Paleo Approved Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Pancetta

3c772ee8-bc23-41a8-ac97-56edac830910

It’s officially October!! You know what that means, the leaves start falling, weather gets cooler, and every girl you know will be talking about and indulging in PUMPKIN! I can’t tell you why us ladies are obsessed with fall and anything and everything pumpkin, but we are… so get used it. I am a girl, so naturally I am excited about making this creamy and amazing soup!

Did I mention there’s pumpkin in it??

Anyways, if you’re a Paleo eater like me, this recipe is paleo approved and very good! Even if you aren’t on Paleo, this soup is still very tasty and a perfect way to start off the Fall season right! This soup is rich and creamy, adding the crispy pancetta is the perfect addition! You get a little salty crunchy bite in your soup which I always love!

I will recommend you trying a tiny piece of sage before you throw it in there like I did. I actually did not like the sage, I’ve only had it in stuffing and with turkey minced up with other herbs. I now know that sage isn’t for me unless in small quantities and accompanied with other herbs and spices.

I recommend saving a little coconut milk for the end to swirl in your soup and make it look all fancy!

To start, take a large cooking pot and place on medium high heat. Dice up your pancetta into small square pieces (or place in pot if bought pre diced) and once the pot is hot cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Once cooked, place on a plate lined with paper towels  to soak up excess grease. Drain your pot of the grease.

DSC_0056-3

Turn your heat down to medium and place your broth, pumpkin, coconut milk, shake well before opening! (don’t forget to save some for your grand finale look!), and spices and stir well, the pumpkin will start to cook and lumps will turn into creamy goodness!

Wait until it boils slightly, then turn to a simmer. Place lid on and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

DSC_0058-1

Meanwhile, if you like the whole sage idea, chop some up and set aside.

Once the soup is finished simmering, pour that amazing creamy pumpkin goodness in a bowl, pour the leftover coconut milk and make it look all fancy, and crumble the pancetta on top. Serve! DSC_0059-1

The Fixin’s:
8 oz pancetta or bacon
2 cups chicken broth
29 oz canned pumpkin
2 14 oz cans of full-fat coconut milk
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
fresh sage, chopped, optional and not for me!

Serves 6-8

Adapted from fedandfit.com, an inspiration of a blogger!

DSC_0065

Advertisements

Bacon & Blue Burger with Sweet Potato Buns

DSC_0053-2

 

You may need to wipe up that drool on your face…

Ok, now you can finish reading about how to make this AMAZING burger! Not to toot my own horn, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever made! This would even be good without the blue cheese, if you’re not into stinky cheese.

You may be asking yourself, why does she keep posting food with bacon and blue cheese? Let’s just say I got a generous amount of Iowa bacon (the best) and Maytag blue cheese from my mother in law and went all out! It’s not every day when you can have these brands at your disposal, unless you live near Grinnell, Iowa. So I may have gained a few lbs this week, but it’s been worth it!!

I wanted to stick to my Paleo diet as much as I could (hence the cheese part) and I saw on Pinterest some people making their buns out of sweet potatoes. Genius! Like I said in my previous post, I love anything sweet and savory, and this is it to a T! I actually thought it tasted better than a regular bun, but I could eat sweet potatoes everyday so I am slightly biased. I will say it’s even messier with the sweet potato buns, but every good burger needs about 20 napkins along side it!

A couple of facts to make this burger taste the best:
1.When picking out your sweet potatoes, make sure they are thick and round enough for a nicely sized “bun”.
2. When buying your meat, get 80/20 ground beef. I prefer organic and grass fed, so the only option I had was 85/15, which was still good. For meals like tacos or casseroles you should buy lean ground beef, but for burgers, 80/20 is best. You need that fat to give it the good juicy flavor you want… trust me!

DSC_0005-6

To start, preheat your oven to 425°. Take your sweet potato and peel it, then slice to the thickest, most round part of the potato. Take a small plate and pour in some olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub both sides of the potato with the olive oil until evenly coated, then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, turning once halfway through.

DSC_0011-4

You want to make sure they’re cooked in the middle and crispy brown on the outsides. Mine look a little burnt in the pictures, but they’re not, they are perfectly roasted!

