Friday, January 23, 2015

Spicy Sweet Thai-Inspired Grilled Chicken

Spicy Sweet Thai Grilled Chicken Soy Ginger

Being in Florida the grill is accessible year-round but I especially like using it in the "winter" months because the weather is just perfect for outdoor grilling.

Seriously, it's a miserable thing to be grilling in the humid 98 degree Florida heat.

Anyway, I'll be making my Spicy Sweet Thai-Inspired Grilled Chicken again this weekend, since we are looking at some "cooler" temperatures heading our way.

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 cup rice wine
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 large skinless/boneless chicken breasts*, butterflied
  1. Mix the first eight ingredients together. Salt and pepper the chicken breast, place in zip bag or glass bowl.
  2. Add marinade to chicken. Allow it to marinate from 4 - 24 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and dry each piece
  4. Heat the grill to a medium high, about 10 minutes or so.
  5. Spray the grates with non-stick spray (take care of flare-ups) or wipe them with a paper towel soaked with canola oil.
  6. Place chicken on the grill. Do not attempt to move the chicken for at least 5 minutes. Then move them a quarter turn to get nice hatch marks. Grill for 1 minute.
  7. Turn over and allow to grill for another 4-5 minutes and turn a quarter turn to get hatch marks. Grill for an additional minute. Check for doneness.
  8. Have a big sheet of foil ready.  
  9. Place chicken in foil and wrap tightly. 
  10. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes.

Serve with grilled vegetables or salad and a crisp white wine. ENJOY!

Recipe Notes:
*I highly recommend that you brine your chicken before it hits the grill.  Learn how here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lentils with Turkey Kielbasa

Lentils Turkey Kielbasa Soup Potato Sweet potato

Lentils and kielbasa are two things I completely enjoy, so for this recipe I am combining both! Lentils are very filling, hearty and comfort food to me. I enjoy making recipes with lentils or split pea because it makes all my senses happy and after a long day at work on my feet I want comfort food, plus leftovers! Lentils is great for a filling dinner paired with rice or keeping it lighter by eating it simply as a soup with your favorite bread. It makes plenty for dinner and then my favorite: leftovers! The Goya Azafran seasoning packet is completely optional. If it is not available in your grocery store you can omit it or add your own spices. If you do omit the packet make sure to add salt; I always add salt at the end of these kind of soups since I add the seasoning packet and it tends to be salty on its own. I hope you enjoy another one of my comfort go to foods!

A Wednesdays with Eryka
  • 1lb turkey kielbasa, sliced into coins
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 packet Goya Azafran seasoning
  • 1-16 ounce bag lentils
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sweet potato, chopped in chunks
  • 3 russet potato, chopped in chunks
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and add the turkey kielbasa. Cook until slightly browned on both sides. Remove from pot.

2. In the same pot, add a little bit more olive oil plus the onion, pepper and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes until fragrant and slightly soft. Add the kielbasa back into the pot with the vegetable mix. Stir together and cook for about 1 minute.

3. Add in the cumin, lentils and Azafran seasoning packet. Stir to combine all the ingredients for about 1 minute. Add in the liquids (the amount varies, just make sure it is about 2 inches above the lentils) and bay leaf. Stir it all together then bring to a boil. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 45 minutes.

4. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, bring soup back up to a boil and add the potatoes. Lower to simmer over low heat and in the mean time, if you are accompanying with rice, make it at this time.

5. Once 15 minutes have passed check to see if the potatoes are soft with a knife or fork. If it is then it is ready to eat. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sauteed Achiote Chicken & Cauliflower

Nicaraguan Recipe Chicken Cauliflower Achiote Paste Hispanic Food

I have an ongoing obsession with achiote paste, which is a seasoning mix made and extracted from the annatto seed.

It is used extensively in Central American and some Asian dishes.  I developed my recipe for achiote paste based on the paste used to season Nicaraguan dishes.  I've noticed the actual achiote paste starting to populate the shelves of some mainstream supermarkets in the Hispanic foods section, so you may even be able to buy it off the shelf.  Personally, I prefer either making it myself or going to my local Nicaraguan "mercadito" (market) and buying it there.

