Friday’s Flavors: Caesar Salad Dressing

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!!!

Today I’m sharing with you the number one thing I get asked to make by people who don’t live in my house – once someone tries it, they invariably want it again. And again. And again.

And what is this addictive flavor that people can’t get enough of, you may ask? Surely it involves chocolate, right? Wrong. The number one dish I get asked to contribute to covered dish dinners is my Caesar Salad dressing!

And it isn’t even my recipe, but a variation on one my mom made all the time when I was little! But, it’s easy and delicious, and every time I taste it I fall in love with it all over again!

Note: This dressing is big on flavor!!!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

fresh pepper (about 20 twists or 1 tsp)

1-3 cloves garlic

3 dashes Tabasco

1-2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1-2 tbsp. red wine or balsamic vinegar (red wine for a milder flavor, balsamic for more bite)

lemon juice to taste (1/4 to 1/2 lemon)

2 hardboiled egg yolks

romaine lettuce

fresh parmesan cheese

croutons

(makes about 3/4 cup dressing)

Preparation:
Add the ingredients as listed above. I usually make this in a measuring cup to facilitate easy pouring afterwards. (I also don’t measure anything when I make this, but have had to crack my own recipe because so many people have asked for it.)

Hard boil 2 eggs.

Add pepper to olive oil. Add crushed garlic. Add tabasco, mustard, Worcestershire, vinegar and lemon juice. (I use balsamic vinegar because it makes for a tangier dressing. My mom always used red wine vinegar, which I believe is the traditional choice. There’s still plenty of flavor with the red wine vinegar.)

Stir with a fork. Add the hard boiled egg yolks. Crush the egg against the side of the glass with the fork. Mix. Keep crushing and mixing until the fork tines stop catching egg chunks.

This makes a nice, thick dressing. My mom used to squeeze a dollop of anchovy paste into the mix, but I stopped doing this years ago and the taste doesn’t seem to suffer – if there’s one thing this dressing has plenty of, it’s flavor!

When I was younger, I used it on everything – steak, chicken, other vegetables (who am I kidding, I still do!).

Mix dressing with romaine lettuce, fresh parmesan, and croutons, or allow each individual to pour dressing on their own salad. You can even chop the leftover egg whites and add them to the salad because this dressing seriously tastes good on everything!

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

Check back next Friday for more Foodie Flavors!

Friday’s Flavors: Easy, Tasty Fish (Paleo, Keto, Anti-Candida Friendly)

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I eat a lot of seafood, but I can’t stand fishy flavors. Seriously. To me there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re eating fishing bait that’s been sitting out in the sun. But the catch is, if you stick with only milder flavored fish, you lose out on some of the health benefits found in those stronger tasting swimmers.

Red Snapper and Air Fried Spinach

And sure, you can make a fancy sauce to mask the flavor, or use copious amounts of condiments, which is great when it works (until you read the nutritional label on that bottle of YumYum sauce). But what if you have dietary restrictions, either self-imposed or medically necessary?

Then you’re stuck either suffering through the flavor or missing out on one of the foods you should be including in your diet. Or, you can give my quick, easy go-to that works well on every fish I’ve used it on a try. Bonus? It’s paleo, keto, anti-candida and I believe even celiac friendly.

Ingredients:

Fish of choice

Almond Flour

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Garlic Salt

Old Bay

Pepper

Olive Oil

Preparation:

Mix spices with almond flour. Proportion to your own taste: I usually go heavy on the Garlic and Onion Powders, light on the Salt and Pepper, and medium on the Old Bay. Amount will vary based on how many fillets or the size of the fillet you are preparing. I usually allow at least 1/4 cup of Almond Flour for every small fillet. And when I say I go heavy on a spice, it means pretty heavy, at least a tablespoon or more.

Rinse and dry fish. Dredge in your flour mixture.

Pour a small amount of Olive Oil in a non-stick pan and heat on medium high heat for thinner fillets, medium for thicker. When oil is hot, add fish. If the fillet has scales, begin with the scaled side down. If you’re cooking a thicker fillet, turn heat down to about a 4 after adding the fish.

You will need to add more oil as you cook – the secret to developing a nice crust is to use the minimal amount of oil. When the pan gets dry, add a dash more oil as needed.

