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A Bright Mishmosh of Flavors

May 26, 2020

This was one of those nights when you shop your fridge with no plan, BUT manage to create something special. Greek chicken, Mexican street corn, the Sakara Bliss bowl and Middle Eastern spreads make for a trip around the world on one plate. It's a bright mishmosh of flavors. 

It's always good to have some ready-made fresh salads in the fridge. I'm not a vegetarian, love chicken and cant live without "real" cheese. SO, I usually order Sakara plant-rich salads and combine them with a well-seasoned protein.

This is my go-to chicken recipe. Wash, pat dry and season the chicken breast the day before. I like to season chicken with The Spice & Tea Exchange Greek Seasoning. This seasoning is super flavorful and has a hint of feta flavor. Put the seasoned chicken in a sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge.

The next day, pre-heat the oven to 425°. Place the seasoned chicken on a baking pan and bake until cooked through. About 20-25 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove from the oven and tent for 5 minutes so the juices will distribute evenly. Slice evenly against the grain and serve hot. 

This is not your typical Mexican street corn recipe. Just me using whatever I have to create flavorful corn on the cob with sauce drizzled over it - Kinda like Mexican street corn.

I always have a tub of garlic butter in the fridge. I mix whipped butter with the Oil & Vinegar Store Herb Butter Mix. The mixture of salt, herbs and spices is delicious and adds flavor to any savory recipe - Not just butter. 

Herb Butter Mix Ingredients..

  • onion
  • chilies
  • salt
  • tomato flakes
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • garlic
  • lemon granulate
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  • sugar
  • bayleaf

For a little flavor kick, I added The Spice & Tea Exchange Moroccan Spice Blend to 1/2 cup of garlic butter. You can season your butter with any spice blend. Massage the spiced butter onto the corn on the cob, making sure it gets in between the kernels. 

I wanted to make a Mexican street corn sauce, but didn't have all the ingredients, so made my own version. The amount of each ingredient will vary depending on how much sauce you need. For a small batch..

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tbsp of crumbled feta
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of ground chipotle pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic

Grill on high, turning often and until you have a nice char - for about 10 min. May take longer on an indoor grill - 20+ min. Drizzle the DIY sauce over the corn. Delicious!

I'm a big fan of Sakara - A plant-rich meal plan that delivers breakfast, lunch and dinner, two, three, four or five days a week. Some of the recipes are too "veggie" for me, but the salads are unique and the breakfast parfaits are super yummy.

The Bliss Bowl (pictured here) is one of my favorites. This fresh salad combines pickled watermelon, avocado, macadamia feta (faux cheese) and quinoa over seasonal greens, with detoxifying herb-chimichurri dressing. 

These spreads are essential in my home. Hummus, tzatziki and harissa go great with roasted chicken, veggie kebabs, kefta kebabs.. The list goes on and on. I'm sure I consume a container of hummus a week - I'm addicted to hummus and Stacy's pita chips. 

I often make my own salad dressing (pictured here). Combine equal parts oil, vinegar and mayonnaise. Add a little salad seasoning and mix throughly. I like the Oil & Vinegar Store Tuscan Herbs Oil, Garden Herb Vinegar and Marc De Champagne Vinegar. 

This unintentional meal turned out to be quit impressive. The fresh salad with pickled watermelon, along side Greek chicken breast is super healthy. The corn not so much, BUT one butter-infused corn on the cob ain't gonna hurt ya. I think we can all agree that corn on the cob is an essential summer food. This is a corn on the cob recipe I will repeat often.

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A Bright Mishmosh of Flavors

May 26, 2020
This was one of those nights when you shop your fridge with no plan, BUT manage to create something special. Greek chicken, Mexican street corn, the Sakara Bliss bowl and Middle Eastern spreads...

Toasted English Muffins - Two Ways

April 29, 2020

I love breakfast. I can eat it in the morning, late at night and anytime in between. My two favorites are savory avocado mash and spicy chickpea stew over a toasted English muffin and the traditional bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.

Because I'm trying to eat less carbs, I usually opt for an open-faced breakfast sandwich, but both these sandwiches can be served between two pieces of toasted bread or a toasted english muffin. 

Savory avocado mash on toasted bread or an english muffin is my favorite breakfast or mid-day snack. You can view my savory avocado mash recipe in the post below this one. It's delicious and pairs nicely with sautéed mushrooms or leftover chickpea stew. 

Savory Avocado Mash recipe - https://www.bagorgie.com/index.php?id=729

I posted a spicy chickpea stew recipe a few weeks ago (see below). This recipe is easy and super flavorful. I recommend making a little more than you need, so you have leftovers. You can put spicy chickpea stew on anything..

