Category Archives: Healthy

Israeli Couscous with Enoki, Parmesan and Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette

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Addicting pasta gems!

I apologize for my hiatus. A lot has happened where I am now happily single again. I will not bore you with the details so on to my favorite topic…food!

LAX has made the best change ever to their Delta terminal (T5) recently. Lemonade moved in! Lemonade serves seasonal So Cal comfort food and some of their items like the Israeli couscous, wild mushroom, parmesan, lemon-truffle vinaigrette (that’s just one item) is uh-mazing! I travel often so when I travel with Delta, I make sure to stop by and get a container full of these little pasta guys to eat on the plane.

Ingredients: Serves 6 ish as an appetizer
1-2 pack of enoki mushrooms (stems cut off and rinsed)
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for a vegetarian dish)
1/2 cup lemon-truffle vinaigrette (see below)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Dressing: Makes 1/2 cup (mix all ingredients)
Juice of 1 lemon
6 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp white truffle oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Guide:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the mushroom on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle sea salt, pepper then toss. Roast them in the oven until it turns brown and caramelized (20 min)

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On a large skillet, toast the couscous over medium heat until they are golden brown. (5 min)
Pour in the broth, cover and simmer until tender. (10-12 min)

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Once the couscous cools down, mix couscous, mushrooms, dressing and parmesan cheese in a bowl.

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Serve room temp. or cold and enjoy!

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Keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days or so. Ingredients won’t go bad but the couscous starts to harden over time.

Jamaican Style Oven-baked Chicken

JA Oven Baked Chicken
Crispy yet moist chicken – BAKED!

I missed my extended Jamaican family so I pulled out an old-school Jamaican recipe by Enid Donaldson and made my own version (really, just different ratio of ingredients) of the oven-baked chicken.

Ingredients: Serves 2-4 (depends on how much you eat)
3-4 lb chicken thighs with or without skin (also can use breast, legs, etc.)
4 cloves of garlic
2 stalks green garlic (or 1 stalk scallion – white and green part)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs vinegar
3 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp poultry spice mix (or your choice of dried herbs)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs butter or margarine – melted
½ cup ketchup
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup panko (bread crumbs)

Guide:
Finely dice garlic cloves and green garlic (or scallion). Mix garlic and green garlic along with vinegar and thyme in a container or plastic bag large enough for the chicken and the vinegar mix to marinade. Combine chicken with the vinegar mix and marinade for 10 min.

Take the marinated chicken out into a separate container large enough for the chicken. Dump the vinegar mix and discard. Flavor the marinated chicken with salt, sugar, herbs (of your choice), and black pepper.  Mix ketchup, evaporated milk and melted butter and combine with marinated chicken. Marinade in this pink sauce for at least 30 min. (I marinated overnight)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the marinated chicken out and pat  dry-you don’t want it to be too wet or else the breadcrumbs will get too moist and lose that crispy texture. Lay the skin side of the chicken (or either side if skinless) into the panko and place the chicken breaded side up on a greased pan. Sprinkle or spray the top of the chicken with a little bit of oil.(I used pam spray)

Bake for 45-1hour. Serve warm or cold.

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*Why I don’t bread both sides – When baking, the juice from the chicken oozes out and  gets absorbed by the panko and gets too gooey on the bottom.

*If you pack this for lunch, your cubicle neighbors will for sure smell the garlic!

Collard Greens con Yolky Eggs

First time working with collard greens!

I cooked it just like I do with kale and it came out yummy! The eggs somewhat neutralizes the bitterness.

 
Ingredients: Serves 2 as a side dish
1 bunch collard greens – rinsed well, leaves torn off of the hard center stems

2 Tbs olive oil

5-7 cloves or garlic – smashed and peeled

pinch of sea salt

pinch of black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (1 wedge)

4 eggs

Guide: 

Wash leaves, rip the green leaves off the ribs and remove stems – basically just want the green leaves) – Tear them up into large pieces.

Heat a medium-large sized pan, add oil and garlic cloves, heat over medium high heat.  (make sure you don’t burn the garlic – will become semi bitter)

Add greens to the pan, sprinkle salt and pepper and stir occasionally until greens are wilted.  Overdoing it will lose the bright green color.

Squeeze  lemon juice, remove greens from the heat and set aside.

Cook eggs to your liking and mount it on the greens. (I prefer over easy)

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Serve it with a buttered toast and coffee. It’s healthy and delicious!

Baked Stuffed Peppers

 

Too easy you say? Yes, extremely easy and delicious.

Thanks for the peppers Lori!

