Grits!? what is that? Being born and raised in Massachusetts, grits isn’t exactly a common thing, which lead me to thinking of where it came from. It turns out that grits origins came from American Indian corn preparation. Additionally, three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are predominantly from the South, stretching from Texas to Virginia. Grits is such a staple in southern culture, the state of Georgia declared grits as its official prepared food in 2002 and a similar bill was passed in South Carolina. Who would have thought how important grits could be.
My first encounter with grits was ironically when I moved to Georgia. Fast forward 10 years later, I married a Georgian and was reintroduced to this iconic staple meal. Boston isn’t really the go to place for grits, so of course it would have had to reenter my life through my southern connections. Per request from time to time, my husband will request a bowl of buttery grits! How can I deny the creamy bowl of deliciousness. If you’re interested in this twist of grits, continue reading.
1 cup water½ cup heavy cream½ cup half n half1 cup of 5-minute grits2½ Tablespoons butterSaltPepper 1 Egg
Add water in a pot and let it come to a boil. When it starts boiling, slowly add the 1 cup of grits while stirring steadily. When grits thickens, add the heavy cream, half n half and butter to the pot and keep stirring. You can now throw in your pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 5-7 minute, whisking frequently. While your grits are cooking on low heat, crack an egg into a heated pan with oil of your choice. Let the egg cook in the oiled pan for about 4 minutes. You will know the egg is ready when the yolk thickens. When your 5-7 minutes are up for your grits, remove from heat and top it off with your sunny side egg!
FYI: Grits thicken fast so serve immediately. If grits are too thick, stir in a little bit of water or milk before serving. If you encounter the opposite issue and your grits are too thin aka “watery”, just let them cook a little longer which will allow it to thicken.
I kept this version simple, but some fun variations I’ve done that I will share at some point would be adding cheddar cheese for cheesy grits! Of course topping with shrimp instead of an egg. Adding green onions and bacon. You could even use chicken or beef broth instead of water to add a savory component. Your options are endless.
While pasta is culturally associated with Italy, it is said that the idea came from ancient Asian noodles. A common belief is that it was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo during the 13th century.
Regardless of where it came from, pasta is one of my favorite foods to indulge in. Let us not forget that with me being nit-picky about the foods I am eating based on my new fitness journey; pasta isn’t exactly the go-to anymore. Some of my favorites would have to be lasagna, stuffed ravioli and Fettuccine Alfredo.
I made a Sausage Fettuccine with a tomato based sauce and of course for all my health guru’s, instead of using whole wheat fettuccine like I did, you can substitute with zucchini pasta or another veggie pasta of your choice. Give it a try. It’s a yummy dish!
3 chopped garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of parsley
1 tablespoon of thyme
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 cups of tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 diced medium sized tomato
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Fettuccine or pasta of your choice
diced red onion
diced yellow onion
1 beef bouillon cube
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic cloves, diced yellow onion, diced tomato. Let them sauce and begin to soften for about 3 minutes. Add diced sausages and sauté until no longer pink. Add beef bouillon cube, black pepper and brown sugar.
Let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Add 2 cups of tomato sauce, parsley, thyme and crushed red pepper (for heat). Add your pasta of choice into tomato sauce, add 1/2 cup of water and let simmer until sauce thickens and pasta is cooked soft. Remember to stir occasionally, about 15-20 minutes.
Top it off with diced red onion, stir and let simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes and top it off with fresh parsley or basal for a garnish.
I‘ve taken a new fitness journey and have decided to consume only brown rice instead of the traditional white rice that I grew up eating. For dinner tonight, I decided to pair my brown rice with some delicious teriyaki flank steak. I don’t eat a lot of redmeat, but I crave it from time to time and today was one of those days.
Flank steak is a lean, flavorful cut of meat that is usually prepared marinated and cooked over a grill, but it is equally as tasty cooked in a cast iron skillet, or even a basic stainless steal pan.
