Vincenzo’s Plate special Italian Meatballs

For this #TastyThursday we are checking out food blogger Vincenzo! Lrearn more about him from the blog link below.

I saw this recipe on Vincenzoplate website and I had to make it. It came out great. Who ever said that pasta goes with meatballs? Mini yes large no according to him . Who knew it was all about the size?

Below is a link to the recipe I followed below. On the website there is link to the recipe on Vincenzo’s Plate YouTube Cooking Channel , which has a focus on cooking Italian Food. His other social media channels are listed there to.

Link to the Meatballs Recipie

#TastyThursday

Butternut Squash Pasta sauce with Potato gnocchi

While shopping in Target I saw the large range of pre-made pasta sauces they have under their Good & Gather store brand.. Most sauces I love to make from but I was intrigued by one in particular which reminded of my my favorite soups, Butternut Squash.

So here’s my butternut squash cream sauce with herbs and potato gnocchi. The gnocchi really soaks up the sauce well. You can also eat the sauce itself like a soup it’s just that good. This sauce provides a sweet and savory touch to pasta and vegetable dishes. Give it try if you see it. I like that it tastes like butternut without being overwhelming. 

chef tip! a little goes a long way.

#TryMeTuesday

Angus New York Grilled Strip Steak with Hatch Chili Seasoning

For the first of many #TryMeTuseday I tried a new steak with a special store seasoning blend. A 2021 goal for this bog was to post something useful , interesting and tasty weekly. So now every Tuesday I am going to cook and share with you all an ingredient, product that is new to me. On Thursdays it will be #TastyThursday which showcases any recipes I’ve redone from others or made up on my own..


Normally when I do food shopping I stay away from pre-seasoned meat or seafood because I like to create my own seasoning blend.

Recently I picked up a Beef Choice Angus New York Grilled Strip Steak with Hatch Chili Seasoning on it. The steak came from the store with the dry rub seasoning on it from WALMART.. If you see it try it out for yourself. They also serve the same seasoning on fajita bee stripes to.

I’m not sure what’s it in exactly (SECRET I’m told) but the seasoning added a really good, almost unexpected flavor. A little heat, a little sweetness, a lot going on in it. Really good job Walmart!

Steak Cooking Tips for a Medium Rare!

Before cooking, be sure the steak at room temperature so it can cook as evenly as possible.

I sear the steaks in a smoking hot pan with salted butter and oil, about 4 minutes per side.

It will need a 10 minute rest before you can even cut into it. Please rest the steak, it is tired.

This will give you the most perfectly juicy medium-rare steak if that is what you are looking for.

I served mine with it with garlic and oil sautéed steamed Broccoli and Beans ..

chef tip! I prefer mine at medium rare.. To learn more about steak temperatures check out this article below from THERMO PRO

https://buythermopro.com/knowledge/medium-rare-steak-temp-chart/

Cast Iron Skirt Steak done right

Grilling and searing flank or skirt steak in a cast iron skillet has become my favorite way to grill steak. I served this one with with corn , panchetta and mushroom sauté.

Also ever wondered how to get a well-cooked, juicy piece of meat, without butterflying it or cutting down the middle to see if it’s done and has a good color? Here is what I do for a medium rare each time.

Salt, pepper and oil your steak. Once the pan is hot, lay your steak in and leave it undisturbed. The high heat will brown the steak quickly, once you see a crispy texture on the outside of the steak, flip it. This should only take 2-3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other side.

As a general rule, once both sides are browned, you can assume that the interior is cooked to medium-rare.

I remove the steak and let it rest before I slice it.

Perfect every time!

Easy Grilled Lamb Loin Chops in a herb lemon marinade

Easy to make , tasty to eat, these tender Lamb loin chops take only a few minutes per side to cook but taste great. Lamb has a intense flavor but its worth it when it’s done right.

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to lamb cuts. Look in a butcher shop or grocery store, and you might find many types of lamb chops: rib chop, sirloin chop, shoulder chop, blade chop , loin chops or even Frenched Lollipop .

What I’ve learned that is that not every lamb steak is created equal indeed. The  mini T-bone steaks cut or loin chops are my favorite for grilling. This delicious marinade turned these boring lamb loin chops into something so tender and good.

Ingredients
1 pound lamb loin chops , T-bone steaks cut
Marinade
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions

Combine the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon zest and olive oil in a measuring cup.

