SWASHBUCKLED! S2E4: Rawdog Your Shrimp

Are we cooking or getting a lesson about words in UrbanDictionary.com? Maybe a little bit of both! This week we welcome guest chef, Jason, Amanda’s Cousin-in-Law and Actual Trader Joe’s Employee. He also claims to be an expert home cook. Will he be able to impress us, or at least put up with our snark? Watch below to find out!


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:

 

This week, we welcome Jason, all the way from Northern California! He is a seasoned home chef and grill master. He literally just got off a plane and Marie showed up with a bag of four ingredients pilfered from our pantries and freezers.

To say the least, he made this challenge look way too easy. Or maybe we just went really easy on him? Either way, the food was delicious, we wouldn’t change a thing!

For more details on Corn Tortilla/Tostada making, check out this quick video:


 

Strawberry ceviche with rahini & Greek Yogurt Elote

Strawberry Ceviche

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Jason!

Ingredients

1 lb Raw Shrimp
6 Limes
Handful of Frozen Strawberries (about half the bag)
Half a red onion
Bunch of cilantro
One large avocado
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions


Thaw and dice raw shrimp and place in bowl. Squeeze 6 limes on top of shrimp.
To that, add diced thawed strawberries, diced red onion, diced cilantro, cubed avocado and salt and pepper. Stir and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The ceviche is ready when the shrimp turns pink throughout and becomes firm.

Tahini and Greek Yogurt Elote

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Jason!

Ingredients


Can of Corn
1/2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt to taste
Parmesan Cheese
Chile Lime Seasoning

Directions


Open can of corn and place contents into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, until warm. Add tahini, Greek yogurt, salt, parmesan cheese and butter. Stir to combine, until butter is melted. Top with Chile Lime Seasoning.

Copy of Copy of Never Enough Thyme Burgers

We also whipped up a batch of Strawberry Rosé Slushies, aka. Grown Up Smoothies. To make these, combine 3/4-1 bag of frozen strawberries (still frozen) with one 375ml can of Simpler Rose and a couple squirts of Agave (we are guessing 1-2 Tbsp, depending on taste). Blend on high until smooth. Serves 2-3. We like to top with a lime wedge to squirt in there. It’s super refreshing!


 

 

 

Classic Black Beans

For a long time, Trader Joe’s was really lacking in the dried legume department. But lucky for me…about a year ago, they introduced dried black beans, and life has never been the same.

If you find cooking beans from scratch intimidating, you are not alone! Before I started making them from scratch, I imagined an all day process that was very labor intensive. But if you have gone through the process before, then you’ll know just how easy it can be. Beans are a very forgiving food to cook, they just need a little bit of (mostly) hands-off time. Having this classic recipe in your back pocket, I guarantee you’ll start stocking up on this staple.

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The process really starts the night before. First, empty your 1lb bag of black beans into a large pot and sort through it for any rocks or random beans that might have made their way into the bag (totally common to find stuff like this in raw beans. If you find one, just discard it). Then cover with water, about 2 inches above the bean line, and let sit out overnight. You can cover if you like.

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Next, you’ll dump out the water (in a strainer? using your hands to strain it? You pick) and refill the pot with fresh water, about two inches above the bean line. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. You’ll add the rest of the ingredients (diced onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt), and continue to boil and add additional water until fully cooked, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

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You will want to occasionally try the beans, and add additional salt as needed, just keep in mind that the flavor intensifies as the water evaporates, so over-salting can be a thing. If that happens, you can always add additional water. Make sure to cook until it is soft.

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I love to top my side of beans with the new TEENY TINY AVOCADOS. Great flavor combination! This recipe makes about 6 cups of cooked beans (breaking down to 12, half cup servings).

