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Harissa and Honey Chicken

Making dishes that call for spices that you don’t use often provides the opportunity to get creative and spice it up. Harissa and Honey Chicken was the inspiration for this week. What those spices look like can vary based on the types of dishes that you cook a lot of. As a general rule of thumb, I organize my spices into categories.

Spice categories

Everyday: garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, cinnamon, salt and coarse black pepper

Herbs: rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme

Global: cumin, coriander, turmeric, caraway seeds, harissa, red curry, yellow curry, etc.

The global spice category presents many opportunities to get creative and to create your own seasoning blends. Whether using protein such as chicken or seafood, or veggies like broccoli or a variety of squash, these can be great vehicles to get creative and use some of those extra spices.

Other tips

If you want to reduce the volume of spices you have on hand, buying smaller quantities is the way to go. Stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods and Central Market have isles where you can measure the tablespoon or so of what you need into small packets.

Harissa Honey Chicken

I decided to air fry chicken tenders with harissa, curry and honey. Check out this 15 minute recipe below. You can also find a quick video walkthrough on my Instagram or TikTok page. 

What’s your favorite way to spice it up? Share your thoughts and comments. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 chicken tenders or 1 lb of chicken thighs 
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat or white flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp harissa 
  • 1/2 tsp red curry 
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • Avocado oil spray 
  • 1/2 tbsp of honey

Directions:

  1. Lightly season flour and mix well.
  2. Season one side of tenders before putting it seasoned side down in flour; season other side, then coat well in flour.
  3. Spray air fryer with avocado oil spray.
  4. Add in tenders and cook for 8 minutes on 380 degrees. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes.
  5. Flip chicken and drizzle in honey before cooking for an additional 7-8 minutes (10-11 minutes for chicken thighs).
  6. Enjoy!
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Comforting Meat Moussaka


 I can’t say enough how much I love a dish that incorporates lots of vegetables. For some reason, tomato sauce is always a great vehicle for roasted vegetables and will basically go with any ground meat of choice for this version. I used a combination of ground turkey and hot Italian pork sausage. 

While this dish takes longer than my preferred 20 to 30 minutes, it is well worth it in the end. It is still easy to do with most of the time being to roast vegetables. And that cook time can be used to do other things to start your week off as you need. The spicy and comforting dishes sure to please.

Variations of moussaka 

Moussaka can be made vegetarian, a meat, lovers, dream, or a great combination of both. If vegetarian, it’s easy to add in many different vegetables although the base mix is eggplant, zucchini, and squash, you could also add in peppers, onions and garlic for added flavor and nutrients. Furthermore, this dish is flexible with any preferred protein.

Check out the recipe below. For a video walk-through visit, TikTok or Instagram. And as always share your thoughts and comments, and be sure to like and subscribe and follow.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups slice zucchini
  • 3 cups sliced eggplant
  • 1 1/2 cup slice yellow squash
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp, garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. coarse, black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes no salt added
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, diced

Mashed potatoes ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 3 tbsp. no salt butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Slice squash, zucchini, and eggplant and add to a foil lined baking sheet. Peel and in cloves of garlic.
  2. Drizzle in avocado oil and mix with a spoon or by hand. Lightly seasoned with onion and garlic powder salt and pepper. Bake for 75 minutes.
  3. In last 30 minutes of baking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cube potatoes, and then slice a half of onion and add to water to boil.
  4. Dice onion, and add to a large pot. Add in ground, turkey and sausage removing the sausage from the skins. Stir in remaining seasoning and mix well.
  5. Remove vegetables from oven. After meat is browned, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth and vegetables to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Strain potatoes, and mashed potatoes and onion with butter, salt and pepper. Add a splash of milk if needed.
  7. Place meat sauce to a oven, safe dish and a thick layer, then top with mashed potatoes and smooth until even
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until brown.
  9. Enjoy!
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Chicken and Lentil Meatballs

Meatballs are always an easy low maintenance meal. Additionally, they can be eaten, standalone, or with pasta, mashed potatoes, or a great sandwich. I also find that it is a great way to add an additional nutrients like fiber and loads of vitamins that come with lentils. I’ve been working on new ways to add them into some of my favorite dishes.

Lentil tips 

Lentils have varying cooking times depending on the color. Additionally, the typical varieties are red, brown and green lentils. Red lentils cook the fastest with a typical cooking time of about 15 minutes. Brown lentils are in the middle at about 20 minutes of cooking time. And green lentils take the longest with a 30 to 45 minute cooking time. They are all great options for high fiber, highly nutritious legumes. 

For this recipe, I kept it simple with brown lentils, fresh herbs, and low-fat ground chicken. Check out the recipe below. If you want to see a video walk-through, check out the post on Instagram or TikTok

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken or ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. Onion powder.
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic powder.
  • 1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 3-4 cloves, minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1oz feta cheese (optional garnish)
  • 1 tsp basil (optional garnish)

Coating ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp coarse, black pepper

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz jar, red pepper, and eggplant spread
  • 1 can Grecian style egg plant, tomatoes, and onions (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP onion powder
  • 1/2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TSP red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • Half a cup chicken stock or broth

Directions: 

