Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fish Stew with Turkey Sausage

The fall feels like it is rolling in. My plants hate this quick temperature drop. Everyone and everything around me is in need of some comfort food.

Usually when people describe comfort food, I hear of mac and cheese, casseroles, meatloaf, and other delicious items. When I think of comfort food, I think of what I grew up with... fish soup. My mother made the most delicious one but it used a full head of fish, many vegetables, an enormous pot, and many hours of labor.

She would start around 9 am procuring the ingredients but the fish soup would take the whole day to make and cook down. It was always ready by dinner time and it was perfect. I wish I had the energy, strength, and courage to make a dish like that. But very honestly, I don't....not A not B, and definitely not C.

Therefore, to make what I call comfort food, I had to use quick and easy ingredients working towards the flavor and taste of comfort. I am impressed with the result. I am impressed with the taste. I am almost certain that my mother would be proud but that is less important. I am proud of the end result. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


1-2 Tilapia filets
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, sliced or diced
6-8 large shrimp, cooked and frozen
1/4 cup diced Smoked Turkey Sausage (I used Butterball)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 pinch of dried Mediterranean Oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
dash of Creole Seasoning (not particularly necessary)
1 tbsp tomato sauce or tomato paste
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash of ground black pepper


(1) In a medium sauce pan, sprayed with olive oil, saute red onion on medium heat, until browned.
(2) In a medium-sized pot, saute celery and red bell pepper until wilted. Add onions to this dish.
(3) Add 1 cup of water to the pot and bring to a boil.
(4) In the medium sauce pan, add the fennel seeds, turning occasionally to brown.
(5) In the pot with the vegetables, add the remaining seasonings: thyme, oregano, creole seasoning, mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, and ketchup, followed by the tomato paste.
(6) When the pot begins to boil, add the tilapia and shrimp. This will extract a lot of shellfish flavor.
(7) Lastly add the diced sausage that is already cooked. I used a type that is fully cooked to save myself the time.
(8) Bring this to a simmer, leaving the lid off to allow the soup to reduce (approximately 8-10 minutes).

Serve and enjoy. This a delicious, hearty dish that provides both nourishment and energy. Definitely something great to savor when the temperature begins to drop. Sit back and enjoy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Chicken Pot Pie

This has been a whirlwind. From July through now, I have been transitioning into my new job. My time to devote to all things creative and delicious has been quite limited. Nevertheless, despite my excuses, I have managed to pull off a few quick dinners and baked goods.

I will do my best to recap, but here is one dish that I completed in a matter of minutes, using some quick thinking with a growling belly, leftover rotisserie chicken, vegetables that needed some love, and a huge biscuit sitting precariously in the refrigerator. To prepare something hearty and delicious, I came up with a quick 10-min Chicken Pot Pie. I highly recommend. My husband seemed to love it as he scarfed the entire thing down and relaxed back in the chair with a grin on his face.


1/4 Rotisserie Chicken
1/2 carrot, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock (I used Trader Joe's concentrate)
1 large biscuit


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut up the rotisserie chicken into small cubes and set aside. Also, chop vegetables including, onion, celery, and carrot.

3. Saute vegetables in a small frying pan until slightly browned.

4. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

5. Add diced chicken to pot, keeping temperature med-to-low.

6. Pour mixture into dish of choice.

7. Cover with biscuit that has been sliced horizontally.

8. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Enjoy the savory goodness. Smile, grin, sit-back...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Decadence: Banana Bread Pudding topped with caramelized fruit and nuts

I love when I make something and the person tasting grins at first bite....I know, no voice comes out at first, just a warming smile like an ah ha moment in meditation or yoga, when you finally get that pose correct.

Well that complement came upon sharing this dessert. It is a bread pudding but it uses leftover sweet decadent full of flavor banana bread, as the base.

I feel like I cannot take all of the credit as I used one of the 5 loaves provided by my mother. I do not exaggerate. She is very generous and also exceptional at everything she makes. In fact, you can find her recipe for the banana bread here.

When we ended up with 5 loaves of banana bread, we froze what we couldn't consume immediately. When I found this loaf in the freezer, I decided to make bread pudding.... The result, fantastic!

Banana Bread Pudding


1 full sized loaf of banana bread
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
4 egg whites, beaten
2 cups lowfat milk or almond milk
1/2 cup sugar or 12 packets of sugar substitute
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract


(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

(2) Spray a pyrex dish (8 x 8) or mid-sized pyrex bowl with baking spray (canola oil with flour).

