Easy Israeli pearled couscous, oyster mushrooms, herbs and grated parmesan

Sometimes you just want a dish this quick and hearty but not so rich. I happened to be that I had bought some Israeli couscous recently to try at home. I wanted to the try the difference between regular couscous and this one… Both are similar in that it’s a small, whole grain-like food made from semolina or wheat flour , but because of its size, Israeli couscous has a slightly chewy texture, similar to barley,

This dish below has garlic, Israeli pearled couscous, oyster mushrooms, herbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Super delicious and easy!

I made this dish with what I had in my fridge . You can replace the Israeli couscous with another grain if you want or have on hand at home, small grain Israeli couscous is toasted to give it a nutty flavor, which also makes it a sturdier pasta, so it withstands liquids and longer cooking times better., barley, millet, rice, or a even small pasta like orzo. I like dishes like this that are flexible and easy to make by changing ingredients.

Ingredients

1 cup Pearl or Israeli Couscous

1 ½ cups Water

2 cups raw chopped oyster mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons dried Italian herb seasoning

Olive Oil

How to make it.

Bring water to a rapid boil. Add couscous , then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain off any remaining water . Set aside.

In the meantime saute the sliced oyster mushrooms , raw garlic and chopped parsley and lots of dried Italian herbs with good oil. Grate in parmesan cheese for more richness.

Combine with mushroom and cheese and oil mixture with the cooked couscous at the end.

It reminds me of a lighter risotto that takes less time. Super fast and super good 

chef tip! If the dish gets dry add in water or stock at the end.

chef tip! Israeli couscous is naturally toasted to give it a nutty flavor, which also makes it a sturdier like pasta, so it withstands liquids and longer cooking times better.

#TryMeTuesday

Raw broccoli salad with seeds and nuts ? Oh Yes!

Raw broccoli gets a bad rap for taste for some people.. I have found out that just steaming the florets in the microwave first removes the bitterness. This way you are keeping all of nutrients in buy not over cooking it . win win!

A new favorite of mine is a raw broccoli side salad for lunch! what I do in a bowl

For one head of broccoli, chop in large pieces , rinse and steam broccoli in the microwave for 2 minutes in a bit of water.

For the dressings add to a large bow, 2 tablespoons of avocado Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and water together.

Mix the broccoli into the dressing and then add whatever nuts and dried fruit I have at home. This time I added unsalted raw pumpkin seeds which gave it a nice crunch. Sometimes I even add bacon bits. It’s so delicious and so easy to add and make it your own. Try it out and change the way to you think about this great nutritious greens

chef tip! you can make it in batches for parties, the longer it sits the better taste try it out.

#TryMeTuseday

Turkey Bean Chili Soup!

A chili and soup all in one! a great Skinnytaste one and done recipe is here for this #TastyThursday

This lighter version of the classic meat chili that’s much better for you. Just add ground turkey, onion , black bean, diced tomatoes and corn and water . then Spice it up however you like ! Plus it tastes even better as leftovers . I’ve also used lean ground beef and top it sometimes with shredded cheese and sour cream! Perfect on a cooler day.

Recipe inspired from : https://www.skinnytaste.com/turkey-chili-taco-soup/

chef tip! for a veggie version you can add some veggies to the mix such as bell peppers or zucchini instead of the meat,

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

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!