Home-made

Lentils and Quinoa

Served Lentils and Quinoa

Lentils and Quinoa

Quinoa has been recently been given a boost in popularity due to its many benefits! What I like the most is that it is extremely low in  carbohydrate and it fills me up much more than pasta, rice or bread, without the calories! 🙂 It is very low in cholesterol and sodium and it has magnesium and phosphorus. It’s a great source of manganese, all great nutrients so important for me and my family.
In terms of flavor I  must say I had to try several recipes to start to enjoy and learn how to prepare it well. My husband and kids followed my footsteps and now I have to prepare double portions since they all want some.
Here is my favorite recipe. It is perfect as comfort food and great for any time of the year. That said, I can also see this recipe making a great cold weather crock pot or potluck meal.
  1. Prepare lentils per package directions. Prepare 2 cups of lentils. When seasoning, only add salt, pepper to taste and one basil leave. It’s best if you prepare the lentils from scratch. I recommend that you avoid the temptation to use canned lentils. The flavors will be better if you do not use canned lentils.
  2. Prepare quinoa per package directions. Prepare 1 cup of quinoa. When seasoning the quinoa, add:
    1. 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. If you don’t enjoy spicy foods then change the red pepper flakes part to 1/4 tsp.
  3. Mix the two preparations in one saucer or pot when both of them are ready. Let them cook for at least 10 minutes together. Add peas and carrots to the mix and allow the mixture to continue to cook for another 10 minutes, mixing well.
  4. Optional: Sprinkle dry parsley on top of each serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Some pics to illustrate the process.. and to explain why I love this dish so much. 🙂
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Quinoa in the Bag

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Fully cooked Lentils

Mix of Lentils and Quinoa

Fully Cooked Lentils and Quinoa Cooking with Peas and Carrots.

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Yum! It’s ready to enjoy!

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My easy version of Posole

 

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This is my version of Posole. Maybe you’ve tried authentic Mexican posole before… Well, this isn’t! I always try to make my version of the recipes I love and that is what I did once again here. Why? Well, the first reason is my kids have a hard time with chile in soups (as it continues to release spicy flavor and it can be too much for them.) In this version of Posole, I am training their taste buds by  making it without the chile but adding pepper flakes when serving. Second reason is I can’t eat pork, so I make it with chicken and give it an extra punch of flavor from other herbs and seasoning (not needed when making it with pork, as pork releases a lot of flavor by itself.) Last, I love to experiment with flavors and luckily for my family it all turns out delicious!

Here is my [easy] version of Posole in 4 steps:

1. Start by placing 2 cups of posole corn in 6 cups of water with salt to boil for 1 hour and a half. Add the chicken breast to the boiling water. (1 chicken breast is enough for 3 people.)

2. Add 1 TBSP salt, TBSP pepper, 1 TBSP cumin, 1 TBSP paprika, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 TBSP oregano, 1 TBSP tarragon, 1 TBSP parsley and 1 clove of garlic (optional.)

3. Add 1/2 white or yellow onion cut in chunks, carrots and sweet peppers.

4. Let it boil until the posole corn is tender.

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Serve adding red pepper flakes and cabbage on top.

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Enjoy! 🙂

 

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Layoffs? Home-Made Comfort Food

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Comfort Food

This week I have heard more about layoffs than what I wanted, so I had to find a way to compensate for my stressful thoughts with some comfort food. Today, Friday, end of the week, after all the stress around me, I had to resort to my comfort food king and queen. King spaghetti and Queen Eggs. I mixed them together, it all came out perfectly and in a heavenly way too ( angels did come to my rescue. ) I felt all better after making this recipe and after confirming that it’s not just the best comfort food but also the best alienating agent for me. I have been through lay offs once and some close friends have been through it twice. Other friends are anxious, threatened with the fear of being hit again. Oh.. We live in troubled economic, confusing times!

“Dedicated to all those who at some point in their lives lost their jobs or to any family who has lived through it, including mine. “

I hope my recipe helps! 🙂

Recipe

Ingredients: 1 Package of Spaghetti, 1 egg per person, 1 TBSP salt , 1 TBSP canola oil, parmesan cheese.

1. Cook spaghetti per package instructions.

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2. Add butter or margarine to a pan on medium heat. When the butter has melted, add an egg and a serving of cooked spaghetti.

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3. Mix well and witness magic happening! 🙂

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Serve and enjoy!

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If you have ever been fired from any job, remember… Keep your head high, it’s not about you or I. We are just great! Believe it and carry on doing great things.. 🙂

 

Mahi Mahi and Shrimp in Coconut Sauce

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp in Coconut Sauce

I felt compelled to prepare this delicious fish stew. I had some fresh fish and shrimp waiting for me to work some magic on them. This dish reminds me of Cartagena, my home town, as the base of the flavor is the coconut milk. I made it even more Colombian by adding fried plantain as a side. It is heavenly! I hope you agree with me.

Recipe ( Serves 3 Adults )

2 portions of Mahi Mahi (red snapper is also a great alternative for this dish); 10-12 raw shrimp without shell, tail and deveined; 1 can of coconut milk, 2 bay leaves, 1/2  tsp of saffron strands; 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 TBSP white sugar, 1 TBSP salt.

 1. Start by sauteing the fish in a hot pan with 1 TBSP of canola oil. Once it’s cooked on both sides, add 1/2 TBSP salt and take the pieces out from the pan and set aside.

2. Repeat step 1 for the shrimp.

3. Add the coconut milk to the pan making sure to scrape the base of the pan to pick up the fish and shrimp flavors and mix them with the coconut milk. Add the shrimp and the fish to the sauce.

4. Season at this point with saffron, the other 1/2 TBSP salt, cayenne pepper, oregano and add the 2 bay leaves. Let it continue to cook on medium heat. Once the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat and let it continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serving suggestions:

South American and Caribbean cooking wouldn’t have this without a delicious side of white rice and plantains. Other sides: steamed broccoli and cauliflower, mashed potatoes.

Note: I did not use fish stock in this dish as it is really not needed, so it is optional. If you start with fresh ingredients, the dish will reach outstanding levels of flavors and will taste absolutely delicious! I do recommend adding some extra fresh seafood (fried calamari on top, or clams to cook in the broth) for more heartiness.

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Fish stew in progress.

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Fish Stew in a Delicious Coconut Broth

I am on a permanent diet, so I served a light portion without the broth. If you are not on a diet, then the best way to serve this dish is in a bowl with some liquid at the bottom. 🙂

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp

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Mahi Mahi and Shrimp with Plantains, Broccoli and Califlower

My Marvelous Apple Tree

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My marvelous Apple tree! Finally! Here is my pictorial attempt to track my apples. Thrilled, ecstatic, quivering, extremely happy, I run regular checks. Bunnies and squirrels are watching too, although not too innocently. Ulterior motives go with them. I hope I can get to my sweet ones on time. Never had I seen such beautiful spectacle. Three seasons had passed until I could enjoy the reward. Mother Nature’s patience enforced at its best!

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