Category Archives: Main Course

Mexican Burrito Bowl

I love easy dinners. You know those dinners that take less than 15 minutes to prep and serve? This is one of those dinners. The best part? It’s healthy Mexican. Yup, you heard me, healthy and Mexican in the same sentence.

We start with a layer of brown rice. I happened to have some leftover rice in the fridge, but the only real “prep” work you will need to do is making some rice. The next step is adding some black beans, Mexican cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado and salsa to the bowl. Quickly fry an egg. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top and DONE.


I love this bowl because it is not only simple, but also delicious. It has plenty of protein to keep you full (the beans and the egg) and is just the right amount of food. You know that overly full feeling you get after Mexican? Not with this dish. This is one of my all-time favorite 15-minute meals. Enjoy!Mexican Burrito Bowl

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup your favorite salsa (or more to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Divide the brown rice, black beans and cheese in half. Layer two bowls with the three ingredients, placing the rice first, then the black beans and then sprinkling the cheese over the top. Microwave (or heat) each bowl for 30-45 seconds until cheese has melted and ingredients are warm.
  2. Top each bowl with tomato, avocado and salsa. Set bowls aside.
  3. Spray a medium frying pan with Pam (or other baking spray) and heat the pan on high heat for at least 30 seconds. Crack one egg into the pan. Let the egg sit and cook. It is done when the whites are cooked through and the edges begin to turn up. Remove egg from pan and place on top of one of your bowls. Repeat with second egg and place on top of second bowl.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of each bowl and enjoy.

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Filed under Cooking, Main Course, Recipe, Vegetarian

Preserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Shrimp

Fall is finally here. And in LA that means the temperature has dropped to below 60 (gasp!) and that there have been some rainy days. Yesterday was a rainy Sunday, so my mom and I decided to take advantage of staying indoors all day and make risotto.

Risotto is time consuming, but SO worth it. You know I love my crockpot wonders, but every once in a while, it’s really nice to spend some serious time in the kitchen. This risotto requires some serious prep work (blanching asparagus, lots of chopping and ingredient prep) and once on the stove, you are stirring like a crazy woman. But the end result is pure heaven.

(Yes, I cook in Q’s big sweatshirt and no make-up… don’t judge) 

I would recommend making this dish for a special occasion or when you have a rainy Sunday afternoon and happen to have all the ingredients in the fridge like we did! This dish is truly exceptional, just make sure to read through those directions a FEW times before embarking on this one!

Preserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Shrimp

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

Shrimp:

  • 24 to 32 deveined shrimp, shell on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod (or another anise aperitif)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Risotto:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Pernod, or other anise aperitif
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced preserved lemon rinds
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 cups peas (frozen are fine)
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. In a shallow dish just large enough to hold the shrimp, mix the shrimp with the olive oil, Pernod, garlic, lemon zest, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all the risotto ingredients: Blanch the asparagus for 1-2 minutes in salted, boiling water and set aside. Heat the stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Have everything measured and close at hand by the stove. Once you start stirring the risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (like a Le Creuset). Add the onions, fennel, and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Season with salt to taste, about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium-high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice, about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.
  5. Add the Pernod and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This should take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock. (*Our rice was really dry so it took all 8 cups).
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, preserved lemon rind, most of the mint (save some for the garnish), the peas, and several grinds of white pepper. The risotto will cook the peas. Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you prepare the shrimp. The risotto will expand slightly in volume, and take on a marvelous sheen.
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of the risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with the remaining mint and a flourish of pepper and serve.

Slightly adapted from The Food52 Cookbook

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Filed under Cooking, Grains, Main Course, Recipe

Coriander Chicken Patties

After a quick work trip to San Francisco, I am back and with a recipe that I love. I have never been a red meat girl (it breaks Q’s heart). I will gladly chose fish or chicken over a steak and on a rare occasion I will eat a burger. But chicken gets boring after a little while. When my mom and I made these coriander chicken patties for dinner the other night, I instantly fell in love with their flavor, sort of a Moroccan chicken.