Sea Bass and Oven Roasted Fennel

When the fish becomes cooked about 60% through (track the change in color as the cooked portion rises from the bottom to the top), flip. Cook until done. For a small fillet, this is usually 4 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second. For a thicker fillet, 12 and 8, and sometimes a minute or two on the sides and ends. Check to ensure doneness. Serve with a wedge of lemon if desired.

And that’s it! Much simpler than masking the flavor with a fancy sauce, much leaner than most condiments.

If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next week for more Friday’s Flavors!

Friday’s Flavors: Garlic Lover’s Bacon Carbonara Pasta

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

caIt’s probably clear by now that I LOVE pasta. Seriously. But my husband – not so much. So, pasta night is a two different dinners night . . . usually. While he occasionally requests my scallops and pasta in blue cheese cream sauce (yum!), and my pizza stuffed shells (who wouldn’t?), there’s only one other pasta recipe (so far) that gets him excited about pasta night, and this is it: Garlic Lover’s Bacon Carbonara Pasta.

We’re talking a pound of savory bacon, fresh parmesan cheese, and garlic – three of my favorite things! This recipe makes 4-8 servings depending on how hungry you are and your degree of self control, and the leftovers are worth fighting over for lunch!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound thick cut bacon

1 large shallot

8 large garlic cloves chopped

3 garlic cloves crushed

2 large eggs

1/4 cup dry white wine

fresh grated parmesan to taste

salt and pepper to taste

green onions for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

ca8Bring pasta water to a boil. For the average pasta cooking time of 9-11 minutes, it’s usually time to add to the water after the bacon’s been cooking for several minutes.

Cut bacon into 1 inch slices, and cook in a large pan. When ca7the bacon is almost done, remove most but not all of the fat (I soak it up with paper towels – be careful, it’s hot!). Add shallots and chopped garlic, stirring until shallots are almost done. Add crushed garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute. If you wanted to kick it up with some crushed red pepper, now would be the time to add it.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the pan clean. (This makes clean up SO ca2much easier and adds more flavor!)

Add 1 ladleful (about 1/4 cup) of the boiling pasta water to the beaten eggs. This tempers them so they don’t scramble when you add them to the pasta.

Add well drained pasta to the pan and pour the eggs on top. Stir quickly and well, mixing all the ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste, and add a generous handful or two of fresh parmesan. (I add less at this step, then top with ca1additional cheese once plated because it makes the pasta easier to dish out as leftovers.) Top with green onions to garnish if desired.

And that’s it! Good luck not going back for seconds (or thirds)!

If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next Friday for another recipe!

 

 

Friday’s Flavors: Conch Fritters With Key Lime Dipping Sauce

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

c5I really like a good conch fritter, but I feel like when you order them at a restaurant, they’re hit or miss. Sometimes they’re just a hard little ball of deep fried dough, other times the conch is hard and chewy, but when they’re done right, they’re tender and flavorful and oh so good – and they’re probably not nearly as hard to make at home as you think!

(The hardest part is getting conch, and while most recipes will tell you to use fresh, I’ve never had a problem using frozen.)

Ingredients:

3/4 to 1 pound conch meat (fresh or defrosted)

1/2 bell pepper

1 large shallot

1-2 ribs celery

6 cloves garlic

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup eggs, beaten (2 large eggs will usually do)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon Old Bay

a pinch of baking powder (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)

garlic salt to taste

peanut oil for frying (or oil of choice)

Key Lime Dipping Sauce:

1/2 lime

mayonnaise

(optional) crème of coconut

Preparation:

c6Finely chop the bell pepper, shallot and celery. Peel garlic and get the rest of your ingredients ready to go.

Beat the conch on both sides with the business end of a meat mallet. Dice into 1/4 inch pieces, then chop in a food processor for a few seconds.

cMix flour, milk, beaten eggs and melted butter together. Add baking powder, Old Bay and garlic salt, stirring until well mixed.

Add bell pepper, shallots, celery, crushed garlic and conch. Mix well with a fork, making sure to break up any clumps of conch.

Heat oil over medium high heat to about 350 degrees. If you don’t have a way to measure the temperature, slowly c3increase heat until the oil sizzles but not spits when you add a drop of water.

I like the fritters to take their own shape, kind of like alien sea creatures, so I use a fork to push a small spoonful off the spoon into the oil. Work in small batches, making sure to not overcrowd the fritters. When they turn a nice golden brown, remove with a metal slotted spoon and set on a baking sheet lined with a couple layers of paper towels to dry.

c4To make the dipping sauce, juice half a lime and add mayonnaise a little at a time until it reaches a nice consistency (it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise at all when you’re done). Bonus points for adding a touch of cream of coconut (you can find it in a squeeze bottle and it makes the BEST at home Pina Coladas!)

