Beautifying Brussel Sprouts!

Brussels sprouts have high levels of many nutrients and so very healthy for you and can lead to many health benefits.. They get a bad rap for being America’s most hated vegetables and need a little love to taste good.

When cooked properly, Brussels sprouts taste fantastic, even addictive. Charred and crispy on the outside, lightly caramelized and meaty on the inside, when sautéed Brussels sprouts can become a quick and easy side dish.

One new way I learned to love them is hiding the bitter taste of brussel sprouts with fresh escarole and kale mixed in. I added in bacon bits and light agave syrup it’s amazing! 😀💚

Here is how I elevated these little green balls into a tasty dish.

Ingredients.

1/2 (12-ounce) packages Brussels sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed
1 cup cleaned and chopped curly kale leaves
1 cup cleaned and chopped leafy escarole leaves
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy light agave or honey
2 tablespoons bacon bits

Steps

Heat a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over over medium heat. Add the olive oil, sliced Brussels sprouts, kale and escarole, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute them all well, for about 4 to 5 minutes,until very tender. Once soft but not burned add in the agave syrup and bacon bits. Serve hot.

Cool Food fact! Brussels Sprouts first appeared in Europe in the 5th century, but were later cultivated near Brussels in Belgium, leading to their name. They are sometimes mistakenly called ‘Brussel’.

A light Heirloom Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro salad for the hot summer!

I believe that salads area a wonderful way to highlight fresh and tasty ingredients. This heirloom tomato salad below has red onion and cilantro in it . It is a perfect light fresh lunch !! I always like to serve it with an lemon oil dressing 😁🌿🍅

For the salad
mix in bowl heirloom tomatoes sliced, red onion chopped, fresh cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

My love of heirloom tomatoes began many years ago. I love all types of tomatoes but after I had chance to learn more about them in cooking magazines I like to use different tomatoes for different preparations..

Some personal favorites of mine and how I use them
Roma or Plum Tomatoes— great for homemade sauces and stews,
cherry or compari on the vine – great for roasting, sauces or fresh in a salad
Heirloom , Brandywine , beefsteak, – perfect for salad because of their natural sweetness and great on sandwiches

Full of Farro love! Farro with Arugula, sweet sausage, and mushrooms

I look for interesting foods to continually please and provoke my palate. I found the ingredient in Trader Joes and was intrigued and now love it. 10 min Farro is great because it cut’s down on the long cooking time.

My love for Farro

I love farro. It’s hearty and wholesome, with an amazing chewy texture and nutty flavor. I enjoy it all year long, but it really becomes one of my kitchen staples in the fall. Its toasty flavor is delicious with all kinds of spices, vegetables and meats.

Here is a simple recipe that combines Farro with Arugula, ground sweet Italian Sausage and oyster mushrooms.

chef tip! even make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the sausage meat and adding in spinach leaves to make it more filling.

How to Make it

Clean and cut the mushrooms into slices, peel and crush the garlic, remove the skin from the sausages. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan or skillet, add the garlic peeled and slightly crushed and fry. Add the chopped sausage meat and brown a little then add the mushrooms previously cleaned and cut into strips and cook through. Add the fresh arugula during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. Season with a pinch salt and Pepper. Add in the cooked farro and combine. Top with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

Exotic Bluefoot and Chanterelle mushroom cream sauce!

I spotted some unique varieties of special mushroom at specialty grocer in New York one day while grocery shopping a while back. I had never seen them before so of course, I had to swipe them up. I only managed to get two types before my wallet cried at me to please stop the torture. Sigh. After the sticker shock I bought a couple of each and they made one heck of a flavorful sauce was well worth the money.

How to make sauce

Begin by heating a cast iron pan until hot When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook them until they’ve wilted, lighlty browned, and released water. Add the butter to the pan with a little oil, if the pan gets dry, add a little more. Add the shallots, salt, then the tarragon and cook for a minute or two to take the “raw” flavor of them away. Add some light cream at the end and then double check the seasoning for salt, adjust as needed and serve

Bantry Bay Premium Seafood highlight! Mussels with Pasta!

On the package for Bantry Bay ‘s Mussels in a Garlic Butter Sauce it says ” you’re just a few minutes away from a delicious meal” Have to agree with them! When you can’t find and make fresh mussels, this a great alternative. They have many other flavors as well.

This product is great and has wonderful taste even though its pre-packaged I cooked them on the stove top according to the directions to make this great dish. It makes a quick and easy dinner for me and I get leftovers.

I cook my Fettuccine pasta in large pot and once it cooked I added it to the warmed mussels and sauce.

The mussels were chewy but not rubbery, and the flavor was salty and briny but also sweeet. It’s a little messy and awkward to scrape the mussels out of the shell while you’re eating, so keep an extra bowl on the table for the shells and hand out lots of napkins but it’s so worth it!

