Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Mini Frittata Cups

I got two cute little size of homegrown organic butternut squash and spaghetti squash from my hubby’s former teacher another day, and they were beautiful!   I was too excited about them so I cut the spaghetti squash up and cooked it right away in the microwave for 10 minutes and removed the strands out like spaghetti which it looked gorgeous.  But I still had no idea what to do with it.  So, I saved it for later when my head is clear enough to think about it. 

Today I woke up with an idea of making this dish using spaghetti squash as a base for my mini frittata cups.  That’s absolutely sound so healthy and delish.  As you already know (right?), squash is low in carbs and calories yet plentiful with vitamin C, B6, and manganese, and a fair source of potassium that we need for our bodies.  If those facts don’t make it a miracle food, I don’t know what will.  I also added low-sodium turkey bacon, some cooked spinach and red bell pepper just to make it more colorful.  Well, I love color in my dishes, if you ever noticed.  They are countless of benefits of why you should eat a plateful of color every day.  Fruit and vegetable every day in every meal can help you stay healthy and beautiful, especially for those who are trying to control their waistline.  And I want to be healthy and beautiful, you know?    

What you need:

4 large eggs

1 cup spaghetti squash cooked

1 cup baby spinach cooked (quick stir fry)

½ cup red bell pepper thinly sliced and cooked (quick stir fry)

3 strips low-sodium Turkey Bacon cut into strips

3 tbsp milk

½ cup mozzarella cheese finely shredded

Pinch of salt and ground black pepper


How to:   Preheat the oven at 350’F

-  In the medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and pinch of salt and ground black pepper

-  First layer, fill in the 12-cup muffin pan with cooked spaghetti squash about 1 heaping tablespoon each

-  Second layer, fill with mozzarella cheese about 1 tablespoon 

-  Fill the third layer with cooked baby spinach and then with cooked red bell pepper

-  Fill in the egg mixture and top off with turkey bacon strips

-  Bake at 350’ F for 20-25 minutes

**As these frittata cups can be stored in the refrigerator up for a few days, they make a perfect grab -n-go breakfast in the morning on the way to work, just warm it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and you good to go!

 Enjoy!  ^__^

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Frozen Greek Yogurt with Raspberry Sauce

Have you ever felt like you really want something sweet and cold so bad, even though the weather outside is still chilly cold?   Yes, that’s me today.   Well, I’m just not really a fan of cold weather, especially when I think of sitting in the bright sun in the midday can warm me up a little, but then the breezy, crisp, cold air just sneaks up from nowhere and slap me in the face that can make my face goes numb instantly.  Hate that feeling!    Every year, I just can’t wait for summer.  When I can breathe easier and be able to sit outside, relax, and enjoy the warm air in the backyard with a big glass of nice cold drink.  wink!   Oh yeah, everyone loves that!   

I love yogurt, especially Greek yogurt.  I’ll always have either a quart of low-fat plain yogurt or non-fat Greek yogurt, or sometimes both, in my refrigerator for making smoothies and for cooking.  Greek yogurt makes such a great substitute for sour cream that some recipes call for it.  It also makes wonderful toppings for dessert and is also a better healthy choice than whip cream.     Anyway, today I make a quick and simple dessert for this little cold day for a quick sugar rush.  The sweetness in raspberry sauce helps balancing out the tartness of Greek yogurt.  It’s not too sweet yet it’s so smooth with the top of toasted coconut flakes that enhance this dessert to its perfection.   

And forget about counting calories when having this adorable dessert.   Enjoy!    ^__^

What you need:  For 2

2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt – if you are not a fan, use plain yogurt.

2 tbsp raspberry sauce for mixing with yogurt (recipe below)

¼ cups toasted coconut flakes

Fresh raspberries and blueberries

2 tbsp raspberry sauce for topping

How to:

-  Gently fold in the raspberry sauce into yogurt to mix well.  Spoon equally into 2 dessert glasses and chilled in the freezer for 7-10 minutes

 - while the yogurt is chilled, toast the coconut flakes into small pan on the medium heat and keep stir until the coconut turn to a light golden brown, about 5 minutes

- When ready to serve, top the yogurt with a few berries, pour over with raspberry sauce, and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes…Voila! 

Raspberry sauce:
1 pint/ 12 oz fresh raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornstarch water   (1 tsp cornstarch/ 2 tsp water mixed)
- Combine all the ingredients into small saucepan over medium heat, cook and mash the raspberry with a back of spoon until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is soft about 12 minutes, add cornstarch water to tick up the sauce
- Press the mixture through a fine sieve to separate the seeds.  Make 1 cup
Save the sauce for other use like have it with pancake, it’s awesome.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shrimp Pad-Prik-Khing

Let’s just say it right Pad-Prik-Khing.  Literally, pad meaning stir-fry; prik meaning chili; and khing meaning ginger.  It sounds wired, right?  When this dish has nothing to do with ginger at all!  And please don’t ask me why.  It’s been given this name for decades, before I was born!  I used to ask my dad the same question, and guessed what, he didn’t know either!   But I like to make up story, just for fun.  I think this dish used to add ginger instead of kaffir lime leaf.  And for some reasons, someone might have changed the recipe by using kaffir lime leaf instead of ginger and it was a hit and people love it….end of the story! 

