Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Runnin' on Red ... Healthy Juice or Nefarious Cocktail?

Since our trip last year to San Francisco I've been missing the morning juice we'd have on our way out the door to the day's adventure. My sister-in-law, Maria Lydia, who lives in SF, introduced us to the world of juicing and we were hooked. Well, maybe I was more hooked than everyone else, and by everyone else I mean the Hub.
It's taken me some time to finally breakdown and buy a juicer**. Why? Because I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on another kitchen gadget that I wasn't quite so sure I'd really stick with. The Hub summed it up for me, you'll juice furiously for a month and then adios and logic told me ... he's probably right.
What I wasn't counting on was how good it would be for running. You see I run, I am not a marathon runner, heck I haven't even been able to run my first 5K (mostly because of accidents and a few other mishaps I've encountered every time I try to participate in one) but I can run a 5K. I run because I like to eat and you can't be a foodie with a food blog and not expect to grow in the wrong way ... horizontally. So I run, but some days after a full day of work, I just need that little extra boost of energy to help me run my best. Instead of reaching for a very unhealthy energy shot, I drink up 8 oz of this little elixir and I run, boy do I run. Thus the name Runnin' on Red.
But the nefarious side to juicing, oh yes it can be delightfully nefarious, is that some of these juices make really awesome cocktails ... yup ... cocktails. And Runnin' on Red makes a perfect cocktail.  Here's the recipe for the juice and the cocktail.

Makes 4 cups

For the Juice:
2 medium to large beets, peeled, cut in quarters
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cut in quarters

Place two quarters of the beets and pineapple into the juicer and run through juicer for about 45 second.
Juice in this manner until all the beets and pineapple have been used.
Pour into a 1 quart mason jar. Keep refrigerated.

Drink 20-30 minutes before exercising or whenever you need a little natural burst of healthy liquid powered energy.

Makes 4 servings

For the Cocktail:
12 oz Runnin on Red juice
2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 sliced into rings with a slit
4 ounces vodka**
Crushed ice
Ice cubes
4 ounces soda water

In a martini shaker add the first three ingredients with ice.
Shake for a good 30 seconds
Fill tall slim highball glass with ice cubes
Strain juice into glass (about 3 ounces +/-)
Float in about 1 ounce of soda water and give it one stir
Place lemon ring on the glass

Drink up!

**Recipe Notes:
Some of my favorite vodkas are Grey Goose, Kettle One, Tito's, Effen.
Check back soon for my review on my very affordable juicer.

Orange, Ginger-Soy Grilled Chicken

Summer is definitely here in South Florida.  Long hot days turn into long equally hot nights and the last thing you want to do is crank up the stove, which will further crank up your utility bill, because now you are cranking down the A/C's thermostat to cool your home.

Besides, what's easier than firing up the grill and throwing together a big salad, add some bread, like my Grilled Tomato & Garlic Bread a la Catalana and dinner is a done deal.

This is probably one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes.  There is some time to invest in the way of allowing for brine time and then marinade time but other than that this is easy peasy. Prepare it over the weekend and grill on Monday for a quick and easy dinner.

Flavor wise you can't beat how the chicken takes on the deep citrus flavor of the orange zest and juice, the zippy tang of the ginger and pungent spice of the garlic. The soy gives it just the right amount of sodium.

Serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied or eight skinless, boneless thighs

Brine solution
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups of water, divided 1/2 cup boiling water and 1 1/2 cups ice cold water

To a half cup of boiling water add the salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved. Once dissolved add the salt sugar solution to 1 1/2 cup of ice cold water. Add chicken. Refrigerate and brine for 8 - 24 hours*.

Want to learn more about how and what to brine? Check out my post To Brine or Not to Brine? That Shouldn't Even Be a Question.

1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1  teaspoon finely minced garlic
1" nub of fresh ginger root, grated
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Store in gallon size zip bag in fridge. Make the same day you brine the chicken.  This allows for the flavors of the ingredients to marry well together.

Remove chicken from brine, rinse well and dry with paper towel. Place inside marinade zip bag.  If time permits, marinate overnight, otherwise allow for 1 hour of marination.

Heat grill over high flame.  You will know it's ready when you hold your hand ABOVE the hot grates for no more than 3-4 secs.  Place chicken on hot grates.
Depending on the thickness, grill 5-7 minutes per side. Half way through cooking time of each side, give the chicken a quarter turn to get some nice hatch grill marks.

