Friday’s Flavors: Air Fryer Potato Wedges

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Two words. Potato Wedges. For some reason they remind me of childhood. Chasing lightening bugs, sticky popsicle dripping down my chin, running through the sprinkler . . . or maybe that’s summer. But aren’t childhood and summertime kind of the same thing? Do summers ever last as long or mean as much as when we’re children . . . I digress. My point is, I’m no longer young enough to eat fried food and no longer adventurous enough to eat anything from a good ole southern gas station display case. So when I get a (in keeping with the southern theme) hankering for some potato wedges, I’ve got to make them myself. Thankfully, with the help of my trusty air fryer, I can easily make the crispy outside, tender inside yummy goodness that I crave!

Ingredients:

2 thin baking potatoes

olive oil

paprika

garlic powder

garlic salt

ice water

Preparation:

Wash and slice your potatoes. I choose thin potatoes and cut each one into 8 wedges by slicing the potato in half, and each half into quarters.

Place the potato wedges in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes (removing the starch helps the wedges from becoming crumbly and helps the outside crisp).

Remove from ice water, set on paper towel, dry well. Allow to sit 5 minutes.

Rinse and dry bowl.

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Preheating keeps your wedges from sticking. If your fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, simply run it empty at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes.

Return dried wedges to the bowl and, using the least amount of oil possible, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add spice, toss to coat, and repeat.

Place wedges in the air fryer, and cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Flip, sprinkle with more seasoning if desired, then cook for an additional 8 minutes. That’s it! Flavorful, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and you can take a bite without the remainder crumbling into little potato bombs that burn your chin – these are the things dreams are made of (maybe not yours, but mine!).

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

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Baked Tomato And Eggplant Caprese

Hi, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Sometimes, inspiration just strikes like a bolt of lightening. Other times, it happens because you have food on hand that you don’t want to waste. This recipe was born from one of those times.

I brought home a beautiful graffiti eggplant because, even though I already had a vegetable I was supposed to cook with dinner, I’m weak when it comes to pretty veggies! I also had a tomato threatening to die in the vegetable drawer and a lovely block of smoked mozzarella that came with a cheese basket we were gifted for Christmas. Put them all together and a new favorite recipe is born!

Great as an appetizer, vegetable, or salad course!

Ingredients:

1 eggplant

1 tomato

mozzarella chesse

about 1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves crushed garlic

fresh basil

seasoning

optional: balsamic drizzle

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and slice eggplant and tomato.

Mix crushed garlic with about a half cup of olive oil (you can always add more) and seasoning. I used Nature’s Seasoning because it’s a flavorful combination and saves time, but the staples are salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Dip eggplant and tomato slices into olive oil mixture coating well (use that garlic!), and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove baking sheet and place a thin slice of mozzarella on eggplant slices. Put tomato slices on top of cheese and eggplant, then top with another thin slice of cheese.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Serve.

It’s great as it is, but drizzling a little balsamic glaze takes this recipe to an entirely new level!

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

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Mediterranean Style Baked Feta Pasta

Hi, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I recently read a blurb about a recipe that was trending on TikTok, and while I’m not on that platform, the idea of the recipe – baked feta pasta – sounded so good I decided to give it a try. I’m not sure what the original recipe entails, but I bought myself a block of feta and set to work. It was so easy and turned out so delicious that I had to share!

The flavors melded so well that I could easily see turning this into a cheese spread and eating it on a cracker!

The only thing I’d do differently is that instead of a long pasta, I’d use a pasta with a shape, like shells, bowtie or ziti to catch even more cheesy goodness.

Ingredients:

1 block of feta cheese

1 tomato (sundried would work, too)

1 shallot

3 cloves of garlic sliced thin

halved Kalamata olives

capers

pine nuts

seasoning

olive oil

sherry or cooking wine

pasta of choice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish. Place your block of feta in the center.

Add chopped or sundried tomato, shallots, garlic, olives, capers and pine nuts to the dish, surrounding the cheese.

Drizzle with olive oil. Add a splash of sherry or cooking wine. Sprinkle with seasoning. I used coarse sea salt mixed with herbs de provence and some fresh pepper.

Bake 30-40 minutes until cheese is soft.

Toss with your pasta.

That’s it! Big flavor with little effort! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Have you jumped on the baked feta craze? How’d you prepare yours?

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Greek Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I love Greek food! The spices, the garlic, the flavors . . . there’s nothing I don’t like about it! And since the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest, there’s no guilt about it – just pleasure!

This recipe is super easy and big on flavor! I simply marinate the chicken overnight, and in return I’m rewarded with the most tender, tasty kabobs a girl could want!