DSC_0008-6

Take a large bowl and add your meat, seasonings, Worcestershire, Sriracha (trust me), and blue cheese. The best way to mix burgers and meatballs is with your hands, don’t be afraid to get in there! Once everything is mixed evenly, form into patties. When I make burgers, I don’t skimp on size, so mine were about a ½lb. each.

Since I am home while my husband is deployed, I don’t have all of my awesome kitchenware so I had to settle for a cast iron skillet. If you have a grill or grill pan, I would recommend that. If you have a skillet like me, spray with some olive oil PAM and turn on medium high heat. Wait a few minutes and make sure the pan is nice and hot before placing your meat down. For medium burgers cook on each side for 5 minutes flipping only once (this keeps all of the juices in). Depending on your stove and kitchen appliances, cooking times can vary.

If you have bacon already made from a few days before (#fatgirlproblems) take that out and throw it in the pan for a few minutes to get it crispy and hot again. If not, you better make yourself some bacon! Place on a paper towel to soak up excess grease, I also did this with my burgers (this helps the sweet potato buns stay solid, the grease can make them mushy and fall apart).

DSC_0042-2

Before assembling, take a small bowl and mix together your blue cheese sauce. I didn’t really measure anything, but I can use my own terms. I mixed two spoonfuls of sour cream, two of mayo, about a tbsp worth of crumbled blue cheese and about three long squeezes of sriracha. Just taste it and see how you like it, add more of whatever you think until it tastes just the way you like it!

Warning: You may acquire a major food coma after consuming this burger, but your going to have a very happy belly!

a63ebc26-97fd-434c-98d8-0fc88535500e

What you’ll need:
For the buns:

1-2 very round sweet potatoes (I only made 1 burger, so I only needed 1 potato)
olive oil
salt and pepper
For the burgers:
80/20 ground beef ( I prefer organic grass fed) ½lb. per burger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun
4 dashes of Worcestershire
a few squeezes of Sriracha (sorry I didn’t really measure!)
a handful of crumbled blue cheese (just judge the ratio of meat to cheese and add more or less based upon that)
Bacon
Greens
For the mayo:
2 spoons of light sour cream
2 spoons of olive oil mayo (Hellmen’s of course, Miracle Whip is just plain sacrilege !! )
1 tbsp or so of blue cheese crumbles
a few squirts of Sriracha, the spicier the better in my opinion, but taste as you go.


Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

DSC_0021-2

Paleo approved breakfast quiche?? Yes please!

Ok, so I lied.

It isn’t technically Paleo because it has blue cheese in it. This girl got herself some Maytag Blue Cheese from her mother in-law and there’s no way she can turn that down!

So, if you want to be all hardcore Paleo about it, you can omit the cheese part, but let’s be honest, what’s a good quiche without cheese?!

To tell you the truth, if you’re looking for a nice crispy bread-like crust, you won’t find it here, but that doesn’t mean this version isn’t good! In fact, I prefer this crust instead of the normal flour filled crusts. I’m a huge sweet potato fan, and to seal the deal with why I liked this quiche so much, I love anything sweet and savory.

Sweet potato + bacon + kale + blue cheese = sweet & savory!

If you like chicken and waffles, or you tend to dip your bacon and sausage in your maple syrup, (seriously, who doesn’t?!) then you will love this dish!

 Preheat your oven to 400°. Let’s start by peeling then slicing your sweet potatoes as evenly as possible, or use a mandolin if you have it. Make sure they are thick enough to make a nice crust. Once sliced, arrange your sweet potatoes in a greased casserole dish as evenly as possible and covering the bottom and sides of the dish. As pictured below.

DSC_0001-3

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown.

DSC_0004-4

While the potato is baking, start on your bacon and filling.

I really shouldn’t have to tell you how to cook bacon! Get it nice and crispy.

Sauté your onion and garlic for 5 minutes on medium heat, then add your kale and sauté a few more minutes until it’s soft and wilted.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk your eggs, blue cheese, spices, and water. Add your veggies and crumbled bacon until mixed evenly (careful not to over mix the eggs). Pour the mixture into your dish and gently shake it to evenly distribute the mixture.

DSC_0005-4

If you love cheese, like me, add a little shredded cheddar on top. (C’mon you know you want to!)

DSC_0014-2

Turn your oven down to 350°. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

DSC_0018-2

Let sit for 5-10 minutes (if your taste buds will let you) and serve!

