fried okra with ginger, garlic and chilies I feel like okra is such an overlooked vegetable, maybe because many people don’t know what to do with it. You see okra in BBQ places where its served  deep fried or in Indian restaurants where its in a red sauce but I feel like there aren’t very many home okra recipes – or I just haven’t seen any. I like to make okra but I usually just drench it in milk and cornmeal and fry it so when I came across this fried okra with ginger, garlic and chilies recipes, I was all over trying it.

This okra recipe is refreshing and pretty light and pairs well with beef, fish or chicken. The okra is good, but the shallots, ginger and garlic are what really bring the flavor in this dish so don’t be afraid to add extra.

cooking fried okra with ginger, garlic and chilies

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vegetarian spring rollsVegetarian spring rolls are light, healthy and a perfect lunch or snack. These traditional Asian appetizers are always wrapped perfectly and always look so pretty at restaurants and they can look, and taste, just as great at home.

I always want to eat vegetarian spring rolls for lunch but they do take some prep work, so I decided to slice everything up in the morning, or the night before, so that when lunch time rolls around all you need to do is assemble and eat. I made these spring rolls with vermicelli noodles, yellow and red peppers, carrots and tofu, but you can fill these vegetarian spring rolls with anything you like.

making vegetarian spring rolls making vegetarian spring rolls vegetarian spring rolls IMG_4644.JPG

Vegetarian Spring Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ½ pepper, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of vermicelli noodles
  • ½ block of tofu
  • 5-10 spring roll rice wrappers
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Boil the vermicelli noodles according to the package directions.
  2. In the meantime slice the carrots, peppers and tofu into strips the length of you finger and set aside.
  3. Once noodles are cooked drain and rise with cold water.
  4. Pour luke warm water into a shallow dish or baking dish and soak the rice paper for 30 seconds to a minute or until the rice paper is soft and flexible. Make sure to do this one at a time or else the rice paper will stick to each other. You can also just run warm water over the rice paper and that will work just as well.
  5. Place the rice paper on a place or cutting board and fill with the noodles, pepper, carrots and tofu. Take the bottom of the wrapper and fold it over the fillings. Then take the left side of the wrapper and fold it over the fillings and tightly roll, and in the meantime take the top of the wrapper and fold it over and continue rolling until the spring roll is complete.
  6. Mix the sauce ingredients into a bowl and serve.

 

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Grilled Portobello Mushroom BurgerIt’s starting to get warm outside and I’m beginning to crave grilled food. I absolutely love sitting outside on the patio in the spring/summer and enjoying some grilled vegetables and burgers so when I came this grilled portobello mushroom burger I had to try it, even if I did grill indoors.

I grilled the portobello on a grill pan and it was so juicy and flavorful, even thought it was only marinated in red wine, it was more than enough. I did marinate it for an hour as opposed to the suggested 20-30 minutes. I opted not to use the prosciutto since I don’t eat pork, but regardless these portobello mushroom burgers were delicious and I can’t wait to eat them again.

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white miso soupWhite miso soup is a must have when you go to  a sushi restaurant….it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the meal. I’ve never had miso soup outside of a sushi restaurant since I associate one with the other but I had leftover miso paste in the fridge and thought, why not?!

Making white miso soup couldn’t be easier and it only takes 20 minutes so you can always whip it up as an afterthought to a planned meal and no one will ever know. If that’s not enough motivation for you, consider the fact that homemade miso soup is so, and I mean so, much better than the restaurant version as it’s much thicker and more flavorful.

making white miso soup making white miso soup making white miso soup white miso soup

White Miso Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 1 sheet of nori, shredded to pieces
  • 2½ cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Fresh cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add olive oil once hot. Add the thinly sliced onion and cook until caramelized.
  2. In the meantime prepare 2½ cups of either chicken or vegetable broth. Once onions have caramelized add the broth and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl add the miso paste and a few Tbsp of the broth and mix well until all of the miso paste has dissolved and no pieces are left. Pour the miso paste/broth mixture into the pot of broth and onions.
  4. Shred nori and add it to the pot, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Season to pepper with taste.

 

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Waldorf chicken salad Waldorf chicken salad is a staple dish that everyone should know how to make. It’s a simple twist on the traditional chicken salad as it includes grapes, walnuts and apples. I love having Waldorf chicken salad in the fridge for days when I’m starving and need to each lunch as its satisfying and delicious.

