Mussels in garlic, butter, and white wine sauce…

I remember the first time I had mussels and pomme frites at a restaurant. They were super delicious and I loved dipping the fries in the sauce. Once I realized how easy they were to make and that mussels were super cheap ($7 or so for a 2lb bag from Whole Foods), my mussels making adventures would begin. This batch is a garlic butter variety and I’ve made others that were either coconut curry or tomato pesto.

  • 2 lb. bag of mussels (I buy from Whole Foods)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup of diced onions
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 andouille sausage link (Wellshire Farms)
  • 1 tablespoon of pesto
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté onions, garlic, and andouille sausage in butter and truffle oil.
  2. After onions and sausage are browned, add in about 2 cups of cooking white wine and the pesto.
  3. Once that comes to a boil, turn down the stove and let simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in the mussels and cover for about 10 minutes.
  4. After about 10 minutes, move around the mussels making sure all mussels are covered with sauce. Add in the spinach and cover again for 5 minutes. Done and done!

What’s your favorite mussels recipe?

I want to start off by saying that this is MY version of New Orleans style BBQ shrimp. It’s delicious (and a little rich!) but missing Worcestershire sauce and made with andouille sausage. This version is also not #whole30 friendly but if you take out the butter and either use ghee or just #Tessemaes hot buffalo sauce, it’s compliant.

  • 1 diced link of Wellshire Farms smoked andouille sausage
  • 1/2 cup of sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced green bell peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 pound of Gulf shrimp with shell on
  • Seasonings for the shrimp – salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 lemon or orange
  • French bread (optional)
  1. Season the shrimp and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté the minced garlic, onions, bell pepper and olive oil.
  3. Add the diced andouille sausage. The Wellshire Farms version is sugar free and one of my favorites.
  4. Add the butter and hot sauce and let simmer.
  5. After the sauce has simmered, add in the marinated shrimp and cover for approximately 8-10 minutes. Reminder stove should be on low.
  6. Take a large spoon and spoon the sauce over the shrimp multiple times to spread out the hot sauce and butter flavoring. Make sure all shrimp are fully cooked.
  7. Slice the lemon or orange and place over the shrimp.
  8. Once complete, spoon some of the shrimp and sauce into a bowl and serve with sliced French bread to soak up all of the flavors in the sauce.

This recipe should result in 4 servings.

For those interested in what the Wellshire Farms smoked andouille sausage looks like:

Bacon wrapped dates…

The holidays are over and it’s time to put this recipe away until next December! My go to appetizer recipe during the holiday season are bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese. While these can be made anytime throughout the year, I do save them for a special treat during the holidays. The recipe is fairly simple and below are the basic ingredients. While I used this basic bacon from Whole Foods for this batch, I would recommend spending a few more dollars and getting a little bit thicker cut.

  • 1 pack of bacon
  • Dates
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Toothpicks

Below are some simple instructions on how to make them:

  1. Preparing your dates – I usually buy dates that have pits in them and so the first step is cutting slits into the dates and taking the pits out. I guess you could buy dates already pitted but you will still need to cut them open.
  2. Prepare your bacon – Each date will be wrapped in half a slice of bacon. Cut your bacon in half and on a baking rack, partially bake the bacon in the oven for 10 minutes or so.
  3. The number of bacon wrapped dates you make depends on how many you want to make and how many slices of bacon you have. In a pack with 14 slices of bacon, you can make 28 dates. Stuff each date with a portion of Gorgonzola cheese. I like to overstuff them so that you can really taste the cheese through the bacon.
  4. Take your bacon out of the oven and let cool so that it’s not extremely hot. Wrap each date with a half slice of bacon, stick a toothpick in to keep it in place, and then put the date back on the baking rack. Follow the process for all dates.
  5. Place back in the oven until the bacon is fully cooked and done to your likeness. This usually means another 20 minutes or so.

Done and done!

While I’m not doing the January Whole30 with the masses (I’m going to San Diego in two weeks for five days and don’t want any restrictions), most of my meals are still compliant. Making a solid breakfast on the weekends is one of my favorite things to do and realistically this hash is great to make as part of your weekly meal prep.

  • 8 ounces Italian sausage
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings to taste
  • Olive oil to sauté onions and garlic

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into smaller cubes. In a medium size pot boil water and place the cubed sweet potatoes for 7-10 minutes.

While sweet potatoes are boiling, in a cast iron skillet, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil. Add in the Italian sausage and sauté until the sausage is fully cooked. Add in the mushrooms (or any other vegetable you have in the fridge you want to get rid of).

While the sausage is still cooking, move to half the pan and add the sweet potatoes that should be finished cooking. Add additional coconut oil spray to the potatoes to help brown them.

After a few minutes, mix the sausage mixture and sweet potatoes together. Add salt, pepper and other seasonings such as paprika, turmeric, and garlic powder. Add the two cups of spinach and turn off the stove.

Mix together and you’re finished! This should yield about 3-4 servings. This is a perfect breakfast hash that goes well with two fried eggs like pictured below.

