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GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

GRITS WITH ROASTED VEGTABLES AND EGG

I love Southern cooking and I loved shrimp and grits. It is probably my favorite southern dish. Last weekend, I had a huge craving for Shrimp and Grits, but I did not have the patience to make the cream just right and I did not have shrimps at home so the idea of Shrimps and grits was tossed out the window. BUT I really wanted grits - so a quick rummage through the contents of my fridge and pantry and this is where we ended up for dinner. This recipe checks all my favorite boxes when it come to a recipe -

  • Hearty Breakfast - Check
  • Perfect for Breakfast for Dinner - Check
  • Easy to Make - Check
  • Ah-mazingly Delicious - Check

My favorite part of this recipe is the roasted vegetable - which you can substitute for your favorite veg. I have used spinacj and tomatoes here, but you can add in mushrooms, kale, celery - whatever floats your boar. Serve the veggies on a serving of grits and place a fried (or poached) egg on top. Dinner  (or breakfast /lunch) is served. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • salt and pepper

HOW TO:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Toss tomato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Set on an oven safe tray and roast in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. 
  • While tomato is roasting,  sautee spinach with olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium skillet over medium low heat until spinach is wilted. 
  • Cook grits according to package directions.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium low heat. Crack egg into a small bowl*.
  • When oil is hot, add to heated oil gently. 
  •  Season with salt and pepper. Cook till you have your preferred consistency.
  • Plate the grits, top with half the tomatoes, layer spinach over it and the remainder tomato. Drizzle with the dripping of the roasted tomato.
  • Plate egg over it. Serve. 

Recipe Tip. When frying or poaching an egg, I recommend breaking the egg into a bowl to make sure there are no egg shells in the egg before preparation. 

A Bridal Shower Menu

A Bridal Shower Menu

Happy New Week everyone. How was your weekend ? Mine was amazing. Two of my dear friends got married this weekend and it was a lot of fun. Not even the stomach bug on Saturday could keep me down. It was also amazing to spend time with old friends - we had a lovely reunion to go along with celebrating our dear friends. The wedding weekend inspired today's recipes.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to host a bridal shower for one of my dearest friends. A lot about the event did not go according to plan - venue had some issues , out of town guests had flights cancelled - it would have been an absolute disaster, but the love radiating from those in attendance saved the day (that, and the food). 

For today's recipes - I thought I would share recipes from the bridal shower.  We hired a caterer to prep the main course, but the nibbles, snacks and drinks were homemade. I could not believe how easy it was to put together. Here are the snacks and drinks that were on hand and recipes for how to make them.

Butterscotch Milk Shake

What you need: 2 cups vanilla ice cream ; 2 cups of butterscotch chips ; 1 to 2 cup whole milk

How To: Combine the ice cream ; butterscotch chips and 1 cup of milk in a blender. Blend the ingredients together. Add more milk if the consistency is too thick until you have the desired consistency. Serve chilled.

Honey Roasted Almonds

What you need: 3 cups of almonds; 1/2 cup of sugar; 1/2 cup honey; 1 teaspoon salt; Cooking spray

How To: Preheat over to 350 F ;  Spray almonds with cooking oil; Then toss almonds with sugar, salt and honey; Spread out on a lined oven safe tray. Place in oven and toast for 20 to 30 minutes. Let it cool down before serving.

Fresh Strawberries with Sour Cream Dip

What you need: 3 cups of sour cream; 1 1/2 cups of powered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

How to: In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together until it is fully combined. Serve with fresh strawberries.

Arnold Palmer

What you need: Equal parts ice tea and lemonade

How to: Combine ice tea and lemonade; stir and serve over ice.

Safe Sex on the Beach

What you need. 15 oz cranberry juice ; 15 oz grapefruit juice ; 10 oz peach nectar ; Cherry (optional for garnish)

How to: Combine cranberry juice; grapefruit juice and peach nectar. Mix throughly and serve over ice. Garnish with cherry.

Virgin Berlini

What you need. 2 oz peach nectar ; 1 oz pineapple juice ; 2 oz Sparkling wine (Chilled, non alcoholic) ; frozen sliced peaches (optional for garnish)

How to: Combine peach nectar, pineapple juice and sparkling wine, give it a good stir (shake). Add frozen peaches as garnish.

Sweet Potato and Turkey Chilli

Sweet Potato and Turkey Chilli

My comfort food - Do you have a comfort foodrecipe ? Something you cook up on a rainy day or at the end of a crappy and very long day. Lately , its been this sweet potato and turkey chilli. Something about the sweetness of the potato and the savory turkey is warm and comforting. Food with warmth is what I have been craving lately. 