1 1/2 pound flank steak
Freshly ground black pepper
Start of by heating your pan of choice. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add a diced clove of garlic to the hot oil and let it brown for about a minute.
After seasoning your steak with salt and pepper (and any additional seasoning you prefer), add your flank steak to the pan and let it sear for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip the steak over so it sears for an additional 5 minutes on the other side.
After the 10 minutes of searing, your flank should be medium rare/medium. If you let it cook any longer, you will risk drying it out.
Add some butter to the pan and sprinkle in some parsley. After butter melts remove the flank and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
Now Add 4-5 tablespoons soy sauce to the hot pan you had your flank searing in. You will bring the soy sauce to a boil while you stir and scrape the browned bits until they dissolve into the sauce. This stirring and scraping is the key todeglazingall those delicious little caramelized bits of cooked meat infuse the liquid, making it taste fantastic.
Add a 1 inch piece fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of sake (If you want a thick sauce, you would then also add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch )
On low heat, mix all your ingredients and let it simmer on low heat. When the consistency starts to thicken, you are then ready to drizzle it over your steak.
Dragon fruit is native to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand. Taken from several cactus species, its luscious stem provides a uniquely delicious fruit. The flavor is slightly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and apple with crunchy texture. If you’ve never seen it before, it of course may seem a little strange.
I first came across this exotic fruit while watching the television show Chopped on the Food Network. While walking through Whole Foods Market, I saw it and of course had to try it. The one thing I like to do before eating anything lately, is checking out the benefits. Why should I be putting this in my body? How will it benefit me? I find doing that makes me turn to fewer junkie, unbeneficial foods. If I can’t find any benefits than I have no business consuming it.
Based on my research, the benefits of Dragon Fruit also known, as pitaya are endless. A bite of this wildly nutritious tropical superfood can deliver a wealth of benefits for the human body. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, and several B vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism, as well as carotene and protein. Calcium is present for strong bones and teeth, iron and phosphorus for healthy blood and tissue formation. Dragon fruits have zero complex carbohydrates, so foods can be more easily broken down in the body, helped by vitamin B1. The seeds of dragon fruits are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help lower the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Eating dragon fruit can help the body maintain such normal function as getting rid of toxic heavy metals. Be sure to scoop out the flesh, or quarter it and peel back the leathery skin eating only the white part with seeds and removing any and all residual pink parts, which are bitter. Also, you must only eat dragon fruit in moderation because it is high in fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts. Too much of anything good, is bad!
Reasons you should add this exotic fruit into your life
Based on the many horrible foods that we probably shouldn’t be consuming, I have made an effort to introduce healthier substitutes for the foods that I do love. One being PASTA! So walking through Wholefoods, I came across beet noodles and squash noodles. I couldn’t make up my mind on which I wanted, so I purchased both. I decided that pasta made from beets and squash would prevent me from eating a bowl full of carbs and would have a positive impact on my health and whoever else would be consuming it. Not to mention, the taste is actually pleasant. Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring! Some benefits that I discovered during my exploration for dinner purposes was:
Beetsare high in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects which benefit the women who plan on becoming mothers one day.
Squash helps improve the quality of your sight, skin , strengthens the immune system, prevents cancer, manages symptoms of diabetes, builds strong bones, protects heart health, prevents inflammatory conditions, treats arthritis, eliminate ulcers, eliminates parasites and infections, increase prostate health, also protects against birth defects, boosts respiratory health, and reduces blood pressure. With all those benefits, why wouldn’t anyone want to consume a bowl of this stuff.
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 green onion shoots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 packaged of beet noodles
1 package of squash noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/2 cup of cream or milk
Step 1: Start off my cutting up your avocado and placing it into the blender with a pinch of salt and pepper. You then would add your cream or milk and blend them together. Depending on if you like a thicker consistency or not, add less or more milk or cream. In 30 seconds, your Avocado Alfredo sauce is ready to use for later.
Step 2: In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Add squash noodles and beet noodles to your skillet. Toss to combine everything together. Cook until warmed through. You don’t want to let the noodles cook too long so they don’t get soggy.