The next day, bring a pan to med-high heat and drizzle a little oil - preferably a Moroccan spice oil (Oil & Vinegar Store). Add a few large spoonfuls of leftover chickpea stew and a little vegetable or ramen broth. Lower the heat and bring to a mild simmer. Add small amounts of broth to keep your desired consistency.

Spicy Chickpea Stew recipe - https://www.bagorgie.com/index.php?id=731

Spread a thick layer of savoy avocado mash on a toasted english muffin and top with spicy chickpea stew. Delicious! You're gonna need a fork and knife for this one.

This healthy breakfast is packed with flavor and is super filling. This is one of my favored open-faced breakfast sandwiches. 

I usually prepare a full pack of bacon and store half in the fridge for breakfast the following day. I don't re-heat the bacon the next day - The toasted english muffin and egg are hot, so it's an unnecessary step. AND re-heated bacon isn't great.

Place a thin slice of cheddar cheese on the toasted english muffin, add a few slices of bacon, then place an over easy fried egg on top. Break the egg, so the yolk runs and Enjoy..

For extra cheesiness, add a second piece over the egg - Top with the other half of the muffin for a handheld sandwich. Just be careful when you bite into it, cause the yolk will pop and go everywhere.

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Toasted English Muffins - Two Ways

April 29, 2020
I love breakfast. I can eat it in the morning, late at night and anytime in between. My two favorites are savory avocado mash and spicy chickpea stew over a toasted English muffin and the...

Savory Avocado Mash

April 21, 2020

I love avocado - I eat it almost everyday (sometimes twice). Here's an easy recipe for savory avocado mash. I often eat this yummy spread on a toasted english muffin or multigrain toast. 

First, the avocado has to be ripe, but with no brown spots inside. How do you know? Give the avocado a light squeeze and if it feels soft, it's ready to eat. I keep avocados in a porcelain basket on my kitchen counter and as soon as they appear to be ripe, I move them to the refrigerator - ripe avocados will keep longer in the fridge. 

To cut an Avocado, simply cut all the way around the pit, gently pull the two halves apart and squeeze the pit out or use your knife to pull it out. 

While still in the skin, use your knife and cut a grid of 1" pieces. Use a spoon to remove from the skin. In a small mixing bowl add 1 - 2 ripe avocados and 1 - 2 tbsp of seasoning (to taste). I love the Old & Vinegar Store Guacamole Salsa seasoning. It's savory and adds a lot of flavor to the avocado.

Guacamole Salsa Seasoning Ingredients..

  • tomato flakes
  • chile
  • sea salt
  • garlic
  • paprika
  • raw cane sugar
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • granulated lemon peel
  • curry
  • parsnip

Gently combine the avocado and seasoning. Don't pulverize it - you wanna keep the texture chunky. This is not a creamy avocado recipe. Put in the refrigerator and let it cool a little. 

Spread a thick layer of savory avocado mash on a toasted english muffin (my favorite) or toasted multigrain bread. I usually prepare and top the avocado with sautéed mushrooms, spicy chickpea stew and/or an over-easy fried egg. BUT, the savory avocado mash on is yummy on it's own.

Spicy avocado mash on toast is a quick, delicious and healthy breakfast or mid-day snack. It's also a great addition to a club sandwich. View my Supreme Club Sandwich recipe below..

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Savory Avocado Mash

April 21, 2020
I love avocado - I eat it almost everyday (sometimes twice). Here's an easy recipe for savory avocado mash. I often eat this yummy spread on a toasted english muffin or multigrain...

Spicy Chickpea Stew

April 17, 2020

My Spicy Chickpea Stew recipe was inspired by the Dango chickpea dish at the famed DC restaurant, Maydan. This Middle-Eastern restaurant is amazing! The food is served to share with the table, so you should order a few dishes. The highly recommended Dango chickpea dish was my favorite - I'm addicted! 

The menu says there is chickpeas, butter, garlic, chili and lime. I recall the dish being sweet, spicy and a little buttery. Of course, the right spice blend is imperative, so I visited The Spice & Tea Exchange online store. They have a few Moroccan inspired blends, but the Baharat spice blend caught my attention. It says this spice has touches of sweet and heat and is good for Middle-Eastern cooking. Perfect!

Baharat Spice Blend Ingredients..

  • black pepper
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • paprika
  • coriander
  • cardamom

Chickpea stew with chicken kebabs is a go-to recipe in my kitchen these days. The chicken kebabs are basic - I season the chicken with Greek seasoning (The Spice & Tea Exchange) and leave it the refrigerator overnight. I slide pieces of chicken, red or green bell pepper, purple onion and mushrooms onto the wooden skewers and grill for about 25 min. My indoor Hamilton grill has a cover and keeps the temp at 400°. 