 

Classic Black Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Bag Black Beans
  • Lots of water
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt (+ more to taste)

Directions

  1. Empty black beans into a large pot, look through beans to make sure there isn’t anything funky in there (sometimes rocks or other beans make their way into your bag) and cover with water (about 2 inches above the bean line). Let sit overnight. 
  2. When ready to cook beans, drain soaking water and refill with fresh water, about 2 inches above bean line. Turn heat to high and add onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. 
  3. Let boil until beans are soft and cooked through (usually close to an hour), stirring occasionally and adding additional water as it evaporates. 

Do you have any secrets to the perfect pot of beans? Concerns? Let us know in the comments!

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E6): O Fortuna!

This week, Marie braves the frigid Southern California winter temperatures to bring over four mystery ingredients to the Fearless Flying Kitchen.

Read on for episode breakdown.


Ingredients featured in this week’s episode:

It was a cold week in San Diego, so Marie brought over her favorite comfort food (Windmill Cookies), something tropical (Mango), something actually frozen (Swordfish Steaks) and something spicy to warm you up (Zhoug Sauce).

Let’s start with the ZHOUG SAUCE. Aside from being difficult to pronounce, it is a pretty perfect, versatile dip, that tastes like a cilantro and jalapeño pesto. It has “Yemeni Roots,” which we have concluded means it comes from YEMEN as opposed to having an ingredient that is the actual roots of the illusive yemeni plant.

We thawed our swordfish in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes, and then topped it with the Zhoug sauce and baked in the oven. The insert in the swordfish has a ton of cooking options (pan frying, grilling, baking, etc.). We also played with the Zhoug sauce as a veggie dip, with equal parts LOW FAT SOUR CREAM, PLAIN ICELANDIC YOGURT, and ZHOUG SAUCE. It was pretty spicy for a dip, but would be great on a pita with a meatball or falafel.

HI Mango Rice Prep

How pretty is this blend of bell peppers and mango?

Marie admittedly included the MANGO so she could learn how to cut it properly. This seems to be the one fruit and vegetable that I hear the most complaints about cutting. It is fairly easy to peel (with a knife or standard peeler), but then you have a very slippery surface that makes cutting into the awkward hard core pretty dangerous. You could also do the cut-first-peel-second method, but then it makes traditional peeling much more difficult. Some people swear by this “drinking glass” method of peeling mango. Try it and let us know how it works for you!

The flavors in the mango mix really well with the sweet bell peppers to create a tropical take on fried rice. All you need is some microwave rice, rice vinegar, and low sodium soy sauce, and you have a fun and easy weeknight side.

To finish off our meal, we experimented with some Windmill Cookie experiments. The first thought was to make a frozen yogurt. The key here is to only leave the yogurt in the freezer for 1-2 hours, just enough to begin to solidify, but not long enough to freeze completely. One thing we didn’t try (but you can!) is to put this in a popsicle mold, and freeze overnight.

Our favorite application was definitely the chia seed pudding. You could easily cut back on the amount of sugar and windmill cookies (by at least half), and it wouldn’t sacrifice flavor at all. I loved the addition of Chia Seeds for the additional nutritional boost (extra fiber, protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids).

Windmill Cookies O Fortuna Misheard LyricsAnd lastly, this video wouldn’t be possible without the inspiration of this FABULOUSLY HILARIOUS Misheard Lyrics video for O Fortuna (from Carmina Burana). Marie and I have both performed O Fortuna with our choirs in the past, and think this video is hilarious every time we see it.

Almond Windmill Cookie Dessert Extravaganza

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 15 WINDMILL COOKIES! SALSA COOKIES! (hulk smashed)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Directions

  1. Crush mix all the windmill cookies (by hand, food processor, or blender) and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a mixer.
  2. If you are making ice cream, then put in a small container and put in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
  3. If you are making chia seed pudding, then add 1 Tbsp of chia seeds for each 1/2 cup of liquid. Stir well, cover and put in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes so chia seeds can become gelatinous and thicken.

