Shrimp Scampi a’ la Fettucini

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Garlic Shrimp Scampi
Smells so good as it cooks
I had to sneak a taste!

Lemon, Butter, and Garlic, Oh My! 

Combining some of the finest ingredients, this Shrimp Scampi dish will give you a sensation of eating gourmet.  Fragrant of lemon citrus and garlic, silken texture of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter; this dish simply melts in your mouth!  Pretty to admire, yet, even better to taste, I recommend that you serve this dish to any food critic; you will surely receive the most remarkable acclaim!

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil + 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • The juice of one lemon, approx. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups of shrimp, without tails, cooked
  • 1/2 of a stick of butter
  • 1 bag of Fettuccini noodles
  • 1 Tbs. of Italian seasonings (Basil, Thyme, Oregano)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or freshly ground Black Peppercorns to taste

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, saute onion, garlic, and Italian seasonings in 2 TBS. of Olive Oil
  2. Meanwhile, fill a pot 3/4 full of water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to boil
  3. Once water starts boiling, add the Fettucini noodles and cook until desired texture is reached
  4. After the garlic is fragrant and the onions become translucent, add the shrimp, lemon juice, butter, and remaining olive oil; stir and bring mixture to a boil
  5. Accordingly, once you see bubbles, reduce the heat so that the shrimp scampi sauce can simmer until the Fettucini noodles are finished cooking
  6. Drain the noodles from the water, pour them back into pot
  7. Pour the Shrimp Scampi sauce onto the Fettucini noodles, fold together
  8. Serve adorned with fresh grated Paremesan cheese and fresh ground pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
  9. Indulge!

Pair with a glass of Chablis and a side of grilled summer squash or mixed greens!

Whole Wheat Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

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Delightful and Nutritious

Deliciously packed with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and Greek plain yogurt, these Blueberry Muffins are a twist on the traditional recipe.  By incorporating a few key players that act as healthier ingredient substitutions, this scrumptious treat can be enjoyed anytime during the day as either breakfast, an afternoon snack, a post work-out fuel, or even a late night treat without experiencing the additive feelings of guilt that subconsciously sneak in as you are finishing up your last bite.  When healthy ingredients combine to make favorable flavors, how could you not  flirt with temptation?

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour + 1 TBS. Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 TBS. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP. of Sea Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 16 Ounces Greek Plain Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup of Honey
  • 1 TBS. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 2 ounces of Butter

*Pack these treats to go and surprise someone special :)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the vanilla, eggs, yogurt, and honey together
  4. Coat the blueberries with the extra TBS. of whole wheat flour (This will help the blueberries disperse evenly while the muffins are baking)
  5. Add the flour coated blueberries to the wet ingredients
  6. Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until a batter consistency forms
  7. Grease two 12-top muffin tins
  8. Disperse the batter into the muffin tins, filling each slot three-quarters full (This recipe yields ~18 muffins)
  9. Lastly, in a small bowl, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar
  10. Drizzle the butter and brown sugar onto the top of each batter filled muffin tin
  11. Bake for 30 minutes; let cool
  12. Indulge!