Pad prik khing is another popular Thai dish and is so easy to make using red chili paste for its spicy with a distinctive flavorand taste of kaffir lime leaves that gives this dish such a unique and outstanding of all time.  Originally, this dish only uses green bean, with meat of your choice including seafood, but I’ve added some carrots and red bell pepper just to give it more colorful and fun to eat.  When cooking this dish, it usually uses a rather high heat than low.  So, quick sauté is required. And that mean all the ingredients need to be ready to add in while cooking.   Let’s have some fun.

What you need:
1 ½ lb fresh shrimp deveined
1 cup green beans cut about 1-inch long
1 cup carrots cut 1-inch long
½ cup red bell pepper julienned
2 tbsp Red curry paste
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp (5 leaves) kaffir lime leaves finely julienned
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup water

How to:

- Use a sauté pan or a wok on the medium-high heat and add vegetable oil into it

- Stir in red curry paste until it fragrant, about 3-4 minutes

- Add shrimp and sauté until it cooks through

- Add green beans and carrot follow by sugar and fish sauce for seasoning and add water immediately to keep it moist and help the cooking process go quickly for the beans and carrot, about 5 minutes.  If it becomes too dry, add a little bit more water but not too much.

- Add kaffir lime leaves and sauté for another 20 seconds, and you done!

Serve over jasmine white or brown rice as you desired. 

*hint – serve with poached egg on top to make it more delish!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Fruit Salad n Roasted Walnuts with Lemony Honey Vinaigrette

Eating lunch at 12 p.m. is not my standard when my daily breakfast typically starts off with coffee and sometimes hard-broiled eggs or a piece of toasted whole wheat waffle, and then having fruit or yogurt for 11 a.m. snack.  And when I get home from work at 2:30 p.m., I will end up feeling a little bit hungry and find myself looking for something to munch on.  

So, I toss together this healthy salad of fresh strawberries, green apple, pineapple, and toasted walnut, which provide a rich source of the omega-3, with homemade lemony honey vinaigrette in a snap for a quick late lunch that could also be chilled and served at dinner time.   The quick lemon dressing with a hint of honey helps bring out the natural sweetness of the fresh fruit that you will love to make it more often for family and friends at the gathering, especially in the summer. 
 It’s healthy; it’s delicious!  Yummmmm…..

For the vinaigrette:

1 tbsp minced shallot

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and zest
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp honey
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ cup toasted walnuts

Fruit – cut into small pieces of strawberry, green apple and pineapple and other fresh fruit like kiwi, blueberries, cantaloupe, or melon.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and toss in a bowl of cut fruit, add toasted walnuts and sprinkle with a pinch of chopped parsley.

*if you have raw walnuts, toast them in the oven at 350’ F for 8-10 minutes until they turn golden and fragrant.

**chopped parsley - optional

Stay healthy my friends! 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Baked Chicken Rolls with Thai Peanut Sauce

This fun looking appetizer happened accidently since my original plan was to make spicy Tuna rolls; and the other plan was to make Thai chicken meatballs that would go with Thai spicy peanut sauce.  Sounded wonderful, right?!  And then my crazy thoughts said…hey…let’s do something else more fun than just spicy tuna rolls.  And this dish was the result of my daydreaming wanted to have some fun while cooking.   Certainly, I was so happy with the result!  The sushi chicken rolls on the stick served with tasty and little bit spicy Thai peanut sauce (recipe below) was an ideal for the party starter if you wanted to amaze your guests for weeks if not months.   However, if you’ve never made sushi before, you might don’t want to try this. But believe me, it’s not as hard as it looks and it doesn’t have to be perfectly rolls like when you are making sushi rolls.  The oven will do the work for you as long as you know how to roll paper into a pipe!  I promise, it simple and easy, but you have to try!   Let’s have some fun, shall we?

What you need:

1 lb ground chicken

1 medium egg

½ cup carrot shredded

¼ cup scallion thinly sliced

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper powder

2 tbsp cornstarch

5 sheets roasted Nori seaweed

8 small Persian cucumbers cut 3/4-inch thick crosswise

**The sushi bamboo rolling mat – tool for rolling sushi but if you are a sushi expert, you probably don’t need it!

How to:  Preheat the oven at 400’F
1.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well, *except nori and cucumber.

2.  Prepare nori onto the bamboo rolling mat with the rough side facing upwards, the smooth and shiny side downwards

3.  Spoon over nori chicken mixture about 2-3 tablespoons and gently spread the mixture equally on the nori and leave the upper margin about 1 inch (as pictured)

4.  Using the closer edge of the rolling mat to help ease the rolling, gently and slowly outward.  This step might be a little messy because the soft mixture inside and that it cannot be tighten up, but don’t worry as long as you can make it into a roll it should be fine!

5.  Bake the rolls for about 18-20 minutes – you might notice that the roll is puffed and tighten up that because the mixture inside is cooked

6.  Remove and cut into ¾-inch thick crosswise and skew each with Persian cucumber

Serve with Thai peanut sauce.... Enjoy!

Thai Peanut sauce  - make about 3-4 cups
1 can/ 13.5 oz – coconut milk
¼ cup red curry paste
1 cup roasted unsalted ground peanut
1 tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
3 tbsp fresh tamarind pulp or white vinegar
½ cup water

In a small saucepan, dissolve red curry paste into coconut milk over medium-low heat. Add sugar, salt, tamarind pulp or white vinegar, water, and ground peanut.  Simmer for 5 minutes and whisking constantly to prevent the burn at the bottom of the pan.  Turn off the heat and let it cool down at room temperature before serving.  This sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

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