Pour the marinade over the lamb chops, making sure to flip them over to cover them completely. Cover and marinate the chops in the fridge for as little as 1 hour.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat, then sear the lamb chops for 2-3 minutes, on each side.

Lower the heat to medium then cook them for 5-6 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees F.

Allow the lamb chops to rest on a plate covered with aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving.

They should be pink but not raw.

cooking tip! Always bring meat to room temperature before cooking to allow perfectly cooked meat throughout.

Grilled turmeric chicken tenderloins with lemon herb pan sauce

Grilled turmeric chicken tenderloins with lemon herb pan sauce …Sounds pretty fancy doesn’t it? Well, it’s really not and its yummy. This is a great alternative to serving boring chicken breasts. Depending on how many people you are serving just add more chicken . 2 tenderloins were served per person usually works.
the dried turmeric spice is what makes this dish shine in my opinion. More than any other spice, turmeric marries health benefits to zesty taste. 

Want to know how add this unique spice to your dishes check out the link from from oneHowTo below. I am experimenting in the kitchen and trying it now in more dishes. It’s very versatile.

How to Use Turmeric in Cooking

Ingredients

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8-10 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins , pounded thin
1/2 cup of chicken stock, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons ground Turmeric

Instructions

In a small bowl toss together the chopped parsley, thyme , Turmeric and the minced garlic, salt , pepper and half the oil. Let sit for 15-30 min to marinate

Serve with the lemon and herb pan sauce over top and heat over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, sear the chicken until browned and releases easily from the pan and cook through.

Transfer chicken to a clean plate when done and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat under the same skillet to medium-low. Add in the stock and butter and start scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in fresh lemon juice and bring to a simmer.

If the pan sauce reduces too quickly, splash in another 1/4 cup or so of chicken stock. When ready to serve heat chicken and serve with the lemon and herb pan sauce over top.

Roasted Chicken Drumsticks spiced with Annatto

Roasted Chicken drumsticks with herbs and lemon is a great combination. I was in a Latin supermarket and found ground annatto.. But what annatto tastes like besides that makes food yellow? Annatto’s flavor can be described as earthy, musky, and slightly peppery sweetness with a hint of nutmeg. Look for it in your store and try adding it to your dishes.. I like it mostly with all kinds of meats and and shrimp as part of the spice rub. Sometimes I add it to my grains, stews and even soups.

Check out this page on SPICEography to learn more about it

Cooking With Annatto Seeds: The Dos And Don’ts

For my dish I paired my chicken with the vibrant annatto and other herbs . The herbs and spices gave my dish a wonderful flavor and aroma, and with the chicken it came out so flavorful.

How to Make it

In a large bowl add the chicken legs, salt, pepper , olive oil , lemon juice and the spice mix. In the spice mix I added the annatto, smoky and sweet paprika, dried parsley with garlic powder .
Bake the drumsticks at 450 for 30 min on a sheet pan .

chef tip : This recipe also works for chicken quarters and thighs at the same temperature . Change time accordingly

My Fried “Rice” Rice which is really Nice!

So one evening I had a large head of cauliflower in my fridge I had to use it up and also has bit of white long grain rice left over Here is the dish that I thought up to use both up. You can leave out the white rice to to make it gluten free.

It made me think about when “riced” vegetables became huge in the cooking world and what is cauliflower rice is actually.

So Cauliflower rice is not actually rice or a starch. It is simply a vegetable, cauliflower, that has been riced. The verb “riced”, according to the dictionary, I read means to pass potatoes or other vegetables through a sieve or ricer, such as cooked potatoes which are riced before making mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is riced, usually before cooking or blended in food processor lightly , in order to turn it into tiny bits that then look like rice. Cauliflower rice is a low calorie and low carb alternative which I have grown to love for grains of actual rice and is gluten free . Give it try !

Fried Rice and “Rice”

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked white rice
1 head of cauliflower chopped into pieces.
1 cup chopped leeks or spring onions
1 tablespoon each of onion power and garlic powder and turmeric powder.
salt and pepper to taste

How to Make it

So cook white rice according to the directions and set aside.
Add raw cauliflower to a food processor and grind on on low. do not over grind.
Add olive oil to skillet and add in chopped leeks and cook until browned but not burned.
Add garlic, onion and turmeric powders plus salt and pepper.
Lastly add in the cook white rice and combine once the cauliflower is cooked.

chef tip! Add in any other vegetables you want or chopped meat or egg , Combinations are endless. Just make sure they chopped finely and cooked through before blending them towards then end.