Score major flavor points by serving this with large quantities of garlic sauce! For that, I don’t have my own recipe, I use the one found here.

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 red onion

1/4 lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. clove

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. garlic salt

Preparation:

Cut chicken into 1-2″ cubes. Mix all ingredients together. Add chicken, coating well, and place in refrigerator overnight. A large, gallon sized plastic bag works great.

The next day, remove from the refrigerator and place on skewers alternating with pieces of red onion. (I skewer them over the sink to help contain the mess!)

Grill until cooked thoroughly. That’s it!

I eat mine with copious amounts of garlic sauce because Garlic sauce is one of my favorite things, but these kabobs pack plenty of their own flavor. Goes great with zucchini sautéed with similar spices and couscous.

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

Check back next week for another Friday Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Indian Style Spinach Curry

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I’m always looking for ways to add healthy ingredients and delicious flavors into my diet, and I love trying new things! I also love Indian food, but I’m a spice wimp, so I often have to make it myself.

This curry spinach recipe is super healthy and is made with ingredients that pack a nutritional punch, from the fresh ginger to the cilantro to everything in between.

To make it VEGAN, simply replace the butter with more olive oil and substitute vegetable broth in lieu of the bone broth.

Tip 1: You don’t have to use fresh grated turmeric, it doesn’t add to the flavor, but it has some awesome health benefits. If you do use it, though, wear gloves to keep your hands from being stained, and don’t let it touch any surface you don’t want turned yellow!

Tip 2: When peeling roots such as ginger or turmeric, you can use the back of a spoon – no knife or peeler needed – the outside will easily flake off like a husk or tree bark.

Tip 3: SPICE: The amount of garam marsala you use will determine how spicy this dish is. I use 1 tsp, which creates a dish as spicy as I can handle, but again, when it comes to spicy, I’m a wimp!

Tip 4: This recipe works best with tomato paste, but if you don’t want to open a can just for this, tomato/spaghetti/marinara sauce can work in a pinch, just adjust the amount of broth you use based on the consistency of your tomato product so the dish doesn’t become runny.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients:

8+ ounces spinach

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup bone broth OR vegetable broth for vegetarian and vegan (See Tip 3 above)

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp tomato paste or sauce (See Tip 4 above)

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (See Tip 2 above)

2 tsp fresh grated turmeric (optional) (See Tip 1 & 2 above)

1 tbsp butter (replace with equal amount olive oil for vegan)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp yellow curry

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

garam marsala: to taste (See Tip 3 above)

Preparation:

Melt 1 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add onions and cook until almost translucent. Add crushed garlic, mix until fragrant, then add fresh ginger and turmeric. Mix well.

*REMEMBER If you choose to use fresh turmeric, wear gloves to avoid staining your hands and don’t let it touch other stainable surfaces!

Turn heat down to medium. Add tomato paste or sauce. Add spices and bone broth, mixing well.

Add cilantro and spinach, stirring and mixing well until spinach is cooked.

And that’s it! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Easy Chicken Pasta From Leftovers

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I don’t think it’s any secret that I LOVE pasta, but I’m not a huge fan of red sauce, and I don’t eat chicken in my pasta. Never. Not Ever. Until now.

Let me explain.

I hate wasting food. Quite often I’ll clear the refrigerator out on the weekends and make what I call a ‘garbage pail’ lunch. (Recipes that call for ‘a tablespoon of tomato paste’ drive me crazy, because tomato paste doesn’t come by the tablespoon. Which means I have to save the rest and find something to do with it.) But every once in a while the odds and ends from the meals I cooked over the week align into a shining ray of recipe gold. (In this case, the leftovers were bowtie pasta, chicken from a whole bird I roasted in the air fryer, tomato paste, and some large capers that had to be used within a week of opening.)

This one was so good I’m looking forward to making it again! AND – I finally have a go to for my chicken leftovers!

Note: Garlic, shallots, cooking wine, and pine nuts (gotta love Amazon for the great prices on those) are staples in my kitchen. I grow my own basil so I always have plenty of that on hand. And I tend to cook an entire box of pasta at a time and freeze portions because I live in Florida and nothing makes the house quite as hot and humid as a big pot of boiling water.

