Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dinner of the Week: Roasted Salmon and Leeks with Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Thanks to our little trial run with eMeals.com, Evan and I have been making a lot of dinners that we normally wouldn't try on our own.  This is an example of those.  Even though I had my doubts at first, sure enough, the dinner ended up being fantastic.  I highly recommend this dinner for a weekend meal.

Roasted Salmon and Leeks with Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Courtesy of eMeals.com

Ingredients:
- 2 salmon fillets
- 2 leeks
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Kosher salt and cracked pepper
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- Butter or margarine

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and pat dry the leeks.  Cut off the leafy parts of the leeks and slice them lengthwise into thin strips.


Heat a skillet over low heat.  Add a few dabs of butter or margarine to the pan.  Once melted, add the leeks to the pan and cook on low for close to 20 minutes.  The leeks will begin to wilt as they cook.  Stir occasionally. 


Meanwhile, wash, scrub, peel, and dice up the potatoes.  Add them to a pot of water over high heat.  Let them boil for approximately 10-15 minutes.


Coat a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray.  Add the salmon fillets to the dish and sprinkle Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and dried thyme over top.  Place the salmon in the oven and roast them for approximately 8-10 minutes.


Drain the cooked potatoes.  Add them to a large mixing bowl and add several tablespoons of butter, the ranch dressing packet, and skim milk to them.  


Beat them thoroughly with a hand mixer or Kitchenaid stand mixer. Add more milk if need be. 


By this time, the leeks will have browned.  Add the lemon juice to the leeks and remove them from heat. 


The salmon fillets will be done once they begin to flake.  Remove them from the oven and serve them with the leeks on top.


Enjoy!


This was an interesting way to serve salmon.  I've used a ton of glazes and rubs for salmon before, but I've never topped it with anything quite like leeks.  The salt, black pepper, and thyme rub was simple yet added a lot of flavor.  The leeks were crispy almost like onion straws, and had a sweet, lemony tang to them. 


Whenever I make mashed potatoes, I always add a ton of butter, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses to it.  As a result, they are sinful and feel very heavy.  These potatoes, however, were light and fluffy.  The ranch dressing mix added plenty of unexpected flavor to the potatoes, too.  I'll definitely be serving them this way again!


To add a little variety, I also served dinner with a quick side of steamed peas and carrots, tossed with dill and garlic powder. 


This meal was certainly out of my comfort zone, but we ended up loving it!  It was a refreshing twist to some regular staples in our house.  


Hope you'll like it, as well!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dinner of the Week: Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Pita Pockets

My birthday was on Sunday, and we made this easy dinner to celebrate.  It took barely any effort and was totally guiltless, too.  It's great for lunches and dinners.  We'll definitely be making it again!

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Pita Pockets
Courtesy of eMeals.com

Ingredients: 
- Chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato dressing
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar)
- Fresh salad mix
- Feta cheese
- Wheat pita pockets

At least three hours before mealtime, marinate the chicken in a plastic bag with the sun-dried tomato dressing.  Place the bag in the refrigerator to rest.  When you're ready to make dinner, take out the bag and pour the chicken into a large skillet over medium heat.  Discard the rest of the marinade.


Meanwhile, prep your sides.  We chose a simple fruit salad to accompany this meal, with fresh strawberries, grapes, and orange slices.


Stir and flip the chicken occasionally until it is cooked on all sides -- approximately 10 minutes.  Once it is done cooking, cut the chicken into cubes.  


Then, warm the pita pockets in the microwave for a few seconds.  Serve each pita with a handful of salad mix, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese.  Enjoy!


We doubled this recipe since we were cooking for my family.  These pitas went by fast, and we had no leftovers to spare.  I'd say it was a hit.


These pitas were simple and refreshing.  The sun-dried tomato dressing provided a fantastic and sweet flavor for the pita pockets.  The feta cheese and salad mix made it feel a little Mediterranean, as well. 


The fruit salad, too, was the perfect accompaniment to a healthy summer meal.


Hope you'll like it, too!


You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dinner of the Week: Spicy Honey Chicken

Here's a super easy chicken recipe for a busy weeknight.  Even by my own standards, it's pretty spicy, so beware if you're faint at heart!

Spicy Honey Chicken
Courtesy of eMeals.com

Ingredients: 
- Chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper

First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Add all of the spices to a small bowl or molcajete.  Mix and grind well to release all of the flavors.


