WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Sharing is caring April 13, 2011

Filed under: Beverage,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 9:20 am

I have lots of totally random stuff to share today.  Being toward the end of my pregnancy (only 9 weeks to go!), it should be getting more difficult to eat normal quantities of food, and for some women, the nausea of the first trimester returns.  Well, this has not been the case for me.  I still want to eat everything in sight, ugh!  I’m trying my best to resist the cravings for root beer floats, donuts, and onion rings.  I’m also craving beverages.  Water gets soooo boring after awhile.  So I found this tea at the store the other day and decided to try it.  It’s a little pricey, but it was a nice change.

I also came across a recipe for homemade iced coffee.  I’ve tried making my own iced coffee in the past, and it always tasted like crap.  Well, this recipe is totally a hit!  And I love that I don’t have to brew coffee to make this. 

Iced Coffee
Recipe >>>HERE<<<

I used decaf instant coffee and probably a little more than 6 oz of skim milk.

Remember how I just said I was craving onion rings?  I decided to make some “healthy” onion rings last night, hoping it would squash the craving.  These turned out pretty well!  Despite the super high oven temperature setting off our smoke detector, the rings turned out very crispy and tasty. 

Oven Baked Onion Rings
Adapted from recipe >>>HERE<<<

I used panko bread crumbs instead of potato chips, and I didn’t use anywhere near 4 cups (more like 1 cup).  I also skipped the flour/zip-lock bag step and just let the onions soak in the buttermilk mixture for an hour or so before breading them in the panko.


Four ingredients March 31, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:27 am

Hello, kiddies.  So I have this book of recipes that all have 4 ingredients or less.  I’ve had it since college, and I dug it out last weekend and found some things to make.  Exciting, no?

Stuffed Yellow Squash


  • 3 large yellow squashes
  • 1/2 block (4 ounces) light cream cheese
  • 1 box frozen spinach
  • 1 packet French Onion Soup mix
  • (I added a sprinkle of Panko bread crumbs too)


  1. Halve squashes lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes until squashes are tender.
  2. In the meantime, cook spinach on stovetop according to package directions.  Drain well and return to pan.
  3. Stir in the cream cheese and soup mix.  Do not let cream cheese boil. 
  4. Spoon mixture into squashes and top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs.  Spray bread crumbs with cooking spray to help with browning. 
  5. Bake for another 15 minutes or so until mixture is bubbly and bread crumbs are slightly browned. 

***Just a note – next time, I would use only half or 2/3 of the package of soup mix, it was a little salty for my taste! 

Spicy Chicken and Rice


  • 2-3 chicken breasts, sliced and cooked
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can fiesta nacho cheese soup
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes


  1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish.  Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes.  Remove cover during last 5-10 minutes.

Steak and chicken March 28, 2011

Filed under: Beef,Chicken,Pasta,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 9:51 am

Hi, all!  I’ve got two hearty, meaty meals for you today.  I’m still working on the iron thing, so I’ve been trying to eat meat at least once a day (along with lots of non-meat sources of iron, too).  I have a feeling my iron will still be low at my next appointment, but I reeeally don’t want to have to take iron supplements.  If you don’t know why, I would suggest googling “side effects of iron supplements,” because the reason is totally TMI for a food blog 😉   Onto the food…

Steak and Warm Tortellini Salad

For the steak:  I had two “bottom sirloin steaks” (I think?) that I marinated in a mixture of worchestershire sauce, chipotle hot sauce, olive oil, and grill seasoning.  I let them marinate for the day – around 5-6 hours.  I seasoned them with salt and pepper, then broiled them in the oven.

For the salad:  First, make a quick balsamic vinaigrette in a large bowl.  I don’t measure, but here’s what I do:  whisk together one part vinegar with a squirt of dijon mustard, a squirt of honey, salt and pepper; stream in one part of olive oil and whisk until well combined.  Set aside.   

Cook some frozen cheese tortellini according to the package directions.  Drain and return it to the pot.  Stir in 2 or 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach and let it wilt slightly.  Pour the pasta/spinach into the bowl with the vinaigrette, toss to combine.  Serve salad warm and top with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Hawaiian Chicken
Recipe from Macaroni and Cheesecake


1 cup crushed pineapple
1 tbsp. honey
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cilantro
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half or 4 smaller chicken breasts


In a medium sized bowl mix together pineapple and all other ingredients except the chicken until combined. Place chicken in the bowl to marinate and refrigerate until ready to use. We marinated for 1 hour, but if you have less time it would be just fine.

After marinating, place chicken & marinade in a large skillet, sprayed with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and marinade has reduced just slightly. Serve chicken topped with cooked marinade & garnish with cilantro.


This was really flavorful and tasty!  I will say, though, it was quite salty (even after using the low-sodium soy sauce).  Next time, I would definitely leave out the extra 1/4 tsp of salt and maybe even reduce the amount of soy sauce a little.  Otherwise, I would highly recommend this recipe!


Dreaming of pasta December 22, 2010

Filed under: Pasta,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 7:52 pm

I used to go camping quite a bit with my family when I was younger.  We had a nice little pop-up camper, you know, it wasn’t a tent, but it was just rustic enough to still be considered “roughin’ it.”  We had lots of fun, and of course, there was always tons of food.  My “aunt” Adeline always made this really simple, but really tasty pasta salad.  I think we may have called it the “Kids’ Salad”??  Something like that, well because, it had kid-friendly things in it. 