DSC_0038-2

 

What you’ll need:
2-3 sweet potatoes (I only used 2 but my dish was rather small)
butter to grease the pan, or PAM

½ lb of bacon, center cut 
½ diced sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ bunch of kale, omit the stems and tear the leaves off into smaller pieces 
¼ wedge of blue cheese, crumbled (Maytag brand if you want to go all out!)
4 eggs
(this is my go to mixture for any scrambled egg type of recipe, it’s the best!)
1 tsp pepper 
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun
2 tsp parsley
1 tbsp water (this helps the eggs get fluffy)
I omitted salt since blue cheese and bacon are already very salty on their own!
Shredded cheddar cheese, just enough to cover the top

DSC_0002-3

 

 

Mahi Mahi Nuggets (Paleo Approved)

074-6

I love seafood and nothing beats some good ole southern style cookin’. Living in Florida and Texas the past 4 years there is a common trend on the menu… fried everything. At almost every seafood restaurant you will see an appetizer of some kind of fried fish or gator nugget and they are so good! Now that I’ve been home in Cinci for a while, I really miss fresh seafood and southern style food. So in lieu of my local restaurant craving that’s not accessible, I wanted to make my own healthier version. These little fried wonders are coated in almond meal. This is Paleo approved as well if you are on a Paleo diet. Almond meal is basically almonds ground up so fine that it has a flour like consistency and can be used in place of flour for a healthier alternative. I mixed some spices such as cajun, paprika, lemon pepper, and salt to give it some flavor. I promise when you taste these you would never know you’re saving a lot of calories and eating healthier! I also used coconut oil but you can use olive oil as well. I had to use Frisch’s tarter sauce (not Paleo approved, but I am home and I only have so much time to enjoy Cincinnati/NKY favorites!)

To get started take your mahi mahi and cut into 1-2 inch pieces, pat dry with a paper towel. (this helps the egg and almond meal to stick to the fish better) Take a shallow bowl and whisk your eggs. In a tupperware container, mix your almond meal, salt, lemon pepper, and seasonings. Place a skillet on medium heat and coat with coconut or olive oil. Let the skillet get hot before placing your mahi.

Take your mahi and coat in the egg shake off any excess egg, then transfer to the tupperware. Once there are enough pieces to fill the tupperware close the lid and shake the seasonings. When the mahi is coated evenly transfer to the skillet. Repeat if you have more fish pieces. Cook the mahi 3-4 minutes on each side (smaller pieces will cook faster) You want a golden brown color, it may look a little darker since you added the cajun seasoning. Once cooked, place on paper towels to soak up excess grease.

085-6

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and lemon or lime wedge!

What you’ll need:

1 lb Mahi Mahi

1 large egg

1 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp cajun seasoning

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lemon pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)

4 lemon and lime wedges

tarter sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce

072-10

 

Paleo Day 4: Turkey Larb Lettuce Wraps

014-32

I know you’re probably reading the word “larb” and thinking that it sounds an awful lot like the word “lard”. I know when I read the recipe titled “Chicken Larb” I was a bit put off by it simply because the word itself is just extremely unattractive. But I went down to the ingredients list and my mouth started watering and I knew I had to make this weird sounding dish! Call it Creepy Angela Food or call it weird Asian stuff, I am telling you now you will not be disappointed with the end result! If you were curious, like me, about what the word “larb” is, according to Wikipedia: Larb is a Lao minced meat salad, and is said to be the national dish of Laos. Often found in Thailand and parts of China.

As you know I am starting this lifestyle change and eating more like our ancestors did a long long time ago. If you are interested in the Paleo Diet, I suggest reading the book The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. It has some really good information and helps break down the diet and the reason it’s so good for you! I am not as strict as the author and some other Paleo eaters, I am just giving it a go for a month to see how I feel. So far it’s been a week and I have seen a big change in the way I feel. I find that I have more energy and less stomach issues. I also find myself not as hungry all of the time, which has always been unheard of for me! I actually am making myself eat snacks throughout the day even though I am not hungry because I know I need the right amount of nutrition and calories. If you’re interested in changing your life, being healthy and feeling great, I suggest you try this diet out! You can still eat the most delicious meals too!

I am doing something new today on the blog! Here is a little video of the making of this easy and delicious recipe! Get a little Jimi Hendrix in the background and you can’t go wrong!

