A REPEAT PERFORMANCE #CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS

I felt like a maestro conducting her orchestra. I don’t claim to be an expert; however, for me, earlier, it was a repeat performance with my curried chicken thighs. You see, my palate requested the left-overs I had in my freezer. And that was music to my ears.

Like most of us, I’ve a super-busy life; therefore, whenever I cook I often try to cook a little extra for days when I don’t feel like cooking from scratch. My thighs were bone-in and skinless. Cooking bone-in chicken provided dish with more flavors. After all, I love to nimble on the bones.

My left-over chicken thighs didn’t disappoint. Just as I surmised, they were even more mouth-watering and had more depth of flavors. I served same with steamed Jasmine rice along with a serving of tomato and avocado salad and fried plantains.

My palate and I were satisfied.

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I’M BEETING IT THIS WEEK! #BEET/CARROT/GINGER JUICE

It’s no secret; most store-bought drinks and juices are loaded with large amounts of sugars and preservatives. As a result, I try to keep them to a minimum.  So, whenever I can, I crave out sometime each week and prepare my home-made juices and drinks. At least I know that they are fresh and only contain wholesome ingredients that will  provide me with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.

This week my juice of choice is a combination one. One that is full of huge amounts of beta-carotene and other nutrients. It only took me a few minutes to rinse a few carrots and beetroot, and a piece of ginger root. I made sure to chop these ingredients to accommodate my standing blender. These were added to blender with cold water and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.

These ingredients were blended to a smooth and refreshing finish. I used my strainer to remove pulp which will be used into healthy muffins. My drink was a brilliant burgundy hue as my beetroot ruled.

Salud!

A HAPPY ENCORE #JERK CHICKEN THIGHS

I can never grow tired of a jerk chicken dish. I would’ve had my chicken thighs a million and one ways; however, I chose to revisit the jerky-side of things. Moreover, it’s the week-end, and for me, a week-end isn’t a week-end without a meal consisting of this succulent, spicy, and mouth-watering Jamaican condiment.

I utilized the jerk sauce from the jar which comes in ‘mild’ or ‘hot/spicy’.

JERK SAUCE (MILD/SPICY)
JERK SAUCE (MILD/SPICY)

Of course, I love hot, thus, I went there. Jerk sauce is sold in the ethnic aisle in most supermarkets, Korean, and West Indian markets and a jar is sold for approximately $6.00. A little goes a far way. Although this sauce is packed with tremendous flavors, I like to input my side of things by adding fresh ingredients such as:

  • Garlic – 2 cloves (crushed)
  • Onions – 1 small (finely chopped)
  • Pimento berries (all spice) (crushed)
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar (any kind will do)
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper (bearing in mind that jerk sauce contains)

Chicken thighs were skinless and bone-in. These were cut into smaller portions and rinsed with a little lime juice. Chicken was drizzled with canola oil, seasoned with the above ingredients and jerk sauce. This was marinated in fridge overnight.

Poultry was brought to room temperature, and then placed on baking sheet. In a pre-heated 350 degree oven, chicken was baked for 50 minutes turning once. Chicken was brushed with a sauce consisting of jerk sauce, ketchup and sprinkle of sugar. Then an addition 10 minutes were added at 370 degrees for a brown finish.

The finished dish was spicy and loaded with amazing flavors of the Caribbean. And, to temper my spicy thighs, I added a few small sweet bell peppers. My palate and I were extremely happy.

NATURE’S BOUNTY #ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

I can’t complain. The autumn (Fall) season has emerged in my kitchen in a huge way. It has doled out  some of earth’s finest in the form of root vegetables. Thus, I treated them one of the favorite ways I like. I decided to roast them. Roasting is perfect for these veggies as it brings out the nutty and natural sugar within. Moreover, I know that these vegetables are filled with nutrients that are beneficial for the body.

So, it was with glee that I grabbed my baking sheet  and embarked on a culinary process. Some of the veggies that were included were:

  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
ROOT VEGETABLES FOR ROASTING
ROOT VEGETABLES FOR ROASTING

Vegetables were drizzled with canola oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper. Then, for extra flavor of spices, I added a sprinkle of paprika and cinnamon to carrots and sweet potatoes. These were placed in a heated oven of 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then then were given an additional 10 minutes at 420 degrees.

I couldn’t help myself; had a serving of summer’s favorites (loose grilled corn). I made extra during the summer and stored same in freezer. I did a rapid defrost in the microwave oven and added same to a quick pan-roast of small bell peppers and onions.