I have been on the East Coast the last week and half, first in MA  now in ME - both places at the center of that snow storm that's been on the news. I miss Texas winter , my apartment, my kitchen (oh my Kitchen) and homecooked meals - there were some really great eats while I was in Boston last weekend, but nothing beats home cooked. I have been thinking about this recipe quite a bit - it's so simple, but it really is the simple things that sometimes have a big impact. 

First thing I am doing when I l get back to TX is pick up some sweet potatos and make a batch of this - until then, here is a recipe I think you can gonna love (and if you are in harsh winters like me - hope you are keeping warm)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz ground turkey (or beef)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

In a large sauce pan, heat oil. Add ground turkey to heated oil (use wooden spoon to break turkey apart). Cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until turkey is cooked. Add all seasoning, onion, green peppers, garlic and tomato to turkey and cook on medium heat till vegetable is soft.

Stir sweet potato into the mixture plus 1 cup of water, bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium and let it simmer until sweet potato is cooked (about 20 to 25 minutes)

Serve hot. Garnish with green onions (optional)

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Happy New Year !!! Welcome to 2015.

peppermint hot chocolate 3

Do you have any new year's resolution ? I have not made any resolutions in the last 4 years, but I think I am making a few this year - some with regards to this blog, then drawing closer to God (not just going to Church, but really making a concious effort to meditate on the word and serve). Other resolutions are fitness related - not losing weight, but getting healthy ( no more hyperventilating when I go up a flight of stairs). 

So I was debating how the new year will start off on the blog - what recipe do I want to share (and whether I was even going to post on the first day of the new year). While debating all that, I decided to make some hot chocolate. It was just gonna be a pack of starbucks instant and some hot water, but then I thought, let's heat up some milk and make it a bit special - it is the first day of the year after all. Then I found myself reaching for the cocoa powder and before you know it, I had the whipped cream can and marshmallow out - the rest is ... well ... the rest is this awesome, easy hot chocolate recipe that you should make as soon as you done reading this post. 

Guys, this is a good one. Honestly, if you have never made anything on this blog - you should make this. It is so so good. 

peppermint hot chocolate

Recipe notes: I used sweetened cocoa powder (and added 2 tablespoons of sugar) because I was having my one of maybe 4 days of sweet tooth for the year, so this is really sweet. If I make this again, I will plan to switch to unsweetened cocoa or if I stick with the sweetened stuff, reduce the sugar. Also, the garnish options are limitness, don't just stick to what I have here, go crazy - add in some wafers, lady fingers - whatever you fancy.

Cheers to 2015. 

peppermint hot chocolate 4
peppermint hot chocolate 5
peppermint hot chocolate 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespon sugar, optional

For Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Marshmallow
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut Shavings
  • Peppermint Shavings

How to

In a medium sauce pan (over medium-high heat), heat up half and half and heavy cream. Once it starts to bubble up, stir in the peppermint extract and vanilla extract , turn heat down to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Then stir in cocoa powder, keep stiring until the cocoa if fully dissolved. Stir in sugar. Let it simmer on low heat for about 2 to 3 minute.

Pour in a cup and garnish with marshmallow, whipped cream, chocoate chips, coconut shavings and peppermint shavings.

Serves 2



Cranberry Oatmeal

Cranberry Oatmeal

I have the testing recipes for christmas breakfast - I have a few friends and family coming my way for Christmas and each one has different taste in food - so I am trying to get ahead with a menu plan. Lunch and Dinner menu is already set - but breakfast is wide open. We have a few oatmeal lovers - so I thought I would add oatmeal to the menu (along with some baked goods - to be decided on later or maybe I will go the lazy route and pick up a few things from whole foods. There will be fresh toast - I am thinking it will be this Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry Sauce (or maybe I will try to create something different).

Anyways - the one thing that is sure for on the breakfast menu is this cranberry oatmeal - it is so good. I like to make my own cranberry sauce, but you can use store bought to save some time. Once you have the cranberry - its really very simple to throw together. Also, I have used almond milk here for a healthier version, but you can use any milk you have at home.

So why cranberry oatmeal ? - Well, cos its Christmas and regular ole oat meal just won't do.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • diced diced, for garnish (optional)
  • shave almonds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup water, spice and cranberry sauce in a medium sauce pan. Once it starts to simmer, stir in salt, milk and water and bring to boil.