WindmillCookieExtravaganza

Swordfish Steaks

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Frozen Swordfish Steaks
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil per steak
  • 1-2 tsp Zhoug Sauce per Steak
  • Red Bell Peppers, diced

Directions

  1. Thaw swordfish steaks, either overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl of warm water. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Once thawed, remove from package and place on a baking sheet.  Top steaks with 1 tsp of Olive Oil and Zhoug sauce (about 1-2 tsp per steak. If you want a subtle flavor, go for 1 tsp. If you like spice, go for 2). Rub the Olive Oil and Zhoug Sauce in a thin layer and top with chopped bell peppers.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from over. Let set for 2-5 minutes and then serve with Mango Fried Rice.

ZhougSwordfish

Mango Fried Rice

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 Mango, peeled and diced
  • Half Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • Half Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Bags Frozen Jasmine Rice, Microwaved
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Limes, Juice only
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce (plus more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel & dice mango. Dice 1/2 red onion, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1/2 green bell pepper
  2. Over medium high heat, warm Olive Oil. Once hot, add Onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Then add Bell Peppers and cook for another 3-5 min. Once Bell Peppers start to soften, add Mango and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat rice in microwave. Once cooked, add to pan (after you’ve added the mangos). Add in Rice Vinegar, Lime Juice, Soy Sauce, salt and pepper. Finish with Cilantro, and give it a good stir, then remove from heat and serve.

MangoFriedRice

SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E2): Asian-Rhode Island Fusion

We’re back this week! And this time, we bring you an Asian-Rhode Island Fusion dish. SAY WHA?! Yup, we made a stir-fry dish out of coffee syrup, soy sauce and rice vinegar. You’ll have to check out the video to see how it turns out.  In this episode, we make Clueless jokes, play “Hipster Roulette,” drink authentic “Coffee Milk” (and decide it tastes much better with a little whiskey) and spend way too much time crushing giant corn nuts.

Read below for episode breakdown.


Ingredients in this week’s episode:

 

 

 

 

Inca Corn Crusted Pork Medallions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Giant Peruvian Inca Corn
  • 1.5 lbs Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • Fresh Ground Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Crush Inca Corn and put on a plate. Cut Pork into Medallions, about 3/4 inch in size. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and in yet another bowl, measure almond flour. Heat oil over medium high heat. Dredge pork tenderloin through almond flour, then eggs, then coat with crushed inca corn. Top with a sprinkle of fresh salt and pepper on each side.
  2. Place medallion in hot oil and pan fry on each side for about 3-5 minutes…or until the center reads 145 degrees F. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with Coffee Syrup Stir Fry and Jasmine Brown Rice.

Coffee Syrup Veggie Stir Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Coffee Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek, diced
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Eggplant, Peeled and Cubed
  • 6 oz Bag Shishito peppers
  • Garnish: Teriyaki Seaweed Snacks

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and coffee syrup. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add all veggies and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add sauce and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, until soft and cooked through, stirring often.
  3. Garnish with teriyaki seaweed and serve alongside jasmine brown rice and Inca Corn Crushed Pork Medallions.

Inca Corn Crusted Pork Tenderloin and Veggie Stir Fry

Queso Fish Tacos

questo-fish-tacos

I live in San Diego, home of the best Mexican food in the world (outside of Mexico, that is). We take our tacos pretty seriously around here and my family can get pretty snobby when it comes to Mexican cuisine. It is part of the reason we will never leave San Diego. Ever.

Fish tacos are my husband’s go-to dish. There are so many great choices in San Diego, we usually go to Ranchos or El Zarape in North Park, but are always on the look out for new and delicious spots. (Comment with your favorite fish taco spot, and we’ll either try it or judge you) (half kidding – see above).

One of my favorite tacos shops in San Diego is Lucha Libre, which is a hipster taco restaurant in Mission Hills (and North Park!) San Diego with a luchador (Mexican Wrestler) theme, amazing salsa, and a line out the door. Go there. They are awesome. But my FAVORITE item on their menu is the queso taco – Where they melt cheese on the griddle and make it all crispy, then put it on a corn tortilla and fill it with carne asada, avocados and a secret cream sauce. It is a little sample of heaven on earth. But healthy? Probably not.

