BANANA PANCAKES/BLUEBERRIES #POTASSIUM/FIBER POWER

Got a bit creative with my breakfast this morning. If you have been following my food blog, you know that I don’t toss. As a result, this morning was no different. You see, a couple of my ripe bananas got mushy and speckled.

Came up with the perfect ‘save’. I transformed my potassium fruits to warm and delicious pancakes. Some of the other ingredients added were:

  • Oatmeal (1/4 cup)
  • Cinnamon(1 teaspoon)
  • Brown sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • Olive oil(1 tablespoon)
  • Ginger (powdered)(1/4 teaspoon)
  • Whole-wheat flour (1 tablespoon)
  • Baking soda (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Blueberries
    BANANA PANCAKE MIX
    BANANA PANCAKE MIX

    I was happy.

 

EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Thunderstorms couldn’t keep me away from my kitchenette. In fact, it was the opposite. You see, rainy weather lures me to my cooking range. And, that’s what it did this evening. Originally, I was planning on Chinese delivery; however, my culinary mind sent me searching for supplies (well, food).

The first thing that caught my eyes were my vine-ripe tomatoes. Those super-red and over-ripened fruits/veggies were begging to be rescued. So, I did. I rinsed same and retrieved for my other ingredients:

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE

Eggplant parmesan was on my mind. However, I didn’t have the cheese of the hour. Moreover, there was no fresh basil. I did not allow that to damper my dish at hand. Decided to improvise and made my style, Eggplant with Feta cheese. Bought the cheese on sale for sometime; maybe a couple of months and stored the reserve in the freezer.

First, I made a home-made tomato sauce with my vine-ripe tomatoes. I softened finely chopped onions in olive oil. Then, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, thyme, dried basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, squeeze of honey and a splash of red-wine vinegar were added. I allowed these ingredients to simmer on low heat while I attended to my purple boy.

HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT
HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE FOR GRILLED EGGPLANT

Grabbed my chopping board and went to ‘town’ with my big purple boy (eggplant).

SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING
SLICED EGGPLANT FOR GRILLING

Slices were seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. I fleetingly thought about placing them in an egg wash, sprinkle bread crumbs and pan-frying. But, decided to employ the use of my grill pan. This move (grilling) saved me quite a few calories from pan-frying.

GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE
GRILLED EGGPLANT ALONG WITH HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE AND FETA CHEESE

I was ready for action. Grilled eggplant slices were plated and fresh home-made tomato sauce was spooned on each slice with a sprinkle of the briny feta cheese. Didn’t have fresh basil in-house. I didn’t allow that to rain on my ‘parade’. Instead, I used thinly sliced kale I had on had.

FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH
FINISHED EGGPLANT WITH FETA CHEESE DISH

I was super-happy. I served a few slices with a few roasted spicy jerk wings and sweet potatoes.

EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES
EGGPLANT/FETA CHEESE ALONG WITH ROASTED JERK WINGS AND SWEET POTATOES

 

A SIDE I COULDN’T RESIST #ROASTED PUMPKIN/SWEET POTATOES

For the fall, this dish has become one of my absolute favorites. I’ve traveled this fork of the road before and I liked same. Maybe, it’s the sweet/tart tastes along with the warm spices of ginger and cinnamon and the contrasting salty flavor of the bits of feta cheese.

Guys, I’m harping about my roasted pumpkin and sweet potatoes. I’ve always roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin; however, I’ve never executed both simultaneously. I really don’t know how I’ve not done so before. However, the ‘mad-cap’ in me decided to do so during the fall. And I can’t seem to cease.

So once again, I retrieved my chopping board and knife and went to work with my specimens on hand. Both root vegetables were thoroughly rinsed with cold tap water. With skin-on, I chopped veggies in large wedges and placed on foil-covered baking sheet.

PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES READY FOR ROASTING
PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES READY FOR ROASTING

Wedges were drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle of salt, powdered ginger and cinnamon. These were roasted in a preheated oven at 420 degrees fahrenheit  for approximately 40 minutes. My abode was permeated  with all the warm and aromatic flavors and spices of fall. I was super-happy.

As warm golden wedges of sweet potatoes and pumpkin hit the plate, bits of crumbled feta cheese were strewn on. Each bite  (skin edible) tasted like a piece of ‘heaven’. Nature is amazing!

PROTEIN/FIBERS IN CUP CAKE FORM #MINI QUICHES

Breakfast was a protein and fiber-packed one. With a couple of beaten eggs, left-over vegetables (broccoli, asparagus) and fresh spinach, parsley, and tomatoes, I was on my way to a  satisfying affair.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI-QUICHES
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR MINI QUICHES

It was like having mini quiches in cup-cake format. Assorted vegetables were added to egg batter. I made sure to season with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste along with a little grated cheddar cheese. In a muffin pan and I sprayed a Pam oil in three cups. At the bottom, I placed a piece of whole-wheat wrap and then added batter.

CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN
CUP-CAKE MINI-QUICHES READY FOR OVEN

In a pre-heated 330 degree oven, mini cup cake quiches were baked for approximately 16 minutes until set. A fresh spinach and parsley pesto was served on the side along with avocado.

SUMMER IS IN THE HOUSE!! #GRILLED CITRUS SHRIMP, ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS

When the days become long  and the temperatures sizzle on the outskirts, I want quick, easy and delicious. So, it was that in mind that I fired up my indoor pan grill and went to work on a seafood favorite of mind. Shrimp was marinated with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, black pepper, sprinkle of paprika, and crushed garlic.

I also made sure to do a quick blanch of my asparagus by boiling for approximately three to four minutes in salty water. Then, these were shocked in an icy bath to cease the cooking process. After drying with paper towel, they were brushed with olive oil and placed on grill along with sweet yellow onions cut in a circular shape. I made sure to season onions with pinch of salt and black pepper.

Close to the ending of the grilling process of the veggies, each shrimp was placed on grill after removing any remnants of garlic. Each shrimp was grilled for approximately two minutes on each side then brushed with a citrus and honey sauce. These were served on a bed of herb and citrus whole grain rice.

Shrimp dish was full of amazing flavors that provided a slightly sweet and of course tart taste to the dish. The asparagus and onions were cooked to perfection but still possessed a crispiness to each bite. The nutty and flavorful whole grain rice completed the dish because it also had a fresh herb(parsley) and citrus taste to the meal.

A KALE AND PARSLEY RICE TO PAIR WITH ANY PROTEIN DISH

Whenever I go grocery shopping the antioxidant green food kale is a reoccurring item on my shopping list. Based on studies, kale also consists of cancer fighting properties, great for cardiovascular health and a host of other beneficial nutrients. I do try to use same in varied ways.

I love to combine  kale and berries in a tasty and refreshing smoothie. It’s excellent as a warm or cold salad. I even made a yummy serving of kale chips which turned out to be a tad overdone. Come to think of it, I need to take another stab at those chips.

So anyway, a couple of days ago, I found myself with a considerably amount of kale and decided to combine same with some parsley I had on hand. I thought they would be perfect companions. And bingo, I was right!

I love parsley. It’s full of vitamins and is ideal for flushing out excess fluid in the body.Studies have also stated that parsley aids in the lowering of blood pressure. Being in great company I decided to whip up my kale/parsley rice.  In a skillet, I did a quick saute of onions and crushed garlic and added kale to the mix with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

After cooling, I added kale to food processor along with a generous bunch of parsley.

KALE AND PARSLEY IN FOOD PROCESSOR
KALE AND PARSLEY IN FOOD PROCESSOR

The whole action reminded me of a pesto excluding the cheese and nuts. Anyway, I added a drizzle of olive oil and got a ‘pesto-like’ finish. I added same to a fluffy serving of whole grain rice along with a few raisins. All ingredients were combined and yielded an amazing dish. It was a brilliant and vibrant green hue with a contrasting whole grain rice. I had kale and parsley rice for quite a few protein dishes.

 

I DID IT MY WAY…..##EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Many territories around the globe, winter is in its peak. However, today, in my neck of the woods, it feels like summer. Guys, the temperatures are flirting in the early eighties and the humidity is above average. Now, what the heck is going on? I’ve my so-called Floridian winter gears. Well, sweaters and jackets are on hold nearby. I guess, I’ve to abandon same.

Anyway guys, lately dear Georgie (George Foreman grill)has been my friend. Thought it was the perfect and opportune time to put it to use. Decided on an eggplant parmesan. But first, I made my home-made tomato sauce with a few plump and sweet tomatoes I had on my counter. Along with three cloves of garlic,bell pepper, diced onion, and dried seasoning below, I simmered this ‘bad boy’ to a great consistency.

HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE SIMMERING ON STOVETOP
HOME-MADE TOMATO SAUCE SIMMERING ON STOVE TOP

Ingredients:

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT PARMESAN
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR EGGPLANT PARMESAN
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Onion
  • Salt/pepper
  • Bell pepper

Method:

  1. After I made tomato sauce, I set aside.
  2. Rinsed and sliced eggplant. Then, I seasoned with salt and set slices for a few minutes so as to pull out the bitter taste and to flavor.
  3. Eggplant slices were brushed with garlic flavored olive oil and placed on hot and grill that was previously sprayed with Pam oil.
    EGGPLANT SLICES READY FOR GRILL
    EGGPLANT SLICES READY FOR GRILL

    4. Eggplant slices were grilled for approximately 10 minutes.

    GRILLED EGGPLANT SLICES
    GRILLED EGGPLANT SLICES

    5. After grilling of eggplant slices, these were topped with homemade tomato sauce and sliced parmesan cheese. Then, these were placed under the broiler for approximately five minutes for cheese to melt.

