Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shamelessly Hack Your Way Into A Great Meal Like A Star!

So  many of us want to pull off epic meals at home, without the hassles of purchasing overpriced, and underused  utensils and gadgets. We also want to SAVE TIME!  This is a cool little DIY list by Food Network Chef Alton Brown (via Huffington Post) that is sure to get you one step closer to being the star chef of your own kitchen. Personally, I've had to rely on numbers 1,2, 4,6, 9, and 12, more than I care to mention! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Simple Seafood & Veggie Paella Recipe!

Here's my recipe for a quick and simple seafood and veggie paella!  It's an easy "one-pot" meal that is full of flavor with little cleaning necessary.  The ingredients can be found at any major grocery store or farmers market.  You may even have them in your cabinet. Enjoy.

1tsp of Hungarian paprika (or smoked paprika)
1 tsp of ground coriander
2 tsp of tumeric
1 tsp of chili powder
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of coarse sea salt
2 tsp of dried oregano 
2tsp of Tabasco style pepper sauce (optional)
*above ingredients can be substituted with 2-3 tsp of Spanish-style seasoning mix from the store. 

2 garlic cloves (crushed, chopped, or minced)
1 cup of uncooked Jasmine rice
1/2 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 large white onion, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups of water for cooking
3-5 tbsp of olive oil (less if adding any form of meat or fatty poultry)

Seafood & Veggies
12 oz Marinated Salmon (filet) (use your favorite marinade 1 hour before cooking, or overnight)
1 lb of Frozen Medium Shrimp (Thawed, Cooked, peeled and deveined )
1 zucchini, sliced thin
2 medium tomatoes coarsely chopped (substitution: 14oz can of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 cup of store bought shredded carrots
1/2 cup of green peas (cooked or canned)


Heat 3-4 tbsp (less if adding any form of meat or fatty poultry) of olive oil in a large skillet.  Test with one drop of water from finger tips, if the water makes the oil splat or pop, add drained marinated salmon and sear (almost fry the outsides until slightly browned.  Use spatula to break seared salmon into large chunks.  Add drained shrimp, to the pan with the salmon, tossing it around until lightly cooked.  Add seasonings and tomatoes.  Toss all ingredients together and cover for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes begin to juice slightly. Uncover skillet and add water, bringing it to a boil add rice and stir for 1 minute, bringing it to a boil.  Toss in zucchini, peas and carrots, quickly.  Reduce to a simmer, cover tightly and cook for 12-14 minutes.  Turn off, DO NOT UNCOVER, allowing paella to stand for 5-10 minutes.  Serve hot with fresh squeezed lime or chopped cilantro. Braggggggg!

For any questions or suggestions, please feel free to post below.  -Jennifer

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Super Shopping! Save Money and the Planet at Your Next Trip to the Grocery Store.

The constant headlines reminding us of our need to "save the planet" can be overwhelming, causing us to want to block it all out of our minds. In most cases, just thinking about how we can change things leaves us stumped for answers, we end up doing little or nothing. But, by making a few small changes in the way we shop for groceries, we can make a change in our "corner of the world."

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of 2009, our country generates approximately 1.4 billion pounds of solid waste every day. That's 5 pounds of paper products, plastics, metals, and other disposables for each person, daily; and that average person's waste adds up to 65 tons.  We believe that we are "getting rid" of  what we don't need, but that isn't really the case. Out of all of our solid waste, only half of what gets tossed actually gets broken down or recycled, the other half heads to local landfills.
The clincher is that of that 1.4 billion pounds of solid waste, uneaten food accounts for nearly 14 percent of that waste.  Of that 34 million tons of uneaten food, less than 3 percent of it actually gets recycled.  Since 2010, wasted food is now the largest form of solid waste reaching our landfills- even more than paper, which gets recycled more often. Source: U.S. EPA (2010)     
Here's where you come in...
By simply purchasing only the food you realistically will eat, you will save dollars at the register and by not throwing away money by tossing uneaten food! The average family of 4 loses nearly $600 annually on spoiled food, not including uneaten food on plates! U.S. News & World Report offer the following tips for saving your money and your planet one meal at a time:
  1. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. This requires basic meal planning for the next few days or for the week.
  2. Don't shop while hungry. Everything starts to look tasty, and you are likely not going to be able to consume all that you purchase.
  3. Be cautious about buying in bulk. Only stockpile what you know can be used before it expires.
  4. Organize your fridge. This will help you be aware of what you already do have so that you won't repurchase or forget to use up what you have.
  5. Get creative with your leftovers. Stay tuned for my upcoming topic which will give tips on reinventing your leftovers to save time and money.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not-So-Dirty South Rice Bowls- Simple, Light, and Delicious (Vegan Adaptable)

Southern meals are known for their colorful expressions and robust flavors in food and drink.  I personally love anything that awakens the senses of my eyes, nose, and mouth; however I have to be conscientious of all the fat and calories that sometimes come with traditional, Southern cuisine. With that, I came up with this Southern-inspired dinner that brings the flavor I desire to my friends and family, without the unwanted extras. This recipe is so easy to prepare, and is inexpensive in cost per serving.

