Monday, March 18, 2019

#Lunch - Round Four

It's a good thing I'm not a professional blogger, because I'd never be able to make a living at it! I'm so far behind at posting the lunches shown on my #lunch challenge to my self on Instagram! But it doesn't really matter - it's all just for fun - right? Anyway - here's round four. Happy lunching!

Antipasto Salad

The possibilities of ingredients in the salad are endless. Here is what I included in the photo above: old school iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, salami, pastrami, ham and provolone cheese. 

The real star of the show is the dressing; whisk together 1/2 cup good olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  

Cuban Spiced Pork, Beans & Rice and Fried Plantains 

I used the recipes here to make the meat and beans & rice. Too late, I discovered all I had in the pantry were white beans - so I had to sub them out for black ones! It still tasted great. As for the meat, I used a pork loin; I ditched the orange juice from the marinade in the recipe link above. I grilled it over medium heat about 20 minutes a side. It could also be baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Either way, it should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. 

For the plantains:
Peel and slice a very ripe plantain.
Fry in oil over medium heat until brown on both sides,
Remove from pan and dip each slice in cold salted water.
Remove from water and using a fork, gently press down on each piece.
Return to pan and fry a second time, until each side is very brown.
Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Mango Curry - serves at least two

Saute in 2 tablespoons of vegetable or coconut oil:
1 sliced white or yellow onion
red, yellow and green bell pepper slices - enough to equal one pepper
A bunch of chopped cilantro, including stems
1 small green chili like a Serrano or jalapeno
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, diced

Saute an additional 30 seconds:
1 clove garlic put through press
2 tablespoons red curry paste, such as Thai Kitchen brand

1 (15 oz.) can coconut milk
1 cup washed and snapped green beans
When green beans are tender add:
1 peeled and cubed ripe mango

Over hot cooked rice or rice noodles
Add cooked shrimp or chicken if desired

Roast Chicken

 Use a fairly good sized chicken - like around 3 pounds or over

The easy way: sprinkle the chicken all over with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Roast in a pan or baking sheet with sides at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour and 30 minutes.

The just a little bit harder way: Mix together 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon oregano,1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. and 1 garlic clove put through press. Rub all over the chicken. Place in a pan or baking sheet with sides and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

#Lunch (What I've Been Eating!) Round Three

I was chit chatting with someone yesterday who was commented on my #lunch Instagram photos.  She said, "Wow - it looks like you spend an awful lot of time on making lunch! Who's got time for that?" So - I told her my secret. It is leftovers. I use what we had for dinner the night before - or maybe combine stuff from two or three nights of meals. For instance, in this post any protein used (except the poached egg) was from some already cooked up meat, like a roasted chicken or pork shoulder. And, I'm a real fan of using canned goods such as tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, coconut milk and broth of all kinds! To finish a dish off, just throw on a handful of herbs drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle with finishing salt. Remember, we eat with our eyes first! 

Banh Mi Bowl

To Assemble Banh Mi Bowls:

1.  For each bowl, cut a fourth of a cucumber into sticks, place in a bowl, cover with rice wine vinegar. Do the same thing for 1/8 of a sliced red onion. Plain or even apple cider vinegar can be substituted for the rice wine vinegar.  On the day I made this lunch, I didn't have any carrots or daikon radish on hand, but they are wonderful to give a soak in vinegar and use in this bowl as well. Set the cucumber sticks and red onion slices aside while they sit for at least 5 minutes. 

2. For each serving, use a heaping half cup of left over cooked chicken, beef, or pork.

Whisk together:

2 cloves garlic, put through a press
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Maggi, Tamari or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch black pepper

Place the cooked meat with the whisked mixture and saute together over medium low heat for a good 5 minutes until the meat gets a crispy brown texture on the out side.

3. According to package directions, cook one serving of rice noodles, or even thin spaghetti. Drain and place noodles in serving bowl.