Ingredients:

leftover chicken, chopped or shredded

tomato paste or sauce

1 shallot

3 cloves garlic

cream sherry or other red cooking wine

fresh basil

pine nuts

capers

olive oil

nature’s seasoning

pepper

pasta (I usually cook the whole box at once and freeze extra portions.)

optional: shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

In a medium to large frying pan sauté the shallots, capers, pine nuts and garlic together until shallots are opaque. Add a dollop (about 2 tablespoons) tomato paste or spaghetti sauce, whatever you have leftover on hand, into the pan, and a splash or two of red cooking wine (I use Cream Sherry) and stir until well mixed. Add your spices (I use Nature’s Seasoning because it’s a nice blend). Add your chicken and cook until hot. Add your pasta (if using leftover pasta, stir until the pasta is hot). Add fresh basil and stir. And that’s it!

Super easy and surprisingly delicious! I sprinkled a little shredded mozzarella on mine and couldn’t have been happier with this gourmet ‘garbage pail’ lunch!

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

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: 6 Of My Favorite Things For A Happy (And Healthy) Foodie New Year

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I feel like it’s safe to say that most of us are on the same page about being ready to welcome in a new year. Symbolically, it’s become a time of change, fresh starts and new beginnings, and while I personally don’t use it as a catalyst to make resolutions (they can and should be made at any time of the year), I thought I’d share some of my favorite health conscious foodie things.

1) These are absolutely awesome. One of the hardest things for me about having a food sensitivity is how much it can complicate mealtimes – especially lunch. I can’t just throw a quick sandwich together. But these Crepini egg thins – again, awesome. They also make them plain, without cauliflower, but I prefer the taste of these. And only 8 calories a thin? Take that, bread! I sprinkle a little shredded cheese on one, add some lunch meat, a little more cheese, and a second thin, thenpop it in the microwave for 12 seconds (because I like that number) and you have yourself a sandwich-like meal. Or, add some avocado and roll it up like a burrito. So many possibilities!

And did you see? No net carbs, keto friendly, paleo friendly, gluten free and dairy free? They really are awesome!

I find these by the ‘premium’ lunchmeats in the refrigerated section near the deli at Publix.

2) Most of us know that olive oil is good for us, but did you know that some is better for us than others? Things to look for in a high quality olive oil are:

  1. Is it First Cold-Pressed? Because that’s what you want.
  2. It’s Country of Origin. Olive oils with multiple countries of origin listed are making their oil with whatever olives they can get. Not ideal. So first, find an olive oil with one country of origin.
  3. The type of olive used. A quality olive oil should tell you what type of olive they’re making the oil from, and only one type should be listed.
  4. The highest quality olive oils source their olives from a specific farm or location, and will tell you this information on the label.
  5. Ideally, you also want your oil to be organic.

The good news is that you don’t have to pay ridiculous prices to check most of these boxes. Flora brand olive oil is first cold pressed, lists the country (Italy for organic, Greece for not, tells you the type of olive used, and the area it comes from. I buy the organic shown for less than $10. It has a strong, fruity taste and is great when I want to drizzle some oil on an avocado for a snack. The larger bottle, while not organic and with a someone milder flavor, is less than $12 and works great for sautéing, roasting, etc.

3) There are SO many good pasta alternatives these days! I’m only showing one brand, which also makes pasta (spaghetti and other styles) using black beans and edamame, but there are also pastas made from cauliflower, lentils, chickpeas, and many more healthy, tasty alternatives!

As an added bonus, these pastas are often high in plant based protein. They do tend to be around the same count calorie wise as traditional wheat and flour based pastas, but they metabolize much better!

Do some experimenting to find ones that suit your texture, shape, and flavor needs. The pasta shown tastes and feel just like traditional pasta. And if you have an Aldi’s in your area, you can’t beat the price!

4) Birch Benders makes THE BEST mix for Paleo friendly pancakes and waffles! They also have a Keto friendly variety. Just add some water for pancakes, some water and a dash of oil for waffles, and you have a guilty pleasure that’s not so guilty!

The recipe uses cassava starch, almonds and coconut instead of flour, and they’re also dairy free. I find the batter tends to thicken between batches, so I keep some extra water on hand and mix more to consistency than the proportions listed on the package, but the taste and texture is very close to the real thing.

I’ve seen this at multiple stores, but found the best price at Walmart. It’s in the baking aisle.

5) I’ve tried a lot of cheese crisps over the last few years, and all pale in comparison to these. I’m not going to lie – I’ve eaten an entire bag of these Whisps brand Parmesan Cheese Crisps in a sitting more than once. (My dog helps.)

They do make other flavors, but, unfortunately, the other flavors tend to throw more into the mix than just good old cheese. Some even add my arch nemesis, yeast, which I don’t understand, but whatever. I have these. These are enough.

I’ve found these at many stores with varying prices, but both Publix and Winn Dixie occasionally run them Buy One, Get One – stock up then for the best deal!