 

Ingredients: Serves 2 as a side
4 small bell peppers (green if you like crunchy, yellow if you like semi crunchy.)
½ cup meat sauce (I used my leftover turkey meat sauce)
Handful shredded mozzarella cheese

 
Guide:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut the top off of the bell peppers, remove all seeds and veins carefully not to puncture or break the peppers. Stuff them with some meat sauce; top it off with a good amount of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until cheese is slightly burnt and peppers are tender.

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If you want to keep the peppers crunchy but melt and burn the cheese, increase heat to 400 and reduce baking time. (Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t over burn)

Caramelized Roasted Beets

 

Beets beets beets. What to do with beets besides juice them in the juicer? Roast them!

Ingredients:
3 medium sized beets
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 – 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp fresh thyme – chopped

Guide:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Scrub the beets clean of any dirt (you’re not going to peel them).
Chop off ½ inch on the top and bottom to get a clean base.
Use a mandolin and slice them thin (5mm) very carefully, or slice them using a knife very carefully.
Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and thyme.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, lay the beets flat making sure they’re not overlapping each other too much to ensure even roasting. Pop them in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Once time is up, put the baking sheets on a cooling rack and let them cool for few minutes. You’re done!

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Roasted beets caramelize and come out very sweet. They go perfect in a salad that uses vinaigrette dressing (something zesty or tart).

Ribollita Soup (Tuscan Bread and Veggie Soup)

Just like everyone, I have a lot going on in my life and I can’t ALWAYS cook. I saw this recipe on Bare Foot Contessa and since I’m a fan of loading up my soup with veggies, this one was perfect! I load mine up with more veggies than she does but it’s all up to you how much you want to use.

This soup is one of those delightful meals that you can make ahead and freeze until when you really need it. It freezes so well that if you don’t say anything, your family or friends won’t even know it was frozen. Plus, it has so many kinds of veggies that it picks me up when I’m super tired.

 

Ingredients: Serves 8-10 big bowls
1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini (or 2 cans of beans)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 pound smoked bacon – diced
3 cups yellow onions (2 medium onions) – chopped
2 cups carrots (4-5 carrots) – chopped
1 1/2 cups celery (4 stalks) – chopped
3 tablespoons garlic (6 large cloves) – minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree – chopped
Whole savoy cabbage – coarsely chopped (it’s a lot, but wilt down to very little)
1 bunch of kale – coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves – chopped
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed (if you’re planning to freeze your soup, do not add bread just yet)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan – for serving

 

Guide:
*Skip this step if using canned beans
If using dry beans: In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the bacon and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the entire can of tomatoes with their puree, cabbage, kale, basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

If using dry beans: Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid.
If using canned beans: Drain the beans from the can, rinse the beans to remove starch

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid (or water) – this adds thickness to the soup. Add to the pot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid or water into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

*If you’re planning on freezing the soup, set whatever portion you’re planning on eating now aside and add bread just to that portion
Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan

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Don’t worry if you’re like me and didn’t think ahead to soak the beans in water overnight! I just used 2 cans of Great Northern and they worked GREAT.

Herbed Quinoa with Lemon Zest

This is another dish I crave like no other. It’s extremely popular amongst my friends too. When I think about it, I can almost smell the lemon zest, basil, and the nuttiness of the Quinoa (keen-wa). I saw Giada make this on her show once and although I had NO IDEA what on earth QUINOA was (they’re seeds), I decided to go buy a bag to see how I like it since I enjoy trying new things. As a result, I am a QUINOA LOVER.

Ingredients: Serves 4
Quinoa:
2 ¾ cups Low sodium chicken stock
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice (for me, it took 2 juicy lemons)
1 ½ cups Quinoa

Dressing to mix into cooked Quinoa:
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Fresh lemon juice (2 more juicy lemons)
¾ cup Fresh basil – thinly chopped
¼ cup Fresh parsley – chopped
1 Tbs Fresh thyme – chopped
2 tsp Lemon zest
*Kosher Salt and pepper (optional)

 

Guide:
Cook Quinoa by combining chicken stock, lemon juice, and Quinoa in small-medium pot.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes.
If you see the Quinoa puffed up, and no liquid on top it’s ready. *Should not be watery like porridge.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, other ¼ cup of lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest in a bowl large enough to mix the Quinoa into and set aside.
Once the Quinoa is cooked, dump the quinoa in the dressing bowl and toss to mix. (Do not mash it up)
Taste it and add salt and pepper if you’d like. I usually don’t find it necessary.

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I think it tastes best fresh and at room temperature but it’s still delicious for another couple of days if stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.