4. Drain the vinegar soaked cucumbers and any other veggies that might have been soaking, and place them on top of the noodles.

5. Add the meat.

6. Finish with a handful of cilantro, Thai (or regular) basil, and sliced radishes. A few slices of a hot pepper such as jalapeno or Serrano look nice on top.

 Tomato Coconut Curry Soup

 Click here to get the recipe for Tomato Coconut Curry Soup

Citrus Beet Salad

Ingredients and directions for each serving:

About 3/4 cup cooked beets - that's about 1 medium beet per person.
1 medium orange, peeled and sectioned
1 medium grapefruit, peeled, sectioned, and cut into pieces if sections are large
Heaping 1 tablespoon of shelled pistachio nuts
Kosher salt
Some good olive oil
A handful of washed and dried herbs such as dill, parsley, or basil 

Peel the beets, cut into chunks and either simmer on the stove in a small amount of lightly salted water until tender - about 7 minutes. Or, roast by putting them in a single layer, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Kosher salt, on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

Place the beets, orange and grapefruit slices on serving plate. Top with a handful of herbs. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts, Kosher salt and pepper. Add a swoosh of Greek yogurt on the side. Drizzle with some good olive oil.

Brown Rice Chickpea Stew

Ingredients and directions for four servings.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and put through a press
1 (15 oz.) can broth - beef, chicken or vegetable
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup rice, brown or white
1 cup water
1/2 cup of protein if desired, such as cooked chicken, shredded beef or pork - or poached egg - check out my happylittle video of how to make them :)
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed and dried

Heat the oil in sauce pan and saute the onion and celery (if using) until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Pour in the broth, diced tomatoes along with their juice, and the drained chickpeas. Add the cup of water and rice. Season with the oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of cilantro leaves

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I'm a Woman Who Eats - Lunch! Round Two

So here's round two of my "healthyish" lunches. If my neighbors ever glance over and see me photographing my food,  I'm sure they think I'm crazy! But so far this little goal of mine to snap a pic of what I'm eating for lunch has been a lot of fun! And - if you are curious about week one - you'll find it here.

Socca (Chickpea Flour Pancake) with Onions, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Ingredients for 2 Servings:

1 medium tomato
1 medium onion
4 tablespoon oil, divided
1/2 cup chickpea flour (or regular flour)
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided
1/4 Geek yogurt
Kosher salt for sprinkling
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Dice tomato and slice onion. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Using medium low heat, saute the tomato and onion until tender. Add 1/2 cup of the chickpeas and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, egg, water, salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining chickpeas. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Using medium heat, fry two socca pancakes; use half the batter for each one, turning over when the edges are brown and you see bubbles on the surface.

Place each pancake on a plate. Divide the tomato mixture and spoon over the pancakes. Garnish each plate with 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

So Easy Black Bean Soup - Serves 2


1 (15 oz.) can beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or smoked paprika)
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
6 jalapeno slices


Heat broth, beans, cilantro and chili powder to boiling, then turn down heat and cook for 5 more minutes. Divide soup into two bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 3 jalapeno slices.

Chicken Souvlaki in Easy Flatbread

I stuffed the Chicken Souvlaki into Bon Appetit's Easy Flatbread recipe - just click on the links for the recipe!

Fake Pho w/ Zucchini Noodles

I followed my recipe for Fake Pho - click on the link- but instead of noodles, I spiralized a zucchini. I placed the raw "zoodles" in the bowl, and when I poured the steaming broth on them, they retained just the right amount of bite feel. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

I'm a woman who eats, not a lady who lunches!

Hey - I really do enjoy going out to lunch with friends! What I'm saying is, I've never been one to shy away from a full, tasty meal. (I borrowed the title saying above from an ad for a pop-up restaurant in New York that was promoting the new season of Netflix's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The ad included the sandwich recipe below.) 

While we are spending some time down in sunny Southern Florida again this winter, I have challenged myself to put together "healthyish" lunches. I've been snapping a photo each day or so, and posting them on Instagram. Someone asked me where they could find the recipes. So - here they are... 