Step 3: Stir in the parsley and the Avocado Alfredo sauce you made in step 1. After about 2 minutes, turn the heat off and start plating. Once you are done plating your portion that you will eat and serve, sprinkle some Parmesan on top with any additional extra garnished you would like and give it a taste.
I accompanied my colorful plate of noodles with some baked chicken. This dish would be great with any meat of your choice. I would even suggest salmon fillet. AND feel free to add any other spices of your preference to satisfy your palette.
I love Crab Rangoon! It’s usually apart of my order when I get Chinese take-out. On some menu’s they are called crab puffs and on others cheese wontons. Based on who is eating them, they can be served with soy sauce, plum sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or mustard for dipping. I serve mine with a sweet and spicy sauce. There is nothing wrong with a little twist on tradition.
Basically, they are deep fried dumpling appetizers served in American Chinese and, more recently, Thai restaurants, stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, traditionally crab meat or imitation crab meat, scallions, and/or garlic and onion. These fillings are then wrapped in Chinese wonton wrapper in a triangular or flower shape, then deep fried in vegetable oil. Based on the roots of this scrumptious appetizer, it is known that cream cheese, like other cheese, is essentially nonexistent in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine leaving the history of Crab Rangoon to remain a mystery.
Continue reading if you would like to make some Shrimp Rangoon!
1 1/2 lb cooked shrimp peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon parsley
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of Goya Adobo seasoning
1/3 cup of green onions thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
8 ounces of cream cheese
Finely chop the shrimp, garlic and green onions. You could use a food processor to make the job easier.
Add soy sauce, parsley, vinegar, green onions, sugar, black pepper, and cream cheese to your chopped ingredients and mix them all together. If using a food processor, you would pulse all the ingredients together until mixed.
Take one tablespoon of the mixture and add them to the middle of a wonton. Using your fingers rub all the edges of the wonton with water, which will act as glue. Fold your wrapper into a triangle by taking any corner you want and matching it to its opposite corner. Get rid of any air bubbles by pressing the edges together to seal it well.
Repeat Step 3 until the desired amount of Rangoon’s have been formed.
In a small heavy pot heat oil to 375 degrees. Gently add a few Rangoon’s and cook until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels for just about 15 seconds. Serve warm.
Feel free to add your own twist and share if you do 🙂
It’s really easy to cook chicken wings in the oven. I made a spicy dry rub to marinate my wingette and drumette pieces. In my household, spicy food is a must, but you can always leave out the spices that bring heat to satisfy whatever your palette may like.
10-20 wingettes & drumettes (will vary depending on how many people you are cooking for)
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (more or less for spicy taste)
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon of parsley (fresh cut or dried)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo (all purpose seasoning)
1 teaspoons black pepper
1 Sazon packet by Goya
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1. Make sure your wingettes and drumettes are thawed and not frozen.
2.Then use a paper towel to dry any excess liquid on the wings.
3.Place wings in a large bowl and massage olive oil evenly onto each piece.
4.Combine all the dry seasonings in a bowl and mix them, making sure all the seasoning are nicely intertwined.
5.Sprinkle half of the season mix onto the chicken wings and rub in then Flip wings and sprinkle remaining half onto wings and continue to rub in. (you don’t have to use the entire rub, just use enough to where all wingettes and drumettes are nicely and evenly coated on all sides. (If you have excess rub, you can store the remaining amount in a zip lock bag to use for another batch or other recipe).
6.Place seasoned wings into a baking dish of your choice. I used a Pyrex baking dish.
7.Preheat your oven to 400°F
8.When oven is ready, place your wings into the oven for 35-40 minutes. I don’t usually flip my wings but if you wanted to, then flip them after 20 minutes.
9.Turn oven broiler on high and broil for 5-8 minutes depending on your preference.
10.Remove the wingettes and drumettes from the oven and serve alone or with rice, veggies, mac n cheese or mash sweet potatoes. They will compliment any side dish.