An all Occasions treat, mix and match for various meal varieties

Chickpea Spinach Rigatoni

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Quick, Light, and Tasty

A meatless pasta dish flavored with the soft and savory taste of chicken broth and a bulk comprised of sauteed spinach greens and versatile chickpeas. Like any traditional Italian dish, the roots of this sauce embody a heap of freshly chopped garlic, green onions, and EVOO.  This is a quick thirty minute meal that can accompany a glass of wine during the work week or it can even stand as a tasty main course dish to surprise dinner party guests without having to spend your entire day preparing in the kitchen.  Pair it with a side of fresh mixed greens, a glass of Chablis white wine, and the season’s best fruit as dessert to create a Tried & True Italian meal!  Light, tasty, and perfect during any season, you will be surprised that such a delightful dish can come from such few ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Green Onions, finely chopped (or one small white onion, finely chopped)
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas
  • 2 Cups of prepared Chicken Broth (or two cups of water and two tablespoons of chicken stock powder)
  • Bag of Rigatoni Noodles
  • Several bunches of fresh Spinach Leaves
  • Slice of Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • Optional: Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place a large pan above a flame and add the Olive Oil, Garlic, and Green onions (Optional: Add Italian spices now if you so desire)
  2. Saute until the garlic aroma starts tickling your nose and the green onion becomes translucent
  3. Add the Chicken Broth and Chickpeas, Bring to Boil
  4. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 30 minutes
  5. In another pot, bring water to boil, start cooking Rigatoni
  6. Once Rigatoni noodles reach desired texture, drain, and replace noodles into the same pot
  7. Once thirty minutes pass, add the fresh spinach leaves to the chickpea mixture, cook until leaves are wilted and stringy
  8. Pour Chicken Broth, Chickpea, Spinach combination on top of the cooked Rigatoni noodles
  9. Fold the mixture into the noodles until evenly dispersed
  10. Add Salt and Pepper to Taste
  11. Serve with a grated Parmesan cheese garnish
  12. Indulge!

Pair with Mixed Greens, Seasonal Fruit, and your Favorite glass of Wine!

Lemon-Blueberry Loaf

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A True Summer Delight!

ImageImageSummer is all about cooking and baking things of color.  And what presents a lovelier combination than the red/purple/blue shades of fresh summer berries mixed with bright yellow lemons? Not only is this lemon blueberry loaf colorful, it is delicious!  A combination of sour & sweet, this fruity loaf is made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, plain Greek yogurt, and fresh blueberries.  A perfect delight paired with a cup of coffee on a summer morning or shared with a cup of your favorite tea as an afternoon treat! Relatively easy to make, this lemon blueberry loaf will frequent your favorites list!

Once the batter is mixed, it is transferred into a loaf pan and baked at 350 degrees for fifty five minutes.  Once baked & cooled, the loaf is painted with a lemon citrus syrup as well as a final layer of a lemon glaze.  The syrup and glaze creates an even sweeter flavor to the Lemon-Blueberry Loaf.  With the combination of the lemon juice used in the syrup and the icing plus the lemon zest mixed into the loaf, a piece of this loaf is a fresh treat!

For the Lemon Blueberry Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 2 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 2 Tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 Tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed)

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For the Lemon Syrup

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

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For the Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs. of fresh squeezed lemon juice

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease the loaf pan
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside for later
  3. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, oil
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining flour and fold them very gently into the batter
  6. Pour the prepared batter into the pan and bake fifty to fifty-five minutes
  7. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack
  8. While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a saucepan over medium heat
  9. Stir together and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, continue to cook for 3 minutes and then remove from heat
  10. Brush the syrup onto the top and sides of the loaf
  11. Let the cake cool completely
  12. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice
  13. Pour the lemon glaze on top of the loaf and let it drip down the sides
  14. Let the lemon glaze harden about fifteen minutes, then serve!
  15. Indulge!

Source: Adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen

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Pair with a cup of your favorite Tea in the morning or afternoon

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Beef Empanada Lite

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A Sweet and Savory Complement!

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An Empanada, a cute little dough pocket filled with sweet or savory goodness, is commonly found throughout Portugal, the Caribbean, Latin America, South America, and the Philippines.  From culture to culture/region to region, Empanadas are prepared with different stuffing for various occasions, making the recipe choices endless!