Ramen Bowl

1.  Ahead of time, make a batch of Bon Appetit's Spinach Miso Pesto Sauce. You will be glad.

2.  For each serving cook about 5 oz. plain ramen, soba, or spaghetti noodles according to package directions.

3.  While noodles are cooking, thinly slice cucumbers and a carrot. Place in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of rice wine or even just white vinegar on them. Toss.

4.  Assemble by placing each serving of noodles in individual bowls. Top with the cucumbers, carrots, and some kind of protein such as shredded pork, chicken or a hard boiled egg. Drizzle the miso pesto sauce on top (freeze any unused sauce for another time) and dig in!

The Maisel "The sandwich worth the schlep"

1. Spread one side of  two pieces of rye bread with Secret Sauce (Thousand Island Dressing).

2. On the bottom piece of bread, pile on 7 oz. of pastrami and 1 oz. salami.

3. Top with an overflowing 1/4 cup coleslaw and the second piece of bread.

4. Slice the sandwich in half and serve with sour pickles.

Lemony Roasted Cauliflower Salad

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse cauliflower and cut into florets. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place cauliflower in preheated oven and roast cauliflower for 50 minutes to an hour, until easily pierced with a fork and browning around the edges.

2. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.

3. Place a couple handfuls of spinach leaves on each serving plate. 

4. Open a 15 oz. can of chickpeas. Drain and rinse. Place in a bowl and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Put 1/4 cup of warmed chickpeas on top of the spinach leaves.

5. Divide the roasted cauliflower among each serving plate.

6. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes on each serving plate.

7. Drizzle a bit of the salad dressing above over each serving, reserving 2 tablespoons.

8. Add some protein such as shredded chicken or turkey if desired.

8.  Mix 1 cup of yogurt and 2 teaspoons chopped parsley with the reserved dressing.Pour a heaping 2 tablespoons over the top of each salad.

Clean out the Refrigerator Veggie Soup

1. Dice an onion, peel and slice a carrot. Saute in 2 tablespoons oil until tender. 

2. Add 1 (15 oz.) can chicken, beef, or vegetable broth.

3. Add 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes including the juice.

4. Add 2 cups spinach leaves.

5. Add left over roasted cauliflower from recipe above or any random vegetables in refrigerator.

6. Add protein such as shredded chicken, turkey or pork if desired.

8. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon oregano.

7. Heat to a boil, turn down heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

8.  Ladle into soup bowls.

9. Top with 6 minute egg; place raw egg in boiling water and set timer for 6 minutes. Add the end of cooking time pour hot water out of pan and run cold water over the eggs. Tap egg at wide end to crack shell and peel it off. Slice egg in half.

10. Sprinkle egg with black sesame and caraway seed or just black pepper and serve.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Oatmeal Raisin Banana Pancakes

I'm just going to tell you right now - these pancakes are not light and fluffy! But they are healthyish and they do taste yummy. The oatmeal gives them a lot of texture and good-for-you fiber. I started making them for something that was a little fun and different for breakfast, yet I didn't want to jump too far off the mindful eating track. The raisins and cinnamon make them taste good enough for a holiday breakfast. But the banana is key; honestly without it this dish is pretty dry! 

Ingredients and Procedures for Six Medium Sized 6" Pancakes

2 eggs
1 medium banana, mashed
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup buckwheat (or all purpose flour)
2 tablespoons almond milk (or regular milk)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried raisins

1 tablespoon vegetable oil to fry pancakes

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until the yolk and white are well combined. Add the mashed banana, oatmeal, buckwheat, milk, baking powder maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients into a blended batter. Stir in raisins.

Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, fry three pancakes at a time by dropping 1/4 cup of batter on skillet for each pancake. When multiple bubbles appear on surface, flip each pancake over and cook for three additional minutes.

Serve with maple syrup.  

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies: Easy and Super Delicious!

