Welcome to Yummy Fixins!

Thanks so much for checking out my blog. My name is Arica, I am a Personal Chef serving the Lake Tahoe area. Please visit my new website at www.yummyfixins.com

Cooking is my passion, I love spending time in the kitchen creating yummy dishes. I originally created this blog to share healthy yummy recipes with my friends and family but now I'm sharing them with the world. Most of the dishes you will find here are very healthy and can be altered to fit any dietary restrictions. I hope you will find something delicious!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cold Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Mozzarella & Tomatoes

The temperatures have been in the 70's the past few days and it already feels like summer! Lucky me, my job is seasonal so I get to enjoy some time off of work once the ski season is over. I have been enjoying my first few days off of work and spent my time doing yard work, soaking up the sun and enjoying Tahoe life. 
Last summer I decided I wanted a little more grass in our backyard and it grew very well. Today I spent a some time filling in the patches missing grass and a few hours prepping more of the yard for some more grass seed. If you live in Lake Tahoe then you know most of our backyards consist of dirt, rock and weeds so prepping the yard for grass is tough work but worth it. 
I don't know about you but working outside in the sun gets me craving cold salads, soups and sandwiches. Earlier this week I made a few cups of arugula pesto so I decided to plan my lunch around it. I gave my hands a good scrub and decided to get to fixing lunch. This cold salad is quick, easy and packed full of protein and deliciousness. 
Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups water 
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 lb green beans
3 tbs arugula pesto
8 oz buffalo mozzarella
2 medium tomatoes
1 can chickpeas

Pour the oil in a medium pot and bring to medium heat then add in the onion and garlic, saute for 3 minutes. Add in the quinoa, cook for another 3 minutes, then add the water along with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. When the quinoa is done fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Remove the stems from the green beans and cut them into 1 inch pieces  Bring a separate pot of water to a brisk boil and cook the green beans for 3-5 minutes. I like my green beans extra crispy so I only cooked them for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

While the quinoa and green beans are cooling cut the mozzarella in to small cubes, dice the tomatoes and add them into a bowl with the chickpeas and arugula pesto. Add in the green beans once they are cooled and toss well until all the fixins are well coated in pesto. 

Serve the green bean mixture on a bed of the cooled quinoa, season with pepper and enjoy! You can drizzle a little balsamic vinegar if you would like but this dish is good the way it is. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I was making my yummy Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers and thought they would be great on pita bread but I did not feel like going to the grocery, so I decided I would try making them on my own. I never knew how easy pitas were to make but it was so simple and delicious. I wasn't sure how they were supposed to puff up but the high heat and low rack did the trick. If they don't puff then you have flat bread so it's a win win either way. Enjoy!! 

Makes 6 Pitas

2 cups bread flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup lukewarm water

Place the sugar and yeast in a measuring cup and add in the water, letting the pouring of the water mix the yeast and sugar around. Set aside for 5-10 minutes or until yeast bubbles.

Put the salt and flour into a large bowl and stir then pour in the bubbled yeast and mix well with a fork or dough hooks on a hand mixer. Add in the extra water just a little at a time until the dough is evenly moistened. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 or more minutes until you form a stretchy and elastic like ball. Place the ball into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Let is it in a warm place and rise for 30 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size remove the ball and place in on the same floured surface and knead out all of the bubbles and make 6 balls and flatten them out with a rolling pin making large disks. Place the disks on a flat surface, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place and let it rise for another 20-30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 500 and make sure the rack is at the very bottom of the oven. Place a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to warm before placing the dough on it. Once the dough is ready and the baking sheet remove the baking sheet and spray some olive on it to prevent sticking. Place two disks at a time on the baking sheet and cook one side for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Remove the pitas from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all of the dough is cooked. Let the pitas cool and use a knife to slice through the dough to open the pita. Serve cold or warm. Once completely cooled you can store them in a ziploc bag. 


Spinach Risotto

It's starting to feel like summer already and I'm loving it. Today the pup and I went on a nice long 13 mile mountain bike ride through mud and snow. Once we got through the the snowy parts the trails were in great condition and we had an awesome time and worked up quite an appetite. 
When I got home the sun was still shinning and I was in the mood to grill up some veggies. I grabbed some asparagus and marinated some portobello mushroom caps in balsamic. The veggies were ready to go now I just need a starch to go with it. I had some spinach and Romano in the fridge and a decent amount of arborio rice in the pantry so I decided to make risotto. I have a charcoal grill so I had plenty of time to make the risotto while the grill was getting ready. Keep in mind risotto takes some baby sitting but it is so worth it! 