I usually serve avocado, hummus, tzatziki and maybe a greek salad or Israeli salad on the side. These are go-to sides in my house. 

The spicy chickpea stew is what makes this meal special. It's super easy to make and the leftovers are great over avocado mash and toast.

Ingredients..

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • Baharat Spice Blend (or a similar spice blend)
  • 1 can of small diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 white onion 
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • vegetable or ramen broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • butter (I use garlic butter)

Preparation..

Empty the chickpeas into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Chop white onion and bell pepper into 1/4" pieces. 

Over medium-high heat, drizzle a little olive oil, add the onion and let cook until transparent. Add the garlic, red bell pepper and stir. Add the diced tomatoes and Baharat seasoning. I typically add 3-4 tbsp of seasoning. BUT, I'm an over seasoner, so I recommend you season to taste.

Lower the heat and bring the dish to a light simmer. I suggest adding broth to keep the stew from becoming to thick (1/2 - 1 cup). Once the flavors have married and the diced tomatoes have dissolved a little (10 min), add the chickpeas and salt and pepper to taste. See video above.

Add 3 - 4 tbsp of butter and simmer for 10 min. DONE! Chickpea stew is super easy to prepare and with the right spices will add a lot of flavor to your dish. 

Rather than chicken kebabs, you can opt for Kefta. This was my first go at chickpea stew. All I had was ramen broth and I think this was the best chickpea stew I've made. Lately, I have been adding vegetable broth, but I'm gonna go back to ramen broth for extra flavor.

Kefta (beef and/or lamb kebabs) are also easy to prepare. Ingredients..

  • 1 pound ground beef (or lamb or a combination of both)
  • 1 medium white onion
  • salt and pepper
  • cumin
  • fresh cilantro and/or parsley 
  • fresh mint (optional)

Finely chop the onion, cilantro and/or parsley (mint too). Mix all the ingredients with the beef/lamb and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Take small amounts of the kefta mixture and mold it into a thick sausage shape. Gently push a wooden skewer through and tighten the meat around it. Grill for approximately 5 minutes per side (depending on the thickness). 

Serve with chickpea stew, Greek salad, hummus and tzatziki.

This is my favorite - avocado mash and leftover chickpea stew on an English muffin or toast. It's a spicy breakfast and absolutely delicious! I will post a savory avocado mash recipe on the blog next week.. 

*On a side note - I was told it's super hard to get a reservation at Maydan, but if you're ok booking a month in advance, here's what you do..

Reservations are released on a rolling bases 28 days in advance at 10:00 AM. Set a reminder and book quickly, cause these slots will fill up within 5 minutes. This is stated in the online reservations section, so I don't know why people struggle to get a reservation. Maybe they didn't read the not-so-fine print?!

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Spicy Chickpea Stew

April 17, 2020
My Spicy Chickpea Stew recipe was inspired by the Dango chickpea dish at the famed DC restaurant, Maydan. This Middle-Eastern restaurant is amazing! The food is served to share with the table,...

Supreme Club Sandwich

March 23, 2020

This is the ultimate club sandwich recipe. It all started in Amsterdam, where I had my first club sandwich with egg (many years ago). I realized the regular club sandwich on most menus was basic AND my Supreme Club Sandwich evolved from there. I have made this sandwich countless times and whether it be the mayo, seasoning, choice of leaves.. every so often the ingredients slightly change and this oversized sandwich gets bigger and better.

Ingredients.. 

  • 1 medium Roma tomato (1/3 per sandwich)
  • spinach (or leaves of your choice)
  • 1-2 avocados 
  • mini chives
  • seasonings (to taste)
  • olive oil
  • light mayonnaise
  • Sriracha 
  • eggs (1 egg per sandwich)
  • sliced cheese (to taste)
  • whole grain bread (or bread of your choice)
  • 1 lb of bacon
  • 2 chicken breasts 

Preparation..

This recipe is all about prep and assembly. The sandwich is served cold, so can you prepare everything first and store in the fridge. Here are the steps-to-prep..

Wash, pat dry and season the chicken breast the day before. Put the seasoned chicken in a sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Don't use plain chicken - it's boring AND salt and pepper just won't cut it. I like to season chicken with The Spice & Tea Exchange Greek Seasoning. This seasoning is super flavorful and has a hint of feta flavor. 

On the day of, pre-heat the oven to 425°. Place the seasoned chicken on a baking pan and bake until cooked through. About 20-25 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove from the oven and tent for 5 minutes so the juices will distribute evenly.