The recipe for these cookies must be at least 100 years old. I'm guessing this because my grandmother, who was born in 1903, brought Christmas tins of these to our house every holiday season. I remember biting into them - still cold from being in the truck of the car - and literally sinking my teeth into the soft shortbread covered with frosting. Sometimes she decorated them with tiny edible silver balls which seemed to add a magical quality to them. When I was about ten, she gave me the recipe and called them "Aunt Mary's Cookies". I should have asked her who Aunt Mary was! She must have been a relative that was gone before my time. I still love this recipe and even though they don't look very Pinterest or Instagram worthy, they are absolutely delicious!  They are especially easy for kids to make which makes them perfect for the season. Merry Christmas! 

Aunt Mary's Cookies - Ingredients and Directions for 2 1/2 Dozen

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks, regular salted)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1 teaspoon cream of tarter*
Decorative sprinkles

*4 teaspoons baking powder can be substituted for the baking soda and cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 

1. and 2.   Using a mixer, cream the confectioners sugar and butter together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3. and 4.  Add egg and extract(s) and mix until well combined

5. and 6.  Add flour, soda and cream of tarter (or baking powder) and either stir in or use mixer until the dough is stiff and smooth.

7,  Use two spoons to drop rounded mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet lined with either foil or parchment paper and place in preheated 375 Fahrenheit  degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cookies will be done when they are faintly brown in places around edges or on top.

Ingredients and Directions for Basic Butter Cream Frosting - Plenty for 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick regular salted)
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt

Using a mixture, cream all ingredients together until light and fluffy.

Frost each cookie and decorate with anything you wish!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Australian Pub Food: Chicken Parmigiana

When we went to Australia a couple of years ago, I'm sorry to say this exhibit in the Melbourne Museum is as close as we got to seeing a kangaroo and an emu.  

But in our limited time there we did see the Sydney Opera House and ....

... Melbourne's famous St. Kilda Beach. In fact, we walked all over Melbourne as Allison showed us the sights of the city she lived in for a few months. (Later during her time in Australia she worked up north in an Uranium mine - but that's a whole other story!) 

One thing we made sure to do was pop in to one of the pubs by the beach and get a parma - also called a parmy depending where you are in Australia. This dish would be called Chicken Parmesan in the United States, but its Aussie full name is Chicken Parmigiana and it's usually served with french fries, either underneath or on the side. Sometimes there is the option of ordering it with a ham slice under the melted cheese.

 It was amazing to me that a dish that would be served in a fine Italian restaurant here, was considered bar food there! I've made this dish for many years, sometimes substituting eggplant or even round steak for the chicken, and the girls always loved it. If you make it, send me a line or two and tell me how it went:

Chicken Parmigiana - Serves Four 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

One of the reasons this dish is yummy is that the sauce is nice and rich! So the first thing you want to do is make this quick, easy sauce and let it simmer on low heat while you are preparing the chicken.

Ingredients and Procedures for Parm Sauce

2 (15 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan. Let the mixture simmer over medium/low heat for 20 or 30 minutes.

Ingredients and Procedure for Chicken

4 (4 to 5 oz.) chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Vegetable or olive oil

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper.

In a second bowl whisk together the egg and the milk or water.

In a third bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dried oregano.

Using tongs, take a chicken breast and dredge it in the flour. Then coat it in the egg mixture and finally cover it with the bread crumb mixture.

Put enough of the oil into a skillet so it covers the pan and is about a 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat. Brown both sides of the chicken breasts about 5 minutes per side. Be careful not to let the pan get too hot because you want the chicken to be golden brown and not burnt.

Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and drain the oil out of the skillet. Return chicken back to an oven safe skillet or place it in a baking dish. 

Spoon the simmered Parm Sauce over each breast and place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully take hot skillet or baking dish out of the oven. Top each breast with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and continue baking for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is browning and bubbly.

Serve with french fries as they do in the pubs or opt for a nice green salad!

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