6) I feel like Bone Broth was one of the trendier health fads to hit in recent years, but it seemed to have quickly died off – perhaps because of the prices. I’ve seen this stuff sold for up to $15 for the 2 pound carton. If I had to pay those prices, I wouldn’t be buying it either.

But the health benefits! Bone broth is good for so many things, including gut health, which is so important because your health in general starts in your gut. So make it happy!

I use in place of chicken broth or stock. Sometimes I’ll cook my veggie pasta in it, like when I do my One Pan Pasta (recipe here). The noodles absorb the broth. If you’re able, add some milk and/or wine to make a thick, delicious sauce!

I buy mine at Aldi’s for about $3 a piece.

There are so many more favorites I want to share with you, but I’ll save those for another post! Hopefully this is enough to get you off to a healthy start, whether you’re making a New Year’s Resolution for better health, or simply maintaining – either way I wish you all the best! Happy New Year!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavors recipe!

Friday’s Flavors: Stuffed Green Lipped Mussels

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I love seafood, and New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels are no exception – the only thing is that they’re quite big, and they usually come frozen, so:

1) They need to have good flavor so you don’t wind up with an entire mouth full of ick (and let’s face it, fishy ick is the worst kind).

and

2) You can’t just cook them any old way you’d cook a fresh mussel.

Luckily, stuffing and baking is a flavorful option that checks both the above items off the list! This recipe works great as either an appetizer or an entrée.

(This night I was going for a healthy, light meal so I left the bacon out, but I’m first to admit that everything’s better with bacon!)

Takes: 10 minutes prep, 15-20 minutes cooking time

Ingredients:

2 lbs. (about 2 dozen) New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels (usually sold frozen and on the half shell)

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1 large shallot

3 – 5 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

(and if you wanted to add some bacon . . . bacon)

Preparation:

Place mussels in the refrigerator overnight to defrost. (Pro tip – make sure they’re in a bag in case they leak AND check to make sure they’re fully defrosted before you begin cooking.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove stems from spinach and chop. Cut shallots and peel garlic. In a small pan melt 2 tablespoons butter. (If you’re using bacon, you can substitute a little bacon fat for one of the tablespoons of butter). Add shallots. Sautee until translucent, add pressed garlic, stir until fragrant, and remove from heat.

Add chopped spinach and stir until cooked but not wilted. Add 1/4 cup of cheese (and bacon if your using it) and mix.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay your mussels out. (Give each one a press to remove any excess liquid.)

Place about 1/2 spoonful of your cooked mixture onto each mussel. You don’t want to overstuff them because when you go to eat them, the toppings will fall off instead of sticking to the mussel.

Using the rest of the cheese, add a pinch to the top of each mussel.

Place in oven and bake 15-20 minutes (depending on size) until the mussels are cooked thoroughly and the cheese on top is melted.

It’s that easy!

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

Check back next Friday for another foodie flavor!

Fridays Flavors: Easy Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

What comes to mind when you think about Brussel Sprouts?

A childhood fear of being forced to eat them?

That they’ve been hailed as a ‘superfood’?

Or that they’re trendy in a deep fried or fattened up with bacon kind of way? (Which, as much as I love bacon, kind of defeats the purpose of a vegetable.)

The truth is, Brussel Sprouts are incredibly good for you, but it seems like there’s a bit of confusion about what to do with them. And honestly, prepared the wrong way, that childhood fear just might be realized.

But with just a tiny bit of effort, you can make Brussel Sprouts that are both delicious and nutritious!

(This same roasting method also works for broccoli, cauliflower and fennel!)

Ingredients:

Brussel Sprouts

Olive Oil

Pepper to Taste

Garlic Salt to Taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut off the butt end of the sprouts, then slice up the middle. Remove any loose or damaged leaves.

Dip Brussel Sprout halves into a bowl of olive oil, and place on a baking sheet cut edge down. Be generous with the olive oil – it’ll take more than you think – because you want the sprouts to roast until they caramelize, but if they’re too dry, they’ll get crusty and dry instead.

Sprinkle oiled sprouts with Garlic Salt and Pepper to taste.

Roast in oven for 30 minutes (adjusting for smaller or larger than normal sized sprouts). The top side should turn color a darker green and begin to brown. The bottoms should caramelize and look like heated sugar (think the top of Crème Brule). And that’s it. Tender, flavorful, and healthy!

How do you cook your Brussel Sprouts?

If you try it please let me know if you like it, and don’t forget to check back next week for more Friday Flavors!

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!

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