Aside from the beautiful red color it imparts on foods, it adds a deep rich, earthly flavor to proteins (yes even tofu!). I find this is especially true on grilled meats such as chicken, pork, beef even seafood.

But I wanted to take it indoor and use it in a sauté for a quick dinner. And the results were simply put deeeeelicious! The Hub had seconds and took leftovers to work the next day.

  • 1 pound sliced chicken breast** - 2" strips (like you'd use in a stir-fry)
  • 2 tablespoons canola or nut oil of choice
  • 1 tablespoon Achiote Paste
  • Juice and zest of a small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 mini sweet peppers or one medium red or orange pepper
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower broken down into florets
  1. After brining** your chicken (optional), place all the ingredients except oil and onion in a zip bag and allow to marinate 8 hours or best overnight. Take out of the fridge,  Remove chicken pieces from marinade shaking off excess liquids as you remove. Set marinade aside, do not discard it. Blot chicken on paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.  
  2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
  3. Add 1/2 the chicken pieces - do not over crowd pan - brown chicken lightly. Remove and place on plate while you cook the remaining pieces in remaining tablespoon of oil.
  4. Lower heat to medium and add onions and peppers to pan. Saute for 3 - 5 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.
  5. Add cauliflower and saute for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Place all the chicken back into the pan and stir to blend with cauliflower.
  7. Add reserved marinade liquid and bring to a boil over high heat.  Allow to boil for 1 minute.
  8. Lower heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or till chicken is cooked through.
Serve with fluffy white rice, sweet plantains and an ice cold beer. Enjoy!

**Recipe Notes: You can find brining instructions here or you can skip the brine step altogether. I just have a habit of brining chicken when I use breast meat. It really helps keep it juicy.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Roasted Baby Yukon Potatoes with Parsley & Dill

Roasted Yukon Potatoes Herbs Parsley Dill

Roasting any vegetables makes then delicious but there is something about roasted baby Yukon potatoes that goes above and beyond the word delicious. Add a small touch of butter and a hand full of fresh herbs and you've hit gold.

That's what this recipe is ... golden little orbs, perfectly roasted to creamy tenderness.

Yeah, they are that good.  And they are so incredibly easy to make ...

Serves 2-4

  • 1.5 lb bag of baby Yukon  potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cubed
  • Palm full of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 4-6 fresh dill fronds, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  1. Wash and dry potatoes, do not peel,
  2. Slice in half, lengthwise
  3. Place potatoes on a foil-lined, baking sheet
  4. Drizzle oil over potatoes to coat - mix with your hand to evenly coat
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Roast 20-25 minutes, turn them over half way through the cooking time
  7. Place hot potatoes in a serving bowl
  8. Add cubed butter, stir to melt
  9. Stir in fresh herbs.
Serve with your favorites side of protein or add a salad and make it a meal. Enjoy!

See wasn't that easy?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spicy Turkey Kielbasa Alfredo Pasta

Kielbasa Turkey Pasta Spicy Alfredo Sauce Cheese

Pasta, how I love thee. It is safe to say I'm a big pasta lover so I present to you another delicious pasta dish! This is a great dish for the weekend; it is also great for a get together since there is enough to go around. I do recommend to make this during the weekend rather than during the week because even though it is an easy recipe there are a lot of steps. Make it on a Sunday night to have left overs for 2 days! Now when a recipe calls for cheese I always believe more is... more! I like adding a lot more cheese than I ever read in recipes or even in my own recipes. The texture cheese leaves plus the taste you just can't go wrong. My boyfriend gave me the biggest compliment with this dish, the night I made it he told me this is a definite repeat recipe! It is important to cook the sauce in the same pan the kielbasa was cooked for depth of flavor. The pasta shape is up to you but I do recommend a pasta that has ridges such as penne, corkscrew or rotini so that the sauce and all that lovely cheese adheres to every bite. I hope you enjoy this recipe for it has become a new staple in my home!

A Wednesdays with Eryka Recipe
1lb Turkey Kielbasa, 1 inch slices
Olive oil
1 box corkscrew pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese

1. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil to a medium heat then add the kielbasa. Cook until browned on both sides. Set aside once browned.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions.

3. While pasta is cooking, in the same sauté pan the kielbasa was in, melt the butter then the flour. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.

