Heat! Heat! and More Heat!

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Heat… the final frontier… Oops! I was having a Star Trek flashback!  Ok… so, this post could go a few different ways… for instance, I love the Miami Heat.  LeBron haters, hate away.  I love Dwyane Wade!!!!  Seriously though, I like the chemistry of the team.  Go Heat!  Even though I don’t think they will get past OKC if (and that’s a big IF) they make it to the finals.  But, I digress.  I am a very serious sports fan so I could go on and on and I probably will in another random post.

I could talk about the Heat in Texas, my previous state of residence.  Can anyone say HOT.  Man, there is nothing like that Texas Heat.  Humid and stifling hot.  100+ degrees in the shade.  Everything in Texas is BIG and HOT.  Lol.  I lived there for over 20 years and enjoyed every moment, but I must say, it is very refreshing to be back in Ohio where the temperature is a balmy 70 degrees in June.

All kidding aside, let me get to the real reason I’m going on and on about Heat.  Food!  Healthy food!  Yes… food with some HEAT.  Some punch, some POW.  I love, love, LOVE spicy food.  Yesterday I gave you a little hint of Heat in the salmon dish I posted about.  Today, I’m taking you to the asian side of the house with a dish that packs some serious Heat.  I love oriental food and have found that a lot of chinese restaurants put additives like MSG in their foods to enhance the flavor.  I’m not a fan.  That stuff can wreak havoc on your body.  It’s not healthy at all, and isn’t that the point of trying to cook at home?  It’s better for you because you control how it is prepared and you can use healthier ingredients.  On top of that, you can leave out all of the stuff you don’t like.  How many times have you ordered something out, and it’s got the things you like in it, but it’s got bamboo shoots or bean sprouts or something you don’t like in it.  There you are picking them out of the dish.  This way you can put in only the stuff that tastes good to you.  Can’t beat that with a stick!

That being said, I went about making oriental food at home, and you know what?  It’s pretty darned easy!  The best part about it is, you can make it taste how you want it to taste.  You can make fried rice a little healthier by not drowning it in oil (I’ve got an awesome tip for that which I will share later), or by not stir frying your sweet and sour chicken (bake it!).  I was amazed at some of the dishes and how flavorful they were even after you change the method of preparation.  I’ve got an arsenal of oriental recipes that I will share over the coming weeks.  But for now, back to the Heat!  I like ALL things spicy.  The more spice, the better it is in my opinion.  With that in mind, I found a recipe a while back and tweaked it.  So without further “ado” I give you Asian Fire Meat.  Careful for the faint of Heat (lol!)  If you can’t stand the Heat, back up off the red pepper flakes.  Seriously, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

** I wanted to see how many times I could put Heat in this post (11 times!).  Pretty impressive huh?  Have fun making this one!

ASIAN FIRE MEAT

Ingredients

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, thinly slice and chopped
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (less if you can’t handle the heat)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 pound beef round steak, sliced paper thin (flank steak works well here also)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and red onion. Stir in the black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix in the meat by hand to ensure even coating. Cover and let marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. ** If you find that you don’t have time to let it marinate, just give it 15 minutes and go for it. The flavors will not be as intense, but it still tastes good.
Put 1 teaspoon of oil (use extra virgin olive oil or a splash of sesame oil) in a wok and heat over medium-high heat. Stir fry the mushrooms until they are tender and remove them from the pan. Add a ½ teaspoon of oil into the pan. Put in all of the meat and marinade at once, and cook stirring constantly. Cook the meat for two minutes and break it up while it is cooking. **The meat cooks very quickly because it is sliced so thinly. Add the mushrooms back into the pan, stir together and remove from heat. Serve with jasmine rice, noodles or you can roll the meat mixture up in a leaf of red lettuce (Bibb lettuce works well too).

Baked Salmon in Sweet Ginger Sauce

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Lots of people are asking for healthy recipes for seafood.  In my opinion, seafood is one of the worlds best kept secrets.  I grew up in the back yard of Lake Erie, so I have been exposed to fish my entire life.  As a child we had most of our fish dishes “fried” and you know how the old school mom’s liked their fried food.  Fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried fish, fried potatoes… anything you could think of they found a way to fry it.

As an adult it has been a challenge to find ways to prepare food without frying it, or without using as much oil in it as we had growing up.  I have to say that I’ve found a delicate balance between good fats and bad ones.  I’ve learned to cook using some fat because the Omega 3 that we get from it is needed.  At the same time, I’ve cut back on the saturated fats which are bad for you.  The most important things to remember are that not all fat is bad fat, and that you should do everything in moderation.  It’s ok to indulge once in a while, but don’t make it the rule and not the exception.

Here’s the other thing… healthy food actually tastes GOOD!  Who would have thought?  As you try these recipes, feel free to change them up to suit your taste.  That’s the fun part about cooking!  Make it taste good to YOU.  If I can get my picky, old school, I want everything fried, mom to eat this and admit that it was good then you know it’s gotta be good.

This recipe has a balance of sweet, sour and a little heat to top it off.  If you can’t handle a lot of heat, cut back on the red pepper flakes.  I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did.

