LIBBY LIVING COLORFULLY

appetizer

Fresh and Easy Thai Chicken Spring Rolls

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Fresh spring rolls, are easily one of the top ten food items I regularly crave but shockingly, had never made for myself. Until now. In fact, just a few weeks ago I tried making them for the first time and I will say, it takes a little practice.  After two or three practice rolls (which I happily ate) I finally got into the swing of things and was rolllllling through, with each roll getting better and better.  Regardless of the appearance, again, I'm still working on this, the spring rolls taste amazing. 

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Ingredients 

Basil Leaves
1/2 pound chicken breast
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch of Sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey
Scallion
Asian rice noodles
Shredded carrot
1/2 cucumber julienned
Rice spring roll papers
 

Sriracha Chicken

1lb Organic Chicken Breast
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of sesame seeds
Coconut oil or cooking oil of choice

  1. Slice chicken in thin strips and place in a bowl. Add Sriracha, honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and any other seasoning of choice.  Let marinate for at least 10 minutes. 
  2. Cook chicken in coconut oil or oil of choice until ready and tender. 

Thai Peanut Chili Sauce

¼ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons of chili-garlic sauce

Instructions

Before assembling the spring rolls, make sure you have all of the ingredients prepared and ready on a cutting board separate from where you will be making your rolls.  Have a frying pan filled with lukewarm water next to you for getting the rice papers damp. 

  1. Place one rice paper in the shallow water and flip.  Do not keep in the water longer than 5 seconds or so.  The paper will continue to soften as you are preparing the rolls.  Tip: it helps if your cutting board is wooden and a little damp for the paper to roll more easily.
  2. Once on the cutting board, assemble your rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, chicken, basil, and scallions neatly in a line on the rice paper.
  3. Carefully begin working the rice paper and fillings together in a way you would roll a burrito.  Nice and tight and make sure the edges are folded in on the sides.
  4. Remember, practice makes perfect.  It took me about 3 rolls to get it just right. And the rejects still taste just as good!
Source:  Take a Bite

Source: Take a Bite

A few weeks prior, I explored with Shrimp Spring Rolls with more fun ingredients!  Really with spring rolls, the opportunities are endless. Make sure to check out my friend Annie from Take a Bite.  She made Chrissy Teigen’s Summer Shrimp Spring Rolls recipe the other night and they looked amazing! 

What ingredients do you like in your spring rolls? 

Mac and Cheez-It Muffin Bites

Food, DIYLibby RasmussenComment

While I’m not too thrilled about the first few days of September starting off on a rainy note, (summer’s not over, summer’s not over) I am admittedly excited for warm, fall food. Any excuse to basically eat like sh*t is good enough for me.  Enter boxed Mac & Cheese.  (Guys I swear I eat veggies too.) The opportunities to make this 88-cent food item absolutely irresistible are endless.  Make sure to check out my friend Lauren Durden’s article in Cosmo, “5 Hacks to Make Boxed Mac and Cheese Taste Gourmet” YAS.  I’m always a big fan of easy apps and thought, hey, why not combine mac and cheese with well, everyone’s favorite cracker, the Cheez-It.  Here’s my recipe on how to make these bad boys at home. 

Ingredients

2 Boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Wisconsin recommended)
1/2 Stick of Butter
Cayenne Pepper for added spice
1/2 Cup of Crushed Cheez-Its
Scallions
Ranch, BBQ or any topping of choice

Instructions

  1. Make mac and cheese as directed on the box, adding cayenne and shredded cheese
  2. Crush Cheez-Its in a ziplock baggie and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Grease muffin pan well and sprinkle the bottoms with Cheez-It crumble
  4. Add mac and cheese to muffin pan and sprinkle with Cheez-it crumble and top with additional cheese
  5. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let the muffins sit for 5 minutes after to let set.
  6. Pop out gently with a fork, add your toppings and serve warm

The results of the Mac & Cheez It muffin bites were quite a success.  They’re a great idea for a fall BBQ or football game.  

Always a fan on condiments and toppings, I took a little creative liberty and added a drizzle here and there of Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.  Don’t forget the green onion! Some other ideas for toppings could include: bacon, pancetta, crushed red pepper, jalapeños, bleu cheese, hot sauce, you name it.  

Make sure to follow me on Snapchat and Instagram for more food pics!  

Photography: Libby Rasmussen

Sweet Potachos with Pomegranate Pepper Salsa

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

We had a little cook-off at the of firm today to make a traditionally unhealthy food item healthier. The food item: Nachos.  Yikes.  Considering just yesterday, I was indulging in some melty cheese covered tortilla nachos, I knew I needed to make a lighter alternative.  Luckily, just a few weeks ago, one of my favorite food bloggers, Annie from Take a Bite, made these awesome Sweet Potato Nachos or, as she fittingly calls them, "Potachos" and they are good, really really good.   