In true fearless flying kitchen fashion…I have to try to make the best in San Diego by combining everything I love about tacos (all while trying to make it a pinch more healthy). Why not do a mash up of this delicious cheese and meat filled taco with my husband’s favorite dinner?

Meet the Queso Fish Taco.

Grilled white fish (Tilapia or Mahi-Mahi, I used fresh tilapia from Trader Joe’s – Can’t beat the price either!) seasoned to perfection with chili and lime, a crunchy cheese and corn tortilla wrapper, leafy green cabbage slaw, home made guacamole. It really is the recipe for a perfect taco Tuesday…or any day..or, every day.

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First, I have to talk about my proudest discovery, which was mixing the Cruciferous Crunch Collection with the Cilantro Salad Dressing. I normally look at this salad mix when I am at Trader Joe’s and have never been inspired, since it seems too leafy and kale packed for my liking. But it is definitely worth the purchase. It could be great as just a regular salad tossed with a creamy dressing or used as traditional cole slaw, just with a leafier texture.

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Cruciferous Crunch Collection (Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Green Cabbage and Red Cabbage) mixed with Cilantro Salad Dressing

Fish Taco Slaw

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of Cruciferous Crunch Collection
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro Salad Dressing (or amount to taste)

Directions:

Mix well, until combined, and serve as cole slaw, or top with your favorite toppings and enjoy as a salad.

Next step, was some home made guacamole. Now, I can’t take too much credit here. I just copy the table side guacamole from El Torito. But it is delicious, and highly recommended.

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Homemade “Hibshman Guacamole”

Homemade Hibshman Guacamole

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium Avocados, sliced and mashed up
  • 1/3 of a yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, diced
  • 1/4  Jalapeno, minced very finely (to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (go easy on the salt at first and try it with a chip. Usually don’t need too much salt because the chips are salted).

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Most fish tacos you find out and about are breaded and fried. Not my favorite. We also don’t have an outside grill, so I did a hybrid of the two, and pan fried the fish with a bit of butter (but no breading).

I also haven’t ever cooked Tilapia before.

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So, this was really quite the miracle that this turned out. But, in all fairness, I did a lot of research on it…

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Grilled tilapia with a chili-lime rub

Chili-Lime Rubbed Tilapia

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tilapia Filets, cut in half (four total pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or Olive oil…whatever)

Directions:

Mix everything except for the tilapia and butter together. Rub evenly onto the tilapia. Meanwhile, heat a skillet or griddle on medium-high heat and melt a pat of butter (or Olive Oil if you prefer. I like the flavor that the butter adds). Once the pan is hot and butter is melted, cook tilapia for about 4 minutes on each side.

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We ate our Queso Fish Tacos with pinto beans and watermelon. Other delicious sides include rice, grilled veggies, corn or a simple salad of bell peppers, tomato and cucumber with cilantro, lime, salt and pepper.

Queso Fish Tacos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Eight corn tortillas (two tortillas per person)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Chili-Lime Rubbed Tilapia
  • Fish Taco Slaw
  • Homemade Hibshman Guacamole

Directions:

See recipes above for Chili Lime Rubbed Tilapia, Fish Taco Slaw and Homemade Hibshman Guacamole.

To assemble the tacos, heat a griddle on medium-high heat, sprinkle cheese on griddle, the same size as the corn tortilla you are using. It will melt and then start to crust, and it is in between these two phases that you pop the corn tortillas on top, for about a minute. The bottom will crust up and the top will stick to the corn tortilla. Remove with spatula and put on plate.

Slice fish into large chunks and assemble on crispy cheese, then add your Fish Taco Slaw and Guacamole. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Rosemary Salmon with Balsamic Green Beans and Tomatoes

Rosemary-Salmon

My daughter can eat salmon any time, any where. For my last birthday, we were at Disneyland and had lunch at The Blue Bayou, a nice restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Little Miss O orders salmon, of course. When it arrives, she grabs it off of her plate and hoofs it down in 2 minutes flat, and eats it just like it is a burrito.