Various Empanada Styles throughout the regions

  • Cuba: Empanadas are typically filled with seasoned ground beef or chicken and then deep-fried.  Often referred to as “empanaditas”, they can also be made into a dessert with cheese, apples, pears, pumpkins and pineapples
  • Argentina: Empanadas are often served at parties as a starter or main course; it is very common as a street food in festivals. Shops specialize in freshly made empanadas with many different flavors and fillings to choose from.  The dough is usually made with wheat flour and beef drippings and stuffed with a common filling  of beef spiced with cumin and paprika, onion, boiled egg, olives, and raisins
  • Colombia: Baked or fried and almost always made with a crunchy cornmeal exterior, Colombian empanadas are usually filled with salt, rice, ground beef, shredded chicken, boiled potatoes, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and peas
  • Spain: Either baked or fried, Spanish Empanadas are often made from a rather thin, pliant, but resilient wheat pastry with filling that varies between tuna, sardines or chorizo. The filling is most commonly cooked in a tomato puree, garlic and onion sauce
  • Sri Lanka: In Sri Lanka, empanadas are called, “Patties“.  The Patties are most often stuffed with a tuna and potato filling and then baked or deep fried in coconut oil

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The Empanada recipe that I am featuring is this post is made with a lite flour tortilla and stuffed with seasoned ground beef, black olives, green chili peppers, onion, green bell pepper, garlic, raisins and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese.  The tortillas are folded in a half moon, stuffed with the filling, and then sealed and coated with an egg yolk layer and baked until golden and crispy.  Combining diverse ingredients throughout the various regions with a light calorie and baked crust, this Empanada recipe will satisfy you with a savory and sweet combination that will make you want more and  more!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. of olive oil
  • 1 lb. of Ground Beef
  • 10 Soft taco sized Flour Tortillas
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbs. Cumin
  • 2 Tbs. Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Tbs. Honey
  • 1/4 cup of Raisins
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 1 Medium size Yellow Onion
  • 1 Can of Black Olives
  • 1 small can of diced Green Chiles
  • 2 Tbs. of Cholua Sauce/ Favorite Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

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Directions

  1. Prepare the garlic, onion, olives, and green bell pepper by dicing each into small pieces
  2. In a frying pan, saute the diced ^ mixture in olive oil
  3. When the onion becomes translucent, add the ground beef & cook until browned
  4. Season with cumin, paprika, and salt & pepper
  5. Add the Green Chile, honey, hot sauce, and raisins; Stir mixture and remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top
  6. Separate the yolk from the egg white; mix egg white into beef stuffing (This will help the stuffing stick when placed into the tortilla) & scramble the egg yolk in a small bowl, set aside for later use
  7. Let the stuffing mixture cool (you want this to be cool to cold when stuffing the tortillas)
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  9. Once stuffing is cooled, take your ten tortillas and spoon two heaps of the stuffing into the center of each one
  10. Using the egg yolk, paint a coat around the edge of half of the tortilla
  11. Fold the tortilla into a half moon shape & press the two sides of the tortillas together until they are sealed, creating the Empanada
  12. Paint the top of the Empanada with the egg yolk base (when baking, this will create the crisp exterior)
  13. After each tortilla is stuffed and sealed, place empanadas on a baking sheet
  14. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees (or until golden and crisp)
  15. Indulge!

Pair with a side salad for dinner or enjoy as a               “grab-and-go” lunch/snack

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Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

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A Summer Sensation!

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The vibrant colors of this dish speak for themselves.  Combining the summery colors of yellow, orange, green, and brown, this dish will surely put a sparkle in your eye and a twinkle on your taste buds.

When I traveled to Thailand for a few weeks during the winter break of my sophomore year of college, pineapple fried rice was  a staple of mine.  At the time, I was new to Thai food, and I was very apprehensive about trying new things after I had found a favorite.  I had ordered Pineapple fried rice in several different locations amongst our travel destinations across the country of Thailand; my favorite was in the fisherman village of the island Krabi in which the chef carved out the meat from the inside of the pineapple and replaced it with the cooked pineapple rice dish.  When our sever brought out our dishes, mine was beautifully adorned with a whole stuffed pineapple and purple orchid flowers on the side for garnish.