Once the chicken has cooled, slice evenly against the grain (pictured above) and put aside.

If there were food gods, bacon would be Medusa. Just looking at bacon makes you unhealthy and the salt content will dry your skin out and make your lips chapped, BUT the delicious strips are just too good to avoid. I eat 1/4 pack of bacon while I'm frying it! 

Pre-heat a deep pan to med-high and slowly fry the bacon. The bacon should be crispy - nobody likes a limp strip of bacon. Place the cooked pieces on paper towel to soak up the excess fat. Set aside.

Avocado mash is optional and kinda hard to keep on the sandwich, BUT the texture and flavor makes a big difference. 

Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Gently run your knife through the avocado creating 1/2" pieces and use a large spoon to scoop out. In a small bowel, combine finely chopped mini chives, avocado, a pinch of salt, a little olive oil and seasoning to taste (I use crushed chili peppers). Gently mash the mixture, so it's chunky - Don't pulverize it. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

I recently started adding Sriracha to the mayo and I love it! It's simple, just add a little Sriracha to light mayonnaise and once it reaches your desired flavor, cover and set aside in the fridge. You can also just go with plain light mayonnaise.

Place the eggs in a pot and fill with cold water until just above the eggs. Place pot on high heat. I suggest adding salt to the water - it makes peeling the eggs easier.

Once the water begins to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, quickly pour out the boiling water, run cold water over the eggs and add ice to stop the cooking process and cool down the eggs. 

If you don't have an egg slicer, you should get one. This little tool is great for the perfect sliced, boiled egg. Don't place the egg in the slicer with the shell (pictured above). Once the eggs have cooled, peel and slice. Set aside.

We're almost there..

I am a HUGE fan of sandwiches, which is odd, cause I don't like bread - It's just a means of transportation to my mouth. Albeit, I prefer whole grain bread or sturdy rolls (with the a little of the inside scooped out). 

Toast your bread, apply a thin layer of Sriracha mayo to both slices and place 1 or 2 pieces of sliced cheese on one slice of toasted bread.

Put a layer of chicken on the other slice, top with spinach, tomato slices, bacon, boiled egg and a large spoonful of avocado mash. Flip the toasted bread with the sliced cheese over top and cut diagonally.

You don't need to spread the avocado mash - gently press the sandwich and the avocado will spread nicely (it will probably overflow). This sandwich requires a fork for stragglers. Enjoy..

This over-sized, over-flowing club sandwich is not for the weak, "I'm watching my figure" type! You can opt out of using bread, forgo the cheese and easily make this recipe a Supreme Club Salad. Just layer the ingredients and use a suitable low-calorie salad dressing.

Print view|Tags: Supreme Club Sandwich, club sandwich, ultimate club sandwich, club sandwich with avocado, club sandwich with egg, club sandwich with Sriracha mayo, Sriracha mayo, egg slicer, avocado mash, avocado on toast, avocado on club sandwich, avocado on bread, hearty club sandwich, modern club sandwich, club sandwich 2020, best club sandwich, best club sandwich 2020

Supreme Club Sandwich

March 23, 2020
This is the ultimate club sandwich recipe. It all started in Amsterdam, where I had my first club sandwich with egg (many years ago). I realized the regular club sandwich on most menus was basic...

Spoonful of Comfort

March 04, 2020

About a month ago, a friend sent me a get well package from Spoonful of Comfort. Inside the box was a 60 oz jar of chicken noodle soup, 1/2 dozen Bacci rolls, 1/2 dozen Snickerdoodle cookies, a decorative ladle and a personalized note card. 

Of course, I was ill at the time and a pot of hearty soup was exactly what I needed. Was funny, cause she was also ill and I had been planning to send her a Spoonful of Comfort package, but she beat me to it. Thank you to my lovely friend, Vycky, for thinking of me. 

The Bacci rolls were slightly sweet and I prefer savory rolls, so I cut them in half, spread a little garlic butter, shredded Italian blend cheese and put them under the broiler until the cheese melted. Delicious!

You can also opt for gluten free dinner rolls. I think I'll try those next time..

Who wouldn't want a Snickerdoodle cookie?! The Spoonful of Comfort cookie menu includes chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies. You can also choose vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. 

The chicken noodle soup was amazing. I plan to send myself Spoonful of Comfort soups until I've tried all seven. The soup menu includes, butternut squash, creamy corn and potato chowder, tomato basil, chicken and wild rice, poblano chicken chowder, harvest vegetable (vegan) and chicken noodle soup. 