We paired these patties with a simple salad (baby romaine lettuce, pomegranate seeds, pistachios and oranges) and topped it with a pomegranate vinaigrette (recipe to come). The combination was light and the meal was super healthy (greens and chicken is the way to go right?). I like this recipe for an alternative choice to a burger at a red meat heavy BBQ. I would easily put these on a bun and enjoy, but just keep in mind the patties are more like the size of a slider than a burger, so make sure to grab some small buns!

Coriander Chicken Patties

Makes 16 patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken (dark meat)
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 5 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, trimmed from stems and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl. combine all of your ingredients except the olive oil and mix well using your hands (the easiest way).
  3. Separate meat into 16 1-ounce balls and with your hands, form them into round patties.
  4. Heat a nonstick griddle on high and add your olive oil. Heat until oil glistens and add patties to the griddle. Cook for 3-4 minutes and flip patties. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until both sides are golden.
  5. Transfer patties to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Serve warm on a bun on over a simple salad.

Adapted from 2BeStatisfied

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Restaurant Style Salmon

Restaurant Style Salmon aka Pan Seared Salmon is one of my favorites to eat. It’s also one of the easiest to make especially if you are already making a salad with vinaigrette dressing (which is seriously not that hard). I think once you make your own salad dressing you never go back, but I digress… 

We pan-sear the salmon to lock in the flavors and also to get a crispy skin and brown top. By then popping it in the oven, the salmon cooks through without drying out and getting overly crispy/brown. The best part of this recipe is that whatever vinaigrette you use will work. We’ve tried it with a simple olive oil/lemon one as well as a pomegranate dressing and both tasted delicious and created two different types of flavors.

Restaurant Style Salmon

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon (we like chinook)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vinaigrette (like this one)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper along the top of your salmon. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 12 inch saute pan on the stove. Add olive oil in pan and let sit until it glistens. Tilt your pan so oil covers the entire bottom of it.
  4. Lay salmon in the hot pan skin side up for 4 minutes. Flip salmon over. Cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Remove salmon from stove. Top with your vinaigrette and place your pan with the salmon into the oven for 10 minutes. (Timing may vary depending on thickness of salmon, you want the salmon to cook through without drying out).

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Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo, Cabbage and Lime Crema

These fish tacos look like they are complicated (lime crema?!), but they really are not (lime creama = sour cream + lime). They are easy to prepare with a quick marinade and then thrown onto a griddle/grill pan (a great investment for any kitchen).

There are two highlights of this dish. The first is the pico de gallo. Since it is made with grape tomatoes instead of normal Roma tomatoes, there is a sweetness to it which really pairs well with fish. The second highlight is the lime crema. For some reason adding the acid to the sour cream makes a huge difference. Instead of the usual small scoop, I layered a couple of large spoonfuls onto each taco. So delicious.

I think the best thing about this recipe is that it is really versatile, you can use different types of fish and play around with your spices. The recipes for the toppings are great to have on hand for entertaining. I would put them on nachos, set them out with some chips or put them on top of a quesadilla.

Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo, Cabbage and Lime Crema

These tacos are surprisingly easy to make with everyday ingredients (nothing too crazy). They are great for a big family dinner since everyone creates their own tacos. 

Serves 4

Prep Time: 45 minutes (30 is for marinating)

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salted cabbage:

  • 1/2 small green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • pinch of sea salt

For the Pico de Gallo

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • minced jalapeno (optional – if you want some heat)

For the Lime Crema

  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of tabasco

For the Fish Tacos

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets (cod, pollock or haddock) or ahi tuna, cut into finger sized pieces

For serving:

  • corn tortillas (we allotted two per person)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions

For the salted cabbage:

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure cabbage is well coated by lime juice and salt. Let sit for 20 minutes.

For the Pico de Gallo:

  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and lime juice and set aside.

For the Lime Crema:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

For the Fish Tacos:

  1. Combine all of your ingredients in a large ziploc bag to marinate. Let sit for at least 10 minutes (ideally 30-40).
  2. When ready to cook, heat up a griddle or grill pan until hot. Lightly spray griddle with Pam or other nonstick spray. Lower heat to medium and layer your fish across the griddle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until just cooked through.