    GRILLED EGGPLANT SLICES TOPPED WITH HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE/MOZZARELLA CHEESE READY FOR MELTING UNDER BROILER
    GRILLED EGGPLANT SLICES TOPPED WITH HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE/MOZZARELLA CHEESE READY FOR MELTING UNDER BROILER

    6. After cheese was melted, I garnished my eggplant parmesan with parsley (Ran out of basil).

    EGGPLANT PARMESAN
    EGGPLANT PARMESAN

BALLS THAT WON’T DEFLATE– ##TURKEY BALLS IN AN ORANGE/GINGER/BRANDY SAUCE

Because I indulged in a beef dish a day or two ago, I decided to go ‘turkey’. These turkey balls are just in time for the Superbowl week-end. They are made with chopped turkey breast which I had in-house for about a couple of weeks. And because it’s not consisted of much fat, I opted to incorporate same with added flavors to let my balls stand out.

I love fresh root ginger and so I grated a generous teaspoon full that was divided between sauce and turkey.  A little goes a long way. The other ingredients were:

THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY BALLS
THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR TURKEY BALLS

Ingredients for Turkey Balls:

  • Chopped turkey (1.3 lbs)
  • Onions (Med-1/2)
  • Scallion (2 stalks)
  • Thyme (1 tsp)
  • Parsley (2 tbsp)
  • Celery (1 stalk)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Diced carrot (1)
  • Dried Basil (1/4 tsp)
  • Dried Oregano (1/4 tsp)
  • Ketchup (generous squeeze)
  • Bell pepper (section)
  • Crushed garlic (3 cloves)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Bread crumbs (1/4 cup)
  • Sugar (1/4 tsp)

Ingredients for Ginger/Orange Sauce:

  • Fresh orange juice from 2 oranges
  • Light brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • Splash of house vinegar
  • Squeeze of ketchup
  • Pinch of salt/pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of grated ginger
  • Corn starch (1 tsp)
  • Splash of brandy

Method for Ginger/Orange Sauce:

  1. In a small sauce pot, I combined all ingredients (except corn starch)  and simmered on low to medium heat.
  2. Cornstarch was placed in a cup with a splash of water so as to dissolve.
  3. Cornstarch solution was added to sauce and stirred to a smooth consistency so as to form no lumps.
  4. After thickening, it was removed from heat and set aside.

Method for Turkey Balls:

  1. Finely chopped onion,parsley,celery, bell peppers, were sautéed in a drizzle of olive oil along with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic.

    TURKEY BALLS READY FOR BROWNING
    TURKEY BALLS READY FOR BROWNING
  2. After cooling, this was added to chopped turkey along with other dried seasonings incl. salt, pepper, eggs, bread crumbs, ketchup, sugar, a half of the grated ginger and orange rind.
  3. All ingredients were folded and combined but not overworked.
  4. An ice cream scoop was used to make uniformed sized balls. These were covered with plastic wrap and placed inside the fridge for an hour so to further set.
  5. In a skillet, oil  was heated and balls browned on all sides.
  6. Browned turkey balls were then placed in ginger/orange sauce and then slowly simmered on low heat in order to soak up all the amazing flavor.

My turkey balls were firm and had a beautiful orange/brown hue with specks of herbs visible. The flavors and spices were perfectly synchronized, though different, they worked beautifully together. My taste buds were surprised yet excited to partake of the spicy flavor of the ginger, the sweetness and the tart from the other ingredients.

Guys, the dish was a TOUCHDOWN!!

I SKIPPED THE POPCORN AND WENT GARBANZO!! #ROASTED CHICKPEAS

I had a 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans commonly known as chickpeas. Decided to use same as a great snack. Thus, I drained and rinsed under cold tap water. Then, I dried chickpeas on a clean kitchen towel. On a greased baking sheet, I placed peas and drizzled a little olive oil, sprinkled a pinch of paprika, salt, and pepper and thoroughly rubbed in all the ingredients.

Seasoned chickpeas ready for oven
Seasoned chickpeas ready for oven

Chickpeas were roasted for approximately 20 minutes in the oven at a temperature of  400 degrees. The finished dish was crunchy and chock full of flavors. Frankly, I never missed the popcorn.

I’ve reserved some of my roasted chickpeas for a green salad. This will provide great texture and flavors to the salad. Moreover, I know that just by incorporating these beans I’ll also be gaining beneficial fibers that will keep be satiated for long.