Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts

I love walnuts. I would put them on everything if I could. Why did it take me so long to make a dish with brussel sprouts and walnuts? Two of my favorite foods. Do not cry to me about your hate for brussel sprouts….you just aren’t cooking them right. Also, I know lots of people prefer pecans to almonds especially in savory dishes but not I! Always feel free to change up recipes for your dietary needs…..or just don’t eat it!

Ingredients
3lbs of Brussel Sprouts halved (I was making these for dinners for the week so roughly 6 servings here)
TBSP Kerrygold Butter
1/4 Toasted Walnuts
1/4 Cup Good Quality Balsamic
3 TBSP Honey
S&P

How To
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Half your brussels and lay them out on a sheet pan, I used avocado oil to drizzle, and then popped those bad boys in for 15 minutes. While your sprouts are in the oven melt your butter in a saucepan. Place walnuts in the pan to toast up with the butter about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Remove walnuts from your pan and put both the balsamic and honey in the pan. Let the fluids come to a soft boil and let them reduce. On medium heat this process takes about 6-7 minutes and you want the reduction to coat the back of a spoon. Once your sprouts are out of the oven the plating is up to you! If I were taking these somewhere as a side of appetizer I would scatter my walnuts on top the sprouts and do a slight drizzle of the reduction so that the vibrant colors do not become muddy and that is exactly how I photographed these……then mixed everything up and called it a day! Presentation is everything! Unless, it’s just you and your husband …… like me.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lord have mercy do not bring hummus as a Christmas appetizer unless your entire family is vegan. I about got voted off the island for bringing hummus a few Christmas’ back. You know what, though? I am a grown up(kind of) and have my own blog now so I am just going to publish the recipe because I am a loud and proud hummus lover!

Embarrassing Fact: A few colleagues of mine had a hummus war competition and it just so happened to be on the day I was interviewing for a management position at my work. Well, ALL afternoon my stomach would not stop sounding like a blue whale searching for its family and couldn’t tell if I was just nervous OR overdosing on too much hummus.

P.S plain hummus is boring – make some exciting flavors and share them with me! I know roasted red pepper is pretty boring, too but I love it!!

Recipe

2 Cups chickpeas drained and washed
1/2 Cup Tahini (just buy it – I know it’s expensive but it’s what makes hummus HUMMUS)
1 whole lemon squeezed
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers (I roast mine on the oven – stick them in a ziplock once black- let them steam – take off the char and done)

How To

How easy is this? Throw it in the food processor and hit the Go button. Blend until smooth and the consistency you’d like – you may need to add additional olive oil. I crack fresh pepper on top one plated, a squirt of lemon, and a final drizzle of olive oil. Eaasy breezy beautiful snack. Pita chips, veggie sticks, naan bread. Gurl.

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Pesto & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Meal Prep Alert!

I made these for this week’s lunches. They were easy, delicious, and can be either vegetarian or stuff them with chicken like I did this week. Let’s get started!

Ingredients
1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/4 Cup Pesto (buy or make your own)
2 Shredded Chicken Breast
2 Cups of Alfredo sauce (buy or make your own)
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
2 Cups Chopped Finely Mushrooms
1 Cup of Ricotta
S&P

How To

The pasta shells need to cook about 8 minutes total and I lay them out on a sheet pan to cool. I already had shredded chicken but the recipe was just 2 chicken breast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chicken broth, and throw in crock pot for 4 hours on high. Shred and set.

Filling: Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, pesto, chicken, mushrooms, and salt&pepper. Once your shells have cooled stuff those bad boys up!

Bake: I lay a thin layer of alfredo on the bottom on my baking dish and then put the shells on top. Cover with some more sauce and let bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then put the rest of your cheese on top and broil for 5 minutes. Done! These are pretty simple for meal prep, loaded with protein, and pretty damn tasty!

Thai Meatballs with Coconut Basil Cream Sauce

Well, this is different. Welcome to the world of unique. Step outside your comfort zone and make these! Healthy and fast dinner! Total cook time for these only 30 minutes! These would be a reeeeally impressive appetizer…just sayin’.