Let’s get started on some grub.

The original recipe I derived this dish from called for chicken instead of turkey. At my local grocery store they didn’t have ground chicken available, and I love turkey meat anyway so I grabbed a pound of that. I say you can cook with either meat, whatever you prefer.

002-30

Whisk together your lime juice, fish sauce, honey, hot pepper paste, and sriracha sauce. If you can’t find the Gochujang or don’t want to go to an asian market you can sub with some chile paste. It’s always available in the asian aisle at local grocery stores. Taste and add more honey or sriracha to your liking. Set aside.

Place your chicken stock in a deep saucepan and place on medium heat until it starts to simmer. Add your ground meat and stir occasionally until it starts to break apart about 6 minutes. Add your shallots, green onion, carrots, lemongrass, cilantro, chilies, and pepper, stir to heat evenly. Take about 4 minutes for the onion to become translucent and the carrots to get soft. Once your meat is cooked through, take of the heat and strain any excess juices (I just use the saucepan lid over the sink).

007-26

Take your lime-chile sauce and pour in the meat mixture. Stir evenly. Garnish with some cilantro on top. Serve with a slotted spoon and bib or butter lettuce leaves.

032-24

What you’ll need:
2-3 limes, juiced
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 tbs Gochujang (hot pepper or chili paste)
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, no msg or preservatives added (or homemade)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey, free range, grass fed
Handfull of carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 of a shallot, minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (gourmet garden) 3 tbs minced if using fresh herb
1 tablespoon thinly sliced serrano chile (seeds removed if you want it to be less spicy)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves (save some extra for garnish and top)
1 head of butter or bib lettuce (sometimes called “Living Lettuce”), washed and separated into leaves

This dish has SO much flavor! And it is even better leftover when all of the juices marinate with the ground meat. If you don’t want to stick to Paleo this will also be good with some steamed rice. This will definitely be a repeat dish for me! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did, and have your P.F. Changs lettuce wrap fix at home!

028-23

Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

7335ac6e-90d7-4b0f-8239-34a98b9188a3

So I had made some random pasta dish over the week and used this awesome black olive fettuccine I had in the pantry, obviously you have to go Mediterranean with this one! I marinated shrimp and tossed the pasta with feta, sun dried tomatoes and black olives. It was pretty darn good! I had all of this left over Mediterranean goodness in my fridge and thought.. what will I make next?? Gyros??.. nah.. meatloaf??.. maybe another time… turkey burgers??.. YES! And there you have what I call a light bulb moment, my very own healthypassions original. It’s always fun to make your own recipe and I loved the way this one turned out. I am happy to share it with all of you and hope you make a successful meal out of it!

This recipe made about 3 large burgers, you can make 4 smaller sized ones or use an extra ½lb of meat to make 4 large burgers. Since my husband is on deployment I am trying to get used to cooking for 1, which still turns out to be enough for 2-3 people, but hey you can’t hate leftovers! These would be great on the grill, I don’t have one currently but if you do I would highly recommend it!

The first thing you want to do is make your tzatziki sauce, you can find that by clicking the direct link given here. This sauce is a definite must with these burgers (although I did try one without the sauce and they are still very good!) Let sit in the fridge for a few hours.

22df0ba2-a498-4342-a72a-183a41e7ca72 (1)

Next take a large bowl and mix all of your ingredients well. Try not to overmix and I would recommend using your hands to make any kind of burger or meatloaf, etc. It is the best way to mix and to tell if the ingredients are incorporated evenly.

038-15 (1)

Once mixed, form into burger patties. This is where you can choose how big or small you want them to be. Just remember they will shrink a little while cooking. They will cook longer the larger they are. Place on a non stick skillet, or grill pan if available. Cook your burgers trying to flip only once (this keeps the juices inside and prevents a dry burger). Mine took about 5-7 minutes on each side. You want to take it off the heat when a meat thermometer reaches 165°. I placed mine on a paper towel to soak up some excess grease.

045-13 (1)

If you don’t want to make the Tzatziki sauce (but really, why wouldn’t you?!), these taste great with some avacado and a sweet potato as a side dish! But, you should give the sauce a go, it’s simple and tastes great with the burgers.

