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!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Lunch

I went grocery shopping today and the chicken legs were 24cents/lb, which was a steal. I bought a bunch of packages to freeze separately. Four large chicken legs only cost $2.40.
The following recipe is a great handsoff recipe because you can leave the chicken in the oven and basically forget it for 35 minutes.

I served the dish with a simple garden salad and a parmesan orzo. The tartness from the salad dressing added brightness to the tender chicken.

A little salad + a little chicken + a little orzo = the perfect bite!

Roasted Chicken with Herbs
Ingredients: 1 Chicken Leg, 1 tsp Thyme, 1 tsp Paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper

(1) Preheat Oven to 375F
(2) Mix spices together
(3) Without pulling off the skin, separate the skin from the meat of the chicken with finger
(4) Season the meat with the spices (underneath the skin)
(5) Season the top of the skin
(7) Roast chicken for 35 min until juices run clear and skin is crispy

*You will see rendered fat in the pan so this dish is relatively low-fat. You can also eat the chicken without the skin but keep it on during the roasting process to keep the chicken tender

Sides to accompany the Chicken -->
Creamy Orzo with shaved Parmesan
Fresh Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Other ideas for cheap chicken legs is roasting a large batch of them well seasoned with herbs and salt/pepper. Allow the chicken legs to cool, shred the chicken and save the chicken for later during the week for quick sandwiches, wraps, salads, or spring roll wraps!

Friday, March 12, 2010

These came out so tender and flavorful. I purposefully used the red plate to make the meat standout.


1.5-2lbs Sirloin Steak (1" cubes)

1/2 thinly Onions (thinly sliced)

4 cloves Garlic (minced)

1/2 cup Soy Sauce

1/2 cup Rice Wine

1/4 cup Red Pepper Paste

1/2 cup White Sugar

1/2 cup Water

3 T Rice Wine Vinegar

Bamboo Skewers

Scallions (garnish)

(1) Mix the onions, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine, red pepper paste, sugar, water and vinegar together in a bowl

(2) Add the cubed steak and massage the marinade into the meat (mmm...)

(3) Marinate 8-12 hrs. (It is slightly acidic so don't overmarinate or you'll cause the meat to start cooking like a ceviche lol)

(4) Soak skewers for 30 minutes in water

(5) Brush marinade off the beef and skewer 3-4 pieces per bamboo skewer

(6) Allow skewers to sit at room temperature for 20 min (allows for even cooking if the middle of the meat isn't ice cold)

(7) Heat a pan on high heat and grill 1-2 min on each side of the skewer (don't overcrowd the pan or it'll bring down the tempature of the pan. Caramelized skewers = flavorful skewers as opposed to boiled dry meat)

(8) Rest the skewers on a plate covered with foil to allow the juices to redistribute.

(9) Serve and garnish with thinly sliced scallions


When a cheese meets a cake..

I was hosting a luncheon the other day so for a dessert I decided to bake a cheesecake from scratch.

Some people were asking me for the recipe I followed and this is what I came up with reading several sites with cheesecake recipes and putting together what I think will be disaster proof!

Some important tips before I write out the recipe.

@ Cream cheese should be at room temperature before you start creaming (to avoid lumps)

@ Wrap the bottom of the pan SECURELY with aluminum foil to avoid the water bath flowing into the cracks

@ Avoid opening/closing the oven door to peak at your creation. This messes up the even temperature. Leave it ALONE it will be FINE

@ Melting chocolate can be disasturous if you burn your chocolate. You can use a double boiler, boil hot water and melt the chocolate above the hot steam in another mixing bowl. Another option is melting the chocolate in a heatsafe container in the microwave. Heat in 10-15 sec intervals and stir the chocolate to get to desired consistency.

@ When slicing the cake, it's easier if you clean the knife with a clean towel after every slice so you don't make a mess and drag residue to another slice (I experienced this lol!)

2 cups Crushed Graham Cracker
1/2 cup of Butter
1 9"-10" Springform Pan

4 (8-oz) Packaged Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Whole Milk
4 Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 T Cocoa Powder


(1) Melt the butter in a microwave approx 30-40 sec at high (watch closely so not to burn the butter)
(2) With a fork, mix butter and graham cracker crumbs thoroughly
(3) Pour mix into pan and spread evenly (use the bottom of a measuring cup)
(4) Put the pan in the freezer until ready to use (I did it the day before and it was fine)

(5) Preheat oven to 350F
(6) Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil so water cannot seap in the bottom (double or triple layer if necessary)
(7) Allow creamcheese to get to room temperature
(8) Mix creamcheese in a mixing bowl until evenly whippped. Add sugar and mix until smooth.
(9) Use a rubber spatula to fold down the sides and mxi thoroughly for a no-lump cake
(10) Blend in milk and incorporate 1 egg at at time (just mix until smooth, no need to overbeat)
(11) Mix in vanilla, sourcream, and flour until smooth
(12) Set aside 2 cups of filling and pour the rest in the pre-made crust

(13) Melt semi-sweet chocolate using a double boiler or microwave
(14) Pour chocolate slowly into the filling you set aside. Add the cocoa powder and slowly mix until the batter is a chocolately color
(15) Pour the batter onto the cheesecake in small dollops or thin ringlets
(16) Using a skewer or chopstick, carefuly swirl a design on top of the cake. An easy way to get examples is youtubing videos of people doing it.

Note: I only wanted the design but not necessarly strong chocolately taste. If you want the proportions to be 40/60, feel free to set aside more batter and increase the amount of chocolate added.

(17) Set the cheesecake carefully into a larger pan (lasagna, casserole..etc) that allows room for a waterbath
(18) Place the cheesecake in the oven and carefully pour water in the outside pan until it immerses 3/4"-1" of the cheesecake.
(19) Close the oven and allow cheesecake to bake undisturbed for 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to rest in the oven for 4-5 hours
(20) Chill the cheesecake for at least 3-4 hours before you attempt to remove it from the pan. (I baked the cake the day before and didn't touch it until the morning after). Cut along the sides of the cake with a clean knife before you remove it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hey everyone!

Wow, I haven't updated this thing in a LONG time.
I'm going to continue posting again so thank you for PATIENTLY waiting!

I'm actually hosting a luncheon tomorrow for 9 people (including myself) so I spent the whole week cleaning, organizing, shopping, prepping, planning ...

You will notice some of the things I am preparing are my favorites in previous posts and recipes.
I was going to cook completely new things never served to guests but I realized I should play it safe since it is my FIRST time cooking for these people. I will test my new dishes on smaller crowds :)

The Menu

Double Tomato Bruschetta
Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Miso Glazed Salmon (Miso Yaki)
Korean Style Beef Skewers
Chicken Panang Curry

Roasted Butternut Squash with Thyme
White Rice (lol)
Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Marbled Cheesecake (made from scratch)
Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons
Fresh Strawberries

I'll post pictures of everything once I am done!