love all of that is holy, use a protein powder you actually enjoy the taste of. Otherwise you will hate your protein bread. Also, egg white protein is possibly the worst protein powder to use. Trust me, I speak from experience.
**I HIGHLY recommend using liquid egg whites from the carton. Otherwise you will have an eggy textured bread which is no bueno.
***Baby food in protein bread? What on earth? Yea it's weird, but just go with it. I'm all about texture and the baby food adds a nice texture. Plus at 30 calories a jar, you can't go wrong. Holla!

Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Do it now before you forget and get into the groove of things. Then you have to wait around for the oven to warm up. Ain't no body got time for that!
  2. You can use pretty much any kind of baking receptacle your little heart so chooses. I usually grease up a 9inx5in loaf pan or you can use a mini loaf pan (my personal favorite). Just don't forget to grease that sucker up.
  3. I'm OCD so there is a certain way that I will bake. You can do whatever tickles your fancy. I like to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately AND then marry them together. It doesn't make a difference except those of us who are ridiculously OCD. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in order given in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients until completely mixed together.
  6. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Try not to beat the mixture too hard. Xanthan gum is a fickle little bugger and can get out of control fluffy. Just a forewarning ok? 
  7. Once wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, gently fold in walnuts.
  8. Dump the mixture into the greased loaf pan of your choice and stick in the nice and hot oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the loaf cool for about an hour before taking it out of the pan to further cool on a wire rack.
  10. Makes approximately 14 servings.

What did you think of the gluten free version of this protein bread? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, things you did differently, randomness, etc. There's more where this recipe came from and you can expect to see similar items in the near future. Stay strong my friends!