1-2-3 EXPRESS #CHICKEN/VEGGIE STIR-FRY

When you’re tired and quite spent, there’s no need to sweat for a long period over a hot range.  Supper can be had in just a few precious minutes. Did just that and reaped a nutritious and delicious dish.

Without a doubt, leftovers never tasted that good. Added a few leftover bite-size citrus chicken legs/thighs to an assorted bed of stir-fry vegetables. With the squeeze of Chinese duck sauce and a sprinkle of dried oregano and other seasonings, stir-fry became quite a succulent treat.

Combined same with  al dente linguine pasta and a perfect match was made in my pot. I’m still salivating with my match.

SEAFOOD BALLS WITH KALE PESTO

Okay, so I got a little enthusiastic with my kale pesto. I couldn’t wait to slather same all over my seafood balls and linguine pasta.  With a little help from my stash of hurricane canned goods, I was able to make some mouth-watering seafood balls. Drained the liquid from cans of:

WILD PINK SALMON AND WHITE ALBACORE TUNA
WILD PINK SALMON AND WHITE ALBACORE TUNA

Combined drained canned seafood with:

  • beaten egg
  • bread crumbs
  • finely chopped Spanish olives and capers
  • finely chopped onions
  • squeeze lemon
  • splash red wine vinegar
  • a sprinkle of paprika
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • a dollop of sour cream

Folded all ingredients together and made them into balls:

SALMON/TUNA BALLS FOR BROWNING
SALMON/TUNA BALLS FOR BROWNING

In a drizzle of hot olive oil, balls were perfectly warmed on the  interior and crispy on the outer. Then, they were finished off with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Topped them with homemade kale pesto and served them with a bed linguine dressed in kale pesto.

 

LINGUINE WITH KALE/BROCCOLI PESTO TOPPED WITH HONEY/LEMON SHRIMP

I went a little over the top with nature’s wholesome greens. it  was sort of leap out of the  ‘box’; in that I created a pesto from atypical ingredients. Instead of the classic  basil and/or other herbs, I opted for kale, broccoli and parsley.

Greens were rinsed in tepid water and then added to food processor along with roasted garlic and a splash of water for a quick pulse. This was then seasoned with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper, a few pieces of walnuts and crumbled feta cheese.

With a quick final pulse of ingredients, pesto was ready for linguine.

KALE, BROCCOLI AND PARSLEY PESTO
KALE, BROCCOLI AND PARSLEY PESTO

Pesto was then folded into hot linguine. Served pasta with  honey and lemon shrimp.

ONE POT WONDER TO FEED EXTRA MOUTHS #LINGUINE AND SHRIMP PLUS

The past week-end was quite a treat. I had company. Got a few unexpected in numbers. What was I going do? When you have waiting palates to feed and satisfy, you find a way to make what you have stretch. Moreover, I was quite a bit weary from the ‘grave yard’ shift I pulled the previous night.

Of course, time was of the essence; so, I had to pull something ‘magical’ out of the box to feed my guests. I wanted a dish that was easy, delicious and satiating. After a visit to my pantry and refrigerator, I came up with an ideal dish. It was an Italian one that consisted of linguine pasta, grilled shrimp (shrimp I bought the previous day) and yellow squash, roasted tomatoes, and other ingredients.Pasta was cooked al dente and set aside with a little extra water on hand in case I needed same to stretch my sauce.

On my stove top, thanks to my handy grill pan, I grilled my yellow squash. These were sliced at an angle in rectangular shape,brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then they were then placed on the grill for cooking.

GRILLED YELLOW SQUASH AND JALAPENO FOR LINGUINE DISH
GRILLED YELLOW SQUASH AND JALAPENO FOR LINGUINE DISH

As soon as squash was cooked I added shrimp. These were drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt, black pepper, sprinkle of paprika, grated onion and crushed garlic. All seasoning was removed and then they were placed and grill pan and cooked for approximately two minutes per side. And because I know that seafood loves acid, I squeezed a little fresh lemon on shrimp. That move bumped up the flavors big time.

GRILLED SHRIMP READY FOR LINGUINE PASTA
GRILLED SHRIMP READY FOR LINGUINE PASTA

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that, roughly onions, celery, bell peppers, finely chopped jalapeno were sautéed and seasoned with pinch of salt, black pepper. I had a little left-over white wine and I added same to skillet with a sprinkle of corn starch for thickening.

After simmering and thickening of sauce on low heat, pasta was added along with residual liquid. I also did a quick roasting of a few vine ripe and plummy tomatoes.

ROASTED PLUMMY AND VINE RIPE TOMATOES
ROASTED PLUMMY AND VINE RIPE TOMATOES

Those were added after cutting them in smaller sizes. Also, grilled yellow squash,finely chopped jalapeno, and shrimp were cut in smaller bites and then tossed in along with bits of olives for extra flavor. All ingredients were folded and served with freshly chopped parsley.

Linguine pasta and shrimp dish was a huge hit. The spicy and slightly salty combination married very well. The flavors and portions hit the spot for everyone. We were satiated and super-happy.

