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!

 

 

New Reality, New Options

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Hi all! Hope you and your families are well during these difficult times. I know it’s been a while since my last post. So I must say, in this new age amid the Corona virus, I’ve been exploring vegan and vegetarian meal options with the random food shortages. The first week I saw no meat in the multiple stores, I found this vegan gem in Trader Joe’s that made my taste buds rejoice. As a southerner through and through, I love crab cakes. So let me say I was highly skeptical of anything described as a “crab-less crab cake”. Color me surprised that Trader Joe delivered a truly tasty meatless alternative that I quickly went and purchased more of.

In this new age, I will be keeping to my tradition of cooking most of my weekly meals with one “take out option”. Given the pandemic that translates to my girl Sandra’s “semi-homemade” concept.  These frozen “crab cakes” I’ve eaten both with a mixed greens salad and a warmed avocado, cabbage and leek salad. As a part of my path to maintaining healthy, I’m consuming as many prebiotic and probiotic foods as possible. So please note that avocado and leeks, both used in this dish, are probiotic foods which contain the fibers needed to feed the probiotics in your gut which promote good gut health. More than likely, the next few recipes will be focused on this. So amid my home productions of kimchi, kombucha and banana walnut breads (more probiotics :)), I will be sharing other recipes focused on probiotics and probiotics to help keep your body and your gut healthy amid these uncertain times. Stay safe and well and as always let me know your thoughts!

P.S. I’d like to give a shout out to Trader Joe’s and their social distancing practices and the added bonus of the bouquet of flowers they gave each guest in my store!

“Crab cake” salad

Ingredients:

2 jackfruit cakes (trader joes)

Pinch onion powder

Pinch garlic powder

2 cups of mixed greens

1/2 avocado sliced

1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup sliced cucumber

1/4 cup sliced cherry tomato

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp. coconut, avocado or olive oil

Directions:

  1. Defrost “crab cakes” for 1 hour prior to cooking.
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet. While heating rinse cucumber, greens and tomato.
  3. Add cakes to the oil.
  4. Add washed greens to a bowl. Peel and slice cucumber before seasoning cakes with onion and garlic powder, then flip.
  5. Slice tomatoes in half and add tomato and cucumber to greens.
  6. Slice avocado and season to taste before adding to salad. Top with vinegar then cakes.


“Crab Cake” and Cabbage

Crab cake ingredients:

2 jackfruit cakes (trader joes)

Pinch onion powder

Pinch garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. coconut, avocado or olive oil

cabbage ingredients:

2 cups of chopped Napa cabbage

1 cup chopped leeks

1 1/2 tsp. coconut, avocado or olive oil

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp. onion powder

1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

1/4 cup of water

Directions:

  1. defrost cakes 1 hr before beginning to cook.
  2. Rinse small Napa cabbage, cut in half and then into fourths. Cut a fourth into strips to “shred”
  3. Rinse leeks, cut off tops and save for stock, then cut thick stem into thin ribbons. In a medium pan, add oil and then leeks. Cook for 2 minutes to soften before adding cabbage. Add seasoning, vinegar and water and stir well before reducing heat.
  4. In a small pan heat oil and brown cakes on both sides. Cut a half of avocado and season with a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder.
  5. Plate cabbage mix, top with avocado and then crab cakes.

Easy spicy citrus shrimp

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As a gal on the go, easy meals are a huge win for me. I prepped a nice batch of spicy citrus shrimp to go with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes and greens and also on top of my beloved avocado toast. Check out the recipe below.

Spicy Citrus Shrimp

Ingredients:

2 lbs shrimp

1 1/2 tbsp red pepper flake

1 juiced lemon

2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

4 tbsp minced garlic salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and devein shrimp (it defrost if using frozen).
  2. Peel and mince roughly a head of garlic.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add garlic and red pepper flake. Sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add shrimp and sear for 2 minutes on one side. Juice half a lemon season side up.
  5. Flip them gently and juice the other half of lemon. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for an addition 2 minutes and remove from heat.
  7. Enjoy with avocado toast or beside a carb and vegetable of your choice.
  8. Enjoy.