  1. Place lentils in a medium pot and bring to boil with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook lentils for 15 minutes and remove from heat to let cool for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. In a large bowl add ground meat. Rinse and chop basil and parsley, and add to bowl.
  4. Also to the bowl add lentils, seasoning, egg, and press and fresh garlic. Mix with a spoon or by hand until well. Inc. and add Italian breadcrumbs to bind ingredients.
  5. In a shallow dish, add coding ingredients and mix with a fork. Start to form meatballs, and roll in coding mixture.
  6. In a large, nonstick pan at oil and heat over medium heat. Once Soileau is hot at meatballs and brown evenly on all sides.
  7. Line a baking sheet with foil and add meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. In same pan add onion and can of eggplant mix and start to warm. Add in red pepper and eggplant sauce and press and fresh garlic. Mix well.
  9. Add stock and seasoning and bring to a low boil. Let cook for 15 minutes while meatballs baked.
  10. Plate sauce, add meatballs, and top with optional feta cheese and fresh basil
  11. Enjoy!
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New Orleans Red beans and rice

Red beans and rice are one of my go to comfort foods. In New Orleans, traditionally, it is consumed on Mondays often with fried chicken. Though it can be prepared meatless  it is usually made with sausage or pickled meat (also called salted pork) with a one to one ratio of beans to meat. This is an easy meal to stretch for the week or to freeze in single or double portions for later in the month.

Types of red beans 

My go to brand of red beans are Camila beans. You can find these online through Walmart and other providers. For meals in a pinch, canned blue runner beans will also do. I prefer to start with dried beans where all the magic happens.

To soak or not to soak 

It is often debated whether beans need to be soaked to cook properly. Even in my family it is prepared both ways, depending on who’s cooking them. I am a firm believer in sticking with mom’s tradition of no soaking. The trick for creamy tender beans is to sauté and wrinkled them first.

To see how I prepare my beans, check out the video on Instagram or TikTok. Be sure to like and follow for additional content not included in the posts. Check out the recipe below.

  • Ingredients: 
  • 1lb red beans 
  • 1lb. smoked sausage 
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic (~2 tbsp)
  • 4-6 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cayenne
  • 6-8 cups water

Directions: 

  1. Peel and dice onion add to a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add and red beans. Stir until beans start to wrinkle. 
  3. Add in water. Add seasonings top and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Sliced sausage and add to pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Smash beans in small amounts against the side of the pot. Smash about half.
  6. Continue cooking for 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with rice, and enjoy!
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Easy Kung Pao Pepper Steak


Making your food stretch is critical, whether you are feeling the economic pressure or not. My go-to stretch meals tend to be one pot wonders. While it is easy to create stretch meals with beans, soups, chilies, and other such dishes, when I’m craving a good steak, making more than one meal out of it can be a challenge.

I decided to go quick and easy, with the take on pepper steak. Typically that’s made with less expensive cuts of steak that can be cooked over a longer period of time to make it tender. I however, decided to use a good ribeye steak and leftover package of Kung pao sauce.

Repurpose Extra Sauce Packets

Often in the freezer section of the store, you can find easy to make Kung pow chicken. And the packages tend to come with two sauce packets. I only use one, so I keep the extra in the freezer to re-purpose and other meals, like in this case. 

This was an easy 15-minute dish. Furthermore, you can also load up with any additional vegetables you have on hand, like mushrooms, broccoli, or greens. For a video walk-through like and follow on Instagram, Pinterest, or TikTok. Check out the recipe below. As always share your thoughts and comments.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium onion 
  • 3- 4 cloves garlic (~1/2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup sliced sweet peppers 
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1tbsp garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 packet, Kung pao sauce ( or sauce of choice)

Directions: 

  1. Peel and thinly sliced onion and sweet peppers. Minced garlic.
  2. Add avocado oil to a medium pan over medium heat and once hot Eden, peppers, onion, and garlic. Season lightly.
  3. While that cooks, cube up steak. Add to pan and season with remaining seasoning.
  4. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or just under done steak temperature.
  5. Add sauce and stir well for two minutes
  6. Serve over rice.
  7. Enjoy!
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Easy Southern Smothered Pork Chops

I was in the mood for some smothered pork chops and found some some beautiful French cut chops that fit the bill. A traditional southern preparation, smothered dishes pack flavor and comfort.

 Different Types of Chops

Pork chops are the beef steaks of pork and come in various cuts which impact flavor and cooking time. Also, there are four major cuts of pork chops: shoulder/blade, rib, loin and sirloin chops. The rib and loin chops are the best cuts for quick cooking that will deliver good flavor and remain moist.

Smothered chops inherently have added moisture with the addition of a gravy and additions like onions, garlic and mushrooms. Additionally, this is great served over rice or mashed potatoes with the veggie of your choice. 

Recipe

Check out the recipe below and the video walkthrough on Instagram or TikTok. Like, share and follow for more video content that doesn’t make it to posts. And as always, share your thoughts and comments.

Ingredients:

  • 2 French Cut Pork Chops
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp all purpose or while wheat flour 
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Put a medium pan over medium heat and add avocado oil. 
  2. While the oil heats, season chops with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Place seasoned side down in the pan and season other side.
  3. Cook for three minutes before flipping. While cooking, thinly slice an onion, optional garlic and mushrooms. (if just starting to cook, sliced onions, and mushrooms, before starting to cook the pork to avoid burning.)
  4. Remove chops from the pan and set aside. Add flour to pan drippings and stir to brown. 
  5. Let brown (1-2 minutes) fully before adding chicken stock to deglaze pan. Add in onions and mushrooms and season well. 
  6. Cook for 3-4 minutes before adding in pork chops. Coat chops and mushrooms and onions, educe heat and let’s simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve with sides of choice.
  8. Enjoy!
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Easy Salad: Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale

With the Spring season moving in, that also means the beginning of salad season. I am a big fan of all of the different seasonal fruits and vegetables that can be used to make unique and flavorful salads.

