Marysa’s Lazy Dog Cafe Remake: Togarashi Edamame

Earlier this month, I went to Lazy Dog Cafe for the first time (and went back for my second visit less than two weeks later!)  There are a handful of locations throughout Southern California and I had always heard great things about the food.  It exceeded my expectations.

A little birdie told me that their spicy edamame appetizer was insanely good.  I add cayenne pepper/hot sauce to most things I eat, and edamame is one of my favorite foods. Let’s just say that I had cravings for their edamame days after my visit.  Cravings so bad, I scoured the internet for the ingredients used in the LDC recipe.  The star ingredient is a Japanese spice called Togarashi.  It’s hot and spicy and flavorful in all the right ways.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups edamame, in shell (I used the frozen kind)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Togarashi, as desired (I used close to 1.5 tbsp)

Instructions:

  1. Cook your edamame in boiling water until the beans are soft and edible.  Drain and run through cold water.  Let cool.
  2. In a skillet, heat the garlic.  Then add the olive oil.  Stir for about 30 seconds and then add in your edamame.  Mix together for about a minute until coated.
  3. Add in your soy sauce and rice vinegar and mix for about 2 minutes.
  4. Then, start adding your spice.  Stir in the skillet until the edamame are completely coated.  Taste one (or three) just to make sure they’ve got the right amount of kick.  Serve warm.
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Homemade Vegan No-Bake “Thin Mints”

As much as I love eating out, I hate not knowing exactly what ingredients are used in a recipe.  It’s a weird quirk of mine and most likely the reason that I love making food at home.  That being said, it was only a matter of time that I made my own Thin Mints.  I can’t afford to purchase enough Thin Mints to last me until the next Girl Scout Cookie season, so I am excited to have this insanely easy recipe in my book.  If you like Thin Mints, you’ll like these!

Note: Although I am not Vegan myself, I did quite a bit of research on the ingredients to be absolutely positive that they are Vegan.  Ritz Crackers? Who knew!

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Ingredients

  • 1 box Ritz Crackers
  • 1 package Ghiradelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tbsp Crisco All Vegetable Shortening
  • 1.5 tsp peppermint extract

Instructions:

  1. Put your chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl with the crisco and microwave until melted.  Mix well.
  2. Add in the peppermint extract.  Taste the mix to be sure it’s enough, and if you want it even more minty, add some.  Just be careful that you don’t add TOO much or your cookies will taste like mouthwash.
  3. Dunk your Ritz Crackers into the chocolate until they’re completely covered.  Lay them out on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil.  Once you have a whole tray filled up, stick them in the fridge to harden up. The Ritz Cracker turns into a cookie once it firms up! 
  4. After the chocolate is firm, I placed all the cookies into a tupperware container and threw them in the freezer for easy storage.

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For St. Patty’s day, I am planning on making some Thin Mints with green sprinkles on top for a fun addition.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Turkey-Bacon Avocado Sandwich

When I began working full time after I graduated from college, I loved going to Whole Foods for lunch.  It became a very guilty and delicious habit.  The funny thing was that the options I chose for my daily lunch were things I could easily make from home.  My wallet told me this was a good idea and I am so glad I listened.  😉

This sandwich is one of my favorites.  As much as I love the combo of bacon and avocado, I don’t eat pork.  So like most of my restaurant favorites, I recreated the standard Club Sandwich on my own terms.  This one fills me up, is low on processed ingredients, and lends itself to easy modifications.  Oh and it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together.  What more could you ask for?

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Turkey Bacon Avocado Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices Oasis Low-Carb Flaxseed bread (use your favorite bread or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 slices lean turkey bacon
  • 1/2 cup of shredded turkey breast
  • 3 slices tomato
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Handful of spinach

Instructions:

  1. On one slice of bread, layer the turkey and turkey bacon over the tomatoes and spinach.
  2. Smear the avocado on the other slice of bread.  If you want to add mayo, go for it.  But trust me when I say that all of these flavors together are perfect without it too.
  3. Put the halves together and wait for coworker envy.

What is your favorite thing to bring for lunch?

Salsa Chicken & Chicken Street Tacos

I could eat Mexican food every single day of my life.  If I was in prison and had to choose my last meal, it would probably be Carne Asada street tacos.  One of the best perks of living in Southern California is that we have delicious, authentic Mexican food on what seems like every street corner.  I can’t complain.

This chicken recipe is great because you can throw it in a crock pot with a jar of salsa and forget about it for a few hours.   Once I make a batch of it, I can use the chicken throughout the week for a number of meals.  On top of eggs, mixed in a salad, or maybe even just eating it with a fork out of a storage container.  It’s that good.  First, I am going to tell you how to prep the chicken.  It’s almost unreal how easy it is.  Below that, you can find a taco recipe I made with it.

Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – as desired, I’d recommend doing 6 so that you have tons of delicious chicken for the week
  • Your favorite salsa, the amount to use depends.  You want to make sure that when you put it all in the crock pot, the salsa covers the chicken.  2-3 small jars should work.
  1. Dump everything in a crockpot and set it on low.
  2. After about six hours, you should notice that the chicken is nice and cooked.
  3. Take a piece out and test it.  You should be able to slice it apart with a fork, like soft butter.
  4. Put the chicken (sliced or whole) in some tupperware and use it when you need it.  I prefer to shred it with a fork before storing it up.

Street Tacos

I came up with this on a whim.  I had shredded salsa chicken in the fridge, fresh corn tortillas from my favorite local Mexican market, and avocado on hand.  Since the chicken was made beforehand, this literally took ten minutes – if even that- to throw together.  Perks of making mass amounts of food ahead of time?  I think yes.

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Marysa’s Street Chicken Tacos

Another staple item that I keep on hand is a bag of coleslaw mix.  While I don’t use the dressing, the veggie mix itself is great to saute for breakfast, or mix into a salad for lunch/dinner.  I’d like to get into the habit of slicing up cabbage and having it stored, but for now, this saves me tons of time since I use it so often.

Ingredients:

  • 3 small, street size corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of salsa chicken
  • 1 cup of sliced cabbage/cole slaw mix sans dressing
  • Avocado (as desired)
  • Hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Place the cabbage on the tacos first.
  2. Then distribute the chicken.
  3. Top with as much avocado as desired and put hot sauce (my favorite is Cholula) on top.
  4. Since the cabbage is likely to be cold, throw the finished tacos in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
  5. Devour.

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Cinnamon Almond Butter Applesauce

There are few things as amazing as homemade applesauce.  The only problem is that I don’t have the time or patience to make it every week.  When I want something resembling homemade applesauce, I want it in less than 5 minutes.  I’m a busy girl! This is my new favorite mid-day snack.

You don’t need to go out and buy the exact same ingredients that I used.  Like all recipes I make, I use what I have on hand.  If you don’t have a gala apple, any other type will do!  I used organic unsalted almond butter, but use whatever nut butter you have.  My favorite thing about this combo is that it provides a full range of healthy nutrients but tastes delicious at the same time.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium gala apple
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted almond butter
  • cinnamon (as desired)

Instructions:

  1. Slice your apple into small cubes.
  2. Places the cubes in a bowl and pour the almond butter over them.
  3. In a microwave, heat the mix for 20 seconds at a time.  You’ll know it’s done when the apple cubes are soft but still hold their shape.
  4. Sprinkle some cinnamon over the top of the nut butter and mix together.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Frittata

Hi readers!  I’m Marysa, your new recipe creator/provider here on Small Chick Big Deals.  I can’t wait to share my food creations with you.  While I was in college, I became really good at cooking healthy, filling, delicious meals while staying on a budget.  Now that I’ve graduated, I try to make things that can be easily modified for dietary restrictions or simply by using ingredients you already have at home.  A few things you should know about me: I put hot sauce on almost everything I eat and I love avocados.  😉

The first recipe I want to share with you is a “frittata” that I made for an annual New Year’s Day brunch with my family.  It’s a baked egg recipe filled with fresh veggies and delicious spices.  Don’t let that scare you, though!  I have step by step instructions (plus photos) for you to follow.

If you have never cooked a spaghetti squash, stay right here.  If you have cooked spaghetti squash, scroll down a bit.  I recommend cooking the spaghetti squash the day before making this.  Shred the entire thing and put it in a large tupperware in the fridge.  It makes the recipe a lot faster if you have the squash ready beforehand.

Cooking a spaghetti squash:

  • Using a sharp knife, stab the spaghetti squash a few times so that it can “breathe” while it’s cooking.
  • Place the spaghetti squash in a microwave for about 15 minutes
  • Slice it from top to bottom, let is sit open faced and cool a bit
  • Take a spoon and scoop out the nasty stuff that we won’t be eating
  • Then use a fork and start “shredding” the inside.  Notice how it becomes stringy like spaghetti?

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Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups spaghetti squash
  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 whole zucchinis, grated
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of basil
  • pinch of oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 11 x 13 tray (approximate something close and you’ll be fine!)
  • mozzarella cheese (optional)

Instructions:

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  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease your baking tray.
  • In a bowl, scramble your eggs.  Then add in spices.  Mix and set aside.
  • Grate your zucchinis while letting 1 tbsp of olive oil heat in a skillet.
  • In your skillet, “stir fry” your spinach and zucchini until the spinach is wilted.  It will shrink down A LOT…that’s okay!
  • Mix in your spaghetti squash so that the veggies are nice and tossed.
  • In a lightly greased tray, layer the bottom with your veggie mix.
  • Then, if you want to use mozzarella, add a light layer.
  • Add the rest of your veggies above the cheese.
  • Pour your egg mixture over the entire tray.  Do this slowly because it will take a few seconds to seep in.
  • If desired, add another layer of cheese.
  • Put it in the oven until the top is golden brown.  It will take about 30 minutes.  To make sure it’s cooked entirely, stick a toothpick in the middle of the frittata.  If it comes out clean, it’s done.

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Enjoy!