Once boiling, stir in oats, sugar, vanilla and almond extract, reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens to you liking, remove from heat. 

Top with desired topping, freshly diced apples, splash of milk, almond. Serve immediately.

Spicy Kale, Pea and Macaroni Soup with Whole Wheat Fontina Toasties

Spicy Kale, Pea and Macaroni Soup with Whole Wheat Fontina Toasties

spicy kale, pea and macaroni soup

I was on the road tons in November and as much as I love to travel, there is always a problem with travelling this time of year, the odds of getting ill are very very high - constant change in temperatures, environment and it doesn't help that my allergies are constantly having a party. After one of my trips, I got insanely sick - stuffed noses, arching body - you know how it goes. All of that made me miss the christening of my bestie's first baby and I had to seat for an exam later that week - so I had to nip this whole aching, scratching, sneezing thing in the bud quickly - spicy kale, pea and macaroni soup to the rescue.

The spiciness of the soup cleared up the stuffiness real quick, throw in some rest and I was feeling better in no time. Now about the recipe, I used unshelled edamame in the soup (because that's all I had at home), but shelled edamame works better. If you use shelled edamame, you will need 1 cup, also the shallots are highly recommended, there is a flavoring that comes from shallots that cannot be replicated. 

Oh - how can I forget the fontina toasties (just a fancy name for grilled cheese). The gooey cheese sandwich paired with the spicy soup is perfection. For the bread I used saaa wheat organic bread (a goodie I picked up during my trip East), but you can use any bread you have available.

What you need

For the soup (serves 3)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup diced onion 
  • 1 jalepeno, diced
  • 1 clove shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 teaspoon hot sauce

For the Fontina Toasties

  • 2 slices of bread
  • knob of butter
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese

How to

Spicy Kale, Pea and Macaroni Soup

Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once butter is melted, add the onion and stir till onion is coated. Cook until on onion is softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in jalepeno, garlic, shallot, paprika, salt, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas and edamame, cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the kale, continue stiring until the kale is wilted. Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Add in the macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and let it cook for a minute or two. Serve with fontina toasties on top.  

Whole Wheat Fontina Toasties

Butter each side of each slice of bread. On the non-buttered side, pile on the grated fontina cheese - I used about a 1/2 cup of the grated fontina (use as much as you want). Place the other non-buttered side onto of the cheese, leaving the buttered side face up.

Place the sandwich in a panover medium-high heat and fry until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side, about 5 minutes on each side. The cheese should be fully melted by now. If not, turn the heat down and cook until the cheese starts to ooze out of the sandwich. 

Serves 3/ 30 minutes

simple [quick] pancake recipe

simple [quick] pancake recipe

simple [quick] pancake recipe
simple [quick] pancake recipe
simple [quick] pancake recipe
simple [quick] pancake recipe

A few weeks ago I was having a converation with a friend's sister, she recently moved into her first place and having to cook for herself for the first time. She mentioned she was bored with take out and wished she could at least make pancakes. The conversation ended with her asking me to send her some of my favorite easy recipes. This pancake recipe was the first one I sent to her. This is one of the first things I learned how to make; I have tried and created different pancake recipes since that first one, but I always come back to this one.

It is simple, fluffy and easy to make and my friend's sister has been whipping this up every weekend since I sent it to her.  

What you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • butter, for cooking

How to:

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, egg, baking powder, sugar and milk and whisk. It is ok if your batter has lumps, the tiny lumps make the pancake fluffy. Let the batter rest for five to ten minutes.

Heat the frying pan on medium-low heat. Brush some butter on the heated pan. Using a one-third measuring cup, scoop batter into the pan. Cook until tiny bubble start to form on top, then flip over and cook for another minute or two.

I like to top with honey, cinnamon sugar or spread nutella or peanut butter on top.  You can also serve with yogurt and fruit.

Serves 2 / 30 minutes

simple [quick] pancake recipe

Baked Salmon in Spinach and Caper Sauce

Baked Salmon in Spinach and Caper Sauce

Ah - this week has been cray cray. I have been starring at books and computer screens all week, the words are starting to run together. I needed something light and quick and this was the perfect recipe. Usually I go for pasta when I want quick, but I have been on a pasta fest lately (see here and here), I wanted to switch things up a bit. The sauce is the best part of this recipe  - baked salmon is great and all, but this sauce makes it so much more. I adapted the recipe slightly from this recipe by crepes of wrath. Sydney says this is one of the best things she has ever made in 2014 (and I have to agree completely). 

