Monday, September 29, 2014

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

Growing up, the green bean was a dinner staple for our family.  Even as a kid, I always enjoyed them for their slightly sweet taste and crisp texture.  As an adult, I appreciate the high levels of vitamins C and K and beta-carotene.  I have prepared green beans many ways, but my absolute favorite is to take fresh Haricots Verts and roast them.  Haricots Verts are French green beans that are more slender in appearance and tender in texture than the American variety.  If you do not have Haricots Verts, you can definitely use the American variety and this recipe will be just as tasty.  My roasted Parmesan green beans are deliciously crispy and a little salty which makes them a fantastic substitute for french fries or a beautiful side dish for any dinner that is incredibly easy to prepare.

Here is what you need:

1 lb of fresh green beans (French or American style)
2 tbsp of Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of Pepper
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Cooking Spray to coat the baking sheet

You will roast the green beans at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes.  4-6 Servings 

Chia Seed Pudding

You may have heard about the health benefits of Chia Seeds: high in fiber and protein, a good source of Omega-3 and other antioxidants that can also work as an appetite suppressant.  I heard of the benefits myself and bought a bag of them from Trader Joe's.  They remained in my pantry for awhile, forgotten and abandoned until I started trying more Paleo recipes.  I rediscovered my chia seeds and found a can of coconut milk and the rest is chia history.  This is a paleo friendly recipe that is incredibly versatile and can work as a breakfast or dessert.  The texture is a bit like tapioca and tastes sweet.   You can add any fresh or dried fruit you like and whatever nuts you have on hand.  It does work best if the chia seeds soak for at least 8 hours so they fully expand. A little planning is needed to make this but the prep work is so easy it is basically effortless. 

Here is what you need:

1 Can of Light Coconut Milk  (Full Fat for extra creamy and thick pudding)
1/4 cup of Chia Seeds
1-2 tbsp of honey
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/8 tsp of cinnamon (optional)

Optional Toppings:
Fresh Fruit
Dried Fruit
Dark Chocolate pieces

What you will do:
Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar or Tupperware.  Store in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight to let the chia seeds fully expand.  If you remember, give it another mix around a couple hours in.  When ready to eat, add your desired toppings and enjoy.
2-3 Servings

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Homemade" Baked Pita Chips

When I entertain my friends and family, I love to put out several appetizers for them to snack on. Quite often, I do it tapas style, and serve only appetizers.  This is fun for guests as it allows many different types of food for all kinds of appetites and diets.  However it can be a lot of work for the host to make many dishes, so when I can make something that is tastier, healthier, cheaper and requires almost no extra effort, you better believe that is going on the menu almost every time.  My baked pita chips are a fantastic way to jazz up your veggie tray or cheese plate.  They pair wonderfully with any dip you may serve, such as hummus or spinach dip.  Next time you think to pick up a bag of chips from the store, try this recipe out instead.  Your guests will be impressed and you might never buy store bought ones again!

Here is what you need:

1 package of Pita Bread or Flat Bread
1-2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1/4 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp of Cracked Pepper
1/4 tsp of Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp of Italian Seasoning

You will bake your chips at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Korean Lettuce Tacos

OK, full disclosure.  This is not a recipe, this is a cast of cook and serve ingredients coming together to make a sensational lettuce taco that is ready to eat in about 20 minutes.  I love Asian flavors and Korean food is no exception.  From the sweet and savory marinades to the spicy, cool crunch of kimchi, I can't get enough.  When I saw that Trader Joes not only carried the fantastic Bool Kogi Marinated Short Ribs, but also the new Korean Kalbi Chicken Sausages, I knew something had to be created from these two incredible ready to cook items.  The result is a deliciously easy and healthy, gluten free meal that will no doubt become a go to weeknight meal or an easy dish to entertain with.

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 lbs of Bool Kogi (does not need to be from Trader Joes)
and/ or
1 pack of Spicy Korean Chicken Sausage
Prepare the meat according to package or about 3-4 minutes per side for the beef and about 12 minutes for the sausage.

1 head of Romain Lettuce washed with the ends trimmed
1 jar of Kimchi ( a fermented cabbage that is crisp and tangy with a hint of spice.  Kind of like a Korean condiment.  It is delicious and you can find it at an Asian Specialty Store).

2 cups cooked Quinoa ( I use Trader Joes microwaveable frozen quinoa when pressed for time)
1/2-1 tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce or Siracha
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Lime, juice of half for the quinoa and slice the other half for garnish
2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serves 6-8 

Creamy Deviled Eggs

Let's be honest, the Deviled Egg isn't an advanced culinary experience. However, it is a tried and true appetizer that deserves a little respect and with a few additions, it can be elevated to a real treat that is satisfying and low-carb!  My deviled eggs are requested by all my friends and family and seriously get snatched up with a quickness.  The secret is my special ingredient which makes my filling extra creamy and smooth.  People will ask you, "What is in this egg?"  "How is it so creamy and delicious?"  And you can smile and shrug or you can fill them in, the choice to reveal the recipe is yours!  Of course, the optional garnish of bacon is a massive hit for most of us, but that addition is entirely up to you.  Your eggs will be fantastic with or without it. 

Here is what you need:

1 Dozen Eggs
1/4 cup of Whipped Cream Cheese
1/3 cup of Mayo
3 tbsp of Yellow Mustard
1/8 tsp of Kosher Salt plus a pinch or 2
1/4 tsp of Cracked Pepper plus a pinch or 2
1 Large Freezer Ziplock bag

Optional Garnish:
2-3 slices of cooked, crumbled Bacon
Chives chopped in inch long strips
1/8 tsp of Paprika

Friday, September 12, 2014

Classic Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

When I was a little girl, my mom had a boyfriend from Italy.  They met while they were vacationing separately in Mexico and spent quite a bit of time together in Italy.  While the relationship did not last, a couple recipes he gave her have stood the test of time.  One of them being this delectable appetizer that consists of only 6 ingredients and really could not be easier.  We use Roma tomatoes for their sweet, acidic bite and fresh basil leaves that add a peppery aroma and taste.  Alas, the star of this show is the garlic that is used in two forms and elevates the dish to next level status.  Just be sure your date or guest are eating this one too, which should not be a problem!

Here is what you need:

1 French or Sourdough Baguette
2-2 1/2 lbs of Roma Tomatoes
3 Tbsp of good Extra Virgin Oil
15-20 Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 tsp of Pepper
1/2 -1 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Power
3-4 Cloves of Peeled Garlic

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Asian Sticky Chicken Wings

This recipe was simply born from my love of all things chicken wing.  These blend sweet and spicy Asian flavors to make a Gluten Free sticky sauce.  The method of cooking could not be easier and the marinade is simple and adaptable to different tastes.  Not a fan of a spicy things?  Adjust the amount of chili sauce the recipe calls for.   These wings are a real crowd pleaser that do not require a dipping sauce.  Does not get much easier than that!

Here is what you need:

4-5 lbs of Chicken Wings
1 1/4 cups of Low Sodium Tamari
1/3 cup of Sake or Mirin Sweet Rice Cooking Wine
1/2 cup of Honey
3 Tbsp of Chili Garlic Sauce or Siracha
4 Cloves of minced Garlic
1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp of Cornstarch
1 Lime--zested
Cooking Spray for the baking dishes

Garnish (optional)
Lime Juice from your zested lime.

You will bake all of this at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, turning once at 25 minutes.