When making this dish, it is best to have all of the prep work done before turning on the heat.  Once you start stir-frying, things tend to move at a rapid pace; so my advice is to have all of the veggies and the pineapple chopped and prepped before you start.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of oil
  • 2 Shallots or 1 small white onion
  • 4 Garlic Coves
  • 1 Egg lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons of chicken stock or Vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of Soy sauce (or Fish Sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Curry Powder (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked Brown Rice
  • 2 cup of pineapple cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup of Peas
  • 4 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of Currants (or Raisins)
  • 4 Green Onions (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup of Cilantro (chopped)

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Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan
  2. Add the shallots, garlic, chopped carrots, and stir-fry until fragrant (approximately 2-3 minutes)
  3. Add the egg and stir-fry for a minute
  4. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, curry powder & Stir-Fry
  5. Add the rice, break up any clumps, and stir-fry for a few minutes
  6. Add the pineapple, peas, and raisins; Stir-Fry to mix them in
  7. Remove from heat and serve garnished with chopped green onions and cilantro
  8. Indulge!

*Add 1 cup of cooked shrimp when introducing the pineapple, peas, and raisins for bit of added protein

Serve as a main or side dish for dinner or pack it to-go as a perfect work-day lunch!

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Sunday Brunch Egg Muffins

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Savory little egg muffins with turkey bacon, sauteed spinach, and shredded cheese

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Lately, my idea of a Sunday morning well spent is to incorporate baking with pajamas, i.e., “Baking in Pajamas”.  There is nothing better than sleeping in an extra hour on Sunday, lounging in bed until you decide it is time to start your day, and then meandering into the kitchen to make something tasteful and delightful for breakfast/lunch.  This is the first recipe that I am posting to my “Baking in Pajamas” series.

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Ingredients

  • 5 Organic Brown Eggs
  • 6 slices of Turkey Bacon
  • 2 Cups of Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheese (Suggestions: Cheddar, Monterey, Colby, Pepper Jack)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Cooking Spray
  • 6-top muffin baking sheet

*This recipe yields  6 muffins, double the ingredients if you are using a 12-muffin top baking sheet
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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a medium sized pan, fry the turkey bacon
  3. In a separate pan, add olive oil and saute the baby spinach
  4. In a bowl, crack open the eggs, add the baking powder, and add salt & pepper
  5.  Whisk ^ mixture together
  6. When bacon is cooked to a crisp, remove from pan and chop into small pieces
  7. Fold the bacon and spinach into the egg mixture
  8. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray
  9. Ladle the egg, bacon and spinach mixture into the muffin sheet until each serving is three-quarters full
  10. Sprinkle cheese on top
  11. Place muffin tin into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes
  12. Indulge!

Pair with a side of fruit and a cup of tea

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Power Food Oatmeal

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Start the Morning off with a bang!

In learning the ABC’s of good nutrition over the last few years, I have stumbled upon the  concept of Power Foods.  The fact that the chosen word to describe these foods is power must speak bounds to the common food consumer.  Has it finally been discovered that these are the foods that reign above all else?  Are these foods part of the 1% amongst the food society?  Or, maybe it is these foods that should not be held accountable for paying their taxes since they are the foods in power, after all.  Regardless of what kind of power they hold in their food society, us members who are higher on the food chain find many benefits from consumption of these so-called Power Foods.

Power Foods are foods that when consumed provide:

  • The richest amount of nutrients
  • The least amount of calories
  • And the most healthful benefits

Today’s power food recipe is a filling breakfast or a “tide me over” snack that will prolong the feelings of satiety and fullness until your next meal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Dried Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 cup of mountain trail mix (combination of almonds, cashews, peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tablespoon of brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of boiling water

Directions:

  1. Portion all of the ingredients & start boiling water
  2. Pour the oats,  trail mix, and brown sugar into bowl
  3. Add the boiling water & stir until you reach desired thickness/consistency
  4. Indulge!

Pair up with a side of fruit and a cup of Jo or your favorite flavored tea

And, for more on Power Foods & Food Synergy, read this article!

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