A STORMY DAY DELIGHT #VEGGIE STIR-FRY/GRILLED CHICKEN

In my neck of the woods (So. Florida, U.S.A.), it seems like Mother Nature is doing a ‘make-up’ job. You see, normally, the  summer thunderstorms are a commonplace during the June month. However, this year was not the case. Based on the forecasters’ reports and from the look of the parched lawns, there’s a deficit in rainfall amounts for the year.

So, on this ‘Hump Day’, as I watched the skies go grey and dark, I smiled. I knew that I was home-bound for the evening. And, what better day (well, night-off) than ‘Hump Day’. My stomach agreed and made a growl reminding me that it was in need of something hearty and delicious.

As I hopped in my kitchen, I prayed that there was no interruptions with the electric power due to the thunderstorms.Time was of the essence. I didn’t have the time to grab a shower as I normally would. I was alone and I made myself at home and did a quick dismantle of all my garments. With rapid action, I tossed and placed my shoes and belongings out of my path.

It was time for cooking action. With a thorough wash of my hands, I then went for my cutting board. I was on a mission. As I felt the cool effects of the air conditioner flickered down my back, I went in search of my supplies. I thought about my vegetables on how fragile they are during the summer months. I was in no mood to let them further plummet, so I decided to do a quick stir-fry.

On my cutting board, I did a quick chop of the veggies.

ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA  AND SEASONED CHICKEN
ASSORTED VEGGIES, LEFT-OVER PASTA AND SEASONED CHICKEN

I also grabbed a little left-over linguine pasta along with seasoned chicken breast pieces. I wanted to cut the chicken pieces thinner; however, I didn’t trust the heightening of the storm on the outskirts.As I glimpsed the clouds cascaded in the elements and thunder sounded, I crossed my fingers as I heated my grill pan.

I also made a concerted effort to heat my skillet. With the drizzle of a little olive oil in the skillet, I did a quick stir-fry of my veggies on medium to high heat. I made sure to keep the integrity of my veggies. I aimed for crispy finish. I also seasoned with salt, black pepper to taste along with a pinch of five-spice seasoning bearing in mind that a little goes a far way.

STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA
STIR-FRY VEGGIES ALONG WITH PASTA

At that point, I added left-over linguine pasta that was cooked al dente style at a previous meal. I was happy as I watched the tomatoes and veggies expelled their own juices. That provided a delicious sauce for the pasta.

My grill pan was ready for action as well. With a drizzle of olive oil on my chicken pieces, I placed each piece on grill. They were cooked thoroughly on each side and produced their signature grilled marks. I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice on and allowed them to sit for a few minutes so that the juices could be redistributed within.

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES

As I watched the torrential rains beat upon my back patio, I perched in my favorite stop on my sofa. I ate my way to true contentment and glee as I bit into each morsel of my stir-fry and grilled chicken. I smiled with true elation knowing that I had somehow weathered the storm without a flicker of the lights within.

It was time. It was time for my ‘Hump Day’ cocktail. Guess what? I settled for a small screwdriver with fresh Florida oranges of course. Salud!

A RARE SPRING CLEANING DISCOVERY!! ##NATHAN’S BEEF FRANKS

I was in a spring cleaning kind of mood for my freezer. You see, overtime, I’ve developed a habit so as to keep me in check. Before I replenish my stock, I often do a stock count. When you’re working from a tight budget like I do it’s imperative to make this move before hitting the stores. I hate to duplicate when I could purchase a much-needed food item.

I never normally stock hot dogs; not that I don’t enjoy a great one once in a while. However, if I wish to indulge in one or two, I do so at an eatery with all the add-ons. Oh, I love relish, ketchup, onions and a little mustard. But anyway, I blame this on my nephew. He came to visit a few months ago. You know teenagers; he requested hot dogs, so I granted his wish and bought a package of Nathan’s beef franks.

We both devoured(well, he had most). Frankly, I thought they were all gone until I did a check of my freezer. I found them nestled in near to the ham bone. Now, that’s another story, I need to use that up. It must have been the brilliant sunshine on the outskirts. It looked and felt like summer at the beach.After all, this is South Florida. I decided to make a stir-fry meal from my franks over a bed of linguine pasta.

I grabbed a skillet and did a quick three to four-minute boil of the beef franks. Boy, they stood out, ready for action. I got excited. I chopped up some veggies:

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR A STIR-FRY WITH NATHAN'S BEEF FRANKS/LINGUINE PASTA
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR A STIR-FRY WITH NATHAN’S BEEF FRANKS/LINGUINE PASTA

I roughly chopped onions,bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, scallion and garlic. These were placed in a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. I allowed them to soften and then added the cut-up franks.

STIR-FRIED FRANKS AND VEGGIES IN COOKING MOTION
STIR-FRIED FRANKS AND VEGGIES IN COOKING MOTION

I made sure to season along with black pepper, a small pinch of salt (bearing in mind that franks have added sodium), a squeeze of ketchup,dried thyme and a splash of red wine vinegar. When all ingredients were softened and ready, I added drained linguine pasta and allowed it to simmer on low heat for another five minutes.

