sweet fried plantains If you’ve even been to a Peruvian restaurant, you’ve probably had fried plantains – either in the form of sweet fried plantains or tostones. I used to make sweet fried plantains often but haven’t made them in quite some time so I figured that had to be changed.

The trick to delicious, and sweet, fried plantains is to let the plantain ripen until it’s very yellow and beings to spot; quite similar to a banana. Once it’s fully ripe it’ll be sweet and really soft when you bite into it. I tend to simply fry the plantains and call it a day, but I know there are plenty of recipes out there that add all types of sweet glazes to the dish – in my opinion the sweet fried plantains are sweet as is.

sweet fried plantains sweet fried plantains

 

Sweet Fried Plantains
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • Canola oil
Instructions
  1. Pour about ½ in of oil into a pan and bring to medium heat. In the meantime,cut the plantains into 1 in thick slices.
  2. Once the oil heats up add the plantain slices to the pan (the oil should come up half way to the plantain) and cook until golden brown on each side - about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Once the first batch of plantains is cooked place on a layer of paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Continue with the remaining plantains.

 

 

 

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Thai chicken rice noodlesMy love for one plate dishes continues with this Thai chicken rice noodle dish. Whenever I don’t need to make an entree and a side I’m all in, especially when it’s Asian cuisine. The great part about this dish is that it doesn’t take very long to make (30 min) and when you have to work pretty late it’s a perfect dish to throw together – granted that you marinate the chicken.

I marinated the chicken in the morning and let it sit for 8 hour before cooking it. About 30 min before dinner, I started to cook the chicken until it was almost done but still a little pink inside (5ish min on each side). Afterwards I made the sauce per the recipe and threw the chicken back in on low heat to allow it to finish cooking. In the meantime I made the rice noodles, which literally took 3 minutes, and chopped up the basil, scallions and peanuts. Once the noodles were done, I threw everything in with the chicken (I added edamame because I can) and let it cook for a few more minute before serving. I sprinkled a little bit of crushed peanuts on the Thai chicken rice noodles and had a fantastic dinner.

Thai chicken rice noodles Thai chicken rice noodles

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bulgogi beef My husband and I are huge foodies and love trying every type of ethnic food and one of our favorites is Korean.  A few years ago we were sitting at home on a Saturday night feeling absolutely bored and hungry at around 11:30 pm. Most restaurants stop serving food at 10 pm so we assumed we were out of luck but decided to see what was open just in case. We came across a Korean BBQ restaurant that was open 24/7 and we got really excited. At that point we’ve never tried Korean BBQ so that was a plus but honestly we were just hungry.

Now if you haven’t tried Korean BBQ, finish reading this post, find the nearest restaurant and drive there. They have a variety of meats that are served on a table side grill that are super flavorful. One of our all time favorite dishes is bulgogi beef which is simply marinated and cooked in thin strips. I never imaged making this at home but when I came across this bulgogi beef post from my favorite Korean blog, I was so excited and put it on the menu for the following week.

To my surprise the homemade bulgogi tastes pretty much like the restaurant version, minus the fun experience, but it absolutely hits the spot! I serve it with steamed rice and kimchi for that authentic taste.

bulgogi beef marinate bulgogi beef bulgogi beef

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salmon salad with homemade Greek DressingMake your own own salad dressings whenever you can, period. Store bought dressings having so many additives and preservatives that leave you feeling far from “healthy” after eating a salad. Making your own dressing takes minutes and you can make either a large batch to last a few days or a small batch for that particular meal – which is my preference.

I typically just use olive oil and vinegar to dress my salads, but the other day I was feeling fancy and craved a Greek salad – hence the homemade Greek dressing. I topped a bead of leafy greens with kalamata olives, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta and salmon but you can add any protein that floats you boat.

This homemade Greek salad does not have any real measurements as I just eyeballed the ingredients to my liking, plus cooking isn’t about exact measurements, its about experimentation and making things taste good for yourself.

Homemade Greek Dressing
 
Ingredients
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • dijon mustard
  • honey
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

 

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French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and PeppersOne of my favorite dishes to make are French dip sandwiches with onions and peppers. These sandwiches are perfect for dinner as they’re super filling and best of all the beef slow cooks all day so you don’t even have to worry about it.

The beef comes out so tender and juicy after sitting in the slow cooker for 9+ hours that it literally melts in your mouth. In addition to the spices listed in the original recipe, I added paprika and made sure to add 2-3 rounds of the seasoning and Worcestershire sauce throughout the cooking process to ensure it was not under seasoned. A good trick my dad taught me is to taste the broth/sauce to see if any additional seasoning is needed.

These French dip sandwiches are topped with slow roasted onions and peppers and provolone cheese (I had it without the cheese and it was just as good) and served with a side of the cooking sauce which makes the sandwich that much better.