Stuffed tomato with quinoa, kale and onion!

Large garden heirloom tomatoes are my favorites. Their smell is so fresh and divine! Wonderful raw in a salad or in rich sauce but this time I decided to bake and stuff them for a change. This dish is perfect for summer heirloom tomatoes or store-bought large on-the-vine tomatoes. For the best flavor, serve the tomatoes slightly warm or at room temperature. Stuffed tomatoes also freeze well when cooked for later.

How to Make It

Core Tomatoes removing the inside flesh and seeds, don’t go to the bottom and breakthrough.

Set aside the flesh in a bowl and add in the cooked kale or spinach , onion. parsley, dried spices , oil and cooked quinoa . Mix well and combine

Then stuff it into the raw tomato bake for 25 min at 350 degrees A wonderful healthy easy side dish ! Try it out and make it your own. The mixture can be anything that’s mixed in with the quinoa so have fun!

This was a meat free side dish but what I love is that you can mix in anything you want with the quinoa. If quinoa isn’t your thing cooked rice would also do.

Rustic potatoes with parsley and oil

Thinking of an easy Thanksgiving side dish and want to spice up your boring masked potato dish? Try this! Homemade rustic smashed Yukon Gold potatoes with olive oil and fresh Italian parsley mixed in . Yum! A low calories and dairy-free version that many more people can enjoy.

It is 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, fish and meat particularly.

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.

Ingredients

serves 4 as a side dish
3 potatoes, medium sized potatoes
Garlic, one large clove, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

How To make it

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes. Throw them in a large pot with water with salt, make sure that water is salty like the sea! Bring to a boil and cook until tender.

Drain the potatoes very well. Throw them back into the hot pot. Roughly smashed them in the pot.

To the pot add the good extra virgin olive oil and fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve

chef tip! You can leave them in chunks as well to if you don’t want to mash them.

Balsamic vegetables over cheesy soft polenta – Something from nothing!

Sometimes looking at what you have in your fridge can be great inspiration for great dishes. This simple “fridge creation” came from making do with what I had at home.

I had cubes of cheddar cheese in my fridge that I didn’t wait it to go waste at the end so I transformed it into a wonderful side dish along with the vegetables I had to on hand . I had over ripe cherry tomatoes , a semi hard green zucchini and a wrinkled red bell pepper. Here’s how I made this great combo

How to Make It

Combine the chopped vegetables in a sauté pan with olive oil and chopped garlic. At then end mix in a bit of balsamic glaze for sweetness. For the soft polenta , I cooked the instant corn meal with water until soft and smooth. At the end added in the chopped cheddar cheese cubes.

Use what ever veggies you have for a great vegetarian dish. Add in some meat and you have whole dinner.. The polenta or vegetables is a great side dish on it’s own . So many dinner possibilities. I just love being creative in the kitchen!

Portobello mushrooms and Israeli couscous

Tonight I want something quick and simple pasta dish with mushrooms . I happened have some Israeli couscous , also known as Pearl Couscous. in the pantry and chose to highlighted that instead of standard pasta pasta.

What I found out online is that there is big difference between  Couscous and  Israeli Couscous.  Israeli couscous and true couscous are both made with semolina flour and water, but true couscous is much smaller and irregularly shaped while Israeli couscous is bigger with a soft, chewy texture. Depending on what I serve it with or mix in I like to use both kinds. I always the the plain version and like to add in my own seasonings and spices. This dish I love because it reminds me of a lighter risotto that takes a lot less time.

How to Make it

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in the couscous and water. . Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook the couscous for five to seven minutes. Once tender, remove from heat.

in the meantime Sautee sliced Portobello mushrooms with chicken stock , raw garlic chopped parsley and lots of herbs and good oil. At the end grate in parmesan cheese for more richness .

chef tip! Use whatever mushrooms you have on hand just cook them through well. Also this makes a great cold pasta salad !

Croatian Potato or Restani Krumpir as they call it


Sometimes when you cook for yourself or others and even party guest you want to make something extra special . It may just be a really good side dish like this one if you already have a good protein. My family is orginally from Croatia and my Mom who is a wonderful cook to, likes to teach me recipes from the homeland like this one..

Restani Krumpir (or rested potatoes) consists of fried potatoes with onions, paprika and sometimes diced bacon or pancetta is added in.