There was enough soup in the jar to generously feed two people and the cookies lasted for days in the fridge. This easy heat-and-eat meal is flavorful, convenient and a thoughtful way to tell someone you're thinking about them.  

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Spoonful of Comfort

March 04, 2020
About a month ago, a friend sent me a get well package from Spoonful of Comfort. Inside the box was a 60 oz jar of chicken noodle soup, 1/2 dozen Bacci rolls, 1/2 dozen Snickerdoodle cookies, a...

Mini Cheese & Vegetable Frittatas

February 17, 2020

This mini cheese and vegetable frittatas recipe is super easy and delicious. When I prepare these frittatas, they disappear quickly and the compliments don't stop. AND, depending on how much cheese you add, these frittatas are fairly healthy.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°. You will need cooking spray and muffin pans - I use disposable pans with a plastic lid for easy storage.

You can add a variety of veggies to these frittatas. Onion, bell peppers and hot peppers (to name a few). I prefer mushrooms and broccoli or broccolini.

Ingredients..

  • mushrooms 
  • brocolli florets
  • Roma tomatoes
  • fresh thyme
  • shredded Italian blend cheese
  • eggs
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • seasoning (to taste)

Quarter the mushrooms and cut the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. The veggies should be similar in size. Cut the Roma tomatoes into thin slices.

Stem and mince the fresh thyme. This Modern Sprout Herb Pull and Pinch Dish is great for stemming herbs. Pull the herb stem through the appropriate sharp, beveled hole and the herbs will collect in the dish. It's super easy.

I like Italian blend shredded cheese, but you can use any cheese. Sometimes I put a little shredded sharp cheddar at the bottom of the muffin cups for a little extra cheesiness. I'm a huge fan of cheese. 

Set the veggies aside and prepare the eggs. Use one egg per muffin cup - If you're making 6 frittatas, crack 6 eggs into a bowl or large measuring cup. Add a little milk (for fluffiness), salt, pepper and seasoning (to taste). I use William Sonoma pizza seasoning. Mix the eggs well and put in the fridge to keep cold. 

Place a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil (I like truffle olive oil) and sauté until the mushrooms have a little char along the edges. You can also add a little salt and pepper (to taste). Sometimes I add thinly sliced chives.

It is important that you cook the mushrooms prior to putting them in the egg mixture. Otherwise, they will not cook properly in the oven.

Spray the muffin pan with a little cooking spray. Divide the broccoli and mushroom pieces evenly in the muffin cups. Make sure there are equal amounts of each. The veggies should fill half the cup.

Pour the egg mixture into the muffin cups. Don't fill to the top, because the frittatas will rise while baking. 

Top the veggie and egg mixture with cheese. You can also add a little cheese to the muffin cup before putting the veggies - for extra cheesiness. 

Place two slices of Roma tomato over the cheese and spray with a little cooking spray - this will allow the fresh thyme to adhere to the Roma tomato slices. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the frittatas and place in the oven. Bake at 450° for 20-22 minutes. 

Once the frittatas are done, remove from the oven and serve immediately. I like to serve my vegetable frittatas with hot salsa. You can also sprinkle with parmesan cheese or serve with finely diced hot peppers.

To make your dish more interesting and healthy, add sliced avocado with a little olive oil and salt. This is one of my favorite sides. Enjoy..

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Mini Cheese & Vegetable Frittatas

February 17, 2020
This mini cheese and vegetable frittatas recipe is super easy and delicious. When I prepare these frittatas, they disappear quickly and the compliments don't stop. AND, depending on how much cheese...

Raclette: Grilling, Dipping and Socializing

February 02, 2020

Raclette is one of my favorite meals to prepare. The prep takes time, but the result is entertaining and delicious. It's kinda like fondue, but better! There's veggies and nachos with cheese, veggies in broth and proteins of your choice - I like filet mignon and giant shrimp. 

This interactive meal will last a while - I promise, everyone will leave satisfied AND with a story. I usually have racelette when we have guests for the first time and most of them purchased their own raclette appliance shortly after. 

I did a lot of research on the best raclette appliance and chose the Gourmia Electric Raclette - Table Top Party Grill. This portable cooking appliance can accommodate cheese, broth and grilling. 

There is a heating element under the sombrero and above the six raclette pans. This device gets very hot, boils veggies, melts cheese and grills seafood, poultry and meat. The pegs along the cone of the sombrero allow you too stick the protein against the hot grill, while the shallow bowl along the rim lets you cook your veggies in broth. I have the best broth - we'll come back to that. 

The grilling, dipping and socializing can go on for hours - so does the prep! You're gonna need veggies..

