Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Salsa

DSC_0071

 

A few years back I worked in a restaurant that specialized in seafood in Beaufort, South Carolina.  One of my favorite menu items was their fried green tomatoes with shrimp salsa. The taste was immense!

The other day while shopping I spied with my little eye a basket of green tomatoes at the grocery store.  I had to get them and create deliciousness to share with the world.  Here is a super simple recipe I promise that you can make yourself and be proud of!

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

1 green tomato

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 egg

3 tbsp milk(any kind, I used almond)

1/2 cup flour

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Let me give it to you easy, wash and dry your tomatoes and then slice them at about 1/4 inch thickness.  Set them to the side and turn on your pan to medium heat, added olive oil to the bottom so that there is a thin layer.  Prep three stations: 1. Place your flour on a plate, for dredging. 2. Get a bowl for your egg and milk, mix.  3. Another bowl or plate for you panko and parmesan cheese mix. Then it literally is as easy as 1,2,3.  Dredge your slices in the flour, dip them in the egg mixture and then evenly coat your tomato slice with the panko crumbs.  Top with a little salt and pepper and pop those puppies in the pan.  Don’t over crowd and make sure you check for even browning.  Once they are nice and browned, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to help soak up excess oil.

You could use regular breadcrumbs, I just enjoy panko because it gives them such a crunch and it’s an awesome balance because the tomato inside and nice and juicy.

Easy, right?  Only one thing can be easier, the shrimp salsa!  It’s as easy as cooking, peeling and chopping up 6 medium shrimp and tossing them into a cup of your favorite salsa.  Homemade or in a can, it doesn’t matter. Mix it up and serve either on top of your ‘maters or on the side.

Sounds way more fancy than you’d think it’d be with so little work involved.

Grilled Cheese 2.0

DSC_0090

Staying away from meat has been interesting. I am happy that I chose the pescetarian route since I can still enjoy fish/seafood/shellfish and get more iron in my diet, more easily. My mother has anemia and I really don’t want it.Tonight, after sautéing sliced zucchini in olive oil with garlic powder, black pepper and himalayan salt, I layered it into my grilled cheese sandwich, something I have been craving for quite a while. It was sooooo delicious.

Washing it down with green tea and watching Alice in Wonderland while the sun sets.
I like my start to the new year smile.gifAny others out there who have recently changed their diets?

Changing the Game

I’ve been working out like CRAZY!!!!!  I’m on fitocracy and this month a group I am in with only a few members has decided to have a free-for-all challenge.  Basically, it is a race to see who gets the most points by the end of the month.  I’ve been digging deep and working out as often as I can squeeze it in and magically I have pushed to number one!!  Though, I am pretty sure it is only because a runner has been sick twice this month, I’m still pretty proud.

One thing I have grown very annoyed with is the lack of movement on the scale.  Angry.  Agitated.  Possessed by hate demons.  The list goes on…  I have been losing inches which is great and moving in the right direction, just the pounds are not moving.

This month while working out, I’ve started watching a lot of documentaries and it’s become very clear that I am just not eating healthy enough. Not enough veggies and not enough fruit.  I feel like I am been concentrating on the main course, meat 99.9% of the time and vegetables are just steamed and tossed on the plate because ‘I’m s’posed to’.  These documentaries were all pointing at the same thing, veggies are way more important than the meat portion of my meal, which should be decreased.  Half of my plate should be veggies, at least.

I’ve decided to make a few changes to help accommodate this.  First being that I’ve starting juicing for breakfast.  As much as I’d love to go on a juicing fast it is not an option because I still nurse my youngest and I don’t want him to be effected by possible toxins which may arise.  I figure if I do my breakfast in juice form, I’m getting a jump start on my day and every vegetable and fruit counts, right?  Also, I haven’t had poultry or red meat in 5 days, opting for seafood, occasionally.

Guess who has already lost almost 5 pounds!!  A huge thing since I am pretty close to my pre-pregnancy weight of 135lbs and I only have 8lbs left to go!! (Although, I am pretty sure I am pretty close to my pre-pregnancy size inch-wise already, just I have a lot more muscle than I did 3 years ago)

Anyone out there have any juicing recipes that they love?