Guys, I couldn’t wait to dig in. I served my Nathan’s beef franks with a garnish of cilantro herb I had on hand.(ideal choice; not overpowering). As expected, the franks were just right; not too salty. The veggies provided a great balance and still possessed a little crispness to them. Moreover, the linguine pasta was hearty and complemented the dish superbly. Who says I have to eat my ‘bad boys’ (franks) only outside? Hmmm, I was happy.

THE SIBERIAN EXPRESS DIDN’T KEEP ME IN A SOUPY MOOD##SPINACH/TOMATO PASTA/GRILLED SALMON

GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA
GRILLED CITRUS SALMON WITH SPINACH/ROASTED TOMATO LINGUINE PASTA

Guys, it’s deja vu all over again. Once more, it seems like the whole world is under a cold spell. Yes, the Siberian Express, which is basically an extremely cold mass of air of the Arctic has affected approximately one hundred million people over most of the United States and elsewhere. Well, so say the meteorologists. Oh, those meteorologists are having a ‘field day’.

Anyway guys, I wasn’t going to allow this cold spell to have me chopping veggies for a soup or a stew. By the way, love them! Instead, I decided to think and usher in the warm days of summer. What did I do? Naturally, my thermostat took a leap, pretty close to the 80’s. I pretended it was summertime in my abode. As a matter a fact, I got adorned in my shorts and tee-shirt. After all, in my mind’s eye, it’s summertime.

As you can observe, I reached for my grill pan. I made yours truly a citrus (orange/lemon) grilled salmon. On the side, I made a hearty whole grain linguine pasta. In a hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, I sautéed half of an onion and crushed garlic on low to medium heat. I tossed in my drained pasta and further folded in some left-over spinach from the previous night. To that, I also tossed in some roasted grape tomatoes.

I served up yours truly a generous portion of the meal. As I sat and swirled my linguine with my fork and puckered up to the taste of the delicious grilled citrus salmon, I felt tremendously satisfied and happy.

Now, I can face those Arctic wind chills. I had to remind myself that the blue skies and brilliant sunshine didn’t mean warmth on the outskirts. Oh, I didn’t miss that soup!

MONDAY BLUES BREAKTHROUGH FOOD

It was a Monday. I can vividly recall because I was having the ‘Blues’, A touch of the ‘Monday Blues’ . I believe it afflicted me since I began my working life. It’s a few hours of feeling forlorn until about noon. Come to think of it, it generally begins late Sunday evening. It’s that unexplained feeling that seems to linger and builds up to Monday morning until noon.

I commute to work by train. And on that particular morn as I made my way to an available seat, I could sense the familiar feeling taking ownership of my being. Clearly, I wasn’t alone. I could also feel my fellow passengers were also experiencing the dreaded ‘Monday Blues’. From the looks of it, they weren’t happy campers. I’m quite sure many of them hated their jobs. Well, based on statistics, a huge percentage abhor their jobs. I can only imagine some of them were deep in thoughts on how they were going to approach that unappreciative boss about a raise or promotion. Or, a few might be still going through the old hang-over symptoms from the looks of the dark shades.

Judging from these people’s countenances, you would think they were heading to a place of incarceration. But, I knew better. They were experiencing the ‘Monday Blues’. And, as I did a quick scan of their faces around me, my heart ached for them. I knew I couldn’t aid my fellow passengers. But, I thought, “If I can’t help them, I could help myself.” After all, I’ve been suffering from this malady far too long. I realized I had a choice.

I had an epiphany. Right then and there, among those blues riders, I had a brain storm. Or, should I say, it was more of an awakening. By nature, I’m an optimistic person. So, like a champion, I went to that place in my head. Far too long I’ve been experiencing this malady. I thought it was time for a change, a change from those Monday Blues.

As I rummaged through my I-phone, I allowed my fingers to do the talking. And so it did. It led me to an app, a free one.  All was needed was for me to install. So, right at that moment, I installed the Cooking Channel. Immediately, my outlook was transformed.

A clip called ‘Extra Virgin’ caught my eyes. I was intrigued, so I continued. Extra Virgin was started by an American actress call Debi Mazir who visited Italy and subsequently met her present Italian husband, Gabriele Corcos who happens to be a chef.

Already, I was hooked. I always wanted to visit Italy and explore the vineyards and indulge in the amazing pasta dishes infused with good old olive oil. Anyway, as I continued to view Extra Virgin, it became clear as a bell in my mind. At that moment, I knew exactly what my supper was going be.

It was simple. Already, I had all the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator. I was going to prepare a linguine pasta dish with roasted tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. And, instead of prosciutto, I would utilize the bacon I had on hand.  To this beautiful dish I would garnish with parsley. The Pinot Grigio was chilled.

Slowly my Monday Blues were been obliterated. I smiled. As I disembarked from my train, my outlook was drastically transformed from dim and dreary to brilliant sunshine. I realized that I had the power within. At some point, I know that I will be revisited by the Monday Blues; but, I have back-up. I’m conscious. I know where to go.