(3) Melt the butter/margarine into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. I usually microwave the butter or margarine at low power for 1-2 min. Break the banana bread into small pieces into this bowl and toss to coat.

(4) In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract until well combined.

(5) Evenly distribute bread over prepared baking pan. Pour liquid mixture over the bread, and lightly push down with a fork so all of the bread is coated and absorbing the egg mixture. Add the raisins and whatever other favorite additions, spreading evenly. Nuts also work well.

(6) Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until done. Check completeness by sticking a knife into the center. If the knife comes out clean without any of the bread mixture adhering, the bread pudding is done.

(7) Allow to cool and enjoy.

And yes, wait for it...............the ah ha moment. Bliss.

I topped mine with caramelized bananas (bananas + 1 tbsp sugar over heat, stirring every few minutes) and chopped walnuts.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lemon - Apple Squares

It's been about a week since I last posted. And this time, words are quite necessary. I decided to try a NEW, yes a NEW, recipe from Kashi's website. You may be wondering why words are needed. Well let's just say I adapted this recipe to my own liking, higher protein, lower sugar, and lots of whole grain goodness. I have to also emphasize that this a new recipe attempt as my previous post about the Wholesome Sour Cream Apple Muffins has caused quite a stir in our house. My husband finally read the post, and let's just say he is now paying attention to ensure that his leg is not being pulled.

With this recipe, comes a warning, don't try it first thing out of the oven. You may wonder why the entire pan is empty in a few short minutes. It tastes like apple pie crossed with raisin bread. Yum.

Lemon - Apple Squares

Recipe adapted from Kashi recipes


2 cups, finely crushed Kashi GOLEAN® cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 cup cane syrup or sugar free pancake syrup
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup almond milk
1/8 cup canola or olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 packets of sugar substitute (7 Splenda, 2 Purevia)
2 cups apples, finely diced


1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray 8"x11" or 6"x12" pyrex baking pan with Pam baking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, mix first five ingredients. Mix well, then set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, greek yogurt, sugar substitute, egg substitute, milk, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Then add diced apples and mix well.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix well. Spread evenly in oiled and floured 8" x 11" bake pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cut into squares. Makes 20-24 squares.

Eat up!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Barbeque chicken and veggie frittata

On an amazing trip to Grand Cayman, I finally had time to relax, enjoy, and spend a morning having delicious breakfasts. We stayed in a condo through a timeshare ownership. I had never done that before but 7 days of relaxation was great. The opportunity to either cook or enjoy the local cuisine was fantastic. One morning, while everyone slept, I got up and made a frittata for the first time. It was super easy, especially using some quick ingredients that I had on hand, including leftover barbeque chicken from the previous evening.

Barbeque chicken and veggie frittata 


1/2 cup barbeque chicken (diced)
1/2 cup frozen mixed bell peppers (thawed)
5 egg whites
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
garlic powder + onion powder or everyday seasoning (Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup yellow onion (diced)
1/3 cup shredded cheese (three cheese blend)
1/4 cup shredded turkey meat (deli meat)


(1) Start by carefully oiling a pan (spray canola oil or olive oil will work great). The pan should be heat tolerant at least > 425 degrees (F). Preheat pan on medium heat on stove top. Preheat oven to 420 degrees (F).

(2) Add diced onions and bell peppers to pan to get to medium brown.

(3) Prepare egg whites by whisking with nonfat milk. Add to slightly browned onions. Swirl pan as needed to completely coat with egg mixture.

(3) Add diced barbeque chicken and shredded turkey meat uniformly amongst the pan before the eggs have fully set.

(4) Be careful not to disturb pan. Allow to cook on low-to-medium heat until there is only a slight jiggle at the top.

(5) Put the frittata in the oven to complete cooking (approximately 8-10min).

(6) Remove frittata from oven and sprinkle cheese and replace into oven for an additional 5-8 minutes until cheese has both melted and browned.

(7) At this point, the frittata is complete and should look like picture to the right. Allow to cool for 5-10min before serving. Enjoy while hot!

Believe me, this frittata is so delicious. It is a great cure for the morning following a long night out on the town. Trust me :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wholesome Sour Cream Apple Muffins

Recently, it clicked in my head. 

To make someone smile, all you need is one surprise trick in your itinerary: I found the one for my husband. Bless his heart. 