Makes 4 servings

1 tbs olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced 

2 cups finely chopped spinach
1/2 small onion, chopped 

1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp dry mustard
S&P1 cup arborio rice
2 1/2 cups of water  
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio works great)

In a large pot warm the oil to medium heat, then add in the garlic and onions and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add in the arborio rice, seasonings and spinach cook for a 2-3 minutes or until spinach wilts.

Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.Once the white wine is absorbed add in 1/2 water, stirring constantly. Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, add in another 1/2 cup of water and continue this process until you have used all of the water.

Make sure to stir constantly to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the final added liquid is absorbed turn the heat to low and taste the rice to see if the seasoning is to your liking and add more if necessary, cover until you are ready to serve.

Top with Romano, Asiago or Parmesan cheese. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Parmesan Garlic Risotto with Portobello Mushrooms

I'm on a bit of a risotto kick this month since the bag of arborio I purchased had enough rice to feed a football team. The two risotto recipes I have posted both involve squash so I decided to switch it up this time and try something new.
A girlfriend of mine told me about a Parmesan risotto dish topped with a scallop and  mushrooms that was prepared for her by a Neimen Marcus chef. I was drooling listening to her describe her meal and thought I had to give it a shot. I am no professional chef so this is a very basic version of what I was envisioning. I would have like to use scallops and madera mushrooms but scallops are quite expensive and living in Tahoe makes finding madera mushrooms quite a challenge. Even without fancy ingredients this dish turned out delicious!


Makes 4 servings

1 tbs coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced 

1 small leek, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt 

1 tsp cracked pepper
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock 
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan

In a large pot warm the coconut oil until to medium heat until it melts, then add in the garlic and leeks and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add in the arborio rice, oregano salt and pepper and cook for a 2-3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.Once the white wine is absorbed add in 1/2 cup of stock, stirring constantly. Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, add in another 1/2 cup of stock and continue this process until you are out of broth.

Make sure to stir constantly to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the final added liquid is absorbed* add in the cheese, turn the heat to low and cover until you are ready to serve.

*If the rice is still crunchy add in another 1/2 cup of stock. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kale, Carrots & Black Bean Verde Enchiladas

Here we go again... I'm down to the last few random veggies in from my CSA box, kale and carrots. I was not sure what the heck I wanted to do with the remaining veggies. I knew I did not want soup or stir fry, so it was time to put my thinking cap and get creative.

  I had plans to cook dinner with my friend Lauren, she requested enchiladas, so we decided to try something new and add in the kale and carrots. This was a great creation and turned out to be super delicious. You can make these totally your own but using corn tortillas or red enchilada sauce but I am a huge fan of verde enchiladas sauce* with flour tortillas.

 What's your favorite enchilada combination?

Makes 10 enchiladas

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups of kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz can of verde enchilada sauce
  • 6-8 oz shredded jack cheese
  • 10 soft taco shells

1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Next add in the kale, carrots, salt and cumin, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Once the carrots have softened add in the black beans, 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese and mix well. At this point taste the mixture and add more seasoning if needed.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of an oven proof baking dish or dishes depending on the size of your baking dish. Place the tortillas on a flat work surface. Divide the kale and carrot mixture evenly on the tortillas and carefully roll them up. Place the rolls seam side up next to each other tightly packed in the baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolled up tortillas and top with the remaining cheese.

3. Bake for 20 minutes then broil for 5 minutes on high. Top with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt and sliced green onions. Serve warm and enjoy!

*If you are a vegetarian make sure you read the ingredients of the enchilada sauce before you buy it. Some enchilada sauce contains dried chicken powder. Not all brands have this ingredient so you can stuill enjoy this yummy sauce.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Buns

I am totally obsessed with jalapeno cheddar bread. It is so yummy and you can use it for so many fun sandwich combinations. The past few times I've made a jalapeno cheddar bread was either in the form of a bagel or a loaf of bread. This go around I decided to make burger buns for my Black Bean Mushroom Burgers and they totally completed the burger.  
The process to make the buns is just like making a loaf of bread except you shape it differently. If you are in the mood for a loaf of jalapeno cheddar just follow the directions below and place the dough in a bread pan for the final rise and bake.