What’s your favorite breakfast to make?

Air fryer chicken wings…

One of my goals for this year is to fall in love with my air fryer. When I first purchased it and tried to make fries, I felt like they were a little soggy and underwhelming. It was as though I was expected deep fried battered goodness but that was a little unrealistic. I was also looking for fast cooking but that wasn’t the case. At that point it seemed like a waste of funds but after seeing so many people get them for the holidays, I wanted to give it another try. Today I made chicken wings and they were amazing! I never fry them but I often bake/broil them and the air fryer method was about TEN TIMES better!

  • 1 pack of Trader Joe’s chicken wings
  • Any seasonings you want!
  • 1/4 ounce of Frank’s Red Hot

When I buy wings from Trader Joe’s, I buy the full ones and then cut them in half to have a drumstick and then a wing. I find this to be the most economical way of purchasing them.

After cutting in half, put the wings in a ziplock bag and season. Today I used salt, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, and special ingredient ground ginger. I then added the Frank’s Red Hot and marinated the wings in the bag for a few hours.

I then preheated the air fryer for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and then added the wings to the basket.

I set the timer for 25 minutes and at 15 minutes I checked on them and flipped them over. At that point they were pretty crispy looking and I was amazed by how well they were turning out. I put back in for the remaining 10 minute and that resulted in amazing buffalo wings!

I couldn’t believe how well these turned out. I actually had a batch going that I was baking in the oven to do a comparison and realized at the 15 minute point the air fried wings were going to be a lot better so I put the remainder of the wings in there instead! All in all, I might be one step closer to loving my air fryer.

What should I cook next in the air fryer?

I used to spend all of this time sautéing vegetables, whisking eggs, and throwing in an abundance of seasonings. One lazy meal prep Sunday I decided to line a ramekin with prosciutto as a “crust”, threw a bunch of random veggies on top, cracked an egg into the ramekin, and threw on some leftover cheese and topped with chives. I baked in the oven for about 20 minutes and the lazy egg cup was born! Below is a basic recipe and I eat two of these for one serving.

  • 1 slice of prosciutto
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of spinach (and any other veggie like broccoli or mushrooms)
  • 1 pinch of shredded cheese

Spray a ramekin with coconut or olive oil. Line with one slice of prosciutto. Add spinach and other veggies. Crack one egg into the ramekin. Top with cheese and chives.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and done and done! Preparation literally takes less than five minutes. Ready for an easy breakfast the next day.

Some of my kitchen appliances…

While some people like to shop for clothes, I like to shop for kitchen appliances! Below are some of my favorite appliances in no particular order:

  1. The Instant Pot – I first learned about this amazing machine when I was excited about buying a crockpot with a timer on it. A friend from grad school mentioned I should’ve invested in the instant pot instead. Months later after seeing multiple people talk about it, I had to get one. I intentionally bought a cheaper version because I said to myself “I don’t need to make yogurt, why would I pay more for that function?!” About a year later after then seeing multiple people making yogurt and the introduction of the mini version, a second instant pot made its way into the kitchen. I must say, the yogurt is by far the best yogurt I’ve had in my life!
  2. NutriBullet – I pretty much use the NutriBullet at least five days a week for either smoothies or bulletproof coffee. My first one died after about four years and so this is my second one that is a more advanced version with better power. The only appliance that would replace my NutriBullet is a Vitamix and I won’t be rocking one of those unless winning some cash was in my near future.
  3. Popcorn Popper – There is no real comparison between microwave popcorn (it sucks!) and fresh air popped popcorn (delicious!). If you’re unsure about that statement, get you one of these. Pop your own popcorn with your favorite kernels, pour your own butter or ghee on top, and let the comparison begin!
  4. Stick Hand Blender – If you need to blend soup ingredients together or make homemade mayonnaise, the stick hand blender is for you! It’s much easier to blend soup ingredients with this versus pouring everything into a blender and worrying about things being too hot. It’s also difficult to make mayonnaise any other way as you need something that can blend while you can also pour and sometimes a regular blender is too big. While this isn’t used on a regular basis, it’s definitely one of my favorite appliances.
  5. Air Fryer – I’m still listing this as one of my appliances even though I was underwhelmed by it. The air fryer is a cool concept where you can fry things with a little to no oil and it actually comes out crispy and tasty. I’ve only done vegetables or potatoes and haven’t tried things like chicken wings but will in the future. I recently joined an air fryer Facebook group to help me in trying new recipes and meals.
  6. Juicer – This is my second juicer affectionately known as Beyoncé Breville and I bought it about 5 years ago when my Jack Lalanne died. I remember when I bought this because it was after the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The man in the documentary spent months just drinking juice and used a Breville juicer. Once I did my homework and learned all about the Breville line, I knew it was time for an upgrade (Get it? Upgrade you…Beyoncé).

What are some of your day to day kitchen appliances? What are ones you have on your wish list?