  • Baby carrots
  • celery
  • small mushroom caps
  • sweet mini peppers
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • hot peppers or Jalapeños

Cut your veggies and separate into serving trays. The quantity depends on your crowd. I suggest preparing too much, cause I have yet to have food left on the table - I often go to the fridge and replenish the trays. 

I know most recipes suggest you remove the seeds from hot peppers and Jalapeños, but NO! That's where the intense flavor comes from - just warn your guests. 

You're gonna need some proteins for grilling. Bare in mind the juice from the protein will drip into the broth, so this is not a vegetarian-friendly meal. 

I like to use Whole Foods Filet Mignon. I always get compliments that the filet has a buttery texture. Diners can decide whether or not to go rare, medium or well done. Make sure to season your filet with pepper and salt a few hours before serving it. I season the edge and at the last minute, cut the filet into strips.

I also like jumbo shrimp (the blueish ones). I get them at Whole Foods and always request to have the shells removed (leave the tail) and to have them deveined. The shrimp are a crowd favorite and disappear quickly.

Season your shrimp 30 minutes prior to serving. My go-to seasoning shop is The Spice & Tea Exchange. For shrimp I love the Adobo Spice Blend, Black Truffle Garlic Seasoning and Vik's Garlic Fix! I like to change it up.

Make sure to place your raw proteins on a separate plate or next to veggies that will be cooked thoroughly. DO NOT put raw meat and seafood on your personal plate.

The broth, veggie dip and sauces are of the utmost importance and take the most time - you should prepare these the night before.

I purchase a variety of steak sauces from Whole Foods. My favorites are Noble Made By The New Primal Classic BBQ and Mustard BBQ. BUT, any sauce will do.

My cocktail sauce is easy to prepare, super strong in flavor and will remove any unwanted nose hair. Ingredients.. 

  • 3/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1 small, finley shredded fresh horseradish
  • 2 tables lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine the ingredients and slowly add the horseradish until you reach your desired taste. Warning - I like to wear my onion glasses when I shred horseradish, cause it's super strong. It will bring you to tears and burn a hole to your brain!

For the broccoli and mushroom dip, I try to replicate the Melting Pot Green Goddess. Ingredients..

  • 3/4 cup of softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup finely copped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives (I like the mini chives)
  • 2 tsp minced white onion
  • Garlic seasoning (to taste)

Gently whisk the cream cheese, sour cream, parsley, chives, white onion and a little seasoning (to taste). Slowly add a tsp of milk for easier mixing, but don't get crazy, cause your Green Goddess should be thick. As your mixing, it will soften and seem thin, but it will thicken in the fridge. 

This stuff is heavenly. I usually double the recipe and barely have any left over. You can use it on your veggies and proteins. I highly suggest you fill the mushroom caps with Green Goddess. 

There are six raclette pans that fit nicely under the heating element. I suggest putting a few veggies and topping with cheese and Jalapeños or hot peppers (to taste). Don't overflow the pan, cause it won't fit under the element - so make sure to cut the veggies into small pieces. 

I also like to serve a bowl of purple corn tortilla chips. Once the cheese is melted, you can pour the veggies and cheese onto the chip - DELICIOUS! You can also pour a little hot salsa over the veggies and cheese.

My favorite cheeses for raclette are Boar's Head Canadian Cheddar, Boar's Head Sharp Cheddar and a horseradish infused cheese. Most grocery stores also stock raclette cheese, but it's a little strong for me. DO NOT purchase one of those trays with perfectly squared cheese slices - it's processed and doesn't melt properly. Splurge and get the good stuff.

The broth is super important and my favorite raclette feature. I frequent The Melting Pot fondue restaurant and always ask to take the left over broth home. I let it cool in the fridge and freeze it until I need it. It's a super salty, flavorful broth that can be used in soup, gravy and raclette broth. If you like fondue, you know that everything is cooked in the broth, so the flavor is comprised of meat, seafood and veggies. 

Also, after roasting a chicken or turkey, I boil the carcass, strain, cool and freeze the broth. This works well for soups, gravy and raclette. Just add seasoning (preferable The Melting Pot seasoning) and it's the perfect base. You can also make a broth from scratch with store bought veggie, chicken or beef broth and some seasoning. 

After each raclette dinner, I cool the leftover broth and freeze. Overtime, the ongoing broth will become super flavorful and way too salty, but mixed with water, it's kinda like a homemade bouillon. 

Put a little cooking spray on the cone, so the meat doesn't stick, turn your grill on high and pour the broth into the shallow rim. Place all your prepared veggies, cheese and proteins on the table and let the grilling and dipping begin. I suggest getting the proteins on the cone immediately, so the cooking spray doesn't burn. 

