GF Seared Sausage & Kale Salad

searedsausagekalesaladSince being on quite a restrictive diet, anything green seems to now find its way into almost every one of my meals. Not the worst thing in the world, as you can imagine. However, one can only eat…so many salads before you really need to change it up, purely to prevent insanity. They’re great in a bind, especially if you’re tired or short on time since compiling a salad typically isn’t overly time-consuming. Obviously since a normal salad was easy, I decided to throw a fork into the equation and step it up a notch with a few extra ingredients.

Albeit still not difficult, this one does need just a little bit more prep time, and a sharp knife 🙂

I think at this point, everyone has at least heard of quinoa, if not tried it. I have found a very noticeable difference in toasting the quinoa in the oven for about 5 minutes previous to boiling it. It gives it almost a bid of a toasted almond, nutty taste, otherwise personally, I find it a little flavorless on it’s own.

Cilantro, tomatoes, sausage, kale, jalapeno, quinoa, egg over easy? Did someone just list all of my favorite things..and then throw them in a bowl? Oh wait, I did. I don’t know if I can really say this is a unique recipe. I was going thru the pantry and fridge and noticed many of my favorite things all staring back at me. It seemed like a good idea to really just throw them all together, see what happens. My Dad basically stirs his plate of favorite things together on Thanksgiving and Christmas, isn’t this kind of the same thing?
Look at this delicious recipe I created with, each ingredient, independently able to stand on its own, combined with other such like ingredients to create a perfectly paired and balanced dish. See what I did there? I pretended to create something, instead of dropping all those stellar ingredients into the same bowl 🙂 It’s like magic (it’s not).
Just a note, I didn’t just use any sausage I think this is really a big part of what gives this extra character and finesse. I use sausages locally, such a variety of flavor combinations, that I usually rotate based on what intrigues me that particular trip to the store.  The ones for this episode were Jalapeno Sausage, with onion, peppers, and assorted spices. There is also a chicken/potato one that will just stop you in your tracks I really enjoy. For prep, they’re pre-cooked so you really just need to heat them. I slice them at an angle and then sear them in a non-stick pan.

I cook the egg over easy in the same pan, because the combined sausage and egg drippings…are super phenomenal. The little fat from the sausage is pretty fwa-pow. The drippings come out to be just under a tablespoon, the perfect dressing to mesh with the egg yolk! #love

Seared Sausage & Kale Salad

1 1/2 cup kale, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
2 tbsp jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup of prepared Quinoa, toasted then cooked
1 Sausage link, sliced then seared
1 egg, cooked over easy
Sriracha, and pan drippings for dressing

(other items I didn’t add, but would in case you have them on hand, sliced mushroom, red onion, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes)

Directions:

1. Really? It’s a salad. Just kidding, (kind of )
2. Toast quinoa, then boil for 20 minutes (cook according to package)
3. While the quinoa is cooking chop your kale, cilantro, tomato, and jalapeno.
4. You don’t want the quinoa hot, so when it’s finished, remove from heat and fluff with a fork several times. While cooling, slice the sausage at an angle about 1/2″ thick. Sear on each side for 2 minutes on medium heat.
5. Set sausage aside to cool. Plate all ingredients.
6. Spray pan with non-stick spray and cook egg, over easy.
7. Add the sausage, egg, the pan drippings, and drizzle with sriracha.searedsausagekalesalad2

20 Minute Chinese: Fake Take-Out

sesamechicken2Chinese has always been something that hasn’t interested me as far as ‘at-home’ cooking is concerned. It’s so much easier to order out, and most of the time…cheaper too. We often just order one meal and split it, so it can be cheaper and easier, to indulge in this habit. When feeling as it was about -10 degrees the other day with wind chill, I was ready to pick up the phone and order out.
Then something happened.

The Earth, for just a moment, stopped spinning on its axis, Brad told me, ‘No’. WHAT? I’m not sure that’s possible. Mr. I’ll Cook Dinner, aka Order Out/DriveThru said no? He’s clearly running a high grade fever. Even though I was perfectly snug in comfys on the couch, gazing at the TV, snuggled in blankets… this called for me getting up and doing something apparently!

Although we had the basics, sauce-ish stuff, and protein, we definitely didn’t have a couple of authentic dishes ingredients, I decided to wing it. I’ll make sure hoisin and a couple other choice ingredients find their way into my cart next week, because this was an explosion of easy, awesome, fake take-out on the fly. Brad usually orders General Tso’s or Sesame Chicken, I normally opt for something that isn’t fried, but am guilty of sneaking pieces of his dinner onto my plate. 🙂

There are quite a few recipes out there, I sought out the healthier versions of course, and although it may not be exactly like or normally take-out spot favorites….it’s a fun runner up that we were both able to make together, which always makes dinner more fun.

Always start your rice first so it’s done, which usually takes about 20 minutes. I have to admit, Brad’s single complaint was regarding the rice. We are total suckers for fried rice, and I just…can’t…master it. I chose the excuse that ‘it’s really bad for you, we should do white rice’. This then saved me time, and self-fault…because I suck at fried rice.