I’d love to hear from any and everyone!!

Another day, another Pinterest recipe…or 3.

Now that Christmas is creeping near, I like to act like it’s cold outside(even though it’s been about 80 here every day) and make yummy cozy warm food–and there seriously is nothing better than a beef stew.

DSC_0516

 I don’t know what I read or when I read it, but I was hellbent on having my stew over top of mashed potatoes so it was important for me to find a recipe that didn’t have potatoes in the stew itself and I was SO happy when I found a recipe for Irish Beef Stew over mashed potatoes.  It was perfect, since I didn’t have any celery and I didn’t have any wine(the bottle I had was pretty old and opened a couple of months ago and I think I was just using it for decoration at this point(giving my kitchen a little class).
I stuck pretty tightly to the recipe, since I’m always nervous about starting something new to me, since I’ve always used those packets from the grocery store where the spices are all mixed in and ready to go.  The only big difference is that I made the recipe in my crock pot, adding ingredients as I prepped them.
First, I browned my meat and got my (low sodium) beef broth ready, since it was bouillon.  I pretty much burnt my meat, because for some reason it just tastes better when it’s seared to hell.  Right before I took the meat off of the heat, I tossed in the diced garlic to release a little flavor, and then I tossed it all in the crock pot and poured the broth on top.  I cleaned out my cast iron pan, since the fond of the meat wasn’t really flavorful so much as burned to the bottom, toss in a little more oil and browned my onions while chopping up my carrots.  I tossed those in, threw in herbs, and then added two additional ice cubes of my own homemade chicken broth(it was from a perpetual broth that I cooked down and then froze) for a little extra flavor.  Lidded it and set it on low and let it cook all day.
Within an hour I was salivating and I kept lurking over the crock pot because I have no self control.  I was very proud of myself because I did hold out!!  I did, later on, add another cube of my broth with about a cup of water because I love the gravy and I wanted to make sure I had a ton for my taters.
My potatoes were also an awesome Pinterest find, branching out from the fact that I had a container of ricotta cheese that was still half full after my eggplant involtini and honestly, I don’t cook with ricotta often so I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it.  The ricotta mashed potatoes were seriously easily to make and seriously delicious.  It was creamy and flavorful and absolutely great with the beef stew.  I didn’t make a single change to the recipe and I was pretty happy with my decision.
Let’s just say, the mister and I both had seconds and I totally had beef stew for breakfast the next day.  It was AMAZING.  I totally recommend these two recipes, together or apart, especially since you can easily adjust them to a particular low sodium diet that we work with here.  The beef broth is the only real sodium factor in the stew and you can find a low sodium broth at the store just as easily as a regular sodium one. If you make your own broth, you’re a cooking jedi and you already know that you can cut the salt way out and skip right to the flavor and make this recipe with almost no salt at all(and with a crock pot and a few bones and left over veggies pieces and some herbs you can make the best broth in your town with ease). The mashed taters, I only added a little sprinkle of salt on top for a little flavor and I used unsalted butter.
DSC_0512
BONUS ROUND!!!!!

DSC_0506

I’ve been discussing sprouting beans in a little facebook group I am in. Someone wanted to know some information, etc, so I decided to go ahead and start a Sprouting board on my pinterest. There are mostly links to how-to guides and nutritional facts.  Sadly I couldn’t find the one link I was looking for, where it broke down the nutritional increases day by day.
I did decide to go ahead and sprout some garbanzo beans I’ve had for a little while and make sprouted hummus.  From initial soaking to sprouting, my beans were in their jars for about 4 days.  I tried a different approach since I didn’t have cheese cloth on hand and I used coffee filters to top the jars.  They worked very well and maybe one day I will dish out the cash for the awesome lids that have screens in them but for now I can DIY it.
I did cook my beans for about 15-20 minutes before I made the recipe, you can try raw if you’d prefer, but I figured I’d try it this way and build up to raw.
The flavor was immense. It had a sweetness to it that I adored and I was eating it by the spoonful.  I think a big factor in your hummus is using an olive oil you enjoy.

