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

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.

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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 .

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!

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