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Latkes!

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays!  I love this time of year, not just for the food and holiday break, but for the warm feeling that is thrust upon us when surrounded by family and friends, and friends who are family!  It’s a time for kindness, love, belly laughs, and building lifetime memories, which more often than not, are created around a dinner table.  Growing up, I always loved Hanukkah: the lighting of candles, the story behind the holiday, the jelly doughnuts, but what I really loved were the homemade latkes my mother and grandmother would make.  The crispy, fried potato pancakes drizzled with sour cream (or apple sauce…) and served nice and hot out of pan… SO DELICIOUS!IMG_0364.JPG

There are two schools of thought: to use a food processor, or to go old school and hand-grate the potatoes and onions with a cheese grater.  I chose the latter as I find that they always taste crispier and fresh when hand-grated.  I start by peeling one and a half large onions and grate on the side with the larger holes (julienned side).  Grating onions will cause your eyes to water and tear if you are sensitive to onions, so be warned!  I then set this aside in a large mixing bowl.  Then, I peel and grate 5 medium potatoes (I happened to have one gigantic potato and 3 smaller ones, but 5 medium should yield the same results).  I use a cheesecloth to ring out the starch and liquid.

Crack and whisk three eggs together and pour into the mixture, along with one cup of flour – I used cassava flour.  Mix all ingredients together, add a dash of salt and onion powder.  Heat a large sauté pan and add in oil, just enough to coat pan.  Scoop some mixture into a spoon and carefully place into the oil.  You’ll know when to flip them when the sides are nice and crisp.  Sprinkle some kosher salt at the very end and serve immediately.  Another school of thought: the condiment.  Some latke-enthusiasts like a sweet condiment such as applesauce, or some (like myself) prefer a savory, such as sour cream.  I use sour cream, but try both and see what fits your fancy ~ NOMaste!

Latkes

Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean, Vegetables
Keyword fried, latkes, oil, pancake, potato
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 latkes
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 5 medium Russet potatoes peeled
  • 1.5 large yellow onions
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour by preference, I used cassava
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • onion powder to taste
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Peel potatoes and first layer of onions.  Take a four-sided cheese grater and using the large julienned side, start grating the onions. Place grated onions in large mixing bowl.

  2. Take peeled potatoes and grate on the same side and place in a cheese cloth to squeeze out the mixture into the sink. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add to the onions.

  3. Crack and whisk three eggs.

  4. Add eggs to potato and onion mixture.  Add in one cup of flour and mix.  You can add onion powder here and some kosher salt for seasoning.

  5. Preheat pan on medium (or around 375*).  Add oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan in a thick layer.  Spoon a large dollop of mixture into the oil, flipping when sides are nice and golden/crisp.  Repeat for rest of mixture.  Add extra oil as needed.

  6. Sprinkle kosher salt and serve immediately with choice of condiment: sour cream or applesauce.

Bean(less) Beef Chili

Let’s face it.  There are a bagillion and five ways to make chili.  Do I add beans? If so, what kind? Should I make it in the crockpot? Instapot? Dutch oven?  How long does it cook for?  Do I add rice? Veggies? GAH!  Chili has become such a versatile and fun dish to make because the truth is, it’s whatever you want it to be.  To be fair, and to give credit, chili in its traditional sense is cooked low and slow on a burner for a few hours, and has a variety of beans and made with beef, but this can absolutely be made with turkey if that’s your prerogative.  Tonight, it’s made in a dutch oven and blended with fresh veggies!IMG_0329

The chili I make is most of the time bean-less as I don’t prefer beans (and being that I’m 90% of the time eating Paleo-style, beans are not part of the Paleo protocol) and they’re just added texture that I just don’t like.  Now, that’s not to say this chili isn’t flavorful… because it definitely packs a punch!  With layered seasonings like cumin, chili powder, pepper flakes, onion and garlic powder, and of course S&P, it creates a harmony unlike no other.  I start with a large onion and roughly chop it so that the pieces are not all the same, but relatively small and thin. I heat my dutch oven before adding the oil, then add in the onions and some salt.  The onions will begin to become translucent and fragrant, then I add the in sliced cherry tomatoes (really just for fun and texture) and let it settle.IMG_0317