Waldorf chicken salad

Waldorf Chicken Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb roasted chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • ¼ walnuts, chopped
  • ½ red seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop roasted chicken breast or rotisserie chicken into bite size pieces and place in a bowl.
  2. Chop walnuts, grapes, celery and apples and place in the bowl of chopped chicken.
  3. Add mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

 

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simple roasted chicken This past week I was on a 3 day juice cleanse so needless to say I didn’t do much cooking. I drank vegetable juices from 9-5 and then at 6 pm had a small dinner with protein and vegetables. 2 of the nights I opted to make simple roasted chicken breast and it was actually really good even though it didn’t have the usual amount of spices that I like to use or any sauces.

This simple roasted chicken is great to have on it’s own, or it can be used as a base for other recipes such as chicken salad.

Simple Roasted Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Lemon pepper spice mix
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 375
  2. Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and tenderize a bit.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and lemon pepper spice mix.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, turning half way through.

 

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jeweled rice with apricots and raisins I bought a whole lot of dried fruits…I mean a whole lot. I brought home dried figs, dates, cranberries,  raisins and apricots. I love snacking on these guys since they’re healthy and have enough natural sugar to give me my sugar fix. I can’t eat all of these dried fruits so I decided to make some jeweled rice with apricots and raisins.

Jeweled rice with dried fruit is the perfect spin on traditional rice and its much more flavorful and a bit of sweetness. You could add other dried fruit to this recipe like cranberries or just stick to raisins – either way you can go wrong. The key to perfectly fluffy rice is to wrap a dish towel around the saucepan lid to keep the condensation from dipping back into the rice.

jeweled rice with apricots and raisins

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 strips lemon zest
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Black pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Put the apricots, raisins and lemon zest in the 2 cups of cold water.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the garam masala, cook for about a minute.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes then add the 2 cups of water, dried fruit, lemon zest. bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Wrap a clean dish towel around the saucepan lid, cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes then set aside for 5 minutes before fluffing and serving. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/basmati-rice-pilaf-with-apricots-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

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spiced chicken kabobsIt’s been snowing quite a bit in the east coast, it’s beyond cold and I’ve been craving comfort food. Typically when you think of comfort food you think of mac and cheese, biscuits, pie, chili, etc. but for some reason I wanted nothing more than some spiced chicken kabobs.  I don’t know many people who consider kabobs comfort food, typically I don’t either, but I was feeling nostalgic and thought of my family. Many times when my family gets together we go out to middle eastern restaurants and get none other than kabobs, so I guess that’s where the craving stemmed from.

Anyhow, we usually make kabobs on the grill but thanks to the snow that wasn’t an option, so I found a recipe that uses an oven. These spiced chicken kabobs really hit the spot; they were so flavorful and juicy and I literally couldn’t stop eating them. They aren’t too spicy but if you’re heat adverse you can always tone it down.

making spiced chicken kabobs making spiced chicken kabobs spiced chicken kabobs

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dashi beef with mushrooms Remember how I mentioned that I loved the menu magazine that Wegmans puts out in it’s stores? Well I’m still obsessing over this month’s Asian inspired dishes and made dashi beef with mushrooms.  It’s very similar in taste to a beef and pepper dish that I made but it’s a little bit different due to the flavor of the dashi sauce. For this dish I used pre-made dashi sauce since I was in a bit of a time crunch but you could easily make your own and use it instead….which is what I’ll try next time around.

Not only is the beef tender and flavorful but there are so many delicious vegetables to accompany it like onions, peppers and of course mushrooms. This would pair well with some basmati or brown rice but I decided to make a vegetable side dish of bok choy. All in all, I would definitely make dashi beef with mushrooms again!

cooking dashi beef with mushrooms cooking dashi beef with mushrooms

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shredded brussels sproutsI love grocery shopping at Wegmans – they have a great selection of produce and interesting foods and condiments that you wouldn’t be able to find at your local grocery store. Each month they release a menu booklet with lots of great recipes and ways to incorporate their foods, and I never pass the opportunity to scoop one up. Now,  I think I’ve mentioned before that we love Brussels sprouts around here so when I came across this shaved Brussels sprout recipe I was excited to try it.

This recipe calls for a bag of pre-shredded Brussels sprouts but you could easily shred your own, although it might be more time consuming. The shaved Brussels sprouts are both lightly fried with the shallots and steam with but they don’t taste steam at all – they just take perfect.

cooking shredded brussels sprouts shredded brussels sprouts

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