036-17

Toast your pita bread, gently open the pocket and cut your burger lengthwise, carefully place your burger in the pocket with some feta cheese, spring mix, and tzatziki sauce. Go ahead and add some avocado on there too if there’s room! Or mash it up and make a spread. Personally, I like avocado with just about everything. Now all that’s left to do is feast on your scrumptious and juicy greek burger!

FYI bragging rights are included with the making of this recipe.

What you’ll need:
1lb ground turkey (1½lbs for 4 large burgers)
½ cup feta cheese crumbles (or in my case a handful)
5-6 sun dried tomatoes, diced(I recommend using the dry kind)
6-8 kalamata black olives, diced, make sure the brand is without pits (I recommend using a jar not a can)
1 tsp of the olive juice
A couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce
½ tbsp hamburger seasoning
½ tbsp cajun seasoning (a staple for every burger in my opinion!)
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Spring Mix
Extra Feta to sprinkle on
Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

 

062-7

 

Chorizo Chicken Burgers

31218e35-513f-480a-b863-c55948f68568

Can I just say, this burger may not be made from angus or kobe beef, but it is so good! By far the best chicken burger I’ve ever had! I took the original recipe from my favorite food blog annie’s-eats. I added a few more ingredients to make it my own, and to give it more flavor and spice! What I love about burgers is you can make so many unique flavors, for this recipe if you want more heat you can add more jalapeño, or leave it out for a more mellow taste. The chorizo and green chilies I added produce a lot of heat and flavor! I also mixed things up and used a pretzel bun. I found them in the bread aisle, it’s aunt millie’s brand and they turned out great! There’s also a cheese and buffalo brand i will try soon.

DSC_00342

To get started, mix together all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Be careful not to over mix and make sure the ingredients are mixed evenly. The chorizo tends to stick together in clumps so try to get those separated. I find it’s best to use your hands! It may be gross, but it’s the best way to mix the ingredients!

Take a grill pan or non stick skillet and spray lightly with PAM. You do not need to use any oil, the chorizo is oily enough for the burgers to not get stuck in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side. Flipping once to prevent any loss of juices and flavor. With a few minutes left of cooking, add your sliced cheddar cheese and place a lid over top to melt the cheese. I found my burgers to be a bit on the oily side when they were done cooking, so I laid them on paper towels to soak up some of the oil.

DSC_0057

Assemble with toasted pretzel bun, homemade guacamole (here is the link for my holy guacamole! recipe), and salsa! Serve and let your tastebuds go to a happy place!

This recipe makes 4-5 burgers.

What you’ll need:
1 lb. ground chicken
2 links of chorizo, casing removed
½ yellow onion, diced small
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 jalapeño, seeded, cored and minced well
2 oz.(half a 4oz. can) mild green chilies (I like La Preferida brand comes roasted, peeled, and diced)
1 tsp. cajun seasoning 
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
Juice of ½ lime
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
Assembly:
Pretzel bun, or your bun of choice
Sliced cheddar cheese
Holy Guacamole!
Salsa

DSC_0062-1

Creamy Pasta with Prosciutto & Kale

DSC_0040-1 (1)

Last night was a “must go” night for me. I had some prosciutto and goat cheese in the fridge that I haven’t used for anything yet and thought… pasta!!! And of course with pasta I always like to cook something green, I thought peas.. sadly none in the freezer, then spinach came up, but I didn’t have that either. I am in love with kale and happened to have just enough in the fridge, so kale it was!

Let me tell you, for literally making this recipe up as I went, it was so good. I may be a little off on my measurements simply because I was adding and doing things randomly. Hopefully I get them right! This dish is rich and creamy, the crispy prosciutto gives it a wonderful crunchy consistency with the creamy sauce. I also like my choice of linguine versus other pasta’s because it always has a little bite to it, that is if you like it “al dente” style. I think this dish would be good in so many different ways! If you have peas instead, add those. Grilled shrimp instead of prosciutto would also be a good choice.

Pasta can be made so many ways, so go ahead and be creative!! You’ll be surprised with what you come up with.