Give them a try at your local store if you see them. For more information visit their site at http://www.bantrybaypremiumseafoods.com/

Puerto Rican style Pork Chops!

These easy grilled Puerto Rican style pork chops are a favorite and quick dish of mine. Great for party of one or many. They have so much flavor and are still juicy! This cooking method can be done with boneless or bone in chops. Adjust the cooking time as needed. On top I added sauteed sweet yellow spanish onions which sauteed on the side in skillet.

How to prepare the Pork Chops

In a large bowl, season pork chops with, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, Turmeric powder , dried parsley and oregano. Add in olive oil and marinate for a half hour in the fridge before cooking.

Over medium to medium high heat warm your grill pan or outdoor grill.

Add in pork chops. grill pork chops 3-4 minutes per side, and then place on plate and cover with onions and foil until you are ready to serve them.

chef tip : If chops are grilled a tad bit longer, there’s a delicate crunch on the ends that just can not be beat!. Just watch them so they don’t over cook.

And…. Do you need a fantastic indoor grill to BBQ on inside your home? I used one by Calphalon. This 11 in. square grill pan features a ridged sear nonstick surface to add authentic grill flavor to meat and vegetables, plus the Calphalon grill pan browns evenly while locking in juices. A Great purchase!

A Salad inspired by the Greeks!

Sometimes nothing beats a vine tomatoes and Kirby cucumbers with a homemade parsley, dill , extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze dressing.

In the salad I only used chopped tomatoes and kirby cucumbers This dressing doesn’t overpower all the fresh ingredients, it combines everything so well. Try this dressing out on all your salads!

This combination in this simple salad is so easy and tasty! Sometimes I replace the glaze with red wine vinegar and add crumbled feta cheese, sliced red onions to make it like a Greek salad. I love salads because they are a blank canvas. This one is one of my favorite dressings I use it on a lot of salads.. Toc cut out some calories and sweetness replace the balsamic glaze with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

Balsamic Glaze Dressing

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of sweet Balsamic glaze
chopped fresh dill
chopped fresh Italian Parsley
Salt and Pepper

OMG Pasta Carbonara!

Ah Pasta Carbonara, tastes so good yet is so bad for you.

Like all classic recipes this is one that I don’t mess with when making a home. It’s a classic for a reason. This recipe is as easy as making the pasta and panchetta or bacon and tossing it together with rich egg yolks, Parmesan cheese and a bit of reserved pasta water to make the creamiest easiest sauce ever. It’s like stepping into Rome, Italy but enjoying it as normal weeknight dinner. True indulgence!

Below is a link to the recipe I followed below by Rachel Ray I used for inspiration
https://www.rachaelray.com/recipes/pasta-carbonara/

Pan Fried Mangrove Snapper with roasted garlic, squash and baby potatoes

Impress your family with this lemon- and herb-stuffed whole fish that’s surprisingly easy to put together. I grew up eating fresh caught whole fish all of my life. Being from Mediterranean origins, since I was young my parents taught how to debone eat a cooked fish whole. My parents say the closest to the head is always the sweetest meat. At home I’m encouraged to grab the head and go at it. So when my dad brings home fresh fish we grill or pan fry it whole to fully enjoy it. My father is a great fisherman.. He fishes from the dock or by spear in the sea.

Yesterday catch of the day were Mangrove snappers so I prepared this wonderful dish with them. Mangrove snapper can be found year-round in Florida. Fishing for mangrove snapper in the summer is often thought of as “snapper season,”

Ingredients

whole Mangrove snappers, gutted, descaled and rinsed or similar fish
1/2 Lemon, sliced this
Minced raw garlic and Italian parsley in olive oil ( this is a staple in our fridge)
dried dill
dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking methods for Cooking whole fish I love.

This method is nice if you don’t have outside grill. Just make sure you cover the fish so the oil doesn’t splatter. Cooking the fish in frying pan is also much faster then in an oven and doesn’t heat up you whole house when it’s hot out.

Another method is to cook the fish on the grill just preheat grill to medium-high. Just grill fish for about 5 minutes, until skin releases from grates. Carefully turn and grill until cooked through and underside releases, 5 to minutes longer

How to pan fry the fish

Add slits on both sides of the snapper and insert lemon slices into each slit
Add parsley, garlic and oil mixture into the cavity of the fish and rub all over it. Season with salt and pepper
Pan fry the fish in olive oil on each side for 4-5 minutes
add dried dill and parsley before serving hot

Tonight I served it with grilled yellow squash and roasted garlic and baby potatoes.


Enjoy and watch out for bones!

Fresh White Mushroom Salad

It sounds odd a salad with just mushrooms but this one tastes just right!!! My fresh mushroom and Italian parsley salad with lemon and oil. I like to use white button mushrooms since they taste the best raw. What a simple yet refreshing salad idea. With just a handful of ingredients you have a salad that’s nutrient dense and packed full of flavor!