I already had the chicken that I bought which is already roasted and I just wanted a unique side dish. Croatian comfort food at it’s finest in my opinion. I love it and make it once in while just for myself. My mom prepares it for the holidays to. It pairs the best with roasted meats in my opinion. It’s like chunky mashed potatoes but 10 times better!

Ingredients*

Russet potatoes
yellow sweet onions
animal lard or oil you a can heat up very hot
salt and sweet paprika

**just add as many potatoes and onions as you need for the serving

How to Make it

wash the dirt and boil in cold water and cook until soft for about an hour. drain and let cook before you peel and slice so you don’t burn yourself.

In a skillet sauté chopped onion until soft . Carefully peal the potato and roughly mash it into large chunks. Add salt to the cooked onions and some lard is you have it and fry it until it starts to stick.

chef tip! you can also peal and boil the potato in large pieces if you prefer.

Italian Sweet sausage with vegetables oh and fresh is the best! 🐽

Sausage is an easy way to get all the health benefits of the less-appealing parts of the animal and avoid wasting food. Buying sausage from a farmer, a good butcher, or a local supplier, you are able to get high-quality sausages in an animal casing with no junk ingredients . Win win for all!

I went Mazzaro’s Italian Market in Southwest Florida and picked up their sweet sausages . Their meat and fish section is a really an extraordinary butcher shop. The make their own fresh sausages in store!

This is dish is great with pasta or just good crusty bread for lunch or dinner

Ingredients

chopped raw fennel
chopped raw mini sweet pepper, mix of yellow , red and orange
chopped sweet yellow onions
seasoning Italian dry mix
olive oil

Chopped the vegetables and sauté everything in olive oil in one pan. In another skillet pan fry the sausage separately until cooked through .. Once cooked slice and mix it with the vegetables.

Here is a great article from Spruce Eats blog on Types of Sausages if you want to learn more

https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-sausage-4064593

Meatless Bean Corn Tomato Chili

All the fall/winter season arrives warm chilis and soups are my favorite to make. Plus you can make them in batches and freeze portions for future use! A quick and easy meal to enjoy on the table fast.

Recently I created deliciousness on a cool Monday night for a meatless Monday people like to call it..

I had Trader Joe’s “beefless” beef in my freezer still . If you want you can remove it or replace with ground beef or turkey. Just makes you cook the meat and onions through before adding everything else. I found out since that soy crumbles are already cooked, so they can usually just be added into soups, stews, chilies and the like toward the end of cooking. Since everything else is in a can it comes together really fast. (Great benefit!)

Ingredients

2 cups of yellow onions ,
1 package of
Trader Joes soy crumbles’
1 can of Goya low sodium black beans
1 can of Goya corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
3 cups of cold water
Longhorn steak seasoning or y kind of chili or taco seasoning you like to taste

How to Make it

I added to a big pot first the chopped onions which I cooked in avocado oil. then added in the frozen crumbles and mixed it together.
Once that is combines and mostly cooked though add in the, water, beans, corn and tomatoes and let it simmer away until done.

chef tip! If you take out the crumbs or meat it all together just another can of drained kidney beans to make it heartier!

Lavash Bread as Pizza? Yes!

I’ve been researching healthier pizza and bread alternatives that are better for you and found this idea online from SkinnyTaste blog. It was so easy and good and creative! I personally believe that pizza can actually be quite healthy, depending on the kind of bread we use and of course the topping ingredients.

What is Lavash ?

Lavash Bread is low carb and a good source of fiber. Used in a roll-up sandwich or as a sliced party snack, this lavash bread will not fall apart. Middle East Lavash Bread is a reduced carb, high protein and has no cholesterol.

Joseph’s Bakery Low Carb Bread Flax Oat Lavash is the brand that I like to use and easy and I can buy in the my local grocery store. Highly recommended

For more information about Joseph’s Bakery Lavash Page click here

For this pizza I added raw spinach , shredded mozzarella cheese, homemade mushroom tomato sauce and cooked organic 90% lean ground beef for protein . Bake flat at 425 degrees for 10 minutes until crisp . Use what ever cooked protein and veggies you like.

Chef tip! Don’t add a lot of sauce and toppings so it doesn’t get soggy.

Link to recipe on Skinnytaste I was inspired by

UPDATE! This dish has been submitted in a Foodiespicks recipe themed competition online . Click on the link below to vote!

https://bit.ly/2GhSPCz

Skillet potato gnocchi with Mushrooms and brown butter herb sauce

If you love delicious Italian food but are really short on time, look no further than the holy grail of quick Italian meals — frozen gnocchi. Gnocchi are small, delectable Italian dumplings made with potato, flour, and eggs. Also if you make your own gnocchi they will also freeze well to.