Serve with lime wedges. Cilantro makes the best garnish if you want to get fancy.

If you try it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next Friday for more Foodie Flavors!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Mediterranean Langoustine Seafood Pasta

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

m11By now you probably know that I could live on Mexican food. Or Italian. Or cheese. But my absolute favorite meal is seafood pasta.

Lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams – I don’t discriminate. Likewise, bring me your cream sauces and your scampis, your carbonaras and your marinaras, your wine sauces and your pestos, because I’ll eat them all. Happily.

But as much as I love a gooey, cheesy, thick alfredo, sometimes you want something lighter (and healthier). When that happens, this Mediterranean style pasta recipe goes well with most seafood and is a tasty, easy option.

Ingredients:

8 oz langoustines (or shrimp, scallops, etc.)

1 large shallot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, pressed

sundried tomatoes

Kalamata olives

capers

fresh basil

2 handfuls fresh spinach

pine nuts (optional)

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio)

salt and pepper or Nature’s Seasoning to taste

Parmesan cheese (optional)

cooked pasta of choice

Makes 2 servings

Preparation:

m2mI’ve only ever seen precooked langoustine, so if that’s what you’re using, defrost, rinse, and wring dry to remove excess moisture. Set aside.

Chop the shallot, sundried tomatoes, olives IMG_202007201_174338and basil, peel garlic, and gather the rest of your ingredients.

m3While your pasta is cooking, add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large sauté pan on medium high heat. When butter is melted, add shallots, cooking until translucent, then add garlic. Stir, add spinach, then stir again. When spinach is wilted, add sundried tomatoes, olives, capers, pine nuts, and 1/4 cup white wine. Mix and season, allowing to reduce slightly while m4m5straining your cooked pasta.

Add langoustines to pan and stir, allowing to cook until just heated. (If you’re using a different type of seafood, add earlier and adjust cooking time accordingly.) Add pasta, mix, top with fresh basil (and maybe a little freshly grated parmesan cheese) and serve.

                         m7 m8 m10

If you make it, I’d love to know how you liked it!

For more recipes, check the archives or come back next Friday!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Chicken Enchiladas

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

e16In all honesty, this is a recipe that takes a bit of time and effort. Are there short cuts? Definitely. You don’t have to make the sauce from scratch. You can buy pre-shredded cheese. You could even buy those bags of prepared chicken. Will it be as good? Probably not, but we’re all busy, so if you want to hack it, hack it! (It’ll still be cheesy, yummy, Mexican food goodness!)

Usually, when I make this I make it in bulk (this recipe is for 16 enchiladas, which can easily be stretched with additions). I freeze these in batches of 4, which in my house is a dinner and a lunch, plus, these enchiladas are amazingly tasty, so it’s totally worth it.

Ingredients for the Enchiladas:

2 pounds chicken breast

1 red onion

1 sweet onion

lime juice or natural margarita mix

chili powder

garlic powder

onion powder

cumin

extra sharp cheddar cheese

quesadilla cheese

Mexican cheese mix

16+ tortilla wraps

Ingredients for the Sauce:

(Here’s the thing about the sauce – everyone’s taste is different. While I like a robustly flavored sauce, you might prefer yours blander. Or spicy. Or you might want to buy a prepared sauce, or hack it by using a packet of taco seasoning instead of individual spices. If you make the sauce from scratch, start light and taste as you go to get the flavor that’s right for you.)

1 large sweet onion

1 large can tomato sauce (~ 29 oz)

1 can tomato paste (~ 6 oz)

1-2 tablespoons chili powder

1-3 teaspoons garlic powder

1-3 teaspoons cumin

1-3 teaspoons onion powder

1-3 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 – 1 1/2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

olive oil

1-2 oz beer

Preparation:

e11e9Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a couple of baking sheets with oil so the chicken doesn’t stick. Beat the chicken thin with a meat mallet. Place on baking sheet, cover first side in either lime juice or all natural lime based margarita mix, then sprinkle with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin. Flip and season the other side. Bake at 350 for 15- 20 minutes.

e8e7While the chicken is baking, prepare the sauce.

Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir. Add chili powder (this is the spice I add the most of), garlic powder, cumin, onion powder and dried oregano. Mix well and bring so a simmer. Taste as you go.

e6e5Add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Add beer (just an ounce or two) and allow sauce to cook to thicken. After beer is absorbed, taste the sauce to make any final adjustments to the flavor, then set aside.

Remove chicken from oven when done. Chop the red and sweet onion and grate the cheese while chicken cools a bit. When ready, pull the chicken apart. It should be e4e12tender enough to do this without using a knife (but make it easier on yourself and use one).

(Note: You can add rice, black beans, vegetables, etc. to your enchilada filling if you want to – the possibilities are endless!)

If you’re using a glass pan, spray with oil for easy cleanup. As I said above, I freeze e13several portions of this, so this time I also bought a couple of cheap foil pans so I wouldn’t lose all my good glass Tupperware to the freezer.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan(s). Lay out your tortillas. I make two stacks and assemble two enchiladas at a time. Put chicken, red onion, cheddar and quesadilla cheese (plus anything else you want to add) on each wrap and roll. Place in pan. Continue until all your wraps are used.

e2Put sauce on top of rolled enchiladas, paying special attention to edges. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese mix, then top with sweet onion.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is starting to bubble. To make from freezer – place in refrigerator the night before to defrost. Cover with tinfoil and cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove tinfoil and e14cook another 10-20 minutes.

e1I like to spend the cooking time making my favorite homemade guacamole (find the recipe here). Garnish with fresh cilantro, green onions, and red onions. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole and chips.

Enjoy!

If you make it, please tell me how you liked it!

Check back next Friday for another recipe!

 

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Greek Salad

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

gsI don’t know about you, but I love a good salad, especially a Greek salad. That said, with the number of lettuce recalls over the last few years, I’ve started making most of my salads without lettuce. And while I’ve learned to be rather creative, peeling zucchinis into ‘lettuce’ strips and shaving fennel, Greek salad seems to lend itself naturally to a lettuce free version. Besides that, this recipes is incredibly quick and easy!

This recipe serves makes 2 servings.

 

Ingredients (for the salad):

1 ripe tomato

1 cucumber

1 small red onion

sliced Kalamata olives

capers

feta cheese

optional: caper berries

Ingredients (for the dressing):

1/8 cup (1/2)  lemon

1/8 cup olive oil

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1-2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-2 teaspoons sugar

1-2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper (or Nature’s Seasoning) to taste

Preparation:

gs1For the salad, chop the tomato, cucumber, and onion. Mix in a bowl with sliced Kalamata olives and drained capers. Top with feta cheese and the optional caper berries.

For the dressing, everything is to taste. Some like a sharper flavor, some a milder, so you do you!

Juice half a large lemon in a measuring cup (you should get about 1/8 cup lemon juice). I juice the lemon first because it makes removing the lemon seeds easy.

Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, pressed garlic and salt and pepper or Nature’s Seasoning to taste. Stir ingredients together with a fork.

The sugar helps curb the acidic nature of the lemon and vinegar, balancing the flavor nicely, but a little goes a long way. It’s easier to add more than take it out, so start sparingly, stirring and tasting as you go until you get the balance you want.

Dress the salad, and viola, it’s as easy as that. A delicious salad and home made dressing in less than 10 minutes!

As always, if you try it, please let me know how you liked it!

 

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavor ~ Cornbread Crab Cakes (Yeast Free)

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

cc6I LOVE crab cakes, but they’re one of those things that are hit or miss. Either they’re great, or not so much, and with the price of crab, no one wants to risk making a recipe that could turn out on the not so much end of the spectrum. But this recipe is seriously good, so do it – take the risk! You won’t regret it!

Now first, I can’t take full credit for this recipe. I had just bought a container of lump crab meat (and FYI, the most important thing is a quality crab meat) and I had cornbread on hand (because I can eat it since it doesn’t have yeast, but I’m not a huge fan of it. Once I kill my initial bread craving with it, I don’t want anymore) so I Googled cornbread crab cakes to see if it was a thing.

What I found was Lawrence Page’s recipe over at Tasty, which I used as my inspiration. I’ve made the following recipe twice now, and even though it takes about an hour (45 minutes prep, 15-20 cooking),  I can’t wait to eat make it again!

