Pepper Steak

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Pepper steak is incredibly comforting and easy to make. Best of all, it fits in one. It can be eaten with mashed potatoes or your favorite rice dish and makes great leftovers. I love to add different vegetables like peppers, mushrooms and onion, but you can always add your favorite mix of seasonal veggies. Sauteed leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard or other greens make a great side dish. But for this go round I topped it with micro greens for the same nutrient packing punch with less of the chewing. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Pepper Steak

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large thick cut filet or ribeye steaks 

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 container of crimini mushrooms

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste 

1/2 cup of water

3 large red potatoes 

1/2 tbsp. butter 

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cube potatoes and add to water. Slice 1/2 of the onion into thin slices and add to pot.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. 
  3. Lightly season steaks on one side with garlic powder, a pinch of salt and pepper. Place season side down in the  skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Season other side.
  4. Rinse and chop bell pepper into large pieces. Cut large mushrooms into fourths and smaller in half.
  5. Flip steaks and move one side of the skillet. Add peppers and mushrooms. 
  6. Peel and slice onion into thin slices. Add to the skillet and add 1/2 cup of water.
  7. Reduce heat to simmer and top up pan. Cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Strain potatoes and onions and add 1/2 tbsp of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until chunky smooth.
  9. Plate and top with micro greens. (Optional)

Discover Farro

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I love to try out new whole grains, especially those that are versatile. Farro definitely makes the cut as a wonderfully nutritious grain that is kind of like a cross between rice and pasta. High in fiber and containing lower levels of gluten, farro is a great option to help lower risk for diseases such as heart disease and inflammatory diseases. To make it even better, Trader Joe’s offers a quick cook option of farro which makes it great as an option for a quick meal during the week. It’s easy enough to change up vegetables and flavor profiles with additions such as chickpeas or chicken, other herbs or a variety of vegetables. And with a cook and prep time of just about 17 minutes, it’s a hard, easy meal to pass up. This is a great meatless Monday option and can easily serve as a side to sautéed or grilled chicken, shrimp or dish. I typically like to make about 2 servings of chicken and shrimp to change things up and add a side salad or roasted vegetables. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts! 

Farro Salad

Salad Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes 

2 cups frozen spinach

1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced red onion

3 tbsp. feta cheese

1 1/2 cups dry quick cook farro

Sauce ingredients:

Juice of 1 lime

2 large cloves of garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh mint

2 scallions 

Pinch of water 

Directions:

  1. Put a medium pot of water over medium high heat to boil.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, wipe off excess dirt from mushrooms and slice thinly. Slice about 1/2 or a small red onion and add mushrooms and onion to a skillet with 1 cup of water. Simmer on medium heat. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Add farro to water once boiling and set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir once to prevent sticking. Cook frozen spinach in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Quarter about 6 cherry tomatoes and add to a medium bowl. Turn off mushrooms and onion once water evaporates.
  5. Using a small blender or bullet or ninja device, add sauce ingredients and blend well.
  6. Strain farro and add in spinach. Stir to help cool the farro and further cook spinach. Add to the bowl with tomatoes. Add in mushrooms and onion, sauce and add feta cheese.
  7. Serve and enjoy. 

Not Your Average Stir fry

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I’ve been exploring plant-based proteins as an option for at least one, meatless options during the week. I decided to venture out with firm tofu which I’ve had in various dishes but have never prepared at home. From what I know, tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it  with. I decided that strong flavors like garlic and ginger would be a great first try with an array of vegetables. The tofu did crisp up nicely on the ends and remained a soft, meaty  texture. I’ll definitely explore other flavor profiles and combos like perhaps shrimp with tofu as I really enjoyed how it came out! Please share your thoughts and tips on tofu preparation; I’m all ears! 🙂 Check of it the recipe below.