Needless to say, salmon is probably the most popular dinner in the Fearless Flying Kitchen.  This is also the dish that means I will always have a rosemary plant growing somewhere at my house. I don’t know what my family would do if salmon just up-and-disappeared one day.

I have made other (very delicious) versions of salmon, some with pesto and tomatoes, others with a miso glaze, but the hubs always tells me that this very simple preparation is the best. And I would have to agree! it is easy, simple and delicious.

We usually alternate the veggie that gets served along side. This time, I decided to fancy up a bag of green beans with a little balsamic glaze and grape tomatoes.  In the past, I have also added some chunks of goat cheese, which is always a plus in my book.

Now, I don’t think you can talk about salmon without bringing up the different types you can purchase and their overall controversial nature.  (Didn’t know salmon was controversial?! Now you do!) These two articles (one from The Cleveland Clinic, the other from The Washington State Dept of Health) do a great job with taking the research that is out there and outlining the pro’s and con’s to consider when choosing between wild or farmed salmon. In a nutshell, farmed fish is more readily available, costs less, has slightly more omega-3’s, and to some (self included) it taste better. But it also has a bit more saturated fat and calories, and with that extra fat, it stores more pollutants and carcinogens (such as PCBs). Either type of salmon is not considered to be high in mercury, with farmed salmon being lower in mercury than wild. Regardless of which option you choose, salmon has a lot of health benefits, such as omega-3 fatty acids (great for your brain, eyes and heart and just keeping inflammation down in general) and it is a great source of muscle building protein. So, I would recommend including salmon in your healthy diet, try the wild first, and if that isn’t possible, farmed is fine…but keep it to a weekly meal as opposed to a daily occurrence.

Rosemary Salmon and Balsamic Green Beans

Getting this salmon party started!

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees, and then prep your salmon. I always purchase salmon that has the skin still on, but it really doesn’t matter what type you purchase. If you do purchase the “skin-on” salmon, just make sure you discard the skin prior to eating. Most of the salmon is already de-boned that you purchase from Trader Joe’s, but I have, on occasion, come across some tiny bones, so I always rub my finger across each fillet to make sure I can’t find any hard spots.

Prepare your baking sheet. You can place the fillets directly on the sheet, or if you want an easier clean-up, place fillets on top of foil or parchment paper. Pour a little drizzle of Olive Oil over each fillet, and rub in. Then sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. As I previously said, I always have a rosemary plant (originally purchased in the Garden department of TJ’s) that I can go raid, but you can also purchase organic rosemary in a small package from the refrigerated section. Pop that bad boy in the oven for 15-18  minutes (depending on the size of the fillet). You’ll know it is finished if you insert a fork in the fillet and it flakes and will not appear “raw.” Know that there will be some carry-over cooking in the few minutes after it is removed from the oven, so if it is still slightly pink, that is ok. You will also notice that the white fat starts to appear on the top and sides of the filet.

While your salmon cooks, prepare your side items. For these green beans, I simple sautéed them in a little bit of Olive Oil for a few minutes, then added tomatoes and the Balsamic glaze. If you are following a low-carb diet, then your dinner would be done at this point. If you are a member of my family, you love your carbs, so we always have microwave brown rice in the freezer to serve alongside meals like this. Easy peasy.

Voila! Gourmet dinner that will impress, with minimal effort!

Rosemary Salmon

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary, chopped fine
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon filets on a baking sheet, skin side down (if there is skin). Run finger along the meat to make sure no bones are present. Drizzle a tsp of olive oil on each filet. Then adorn with rosemary, salt and pepper. Place in oven for 15-18 minutes, or until it no longer appears pink and “raw” on the inside. Remove from oven and let rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving.