French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and Peppers French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and Peppers French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and Peppers French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and Peppers French Dip Sandwiches with Onions and Peppers

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Chicken and Asparagus Fettuccine I had a busy weekend and didn’t have time for my traditional Sunday night Wegmans grocery shopping run so I needed to think of something for dinner with the ingredients I already had. I had some chicken, asparagus, tomatoes, cheese, pasta and eggs so  chicken and asparagus fettuccine was the perfect quick dish. The original recipe is a vegetarian option which I myself ate, but sine my hubby can’t live without meat, I added simple roasted chicken to his plate . Both options did not disappoint.

The fettuccine sauce was creamy but it not too rich, which didn’t make meal didn’t feel heavy; always a plus when eating pasta. As I was frying the asparagus I decided to throw in some cherry tomatoes, which I highly recommend doing as it not only added color to the plate but nice flavor as well.  Next time I make chicken and asparagus fettuccine I’ll play around with adding various vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini.

Chicken and Asparagus Fettuccine Chicken and Asparagus Fettuccine Chicken and Asparagus Fettuccine

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salmon and tomato baked in foilI’ve said this before but now it’s official, baking fish in foil is my favorite way to cook dinner; it’s so easy to make and the clean up process couldn’t be faster. I found this salmon and tomato baked in foil recipe and couldn’t wait to try it. You don’t need very many ingredients for this dish, most of which you probably already have, it doesn’t take much prep work and once its in the oven you can sit back and relax.

Contrary to what the recipe says, the salmon and  tomato baked in foil does not take 20 minutes to bake, you need at least 30-40 minutes for the fish to fully cook through while it’s in the foil..don’t worry the fish will still be nice and juicy. Perhaps it’s just my oven, but salmon always takes at least 30 minutes to cook through…20 minutes leads to raw, under cooked fish.

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Sweet Thai TofuAs you know by now I always incorporate a vegetarian dish into my weekly menu rotation and most of the time I include tofu, otherwise the hubby really complains that it’s not filling enough. Most of the tofu dishes I make are Asian inspired so I stuck with that theme and made sweet Thai tofu. This dish has a whole lot of goodness going on from the pineapple, peppers, onion, corn and of course the tofu.

The original recipe doesn’t’ call for the tofu to be marinated but I know from experience that tofu tastes better if it’s marinated so I used my typical tofu marinate recipe. I added a lot of pineapple to the sweet Thai tofu dish which made it a bit too sweet so next time around I would tone down the amount of pineapple and add more corn to the mix. I also added some sweet chili sauce which really added a nice flavor and a bit of spice. This dish would also work really well with chicken and I intend to try that would in the coming weeks.

Sweet Thai Tofu Sweet Thai Tofu

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Roasted Potatoes with Green BeansI always make sure to incorporate veggies into my dinners in some shape or another, either by having a vegetarian entree, a salad or a side of roasted veggies. I know that not everyone is into veggies and prefer more starchy items like pastas and potatoes so when I came across this roasted potatoes with green beans recipe I was excited to make and share it.

This recipe couldn’t be easier to make as all you need to do is boil some potatoes and then either cook them on a skillet with the green beans or roast them with the green bean – either way you can’t go wrong. The potatoes come out nice and crispy and if you add some old bay to the spice mixture…perfection.

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cranberry and spinach stuffed chicken breastStuffed foods always seem so fancy to me and something that takes too much effort for what its worth. I was always deterred by the idea of the actual stuffing process – getting all of the ingredients into the piece of meat and tying it together without having everything fall out like an explosive volcano.  As usual, I got over myself and decided to just go for it and make cranberry and spinach stuffed chicken breasts.  The chicken is stuffed with cranberries, spinach, pecans, garlic, shallots and rosemary…pretty good combination if you ask me.

Stuffing the chicken breasts wasn’t as daunting as I imagined. I sliced the breast almost to the end making sure not to slice the breast all the way so that I could fit the maximum amount of cranberry and spinach goodness. Cutting the twine and getting it around the breast was kind of annoying but pretty easy nonetheless.  Once the breasts were stuffed, I seared them for a few minutes and then let them bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes turning them over half way. I chose this method since I like my chicken a bit more dry but if you prefer your chicken on the juicy side just cover the baking dish with foil to keep in the juices.

The end result was pretty good if I do say so myself. The cranberries were tart but the maple syrup made them a bit sweet. Next time around I’d try adding butternut squash and also making some sort of sweet sauce to pour over the cranberry and spinach stuffed chicken breasts as it would add more flavor and moisten up the chicken a bit without it being too juicy.

On a side note, the original recipe called for turkey tenderloin but my grocery store didn’t have it (get your act together Wegmans!) and it also called for butternut squash but I was honestly just too lazy to deal with the peeling and chopping. Additionally, I didn’t have any sage on hand so I used rosemary and used spinach instead of kale.

cranberry and spinach stuffed chicken breast cranberry and spinach stuffed chicken breast

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