Superfood Kale

 Kale is loaded with nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin B6 and vitamin K, and also packed with fiber. And that is why it is one of my favorite go-to foods as the star of a salad.  At just 20 calories per cup, kale is absolutely a winner as it is both filling and versatile. 

Though kale can be cooked, kale makes a great salad raw, with simply fresh lemon juice and olive or avocado oil. In this salad, I roasted a couple of small sweet potatoes for added nutrients and texture. This salad is also great for loading in seeds like pumpkin or sunflower for added crunch and flavor. 

Check out the recipe below and the video through Instagram or TikTok. Be sure to like, subscribe and follow.

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of chopped kale
  • 2 cups of roasted and diced sweet potato
  • 4-6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Optional ingredients:

  • Protein
  • Greek olives
  • Tomatoes 
  • Feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Rinse and wrap two small sweet potato in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Rinse kale and remove woody stems before chopping into bite size pieces.
  3. Finely minced garlic. Cut lemon in half.
  4. Add kale to a bowl with garlic. Squeeze lemon seeded side up and juice well.
  5. Add oil and salt and with clean hands, massage into kale well for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Kale will start to break down. Set aside until potatoes cook. Once done, peel and dice potatoes.
  7. Add to bowl and add in seasoning before tossing with a spoon.
  8. Top with protein of choice, Greek olives, tomatoes, seeds and feta cheese if desired.
  9. Enjoy!
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Chicken Thighs: Second Act

It’s no secret that I find chicken thighs to be a versatile protein. It is great in a variety of dishes. You may recall from my earlier sauteed chicken thighs earlier post, this is a great protein to batch cook and serve up in multiple ways. Some of my favorite include tacos, over rice or potatoes and with a salad. This week, I will be using it in two dishes. One, served on top of a garlicky kale salad and two, with sweet potatoes and cabbage.

New Chicken Thighs Video Content

I’ve also mentioned, I have been working to create videos of many of the recipes that I have shared for quick tips and tutorials to help make cooking easier. This week I’ve made a quick walkthrough of how I like to cook the chicken thighs that you can find linked to my Instagram or Tiktok. You can find the original recipe in the earlier post that is linked above.

I will also be sharing a second video on how to save money on chicken by preparing it at home. It’s easy to do, takes minutes, and can be worth the few dollars saved per ready-to-use package of chicken used. Of course the most cost effective option would be to buy a whole chicken and break it down yourself. If you prefer preparing a particular cut of chicken such as thighs, legs, etc. there is also value in the family pack savings. It is simple in both cases to remove skin and extra fat without the extra cost. Stay tuned for the second video posting tomorrow. Be sure to subscribe to your preferred channel for new content.

Thank you for your views, your likes and for sharing this cooking journey with me. As always, share your thoughts and be sure to like, comment and share the post.

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Easy Mushroom Ravioli


When time is limited and you still crave good, flavorful food, semi homemade options are the way to go. If getting help from the store to with a dish, it is good to work from their more healthful options and that is easy to do with vegetable-centric products.

Pasta is always a quick win and easy to add in lots of vegetables under the guise of a sauce. I added in some fresh mushroom and kale with an eggplant garlic spread that I used as a sauce. This dish was quick and tasty! I also added some pitted Kalamata olives for an added burst of salt, but of course that is optional. Check out the video for this recipe through Instagram. As always, like, follow and share and be sure to leave your thoughts on the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (~2 tbsp chopped)
  • 2 cups shredded kale 
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil 
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 12oz jar of eggplant garlic spread (Trader Joes)
  • 1 package of mushroom ravioli (or personal preference)

Directions:

  1. Cut onion in half. Peel and dice both halves. Peel garlic and mince well.
  2. In a medium pan over medium heat, add avocado oil. Once hot add in onion and garlic. 
  3. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of water. 
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  5. Slice mushrooms and kale if using whole. Add mushrooms and kale to pan and add in seasonings. Stir well.
  6. Add in spread and thin to preferred thickness with a little water or vegetable stock.
  7. Add pasta to pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring carefully.
  8. Strain and add to the pan of sauce and coat ravioli.
  9. Plate and enjoy. *option to top with black olives.

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Shrimp and Okra

With cooking, I’ve learned to make do with what’s available which can be hard for dishes like shrimp and okra with my Louisiana taste buds. What that means is I’ve only ever cooked it with Louisiana shrimp, fresh okra and local sausage, all of which are harder to access in Texas. So this is a different rendition of one of my favorite dishes that I can say, still delivered. However, I will be placing an order for a shipment from my favorite spot “The Best Stop” in Scott, Louisiana as they ship across the U.S. 🙂 and have an assortment of smoked meats like sausage and boudin that I frankly miss. Check out the recipe below and be sure to view the video on Instagram if you’d like a video walkthrough the dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 lb frozen okra
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic minced (~2 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp old bay seasoning (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning or 1 tbsp each of rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coarse black pepper or cayenne 
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 14.5oz can of diced tomato (fire roasted optional)
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water

Directions:

  1. Peel, slice and dice a medium onion. Add to a medium large pot over medium heat. 
  2. Peel and mince garlic and add to pot.
  3. Cut open okra and add to pot with two cups of water. Top and bring to a boil. Watch carefully and stir on occasion while boiling for about 17-20 minutes to cook the okra down.
  4. Slice sausage while okra cooks and add after about 20 minutes.  Add seasonings and diced tomato and tomato paste. 
  5. Fill the cans with water and stir with a fork to remove bits and add to the pot. Let simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Peel and devein shrimp while the okra and tomatoes cook down. Add in shrimp and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Serve over rice.
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Seared Salmon with Sautéed Asparagus

Quick meals are gems when busy, so I like to keep a few easy options in the toolbox. Salmon is a great go-to because it can be seasoned just about any way and is quick and easy to cook. I kept it simple with thyme and lemon and paired it with asparagus. If you’d like to see a quick video on the prep of this dish, like and follow on Instagram. Check out the recipe below.

