Grilled Chicken Banh Mi

I have to admit, with this recent heat wave, I soooo haven't felt like cooking. But can you blame me? Once that oven turns on, our tiny little apartment becomes a sauna! So you know I'm trying to avoid that sensation like the plague. 

So it's times like these when I'm beyond thankful that Cole and I made the investment in a grill for our little patio (even though Cole hated me and it at the time when he spent several hours trying to assemble the damn thing!) The grill truly has been a lifesaver. For hot nights when we don't feel like firing up the oven, and just for nights when we want some tasty grilled flavor, the grill is everything! 

I'm constantly trying to think of new things to throw on the barbie to shake up a typical weeknight and also keep us from spending too much time prepping and cooking. The latest installment of this type of meal was inspired by one of my favorite sandwiches: a French-Vietnamese Banh Mi! 

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Hawkchos

Well, we made it! Gone are the days of the football off-season, my fellow football lovers. Football is officially back! And you know what that means? Hawks, beer and football food! Woohoo! 

Cole and I couldn't contain ourselves, clearly. So what's the first thing we thought to make to kick-off such a momentous occasion? Make nachos! But not just any nachos. Because we are tried and true 12th fans, we had to make HAWKchos. Yep, I'm cheesy and I know it! 

What are Hawkchos, you ask? They're your standard nachos, only bigger, bolder and louder, just like true 12s. And they even sport Seahawks blue and green! 

Our Hawkchos did not disappoint. Covered with tons of shredded jack cheese, shredded chicken, black bean corn salsa (because if you've tasted my infamous black bean corn salsa, you know that needs to make an appearance on some Hawkchos), pickled jaleps and lots of fresh cilantro and avocado just to be festive. Our ultimate 12th fan meal was only made complete by an ice cold brew and a Seahawks win. Go Hawks! 

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3-Ingredient Creamy Coffee Popsicles

Guys! My little Washingtonian-born-and-raised-self is out of its element! I woke up this morning and it was already 75 degrees. At 8:30 AM. What the actual heck!!! 

Whether I like it or not, we're in for a heat wave, my friends. If you're in the PNW area it's about to hit the 90s this weekend! And there's only one way I know how to survive. Two words: frozen novelties. 

Last weekend I probably made the smartest "investment" yet in my 26 years of age. I hopped on Amazon Prime and ordered a popsicle mold set for a whopping $10! I already know it's going to be the gift that keeps on giving. 

To break in the molds, Cole and I threw together a batch of 3-Ingredient Creamy Coffee Popsicles, because what's better than a cold, iced coffee on a hot day?? The name says it all; with just three ingredients, you too can make yourself some refreshing and indulgent creamy coffee popsicles to cool down on these hot summer days. For all my fellow coffee lovers out there, you're going to LOVE these. 

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Kung Pao Chicken

If you haven't noticed already, I've been cranking out the Asian-inspired dishes like a mad woman lately! I finally took the plunge and invested in a handful of standard Asian cooking ingredients. Things like fish sauce, (which is probably my new favorite ingredient) rice wine vinegar, hot sesame oil, oyster sauce and Hoisin are now rounding out my fridge and pantry already stocked with the always favorite Sambal chili garlic paste and sriracha. 

Having this library of Asian ingredients literally opened up a whole new world of flavors for me (sometimes I love language like that). With the addition of fish sauce, chicken gets a distinct umami flavor that's succulent and savory, like addictive Thai Lemongrass Chicken recipe. Rice wine vinegar adds the acidic zing you need for vibrant Asian marinades without the strength of a puckery balsamic or cider vinegar. Hoisin, or Asian BBQ sauce, as I like to call it, adds sweet, molasses-like flavor that's unique all on its own. 

I'm growing to love these flavors more and more, and getting more inspired every day to create another new Asian-themed dish at home! Next up: Kung Pao Chicken. 

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Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

Are you ready for another rendition of "Hungry Ali does slow cooker taco meat?!" I think the answer is yes! 

I clearly love me some easy peasy, slow cooked shredded taco meat. Of course it's super simple to throw together, that's a given. But that's not even the main reason why I love throwing together different shredded taco meat recipes on the reg. There's something magical that happens when meat is cooked low and slow for hours. The meat tenderizes and breaks down in such a way that make it literally melt-in-your-mouth meat. And who wouldn't want that?!

And while I think slow cooked chicken makes for some darn tasty tacos, there's really no comparison to slow cooked pork, or carnitas for tacos. What a treat indeed! 

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Chicken Paillard with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes

There was never a time that I didn't love food or cooking, but I'll never forget the moment I started to really get fascinated by cooking and trying new things. It was when I used to watch Food Network for hours on end, particularly, when Tyler's Ultimate was on. 