Seared Tuna Steak Salad

Tuna Steak 2

 

I know it’s been a while since my last post! I am hopeful I will be able to apply some of the principles I’m learning in my operations class to make more time for posting. 🙂 Check out this quick tuna steak recipe. I added this chilled on top of a mixed green salad with avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, cucumber and tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Tasty and simple! As always, please share your thoughts.

Ingredients:

5 oz tuna steaks (2)

1 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp coarse black pepper

1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

 

Directions:

 

  1. In a small bowl or ramekin add soy sauce and honey and mix well until honey is dissolved.
  2. Juice the orange, grate the ginger and and add to the bowl. Add salt and cayenne and mix well.
  3. In a gallon ziploc bag, add tuna steak and marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add steaks and add coarse black pepper to the top side up. (This will make a crust once flipped.)
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes then flip and repeat.
  6. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Add on top of you favorite salad mix.

Seafood Pasta

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As it is growing colder in my new neck of the woods, my desire for comfort food increases. This seafood pasta is an easy win and is good for four servings. Since pasta can often  be heavy, I lightened the load with some fresh herbs and bright citrus. I also am a fan of heat and added some red pepper flake to spice things up. I went with a frozen bag of seafood from Trader Joe’s for my dish but of course fresh is always preferred. Check out the recipe below.

Seafood Pasta

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked pasta

1 lb mixed seafood (shrimp, scallops, calamari)

1/2 of a lemon

1/4 cup of white wine

2 tbsp butter

1/2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (a whole if spicy preferred)

1 cup diced onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/8 cup chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Defrost seafood and boil pasta ahead of time.
  2. Add oil to a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
  3. Slice onion in half and cut off one end. Peel off skin leaving on one end for stability then slice into strips before dicing.
  4. Peel and mince garlic and add both onion and garlic to the pan.
  5. Add seafood to pan and sir well for 2 minutes. Add wine and juice lemon seeded side up to deglaze pan and reduce heat.
  6. Add pasta and butter and seasoning and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Mix well then turn off heat.
  7. Rinse and chop parsley.
  8. Plate and top with parsley.
  9. Enjoy!

Hello Sheppard’s Pie

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I know it’s been a while since my last post. I made a life change and decided to go back to school full time. Who would have thought I’d be more busy in school than working full time?! But school or not, a girl has got to eat. While I have been cooking, I haven’t been posting so my goal is to get to a new normal schedule.

I’m starting with my take on Sheppard’s pie. Spoiler alert, this is not your mom’s Sheppard’s pie. It has elements of healthy with an infusion of vegetables and loads of flavor. My philosophy is the vegetables balance the butter that is absolutely required for the potatoes. This pan makes enough for 8 to 10 servings depending on if your into generous portions. Check out the recipe below. 🙂

Sheppards Pie

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground turkey

2 cups diced carrot

2 cups diced zucchini

1 cup of diced bell pepper

1 cup peas

3 cups diced onion

1/4 cup minced garlic

6 oz tomato sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste with Italian seasoning

1 tbsp red pepper flake

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

2 tbsp of garlic and onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups of mashed potatoes

1/2 tbsp. avocado oil

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup of parsley (optional garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and dice 2-3 large potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until potatoes can be pierced smoothly with a fork.
  3. Peel and dice onion. Add one cup to potatoes. Peel and mince garlic and add both to a medium pot over medium heat with oil.
  4. Peel and chop carrots and add to the pot with a splash of water to soften.
  5. Add ground turkey and brown with garlic and onion and carrots.
  6. While browning turkey, rinse zucchini, slice in half, then cut into strips before dicing. Rinse and dice bell pepper.
  7. Add diced zucchini and bell pepper to the pot. Open cans and stir in tomato paste, then add sauce and seasoning.
  8. Add peas then remove the pan from heat.
  9. Drain potatoes and onion and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add meat mixture to a oven-safe baking dish then add potatoes on top in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered to firm up the mixture.

5-Minute Meal

 

Spinach and Chickpea Salad

Sometimes a 5-minute meal is called for and for those, salads are an easy go-to. The trick is to get creative to prevent food boredom. This salad is easy to pair with any fish or chicken you may have already prepared. I am also a fan of a little help from the store with wine such as smoked or pastrami style salmon, low sodium smoked turkey or boiled shrimp. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

½ cup chopped tomatoes

1 can of drained organic chickpeas

¼ cup of diced onion

2 tbsp. shredded basil

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

The juice of one lemon and orange

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp crumbled feta

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.       Rinse and chop spinach and tomatoes and add to a medium bowl.