Salmon Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of wills caught salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion power
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

Asparagus Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Splash of water

Directions:

  1. Open salmon and pat dry with a paper towel. Season skin side first. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Place seasoned side down once oil is hot.
  2. Season other side and cook for three minutes before flipping. 
  3. Roll lemon and cut in half before juicing over fish, seed side up. ( keeps seeds from falling into pan.)
  4. Remove from heat. Clean out pan for asparagus.
  5. Rinse asparagus and take one stem and bend to break naturally. (This tells you where to cut the rest of the bunch to avoid woody stalks.)
  6. Add oil to pan, then add red pepper flakes.
  7. Once hot, add in asparagus and remaining seasonings. Stir well.
  8. Add in balsamic vinegar and a splash of water. Stir.
  9. Top and steam for 2 minutes, then stir well and remove from heat if desired tenderness.
  10. Plate and enjoy!
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Spicy Chickpea Stew

This is a different take on lablabi which is a traditional North African dish. Believe it or not, a coworker saw the dish in a magazine and challenged me to make it, so I was all about it as I love to create inspired dishes. This is one that delivers every time and is easy to make vegetarian by simply swapping out the chicken stock for a vegetable variety. Check out the accompanying video if you’d like to see how I prepared the dish. Like and follow on Instagram for new videos.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 (~15.5 oz) can of chickpeas
  • 1 (14.5oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz chicken broth or stock
  • 16 oz water
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 2 tsp harissa powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander (optional)

Bread ingredients:

  • Sliced bread
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic

Optional Toppings:

  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Parsley
  • Boiled egg

Directions:

  1. Diced onion and mince garlic and add to a medium pan over medium heat.
  2. Open chickpeas and rinse if preferred then add to pot. Open tomatoes and add.
  3. Fill can with stock to remove any remaining tomato and add to pot. Fill with water and add to pot.
  4. Add harissa and seasonings and stir well before bringing to a boil. *If you prefer less spicy, avoid the powder and use the optional cumin and coriander powder for added flavor and less heat.*
  5. Lower to low medium heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. Stir on occasion.
  6. Rinse and add in kale. Add in a sprinkle of additional seasoning if preferred.
  7. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Smash garlic and rub on bread before drizzling with olive oil and toasting in the oven until light brown.
  9. Chop bread and add to the bowl then top with stew and any preferred optional toppings.
  10. Enjoy
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Green Lentils with Sausage and Kale

With the progression of winter storms, that means sometimes the grocery stores are just clean out of things. Finding inspiration from the pantry becomes key and so I keep a few essentials on hand so that I always have something to make.

Dried beans, lentils or canned

Broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Dried herbs

In this case, I had green lentils, chicken stock and one link of sausage in the freezer that I thought would come together nicely with kale  for a bean-like lentil dish. This is definitely one I will make again and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. For a quick video on how I made the dish, like and follow on Instagram.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb green lentils 

1 cup diced onion

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups of water

1/4 lb sausage

2 cups shredded kale

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp sea salt

1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes

2-3 dried bay leaves

Directions:

  1. Dice a small yellow onion and add to a medium pot over medium heat.
  2. Add in lentils, 2 cups of stock, one cup of water and all of the seasonings. 
  3. Top and bring to a boil. While it begins to boil, chop up sausage and add to pot. (Remove casing if it’s not smoked.)
  4. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, then add kale, remaining stock and water. (Feel free to sprinkle in a little extra onion, garlic powder and salt to season the kale.)
  5. Let cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with or without rice.
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Meaty Mushrooms and Kale

I’ve mentioned my love of kale and mushrooms in other post and thought it only fitting to cover the basics in a separate post. I like having easy meatless Monday (or any other day) options on the table as I try to be thoughtful about the volume of meat I consume. Not to mention, veggie-forward meals can be quite filling and can be more wallet-friendly as we all find ourselves more cost conscious these days. This dish is all about getting great color and flavor infused into every layer of the cooking process. Check out the recipe below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of kale (pre shredded or whole)
  • 12 oz-16oz of whole cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fermented black garlic (optional Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions.

  • 1. Slice mushrooms into large chunks. (Cutting into fourths for smaller and 6 pieces for larger recommended. If using whole leaf kale, stack 3-4 leaves at a time and cut thinly into ribbons.
  • 2. Add mushrooms to a large pan over medium heat. As they began to sizzle add half of the seasoning and stir well.
  • 3. Add 1/2 the water and let simmer. For 5-7 minutes. Once water evaporates, start adding kale.
    4. Pour in half the oil and fold in to wilt kale. Add in more kale and remaining oil and seasoning. Fold in well.
  • 5. Add in remaining water and reduce heat. Let simmer and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
  • 6. Plate and enjoy.
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Red Lentil Curry Soup with Shrimp

With the unexpected  cold and dropping temperatures, it’s a great time for a hearty soup. I found myself in a mood for some comforting lentil soup with a twist and paired it with some Thai flavors for a spicy take on lentil  soup. With red curry and coconut milk, this soup brings flavorful comfort. Additionally, I topped it with some seared shrimp for an added layer of flavor and some added protein. The soup itself is great with it without a meat topper.