I have made the following recipe probably 4-5 times over the last 8 months and he says something similar every time: "Wow, these are great. I don't think I've had these before, they are the best thing ever." 

He thinks I didn't hear him, but each time I laugh and smile, because the base recipe didn't change. I either added or subtracted nuts or raisins. And every time I have used apples. The results are purely delicious. I love one for morning breakfast or a heathy dessert. He would say one or two of these a day, would satisfy his apple craving (his favorite fruit)....

Whole Grain Sour Cream Apple Muffins

(Recipe adapted from Pinch My Salt)


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sour cream, at room temp.
1/6 cup canola oil
1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar or 18 sugar substitute packets
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 granny smith apple (or your favorite type of baking apple), peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in apples, raisins, and nuts (if using).
5. Divide batter between the twelve muffin cups (a regular-sized ice cream scoop works well) or into a loaf pan. Sprinkle tops of muffins with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar if desired (I omitted this as it was perfectly sweet).
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin/bread comes out clean. Note, I made both a loaf and a few muffins. It will take less time for the muffins than a full loaf.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homemade Chocolate Fruit and Nut Biscotti

It was a wonderful Saturday morning and I caught myself thinking back about the bakeries in San Francisco, where I would do the marjority of my reading for classes. A typical trip to Tartine or Crepes on Cole would involve a mug of tea, either chai, vanilla jasmine, a smooth earl gray, or perhaps something floral, like hibiscus. Then, I would joyfully select a biscotti...that was my favorite pairing.

Over the last year, I have been learning how to make biscotti. It is my divine treat and quite a pricey one. My favorite one to purchase now is Irene's biscotti. It is sliced thin, full of flavor, and combined with fruit that caramelizes while baking....not too much but just enough to get a slightly chewy texture around the fruit, but remain otherwise very crispy....

After a few trials, I think I have it.
I promise you, this is a must try. It is delicious.

**Recipe adapted from King Arthur Whole Wheat Baking cookbook


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins and dried cranberries

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large cookie sheet or a half-sheet (18" x 13") pan.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla till smooth.
3) Add the eggs and beat till the mixture is well combined. It may look a big coagulated, which is perfect.
4) Add the flour and oats, mixing to combine.
5) Stir in the chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, and cranberries.
6) Divide the dough into four equal pieces, placing them on the prepared baking sheet.
7) Shape each piece into a rough log about 10" to 11" long, placing the logs crosswise on the sheet, and spacing them about 2" apart. (Yes, your hands will get a little sticky). Using your wet fingers and/or a wet spatula, flatten and smooth the logs till they're about 3/4" thick, and about 1 1/4" wide.
8) Spritz the top of each log with water.
9) Bake the logs for 23 to 25 minutes, until they're beginning to brown around the bottom edges. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan for about 10 minutes. Spritz with water and let them cool for another 15 to 20 minutes. While the logs are cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
10) Cut the logs crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices, using a sharp chef's knife.
11) Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet, spacing them close together without touching.
12) Bake the biscotti for 25 minutes, until their cut edges are a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven. Allow to cool completely on the pan (especially before storing, otherwise these will be soggy the next day).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Black Bean Salad

For a festive start to the new year, we brought our friends together for a great bash. It involved some football, some delicious bites, followed by some soca music and tasty beverages.

In order to create something light, yet delicious, especially after many holiday parties, we made a menu of ginger-peach chicken with multigrain waffles, sweet potato fries, and black bean salad. The latter could be eaten alone or topped onto a chip.

All of the food was joyfully received (and eaten. I may even saw a licked serving platter.) Additionally, I received many complements on the black bean salad. especially as everyone was shocked by the sweet, tangy, and subtly spicy combination.

To satisfy the many questions, I have provided the recipe here for more to enjoy. Happy 2013!!

Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Salad


2 cans - reduced sodium black beans
1 can - whole kernel sweet corn
1/4 cup mild salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp adobo light
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp habanero hot sauce
1 splenda packet or sugar substitute
1 tsp lime juice

1/2 red onion, diced
1-2 tsp cilantro, fresh & finely chopped


(1) Drain and rinse the black beans and corn kernels. Set aside.
(2) Mix the salsa, diced cilantro, hot sauce, lemon and lime juices, black pepper, splenda, garlic powder, and adobo until well combined.
(3) Combine the black beans, corn, diced red onion, and spiced salsa.
(4) All to marinate for 4 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.
(5) Garnish with cherry tomatoes or fresh cilantro sprigs and serve.