Sausage & Zucchini Linguini

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I’m a firm believer in easy meals that are healthy and don’t take much of my time.  This Sausage & Zucchini Linguine is just that.  It literally took me 15 minutes to make (with Aishani in the kitchen “helping” me) and was loved by everyone.
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Here are a few things I like about this pasta dish:

  • Gluten Free (cauliflower based linguine …. so delicious and guilt free!)
  • Ready in 15 minutes!
  • The combination of sausage and spices packs a punch of flavor
  • Bright and colorful veggies
  • Carb Free
  • A little munchkin, who in the name of cooking with me, ate a good amount of my sausage and bell peppers during the cooking process

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Taste Republic has their cauliflower linguine in most grocery stores so go get a pack!  (This is not a paid ad, I just love their pasta).
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From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this fun and easy meal!

Teriyaki Salmon

Recently, we’ve been eating a rotation of mostly the same foods as at least 50% of our household has been taking shifts getting sick.  Well, I’m happy to say, we’re (hopefully) finally getting to the tail end of it so that means no more soup or tea!  My hubby recently picked up some Udon noodles for me (he knows I like them a lot!) and I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with them.  Sure they taste great on their own but let’s get real, they taste even better paired with a delicious filet of salmon.
I’ve also been playing around with my version of a teriyaki sauce.  Most of the recipes I found online included a sake but since I was going to experiment on my toddlers as well as my hubby, I decided to leave that one out.  I have to say, this sauce turned out pretty delicious – I even dipped my brussels sprouts in the leftover as if it were a dipping sauce.  Try it out and tell me what you think!

20180212_172550.jpg20180212_172922.jpgThe best part about this sauce is that it is very simple and most people have these ingredients at home!   In a little mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger, and minced garlic.  I also added a little flour, some chili pepper flakes and EVOO to the bowl.
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This is my favorite part of the recipe – sesame seeds.  The nutty flavor and crunch adds just the right note of balance.
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Whisk everything really well.  You want all the ingredients to blend well and make sure there are no lumps from the flour added.  They won’t cook and trust me – it can ruin the taste.
In a large bowl, line 2 6oz salmon filets and cover with the teriyaki sauce.  Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
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Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with EVOO and heat on high until it starts to smoke.  Reduce the heat and place the salmon skin side up and let it cook for 4 minutes.  Do Not Touch the salmon for the next 4 minutes.  I know people get anxious and want to check if it is cooking properly, is it burned, there’s a char type smell coming, etc, etc.  I assure you nothing is wrong with it.  In fact, the more you try to check it, the more it will not cook properly.
Once your 4 minute timer goes off, flip the salmon the other side and cook for another 3 minutes.
Serve with noodles or rice and enjoy!

Teriyaki Salmon:
Ingredients:
2Tbsp Soy Sauce
1Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp chili flakes
1Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2Tbsp flour
2tsp EVOO

2 6oz Salmon filets (can be replaced with tofu or any of your favorite veggies)

Directions:
In a small mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and whisk to combine everything.
Coat a cast iron skillet with EVOO and heat on high over the stove.  When it starts smoking, add salmon skin side up and cook for 4 minutes.
Flip and cook another 3 minutes.

Serve hot with noodles or rice.
Enjoy!

Lamb Tagine

One of my favorite wedding gifts was from one of my closest friends Christine.  A Moroccan tagine.  When I first opened the box and saw it, I was fascinated by this shallow pot and cone shaped cover.  I thought, how do I cook anything in here?  3 years later, it’s become one of my prized kitchen accessories. (This particular time, I ended up using the casserole dish because of the amount I was making, otherwise, the tagine is perfect for 2-3 servings)

wp-1473223031998.jpgThis Lamb Tagine is a favorite in my household.  Juicy, tender meat falling off the bone with each bite.  Fresh figs and Asian Pears to add just the right hint of sweetness to the dish.  A chermoula spicy enough to wake up your palate.  How can you go wrong?  It takes a while to make, but worth every second of the wait.

First, you want to make the chermoula to marinate the lamb in.  Chermoula is a marinade usually made from herbs, oil, and spices.  This one is made from Parsley, EVOO, garlic, lemon juice, spices and jalapeño to add a little kick.  Try to give your lamb at least 6 hours to marinate, overnight if you can.  The lemon juice in the chermoula is important as it will help break down the proteins in the lamb and make it more tender.

wp-1473223031673.jpgDoesn’t that vibrant and green chermoula look gorgeous?!

About 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the lamb, chop the figs and onions.  These are going to help make the basis of your “stew”.

The lamb will go on top and the whole dish will go in the oven for 1.5 hours.  At the end of the two hours, browned pears will top the lamb and in it goes into the oven for another 30 minutes.
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The result…. delicious, tender, juicy lamb with figs and prunes melting in your mouth.  It’s a pretty easy recipe that looks like you deserve a Michelin star for!

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Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
3 shoulder of lamb on the bone
2 Tbsp ghee
1 red onion, chopped into wedges
1 c pitted prunes
1.2 c fresh figs, halved (can replace with dried figs if fresh not available)
3 Tbsp butter
1 large Asian pear, chopped into wedges

For the Chermoula:
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeños
1 small bunch of parsley
fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp cumin
4 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to make a coarse paste.  Make small incisions in the lamb and rub the chermoula into the meat.  Cover and leave in fridge overnight, or at least a minimum of 6 hours for the proteins in the meat to break down.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Over medium flame, heat ghee in the tagine or stoneware casserole dish.  Add the lamb and brown for about 3 minutes on each side.  Set lamb aside on a separate plate and in the same ghee, add the leftover chermoula, onions, prunes, and figs.  Sauté for about 3 minutes, then add 1 cup of water.  Add the browned lamb back into the tagine/casserole dish and cover.  Bake for 1.5 hours.

