Baked Cajun Fries

Does anyone else route their flights to certain airports just so they can eat certain foods?  Just to be clear, if I can take a direct flight to my destination, I will.  But if I can't, then Charlotte International Airport is the airport for me.  What's there?  Bojangles.  Yes.  If you haven't heard of Bojangles before, you should know that it's a southern-based fast food chain.  Nowadays, I don't eat a ton of fast food because I'm "trying" to be healthy, but you know....McDonald's fries are my kryptonite.  I know I'm not the only one in that department.

Well, one day years and year ago (ahem...maybe about 10 years ago...) I was traveling when I started craving fries.  Bojangles was the closest fast food chain to my gate.  They're well known for their chicken and biscuits, but I figured I'd try them out anyhow since McDonald's was too far of a walk.  I took the gamble on Bo's cajun fries and wow!  That was the best decision ever!  I ate them all in record time, then thought about those fries throughout the entire second leg of the trip.  Trust me when I tell you that these things are winners.

I never thought of creating them myself, mostly because of my aversion to frying anything in my own kitchen.  Splattering hot oil coming toward my face is not worth any food.  For some reason, I never considered making a baked version of these fries!  I only thought about it after my friend asked me to test out a batch of baked fries for a project she was working on.  So yes, I quickly pulled together a cajun spice recipe and set to work on making this wonderful snack!

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Sweet Potato Gratin with Bacon

Is it time?  Is it time for all of the Fall things?  Now that Labor Day is behind us, I'm pretty sure that gives me license to break out all the pumpkin (OMG!!!), caramel, and squash things my heart can handle at once.  Let's kick things off with this sweet potato number here.  If you're not yet on board this Fall train, maybe I can entice you with some bacon and cheese?

I found this recipe while I was shuffling through various dishes on Amy's Cooking Adventure.  Amy's blog is my assignment for this month's Secret Recipe Club.  Interestingly, Amy was assigned my blog last month from which to cook!  She did a great job so I'm hoping I can return the favor.  As soon as I saw this post for a sweet potato gratin and read the first line of text (in which she mentions Thanksgiving!) I knew I would be making this ASAP.

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Corn & Zucchini Quinoa Salad

There's nothing quite like noshing on corn and zucchini in the summer.  I'm pretty sure it's because they're in season and both so refreshing.  Every year I live for these vegetables during these months!

Let's also point out how excited I am to NOT bake anything in the kitchen once again.  I actually did bake something for you guys the other day, but I just finished up my vacation in the Bahamas and it was so scorching hot that I have a hard time even LOOKING at anything that was baked right now.

Instead, I have  a cool and tasty salad for you. This is something you can take to a picnic or just eat by yourself while lounging on your couch watching reruns of Law & Order:SVU.  (That show's still a thing, right? It's not just me?)  I played on the idea of mixing together quinoa and elotes (Mexican street corn).  We jazzed things up with some zucchini, feta cheese, and just a touch of jalapeno, mostly because we can.  Let's get at it!

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Asparagus, Tomato & Basil Couscous

About this gorgeous weather that we've started having...Thank you.  I am completely on board with Mother Nature doing a 180 and finally realizing what time of year it is.  And this "change of heart" is perfectly timed with the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.

Since spring is finally springing, I guess I should stop showing you recipes with chocolate, huh? (The correct answer is: No.) Never, ever fear.  There is chocolate in the quite immediate future, but for now, we will have fresh vegetables, mixed with some couscous and cheese.  Who can hate on that?

This quick and easy dish came to me from one of my favorite blogs, Shutterbean.  Tracy never fails to find just the right thing to make at the right time.  When I saw this post last week, I knew I had to get the ingredients and make it.  Here's a note, though.  I had very few of the ingredients already, but once I subbed out a few items, it turned out that all I needed was some asparagus.

Me - 1, Dead zone where my perishable food goes to curl up and die - 0.

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Asparagus & Grilled Onions with Mozzarella

Happy New Year everyone!!!

I would like to take a pause and momentarily provide you with a salad.  A vegetable salad.

I am a fan of this sitch.  It's really been too long since I've made asparagus.  Since my mom is staying with me for a few days and she loves it, I decided to dig up some bookmarked recipes and see what was what.  I mean, I could use some health up in my life.  Who doesn't?

I eventually picked out this salad because, beside the asparagus being present, of course there are grilled onions.  Just say yes to onions.  Grilled onions deserve a double-yes.  Can we make that happen?  Thanks. Theeeeen, we also have the almonds and cheese and olive oil and vinegar....Was someone watching me in the kitchen to figure out everything I like and then make a salad out of it?  This is just genius.  Let it happen.