2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp(1 package) instant yeast
1 tbs sugar 
3/4 of warm water
1 egg, lightly beaten (at room temp)
2 tbs olive oil 

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup set aside for topping)
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos

3 tbs egg whites + 1 tbs water for brushing


In large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Pour the warm water, sugar and yeast In a small bowl or measuring cup and let is sit for 5 minutes or until it bubbles. With dough hook or a fork, stir the yeast mixture, egg and oil into flour mixture until blended. Add a little more water at a time, if needed but not more than 1/4 cup. Place the dough on a floured surface or silpat and knead the jalapenos and 3/4 cup of the cheddar into the dough for 5-7 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and punch down to remove any bubbles. Separate the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a smooth ball, place on non-stick baking sheet and flatten into a 3 1/2-inch disk. Cover and the balls rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat your oven half way through the rising period. 

When the buns are done rising brush the egg wash on top and add a sprinkle of cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove buns and place on rack to cool. Slice through buns and serve. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Honey Mustard Root Veggies & Quinoa

Last weeks CSA veggie box included all kinds of delicious root vegetables like beets, turnips and carrots. Root vegetables make great soup ingredients but I have made more soups this winter than usual so I decided it was time to switch it up and make something different. 

This is a great vegan/vegetarian recipe because the quinoa provides the protein that our bodies need and it's very tasty. If you are a hard core carnivore and feel like you must have meat in your meal all you need to do is toss in some grilled chicken or turkey and enjoy. 

  • 2 gold turnips
  • 4 gold beets
  • 4 carrots 
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 spring onion (or green onion)white parts only, diced
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400. Wash, peel and chop the turnips, beets and carrots and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar. Reserve half of the dressing and pour the other half on the veggies and toss. Place the veggies in a large piece large of foil and wrap then place into a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Place the water into a pot and to a boil. Add the quinoa with a dash of salt and return to a boil. Once the water is boiling again, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

In a large pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil on low heat and saute the garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add in the kale a dash of salt and pepper and cook on low stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is ready.

When the quinoa is ready place it in the pan with the kale and fluff with a fork. When the veggies are ready fold them into the quinoa and kale mixture, along with reserved salad dressing. 

Serve warm.

Veggie Pizza with Garlic Herb Pizza Dough

Who doesn't love pizza? I know I do, it is my absolute most favorite comfort food. A good quality pizza from a local restaurant costs at least $25 which to me is a little crazy because the ingredients are fairly inexpensive. Luckily making pizza dough is cheap and easy and allows you to make a healthier whole wheat crust. All you need is an hour to let the dough rise and 30 minutes to assemble it. I like to make the dough then get a quick workout in or do some chores around the house while the dough rises. You can put whatever toppings you like on the pizza but be careful not to over do it or you will be eating you pizza with a fork. 
Pizza Dough 
Makes 2 Medium Pizzas or 1 Large with Hefty Crust
  • 1 Cup Luke Warm Water
  • 2 1/4 Tsp. Active Yeast
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups White Flour
  • 1 1/2 Wheat Flour (plus more just in case)
  • 2 1/2 Tsp. Salt 
  • 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
Place flour, salt, herbs and garlic powder in a large bowl making a well in the middle. In a separate bowl add the yeast, salt, sugar in  the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Once the yeast is bubbled add in the olive oil and pour into the well of the flour. 

Use a fork and slowly mix in the flour until it is all moist. Use your hands and mix up the flour then turn out onto a floured surface and continue to kneed until a ball of dough forms. The more you kneed the dough the better! 

Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a towel, let it set in a warm place for 1 hour. Once the dough has doubled in size remove the ball from the bowl and kneed it once more to get the air bubbles out. Either toss the pizza dough int the air to round the dough or use a rolling pin. 

Veggie Pizza Fixins
  • 3/4 Cup of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Small Bell Pepper, Sliced
  • 1 Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Sliced
  • 1 Cups of Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Olives
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Onions
  • 3oz Crumbled Feta
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 425. Spread the dough on a pizza pan or stone and roll the ends up the make the crust. Rub a little olive oil on the dough and place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the tomato sauce evenly on the pizza dough, arrange the toppings then top with cheeses and place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.