SMALL SWEET BELL PEPPERS IN SKILLET
SMALL SWEET BELL PEPPERS IN SKILLET
BELL PEPPERS, ONIONS AND LEFT-OVER GRILLED CORN
BELL PEPPERS, ONIONS AND LEFT-OVER GRILLED CORN

These were added to the oven roasted root vegetables. Each bite of the carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes was smooth and sweet. The corn still kept the sweet/crispness and the fennel had a beautiful licorice taste that went very well with all the other veggies.

OVEN AND PAN-ROASTED VEGETABLES
OVEN AND PAN-ROASTED VEGETABLES

All these roasted vegetables will be used a side dish for upcoming entrees.

A JOYFUL MORNING JOLT! #OATMEAL AND FRUITS

You may call me a repeat ‘offender’ if you wish. But, it was with a merry heart that I chose to revisit one of my favorite morning cereals. One of the great things about oatmeal is that it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other cereals. Most importantly, it’s loaded with heart-healthy whole grain properties that will provide sustenance for an extended period of time.

So, it was without hesitation that I grabbed my stockpot and added the following:

  • oatmeal – 1/4 cup
  • cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
  • raisins – 10
  • vanilla – 1/2 tsp
  • milk – 1 cup
  • dark sugar – 1 tsp

All ingredients were slowly simmered on low heat and brought to a thick consistency. Oatmeal was sweetened with a teaspoon of dark sugar. Cereal was paired and topped with fresh strawberries and a potassium-filled serving of ripe bananas. A generous amount of cinnamon was sprinkled on same.

Cheers to my heart!

A STORMY DAY DISCOVERY! #LEFT-OVER CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS

As dark clouds blanketed the evening skies, I hastily made my way to my humble kitchen. Mother Nature was at work on this first day of autumn (well, that’s what the calendar states). However, the elements screamed summer conditions within my midst. With thunder roaring and the skies lighting up, I knew it was quite risky stirring up a pot. However, tell that to my waiting stomach. It didn’t care.

Time was of the essence. I kept my fingers crossed hoping there wouldn’t be an interruption in the electric power. With that in mind, I knew that I wasn’t going to cook from scratch. Moreover, I was exhausted and required much-needed slumber.

I smiled as I made my way to my faithful freezer. Most times, it doesn’t disappoint me. As such, I made a quick rummage through the contents, and my eyes lit up as I spotted the container of curried chicken. I cooked that almost a week ago.Who knows? My foggy brain was trying to focus. So far, so good. All I needed was some carbohydrates and vegetables.

My trek further led me to discover some left-over Jasmine rice. As a matter of fact, there were two small containers which turned out to be just the right amount. I grabbed hold of the frozen spinach at the side of the freezer door. I love to keep a couple of them on hand for times as this.

Thanks to my microwave oven, it produced a quick thawing of my frozen spinach. After about five minutes, I drained the water content and placed spinach in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, softened onions and crushed garlic. I warmed through same and seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Within a few minutes, my dear microwave yielded quite a feast. No one would have surmised that my supper was left-overs. My curried chicken thighs were piping hot and released mouth-watering aromas. I served same on a fluffy bed of Jasmine rice with a ring of garlic spinach. And, like a true Jamaican, I topped with a serving of fried plantains and a slice of nature’s butter (avocado). I was in heaven.

So funny how Mother Nature works. After all that hoopla of thundering and lightning, no precipitation followed. The sun began to shine.

IT’S A WRAP #TORTILLA SCRAMBLED WRAPS

Trying my utmost best to maintain a fine balance. Thus, for breakfast, I went the whole grain route. I did so by employing the aid of Mexican tortilla wraps. These wraps are loaded with about 9 grams of fiber which was music to my ears as I like to incorporate as much fiber in my daily meal plan. Fiber keeps me satisfied for an extended period.

Wraps were warmed on both sides in a hot skillet just enough to maintain easy folding. They were then lightly buttered (optional) on the filler side. Wraps were filled same with:

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TORTILLA WRAPS
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TORTILLA WRAPS
  • Creamy scrambled eggs (seasoned with a pinch of salt, black pepper and finely chopped parsley)
  • Cheddar cheese (a few slices)
  • Vine-ripe tomatoes
  • Crispy cucumber slices

Wraps were then folded to a beautiful finish. They were then sliced with a serrated knife and served with a refreshing medley of fresh fruits.