Oh, and just so you know, I amped things up a bit by drizzling Herbes de Provence olive oil over everything.  Have I told you that I'm into olive oils recently?  There may possibly be a new bottle of Trader Joe's Black Truffle olive oil in our pantry as well.  I just imposed a January 2013 "no-buy" on myself so hopefully these impulsive purchases will stop.  Like now.  Except I just bought a new shirt online last night.  But that was with a gift card, so technically, I didn't actually buy it.  See how that works?

I'm digressing.  Where was I?  Oh, this vegetable salad.  Let's get at it.

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Fresh Corn and Goat Cheese Polenta

For as much as I've been pretending it's still summer, I really do love fall.  And I will have more fall-related recipes on this blog soon.  But I think I've finally satiated my summer corn fixation with one final final final corn recipe.  I've been saving this one for a few weeks.  It's not because I'm selfish, but because I simply haven't had the time to get around to it.  So now here it is.  Hopefully this recipe isn't too late to catch the last ears of fresh corn at the market or store.

When I made that Chili-Corn Casserole the other day, I found that I still had a lot of polenta left over.  I decided I would use the rest of it in a variation of a Joy the Baker recipe.  And I would definitely recommend this fresh corn and goat cheese polenta action for a quick breakfast or brunch situation.

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Scalloped Corn with Bacon

I know. 

I know that corn season is almost over.  I know that in spite of this fact, I've still been throwing corn dishes at you as if it was my job. Don't judge me.  I am ashamed to admit that I really only discovered the wonderful lusciousness of fresh corn dishes this year.

This doesn't mean that I've never eaten fresh corn prior to this year.  Let's not get it twisted.  I just never took the time to cook or bake with fresh corn.  So although I'm so late jumping on this bandwagon, jump on it I did.  And I'm soooo glad that I'm there.  Who knew the party was this much fun?

Just to make it funner (yeah, I just said that) I threw in some bacon too.  Because everything's better with bacon.  If you didn't know that, well, now you do.

Shout outs to Shutterbean and the Joy The Baker podcast for the heads up on this recipe.  Otherwise I would totally have missed it and that would have been a tragedy.

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Dried Cranberry & Walnut Cous Cous

I don't know why, but I seem to be in a mood for grains lately. Seriously, what's up with the quinoa and cous cous recipes?

The first time I tried this cous cous, a friend of mine had made it for a picnic. It was my first time trying cous cous and this combination of ingredients was just delicious. I was super impressed that she had made this dish and I begged for the recipe.

Of course I never dreamed that it would be this simple. Are you kidding me? I could do this blindfolded. OK, I'm exaggerating. Maybe just with one eye closed. It may be the easiest side dish of all time. Because I would never dream of eating it as an entire meal. Never...

I've actually made this cous cous several times since first becoming acquainted with this recipe from Dave Lieberman. However, I hadn't made it in the past year or so. For some reason I suddenly began craving it on a random Tuesday. So as soon as I came home from my weekly travel excursion, I whipped up a bowl of this. And all was well with the world again.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Pistachio Pesto

Brussels sprouts? Uhhhhh...

Yup, I decided to try something with Brussels sprouts. I found this recipe on the Steamy Kitchen's blog. It's apparently made by Chef Todd at Checkers Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. Since I'd never really tried Brussels sprouts before I figured I'd give it a shot. (OK, I had a taste of one of my roommate's forays into the Brussels sprout arena and it was pretty good.) But I definitely hadn't made them before.

Add in the cranberry pistachio pesto recipe and, why yes, I'll take a serving or two. Finally, finally, finally, last weekend I got around to some much-needed taste-testing of this concoction. The verdict? Well, let me give you the recipe first...

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Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo

It seemed impossible. But it has happened. I cooked something.

Yes, this phenomenon has occurred many times before, but I have never blogged about it. I'm not just a baker, you know. I'm multi-faceted. So here we go...

Last week, I got the urge to make some sort of food dish that would be tasty, quick, and easy to freeze. I happen to live in a hotel during the week, so if I make a large dish, I usually need to establish freezing capabilities.

Approximately one year ago, I stumbled across Adventures In Shaw's Fast Food blog post for Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo. The recipe has been sitting in the Bookmarks section of my Internet browser until I re-discovered it about 3 weeks ago. There were several reasons I chose to make this dish:

1. I love the combination of basil and tomato, so why not?

2. I have never cooked orzo before, so I decided to live on the wild side.

3. Adventures in Shaw promised that this would be a "fast food". Since I'm always pressed for time, I couldn't resist.

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