I take 2 lbs of grass fed ground beef and add it to the pot, seasoning with just the salt, onion and garlic powder, and mix together well.  As the ground beef begins to brown, I break apart the large meat chunks with a wooden spoon.  Mix all together and add in the tomato sauce (for tonight, I just used what I had in house, which was a jar of Classico sauce, but I prefer traditional tomato sauce in a can).  Stir together to coat all ingredients and then add in the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir and let sit on a low flame for two hours.  After one hour, I add in chopped zucchini.

Alas, the results is a chunky, hearty, and bean(less) chili that packs a kick and warms the soul simultaneously.  Top it off with sour cream, cheese crisps, or grated cheddar for extra pizzazz.  Enjoy and, Nomaste 🙂

Bean(less) Chili

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chili
Keyword beanless, chili, dinner, healthy, Hearty, paleo, Soup, winter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 jar low-sugar tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced then chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or dutch oven, turn heat to medium and then add the olive oil.  Add in chopped onions and begin to let simmer. Add tomatoes and stir.  Let simmer and occasionally stir, waiting for the skins to begin to peel and the onions to be translucent

  2. Add in ground beef and break apart with wooden spoon.  Stir together with onions and tomatoes, adding garlic and onion powder and salt. Let sit and brown, about 7-8 minutes.

  3. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to coat evenly.   Sprinkle in chili powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cumin.  Cover and turn flame to low.  Simmer for 2 hours

  4. After one hour of cooking, add in the chopped zucchini.  Stir and cover.  Cook for remaining time; stir occasionally.

  5. Serve over rice or sweet potato, regular potato, etc. Add cheese or favorite condiments as needed and enjoy!

Sourdough French Toast with Caramelized Apples

I have a serious question: if you were to choose a sweet breakfast item, what would it be?  Pancakes? Waffles? French toast? All of the above? (haha, I kid… maybe not).  I 9 times out of 10 would choose french toast, even though I prefer a savory breakfast like sausage and biscuits or a good ol’ scrambled egg.  Nevertheless, a sweet breakfast like french toast is perfect on a gloomy Sunday morning and is incredibly easy to make.IMG_0307

My favorite bread to use for this is sourdough.  What I love about sourdough is that it is a fermented bread so it actually does more good than harm to your digestive system, and your waistline.  Sourdough is made with wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria which helps to bake or leaven the bread in a natural way.  It also helps to make other nutrients available to you such as zinc, magnesium, and other important minerals our bodies need regularly.  (note: if you have never done a Spectracell blood panel to see your mineral levels, I highly suggest you do… 80% of humans are deficient in magnesium which is a MAJOR aid in providing us with deep sleep and adrenal support.. I’m no doctor, but I’m a nerd with this stuff and fully believe in naturopathic medicine..)  As all french toast recipes go, you make the egg dredge with three large eggs, cream/milk, and cinnamon.  I’m starting to cut back from a lot of dairy so I use coconut creamer from TJ’s (Trader Joe’s).  I blended this together and set aside.  I grabbed two medium sized gala apples (Gala work beautifully as they’re sweet but also tart and tend to break down quickly) and dice them into bite size.  I melt 2 tablespoons of butter and throw the apples in and let them do their thing.  After a few minutes and tossing the apples around in the butter, I add a very small dosage of brown sugar (you could use coconut sugar too) and a dash of cinnamon.  When the apples get soft and almost glossy, turn the burner off and set aside.

Heat 1-2 tbsp of butter in a separate pan and make your french toast as you would: dip the bread in the dredge, then into the pan, brown for 2 minutes on each side, etc.  Ladle the apples on top of the bread and drizzle with your favorite condiments, I used a small amount syrup and was a happy camper.  I can imagine whipped cream and some walnuts would be yummy too!  Nomaste 🙂

Sourdough French Toast with Caramelized Apples

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword apples, breakfast, brunch, caramelized, foodie, french toast, savory breakfast, sourdough
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 person
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 3 slices Sourdough bread medium sized, brand of your preference!
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk I used coconut creamer (found on my fav products page!)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 medium Gala apples
  • pinch brown sugar

Instructions

For the apples

  1. Clean, cut, and dice up the apples into bite size chunks.  Heat a pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp butter and let melt.