34307744-52f7-48af-b548-f8da0e349025

To start, go ahead and get your pot on high heat with a little salt until boiling. Add pasta and cook according to package directions (9-10 minutes for al dente linguine). While you wait for your pasta to boil, take a large skillet turn on med high heat and add your olive oil. Once the pan is warm, swirl to coat, and add your onion and prosciutto. Crack some pepper and mix well. Let them sit on the pan for a minute or two to brown the prosciutto, then stir. You do not want to add salt with this dish, the prosciutto is very salty. Once your prosciutto is browned and crispy, add your white wine (or white wine vinegar) and de glaze the pan making sure to scrape the bottom bits up. This will help flavor the sauce your going to make. Add your kale and garlic, stir frequently, you don’t want to over cook your kale. It should be soft, but still somewhat stiff (about 1-2 minutes) you want to leave a slight bite to it.

DSC_0004-2

At this time your pasta should be done, before straining, reserve 2 tbsp of pasta water. This will give your sauce some starch and help it to thicken. Take a measuring cup and add your cream/half and half (in my case I had neither, so I used unsweetened Soy milk and it turned out great!!) and add your flour. Whisk well until thickened. Add your cream, noodles, and pasta water to the pan. Take your goat cheese and add to the pan as well. Stir well until the goat cheese is melted and the sauce is formed.

DSC_0008-1

Once melted and mixed, turn your pan on low and let it sit for just a few minutes.

DSC_0016

 Serve!

What you’ll need:
your favorite brand of linguine pasta, reserving 2 tbsp pasta water
1 tbsp olive oil
I used a little more than half of Boars Head cubed prosciutto (pre packaged in your deli area)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
pepper
1/3 cup (ish) white wine or white wine vinegar (this is where it gets tricky, I didn’t measure the wine, I am guessing 1/3 cup, taste test the liquid after stirring up the brown bits and cooking for a minute, if you think you need more add more!)
1 tbsp minced garlic
large hand full of kale (stems and stalks removed, washed)
3oz goat cheese (not crumbles)

DSC_0036-1

Seared Ahi Tuna

DSC_0011 (2)

I am a sucker for anything seafood. I love ahi tuna, and I’ve always wanted to try it homemade. This is super easy and really not very expensive considering you will have enough to feed at least two people. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first, I’ve been living right by the ocean for the past 4 years and have gotten used to very fresh, right off the boat kind of seafood. So, going to the seafood counter at our local Kroger in Northern Kentucky definitely took some convincing to myself. Of course, I had to ask where they got the tuna steaks from and if they were fresh or previously frozen. (This is always important to me, you will not have the same end result when cooking previously frozen fish, I guarantee you!) After confirming that they were fresh and the color looked really good to me (you can always tell by the color of salmon, tuna, and mahi if they are good quality) I decided to go for it! And I was not disappointed!

The reason why I seem so anal about the quality of the tuna is because ahi tuna is pan seared for just a minute or two on each side, it is not fully cooked. I would say it’s close to medium rare, but more on the rare side. You do not want to eat anything like this unless you know it’s a good fresh piece of fish, or your stomach will have you locked up in the bathroom all night with food poisoning or a nasty stomach bug!

Ok, now that my health inspection- germ freaky rant is done, now we can talk about the good stuff!

DSC_0002

Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, taste test it and add more honey or tamari if you want it a little more sweet or a little more salty. Take two tbsp and set aside. Take your tuna steak and place in a ziploc bag and pour in the sauce, marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once marinated sprinkle the steak with salt, pepper, and a decent amount of toasted (or regular if you cant find them toasted) sesame seeds. Press down on the seeds slightly, to help them stick on the steak.

DSC_0006

Take your pan and place the oil. Swirl to coat, and put it on medium high to high heat. Wait until the pan is hot then pan sear the tuna 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Set on cutting board.

Bring out your greens, avacado, scallions and extra sauce. Place your greens on a plate, then your avacado, then take your ahi tuna and thinly slice lengthwise. Place your tuna over your salad. Drizzle the extra sauce over top of your salad and tuna. Take a lemon wedge and lightly squeeze over top, if you wish. Serve.

DSC_0010 (1)

That’s it!! super easy and fast, not to mention healthy! I like to eat mine with a side of white rice. Next time I think I’ll try an Ahi Poke Bowl! If you’ve never had one you’ve gotta try it, Salt Life Food Shack has a pretty mean one!