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

My week of meal planning via Pinterest has commenced!  I went with Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken, from BudgetBytes.  I’m definitely going to check out more of the tantalizing recipes there, especially since they break down the cost of your meal and there are some great pointers for saving money.

DSC_0508

The changes I made were very mild, just sprinkling garlic powder on the chicken with the salt and pepper and adding a splash of heavy cream to the egg mix you use before you dip it in your bread crumbs(I used panko since it’s lower sodium).  It was actually very easy to make, the hardest part would be cutting the chicken and trying not to look like you were mid-slice during an earthquake.

I did make brown rice pasta to serve it over top of and used crushed tomatoes with basil and then sprinkled shaved parmesan cheese on top. It was AMAZING! I’m totally a fan for browning my breaded chickens in my cast iron pan and then baking.  The crunch is fantastic and gives the dish a greater depth, especially since I have this love of crunch and I feel like if my meal lacks it, I still have the urge to chew well after I am stuffed.

DSC_0507

I would definitely recommend this dish. Eleventy-million-trillion percent!

DSC_0510

ALSO, earlier today, I made my first go at Homemade Healthy Fruit Snacks from thankyourbody.com.  When I was at the store, I got blueberries, strawberries and raspberries because I wanted to give them all a go.  I think that making these fruit snacks can be a bit price-y since the ingredients can be costly depending on the time of year.  Lucky for me, I have two lemon trees in my backyard so there goes a huge cost, since lemons are WAY overpriced.

I tried one batch today with the raspberries, which are our least favorite berry of the bunch.  I only had knox brand gelatin since that was all that was available at the store and I wasn’t sure how much was actually in each packet, I use one box each, which contained 4 packets(which after I measured, they were a little shy of a tbsp each) so I did use less gelatin than what they recommended but it came out perfectly fine.

The things I noticed were pretty few, they were a little sour but I like that and the seeds were way too much.  Next time I make this, I am going to push it through a sieve to get as many seeds, etc out that I can.  Also, I had an odd time getting the snacks out of my container.  I used a thin metal spatula and I was able to dig it out.

I do want to add that in this recipe, she says to put it in a blender, while it is still hot.  I don’t recommend that, though, since putting hot liquids in a blender, covered, can become a safety hazard and I’m not a fan of boo-boos.  I did just use a hand mixer and it came out perfectly fine.

ALSO, a big thank you to my in-laws for my new toaster oven today!! It’s so sexy. Here it is, right after I put it on the messy counter, next to it’s new friends.  I don’t know if I will get rid of my regular toaster, though, since it’s the bomb diggity, especially since I freeze a lot of bread and it’s great for thawing and toasting it all to perfection.

DSC_0502

 

I’ll eat you, my pretties….

and the bowls of fruit, too…

My menu for Thanksgiving?

I am making a pumpkin pie for my mother’s Thanksgiving lunch, that accounts for one pumpkin.

For my Thanksgiving dinner we will be having turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, sauteed green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin cobbler with walnut crumble and maybe biscuits.  I haven’t finalized anything but I will be taking photos.

The pumpkin cobbler will utilize the other 2 pumpkins and was a new addition when we went out to lunch at Sweet Tomatoes the other day and had their version there. Instant love.

Potatoes Make the World Go ‘Round

 

The weather has been absolutely lush in Central Florida lately.  We’ve been sitting in the high 70’s and this weekend it will drop down to 70 when a cold front moves through.  I think there isn’t much better than a quiet morning, with the windows open, feeling a nice breeze and having a savory breakfast, just full of flavors you can’t help but to take your time and taste it all.

Fried red potato, with evoo and butter, in my cast iron pan. Onion, garlic and bite sized bacon add major flavor to an already delicious base and a lightly scrambled egg, still slightly runny on top of this delicious mountain give this breakfast more dynamic, as the egg’s finish is more creamy. To finish it off, fresh cracked black pepper and pink himalayan salt. Tastes awesome with a little java!