How make the salad
– 4 Servings

Ingredients
1 lb sliced button mushrooms, (stems removed)
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a bowl, combine sliced mushrooms and chopped parsley. Add in lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. I serve it sometimes with grated parmesan cheese on top

Rock Shrimp, Cauliflower Risotto and Parsnip chips. A GREAT combo!

To my shrimp Lovers, I am sharing my take on how to make this easy and simple dish. All you need is some of your favorite herbs , 1-2 lbs of Jumbo Shrimp, some olive oil and fresh garlic.

Now try and serve it over my cauliflower risotto and parsnip chips and dish becomes amazing! This cauliflower risotto is super easy to make and is a low carb recipe. The parsnip chips on top add flavor to the dish to.

Ingredients for the Shrimp and Cauliflower Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lbs rock shrimp, split and deveined
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 head of cauliflower chopped in florets

How to Make It

Grilled Shrimp

In a learge pot over medium-high heat add olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. Add in shrimp. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.

Cauliflower Risotto

In the same pot saute 1 large yellow chopped onion until translucent. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower florets 8 to 10 times, until it resembles small grains of rice. Steam in the microwave for about 3-5 minutes. Add cauliflower to the pot and cook through. with the onion. Add the stock and cook through and turn off of the heat . Remove the lid and stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese.

chef tip : To make cauliflower like risotto you need to make sure you steam the cauliflower for a few minutes before you cook it in the pan

Parsnip Chips

4 parsnips (scrubbed clean, peeled and sliced thin)
olive oil spray
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C.

How to make it

lay the parsnip slices on sprayed baking sheet, spreading them out. Bake in the preheated oven until chips are golden brown and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Orecchiette Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

I like to pair orecchiette pasta with pancetta and roasted brussel sprouts for easy and tasty dish. I’ve seen heavier variations of this dish online and I wanted to make a simpler and lighter version.

I found out the pasta’s round, concave shape led to its name, which means “little ears” in Italian. ! You can enjoy it as a main dish or side dish. It goes well with a lot of things and is a great side dish as well. . It also tastes great reheated the next day for leftovers.

Ingredients for 4 servings

8 ounces orecchiette pasta
8 ounces brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pancetta chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 cup Grated parmesan cheese

How to make it

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain while reserving 1 cup of pasta water. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice brussels sprouts very thinly.

Cook pancetta over low heat until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings. Add garlic and olive oil. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove garlic so it doesn’t burn.

Add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Add in pasta and heat through and add pasta water

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

chef tip: Use shaved Brussels or cut them in think slices to let them cook faster. I think it makes it more palatable for people who don’t like them.

Quick Wine-less Chicken Bolognese !

A hearty big bowl of pasta and sauce. Is there anything better sometimes?

This lighter and healthier alternative is so easy to make if you have tomato sauce already at home. By leaving out the wine it saves on calories and time in the process because the wine doesn’t have evaporate so the dish is done faster.  I decided to substitute it for chicken broth . I’m sure red wine adds a tasty element to this sauce, but its not necessary to get a sauce with flavor.

This version is also very lean because it uses ground chicken instead of beef. I’ve used ground turkey also, but a little dry. I suggest combining the chicken and turkey to get a more flavorful sauce if you have to.

I also use a homemade tomato sauce. You don’t have to but it does taste better in my option. Any plain jarred or canned store bought sauce will also work with this recipe.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried tarragon
1 table spoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of cooked tomato sauce
1 pound pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

How to make it

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add in oil. Add onion and and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken.

Cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes. Add in a bit of chicken stock and boil until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the finished tomato sauce and reduce heat and simmer until thickened about 12 minutes.

I serve mine with store made spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

chef tip : this sauce freeze well, so I always make more and freeze it.

Bright Bok Choy

Picked up fresh bright green baby boy at the farmers market and new that a homemade Asian inspired dish was on the menu!

But what is boy choy?

Bok choy is part of the cabbage family, mainly used in Chinese cuisine. They are vegetables, and they come in two different sizes, a regular and baby. The baby version I made is called Shanghai. Shanghai bok choy has wide, jade colored stalks shaped like soup spoons and has mild and sweet flavor compared to the regular version.

What I made

I made a version of a simple teriyaki chicken with baby bok choy and garlic. I love the taste of the baby bok choy since it so sweet and tender when it cooks down.

In a large bow add the Chicken breast or boneless thighs cut into small pieces 1/2 cup bottled teriyaki sauce and salt and pepper . Let marinate while the boy choy cooks through first.

Slice the 3 garlic cloves and the boy choy length wise. Saute in olive oil until soft. Add in the raw marinated chicken and sauce and mix well until chicken is done.. Serve on it’s own or with white rice.