I like to use fondue plates, cause they're sectioned and the sauces and juices don't run all over the plate. You can also place small containers for the sauces.

Cooking times are as follows.. Once the cheese has melted over the veggies, dig in. The veggies should be el dente. Broccoli and mushrooms - 3+ min, filet - depends on preference and shrimp 3+ min (depending on size). If you are grilling chicken, I'd give it 4+ min (depending on size).

Your guests are gonna love this cooking concept - You won't be stuck for things to talk about! I considered buying a raclette appliance for everyone I know this past Christmas, but they were sold out. If this is your first time visiting my home, you can expect raclette..

We're not done! After you've finished the cheese, veggies, meat and seafood, quickly pour out the broth, give the sombrero a rinse (don't bother scrubbing it yet) and wash the pans - it's time for dessert. This is also a great time to serve coffee or espresso, so your guests don't fall into a food coma!

Like the veggies and cheese, place a few berries in the pan, along with chocolate and wait for it to melt. By the time you get to the dessert, you're full, but can't resist berries and chocolate. I like to use blackberries, strawberries and mini Toblerone (the mini pieces fit under the heating element nicely). 

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Raclette: Grilling, Dipping and Socializing

February 02, 2020
Raclette is one of my favorite meals to prepare. The prep takes time, but the result is entertaining and delicious. It's kinda like fondue, but better! There's veggies and nachos with cheese,...

Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet

January 21, 2020

My low calorie Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet is easy to prepare and delicious.

You can prepare this dish family-style and serve onto plates or you can prepare the dish in small, individual skillets (pictured here). You will also need protective surface to place the hot skillet on. I use small olive wood cutting boards.

Ingredients.. 

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 2 large green onions
  • 1 pack of mini chives
  • 1 pack baby tomatoes (any color)
  • 1 oz. tortilla strips (optional)
  • 1 bag of purple corn tortilla chips (optional)
  • 1 oz. taco seasoning
  • 1 can of Rotel (optional)
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

I'm an over-seasoner and also add a dash of paprika, chili powder and cumin to taste, but taco seasoning alone is enough to create a flavorful dish. You may also want to add salt and pepper to taste. 

Before starting the process, empty the black beans into a strainer, rinse with cold water and set aside. 

Prepare your produce.. 

Halve and peel the white onion, then slice into strips and cut into a fine dice. Trim zucchini ends, quarter lengthwise and cut into 1/4" dice. Half the baby tomatoes. Core the Roma tomato and cut into 1/2" dice. Stem, seed, remove ribs and cut the red bell pepper into 1/2" pieces. Thinly slice the green onions. Thinly slice the mini chives and set aside for garnish.

Here's a little trick to ensure the ground beef is separated evenly - Once the beef is half cooked, gently mash it with a wire masher similar to the one pictured here. 

Directions..

Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil, add the white onion and stir until tender (3-5 minutes). Add the ground beef and break up the meat until no pink remains (3-5 minutes).

You can remove the ground beef and reuse the pan for the produce or place two pans on your stovetop and cook both simultaneously. If you chose to remove the beef and use one pan, don't worry about the meat getting cold - you will re-heat it at a later step.

If you're using the same pan that you cooked your ground beef in, there's no need to wipe the pan clean. Otherwise, place the pan over medium-high heat and drizzle a little olive oil. Add the zucchini and red bell pepper. Cook undisturbed (4-5 minutes).

Combine the ground beef with the zucchini and red bell pepper. Add the black beans. Gently stir until everything is mixed evenly.

Add the mixture to the skillets and top with cheese and broil until the cheese is melted. You just want the cheese to melt, not bubble. Pay close attention, so your Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet doesn't burn under the broiler. 

Carefully remove the skillets from the oven and place on a protective surface. Top with the baby tomatoes, mini chives and a spoonful of sour cream.

You can enjoy the Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet alone or with purple corn tortilla chips. These chips are sturdy and can handle the heavy load of yumminess. Enjoy..

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Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet

January 21, 2020
My low calorie Cheesy Zucchini Taco Skillet is easy to prepare and delicious. You can prepare this dish family-style and serve onto plates or you can prepare the dish in small, individual...

Guinness Beef Chili

January 15, 2020

This Guinness Chili recipe takes time, but is worth the effort. The bold flavor of Guinness is prominent and separates this chili from all other chili recipes.

I'm not a recipe person, but more of a fly by the seat of your pants kinda cook. I did however pay close attention when I cooked my last chili, so I could prepare this recipe for you.

Ingredients..