I also have to say I am lover of all kinds of mushrooms. Mushroom sauces are great when you can purchase fresh mushrooms. The pack in a lot of flavor and go with a lot of different things.

This method of cooking frozen gnocchi is very simple — all you’ll need is a large skillet or pan for tasty gnocchi that are crispy outside and a perfectly soft inside. This simple mushroom “sauce” really brings the dish together.

Ingredients and steps

500g potato gnocchi – frozen
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 cups mushroom, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 raw garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons of “herb de Provence” dry spice mix or any dry Italian seasoning works to

How to Make it
In a large skillet add half of the the butter over medium heat until foaming. Add the mushrooms and garlic, parsley and cook, stirring, until soft. Transfer to a separate bowl. Heat the remaining butter in pan over medium heat until foaming.

While the mushrooms are cooking add the frozen gnocchi to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook the gnocchi for one minute after the water returns to a boil and the gnocchi float to the top. Remove the gnocchi with the spider strainer or slotted spoon and add them to the other skillet directly.

Once you add in the cooked gnocchi, stir for 5-8 minutes until the gnocchi and butter are golden. Transfer the mushrooms to the gnocchi and mix it gently together. At the end add in the herb de Provence” mix from France , which has dried thyme, marjoram, rosemary and sage in it. Serve hot and enjoy! Top it with shredded parmesan cheese when hot to make it more heavenly.

chef tip : Want them brown and crispy? Leave them undisturbed in the pan for about 3 minutes before you move them. Then flip them onto the other side for another 3 minutes to brown the other side.

,

Balsamic honey chicken thighs with pickled Danish red cabbage

Homemade balsamic honey chicken thigh over pickled Danish pickled red cabbage , what a great combo !

I like to marinate the chicken in a balsamic glaze and honey or agave syrup with salt and pepper.

I then refrigerate it for least a hour before I bake or grill them. You can do this also with chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts. Just adjust the cooking time.

I had a red cabbage that I bought recently that is pickled. This is the star of this dish. Recently there has been a lot of talk on the benefits of your gut by eating fermented foods. So eat away! Pickled cabbage, is pickled via fermentation.Fermented foods have lots of proven health benefits thanks to good bacteria, and the fermentation process also results in wonderfully complex flavor.

For this dish I used Danish red cabbage , also known as Rødkål . You can buy in store or make on your own. The process is time consuming but worth it the end and it store well in the fridge for many days.

The company I use is called Beauvais , which makes a great version that tastes homemade and can be found in your grocery store or online .

About Beauvais 

Beauvais is a Danish brand of condiments, snacks and readymade meals now owned by Norwegian food company Orkla ASA.  The brand was founded by and is named for Jeean Baptiste Desiré Beauvais, a French immigrant, who established a production of canned food in Copenhagen in 1850. The company was acquired by Orkla in 1995 and renamed Orkla Foods Denmark in 2013. (Source Wikipedia)

Try it out you will love it!

Chef tip! – Want to learn more about foods that pickled versus fermented check out this article below

https://www.furtherfood.com/pickled-versus-fermented-foods-which-is-better-for-your-gut/

Chicken Pomodoro in Creamy Light Vodka Sauce

To save money when I see something on sale I buy and freeze it for later, especially meat and some seafoods. All you have to do is take it out the night before when your planning your next meal and leave it in the fridge to thaw.

This chicken dish below is so good and simple ! It’s an easy way to use up those chicken tenders or cutlets in your freezer. These rest of the ingredients are pantry or fridge staples. The sauce is amazing on it’s own to so I make extra sauce and the freeze it for a future pasta dish.

Vodka sauce is definitely an indulgence, but with this healthier version, you don’t have the guil and it is still just as satisfying!

Ingredients.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts thinned out.
flour
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄4 cup vodka
1⁄2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/4 cup 2 % milk
4 tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
1⁄3 chopped basil
2 tablespoons garlic powder.
* Half and Half or light cream can be added at the end if needed*

How to make it

Place chicken breasts or tenders between 2 pieces of thick plastic wrap and pound until meat until thin.
Heat olive oil in skillet.
Season chicken with salt & pepper, then dust with flour.
Saute chicken in oil till golden then remove to a platter.
Pour off fat from pan.
Add broth, vodka, stir, and cook stirring until vodka is nearly gone to deglaze the pan and get all the good bits off.
Add sliced cherry tomatoes, garlic powder, and fresh chopped basil
Return chicken to pan, cook each side 1 minute then add mixture of shaved parmesan cheese and 2 % milk mixed together
Heat through and serve!