Chicken Caprese oh so Captivating !

I saw this version of a Skillet Chicken Caprese dish from So Damn Delish food blog.

I love dishes like this because as a home cook make some adjustments to the recipe if you want to . It Came out great and really easy to do. I love that it all comes together in one skillet.

Building incredible flavor in a single skillet isa great trick I’ve learned to appreciate. The dish is done quickly and the clean up is easy to.

Some dishes are not only a colorful and gorgeous to look when done , but are also healthy and quick to make. This is a great quick meal whenever there’s not much time to spare if you have all the right ingredients at home.

Here is her recipe that I followed below.

Link to Recipe

Blueberry Red Wine Spritzer

Have you tried smashed fruit into your wine? Well , wine not? The berry flavor was subtle and really nice doing it this way! I leave the berries pretty chunky but that is up to you. I love the wine flavor with fresh blueberries and bubbles – there just isn’t anything bad about it. If you’re looking for a new drink for the summer this could be it.

How to make it

Fill glass with fresh smashed fruit.
Fill half the glass with wine
Fill remaining glass with club water or plain seltzer

More tips

When choosing a wine to make wine spritzers, the most important characteristic is that you enjoy drinking it on its own. I usually reach for something that has good fruity flavor. As for the fruit, just choose what you like and works best with the wine you are choosing.

Here comes the Zucchini Boats!

If you’re looking for a new way to spice up zucchini , you should make more zucchini boats!

When you use zucchini as a flavor vessel, and fill it with vegetables and and proteins , then tip with cheese and bake the combinations are endless!

The outcome is just as delicious as you would think. The texture of the zucchini after being roasted will still have a nice bite that stands up to the cheesy gooey filling inside. I like it when I want something a little out of the ordinary, sometimes combining your grains with vegetables and protiens can be boaring. Plus this perfect if you are on a keto, low card like food plan.

My favorite part is when the filling on the inside is just perfect and really comes together with all of the flavors. Yum!

How I make mine

Ingredients:

1 Zucchini, Includes Skin Raw 31 Calories per serving
1/2 cup Cheese Mozzarella Shredded Part Skim
1 cup raw spinach
1 cup watercress
2 tsp Garlic Salt Spice Blends 1 Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped chicken breast meat, cooked then shredded

Steps

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the zucchini flesh, chop it and set it aside to be added the other vegetables

Cook the chicken first until cooked through in olive oil.

Add the spinach and watercress and the zucchini flesh , garlic salt and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into each zucchini boat. Top each zucchini boat with the shredded part-skim mozzarella

Bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown and zucchini is soft and or until heated through about 25 minutes.

chef tip : Pick your own filling ! This recipe includes chicken., There’s a way to adapt this meal for almost anyone by just adding more vegetables to the mix instead of a protein. Be creative, it’s probably what I love most about them.

One Fabulous Frittata

Inside in mine I added mushrooms, bell peppers,onions, fresh chives garlic and onion powder and a 6 whole eggs. Plus one cup of Sargento® Shredded 6 Cheese Italian blend . The pre-packed Italian blend contains shredded Part Skim mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and fresh Asiago. Adding the right kind of cheese makes the difference.

Note for meat lovers: I sometimes add in bacon bits to if there are meat lovers coming.

How I make my version.

In very large, bowl beat the eggs with the cheese herbs and spices and set set a side.

Saute any veggies and any meat that you want first in a large cast iron skillet, then pour the egg mixture over the mixture. While still hot, transfer to oven and bake about 20 – 25 minutes until the eggs set. Watch it carefully so the eggs don’t overcook or burn om top.

Pro tip I’ve learned : Don’t over beat the eggs.

I love that you can easily make frittatas for one in the microwave . Just mix and heat eat for 90 seconds. Or for many this way for a large group.

Need a mini version for many people?

Yes, this recipe will also work great to make individual mini frittatas using muffin pans. Just divide the egg mixture among greased muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 about 13 – 18 minutes. These are great also for pre-made breakfast option on go.

Perfect mashed potatoes with garlic and oil.

Ah homemade rustic smashed Yukon Gold potatoes with garlic oil and fresh Italian parsley. Yum!

Such a easy and wonderful side dish that goes with everything. Potatoes are such a staple ingredient in many homes. They’re relatively inexpensive and super versatile, and you can easily turn them into many delicious dishes. In my house , I grew up with these type of mashed potatoes since they went with everything.

What Kind of potatoes are best for boiling you ask?

I find yellow-fleshed potatoes like Yukon Gold potatoes to be best for this kind of boiled potato recipe. They are medium-starch potatoes that contain more moisture so they can handle boiling well without completely falling apart.

I found this recipe from Fine Cooking. The steps are easy and they come out great each time. I love this is a dairy-free version of mashed potatoes that many more people can enjoy.

Link to recipe