Place on platter and cover with foil.  Allow to rest 5 minutes. Dig in and ENJOY!

Serve with my Grilled Tomato & Garlic Bread a la Catalana, and  my favorite tangy Nicaraguan Cabbage Slaw and your favorite beverage.  For us, it was an ice cold Stella Artois.

*Recipe Notes:
Adjust brine and marinade time to your schedule. If you only have 8 hours till dinner, split the time equally between the brine and marination process.

Kielbasa with White Beans and Tarragon

Lately, I have been experimenting with kielbasa in my cooking and I have to say it is delicious! Like sausage, it is easy to cook with, and is versatile in that you can pair with just about anything: rice, pasta, beans, pita, wraps, vegetables and more. You can saute it, grill it, broil it! It cooks up quickly and doesn't dry out. In this recipe I sauted the kielbasa. It is ok for it to char a bit; it'll taste just as good with a little extra crunch. You can easily switch the kielbasa with any sausage you like if you want to change it up or if you do not like kielbasa. This recipe cooks up in 30 minutes or less, which of course  makes it a wonderful weeknight meal! My boyfriend had seconds...that is how delicious my Kielbasa with White Beans and Taragon was!

1lb Kielbasa, sliced in discs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed (like great northerns or cannellini)
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon tarragon

1. In a saute pan, heat oil on medium heat and cook the kielbasa. Cook on each side until browned or to taste turning over to brown both sides, about 10 minutes. Set kielbasa aside on a plate.

2. In the same saute pan (you may need to add more oil), add the onion, carrots, salt and pepper (to taste) and cook, stirring constantly, until soft, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the wine and beans, simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the kielbasa and tarragon. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turkey Kielbasa Alfredo with Broccoli

Turkey Kielbasa Broccoli One Pan Recipe

It's Wednesdays with Eryka and ladies and gentlemen, I present to you another recipe for kielbasa! I think Kielbasa is my new obsession. It is so versatile and I keep finding new ways to use it. This week I am using it in pasta, one of my other obsessions/favorites. Kielbasa pairs great with pasta, more so with a white sauce, like Alfredo. I made a homemade Alfredo sauce. It is simple to make, not too fancy and an excellent weeknight meal. If you scanned the recipe already and saw one of the ingredient is lemon juice, your eyes are deceiving you. My Alfredo sauce takes lemon juice. It adds that spark of flavor to the sauce. As usual, I cook the kielbasa in the pan and I then make the sauce in the same pan to pick up the flavors from the cooked meat. This alters the color of the sauce making it less white, but oh so  tasty as well as rustic looking! The broccoli adds a pop of fun green plus a dash of nutrition. Pair with your favorite pasta and enjoy!

Wednesdays with Eryka
1lb turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 box linguine or pasta of choice
2 broccoli heads, chopped

1. In a pan on medium heat, heat the olive oil then add the kielbasa and onion. Cook together until kielbasa is browned and onion is soft. Add in the white wine and simmer until evaporated. Remove from pan.

2. Add the butter and let it melt. Stir in with a whisk the flour. Stir together until a light brown color and all lumps from flower are gone. Stir in slowly, with the whisk, the chicken stock, the milk and cream. Stir until all combined with no lumps.

3. While sauce is cooking add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, nutmeg and mozzarella. Stir all together. Add the kielbasa/onion mixture back into the sauce. Simmer while pasta cooks.

4. In a large pot, cook your pasta of choice. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking add in the broccoli. You may have to adjust the cooking time because adding in the broccoli will change the temperature thus altering cooking time. Drain when pasta is al dente. Put pasta back into the same pot and add the sauce with kielabasa. Serve and top with parmesan cheese!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Roasted Garlic Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

garlic roasted lemon dijon dressing marinade vinaigrette chicken shrimp

I've gotten into making my own dressing/vinaigrette more often of late.

Mostly because if I can't pronounce the ingredients in a vinaigrette or dressing I'm not buying it.
And frankly, there is something really cool about making your own.
It tastes better, it's fresh, I know what's in it and most of all it's delicious.

The roasted garlic adds a nice depth to the flavor and doesn't overpower the freshness the lemon and zest add, nor the nice zip the Dijon imparts. 

I especially love it over simple salad of arugula, tomato and cucumber.  It plays well with the peppery bite of the arugula.  

And if using it as a vinaigrette weren't enough, it makes a great marinade for chicken, turkey, pork and seafood, especially brushed over just grilled shrimp.

Trying making your own, it truly does make a difference.