4. Wisk in chicken broth until smooth followed by the half and half one cup at a time. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Simmer until sauce is thickened.

5. Add the parmesan cheese with 1 cup of mozzarella into the sauce and stir until smooth.

6. Preheat broiler. Add the kielbasa into the sauce followed by the cooked pasta. Stir until combined. Pour pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella.

7. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mediterranean Inspired Cavatappi Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

Cavatappi Pasta Roasted Vegetables fresh herbs feta

When you are into the winter months and perhaps tiring of all the heavy comfort foods, soups, stews and want a light spring-like meal, consider my Mediterranean Inspired Cavatappi with Roasted Vegetables.

The dressing for this pasta is light and flavored with garlic, zesty lemon and fresh herbs and can be prepared ahead of time.  In fact, it's best that it sit overnight to let the flavors develop. You can even make the veggies a day or two ahead. Then all that's left is mixing everything into the hot pasta and dinner or lunch is ready.

You can easily expand this pasta dish by adding grilled chicken or serving it alongside of your favorite grilled fish.

Serves 4

1 cucumber - seedless, diced
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Half a palm of parsley
Zest of one lemon, finely minced
Juice of one lemon,
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Handful of basil, rough chopped
A sprig of mint, rough chopped
3 campari or plum tomatoes, cut in wedges

Place the first 8 ingredients into a jar or zip bag, gently shake to mix. Set aside in fridge for a few hours and allow the flavors to develop. Best over night.

Roasted Vegetables:
3 - 4 - Bell peppers - variety of colors - cut in wide strips
1 - large eggplant, large dice
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven at 375 degrees, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast till veggies are lightly charred about 30-45 or till desired doneness. You can remove the skins of the peppers by placing in plastic wrap for a few minutes and peel them off.  I don't bother because I don't mind the skins.

1 pound cavatappi or corkscrew pasta
Cook pasta according to package direction.

Feta cheese, to taste and crumbled over each serving

Bring it all together:
Place hot pasta in a large bowl, add the roasted vegetables, dressing, basil, mint and tomatoes. Mix everything together.  Crumble feta cheese over each serving.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Slow Cooked Green Beans & Ham Shanks

Slow Cooker Recipe Green Beans Ham Shanks Ham Hocks

To me green beans symbolize the holidays, a special ocassion, a celebration, whatever the moment, they are a classic favorite of mine.

I prepare them in so many different ways but hand-down this is my family's favorite way to enjoy these little green wonders.

The key to making this recipe a success is slooooooooow cooking - ten hours worth of slow cooking. Don't try this on the high setting of your slow cooker, the flavor just doesn't compare.

Even though they are simmering away along with meaty ham shanks and smoked ham hock, the green bean flavor is not lost, on the contrary it is enhanced. It's richer, deeper and so incredibly savory.

The best part? Everything gets chucked into the slow cooker, that's it. Nothing more to do than sit back and let the cooking aromas tantalize your taste buds all day. And really how bad can that be?

Give it a try, I think you'll make these green beans a part of repertiore!

2 - 3 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed *
1 big meaty piece of ham shank or two medium pieces
1 smoked ham hock, scored
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, crushed, no need to peel**
2 quarts of ham stock (substitute with chicken stock if not available)
Salt** and pepper to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker.
  2. Set for 10 hours on low. (Do not use the high cooking temperature, the results are not the same)
  3. Shred ham hock and shank.
  4. Remove the garlic or slip the peel off and throw back into the green beans
  5. Enjoy!

Serve with anything but especially delicious with a down home southern meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cornbread.  Fish out the garlic head** or leave it in and serve with the green beans.  I've been known to have this dish on its own as meal with just a wedge (or two) of cornbread to soak up the juices.

Recipe notes:  If you have juices left over, DON'T throw them out! Use them to make another batch or save them to use when you make a batch of split peas or any bean for that matter! The juice freezes well in zip bags.
** Go easy on the salt, since the shank and hocks are fairly salty. Check for seasoning halfway through cooking time and adjust if needed. You can either remove the garlic head and discard (terrible thing to do!) or  gently squeeze out the paste and mix back into the green beans (a great thing to do!).