Balsamic Green Beans and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag of Organic Green Beans
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp (approx) Balsamic Glaze

Directions:

Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and turn heat to medium-high. When hot, add green beans and sauté until they start to soften. Throw in cherry tomatoes and a squirt of balsamic glaze. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until tomatoes just barely start to break down. Add more or less balsamic glaze to taste.

Overnight Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

By a show of hands, how many of you have seen some one boasting about their chia-seed-filled breakfast on social media? Or how about having a Pinterest feed full of chia seed recipes? I know mine is up!

As with most trends, I need to make sure it is tried and true before I start to experiment with it. Every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I see the small bag of chia seeds and am always so tempted to get it, but really, what would I do with them?

But really, why not get them? I shouldn’t let my lack of creativity stop me from these awesome little guys.

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, with just one tablespoon boasting 70 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat (mostly polyunsaturated, 3 of those grams are the omega-3 fatty acid ALA).

The recipe for a very basic chia seed pudding is one part chia seeds to four parts milk (of your choice), and from there you can customize with whatever sweetener or other additions you want!

I packed this for a snack at lunch, and I could barely finish because it was so filling! This makes for a great breakfast that will leave you satisfied for hours.

Overnight Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: (super)easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
  • Drizzle of honey (probably 1-2 tsp)
  • Mixed berries (the more the merrier! But probably about 1/4-1/2 cup)

Directions:

Place chia seeds and coconut milk in a small, sealable container and stir. Let sit 2-3 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator. Once set, give it a good stir and try a small bite to see how much honey you need (1-2 tsp, or none at all if the sweetness from the coconut milk is enough for you). Top with mixed berries and enjoy!

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade and Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Come on, get appy! No, not an iPhone app, not an appendectomy…an appetizer!

I could eat appetizers all day long. Cheese boards. Baguette. Hummus. Artichoke and spinach dip. Everything just seems to be more decadent and taste better when it is in amuse-bouche form (in fact, quit what you are doing right now, and do a google image search of amuse-bouche. ooooooohhh, aaaaaahhhh). And quite honestly, if I were on Top Chef, this would be my specialty, because I LOVE hors d’oeuvres.

Fun fact about me: I once co-hosted a book club with my best friend just for the appetizers.

Any way, I am sure you can imagine that I try to pass off appetizers as “dinner” from time to time. For some reason, I always feel like it would be transformed into a “meal” if we added a simple salad. Here are some from my repertoire:

Polenta and Artichoke

Left: Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade
Right: Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Ingredients:
  • 2 Artichokes
  • About 2 cups veggie broth (home made or store bought)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Aioli Mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp Reserved veggie broth liquid
  • pinch of salt and pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp basil  (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano (optional)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the artichoke: rinse them, cut the stem off, trim the top of the leaves (because they can be a little prickly.) Cut each artichoke in half and remove the bitter, flower-y part in the middle, between the leafs, and the “choke.” (This also helps get flavor throughout and cook faster.)
  2. Store Bought is Fine

    Store bought is fine

    Place the artichoke, cut side down in a pot. Add two cloves of garlic, two lemon slices and two bay leafs and cover with veggie broth. You can easily make your own, which will be coming in a future post. However, in the words of my favorite celebrity chef, Ina Garten, store bought is fine.

  3. Cover and simmer until artichokes are tender. Then remove and serve along side of sauce (but don’t toss the veggie broth just yet! You’ll need that for the sauce)
  4. To make the dipping sauce: combine mayonnaise, mustard, and then a few tablespoons of the veggie broth mixture you just boiled the artichokes in. I think I also added a couple other spices, but I really can’t remember. Maybe some dried basil and oregano? Salt and pepper? I don’t know, but it was delicious. I am sure whatever spice you put in there would be delicious.

Perfectly-Perfect-Artichoke from The Fearless Flying Kitchen

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade

This is REALLY easy to make and will seem very gourmet. I have done this with home made polenta as well as store bought polenta as well as different varieties of olive tapenade. They are all delicious, and it really just depends on how much time you want to invest into this.