Ingredients 

3-4 Large Organic Sweet Potatoes
Olive or Coconut Oil
Pink Himalayan Salt
1/2 Yellow Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/2 Avocado
Jalapenos
Sliced Radish
Cilantro
Limes
Fage Greek Yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Rinse and slice sweet potatoes uniformly thin, using a mandolin. 
  3. Toss slices in light olive or coconut oil, sprinkle with pink salt. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 2 hours.  Flip and rotate after an hour. 
  4. Begin making the Pomegranate Pepper Salsa (Step 6)
  5. When golden brown, let them rest for 10 minutes in oven with door open for extra crisp.
  6. Combine diced yellow pepper, red onion, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and a lime squeeze and mix together.  For extra kick, throw in some of the jalapeno seeds and a dash of pink salt.
  7. Once chips are ready to plate, add cheese, avocado, salsa, radish and greek yogurt to top. Enjoy! 

What I love most about this recipe is the pomegranate seeds. Fruit on nachos and tacos is surprisingly good, especially with a spicy pork or chicken.  Just a few weeks ago I had some pulled pork tacos with mandarin oranges and it was amazing. 

What would you put on your Potachos?
Thanks again for the recipe idea Annie!
Oh, and we won $100 for the office cook-off too! Worth it. 

Photography: Libby Rasmussen
 

DIY: Decorative Party Food Picks

DIY, Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

So the other day I was making these Mini Chicken and Waffle Sliders and realized that the toothpicks I was using were a little well, boring.  Then I remembered spotting some adorable ideas on Etsy.  See here here and here. With limited supplies and time, I took to my craft supply box and got started.  I seem to always have a stockpile of streamers and tissue paper in my apartment, so I decided to make these tissue paper food picks - inspired by my favorite, Studio DIY. 

Supplies

Toothpicks
Tissue paper or Streamers
Scissors
Glue

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I chose to use streamers for timing and convenience and was shocked at how good they looked. Better yet, they really were so easy.  Consider this my next sitting-on-the-couch-craft-project. Thanks Studio DIY for yet another great craft idea! 

Photography by Libby Rasmussen and Studio DIY

Mini Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Entertaining, FoodLibby RasmussenComment

If you've been searching high and wide for an easy, fun, and delicious appetizer that your friends will rave about, and I mean, will really talk about months after your party, then you need to make these mini chicken & waffle sliders.  In this recipe, we paired crispy popcorn chicken nuggets with frozen, yes frozen, mini Eggo waffles and they are a hit. 

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There you have it! This classic comfort food is transformed into easy, portable appetizers that can be tailored to anyone's specific tastes.  For my 25th birthday, I made these sliders but with Chick-fil-A nuggets. With my birthday falling on a Sunday (when CFA is closed) I made sure to pre-order and pick up the nuggets later on Saturday and popped them into the oven with the waffles the day of the party.  They were a huge hit. Make sure to have plenty of condiments and toppings on the side for your guests.  These could include, but certainly aren't limited to:

Chick-fil-A Sauce
Mayo
BBQ Sauce (Salt Lick)
Honey
Maple Syrup
Honey Mustard
Ranch
Blue Cheese
Green Onions
Hot Sauce
Sriracha
Homemade Coleslaw


Make sure to have the right serving platters and condiment dishes for a neat and organized presentation.  I love my serving ware from CB2.  Here are just few of my favorites:
 

Easy Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Can you tell I'm excited for summer? Seriously though, all I seem to be making lately are bites and meals perfect for a summer BBQ and these jalapeno cheddar corn muffins are no exception.  Forget your old, dried up cornbread recipe and try this one I've adapted from both Whole Foods and Damn Delicious

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INGREDIENTS 

2 boxes Jiffy Mix Cornbread Mix
1 box regular yellow cake mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon honey
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine corn and cake mix.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and honey. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Add jalapenos and cheese, and gently toss to combine.
  4. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

There you have it. The secret to keeping your corn muffins soft and sweet is the yellow cake mix.  I've tried this recipe a few times sans cake mix and it really isn't the same.  Also, if you want to add some meat to these bad boys, my good friend made these fun corn dog muffins a while back and they were a huge hit. 

Photography by Libby Rasmussen and Damn Delicious

Simple Jalapeño Poppers Recipe

FoodLibby RasmussenComment

Jalapeño poppers are great for essentially any occasion. Whether it's the for the Superbowl or a summer barbecue, they always seem to be a party hit.  Unfortunately, with all of the bacon and fried oil they can be a little labor intensive, and lets be honest, heavy.  I wanted to steer away from all the muss and fuss and come up with a lighter, more fresh version of the classic popper. Check out the recipe below! 

Ingredients

10 jalapeño chiles
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 scallions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise, leaving the stems in tact and removing the seeds and ribs.
  3.  Mix both of the cheeses, cream cheese, scallions cilantro, panko, egg yolk, lime juice,  and cumin, together in bowl until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the cheese mixture among jalapeños, pressing into the peppers.
  5. Bake jalapeños until tender and filling is lightly browned, 9 to 14 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
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Photos: Libby Living Colorfully

Photos: Libby Living Colorfully

If you like your poppers a little softer, prior to filling, heat oven to 500 degrees, salt peppers and face down on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Flip the peppers upright and cook for 4 minutes. This will char the peppers nicely, making them softer, and more mouth-melting later on with the cheese.

Source: Yahoo Food  

Source: Yahoo Food  

Because I wanted my peppers to be a lighter option, I chose to keep them fresh for a slight crunch once cooked. Completely up to you! Finish off the poppers with additional toppings like hot sauce, blue cheese, bacon, or honey for extra flavor.