Never waste wine. Ever.

Right after my in-laws left, I had a new set of family come into the area. They stayed with my grandmother for about 2 weeks and during that time, we saw them a few times.  They wouldn’t be back any time soon because they came from Germany. Story has it, my grandmother’s sister fell in love with a German man and moved back to his country. Once there, they had one child, who came to visit us on vacation with her husband.

The first time we saw them was just a ‘hello, how are you?’ The second time, we met at SeaWorld and walked around a little and then split. The time after that, we went out to eat spanish food and then a few days later, I cooked them a proper spanish meal.  You know, one with flavor.  The last time we saw them, we went to the first day of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.  They were pretty fun to spend time with, even though there was a little bit of a language barrier; she spoke english fluently but he only knew a few words.

When they left, my grandmother was left with quite a few food items.  Of course, I get a phone call. Honestly, my grandmother is closing in on 70 and sadly she is very close-minded about food (when you grow up in a family with 13 other children, you don’t really get to experience a lot in the way of food growing up, so she didn’t have much of a foundation).  While she kept things like, chocolate pie, sodas, popsicles and such, I was given onions, olive oil, an italian glaze, shiraz, and whole wheat bread(she doesn’t even eat the brown stuff!!).

I got home and panicked. I’ve never cooked with wine before and if my family can do it, why can’t I? I had four onions and shiraz to cook with. I knew I had chicken, we always go. So I went from there. I went on google, read a few recipes and found a base to work with and I then proceeded to ‘get jiggy with it.'(na-na-na-na-na-na-na). I then proceeded to make this gluten free and not adding ANY sodium to anything. Low sodium dishes are getting easier and easier.

Braised Chicken with Onions and Shiraz

(a gluten free, low sodium adventure)

  • 14 ounces chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter + 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • parsley, thyme, garlic powder to taste
  • medium onion
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 broth bouillon, chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 cup shiraz or other bold red wine

For this dish, I use a stainless steel pan.  I typically use cast iron for cooking but you shouldn’t really cook anything acidic in those, and I want a beautiful sear, so stainless steel is perfect.  Turn your pan to medium heat, add olive oil and 1 tbsp butter. Allow them to melt and the pan to heat thoroughly. Pre-heating your pan is VERY IMPORTANT when you want a proper browning of your meat. (Also, never over crowd chicken in your pan because it releases steam.)

Sprinkle your chicken with the thyme, parsley and garlic powder. Once your pan is ready, place your chicken about and leave it alone for about 6 minutes. While it’s browning, place the 1 cup of water and bouillon into a small pot and bring it to a boil. Turn your chicken and then turn your attention to your medium onion. Chop it thoroughly and set to the side. Once your chicken is browned on both sides, remove it from the pan and place in a bowl. Add the last tbsp of butter to the pan you were just cooking the chicken in and toss the onions on top. Give it a quick stir and chop up your garlic while your onions brown. Toss the garlic on top, give it another quick stir and add the broth. Stir very well, removing any fond from the pan. Personally, I cut the chicken into smaller pieces, but you can place the chicken, in larger pieces, back into the pan. Then add the wine and make sure everything is mixed throughout and then place your lid on the pan. Once covered, I reduce the heat a bit and I let it all simmer for at least 6 minutes.

This dish has a delicious sauce that makes absolutely great over a bed of rice with a side of veggies. Last time I made it, I used brown rice pasta.

 

An overcrowded pan. I’m a rebel with a small pan

Following my own tips!! Candles around my cutting board to help with the onion tears!

My onions and garlic before adding chicken and liquids

All of the ingredients simmering in the pot for the un-lidding

The bouillon I used.  NO SALT ADDED?!?! WHAAAAAAT? I wanted to include this photo so that people knew that there were, in fact, options like this out there! I purchased this in a local Whole Foods. It can probably even be ordered online. I know it’s silly to be so excited about this, but broth is always ridiculously salted!