 

Ingredients

1lb Ground Turkey (or chicken, or beef, alligator….whatever you would like)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko (breadcrumbs can also be substituted)
4 Large Basil Leaves Diced
2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
1/2 Yellow Onion – Minced
1TSP Sesame Seed Oil
1TBSP Avocado Oil
2TBSP Red Curry Paste
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
2TBSP KerryGold butter
1TBSP Siracha
1/2 Zest of Lemon & 1/2 Zest of Lime
Rice(Optional)

How To

Meatballs

In a large bowl combine: ground turkey, panko, egg, 1 clove garlic, onion, half of the minced basil, red curry paste, avocado oil, lemon zest, and S&P. Mix until all ingredients are fully combined. Now, I personally rolled my mixture into my little balls, set them on a plate, and let them sit in the fridge for about an hour because I got lazy and didn’t want to cook them yet. One hour later the meatballs have set up nicely. Thank you one too many mimosas at brunch!
I pan fry my meatballs for color then finish them in the oven. Let them brown on each side for 1-2 minutes in either some oil or butter(or both if you’re Krystal) then let those bad boys sit in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350.
Both the panko and avocado oil in the mixture buys you insurance that these will not be dry. Turkey can be tasty!

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Sauce

On medium heat saute your garlic in butter and when the garlic is cooked 90% add in the zest of the lime. When the garlic is translucent and cooked add in your whole can of coconut milk. Now, we have discussed coconut milk before: it’s creamy, fatty, smooth,and thick enough to not need a roux for sauces. Now, at this point taste your sauce and decide how much siracha you would like in there….remember the meatballs have a kick! When you are ready to serve add your basil….do not add it and then let it continue to cook or simmer…wilted basil is the worst! Serve these babies over rice or grilled veggies!

Chicken Fried Steak Bites!

Okay, so like, did everyone know as a kid that chicken fried steak was actually steak and NOT chicken? I know I know it is in the name, Krystal but it tricked me every time! I would get so excited thinking we were having fried chicken to only be served this chewy fried steak. UGH.  I never really liked red meat as a kid and even now as an adult I rarely eat it. I tend to stick with fish, chicken, and 3-4 nights a week vegetarian. I am not a big red meat eater and when I am it has to be done right, and so I generally leave it up to the expert: 2nd dad. I can make chicken fried steak though, right? Yes! I made these a little differently by cutting the cube steak into pieces rather than “steaks” and making bites to dip in black pepper gravy. Baby, these were good. I am now a fan of chicken fried STEAK.

I found that chicken fried steak (CFS) is all about the gravy. Gravy is life. Gravy runs through these veins. I served these with mashed potatoes, because what else? These would be an excellent appetizer for a party.

Ingredients

2lbs Cube Steak (I cut mine into pieces) Cube steak is generally just top round that has been tenderized
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup Flour (can substitute almond or coconut here) – reserve 3TBSP for gravy
S&P
Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
25-30 Saltine Crackers
1/4 Cup Panko
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (coconut milk can be substituted)
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
3 TBSP Kerrygold Butter

How To

Set up your batter section while your oil is heating up for frying. As always with 99% of fried foods you COULD bake these by getting some color on them and then placing in the oven, but we are going authentic today. Beat your eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the crushed saltines, garlic powder, pepper, panko, and flour. I do not add salt to this because the saltines have salt.

Cut the cube steak into strips. Place strips into eggs, then into the dry batter, and then into the fryer! Since these are strips and not full steaks they only take 4-5 minutes a piece in the oil. Place them on a paper towel once out of the oil to get rid of excess oil. Taste one to see if they have enough salt for your liking.

Now, the most important part – the gravy. Country gravy. I always make gravy with pan drippings but it isn’t possible with chicken fried steak since you know….you fry it. We will pass on using oil in our gravy. Melt your butter and make a roux with those 3TBSPs of flour we reserved. Once your roux is cooked add the milk and beef stock. I added the beef stock as a little trick for one you could split the milk/stock ratio and save some calories, and two it adds a beef flavor that the gravy would lack due to the pan drippings situation. Let your gravy thicken and right before serving add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious!