TORTILLA SCRAMBLED WRAP WITH FRESH FRUITS
TORTILLA SCRAMBLED WRAP WITH FRESH FRUITS

WEDGES OF SWEET GOODNESS #CARROT/SWEET POTATO WEDGES

It was like Christmas in September. My kitchen emitted a bouquet of warm and aromatic flavors that enveloped my entire abode. Guys, I’m talking about the co-mingling of paprika and cinnamon sprinkled on  wedges of carrot and sweet potatoes. With a drizzle of canola oil and a pinch of sea salt along with the earthy spices of cinnamon and paprika, my root vegetables were ready for a piping hot 400 degree oven.

WEDGES OF CARROT AND SWEET POTATOES FOR ROASTING
WEDGES OF CARROT AND SWEET POTATOES FOR ROASTING

Roasting helps to bring out the  natural sugars within these root vegetables which are loaded with beta carotene and other great nutrients.  As I watched the golden wedges did their thing, my taste-buds became super-excited as they awaited the final dish. I gave the entire roasting approximately 40 minutes and turned them half-way through the cooking process.

Wedges of carrots and sweet potatoes were crispy on the exterior and smooth on the interior. They were like candy to my palate. I was happy.

ODD COMPANIONS? #SAUTEED CABBAGE/KALE WITH HARD-BOILED EGGS

It’s not often that I pair these food items. However, my palate was in a strange mood; so I rolled with the ‘punches’. Moreover, I just wanted to use up some left-over sautéed cabbage and kale I had cooked a couple of days ago. There was no way I was going toss. After all, that would be hard-earned money down the drain.

Like always, I often cook a little extra. My dear mom used to say, “cook an extra dumpling”. And so, I did (well, not dumpling, but cabbage and kale in this case). I was in a chopping mood; thus, I allowed my knife to do the talking. And talked it did and produced extra cabbage on my cutting board.

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of olive oil was placed. Finely finely chopped onions were softened and a clove of crushed garlic added. I made sure to season along with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Cabbage and kale were added to mix and quickly wilted down. Close to the end of cooking time, a mixture of honey was combined along with red wine vinegar. This was then tossed over warm veggie platter.

To top it off, I paired same with hard-boiled eggs. I haven’t eaten hard-boiled eggs for quite sometime. I love the way they keep me satiated for an extended time. They provide such a powerhouse of protein in the diet. Therefore, sometimes, I like to boil same and grab and go and sometimes chop and add to salads.

Eggs were placed in a stock pot with enough tap water to cover same. These were brought to a boil under medium heat for three minutes. Then, they were covered with lid for another ten minutes. Water was then drained and eggs were run under cold tap water and peeled and sliced. With a sprinkle of black pepper and finely chopped parsley, dish was ready to be devoured.

A JAMAICAN FAVE #ESCOVITCHED SNAPPER FISH

This old favorite of mine was due for an early revisit. After making a delicious fish broth(tea) with the heads of my two snapper along with root vegetables, I decided to continue the traditional way and did a Jamaican escovitch fish dish with the remainder of my snapper.

FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING
FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING

Although this dish is predominately served during the Easter period, it’s enjoyed throughout the year. The ingredients were:

  • Sliced snapper (boned-in) (six pieces)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for frying (1 cup)
  • Crushed all spice (pimento berries)
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Scotch bonnet pepper
  • Garlic (clove)
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sugar

Method:

Fried fish:

  1. Whole fish were previously scaled and cleaned by fish monger.
  2. After heads were removed for fish tea, the bodies of fish were slices and scored in order to allow seasoning to penetrate. They were dried with paper towels and seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste. These were placed in refrigerator  for approximately four hours.
  3. In hot skillet, oil was added under medium to high heat and flavored with a clove of garlic. Garlic was then discarded. Fish slices were further dried with paper towel and fried for approximately five to six minutes on each side.
  4. Then fish slices were dried on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Pickled (vinegar-based) veggies:

  1. In stock pot, vinegar, splash of water along with pinch of salt, sugar and sprinkle of black pepper were added. These were brought to a boil under medium heat.
  2. Bell peppers, onions, pimento berries, scotch bonnet pepper were added and allowed to simmer for approximately two minutes under low heat.

    PICKLED (VINEGAR-BASED) VEGGIES
    PICKLED (VINEGAR-BASED) VEGGIES
  3. Fried fish pieces were added to platter.
  4. Pickled veggies were added by garnishing fish and spooning on vinegar dressing.