Add the honey and cider vinegar into a small bowl.  Stir well to combine, until the vinegar has made the viscosity of the honey more fluid.


Meanwhile, wash, pat dry, and clean the chicken tenderloins.  


Add the chicken to a large casserole dish.  Sprinkle the chicken with the spice mix on all sides. Once done, drizzle 1/2 worth of the honey and vinegar mixture on top.  Cover the casserole dish with tin foil and place it into the preheated oven for 10 minutes.


Ten minutes later, bring out the casserole dish and flip all of the tenderloins over.  Add more spices to the bottom side of the chicken and coat it again with the rest of the honey and vinegar mixture.  Place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, uncovered this time.


Prep your sides.  We decided to make a quick vegetable stir fry with frozen veggies and 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce. 


We also prepared a box mix of instant yellow rice in the meantime.


Dinner's ready!


In all, this meal took about 25 minutes to complete. The chicken was tender, perfectly cooked, and burst with flavor. 


The chipotle chili powder added a slow, intense heat to the chicken.  The honey simultaneously sweetened it to lessen the kick.  




We'll definitely be making this again!  Hope you'll like it, too!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I Gotta Try ThatI'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Roller Hockey Rink Reveal

There is a roller hockey rink at Virginia Tech that is very near and dear to my heart.  We lost it in 2008 due to a more important campus construction project, and with a lot of dedication, perseverence, and fundraising, we -- mainly my brother, Cory -- were able to convince Tech to rebuild another in 2011.  The Roller Hockey Club at Virginia Tech (RHCVT) has since grown substantially and has more than 100 players today.  As far as we know, it is the only roller hockey rink in Southwestern Virginia.


I have been wanting to paint this hockey rink for years, but never got around to it.  With Cory graduating from Tech last May, we realized that this would be the last chance to paint it before he officially leaves Blacksburg this summer. So, we decided to spend a weekend painting and legitimizing the rink so that he can leave his final mark for RHCVT.


Cory designed the rink layout beforehand, complete with exact measurements.  Then, we enlisted the help of several RHCVT players to help carry out his vision.  This was a huge project, and we needed all of the extra hands we could get!


The rink itself was in fair shape.  All it needed was a little love and a lot of paint. Twenty-nine gallons, to be exact.


To do this, we chose Olympic's Premium Exterior paint for masonry and concrete. The base color was a light gray so that it would resemble an ice hockey rink.  We used red, blue, maroon, orange, and black for accents.


To begin, we swept all dirt and debris off of the rink, and removed the goals.


And then we painted...


... and painted...


... and painted some more.  The gray covered extremely well and we only needed one coat in most places.


Then, we painted electric blue for the goal creases. 


And bright red for all of the lines and faceoff circles. 


The biggest endeavor was the RHCVT logo, which was designed to be 15' x 15' in the exact center of the rink.  To tackle the project, Evan and another player, Nicholas, graphed the logo so that it was 15 squares x 15 squares. 


Then, they measured and plotted the graph on the rink with painter's tape.


And labeled each square with the corresponding letter and number from the graph.


To try to reduce the amount of painting and re-painting, the boys decided to mark the squares with the most dominant color present in each. 


Then, they painted it accordingly.


Once dry, we removed the tape to reveal the grid once again.  By this point, the logo looked like abstract art more than anything.


Then, Evan began the arduous task of drawing the logo by freehand. 


Nicholas followed Evan's drawing by meticulously taping the outline of the logo.


All done!  This was just before midnight on Saturday.



The following morning, we painted the taped areas black to completely outline the logo.


Once the black paint was dry, we removed the tape and then re-taped the logo once again -- this time, for the maroon and orange accents. Then, we painted the logo again and filled in the graph entirely.


Almost done!


Meanwhile, we also made the last finishing touches around the rink.


Ready for the big reveal?

My scoreboard from last year has held up well!
Here is the newly-refurbished Rovito Rink.




The logo is, hands down, the best part about it.






We didn't have the time nor funding to be able to polyurethane or epoxy-coat the rink once it was completed, so I hope that the paint holds up well.  It might cause us to have to redo the paint every couple of years, but at least the hard part is already done.



I think the boys are proud of what they were able to accomplish in two days!



The best part?  Seeing my brother's smile once it was all done.




Now we're all ready to play some hockey.  Hope you like it as much as we do!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I Gotta Try ThatI'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

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