  2. Add apples in and toss to coat apples evenly.  Let sit and bubble for five minutes.

  3. Add 1/2 tbsp more of butter and stir.  Layer in the brown sugar and cinnamon powder (a pinch of brown sugar is enough) and mix together.  Continue to mix occasionally until apples are glossy and tender.  Set aside.

For the french toast

  1. Crack three medium eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add in cream or milk preference and cinnamon.  Whisk together.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large pan and melt. Dip a slice of sourdough bread into the egg dredge then into the melted buttered pan.  Cook for two minutes on each side. Repeat for remaining bread slices.

  3. Ladle apples over the bread and serve with your favorite condiments (syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, walnuts). Enjoy!

Ma’s Chicken Scampi

It’s my husband’s birthday on November 20th, and ever since we’ve moved in together 6 and a half years ago, I’ve made this dish for him every birthday.  This recipe is called Ma’s because it’s my mom’s recipe. I always loved when she made it, and I’m so grateful to have seen the women in my life duplicate it so I can have it etched in my memory forever.

I have a love-hate relationship with this one, because it tastes so damn delicious, but it takes forever to prepare.  Sure, I can go the easy route and just bread cutlets and cut them up afterwards, but where’s the fun in that?  The term “Scampi” actually refers to tiny shrimp from the seas, but nowadays, the term Scampi refers to the style of cooking: a light fry in a shallow pan in oil until golden.  Traditionally, this dish is made with garlic, butter, and white wine, with a pinch of parmesan and cream.  I leave out some ingredients and stick with the big guys: garlic and crap-ton (yep, it’s a word) of buttah!fullsizeoutput_1066

Let me start by saying the trick with this dish is pacing – you have to be cognizant about timing the chicken and the pasta water, and how long the pasta cooks so it all finishes at roughly the same time.  I start out by taking 3 meaty chicken breasts and slicing them into “nugget” form.  I dip the chicken nuggets into the beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs (no skimping out on the carbs here), and set aside.  Olive oil is the choice of fats for frying the chicken, but start out with a small amount, just enough to coat the bottom (the oil with sputter if it’s not evenly distributed).

Fry a few pieces at a time and, this is important, be quick with the chicken.  They’re small pieces so they’ll burn fast.  Each piece takes about 2m per side.  As the second batch of chicken cooks, I turned the pasta water on to boil. This dish is always best with fresh pasta, which we’re grateful for at our little Italian market that opened up the block.  The water boils, add in salt, and dump in the pasta (we used Rigatoni).  Continue to fry the chicken and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Once all the chicken is done, take the garlic (3 cloves roughly chopped) and add to the pan with 3 (yes THREE) tablespoons of butter to melt.  I really feel like garlic and butter are the perfect combination for any recipe, especially as a sauce.  This dish calls for a lot of oils and butters, which thankfully is part of my diet on the regular, so no difference to me.  Mix around with a spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the remnants of the chicken mixed in as well. *Wipes drool from mouth*.  Throw in the chicken to mix around in the butter-garlic sauce, strain the pasta (about 9-10m until al dente), then add the pasta directly to the sauce/chicken.  Stir together until all noodles are coated.  If you need more butter, DO IT.

Serve immediately with garlic bread, some roasted veggies, and top with a dollop of ricotta. Buon Appetito!

Ma's Chicken Scampi

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Chicken, italian, pasta, scampi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time for chicken 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breast or 3-4 breasts
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) pasta fresh is better!
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic rough chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or skillet, drizzle the olive oil into the pan to coat the bottom.