Ingredients:

  • Home-made polenta (like this Rosemary Polenta recipe) or the store bought Organic Polenta
  • Approx 1 Tbsp Olive oil or Butter
  • 3-4 Tomatoes (“on the vine” or Beefsteak varieties are best)
  • 1 container of Olive Tapenade
  • 1 container of creme fresh or sour cream
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat griddle over medium high heat and spray with some cooking spray, butter or a little olive oil. Slice polenta into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and place on grill. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, not very long because it is already cooked. Just until heated through and has some delicious looking grill marks. Remove form heat and arrange on dish.
  2. Slice tomatoes into thick slices and grill like you did with the polenta.  Once it gets beautiful grill marks, place on top of each polenta slice. Top with a half Tbsp of Olive Tapenade of your choice (I have used three different Olive Tapenades from Trader Joes, and all are excellent, probably leaning more towards the one found in the refrigeratedsection), a dollop of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (or, on that note, Greek Yogurt if you are really trying to make this healthy) and then a sprinkling of fresh basil.

Grilled Polenta and Olive Tapenade from The Fearless Flying Kitchen

Rosemary Polenta, Tomato Confit, Carmelized Bacon and Eggs

Polenta Caramelized Bacon Eggs

In order to become a dietitian, you have to go through a minimum of a bachelor’s program in nutrition (and not just any program, one that is officially a “Didactic Program in Dietetics”). Then after that, you have to complete a 1-2 year (approx.) internship program, and then you can sit for your national exam.

My internship was at the VA Medical Center, and there were six of us interns who grew to be like sisters over that year (or, 10 months, to be exact). We would carpool, share food, spend holidays together, fight, complain, some even lived together. I really adored all of my intern-mates, and will have a special spot in my heart for them for the rest of my life.

One time, my intern-mate, Hai Van, invited the girls over to her place for brunch. It was probably the best breakfast I had ever had in someone’s home. I kept asking her what she did, and have tried to re-create the meal, but every time, it just isn’t the same. I shouldn’t be surprised, because this girl would come up with THE MOST creative menus, and was also a professionally trained chef. I mean, how can you live up to that??

I remember being very intimidated by this meal, not only because Hai Van was an incredible chef that made magic in the kitchen…but it called for Polenta. I had never made that before, and my only experience was seeing the log at the store. But my friend walked me through the entire process, and it ended up being a success.

Rosemary Polenta

This was adapted from The Barefoot Contessa. Believe it or not, I actually reduced the amount of butter, half and half and milk by quite a but. It still turned out creamy and delicious. If you are short on time, you can always use the pre-made Organic Polenta from Trader Joe’s. (Side note, I don’t think Trader Joe’s carries cornmeal, at least I have never purchased it from there. Does any one know?)
 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying

Directions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half, milk, and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Pour into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as you would with brownies. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.

The rest of the meal was fairly easy. You can make the polenta the night before and in the morning, just slice some of it up and pan fry it in a little butter and oil. To make the Tomato Confit, combine a container of little grape tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in a glass dish at 325 for 40 minutes.

The bacon is partially cooked on the stove then finished off in the oven @ 425 (until done, it all depends on how much you cook it on the stove). Before putting in the oven, sprinkle with pepper and brown sugar.

The eggs were just simply fried over medium. Then the dish was assembled with the polenta cake on the bottom, tomato confit and then topped with the egg. Bacon was served on the side.

When Hai Van made this, she sprinkled some fresh basil on top and served a side salad of field greens with balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese, which was perfect for a brunch. It also added some more color to the plate. She also had a bloody mary bar, which is always a fan favorite (Side note – Trader Joe’s has a great bloody mary mix!)

Tacoladas: Beef and Veggie Pie

Beef-and-Veggie-Taco-Pie

Do you remember math class in school? I do, and I remember two things in particular: One, was that I hated it. Two, was that I would get such a rush every time I found out I had the right answer when I checked the back of the book.