A wok. I used to own one, it was a pain in the but to store, and it had a scratch in the non-stick surface….and again,we usually order Chinese, not make it at home, so it was sold on a garage sale this summer for $3. BUT, I do have my awesome cast iron skillet that is killer good at everything, so that’s what shallow fried up our chicken in. Also, did you know all they use is corn starch and egg whites for the coating to get that crisp shell?! Seems too easy…

FYI, I skipped the egg whites which many recipes do call for, I was not in the mood to make pudding (the remaining egg yolks(or waste the yolks)…pudding and Chinese don’t sound good together, right?) so I skipped most advised egg whites and just used what I had in my kitchen at the time.SesameChicken

Here it is- 20 Minute, Fake-Take Out Chinese:


Rice:
1 cup of Basmati Rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Chicken:
1 lb of chicken Cut into 1″ Pieces
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp Asian Seasoning
2-3 Tbsp Cornstarch

Sauce:
2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic, minced OR 1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cornstarch

1. Start rice, combine salt, water, rice in sauce pan, bring to a boil, then turn off heat, and cover tight with a lid. Let sit covered for 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed.
2. Rinse chicken (do not pat dry), dice into 1″ pieces and toss with pepper and seasoning.
3. Coat chicken (it put my cornstarch in a bowl and tossed in the chicken until well coated) and then place in the fridge while you make the sauce. This will give you a nice crisp coating.
4. Heat up a skilled (or cast iron) to medium-medium high heat, along with 2 tbsp of oil. You want the oil very hot.
5. Mix all the ingredients for sauce in a bowl
6. Once your pan is hot, add in your chilled chicken, cook chicken for about 7 minutes until golden brown. Don’t immediately stir or you will lose the coating on the chicken.
7. Once the chicken is cooked, add in your sauce, it should only take about a minute until it thickens up.
Serve over your white rice!

** If you want your chicken to have an extra crisp, stick in the oven on broil for a minute or two!

Encrusted Tilapia

bakedtilapia1Don’t you hate it when fish tastes…fishy?? That’s weird…I know. But it’s true. Fishy fish doesn’t make you hungry for dinner, it makes you think of wet cat food. If your local market has it, buy the individually wrapped ones, they are so much better than the frozen bagged ones. I can get a good portion, thick fillet for less than $1.50, perfect and ready dinner for one and have dinner ready in less than 20 minutes… this is sounding better and better right?!

If you’ve ever been a person to scour recipes,  you’ll see a very wide variety of cook times and temps. It’s impossible to make one general recipe for fish because all fillets are not equal! I can’t promote an oven-safe thermometer more…it will make you everyone’s favorite chef! You might think you’re the cook that’s great at ‘eyeballing’ or the ‘touch-test’ but pulling any protein right out of the oven right when it hits that perfect temp, it’s just something that will change how you eat, and appreciate food.

The one I have is fantastic, you can actually set it to beep at certain temps, so I can be multi-tasking and it will go off when it hits whatever temp I set it too, it’s awesome. So what’s the secret to the best baked fish (or any protein for that matter) besides a digital oven thermometer? It’s a wire rack! You’ll never a poorly breaded mess that sticks or breaks away from  your meats again. Yep, that’s it, told you this was easy.

Baked Encrusted Tilapia

1 fillet

1/4 cup of cornflakes, crushed

**1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder 

1 tsp of grainy mustard (you can substitute egg/yogurt/mayo/ranch for this if mustard isn’t your thing)

a handful of flour

 

1. Preheat oven to 425

2. Crush your cornflakes in a shallow dish, add in the pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, give it a couple shakes until the cornflakes and spices mix.

3.Take your thawed fillet and rinse it with water and pat dry.

4. Lightly coat the fish with flour, then cover with your grainy mustard. Place your mustard coated fish into the shallow cornflake mix, toss it around until completely covered.

5.Take your wire rack and place it over the top of a cookie or baking sheet cover with parchment paper or tin foil (easy cleanup). Spritz the wire rack with cook spray to prevent sticking. Place the fish on the wire rack and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done (depending on the thickness of your fillet)

6. When you pull it out, it will be deliciously golden brown and full of delicate flavor. Tartar sauce or horseradish is always an acceptable fish pairing! 

bakedtilapia2

First Try, Quick Pad Thai

Quick post! I LOVE Thai food. I have this strange weakness for Pad Thai and have never tried it at home before. Although this isn’t a horribly authentic recipe, it gets the job done, and has dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes and for less than 5 bucks.

Easy Pad Thai (for one)

2 ounces of dried, flat rice noodles

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon of fish oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 squirt of Sriracha
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 (green onions) thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of broccoli ( blanched)
1/4 cup shrimp, prepared and devined
a small sliced red pepper
1 large eggs, light beaten
a handful of fresh cilantro
a few almonds tossed on top doesn’t hurt!
  1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce,1 tbsp fish sauce and Sriracha.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add green onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula then transfer eggs to a plate.
  5. Add noodles, broccoli, red pepper, shrimp and sauce to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
  6. Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and almonds