This is a recipe you can make yours - I baked my salmon instead of broiling it. I also added capers to the sauce to give it my own twist.  Switch up the greens. Sydney's recipe used ramps, but I used spinach - she suggests using tender greens - so no kale or chards.

What you need

The Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pamesean cheese, for garnish (optional)

How To:

The Sauce

In a sauce pan, brown the butter. Roughly chop spinach and green onions. Add green onions to butter and cook for about 3 minutes, then add caper and cook for about a minute. Add spinach and cook until it is wilted down. Add cream, pepper (and a pinch of salt if needed).  

The Salmon 

  • Salmon filet
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

How to:

The Salmon

Preheat oven to 250 F. Create a boat with the foil, coat the foil with butter, salt and pepper. place salmon fillet on the buttered surface, season top of salmon with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Wrap up the foil and baked in oven for 10 to 12 mins for medium rare or 12 to 15 mins for well done. 

Plate the salmon and drizzle sauce on top (garnish with pamesean cheese)

Tip: Capers are naturally salty, so I suggest giving it a taste before adding salt.

Spaghetti Con L'uovo Fritto

Spaghetti Con L'uovo Fritto

Don't let the fancy name fool you, this is a very simple recipe and the l'uovo fritto (fried egg) is the cherry on top. After making this recipe, I have to say - everything is better with a fried egg on top. I made this for din din last night and it is a recipe I reach for often. The key to this recipe (other than the fried egg) is the sauce - this roasted tomato crema.  I make a large batch of the sauce and refrigerate till I am ready to use. Having a batch of the sauce on hand makes this a fifteen minute recipe. Not to worry, even if you have to make the sauce, you will still have dinner ready in under forty minutes.

Roasted Tomato Crema

What you need (makes about a cup and half)

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup sirachi sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

How To:

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, oregano, olive oil and a pinch of salt, toss together. Then transfer to a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees

Once the tomatoes are roasted, take out and let it cool for a few minutes. Put roasted tomatoes in a food process or blender (save the juice in the baking tray). Add garlic and puree. Then add sirachi sauce, cream and chipotle pepper and puree till you have a smooth consistency.

In a sauce pan, combine juice from roasted tomatoes with the puree, add brown sugar and pinch of salt (if needed). Bring to a light boil on medium heat. Take off heat and serve as you want - like with roasted corn or with spaghetti and fried egg.

Spaghetti and Fried Egg

  • 4 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup of roasted tomato crema 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of parmeasean cheese
  • Knob of butter, optional
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How to

Cook Pasta according to package directions, I like to cool it al dente, because it is going to cook further in the sauce.

In a sauce pan, scoop in 1/2 cup of roasted tomato sauce (if you are using refreigerated sauce like I did), then add a knob of butter. Toss sauce and cooked spaghetti , until the spaghetti is fully coated. Turn heat down to low and let it cook for two to three minutes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium low heat. Crack egg into a small bowl*. When oil is hot, add add to heated oil, gently, Season with salt and pepper. Cook till you have your preferred consistency.

Plate the pasta, garnish with parmeasean cheese and top with fried egg and serve

* crack the egg in a boil to make sure there are not shells in it before cooking.

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Pomegranate and Almond

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Pomegranate and Almond

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Pomegranate and Almond

While travelling for work, one of the great struggle is eating good, healthy and hearty meals. It is usually a toss up between frozen dinners and crappy takeout. I usually go for the forzen dinners (of the organic variety), makes me feel better about what I am eating; except for last week - I went on a binge fest that include eitenmenn's deviled cake for lunch one day and several unhealthy choices. While home over the weekend, I wanted to remedy that not so smart move with some smart choices, I also wanted it to be quick and easy - that is where this quinoa salad recipe from Stephanie at I am a food blog came in handy - I bookmarked the recipe a few month ago and there was no better time to reach for it. Stephanie's recipe called for apple, cranberries and hazelnut. I went with apple, pomegranate and almond instead - it was so good.  You can find Stephanie's recipe here.

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Pomegranate and Almond

What you need.

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 apple of choice, cured and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 toasted shave almonds
  • seed from half a pomegranate
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh herbs, for garnish

Heat skillet over medium low heat, add oil and celery. Cook until celery is tender, without browning. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, celery, toasted shaved almond, apple and pomegranate. Squeeze lemon juice on, drizzle with a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Let it rest for 30 minutes to allow flavours to meld. Serve, garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Pomegranate and Almond