Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let's eat a rainbow!

There are many health articles out there encouraging us to eat lots of different colors throughout the day. This is because different colors mean giving our bodies an array of vitamins and minerals. I try to add lots of colors in most of my meals because it's nutrious and it's beautiful to look at.

Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Sides of Roasted Butternut Squash and Vegetables

1-2 lb Flank Steak
1 cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
5 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 T Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Mix parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt together.
2. Reserve 1/4 cup to use as dipping sauce
3. Marinate steak in the rest of the marinade for up to 8 hours (minimum 3)
4. Heat a grill pan on high heat
5. Grill each side 3-4 minutes
6. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing
7. Serve with reserved chimichurri sauce

*Roasted Butternut Squash is a very easy side to make not to mention lots of nutrients and fiber. The hardest part is peeling the squash which can be done with a vegetable peeler. Once you cut the squash into 1" cubes, it can be refrigerated and roasted in batches when you need it (up to a week).
- Toss squash cubes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Roast on a baking pan for 30-45 minutes

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Healthy Yet Flavorful

Fresh produce is so affordable and beautiful this time of year. I picked up some grape tomatoes and asparagus for a pasta primavera dish. It's basically a very light pasta dish with onions, garlic, vegetables and olive oil. I breaded some pork tenderloin with panko bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.

The breaded pork was baked in the oven so it was healthier than frying it in a pan. It came out crispy and juicy. It was perfect with the healthy pasta dish. I used whole wheat pasta for added fiber, nutrients and protein.

Parmesan Breaded Pork w/ Pasta Primavera

4-6 oz Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Egg Beaters
1/8 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 T dried parsley

1 cup Grape Tomatoes (halved)
1 cup Asparagus (cut into 2" pieces)
1 T Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onions (diced)
3 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

1/2 cup - 1 cup Cooked Pasta (use package directions)

1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F
2. Pound the pork with a mallet until it's 0.5" thick
3. Season pork with salt and pepper
4. In a shallow baking dish, mix parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper
5. Dip it in the egg beaters
6. Dip the pork in the breading mixture. Pat and pack the breading around the pork
7. Allow pork to rest for 3 minutes to set
8. While pork is resting, spray a baking dish with nonstick spray (PAM). Leave the baking dish in the oven to allow it to get a head start to warm up
9. Place pork on the baking dish and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes

10. Heat a deep skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil
11. Add onions and garlic in the oil to infuse flavor throughout the oil
12. Add tomatoes and asparagus. Saute the vegetables
13. Add the Worcestershire, spices, salt and pepper
14. Cook for 2-3 minutes
15. Add cooked pasta and mix thoroughly
16 Serve Immediately

*Feel free to add more parmesan cheese to the pasta

Thursday, May 13, 2010

French Toast Casserole

3 eggs
3 cups skim milk
1 T Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 T Cinnamon
4-5 cups Italian Bread (thick cubes)
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

For dusting: 2 T sugar, 1 T cinnamon

1) Cube Italian bread to fill up a deep casserole dish (approx 8x10)
2) In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and stir in milk, vanilla extract, sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup
3) Pour custard mixture over italian bread to soak it in. Stir carefully and pack in the bread to make it dense (no floaters!)
4) Add chocolate chips and mix evenly (carefully)
5) Cover and refrigerate until needed (I left overnight)

6) Pre-heat oven @ 350 degrees
7) Mix sugar and cinammon. Dust mixture of the top of the casserole
8) Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes (or until the top is nicely toasted)

Serve with a large spoon or spatula! It can feed at least 4-6 people. My leftovers were still crowd pleasers 3-4 days after making it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thai Lemon Red Snapper

Thai Red Snapper

1 lb Red Snapper
1/2 cup Rice Wine
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
2 T Fish Sauce
2 T White Sugar
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 cup Scallions
1 tsp Chilli Garlic Paste

1) Heat pan to high heat
2) Sear red snapper approximately 3-4 minutes each side
3) Mix wine, lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, garlic paste and scallions together
4) Turn heat down to medium
5) Pour mixture over fish and cover with lid
6) Alllow to simmer for an additional 4 minutes or until fish is cooked
7) Garnish with lemon slices

*Serve with a simple salad and rice
** Feel free to add serrano peppers or other spices to add additional heat!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quick and Cheap

I bought 4 lbs of Chicken Legs for $2.40. I only used 3 lbs of it so this dish only used $1.60 of meat! It's plenty to serve 3-4 people (e.g. lots of leftovers)

All in all, I would approximate this dish to be under $5!