Ingredients:

cornbread: 2 cups, crumbled (If you use the Jiffy mix, 2 cups is about 2/3 of the finished product)

orange or yellow bell pepper: 1/2 cup chopped small

green onion: 1/2 cup  (slice lengthwise and chop)

celery: 1 rib, minced

mayonnaise: 1/3 cup

sour cream: 1 and 1/2 tablespoon

cilantro: 2 heaping tablespoons

garlic: 4 cloves, crushed in a garlic press

eggs: 2 large, beaten

Old Bay seasoning: 1 and 1/2 tablespoons

garlic salt: to taste

olive oil: 2 teaspoons

fresh lump crabmeat: 1 pound

vegetable oil for frying (I use Canola Oil)

Preparation:

cc2Chop bell pepper, green onion, celery and cilantro and add to a large bowl.

Add 2 cups crumbled cornbread, and mix.

Next, add mayonnaise, sour cream, and beaten eggs.

Break up the crab meat and add.

cc1Top with crushed garlic, Old Bay, garlic salt and olive oil.

Combine ingredients together evenly, mixing with a fork or your hands.

Form into patties about 2.5 inches in diameter and place on wax paper.

Heat vegeatable oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When oil is ready (it sizzles when a drop of water is added), it’s time to begin!

ccUsing a metal spatula, transfer crab cake patties from the wax paper into the oil, working with about 4 at a time. Cook until golden bown, then flip. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes a side, but you might notice that with each batch, the cooking time gets a little shorter. I also turn the heat down a notch with each batch to keep the frying consistent.

When done, use spatual to transfer to a papertowel lined plate.

Makes 16 crab cakes at the above size.

If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

cc7

 

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavor ~ Mini Calzones (Yeast Free)

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

ff24Today I’m sharing another of my recipes I created to satisfy my pizza/calzone cravings. Pillsbury is kind enough to make its Crescent Rolls with baking soda instead of yeast AND – did you know that you can buy it by the sheet, without the perforations? This discovery was a game changer for me, because 1) sometimes you (or at least I) NEED a little bread and 2) there are SO many things you can do with a sheet of delicious crescent dough!

And here’s one of them!

This recipe makes 6 mini calzones

Ingredients:

1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Sheet Dough

Pepperoni

Shredded Mozzarella

Ricotta

(any additional cheese you want to add)

optional – marinara sauce

Preparation:

ff10
step 1

Per dough directions, preheat oven to 375 (or 350 depending on the bakeware you’re using).

ff11
step 2

 

 

Unroll the dough onto a baking sheet. Repair any tears or holes in the dough the best you can, then cut the dough into 6 sections.

You’ll be folding the dough in half, so place ingredients on the triangular section on one side of the fold.

ff14
step 3

 

 

Place a pinch of mozzarella on one side of each section.

ff15
step 4

Add pepperoni (I use three slices in a triangle pattern for each portion).

Drop a spoonful of ricotta on top of the pepperoni and spread it out a bit.

ff13
step 5

Add more mozzarella (and any other cheese you like, like grated parmesan).

ff12
step 6

 

Fold the dough over and press edges together, tucking ingredients inside. It doesn’t matter if there are gaps in the closed seam.

Place in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes. Enjoy!

ff9If you make this, please let me know how you liked it!

For Foodies: Friday’s Flavor ~ Guacomole

ff22Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of going to a Mexican restaurant (besides the margaritas) is when they make tableside guacamole. I LOVE avocados and guacamole is another one of those things (seems like there’s a lot of them) that I feel like I could eat my own bodyweight of everyday!

The only thing is, there are so many variations on guacamole that you can never be sure what you’re going to get. After years of experimenting, here is my favorite way to make guacamole at home.

Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados

1 red onion

1 tomato

1 lime

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch green onion

cilantro

garlic salt

Preparation:

ff18Chop your onion, tomato and cilantro. Some people like chunky, some people don’t. I cut mine fairly small. Peel garlic and slice lime.

Scoop your avocado into a molcajete or bowl. A ripe avocado should easily separate from the rind with a spoon.

ff19Mash the avocado.

Add the juice from half the lime, some garlic salt (just a bit at first), pressed garlic, a handful of onions and tomatoes, and cilantro. Mix together, mashing a little. Only you know how much of each ingredient you’ll want. (I go much heavier on the onions than the tomatoes.) Taste.

ff20Adjust flavor by adding more garlic salt and lime. When you get the flavor how you like it, add green onions and stir. That’s it!

If you try it, please let me know how you liked it!

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