I still prefer fried chicken…… but these were bomb! Bring these to your next event and as always if you make this recipe tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

 

Macadamia, Coconut, & Panko Crusted Salmon

So, could this title have more words in it?

True Story: I have not had salmon in about 13 months, because I am allergic(maybe) to shellfish. Yes, I knoooow salmon is not shellfish, but nonetheless my experience was quite traumatizing for me. You may read all about it here if you wish: boring

So, I am writing this before I eat….life of a food blogger is eating cold food since no good picture has steam in it. This may be the last and final time you hear from me unless Jared keeps up with my blog as he is my designated afterlife social media continuer……who won’t even read this. Both fitting and ironic. We continue!

Now, you may call me a hater but I never got(until now) what the big deal was with crusting fish. I mean white fish battered and deep fried with vinegar…..yes but beautiful salmon….why? Why, Why, Why? So, I tried it for myself and it is spectacular. Crunchy toppings go quite well with the buttery flakes of salmon. I imagine you could do this with any kind of fish but salmon, halibut and even shark are your “meatiest” of fish and they hold up well to a wide range of cooking methods. Best part? You can eat in 20 minutes!

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Ingredients – Makes 2 Servings
2 – 4oz Salmon Steaks
Insert Krystal’s Rant: pleeeeeease buy wild salmon! I know it is hard to find and I know it’s expensive but it is so worth it and so so soooo much better for you! End Rant
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko
1/4 Cup Toasted Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Toasted & Crushed Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Lemon Zest
S&P

That’s it!!

How To

I toasted both the coconut and the nuts together just in a pan over low-medium heat….once you can small them they are done pull off the heat. Wait for them to cool down and then pulverize in food processor/blender.
Add in a bowl the panko, nuts/coconut mixture, lemon zest and S&P. Separate bowl: crack and whisk your egg.
I only crusted one side of the fish but you do you.
Dunk one side of the salmon steak into the egg wash and then into your dry mixture. This is where you really want to make sure your dry mix is sticking and you have a nice layer.


In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat melt your butter/oil. Place fish crusted side down for 2-3 minutes and depending on how you eat your salmon get some color on the naked side of the fish and then pop in the oven or cook another 2-3 minutes on the side, pull, rest, and enjoy medium salmon. Remember cooking time all depends on your personal preference of the salmon’s temperature as well as the size of your steaks, but you can always show these pictures to your butcher and they should be more than happy to cut them to this size.

Beautiful! I ate this completely on its own because I had been cooking for hours and this seemed to be a sufficient snack, but it would go well with a small salad or grilled veggies. Keep salmon lite!

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Roasted Potatoes with Pesto & Parmesan

Pesto.
Parm.
Potatoes.

HOW can I go wrong?

I love everything about mini golden potatoes because they are small(like me), roast up nicely in the oven, and I feel like I can eat more and feel less guilty since they are itty bitty……right? I used these as a side for this week’s dinner choices and they stay well in the fridge for a couple days and reheat beautifully. These are an easy side dish to make for yourself or impress everyone at an event or party. You could even stick some toothpicks in em and call em an appetizer 😉

Ingredients
1 Bag of Mini Golden Potatoes (about 20) – halved
1/2 Cup Pesto (homemade or store bought)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Lemon Zest + 1/2 Lemon Juice
S&P

How To
Cut all your potatoes in half after washing – potatoes are a dirty vegetable! Place potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil…coconut oil….avocado oil(my choice)….body oil….I don’t know. Any oil you like! Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark I pull the taters out of the oven and toss them with the pesto, parmesan, lemon, and S&P. Go light handed on your salt as both parmesan and pesto are salt bombs. I place them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes and then you are done! Success! Hope you enjoy!

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Potatoes after 25 minutes at 400 degrees right before adding final ingredients

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