Serves 2
arugula tomato cucumber lemon garlic dijon salad dressing marinade
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 -2 fat cloves of roasted garlic*, peel removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a deep bowl
  2. Whisk vigorously until all ingredients are well incorporated
  3. Slowly drizzle in the walnut oil as you whisk, followed by the olive oil to thicken and emulsify the vinaigrette

Recipe Notes: If you don't have Himalayan pink salt or walnut oil no need to go out and buy any. You can use extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt. Then why do I bother using those ingredients?  Personally, I think they elevate the over-all taste of the vinaigrette. I'm having an intense romance at the moment with Himalayan pink salt. By the way, you can get both these items at a decent price at Trader Joe's. 
You can use a small food processor or an immersion blender to emulsify the oils into the other ingredients if you prefer not to hand whisk.  But I will say it's a good workout!  

*Roasted garlic is easy to make. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Cut the garlic in half, no need to peel. Place garlic on a sheet of aluminum, make sure the sheet is big enough to wrap the garlic. Bring up the sides of sheet around the halved head. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt. Wrap shut. Place on a baking sheet. Roasted for 30-45 minutes or until the garlic has turned into a soft paste.
Once cooled you can squeeze out the paste as use as wanted. I usually will roast 3 - 4  garlic heads and use it in recipes, breads, soup and more. It keeps for about month in the fridge.  Keep in a glass container, tightly sealed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ground Turkey Hash n' Fried Eggs

Ground Turkey, Eggs potatoes Cumin Coriander paprika turmeric

I bring you another great and satisfying weeknight meal. In this recipe I use ground turkey to make it lighter and healthier, but you can most definitely substitute the turkey with beef.
This is a great meal to experiment with using new or different spices, especially if you're planning on cleaning out your  spice pantry.

It's a great way to change the taste of the meal, while keeping it easy and fast to make.

Growing up my grandmother made a dish called Picadillo, which we have posted on the site in the past, that is a ground beef hash. This recipe reminds me of her. Although her recipe is completely different in seasonings and the beef is saucier, she would always accompany that hash with a fried egg.

I don't know what it is about the fried egg that adds a different touch to the meal; I think it adds a little fun too! You can leave the turkey mixture ready the night before so that when you get home from work all you need to do is saute everything up, eat and enjoy! It is ready in less than 20 minutes. I hope you enjoy this quick weeknight meal!

Serves 2 - 4
Today on Wednesdays with ErykaGround Turkey Hash n' Fried Eggs

1lb ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4-5 fingerling potatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs

  1. In a bowl, mix the ground turkey, bell pepper, potatoes, paprika, tumeric, ground coriander, salt and pepper and parsley.
  2. In a nonstick pan, heat oil to about medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and fragrant. Add in the turkey mixture and spread around the pan; do not touch once it is spread out. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3.  After 5 minutes, the underside should be crispy. Flip/stir to crisp the other side. Check to make sure turkey has been cooked through. Make two holes in the turkey to reveal the bottom of the pan to prepare to fry the eggs.
  4. Crack eggs into the two holes created. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Cover for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to cook the egg. 
  5. When the egg looks set in the middle it is ready to eat. Use a spatula to serve the turkey hash with the egg onto each plate. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Curry-Garam Masala Baked Chicken Tenderloins

Curry Garam Masala Chicken Tenderloins greek yogurt

Requirements for loving a recipe...

I love recipes with a short list of ingredients.

I love recipes that require little effort but deliver big flavor.

I love recipes where the effort is made by the appliance and not by me.

I love a recipe that cooks up fast

In this case my recipe for Curry-Garam Masala Baked Chicken Tenderloins covers all four of these requirements...

Only seven ingredients.

The only effort here is stirring everything together but boy are the flavors spot on, warm, rich - but not heavy, and oh so yummy.

The oven does all the work, all you do is slide in a baking sheet.

15 minutes and you are done.

What's not love about this recipe?

Serves 2- 4
  • 2 tablespoons non fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Zest and juice of one blood orange (or regular orange )
  • 1/4 teaspoon pilpelchum or cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloin, cut into thin strips

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl stir to incorporate
  2. Allowed to marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 8 hours - better overnight
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  4. Place chicken on a oiled foil lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, drain off any excess liquids . 
  6. Turn pieces over,  return to oven and cook another five minutes or till lightly golden.
Serve with yogurt and torn pieces of pita or toss into a salad or basmati rice. Enjoy!