About 5 minutes pulling the lamb out of the oven, melt butter in a pan and add the Asian pears.  Sauté till golden brown.  Return lamb to oven for another 30 minutes.

Serve lamb immediately with Buttery Couscous.

Breaded Chicken

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Chicken can get boring if you don’t get creative but I’m going to share with you my secret.  I love making breaded chicken because I can use it so many ways…. use it to make chicken parm, serve with spaghetti and marinara sauce.  This is also one of my go to chicken recipes if I’ve not had a chance to prep for dinner and need to make something without putting in too much effort.  Usually breaded chicken requires thinning out the chicken by pounding it down with a meat mallet; I’m not into beating the crap out the poor thing after it’s already dead so I slice it in half instead.  This is actually so much better I think as you get to portion control your meat and it doubles the serving size.

Slice 2 chicken breasts in half and season both sides of each half with salt and pepper.
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For the breading, you’ll need three deep bowls or plates.  In one, add some all purpose flour.
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In the second, crack 2 eggs and whisk them really well.
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In the third, mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
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Heat up a non-stick skillet and add a little evoo to it.  While the oil is coming up to temp, take a piece of seasoned chicken breast and first dredge it in the flour.  This will help take out all the moisture from the chicken so the eggs and bread crumbs can stick better.  Next, dip the chicken breast in the egg and finally, in the bread crumbs and cheese mixture.  Make sure you cover all the chicken breast with the crumbs mix for maximum flavor.
Once you’ve dipped the chicken breast in all three, add it to the skillet.  Oh I love the sound of the chicken sizzling!
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Let the chicken cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes on each side so you get a beautiful golden crust. Make sure you use two separate tongs, one for the raw meat and one for the meat cooking on the stove to prevent food contamination.
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If you’re having a party or even want a head start on dinner, you can totally make this chicken ahead of time and just keep in the oven to warm up when you’re ready to serve.   Hope you enjoy it as much as my husband does!

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, each sliced in half
1/2 c flour
2 eggs
1/2 c Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to season
EVOO to cook chicken with

Directions:
Season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper and set aside.
Prep the breading station with flour in one bowl and beaten eggs in a second.  In the third bowl, mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together.
In a non-stick skillet, heat the evoo on medium heat.  Add in the breaded chicken and cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with pasta and sauce, or even use to make chicken parm.
Enjoy!

Lal Murgh (Red Chicken)

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I haven’t cooked Indian food in a while because it needs some good time and attention to come out perfect and those are two things I don’t have in abundance these days.  So I decided that needed to change and I needed to create something easy but vibrant and delicious, with lots of flavor.  The spices in this red chicken pack a great punch with an array of flavors and the meat is nice and tender from being marinated even for just a short time.  The best part, the spice mix I used is the Butter Chicken spice mix you get at any Indian grocery store – so easy and time saving!
One of my favorite ways to prep meat is to marinate them.  Did you know that marinating meats helps slow down the growth of bacteria?  Also, based on the ingredient you’re marinating you’re meat with, it affects in a different way.  For example, I’ve used citrus which is known to tenderize the meat and lock in the moisture when you’re cooking it.  Hope your chicken turns out juicy like mine did!

Chop up a boneless, skinless, chicken breast into cubes.  Set them in a container and add in a little spice mix, a splash of lemon juice, and some water.  Mix the chicken well, cover it, and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.  Doesn’t that just look gorgeous?!
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When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add some red onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
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Add in some grated ginger and minced garlic.  Oh, the smell of that garlic!
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Sauté all of the above for a couple of minutes, then add in the tomatoes.
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Mix well, and cook everything for 5-10 minutes. You’ll notice the tomatoes softening and the oil separating.  They should look something like this:
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Finally, add in the marinated chicken and mix well.  Cook it for about 7 minutes or until done.
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For the chicken marinade:
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp spice mix
1/3c water

To cook the chicken:
1Tbsp EVOO
1/3c finely chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2tsp grated ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped finely

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, lemon juice, butter chicken spice mix, and water.  Toss well to coat all the chicken pieces evenly.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To cook the chicken, heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes.  Finally, add in the tomatoes and mix well.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the oil separates from the tomatoes.  Add in the marinated chicken with all the juices and cook for another 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Roti, Naan or Rice.  Enjoy!

Lamb Meatballs

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“A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  This is definitely true for my husband and I.  One of the first meals I made for him were Lamb Kebabs and it obviously made it to his heart!  I made it recently and brought back memories of our dating days.  Hopefully, this recipe will make it to your family’s stomach and heart.

Ingredients:
2lbs ground, lean lamb
2 eggs
1/2c bread crumbs
1 med yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 packet Tikka Seekh Kabab Mix (this can be found at any Indian Store)

shan_tikka_seekh_kebab_bbq_mix(I forgot to take a picture of mine but this is what the packet looks like)
Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.  But be careful not to over mix the meat.  Over mixing it will make the meat really tough when you cook it.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight if you plan ahead.  The longer it marinates, the better the flavor.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray two baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray.  Roll out the meat into 3/4″ balls and line onto a baking sheet.  This recipe makes 50 meatballs.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Check internal temp to be 160°F to make sure they’re cooked through.

Once you pull them out of the oven, let them rest for a couple of minutes.  Serve with tzatziki sauce.  Enjoy!