What you’ll need:
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp finely grated ginger (or powder)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp low sodium tamari (you can also substitute with low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp honey (I may have added a tad bit more after my taste test)
2 teaspoon Siracha sauce (I like it spicy!)
1 tbsp gyoza sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
**You can find all or most of these sauces in the asian aisle at your local grocery store**
For the rest:
One tuna steak, raw and not previously frozen (See rant at top for tips)
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds, preferably toasted
Field greens
Avacado, diced
White Rice or your favorite kind of rice on the side

DSC_0007

Salmon with Butternut Squash Risotto and Kale Chips

IMG_20140225_190718 (1)

Finally I am back to blogging! I will say it has been a very hard past few months for me and I’ve been very busy and honestly haven’t felt up to cooking much. In late October my father had gotten admitted to the hospital. After a visit home I decided it was best for me to come home and spend time with him and help my family with medical decisions and guidance. He ended up passing a month later. Shortly thereafter, my husband went on deployment and he will be gone for the next 9 months. Needless to say it has been a very challenging and emotional time for me, and I’m glad to be back in the kitchen and in the blog world. I know my father  would want me to pick up the pieces and live my life like I normally would, so in a sense, this post is in honor of him.

All sadness aside, this is an amazingly rich and healthy dish. It’s filled with vitamins and honestly no preservatives, it has all fresh ingredients. There is so much flavor my mouth is watering just thinking back to when I ate it 4 hours ago! Salmon is something that I could eat everyday,  no questions asked. I think the flavor of the butternut squash risotto and the salmon go so beautifully together, then bringing it all in with crispy kale chips gives it an amazing crunch. The slight bitterness of the kale cuts through the sweetness of the risotto and makes a surprising duo!

To begin, preheat your oven to 425 then get started on your risotto. Take a 2 qt size saucepan and place 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Once the pan gets warm, pour in your risotto and mushrooms and continuously stir making sure it is evenly coated, cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your water, milk, white wine (or white wine vinegar) stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir well and turn on low to simmer for 20 minutes, do not cover. Risotto is a very starchy rice, so you want to stir it frequently to bring out the starch and help it thicken. you want the end result to be thick, but creamy. I ended up cooking mine an extra five minutes.

20140225_184916-1

While your risotto is cooking, your oven should be preheated by now. Place your salmon on a baking dish or oven safe skillet and pour some olive oil in the pan, turn to coat the pan. Season your salmon with a little salt and pepper. Take your olive wine mixture by brushing the mixture onto the salmon, it’s ok if some gets on the bottom of the skillet/baking pan. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Take your bunch of kale and wash it well, tear off the leafy parts leaving the stems. Any thick stalk you may find you will want to leave out. The key to this is to make “chips” so you want the leafy parts only. Place some olive oil on a baking dish then put your kale on the pan evenly. Place pepper evenly over the kale add some lemon juice and a little bit more olive oil, mix around to evenly coat the kale with the oil. Place in the oven and take it out every 5 or so minutes to mix around, it will be ready when the kale tips are browned and crispy.

Once the salmon has cooked for 15-20 minutes, turn your oven on high broil and place it on the top oven rack. Watch the salmon carefully to make sure you don’t overcook or burn the fish. You want to watch your kale or take it out if it’s ready as well.  The salmon on broil will make the top skin nice and crispy.

To plate, take a nice amount of risotto in the middle of the plate, grab a spatula and when removing your salmon, locate the skin and gently put your spatula in between the skin and meat of the salmon. The skin should peel off easily and stay on the pan while you have your fillet nice and pretty on your spatula. Place your salmon on top of the risotto, then surround with your kale chips and voila!! Yummy and also looks impressive on a plate.

20140225_190150 (1)

What you need:
For the risotto:
1 box of butternut squash risotto (I used Lundberg traditional brand, found in organic or rice section)
handful of mixed mushrooms (crimini, shiitaki, button, and porcini, mixed together in one box at grocery store)
The following ingredients were on the box for directions, I added the vinegar and used less water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup water
1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
1 cup of milk (I actually ran out, so I ended up using soy milk and it turned out just as good!)
For the Salmon:
2 salmon fillets, I prefer fresh and not previously frozen, also wild caught not farm raised
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon (i ended up using a little less than half and saved the rest to sprinkle on top)
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
For the kale:
A bunch of kale, washed and stems and stalks removed
olive oil (I don’t measure, just enough to lightly coat the kale)
pepper
sprinkle of lemon juice

20140225_190132-1