Korean Inspired Chicken/Tofu Stirfry!

3 lbs Chicken (de-boned, cubed)
1 pkg Tofu
1/2 Sweet Onion (diced)
4 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 T Red Pepper Paste
2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1/2 pkg Dried Chicken Bouillon (~2 cubes)
1/4 cup Rice Wine
1 tsp Canola Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Season chicken with poultry seasoning
2) Heat a wok on high heat and add oil
3) Saute chicken about 1-2 min on each side
4) Saute onions and garlic with chicken
5) Mix in red papper paste and chicken boillon
6) Finish off with some rice wine, cover with lid and allow to simmer for 5 minutes
7) Serve with rice and Kimchi!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Slow cooking

Today I was in the mood to cook two new things I've NEVER made before. Thankfully, no one died of food poisoning!

I made Pork Carnitas in Tacos and Fresh Shrimp Ceviche

Even though the dishes were time consuming, both could be left alone for the majority of the time so I was free to do other things.

The Pork Carnitas (meaning small pieces of braised pork) could be used in sandwiches, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas... etc. I bought a giant hunk of pork butt for $8.40 (approx 5.2 lbs) so I cut the meat in half. I cooked half of the meat and froze the rest for another day. This was plenty of meat for 2-3 people. The pork was very juicy and flavorful. Don't be turned off by how fatty the cut of meat is because most of the fat gets rendered out in the braising/baking process.

Pork Carnita Recipes


2-3lbs Pork Butt (Shoulder Roast)
3 cups Chicken Stock
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
3 tsp Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Red Pepper
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
5 cloves Garlic (peeled)
1 Onion (roughly chopped)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1) Pour the chicken stock into the pot
2) Add the spices, tomato paste, garlic and onions into the liquid and mix
3) Place meat in the chicken stock
4) Pour water until braising liquid is covers the meat
5) Bring the pot to a boil then turn the heat to low heat
6) Allow the meat to simmer for 3 hours
* occasionally check on the meat and flip if necessary

7) Pull the meat out of the pot and shred with 2 forks
8) Preheat oven to 450F
9) Lay the meat evenly on a baking pan
* feel free to leave the fat with the meat because the oven will render out the fat (creating flavor)
10) Evenly sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat
11) Bake the shredded pork for 15-20 minutes or until pork caramelizes

12) Serve with fresh salsa, avocado, cheese, sour cream (whatever you like with your tacos)

Fresh Shrimp Ceviche

1 lb Shrimp (cleaned & deveined)
3/4 cup Lemon Juice (fresh)
3/4 cup Lime Juice (fresh)
1/2 Red Onion (diced)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
1 Serrano Pepper (seeded, minced)
1 Cucumber (peeled, diced)
4 Plum Tomatoes (seeded, diced)
1 Avocado (diced)

1/4 cup Cilantro (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1) Chop each shrimp into 4 even pieces (tiny morsels)

2) Put shrimp on a serving dish allowing them to lay flat

3) Pour lime and lemon juice over shrimp and allow shrimp to sit for 3 hours

4) Mix the rest of the ingredients with the shrimp and citrus

5) Allow ceviche to rest for another hour or more

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Eggplant Tower w/ Spaghetti Bolognese

Beef Roast w/ Seasonal Vegetables

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope everyone finds the time this week to cook something at home. Quick and easy doesn't have to mean boring and tasteless.

The eggplant towers were very easy to make.
1)Slice an eggplant into 1/2" slices and salt each side.
2) Allow water to be drawn out of the vegetable for a 10 minutes then pat it dry.
(This will allow the eggplant to brown easier in the skillet.)
3) Heat a skillet to high heat and spray some nonstick cooking spray
4) Sear the eggplant 2 minutes on each side then set aside
5) Preheat oven to 400F
6) Assemble the eggplant lasagna style by layering eggplant, marinara, cheese, basil and repeat!
7)Shave some cheese on top with a microplane
8) Bake the towers for 15-20 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly
9) Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley

Yummy goodness!