BAKED SALMON IN SWEET GINGER SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp.fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2 green onion, finely sliced
Directions
  1. Briefly rinse salmon fillets or steaks under cool water. Shake off excess or pat dry and place pieces in a flat-bottomed baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl or container, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, syrup, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to dissolve the syrup. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onion.
  3. Taste-test this mixture for spice, adding more red pepper if desired. If you’d like it sweeter, add 1/2 Tbsp. more syrup; if too sweet for your taste, add a little more lime juice.
  4. Pour over the salmon, turning pieces in the sauce to saturate. Cover and allow to marinate in your refrigerator at least 30 minutes.  The longer you marinate the fish the more the sauce will get into the fish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Spoon a little more sauce over each piece, then recover and bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of your fillets), or until sauce is lightly bubbling and salmon has firmed up (inner flesh turns from translucent to opaque when nicely cooked). If undercooked, cover and return salmon to oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Serve salmon with some of the sauce spooned over each piece.  This dish is delicious over rice or with a nice vegetable medley.

Learning To Listen

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You know… I am probably one of the most “closed” people you will ever meet in life, that being said… I have to admit that I’m learning to listen.  I have come to terms with the fact that I don’t know everything, and that at times, someone else might just be able to teach me a thing or two, or even three!  I am seeing that I have to keep an open mind in life, otherwise, I might miss something that can have a lasting impact for me.  Just a really random thought that I wanted to share.

Blackened Tilapia

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So… as a result of this “healthy” cooking thing, I’ve found that I am eating more fish and I’m constantly in search of new recipes for fish.  There are tons of tilapia recipes, but most of them just don’t have that “kick” or that “bang” or that flavor that just kind of jumps out at you.  I decided to take a recipe I saw on a show and kick it up a notch by adding some extra seasoning to it.  It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.  Careful though, if you can’t handle heat, you may not want to make this one.  It is healthy though, so cool points for that.  Enjoy!

 

Blackened Tilapia

Blackening Spice:

3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For Fish:

4 tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Directions

In a small bowl combine all of the spices. Press a heaping tablespoon of the spice mix onto each fillet so that both sides are liberally coated. Allow the fish to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature prior to cooking.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is almost smoking, add the fillets and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with lemon juice and transfer the fillets to serving platter.

Think Like A Man

So…. I went to see this movie.  I have to admit I was excited by all of the hype surrounding the film and I had already read the book so I was anxious to see what it would be like.  I was not disappointed.  The characters were well developed and played into the premise of the book perfectly.  On top of that, EYE CANDY!  (For the men and women).  Anytime I get to see Michael Ealy, Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson in the same movie, hey!  I’m way satisfied.  Overall, the ensemble cast had great chemistry and that Kevin Hart is straight up funny!  It is a movie that was well worth the money spent to see it!  Let me know if you saw it and what you thought.

The Latest and Greatest

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Ok… so I haven’t been diligent about my posts, but hey, give a girl a break!  I was doing other stuff… like, resting, and working… you know… STUFF.  Anyway, I digress.  Here is a recipe I tried a few months ago.  It’s one that I love, love, love! It’s simple, and taste’s darned good.  Try it and let me know what you think!

 

SKINNY SALISBURY STEAK

Adapted from Skinnytaste.com

1 1/2 tsp oil
3/4 cup onions, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 cups beef broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 tbs all purpose flour
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup water
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Directions

Saute onions in oil over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine half of the sauteed onions, ground beef, ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, 1/4 cup beef broth, salt and black pepper.
Shape into 8 oval patties. In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Set aside on a dish. Add mushrooms to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and saute 2-3 minutes. Return patties to the skillet with the mushrooms.
In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining broth until smooth. Mix in remaining onions, tomato paste, vinegar, water, worchestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over meat and mushrooms in skillet.
Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Copy Cat – Grilled Shrimp Caprese

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I don’t know about you, but I simply LOVE going to the Olive Garden and having the stuffed mushrooms (ok, that’s another post), the salad, and grilled shrimp caprese.  It makes my life complete!  Anyway, as I have been learning to cook in a more healthy way, I’ve found that some of the things I love to eat, don’t fit into my “new” and healthy lifestyle.

What to do?

Well, I decided to try and jazz up some of my favorite recipes and keep the flavor of the originals.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  In the case of Grilled Shrimp Caprese — it definitely works!

Here’s my recipe ~ my secret twist is adding a little lemon pepper to the shrimp while they are cooking.  This gives the shrimp some flavor to add to the rest of the dish.  I hope you like it as much as I do!

GRILLED SHRIMP CAPRESE

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
20 medium fresh basil leaves, stems removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp italian seasoning (you can omit is you don’t like this, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t)
salt to taste
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated (you can also use pecorino romano, it tastes just as good)
1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked
1 cups mozarella cheese, shredded

2 tbs lemon pepper
1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

Directions

1.  Preheat broiler.

2.  Combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, italian seasoning and salt in a large bowl and blend thoroughly. Cover and set aside and marinate for at least 1 hour.

3.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and let melt. Stir in white wine and bring to a boil. Add heavy cream and parmesan cheese and bring to a simmer. Let sauce reduce to desired consistency. Add cooked drained pasta and marinate tomatoes to skillet. Stir to coat pasta with sauce. Transfer to serving platter and top with mozzarella cheese.

4.  Sprinkle shrimp with lemon pepper and saute shrimp until cooked through.

5.  Place serving platter in broiler for 2 minutes until cheese melts.

6.  Top with shrimp and serve.

Something New

Ok… so after a lot of questions about the photos of my dishes and the food I cook, I’ve decided to do a blog to share some of my favorite recipes with you.  As I work through this process (and believe me, it’s been a huge undertaking) I will try to keep you up to date on how things are going.  Ciao for now.  Stay tuned.