I sometimes get that same feeling when I COMPLETELY create and improvise a recipe from scratch. I am talking, no pinterest-ing, no internet searching. Nothing. And then it actually turns out, and it is delicious. Even better when there are lots of vegetables too! Such a rush.

So, behold my Taco Pie, aka. the source of this rush:

Taco Pie

Taco Pie. Er, Casserole. Er, …nevermind

Ok, that seems a little silly after I look at this picture. I mean, it looks like just any regular casserole, right? (Side note – If anyone can come up with a better name for this, please let me know in the comments below. It does not resemble a pie in any way shape or form, that is just what I keep calling it. And I think the term “casserole” can scare some people off with nightmares of cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise. )

From the bottom to the top, this casserole starts out with a hint of my favorite TJ’s salsa (I use the Trader Joe’s Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, but there are many you can choose from, just pick your favorite), then a layer of corn tortillas, cut into triangles.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Now, many of my friends have gone back and forth over “what is the best corn tortilla found on the shelves of Trader Joe’s.” My personal favorite is the “De Mi Abuela: Wheat and Corn Tortillas” because they are a little bit thicker, and have lots of flavor. Not every one in my house is a fan of that one, so I usually end up getting the “Corn Tortillas” that are gluten-free and have minimal ingredients. They are just your regular, run-of-the-mill tortillas. And that is perfectly acceptable in a dish like this, that has so much flavor and other textures going on.

Trader Joe's Corn Tortillas

Left: De Mi Abuela
Right: Corn Tortillas

The next layer is a mix of 6 different veggies that have been sautéed in a little bit of olive oil. You could probably swap out some of the veggies if you have other favorites. It is kind of a cool way to clean out your fridge if you have just a few randoms laying around. While I had my cutting board out, I actually ended up dicing a lot more veggies than this, and then saving them for the following morning to add to an egg scramble.

Nothing more beautiful than a rainbow of veggies in a skillet

Nothing more beautiful than a rainbow of veggies in a skillet

After that layer, add some more corn tortilla triangles, then the layer of ground beef. I like lean ground beef (96% lean) because it is pretty inexpensive, and is easy to freeze and de-thaw. I also ALWAYS have some hanging out in my kitchen. But if you prefer a different type of protein, you could easily swap the ground beef with turkey, or even shredded chicken (YUM!) Simply brown the ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken) in a skillet. It can be the same one you just cooked the veggies in. Then add a can of diced tomatoes and a half packet of taco seasoning. If you like your food on the spicy side, add a little more. If you like it less spicy, add a little less. However, there was enough heat for me and my family with just half a packet.

Put that mixture on top of the corn tortilla triangles, then load the top up with some shredded Mexican cheese and bake in the oven until it is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

IMG_1672

I topped mine with some guacamole, salsa, sour cream and Jalapeño Greek yogurt dip. No, I am not a glutton, just indecisive. I think the Jalapeño Greek Yogurt dip won. It is my current favorite.

And the icing on the cake, is the leftovers are even better. I just love when meals get better with age.

Tacoladas: Beef and Veggie Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 package of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde (Roasted Tomatillo Salsa)
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into triangle wedges
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 package Mexican cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once warm, add onions and cook for a few minutes, then add bell pepper and cook for another couple minutes. Next, add zucchini and yellow squash, continue to cook for a few minutes. Then add mushrooms and cook for a few motte minutes. Lastly, add the kale.
  3. In a 9×13 glass dish, spread salsa along the bottom of the pan, then spread corn tortillas on top. Put cooked veggies on top. Do another layer of corn tortillas.
  4. In the same large skillet, brown lean grown beef. Once brown, add taco seasoning and tomatoes and cook on low for 8-10 minutes. Once cooked, add to casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes, until cheese is starting to bubble and brown. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.

Suggested Side items – Black beans and a salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Cilantro Dressing

Suggested Drinks – Trader Joe’s Organic Mango Lemonade (with or without tequila)