Chef tip! Freezing 101 , Ina Garten important points: 1) Label + date everything. And 2) Defrost food overnight in the fridge, not on the counter.

Boneless pork shoulder with fennel and onions

When I go to the butcher in my grocery store I see a good slab of meat is on sale I buy and cut it into portions and keep it in my freezer so have when I need it . Makes sense when your on budget especially.

The kitchen smells great today! I love good slow cooker recipe. I stayed a bit relaxing and reading. Then went out did some errands and also along the crock pot did all the work, Just LOVE that. and you have

You can also do this with other cuts like pork tenderloin to. Recipe below if you want it try it.

Mix into a paste , olive oil, fresh garlic parsley, fennel seed, salt, pepper and favorite pork or meat rub seasoning , Poke the meat to make slits and rub the mixture inside and out, let sit in fridge for 1 hour before cooking.
Sear the meat first in a skillet, add it to bottom of crock pot with raw sliced onions and fennel on top . Add a 1/4 cup water or stock if you want. Cook slow for 4 hours.

This was a large piece of meat. The cook time is around 2 hours per pound of meat. This was done in bulk to be used lunches and dinner.. Cost effective and saves time in the future.

Chef tip ! by cooking it first in a skillet after you marinate it seals in all the juices and gives a nice crust so it doesn’t fall apart while cooking in the crockpot .

Tomato, black bean, corn and feta salad with Sardines in Olive Oil

I love the versatility of this salad recipe. It’s very adaptable which I love . I’ve seen many variations of it all over the internet. For my spin , all I added was apple cider vinegar and used the oil in the sardines as the dressing. This flavorful salad can be assembled ahead of time and all you need is something to serve it with . Without the oil from the sardines just use regular good quality olive oil.

Ingredients

Diced campari or any mini tomatoes
Drained black bean can
Canned or frozen corn,
Crumbled feta cheese,
salt and pepper
dried parsley flakes
garlic powder
sweet paprika
Apple cider vinegar to taste.

Mix ingredients well together well in bowl.
Add on the side the sardines from Seasons in olive oil. Drain out some of the excess oil . What a great lunch !

One more thing I have to say is that I highly recommended this brand of sardines . Here is some more information about them below. I found mine in my local costco.

Season Skinless & Boneless Sardines are harvested from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco. The sardines are packed fresh in pure olive oil. Don’t forget skinless and boneless sardines are healthy for you – a natural source of omega 3’s and protein. Enjoy Season Sardines as a snack, in a salad, or as part of your favorite recipe!

Visit then at http://www.seasonproducts.com for delicious recipes and more info! 

Turmeric Rotini Pasta with Broccoli in Garlic Oil

When I am craving hearty comfort food, that satisfies I make this this delicious pasta dish. I’ve added in cooked and cut up grilled chicken sometimes at the end for some extra protein.  As a vegetarian dish it also tastes great on it’s own. Love making this for a meatless monday.

I used Turmeric Rotini. Turmeric Rotini is crafted with the traditional golden-hued Indian root, putting a delicious, savory spin regular pasta. Feel free to use whatever dry pasta you have in your pantry.  I used frozen broccoli which I always keep in my freezer to make this meal even quicker.

Ingredients
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1⁄2 lb frozen broccoli florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Few tablespoons water or pasta cooking water, if needed
2 cups Rotini or any dry pasta , cooked al dente
2 tablespoons butterParmesan cheese, for garnish  

Steps and how to make it 

Cook pasta according to directions in salted water.
Steam frozen broccoli florets and set aside in a bowl.
In a large saute pan at the same time , heat the olive oil, garlic over medium heat until fragrant. Once the garlic has turned golden in color, remove it from the pan. You are left with garlic-infused oil in the pan. Add the cooked broccoli to the pan to coat with the oil. Season with salt and pepper and add butter if you want  and saute over medium heat. Add in the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the oil to.
When everything is thoroughly mixed, remove pan from heat and divide into servings. Add extra black pepper on top and add in grated Parmesan cheese top for garnish.

Chef tip : I’ve added in chicken to it and have replaced the broccoli with mushrooms I sauteed in oil. Be creative!

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.