Not-So -"Dirty South" Rice Bowls


4 5-ounce Salmon (chicken, talapia, or tofu) steak
1 tsp of melted butter w/ 2 tsp of olive oil (extra virgin)
2 tsp of squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp of warmed honey
2-3 tsp of worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of soy sauce
1/2 cup of diced sweet onion
1/2 cup of diced red pepper
1/2 cup of diced green pepper
1/2 cup of chopped okra
1/2 cup of sweet yellow corn
2 cups of brown or jasmine rice
Blackening Seasoning:
1 tsp of smoked paprika, or chipoltle paprika
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black ground pepper
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
* you can also buy a pre-packaged blackening seasoning from your local grocery store.

Pre-heat oven to "high" broil.  Rack should be placed low in the oven.
Rinse Salmon and pat Salmon Completely dry with paper towels
Melt butter and honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Stir olive oil, lemon juice, and blackening seasoning into the butter and honey mixture
Place salmon steaks in pan with aluminum foil, sprayed with nonstick spay or oil
Brush or pour mixture of seasoning and oil onto each piece of salmon, evenly.
Broil in oven, uncovered for 6-8 minutes, for thinner pieces; 8-10 minutes for thicker

(Vegan option)

(More photos below)

Marinate extra firm tofu in Braggs Amino Acids or soy sauce for 1-hour, drain completely, and proceed with directions for salmon.
Saute okra, corn, peppers, in 2tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Add Worcestershire and soy sauces; stir
Add brown rice and toss. Remove from heat
(optional) 1/2 14 oz can of stewed tomatoes, well drained.
Serve with sliced tomatoes or side salad
See photos

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Soul Food = Food for Life? You'll Be Amazed! (Recipe w/ images)

"Soul Food" refers to types of foods which are traditional to African-Americans in the South.  These foods consist of crops brought to the Americas on slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Okra (gumbo), black-eye peas (cow peas), and peanuts (groundnuts; goobers) were some of the most popular crops brought to the Americas from Africa. Traditional African-American foods, later became celebrated for their intense flavor, a result of creative preparation with limited food resources.  What surprises many is that many of these traditional foods for the soul, are actually some of the healthiest foods for the human body! 

Here's a list of some of my favorite super soul foods:

Black-Eye Peas- packed with potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber.

Collard Greens- considered one of the world's greatest super foods!  Connected with cancer prevention as supportive of the body's detox system. Packed with vitamins C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. Contains anti-inflammatory properties (vitamin K), and is believed to have cholesterol-lowering properties as it is a natural digestive aid.

Okra- rich source of protein, calcium, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, beta-carotene, and lutein.

Sweet Potato (Yam)- a rich complex carb (the good kind), fiber, and beta-carotene. Extremely high amounts of vitamins C and B-6, iron, and calcium. 

Here's one of my favorite 'simply sensational' soul food meals:

Tricked -Out Black-Eye Peas w/ Veggies (served over Jasmine rice)

2 tbsp of oil (extra virgin olive or canola)
2 cups of chicken/vegetable/vegan mock chicken broth
4 cups of pre-soaked or frozen black-eye peas
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
1 cup of chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves/ tbsp of chopped garlic
1 cup of chopped yellow (or sweet) onion
2 cups of diced tomato, or 2 14-oz cans of stewed tomatoes (drained)

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil; toss celery, onions, peppers,  and garlic on med-high heat until  slightly cooked...

Add carrots...

Add black-eye peas & broth...

Add stewed or chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer 
15-20 (frozen peas) 40-45 (fresh, pre-soaked peas)

Serve over brown/ Jasmine rice (2 parts water:1 part rice)

Done & Delicious!

To learn more about the history of traditional African-American foods...
Dr. Joseph E. Holloway, PhD, professor at California State University Northridge, provides a full history of traditional African-American foods with definitions in his essay, "African Crops and Slave Cuisine", on the Slavery in America website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Minute Dinner Save: Bringing Basic 'Sexy' Back to Valentine's Day Dinner

Last Minute Dinner Save:   
Bringing Basic 'Sexy' Back to Valentine's Day Dinner 

Just watch, learn, and do! Directions follow- beginning to end.

In the beginning...

Cut marinated tofu, firm seafood, poultry, or meat...

Chop veggies and herbs (sweet basil, sweet onion, red and green bell pepper)...

Threaded Skewers: veggies/ seafood/ poultry/ meat onto bamboo skewers (pre-soaked in warm salt water for 15 minutes).  

Getting It Started...

Arranged Marinated Kabobs on pan. Set under med-high broil for 15 minutes- turning every 4 minutes...

Aromatic Jasmine Rice Infused w/ Rosemary (1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, one sprig of rosemary, brought to a boil, reduced to a simmer for 12, remove from heat, do NOT touch/ open for an additional 5 minutes....


Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad w/ French Loaf Toasted w/ Olive Oil.


Chopped. Simple...

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Ground Pepper- for brushing and dipping.

Simplistic Arrangement...

Drop-Dead Cream and Belgium Chocolate Mousse:  Hazelnut and cocoa, mixed equally with whipped topping- preferably one with whole ingredients.

Dropped in flaky pastry cups, topped with fresh raspberry slices. Garnished with strawberry slices and mint...


I'm done...!

Salad/ Appetizer


Main Course

Sweet Bites/ Finale

Simple. Delicious. Done.