This is a quick 30-minute soup which really is a soup gem. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb red lentils (or preferred with similar cooking time)

1 cup diced onion

4 cloves garlic

1 1/4 tbsp red curry powder

1/2 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp cayenne (optional)

2 1/2 cups water

1 13.5 oz can lite coconut milk

Shrimp Ingredients:

1 lb of large shrimp

1/2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt 

1/2 tbsp cayenne (optional)

Juice of half a lime


Directions:

  1. Peel and dice onion. Peel off garlic papers (pro tip: smashing gently with the flat of the knife makes it easier!)
  2. Add lentils to a medium pot. Add in onion, garlic and water and bring to a boil. 
  3. Stir gently and add in seasoning. Stir again  and boil for 20 minutes over medium low heat.
  4. Add in coconut milk. (Optional: add in a 1/2 tsp of each seasoning minus the curry to season the coconut milk.)
  5. Turn off heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes before either using a immersion blender to smooth the soup in the pot, or a separate blender device.
  6. Lay out shrimp on a layer of paper towels and pat dry.
  7. In a large pan, add oil over medium heat.
  8. Season shrimp with half the seasonings and place in pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side.
  9. Flip after 2-3 minutes. Let the other side cook and squeeze a half of lime over the pan. 
  10. Add soup to bowl. Top and enjoy.
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Sautéed Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are a woefully underrated cut of chicken that packs lots of flavor and is very hard to overcook. Seared and sautéed with onions and peppers is one of the easiest ways to prepare this dish. And at roughly $4 a pack, this is a easy dish to double or triple up for the week and easy freezer meals.

If you don’t want to eat it the same way all week, it is easy to prep the base chicken the same way and consider reserving a few thighs to shred for tacos, salad toppers or as a protein for loaded French fries or loaded mashed potatoes. I am a big believer of one-day a week meal prep, and you can find more tips and tricks on how I do it in my Foundational Meal Prep e-book that can be found here.

Check out the recipe for the sautéed chicken below.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 packet of chicken thighs (boneless/skinless if preferred)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup of sliced bell pepper of choice
  • 3 cloves of garlic pressed or 1 tbsp minced
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water

Directions:

  1. Remove skin from thighs and trim excess fat. Wash hands.
  2. Peel and thinly slice onion. Cut bell pepper in half, remove core and thinly slice half. Slice and store remainder for other uses.
  3. In a large pan, add oil over medium heat. Season chicken with half of the seasoning. 
  4. When oil sizzles, add chicken seasoned side down and season the remaining side. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until brown and remove to a plate or cutting board.
  5. Add onions and peppers to pan. Press in garlic or add minced and stir well. Add in liquid to remove bits from the pan and to soften the veggies. 
  6. Add chicken on top of veggies, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. (This protects the coloring and seasoning on the chicken)
  7. Enjoy.
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Spicy Meatballs

While I am more of a potato than pasta girl, I still like a spicy tomato sauce with meatballs. You can really mix and match and ground protein preferred for meatballs; however I get a lot of flavor out of ground lamb or grass fed beef. And of course, a red sauce is a great place to add in (or hide) other great vegetables like mushrooms and greens like spinach or kale. Finely chop some greens to add to the meatballs for another way to amp up your vegetable consumption. 

In addition to the optional “greens” in the meatballs, I like to cook kale separately in a dry pan with seasoning and a little oil to sort of toast and wilt it which makes a nice bed for the meatballs and sauce. These meatballs can also be transformed into a nice sub, or added to a potato boat for a version of a stuffed potato.

If you are working to stock up a variety of meals that do well reheated and are easy to batch cook, this is also a great dish to add to your freezer collection. Simply double the recipe and stock your fridge or freezer with meals for the week or in the weeks to come. 

Check out the recipe below!

Serves 4-5

Meatballs Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne (optional)
  • 4 gloves of pressed garlic or 2 tbsp of minced garlic 

Meat sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • 12 oz chopped mushroom
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 6 cloves of pressed garlic or 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, add ground meat, seasonings and egg. Use a garlic press to crush fresh garlic or add in minced. Sprinkle in breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix well and roll 16 medium balls and space evenly on baking sheet. Wash hands, put the meatballs in the oven and set timer for 20 minutes. 
  4. Dice onion and chop mushrooms to preferred size and in a large pan, add onions and mushrooms with oil over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and brown. 
  5. Add splashes of water to start to caramelize the onions and mushrooms and prevent sticking. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add in tomato sauce and once fill can with water or stock (optional) and stir with a spoon to get any extra bits of sauce before adding to the pan. 
  7. Use garlic press to add in garlic or add minced amount. Add in seasonings and mix well. Simmer on medium low heat.
  8. Once meatballs timer goes off, remove them from the oven and carefully scoop them from the pan and into the sauce, one at a time.
  9. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  10. Enjoy.
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Easy Pork Tenderloin

Since we are still in season of fickle cold weather, I like to eat flavorful comfort. This is definitely one such dish that delivers both and freezes well for future meals.