  • 2 medium white onion
  • 3 celery stocks
  • 1 large carrot (or pack of pre-cut celery and carrot - pictured here)
  • 5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of Rotel (mild or hot)
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth (for liquid)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp pizza seasoning (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 pack of mushrooms
  • 2 bottles of Guinness (save some for leftovers)
  • hot salsa (to taste) (as much as you like)
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 2 cans of black beans

Yields 12 servings (or more)

I like to combine my spices first, so I can toss the mixture into the chili with ease. Again, my spices include..

  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 oz. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp pizza seasoning (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt (to taste)

If you need more heat (spice), I suggest adding them early in the process, so the flavors can marry with the other ingredients. I ALWAYS add more spices, but wanted to keep this recipe low heat. Not everyone wants to feel the burn!

Get yourself a vegetable chopper, slice and dice cutter. They're inexpensive and will save you a lot of time. Otherwise, go old school and chop your produce manually. Sometimes I'm too lazy to use the chopper and clean it, so I chop manually with a ceramic knife - it's therapy!

Prepare your produce..

Cut the celery and carrot into 1/4" dice. Halve and peel the white onion, then slice into strips and cut into a fine dice. Stem, seed, remove ribs and cut the red and yellow bell peppers into 1" pieces. Slice the mushrooms. Remove stem from Jalapeños, half and mince (no need to remove the ribs and seeds). Mince fresh garlic or use minced garlic from a jar (it's easier). Thinly slice the mini chives and set aside for garnish.

Before starting the process, empty the black beans and kidney beans into a strainer, rinse with cold water and set aside. 

Place a large stock pot over med-high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the Mirepoix mix (celery, carrot and onion). Stir occasionally and cook until tender (4+ minutes).

Add the minced garlic, followed by the lean ground beef and break up the meat until no pink remains. You may want to drain any excess fat from the beef. Simply pour into a large strainer, let the fat drain and put the beef back in the stock pot.

Once the lean ground beef is cooked through, reduce the heat to medium and add the Rotel, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and stir. Add the pre-prepared mixture of seasonings and stir. Add the mushrooms, hot salsa and stir.

I know it is odd to add mushrooms, but they add a nice texture and will cook down to half the size. Mushrooms are my favorite AND I usually eat them from the pot, so there's barely any left when I serve the chili!

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Add the Guinness beer 1/2 bottle at a time for flavor. If you feel that your chili needs more liquid, add vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time.

I keep half a bottle of Guinness in the fridge for leftovers - just add the remaining Guinness for liquid and re-heat. 

Lower the heat and allow the chili to summer until the bell peppers are tender. This process requires frequent tastings - you will not be hungry after cooking this chili! I usually allow my chili to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

Lastly, add the black beans and kidney beans and allow them to sit in the chili for 30 min before serving. If you are cooking your chili the night before, I would suggest adding the beans when you reheat the chili. These beans are fragile and fall apart easily - you want them to be intact.

I prefer to cook the chili the night before and refrigerate. My large stock pot doesn't fit in my fridge, so I transfer the chili to a smaller stock pot. 

Day 2, just add Guinness beer and re-heat on low-medium.

Sides..

Chili is heavy on it's own, but cheesy garlic bread compliments chili flavors well. Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Using a serrated knife, slice one French baguette into 1/4" pieces, spread an even layer of garlic butter and top with Italian cheese blend. Turn the oven to broil. Place the cheesy garlic bread under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling.

I keep garlic butter in my fridge at all times and use it often. My go-to garlic butter seasoning is Herb Butter Mix from The Oil & Vinegar Store. Just add a few tbsp to whipped butter and you have a perfectly flavored garlic butter that will last in the fridge for months. 

Toppings are up to the individual, so I suggest placing chopped Jalapeño, shredded sharp cheddar, sliced avocado and sour cream on the table. I usually prepare garlic sour cream the night before - 1 large container of sour cream, garlic seasoning (to taste) and thinly sliced green onion. It's delicious. 

This Guinness chili recently won 2nd place at a corporate chili cook-off! It takes time, but the result is super satisfying. Enjoy..

Print view|Tags: Guinness chili, Guinness chili recipe, chili with beer, chili with Guinness beer, cook with Guinness beer, chili cook-off 2019, chili recipe, beef chili recipe, Guinness beef chili recipe, How to cook chili, cook a big pot of chili, cheesy garlic bread recipe, Herb Butter Mix, Oil and Vinegar Store Herb Butter Mix, chili with cheese, what to put I chili, chili recipe 2020, best chili 2020

Guinness Beef Chili

January 15, 2020
This Guinness Chili recipe takes time, but is worth the effort. The bold flavor of Guinness is prominent and separates this chili from all other chili recipes. I'm not a recipe person, but more of...
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