Friday, January 29, 2016

So I Was Browsing In Trader Joe's.....

And stumbled on all of this awesome, great tasting food!  Love Trader Joe's, inexpensive, delicious and easy to prepare food items are always waiting for you on their shelves.  Most of these are new items, so I just had to try them and share them with you my friends, because they're so good.

Fire Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Butter Sauce, as a side dish or all by themselves, delicious!
 Looking for a low calorie cookie/brownie, Brownie Crisps are it, they're fabulous!
 I only bought one box of Just The Clusters Vanilla Almond Granola Cereal, I should have bought 6 or more.  I'm embarrassed to say, I ate the whole box, me and only me ate the whole box, it's that good!
 These Fig Bites I can't keep in the house, bought 3 packages this time. We'll see how that goes.
 I usually buy regular couscous, so I thought why not try Whole Wheat Coucous, it's better for all of us.
 And this stuff, Piquillo Pepper and Quinoa Spread, AWESOME, on anything, with anything, as a dip with crackers or tortilla chips, use your imagination.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

This dish is called "Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa", but with 26 inches of snow covering the ground I couldn't get to the grill.  So I improvised and used my panini/grill pan inside, no difference, I cook on propane inside the house too!  This is a stove top version that any cook can make no matter what kind of stove you have.  The sauce is fruity and sweet, the tilapia is light an fluffy, and it still gets a nice browned outer layer to it even though it's grilled inside.  I felt like I was on a tropical island eating this, as I was hunkered down in the house, gotta get through these cold and snowy winter months somehow.
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I love using fresh herbs, they are inexpensive and give dishes that "fresh taste".  Mixed up a marinade for the fish.
 Put the fish and marinade in a resealable bag and let it work it's magic.
While the fish is hanging out with the marinade, start the salsa.
 Mango, red pepper, red onion, a little brown sugar and cilantro.  You can add jalapeno or crushed red pepper if you like heat.
 A little olive oil in the pan, heat it, and place the fish in the grill pan.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.
 Top with the salsa and it's done.  This dish is fast, easy and full of fresh flavor!
Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

For the Marinade:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tilapia fillets

For the Salsa:
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon red onion, minced
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
juice from a 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Place the tilapia in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the fish.  Press the air out of the bag, seal it, turn a few times so the marinade coats the fish.  Put the bag in the refrigerator and let marinade for 1/2 hour.

In a medium bowl, toss the diced mango, red  pepper, onion, cilantro, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a grill pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove fish from marinade and place in the grill pan. Discard any leftover marinade.  Grill the fish on each side for 3 - 4 minutes or until the flesh in the middle is no longer translucent, it's flaky and there is a nice lightly browned crust on each side. Top with fresh mango salsa and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vegan Bean Soup

I'm getting into this vegan/vegetarianism way of eating.  I'm going a little bit slow, easing into it, but I like it.  It's not hard to cook and eat this way but it is a little pricey, especially in the winter months when fresh fruit and vegetables are not in abundance.  But hey, some things you just have to get past and use frozen.  That is what I am doing, using frozen berries and fruit for smoothies and snacks for instance, and frozen vegetables for side dishes and soups. 

Soup was on the menu again this week, BIG snowstorm that dropped 26 inches of snow, that's a lot for the area where I live.  Had to make something hot to warm all my boys up after snow blowing and shoveling.  They were out there for hours and didn't completely clear it, but it's passable.  They were happy to see a hot bowl of soup and crusty bread when they came inside.  The little things in life.....
Recipe Below.
To print recipe click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

Some of my ingredients to start my soup.  Fresh herbs, garlic and kale, but used canned beans, tomatoes, and vegetable stock.
 Get the broth going and rinse the beans and kale.
 I strip the kale off the coarse ribs, too tough to eat, and then chop it.
 Throw in the beans and kale, stir it up and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and it's ready to serve.
 And here you have the Blizzard of 2016 mid way through the storm.  Stuck in the house for two days is not my idea of fun!
 Moving up the back door and it was still snowing, everything piled high and covered in snow!
 About halfway through the storm the hubby decided he would try and clear some of it.
 It's still snowing, could not get out of any doors!  This was after he used the snow blower the first time, covered again!
 Now the snow stopped and the real clearing has begun.
 What a mess, this is why they needed soup!  I think he's going to need a bigger snow blower.
Vegan Bean Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 - 32 oz containers vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more if you like heat
1/2 cup farro (if you don't like it or have it leave it out)
4 - 15.5 oz cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups any fresh kale, rinsed, deveined and chopped, or use frozen
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, cook until fragrant and the onions are tender, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the stock, water, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, rosemary, crushed red pepper and farro. Stir to combine. Add the drained beans, chopped kale, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally. Serve with grated cheese on top and a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up all the juices.  Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

An Apple A Day....

You know that old adage, "An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away".  Well maybe not in the this case with these apple fritters, although they're not too sweet and are fried in a good oil.  I love an apple fritter, they're so wonderful, one of the comfort foods.  Here is my take on a homemade Apple Fritter.
  Recipe Below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I had a bag of very small Granny Smith Apples to use up, so why not make Apple Fritters I said to myself. 
Chop the apples and add to a medium size bowl, toss with juice of 1/2 lemon, that keeps them fresh looking.
Get the batter mixing in another bowl.
Combine the batter and the apples.
And this is what you get, your batter full of apples.
The oil temp has to be just right, so they cook evenly and all the way through.  Line a cooling rack with paper towels to drain.
You need a pair of tongs so you don't burn you fingers, see how hot that oil is!
Browning on one side then flip them over.  I used a large saucepan to fry them in, only fried two at a time for even frying and to cut down on the oil splattering.
Wow!  How good do these look?  Pretty good ay! And full of apples.
Time to mix up some extra goodness, the glaze.  Whisk it all together......
Dip the tops in, let the excess run off....
And my oh my, look what you have here....
And here......
And here!  See some of those apples popping out?
 De - licious! A great food anytime of day.
Homemade Apple Fritters
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Canola oil for frying, about 3-4 cups
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspooons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk, I used skim, it was fine

In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan or large frying pan, heat the oil until it reaches 375 on a candy/deep fry thermometer.  Once it reaches the temperature remove the thermometer from the pan.

In a large bowl of a mixer, beat the sugar and the eggs. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and milk. Mix until all is combined. Add the apples to this mixture and mix with a spoon to incorporate the apples with the dough.

When the oil is ready, scoop out the dough with a small ice cream scoop or a small ladle, and carefully drop into the hot oil.  Fry two at a time but do not crowd the pan, so they cook evenly.  You can also use two tablespoons to drop the dough in. Fry on one side until golden brown, flip them over with tongs, fry on the other side until the same color is reached, it should take 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Let cool completely.  When cooled, dip the tops in the glaze, place fritters on a cooling rack to let glaze harden.  These are best when served the day they are made.

To Make The Glaze:
Whisk together:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons water, may need more if it's too thick for dipping