For serving:

  1. Layer all the components (salted cabbage, pico, de gallo, lime crema, fish, tortillas and sliced avocado) together on the center of the table, family style, letting everyone assemble their own tacos.

Loosely adapted from My Father’s Daughter

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Turkey and Tofu Lettuce Cups

These turkey and tofu lettuce cups are a healthy “go to” staple in our house. We usually  have them on a Sunday night after an overly indulgent weekend of eating out a little too much and having a few too many sweets. This dish is a fresher, healthier asian turkey stir-fry (similar to what you would get at Chin Chin) with a little brown rice spooned into a leaf of crispy romaine. I love the presentation as well as the easy eating style.

Occasionally we make this dish with turkey or tofu only, but thought the combination of the two actually worked really well together. The dish looks complicated with its ingredients, but it really isn’t that hard and once you have all of them, you can make the dish over and over again (which we do). For some of the sauces, like the black bean garlic sauce, you can get them at a small Asian market or Amazon (what CAN’T you get on Amazon?).

I took these pictures before the brown rice was cooked, but we usually layer it on the lettuce leaf and top it with the turkey/tofu mixture. We usually have leftover turkey/tofu and I like to put it in omelets or have it for lunch the next day over some brown rice.

Turkey and Tofu Lettuce Cups

Serves 4-5

These lettuce cups can be easily individualized. If you want to add a little more of one sauce and less of another, go ahead, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Also adding any additional veggies would work as would mixing your rice directly into your turkey/tofu/veggie mix. Have fun with it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup minced mild sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup fine chopped carrots (we had shredded carrots that we chopped)
  • 1 cup fine chopped brown cremini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into small 1 inch squares
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (add more to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 cups brown rice (optional)
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat up a large frying pan on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and let sit for a minute until the oil glistens. Add your ground turkey to partially brown it. As the turkey cooks down, it will release liquid. After 3 minutes (or until turkey is partially browned), remove turkey from heat, pour into a colander and let it sit to drain off extra fat.
  2. Place your large frying pan back on flame, turn the heat to medium. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil. Let sit for a minute until oil glistens. Add garlic, ginger and chopped onions to pan and let cook down for 30-45 seconds. Add in your carrots. Cook for 60 seconds. Add in your mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes or until carrots and mushrooms begin to soften. Add the black bean garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sriracha. Stir sauces into veggies and turn heat to high.
  3. Add drained turkey, spinach, tofu, green onions and cilantro to mix. Stir to combine. You can break up the tofu into smaller pieces once on the stove. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until turkey cooks through. Once turkey has cooked through, turn heat off, place a lid on top of your pan and let sit for at least 10 minutes (preferably 20-30).
  4. Serve with brown rice and hearts of romaine and create a “do it yourself” station where each person can add however much of each element they would like.

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Pan-Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Lemon Butter

The weather is so crazy, 95 degrees in Los Angeles and a hurricane in New York. My mother is extremely conservative when it comes to our air conditioning. She refuses to turn it on until it’s 100 degrees or higher in the house. Last night was horrible – sleeping with two furry dogs and no AC, I woke up sweating this morning (never fun). Just when I was thinking summer was coming to a close we get this heat wave reminding me it’s still here, guess I have to put my fall boots away for another few weeks…

Bentley and Shelby taking over the bed- where am I supposed to sleep?

This shrimp dish reminds me of summer nights, something about the light garlic-lemon butter sauce that makes me think of eating dinner at 8PM on our deck with family and friends. You can adjust this recipe to feed more or less people easily (always nice). We served ours with brown rice and steamed broccoli and as always it was a hit.

Pan-Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Lemon Butter

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds of 21/25 shrimp (*21/25 shrimp is the size of the shrimp and means there are 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Beat softened butter with a fork in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in garlic, lemon juice, parsley and half of your salt until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss shrimp, remaining salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until oil glistens. Add half of shrimp to pan in a single layer and cook until edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Flip shrimp and cook until all but very center is opaque (about 30 seconds). Transfer shrimp to large plate. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and the rest of the shrimp. After second half of shrimp has cooked, pull skillet off of heat. Toss in first half of shrimp to skillet along with butter mixture and toss to combine. Cover skillet and let stand until shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from the March & April 2004 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

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