So yeah, my messed-up, pregnant mind actually woke up the other night thinking about this salad.  I was in some sort of Ranch dressing fog and actually almost woke Wayne up to tell him how much I wanted this salad.  Obviously, I went straight to the store and got the whole four ingredients and made some today.  It was everything I dreamed of (literally)! 

Adeline’s Pickle Pasta Salad


  • Elbow macaroni – the regular white kind
  • Chopped dill pickles
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Ranch dressing – the real, full-fat kind, mhmm that’s right…


  • Cook and drain pasta
  • Mix with pickles, cheese and Ranch
  • Chill for a couple hours
  • You may need to add more Ranch before serving since the pasta absorbs a lot of it

Adeline, I know you’re out there!  Please correct me if I missed anything here, but this is how I remember it 🙂


Sunday comfort October 10, 2010

Filed under: Beef,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 6:33 pm

Happy Sunday, little bugs!  It’s been a pretty normal Sunday around here – well except for the fact that we’re on day 3 with the air conditioning back on!  It’s been in the 80s here, which is a little strange for October.  Anywho, tonight’s dinner was very Sunday-like.  You know – kinda heavy, very warm, and very “homey.”  Wayne actually picked out the steak recipe from one of my cookbooks (after I whined profusely about not knowing what to make), and I’ve been wanting to make the corn souffle for probably over a year now. 

Skirt Steak with Poblano Sauce
From Great Food Fast: From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, pg 134


  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (I used 1 pound)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, thinly sliced
  • juice from 1/2 lime


  1. To roast the peppers – place whole peppers on a baking sheet and broil until charred, turning peppers frequently.  Place peppers in a glass bowl and immediately cover with plastic wrap.  Let peppers steam for about 10 minutes.  Remove skin, stem, and seeds under running water.  Set aside.
  2. Rub the steak with oil, salt and pepper.  Cook on grill or under broiler until desired degree of doneness is reached. 
  3. While steak is cooking, make the sauce.  Saute the onion and garlic in some oil until softened, golden, and fragrant.  Add the sliced peppers, tomatoes, lime juice and a splash of water.  Let sauce simmer and reduce.
  4. Let steak rest for a few minutes, then slice against the grain.  Serve with the poblano sauce. 

Corn Souffle
I’ve had this recipe printed on a scrap of paper forever, and I have no clue where it came from.  I feel like it’s something Paula Deen would make, you know, because it has two of her favorite things in it – BUTTER and sour cream.  However, I know it’s from someone’s blog out there.  I halved the original recipe, so that’s what I’m sharing with you here.


  • 1/3 stick butter, melted (see notes below!)
  • 4 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 small can (8ish oz) corn
  • 1 small can (8ish oz) creamed corn
  • 1/2 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder


  1. Mix all ingredients together, pour into a greased 8×8 baking dish
  2. Bake at 350 for about 45-60 minutes or until golden brown and a knife comes out clean when poked into the center.


This meal was deeeelicious!  The corn souffle was definitely decadent, and next time I would not add so much butter.  I think it would be fine with just a tablespoon or so.  Enjoy!


Farewell… again September 15, 2010

Filed under: Shrimp,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 8:01 pm

Just popping on real quick to say bye bye!  Wayne, Ziggy, and I will be heading out super early tomorrow and won’t be back for about 10 days.  I’m bringing my computer with me but making no promises to blog, sorry!  Hopefully this boring dinner holds you over for awhile haha…

  • Cold shrimpies and cocktail sauce
  • Quinoa cooked in chicken broth with carrots, onions, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese

See you all on the flip side!!


Keen-what?? August 25, 2010

Filed under: Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 7:02 pm

I’m back – twice in one day!  I had to return to share my adventures in QUINOA!  Have you ever had quinoa?  I’ve had it, but surprisingly never purchased or cooked it until now.  Quinoa has a neutral flavor, so it’s a pretty blank canvas.  To me, it’s like the texture of couscous with the chew of brown rice, then it has an added little *pop* when you bite down on it.  It’s very delicious.   

Curried Quinoa
Recipe slightly modified from HERE


  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup finely chopped veggies – I used carrots, celery, onion, and red peppers
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric (**see comments down below)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • garlic powder (maybe 1/2 tsp?)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water


  1. In a saucepan, saute the veggies in the oil until softened – about 5 minutes
  2. Add the ginger and dry quinoa, cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously
  3. Add the dry spices, cook for another 1 minute, stirring continuously
  4. Stir in the water, bring to a boil then reduce heat
  5. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed

As the grains cook, you start to see a fine, white spiral emerge.  I think that’s what makes the quinoa *pop* in your mouth! 

I enjoyed this dish quite a bit.  It’s very hearty and healthy.  Next time, though, I think I’ll use a touch less turmeric as it has a very distinct flavor.  Wayne liked it too, although he had quite the time trying to pronounce “quinoa” haha.  I’m so lucky to have a husband that’s not the least bit picky when it comes to food.  He will eat anything you put in front of him, and often times he’ll dig right in before he even knows what he’s eating (like tonight!).  Alright folks, well I hope you give quinoa a try sometime!  Toodles for now 🙂