If you remember Tyler's Ultimate, it seriously was one of the best cooking shows. Like the name suggests, Tyler Florence would whip up the ultimate version of classic recipes like chicken parmesan, fajitas, ribs…you name it! And he wasn't kidding, either. Each recipe he created on the show really was the ultimate recipe I could've envisioned. My mouth watered every time I watched it. Tyler Florence also isn't bad to look at either…

I'll never forget the episode where he made Tyler's Ultimate Chicken Paillard. What is this "Paillard" you speak of, Tyler? Essentially it was a thin cutlet of chicken breast, breaded and lightly pan-fried to create a super crisp, tender chicken breast. But Tyler did it in the ultimate fashion: seasoning every layer, cooking the chicken to crispy perfection, then seasoning the chicken breasts when they were hot as well as squeezing them with fresh lemon juice. The lightly dressed arugula salad he placed on top sealed the deal. 

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Garlic Sesame Noodles

Whenever I find myself in a recipe rut, I find it's best to take a minute, slow down and get back to the basics. Translation: I like to pull all the cookbooks from my bookshelf (or Mama D's if I happen to be home) and look for inspiration. I love Pinterest and all, but there's something about flipping through tangible cookbooks I just love! 

As I hinted at before, sometimes this happens at Casa Davidson where I get even more excited to flip through Mama D's cookbooks; they have even more nostalgia for me than my own cookbooks cause, well, they're just older and I also grew up flipping through them and cooking from them. 

My favorite "cookbook" of my mom's is this (now) flimsy, nearly falling apart, kitchen notebook that my mom always used to jot down her favorite recipes from family and friends. Its pages are colored and crusty, at this point. But this, to me, is a sign of a perfect cookbook: it's filled with memories and recipes that have been made throughout the years with so much love. 

As I peeled through the pages a few weekends ago, I stumbled across a truly nostalgic recipe for me: Garlic Sesame Noodles. Our neighbor used to make these and my mom would subsequently make them at home because we all couldn't get enough of them! And for good reason. 

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Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Ginger Rice

Meatballs are easily becoming not only one of my foods to eat but one of my favorite foods to make! Sure, they're scrumptious, but they are one of the most easy things to make for something that turns out so darn impressive. 

I mean, can we all agree that meatballs are mighty impressive?? Ok, cool. 

While we swear by my old standby, Greek Turkey Meatballs (they are amaze balls, literally), I wanted to shake up my meatball making with a different direction in flavor. And that direction was headed for the Asian route, my friends. 

I stumbled upon good ol' Martha Stewart's recipe for Asian Turkey Meatballs that I decided to do my own spin on. Like my Greek turkey meatballs, this recipe adapatation is extremely easy and fast for a weeknight meal. Plus, with baking versus frying, the meatballs turn out tender as ever without extra grease. 

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Lemon and Basil Confetti Corn

There's nothing quite like eating fresh corn in the summer. Talk about a seasonal ingredient at it's finest! It's times like these when I get super excited to make one of my favorite side dishes, Confetti Corn.

I thought I had found the perfect recipe for this simple, seasonal and perfectly fresh tasting side dish, but I was wrong, oh so wrong! Cole gave me this cookbook for Valentine's Day that now sits perched up on a book stand on display in our kitchen (it's a gorgeous looking cookbook). It's called, The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. 

I know, only a nerd would get me a cookbook called The Food Lab! Kidding, of course! This book is super neat though. Kenji, chef and James-Beard Award winning food columnist, takes a scientific approach to cooking, exploring the best possible techniques and methods for cooking classic recipes like mac and cheese, chili, pastas and even simply how to make the perfect scrambled egg. The first night we cooked from it we couldn't help but try his method for how to cook the perfect pan-seared, butter-basted steaks. Cole was almost nerding out harder than I was! 

So I took a few flips through the pages once again recently, as I like to do on occasion, and found a method for a summer corn and zucchini saute that looked awfully reminiscent of my beloved Confetti Corn. The weather was calling for it and I just so happened to have some of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a go.

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Grilled Herb Prawns

Are you ready for more skewer action?! For Seafood Saturday a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to throw together an oldie but goodie recipe influenced by none other than a recipe in Mama D's recipe collection: Garlic Herb Prawns. 

Spicy Shrimp Skewers, for so long, reigned supreme in my book for the best, most unique tasting shrimp recipe (I still recommend them for spice lovers and non-spice lover alike! Delish!) Until this simple, flavorful recipe came onto the scene and stole the show! 

Shrimp/prawns on the barbie are such perfect summer treat and I'm in love with this recipe. The prawns turn out plump and succulent as ever, smothered in fragrant garlic and herb flavors and kissed with smoky char from the barbecue. Pair them with a salad or saute of fresh veggies and it's a perfect summer meal for those hot nights when you want to keep it light on the cooking. 

You'll be even more wowed by this recipe once you see how easy it is to throw them together! Your next summer barbecue is begging for these bad boys. 

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