2.       Drain and rinse chickpeas if not low sodium.

3.       Finely dice onion and chop herbs. Add to the bowl.

4.       Juice citrus over bowl and add seasoning and feta. Mix well and enjoy.

Shrimp and Okra

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Shrimp and okra is a Southern Classic and a childhood favorite! With the random cold front, I was in the mood for something comforting. Though it’s early yet for farm fresh okra, I grabbed a pound of frozen okra from the produce stand to complement the Anna Marie Seafood shrimp I had from my local farmers market. My rule of thumb is pretty much a pound of each main ingredient: okra, shrimp and sausage. You can play with fresh stewed tomatoes from the market or use these quick tips for a quicker dish. This takes 30-45 minutes to make depending on the cook time or your okra, as some can be more slimy than others. Check out these tips below and enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

1 lb sausage

1 lb chopped okra (16oz)

1 14oz can stewed or diced tomato

1 14oz can tomato sauce

3 tbsp. fresh or dried Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano blends)

1 tsp. cayenne 

2 cups chopped onion

6 cloves garlic

4 cups water 

Directions:

  1. Add chopped onion to a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped okra and 2 cups of water. Cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Slice sausage. Peel and mince or press garlic cloves and add garlic and sausage to the pot.
  3. Add seasoning, remaining water, tomatoes and sauce. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and additional water if needed. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes. 
  5. Serve over rice or stand alone.
  6. Enjoy.

Salad Inspiration

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This tasty salad was inspired by the beautiful Brussel sprouts that are in season at the Red Stick Farmers market. You just can’t go wrong with feta and balsamic in a salad! Grilled chicken or shrimp or really any protein of your choice would be a great addition to this salad. You can also add other seasonal fruit and vegetables such as lettuce, strawberries or peppers for some added nutrients and flavors. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

 

Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups shaved Brussels Sprouts

2 cups chopped asparagus

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup sliced onion

2 tbsp. chopped nuts (optional

2 tbsp. feta cheese

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ tbsp. honey

3 cloves of garlic

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse vegetables. Peel and slice onion. Peel garlic.
  2. In a large bowl, add vinegar and honey and mix well to dissolve honey. Press in garlic or mince and add. Add sliced onion.
  3. Using a mandolin, thinly slice Brussel sprouts. If you do not have a mandolin, use a box grater. You want to break the sprouts down so that they are easier to eat.
  4. Add sprouts to the bowl. Trim asparagus by using one stalk and bending it to where it breaks naturally and trim the others the same length. This will help you avoid adding woody stems. Add to the bowl.
  5. Add cranberries, feta and nuts. Drizzle with olive oil, mix well.
  6. Enjoy.

 

 

Hearty Comfort

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With the hot and cold temperature fluctuations, I’ve found myself in need of a few comforting hearty meals to ward off the cold and to boost my immune system to prevent illness. One of my go-to dishes is smothered potatoes with sausage and peppers. It’s quick, easy and tasty. It also goes easily with pretty much any leafy green. Since I have plenty of greens to harvest, I sautéed some collards and mustards with fresh pressed garlic and apple cider vinegar to help break down the greens and make them tender. You can always add some sautéed chicken or fish for some added protein. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Smothered Potatoes Ingredients:

2 cups sliced red potatoes

2 cups sliced onion

2 cups chopped bell pepper

3 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

8oz sausage (I used Tennessee pride)

1/2 cup water

1/2 tbsp dried herbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Greens ingredients:

3-4 cups of chopped greens

1/2 cup water

4 tbsp. grated, pressed or chopped garlic

1/2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place large pan over medium heat and brown sausage.
  2. While cooking sausage, rinse peppers. Peel and slice onion and chop peppers. Add to the pan.
  3. Rinse and slice potatoes. Press garlic. Add both to pan with water then add seasoning. Top and reduce heat to low for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Rinse and chop greens (or use frozen).
  5. In a medium pot, add oil and garlic over medium heat.
  6. Add greens, water and seasoning then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Plate both and enjoy!