For Foodies: Friday’s Flavors ~ Mediterranean Sautéed Zucchini With Cilantro And Onions

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

z5I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who gets tired of eating the same old vegetables the same old ways. I need plenty of freshness and adventure, especially where veggies are concerned. That said, I don’t want to spend my life in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove just so I don’t have to eat another boring salad.

This recipe is the solution to all that! It takes about 15 minutes to make, and an added bonus is that is actually tastes better when you let it cool to luke warm, so it’s a great dish to make ahead of time when you’re going to have all your burners going making your main course.

Ingredients: (For Two Servings)

1 oversized or 2 smaller zucchinis

1 small sweet Vidalia onion

2 large garlic cloves

1 handful fresh cilantro

1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon paprika (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)

1/4 cup water

olive oil

Preparation:

zChop zucchini. I cut it in half longways, third the halves, then cut rectangular pieces because I like the shape. Try to keep the pieces uniform in size for consistent cooking.

Chop onions and cilantro, wash and cut lemon, and peel garlic.

Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to a pan. (If at any point you feel you need to add more, z1do so.) Add zucchini and cook over medium high heat until it starts to brown. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, sautéing until translucent.

This next step is important. Add the paprika and cumin, and immediately (as in, have it ready at hand) add the water so the spices don’t burn. The water also helps the zucchini to finish cooking.

z3When the water is absorbed and the zucchini is cooked (you should be able to cut a piece in half easily with your cooking utensil), add crushed garlic, toss until mixed and fragrant, then remove pan from heat. Add cilantro and the juice from 1/2 lemon, stir, then plate to allow to cool.

To give you an idea of how much this recipe makes, the bowl in the picture at the top is the same size used to serve miso soup.

As always, if you make it, please let me know how you like it!

Check back next Friday for another recipe!

 

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 ~ Easy Clam Pasta

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

c5Now, I’ve got to be honest about this – if you had told me even a year ago that I’d not only be eating a recipe made with canned clams, but loving it, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s not something we had in the house when I was growing up.

But . . . life happens.

I have low B12, and was taking weekly injections to help, but I started getting the worst muscle spasms. Turns out that synthesized B12 is made with my arch nemesis (and food sensitivity) yeast. So, I had to find ways to incorporate large amounts of B12 into my diet, and guess what has a ton of B12? Clams!

Even if you don’t have low B12, it’s not one of those vitamins where excess builds up in your system causing adverse effects, and it’s great for your energy levels and metabolism, so there’s no reason not to pack your diet full of B12.

Ingredients:

1 can of clams

1 large shallot

6 large garlic cloves

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup olives oil

nature’s seasoning or salt and pepper

pasta of choice

optional: shaker or fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:

cc1Chop shallot and garlic. (I save all my largest garlic cloves for this recipe.) Add olive oil and butter to a large frying pan, melt butter over medium high heat, then add shallots and garlic. Sauté until shallots are translucent.

Add drained clams, cooking until heated. Season to taste. Add pasta and mix. And that’s it. It really is so simple and even c2c3better, it tastes really good. This is one of the few recipes where I prefer shaker parmesan to fresh, but a bit of cheese really brings out the flavor of this dish!

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

c4

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

 

Ooh la, la ~ Creme Brulee

wp-image-545739601jpg.jpgI always have been, and always will be a chocolate girl. Chocolate is quite confident about our relationship – it knows it has nothing to worry about. Which is why I am free to share the love; a gingerbread cookie here, a fruit tart there, and never one to discriminate against my French friends, creme brulee.

wp-image-1797215491jpg.jpgThe problem with creme brulee is that it is most often found at expensive restaurants, where they charge a ridiculous amount of money for the two bites they serve you. Which is why I was so excited when I saw a creme brulee kit on the clearance aisle as TJ Maxx. Thank you, TJ Maxx. Thank you, all the people who saw the kit before me who didn’t buy it. And a final thanks to my husband, whose sweet tooth never complains when I try something new.

wp-image-1554265934jpg.jpgBefore I even picked the kit up off the shelf, I had Googled a recipe to see exactly how much work creating the dish would entail. It didn’t seem too hard, so I gave it a try. I used a recipe for Vanilla Creme Brulee as found in the NY Times, shown below.

wp-image-409279096jpg.jpgNotes on the recipe: I doubled the vanilla. I saved the egg whites in tupperware for breakfast the next morning. Beating until light means until the egg mixture becomes frothy – it takes about 10 minutes when whisking by hand. Also, I used the mini blowtorch in the kit to caramelize the sugar instead of the broiler, because, yeah, like I’m passing that up. It turned out terrific! The only thing I would do differently is to use a bigger blowtorch!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, more for topping

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)
  2. In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.
  3. When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.

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