Pork tenderloin is easy to prepare and a great protein for batch cooking where you can cook multiple tenderloins at the same time, all seasoned differently if you’d like. Tenderloin can be seared and roasted simply with fresh garlic, herb crusted or set in a sweet and savory glaze. I really love the flavors of garlic, rosemary with a balsamic glaze and decided to go that route with the tenderloin. I paired it with roasted sweet potatoes and some sautéed kale and mushrooms. Check out the tenderloin recipe below. The video for this recipe is now live on Instagram.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tenderloin (~1 lb each)

2 tbsp minced or fresh pressed garlic

1 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder 

2 tbsp coarse black pepper

3/4 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp avocado or olive oil

Glaze: (optional)

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large pan over medium high heat and add oil.
  2. Open tenderloin and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper on one side of the tenderloin and add to pan seasoned side down. Season the other side and let cook for 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
  3. While the tenderloin browns, add vinegar and honey to a small bowl and mix until honey devolves. Add salt, pepper and dried rosemary.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to an oven safe dish. 
  5. Top with freshly pressed garlic or minced garlic and spread evenly with a fork. Pour on glaze and cover with foil before placing in the oven. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes with foil and another 10 uncovered.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  8. Enjoy! 

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New Year, New Content

With the start of 2023, starts the new resolutions, plans for weight loss, health improvement and other goals. I am excited to announce that From Alice with Flavor is also transitioning to include new offerings such as starter kits, eBooks and digital workbooks to help you with goals for meal prep and financial savings.

Check out the Natural Matters Pure Harmony store and the latest offerings!

You can continue to expect to continue to see posts on recipes and healthy living.

Cheers to the start of an amazing 2023!

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Tasty Trout

I love all kinds of seafood and particularly love trying mainly varieties of fish. As of late, I’ve been on a huge trout kick. Trout is a very clean fish with low levels of mercury and other contaminants. It’s mild flavor, high protein content, good fats and other essential nutrients and vitamins such as potassium, omega 3 vitamin D and B12. 

It’s been great with simply salt, pepper and garlic powder browned in a little oil or butter. I decided to jazz things up with some pickled onions to elevated the flavors of the seared trout. You can always pickle the onions ahead of time for a milder onion flavor. 

Of course, a bed of spicy sautéed mustard greens is a great place for this tasty fish to land. If you are not a fan of greens, most sides will do. Since I wasn’t craving carbs, I opted for some greens. Check out the recipe below and as always, let me know your thoughts.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 fillets of sustainably raised trout
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper

Pickling ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion


Directions:

  1. Add vinegar and honey to a small container and mix well with a fork until honey dissolves, then add seasonings.
  2. Thinly slice onion and add to the picking mixture.
  3. Add oil to a pan over medium heat.
  4. If using trout with skin, use half of the seasoning on the skinned side of trout, then add, skin side down, to the pan.
  5. Season the other side and let cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side.
  6. Serve with salad or steamed vegetables of choice.
  7. Top with picked onions
  8. Enjoy.
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Rosemary Turkey Hash

With this snap of cold weather, I wanted a hearty and comforting dish and decided on rosemary turkey hash. I put a twist on one of my favorite potato hash dishes for a quick and easy meal to ward off the cold, while still giving balance.

As a southern gal, I love all types of greens and in this hash I used collards but you can certainly change it up with kale or even spin if if preferred. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 cups of diced sweet potato (~2 medium)

1 cup sweet yellow onion

3 gloves minced garlic

2 cups thinly sliced collard greens

1 lb ground turkey

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tbsp dried rosemary

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

Salt and coarse black pepper to taste

1 cup of water 

1 tsp oil

Directions:

  1. Rinse greens and remove stems. Cut large leaves in half longwise. Stack, then slice thinly.
  2. Add to a medium pot or pan with half the water and the apple cider vinegar. Top it with a lid and bring to a boil.
  3. While that boils, rinse and slice potatoes in half. Cut into strips and then cubes.
  4. Add potatoes and the rest of the water. Season with half of the seasoning and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. While that cooks, diced onion and mince the garlic. 
  6. Remove greens and potatoes into a bowl.
  7. Add onion, garlic, oil and ground turkey to the pan to brown. Use the remainder of the seasoning and stir well. 
  8. Once cooked, add the potatoes and greens back in and stir well.
  9. Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  10. Enjoy.
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Fermented Joy

New batch of sauerkraut

I hinted at my latest fermentation project in the crispy chicken post, and will dive a little deeper. I’ve written in the past about my projects with kombucha and kimchi and the latest addition to the fermented family is sauerkraut. 

Why ferment?

Making your own fermented goods is a great way to support your immune health, improve intestinal health, reduce GI related symptoms, delay the development of allergies and reduce your risks of various other diseases according to the NIH. As we are entering cold and flu season as well as the holiday season, we need to give our bodies all the help they can get. Making your own products is a great way to support strengthening your system with natural bacteria found in your environment. While I know that can sound gross, our bodies are filled with many different good and bad bacteria, and fermented foods give the good bacteria a helpful boost.

Sauerkraut of all of my fermented projects, is by far the easiest and most straightforward. It is simply cabbage, salt, water and caraway seeds. Now it is important to use organic cabbage and as a low cost veggie, it’s one that you can get for cents more than the commercial alternative. The chemicals used in commercial cabbage is not something you want to ferment (yes, I’ve tried it). Ready to give it a try? Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 32oz mason jars (be mindful of wide lid options for stones and lid matching)

2 weighted stones

1 medium head of organic cabbage 

About 1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp organic caraway seeds

1 tbsp of thinly shaved or sliced garlic (optional)

Distilled water

Directions:

  1. Cut cabbage in half. Then remove core by cutting alongside the core on an angle.
  2. Cut each half into thirds and thinly slice with knife.
  3. But in a large bowl and sprinkle on salt. You want roughly 1.5 tsp per pound of cabbage. Mix well by hand or with a spoon and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  4. If using the garlic, this is a good time to slice it up. It adds fantastic flavor and will lose the bite during the fermentation process.
  5. Add cabbage in small handfuls to mason jars. Add a little garlic and caraway seeds to each layer.
  6. Push cabbage down with the stone and leave each stone in the jar which is needed to keep the cabbage submerged.
  7. Add distilled water with a tsp of sea salt and stir until dissolved. Top off each jar with the liquid until cabbage is fully covered.
  8. Store in a cool spot not in direct sunlight for at least 3 days. (Countertops away from the stove are perfect!)
  9. I usually test to cabbage to check taste and whether more brining liquid is needed. If you would like a deeper pickled flavor, replace the stone and let it sit for another 2-3 days.
  10. Remove the stone and then store the jars in the fridge.
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Crispy Air Fried Chicken

Every now and then, I get in the mood for some good, crispy fried chicken. I am a firm believer in a weekly cheat day, though with the way I make these wings, I have no guilt and thoroughly enjoy them a variety of accompaniments. I’ve been on a craze for the Trader Joe’s plantain crisps which I find to be absolutely wonderful beside the crispy chicken. I also love a good side salad. and in this case, I topped it with some homemade Sauerkraut (yes, I am still a big fan of homemade probiotics!).

While the good ‘ole southern way of deep fried chicken is tasty, I like to keep the flavor and the crisp, and reduce the fat with my beloved air fryer. I also trade the bleached flour for it’s whole wheat cousin to consume as many nutrients as possible. It gets the chicken crispy either way. Check out the recipe below and let me know your thoughts! P.S. Has anyone perfected crispy oven fried chicken? It’s always good to have a backup to the air fryer. 🙂

Ingredients:

3 tbsp whole wheat flour (white works too)

5-6 wing drumettes or 3 whole wings

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp course black pepper

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil in an oil mister

Directions:

  1. Add flour to a medium sized Ziploc bag with half the onion and garlic powder and salt. Add all of the cayenne and mix the mixture with a fork or spoon
  2. Either on a paper towel or separate Ziploc season the raw chicken with the remaining seasoning.
  3. Add the first wing, seal the bag and give it a shake to evenly coat the chicken. Add it to the air fryer.
  4. Repeat with remaining chicken. Then spray with a light coat of oil.
  5. Cook on 380 degrees for 10 minutes
  6. Flip, spray a light coat of oil and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
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Comfort of Meat Sauce

There is something to be said about a really good meat sauce. I have found that it is all about the building of flavors to really make something truly of quality. I just love that the flavors in the sauce build over the week and this can easily be used as traditional meat sauce, added to a baked pasta dish smothered in cheese, or as a version of a sloppy joe. Every now and then, I crave the popping flavors of a spicy meat sauce and I love that this is a dish that is easy to freeze and pull out as needed. Check out the recipe below!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey 

14.5 oz diced tomato

14.5 oz tomato sauce

1.5 cups diced onion

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup diced bell pepper

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp dried rosemary

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp cayenne

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Peel and dice an onion and add it to a large pot. Add ground turkey and brown over medium heat. 
  2. Mince garlic dice bell pepper and add to pot.
  3. Once meat is browned, add diced tomatoes and a herbs and other seasonings. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes and then add tomato sauce and chicken stock.
  4. Add bay leaves and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add with pasta and enjoy. 
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A Little Greek

Having variety when doing meal prep is a must. It gets boring eating the same things cooked the same ways and one easy way to add variety is to add herbs and create flavorful sauces to complement the protein of choice. This week I decided on crispy baked rosemary and thyme chicken with millet salad and a tasty tzatziki sauce. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Ingredients:

6 large drumsticks

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp. chopped mediterrean olives

1 tbsp of olive oil or cooking spray

4 tbsp chopped dried rosemary

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup dried millet

1 tbsp fresh thyme (reserve for millet)

1 clove of garlic minced or pressed (for millet)

1 cup of liquid (water and chicken broth)

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/8 cup feta cheese

2 tbsp fresh basil

Tzatziki Ingredients:

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 juiced lemon

2 tbsp mint 

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1 clove of fresh garlic minced or pressed

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a pan with foil. 
  2. Chop dried rosemary. Rinse chicken and add to lined pan. Drizzle oil on the chicken and rub evenly on chicken. Sprinkle seasoning in an even coating, including the rosemary and place in oven. Set timer for 35 minutes.
  3. Wait 10 minutes before starting the millet. Add millet and liquid to a medium pot with thyme, garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then top and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.  
  4. While millet and chicken cooks, dice cucumber and set aside. Add yogurt to a medium bowl, add minced or pressed garlic, squeeze in fresh lemon juice, chop mint and add to the bowl. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Strain any remaining liquid from millet. Add to a bowl. Slice cherry tomatoes into quarters and chop olives and add to the bowl. Rip in basil and add in feta cheese. Mix well. 
  6. Plate and enjoy.
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Steak Stir Fry with Homegrown Mushrooms

It has been a while since I’ve posted; I promise I am still cooking! I am also still growing things. In addition to my kombucha developments (I’m partial to lavender mint), I decided to try my hand at growing mushrooms indoors with a Back  To Roots organic mushroom growing kit. I was thrilled at my proficiency and decided to use it in a quick stir fry. 

Why mushrooms? Oyster mushrooms are a great immune boost, loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients. Additionally it has anti bacterial properties in the body. 

Check out this quick dish below and as always, let me know your thoughts. 

