Apparently March is the month for MADNESS. Prior to, and for a couple of years after moving to Chicago, we were hooked on NCAA basketball. HOOKED. Especially ACC and the Wolfpack. When I was in college, this guy (right) was our head football coach and the other goof (left) was the basketball coach. Following years of being mediocre in basketball, the Wolfpack finally decided to can the guy on left. Guy on right’s career was even shorter, but he did at least have a couple of great seasons, whether it was due solely to Philip Rivers or not.
Nonetheless, the Wolfpack fans have moved on. Me, in a way I gave up on them altogether (for the most part, I know – I am a horrible fan). Hubs, well he is utterly and mindnumbingly faithful, so he continued to watch once this guy (below) took over the b-ball team. While hopes were high, Lowe may have initially appeared to be “the savior” to NCSU basketball, but after his first season he hasn’t really come through as expected. Hence, March Madness, as I know it, doesn’t exist this year. Sniff Sniff. I didn’t even fill out a bracket – and I ALWAYS fill out brackets, even if I don’t know crap about the other teams. Sad indeed. We were talking the other day, once NC State decided they didn’t want to participate in the ACC tournament and lost in the “weed-in” game. Weed out for us…. But anyway, we decided, since NC State wasn’t coming through, the next best thing is rooting AGAINST UNC TARHEELS. We’ll see how that works once the NCAA tournament gets really going. Keep your fingers crossed, & Go Duke!!
This, obviously, brings me to the food portion of this post. Since March Madness in terms of basketball doesn’t really exist in my world this year, I will instead focus on MOJITO MADNESS – much tastier and much more satisfying! I absolutely LOVE mojitos, so below I’ll post a couple of mojitos I’ve recently made (one traditional and the other was part of the Battle Basil event). I’m also going to post a recipe for Mojito Chicken. I made it a while back and it was pretty yummy. One of my good friends is gluten-free, so I made it one night when he and his wife (if you ever hear me talk about Jennifer & Jon – this is them) were over. It’s amazing how many things you can make that are gluten-free and super scrumptuous. I initially thought that life without bread was not possible. Not true :). Anyway, I’ll post that below as well. Apparently they thought it was pretty good too b/c Jennifer asked for the recipe. Once she found out I was a “blogger”, she asked when the GF recipes would get posted, and she specifically asked about this one. So Jennifer, this is for you (and Jon…)!
P.S. – I will try to put quantities below, but I really don’t measure these drinks. Sorry!
4 limes, cut into small pieces
1 large handful of mint leaves (?1 cup)
8 Tablespoons of sugar (can also use splenda)
2 cups (yikes!!) of white rum
Combine limes, mint, and sugar in bottom of large pitcher (or divide among 8 highballs) and muddle away until there is a lot of juice in the bottom. Add rum and mix. When you are ready to serve, add the seltzer water. Don’t add it early b/c it will go flat. Pour into glasses with ice and garnish with mint and/or lime.
serves 8 in pitcher
Same ingredients as above, except:
In place of limes, use 2 oranges
In place of mint, use basil.
Mojito Chicken w/ Roasted Asparagus & Almonds
Adapted from foodnetwork.com; serves 4
Olive oil cooking spray
2 bunches asparagus (2 pounds)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound cut-up skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup rum (dark)
2 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup white rice, cooked according to package directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange asparagus on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast 10 minutes. Top the asparagus with almonds and roast 5 more minutes, until fork-tender and almonds are golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sugar and cook 3 minutes, until soft stirring with wooden spoon. Add chicken and saute 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Add lime juice and carefully, off the heat, add the rum. Return to the heat and add lime zest, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cook rice according to package instructions. When ready, mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of lime zest.Serve chicken, garnished with mint, over rice with the almond topped asparagus on the side.