Cauliflower Rice…

About two years ago the cauliflower rice craze began. I remember the first time I tried to make it in a food processor and I was over it because it was so unnecessarily messy. Then Trader Joe’s jumped on the opportunity to make frozen riced cauliflower and I was hooked. The first few months it was constantly out of stock and I became a hoarder. Now it’s regularly stocked and I don’t have to be as aggressive. Tonight I made a simple veggie filled cauliflower rice side to go along with some lobster tails. See below for the recipe for one serving:

  • 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of diced onions
  • 1/2 cup of string beans
  • 1/4 cup of diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of broccolini
  • Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper

In a pan, sauté onions in olive oil.

Add mushrooms and string beans and sauté until all vegetables are cooked.

Add the cauliflower rice, broccolini and the seasonings and sauté for 10 more minutes until the liquid from the frozen cauliflower rice evaporates. Done and done!

For those who are health conscious, this is a perfect #whole30 recipe. I also wanted to highlight what the Herbes de Provence and cauliflower rice look like as they were both from Trader Joe’s and the HdP was a new find this week.

Feel free to leave a comment if you’re interested in seeing a specific recipe or have questions on this one!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders…

In honor of the Super Bowl, this year I tried a new recipe. The best thing about this recipe is that it takes very little effort and is super easy! Folks who think they can’t cook can EASILY make this. It takes some time but you can practically be in bed sleeping and end up with a delicious meal!

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
12 oz store bought buffalo sauce
3 cups of shredded cabbage
1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons of butter
24 King Hawaiian buns (the best!)
Seasonings: pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika

Buns and sauce

The night before, season chicken using black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. You won’t need salt because later on when you add the buffalo sauce, you will have plenty of salt. The next day, start the process by allowing at least 5-6 hours for the chicken to cook in a crockpot before you need them. Place chicken breasts in the crock-pot on low and add roughly 8 oz of the store bought buffalo sauce. Let simmer for about 5 hours. I can’t tell you enough how much I love crock-pots! At the end of 5 hours, the chicken should be perfectly cooked, moist, and ready to pull apart. However, before pulling apart, scoop out about two thirds of the sauce and let sit aside.

IMG_0677

Let the chicken and remaining sauce cool for about 30 minutes. It’s not 100% necessary but it does allow for the sauce to thicken a bit without adding flour or other thickeners. While the chicken is cooling, in a pan melt the butter. Add and saute the cabbage (you might need to add a cup at a time so that it gets fully tossed in the butter). Add black pepper and the crumbled blue cheese and toss a couple more times. The whole process of sauteing the cabbage and cheese should take no more than 8-10 minutes as you still want it to be nice and crispy. Once it has cooled down, place in the fridge.

Now, back to the chicken! Grab two forks and begin to pull the chicken apart. I love this part the most because you get to see how tender and amazing the chicken is.

Chicken

Once it’s fully pulled apart, add the sauce that you took out back into the crock-pot and mix together. Add the remaining 4 oz of sauce or whatever amount you think is necessary. The chicken should still be nice and hot but if necessary, turn back on the crock-pot for a little bit more time.

Once you’re ready to EAT, toast the King Hawaiian buns in the oven so that they’re nice, crispy, and warm. Once heated, add shredded buffalo chicken. Take the cabbage mixture out of the fridge and add on top. Done and done!

Chicken sliders with cabbage

Zoodles in an almond and red pepper “alfredo sauce”!

Like many out there, I started off the year on a healthy kick. For the last 5 years, I have done alcohol free January to detox from the holidays but this January I added a 5 day clean eating challenge. Clean eating basically means no processed foods. One of my recipes for the week included an experiment using almonds to make a sauce for my favorite food of the fall, zoodles!

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

1 large zucchini
1/2 cup of almonds (can be roasted, salted, or plain)
1 large red pepper
1/4 cup of chopped basil
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
Olive oil spray (for roasting red pepper)
Salt
Pepper
Any other seasoning you want!

Cut up the red pepper into long wide strips. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil spray and place peppers on the cookie sheet. Add a little bit more spray on top of the red peppers. Let roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.

IMG_0552While the red pepper is roasting, in a food processor chop up the 1/2 cup of almonds. If you want, you can soak the almonds for an hour or so to make them softer and to add some moisture but you don’t have to.

IMG_0554Once red pepper is done roasting, add it to the almonds with a little bit of the vegetable broth and grind.

IMG_0555IMG_0556In a saucepan, add the almond and red pepper mixture to the vegetable broth. Add salt, pepper, basil and other seasonings to this now “alfredo sauce”. Let simmer while preparing the zoodles.

IMG_0558Using your spiralizer, take zucchini and make into zucchini noodles, aka, zoodles.

IMG_0557In a wok or larger pan, saute onions and mushrooms. Once onions are soft, add zoodles to heat. Then add the simmering alfredo sauce and toss until the zoodles are fully coated and heated. You can eat as is or add some kind of additional protein such as shrimp or turkey meatballs.

IMG_0561This recipe was so good that I surprised myself! The original recipe I found for the alfredo sauce asked for walnuts instead of almonds. Since I’m not really a fan of walnuts, I took the risk using almonds and it turned out great. Happy eating!