Garlic Ginger Tofu Stir Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

16oz firm tofu 

1 12oz-16oz bag of frozen broccoli defrosted

1 cup sliced sweet peppers chopped

2 cups of chopped zucchini (1 large)

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1/2 tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil

1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

1 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 tsp. honey

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper 

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce 

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 cups cooked rice 

Directions:

  1. Mix soy sauce and honey in a medium bowl with a fork until honey dissolves. Add sesame oil, juice and seasoning and mix well.
  2. Cut tofu block in half, then strips to cube it. Add tofu to larger bowl and coat in sauce. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. (Can also marinade overnight or in the morning before work.)
  3. Cook rice following cooking instruction. *optional: add 1 tbsp of flaxseed to rice for added nutrients.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium high heat and add oil.
  5. Add tofu to hot skillet with a fork or straining spoon (save marinade juice for remaining vegetables) and sear well on each side until brown. While it sears, chop onion and zucchini into large chunks and cut peppers into strips.
  6. Remove tofu and add vegetables. Add a splash (1/8 cup) of water and let steam for 3-5 minutes. 
  7. Add back tofu and remaining sauce and stir until everything is evenly coated. Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve over 1/2 cup cooked rice.

Summer Hash

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Every now and then, I get a craving for comfort food. One of my favorites is smothered potatoes. As a kid, I was always an early riser, and since the rest of the house slept long after I did, I taught myself to make potatoes my way. While I called them hash browns, my mom always would always tell me they were smothered potatoes. It’s a great dish any time of the day and a particular favorite of mine for breakfast or brunch.

For this morning’s food demo at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market, I decided to make a healthier version with some seasonal zucchini, peppers and kale. It is great to have access to such variety all in one place. Thank you Chenier Farm for a wonderful variety of produce, and Amato’s Winery for some tasty sausage! For some added nutrients, I topped the dish with some flavorful microgreens from the Westdome Nursery. My favorite way to eat this is with a scrambled or poached egg or two. J  Be sure to share your thoughts. Enjoy!

Green Onion Sausage and Veggie Hash

Serves 4:

Ingredients:

¾ lb. fresh green onion sausage

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped red potato

1 cup of chopped zucchini

½ cup chopped bell pepper

½ cup of chopped banana pepper

1 cup chopped kale

1 tbsp. minced basil

1 tbsp. minced parsley

½ tsp. coarse black pepper

½ tsp. salt free sunny herb blend (red stick spice)

½ tsp. Sel de Provence (red stick spice) (optional to regular sea salt)

Directions:

1. Peel and dice the sweet onion. Place in a large skillet over medium heat with a splash of water.

2. Remove fresh green onion sausage from the casing and brown evenly.

3. Wash vegetables well and cut zucchini in half, then into long strips before dicing. Repeat with potato. In a medium pot, add vegetables with ½ cup of water. Cut peppers in half, remove seeds, then cut into strips before dicing.

4. Rinse herbs, mince and add to the pot. Add sausage and onion mixture. Cook for 10 minutes.

5. Rinse and cut chop kale. Add to pot and cook until wilted. Add seasoning and stir well.

6. Serve and enjoy.

Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

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Chicken is a go to protein for the average family, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Working with new clients for cooking sessions keeps me inspired to blend interesting flavors and textures together. Since chicken dishes were requested, I decided to jazz up the traditional and add a twist of different. This tomato basil balsamic chicken dish, paired with mashed cauliflower and potato medley, was flavorful and easy to make while introducing new flavors for my client. As a way to transform leftovers, this would make a wonderful sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mozzarella. Check out the recipe below and be sure to share your thoughts!

Tomato Basil Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients:

5 large chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cups diced tomato (2 medium tomatoes)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

1 tbsp. sea salt

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1 tbsp. garlic powder 

1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Rinse chicken and season lightly with half of the seasoning evenly.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, place the chicken seasoned side down. Season the other half. 
  3. Add a splash of water and lower the heat to medium. Flip the chicken after 2-3 minutes to continue to brown evenly. 
  4. Chop basil and tomatoes. Add to the skillet. Add a splash of water, the vinegar and flip the chicken again.
  5. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat. Plate and enjoy!