  2. Clean the chicken breasts, trim of excess fat, and slice into "nugget" style.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  3. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate and crack and beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

  4. Create your assembly line: (left to right)

    Chicken - Egg - Breadcrumbs.

    Dip the chicken into the egg and then into breadcrumbs, coating both sides well.  Put breaded chicken nuggets on a separate plate.  Repeat until all chicken is breaded.

  5. Turn stove on for the pan with oil to medium.  Place 6-7 pieces of chicken in the oil at a time, monitoring the chicken as it cooks.  Chicken will cook quickly; turn chicken pieces over when sides are lightly brown (about 2m).  repeat for all chicken and set aside on paper towel/plate.

  6. Meanwhile, take a large pot and fill with water.  Place on stove. Turn flame onto high to boil water. Add salt pasta to boiled water and cook for time described on package (9-10m).  Drain pasta and set aside.

  7. Take chopped garlic and 3 tbsp of butter and add to pan that chicken cooked in.  Heat on medium-low flame and melt butter, sautéing the garlic.  Add chicken back into garlic-butter sauce and stir.  Add in pasta and stir to coat all noodles. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

We used fresh ricotta to add to the pasta on top, if this fits your fancy, feel free to do so!

Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

It’s the final countdown (until Thanksgiving), and I cannot wait to indulge in all my favorite goods: the sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, and apple pie!  This happens to be my favorite holiday out of all holidays celebrated, especially because it brings people together.  Friends, family, and friends who are family – it’s a season to give thanks and be happy 🙂

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I always loved the idea of eating orzo, as it’s a super small pasta that goes with just about every kind of sauce.  The downside?  I never really know how to best prepare it.  Should it be in a cold salad?  Could I eat it like regular pasta with just butter?  Tonight’s dinner featured orzo as a kind of sprinkling of carbs that paired perfectly with the medley of sautéed vegetables.IMG_0031

Giving props to my SIL Ashley for finding a similar recipe and giving me inspiration,  I took it a different route: instead of roasting the vegetables and using mushrooms, I sautéed all of the veggies separately, using one pot over and over again, then mixing it altogether at the end with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic.  I used zucchini, spinach, onions and shallots, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.  I started with the onions and cooked them until translucent then set aside.  Up next was the spinach: sautéed in butter and garlic, then the zucchini, and last the tomato/pepper mix.

I cooked the orzo as I would regular pasta, then added it to the vegetable mix, tossing the whole dish with some fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, S&P (Salt and pepper).  Crumbled mediterranean feta sat atop the beaut and we couldn’t have been happier at how this came out!  This will for sure be part of the rotation of meals.  Bon appetít!

Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

Course Dinner
Cuisine Greek, Vegetables
Keyword dinner, easy, orzo, pasta, vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

For the vegetables

  • 1 cup Orzo
  • 1 zucchini sliced then halved
  • 2 bell peppers orange and yellow
  • 1 pkg fresh spinach
  • 1 large onion or onions and 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 cup feta
  • 3-4 tbsp oil I used avocado oil

For the dressing mixture

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 half squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan, drizzle one tbsp oil into the pan and turn heat onto medium. Add the sliced onion and shallot mixture to the pan and cook until fragrant and translucent (should be able to see through the onions), approximately 8-10m.  Set aside.

  2. Add a tbsp of butter to the same pan and pour in the spinach.  Cook until leaves are wilted and soft.  Season with garlic powder and set aside.

  3. Pour another tbsp into the pan.  Layer in the sliced zucchini and cook until browned and the zucchini starts to sweat (10m).  Set aside.

  4. Add in sliced tomatoes and bell peppers and cook until fragrant and the tomatoes begin to soften.  Layer back in all of the other cooked vegetables.  Drizzle a pinch of salt and pepper, add garlic powder.  Stir to blend.

  5. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water (3-4 qts).  Add in the cup of orzo and cook for 8-9 minutes depending on packaging. Drain and pour into vegetable mixture.  Mix well.

  6. Drizzle the lemon olive oil mixture into the pan and stir to spread the dressing.  Sprinkle crumbled feta on top and serve immediately.

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