1 medium onion 

1 small bok choy or 2 cups of raw spinach

2 cups of sweet peppers

1 cup of mushrooms of choice

1 inch (1tbsp) fresh grated ginger

1 lb steak tips

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 cup of cooked rice

 1 tbsp avocado oil

1/4 cup of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook rice using preferred method.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Open and rinse steak; season with salt and pepper lightly. 
  3. Add steak and cook for 5 minutes. Rinse and slice peppers, rinse and quarter bok choy and slice mushrooms while steak cooks. 
  4. Remove steak and put on a plate. Add veggies, seasoning and water and grate in ginger. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Add in steak and stir before turning off heat.
  6. Add to rice and enjoy!
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Still Inspired…

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As part of my unplugging and unwinding, I still love to be inspired to create a flavorful, comforting meal. I will say I’ve been enjoying this new wave of home cooking and family gatherings. It’s refreshing to see what more home time produces in the kitchen! I had a craving for some seafood and wanted to use some of the fresh herbs that I’ve been growing which resulted in this dish. This is definitely one I will make again. Now I will say, brown rice seems to take forever and 5 years to make so you can always opt for a low-sodium microwavable option. I’ve actually seen some cool varieties that include quinoa or wild and brown rice mixes. If you go that route this becomes a 10-12 minute dish. Happy cooking and as always, let me know your thoughts!

 

Spicy Seared Scallops and Shrimp w/ Herbed Butter Brown Rice

Seafood Ingredients:

½ lb fresh scallops

½ lb white shrimp

½ tbsp onion powder

½ tbsp garlic powder

½ tbsp red pepper flakes

Juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp avocado oil

½ tbsp butter (optional)

 

Rice Ingredients:

½ cup brown rice

¼ cup chopped herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, mint)

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup water

½ tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp shaved or minced garlic

1 tbsp of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Green beans:

1 bag of frozen green beans

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Add rice and minced garlic to a small pot and toast it for 1 to 2 minutes over medium high heat. Add liquid and turmeric and bring to a boil before reducing to simmer. Top and cook for 45 minutes.
  2. With 20 minutes left on the rice, bring a medium pot of water with green beans to boil. When it starts to boil, strain it immediately then add to a bowl with salt, pepper and oil and set it aside. The residual heat will continue to cook the green beans.
  3. In a medium pan, add oil and butter. While it heats, season scallops and shrimp, then add to the skillet. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes then remove from the heat. Squeeze half of lemon, seeded side up over seafood to deglaze the pan.
  4. Rinse and chop fresh herbs. Once rice is done, add it to a bowl, add fresh herbs, butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Plate and top with microgreens (optional). Enjoy!

 

 

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Bountiful Berries

 

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It’s that time of year again for strawberry season! I cannot get enough of this local, flavorful fruit and the opportunities to make new inspired creations. This past Saturday, I shared one such dish with a shrimp avocado and strawberry salad. Traditionally for such salads, I’ve added other seafood like crab and fruit such as mango. I decided to make a version using fresh strawberries from the Frank Fekete Farm, seafood from Anna Marie Shrimp and local microgreens from Westdome Nursery. The trick is to balance the sweet with savory additions like fresh garlic and herbs in the dressing. This tasty dish was well received and one that I’ve already made again. Check out the recipe below.

 

Shrimp, Avocado and Strawberry Salad

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1-1.5 lb(s). peeled and deveined shrimp

2 cups of chopped strawberries

3 cups of microgreens (Can also mix in salad greens)

2 large avocadoes

2 tbsp. chopped green onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp. local honey

4 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. Red Stick Spice garlic and herb (no salt)

1 tbsp. Red Stick Spice Roasted Onion granules

Pinch of Red Stick spice aged balsamic vinegar sea salt (or reg sea salt)

 

Directions:

  1. Peel and devein shrimp and set aside. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add 2 tsp of each seasoning (minus salt) to shrimp and add to a hot skillet. Add a splash of water and sear for 3 minutes on both sides before removing from heat.
  3. In a medium serving bowl add vinegar and honey and mix until well blended. Add in oil.  Peel and press garlic in. If you do not have a garlic press, mince finely, then add to the bowl. Add in remaining seasoning. Mix well.
  4. Rinse and chop 2 cups worth of strawberries. Add to the bowl. Cut the avocado in half then score each half into bite-sized pieces before scooping into the bowl.
  5. You can chop shrimp or leave whole and add to the bowl. Rinse and chop green onion then add to the bowl.
  6. Add in micro greens and optional salad greens. You can also add in fresh herbs like parsley for an added layer of flavor. Mix well, serve and enjoy.

 

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Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

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Chicken is a go to protein for the average family, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Working with new clients for cooking sessions keeps me inspired to blend interesting flavors and textures together. Since chicken dishes were requested, I decided to jazz up the traditional and add a twist of different. This tomato basil balsamic chicken dish, paired with mashed cauliflower and potato medley, was flavorful and easy to make while introducing new flavors for my client. As a way to transform leftovers, this would make a wonderful sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mozzarella. Check out the recipe below and be sure to share your thoughts!

Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients:

5 large chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cups diced tomato (2 medium tomatoes)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

1 tbsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1 tbsp. garlic powder 

1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Rinse chicken and season lightly with half of the seasoning evenly.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, place the chicken seasoned side down. Season the other half. 
  3. Add a splash of water and lower the heat to medium. Flip the chicken after 2-3 minutes to continue to brown evenly. 
  4. Chop basil and tomatoes. Add to the skillet. Add a splash of water, the vinegar and flip the chicken again.
  5. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat. Plate and enjoy!