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!

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.

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