Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eat More Salad!

I have to mangle Forrest Gump's quote a bit: "Salads are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."

Very true when you are dining out: Salads can be very good, very bad, or any point between the two.

They can also be very ugly, but as long as the ingredients are fresh, I'd chow down! But, if they are ugly as in: Rusty lettuce, dried out vegetables, looks like someone took them out to the parking lot and ran over them before service, well....Run, Forrest! RUN! 

Keep a good supply of veggies and fruits at home--that's your best bet. It takes minutes to throw a salad together and it's definitely worth it in the long run.

The stars of this yummy salad are: Leaf lettuce, baby greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, turnips, zucchini, carrots, red bell pepper, red onion, grape tomatoes, black olives, avocados & fresh mushrooms.

Go make yourself a salad right now!

Another shot of this kick-ass salad.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fun Food, Fast Preparation

Here's a little something I whipped up that turned out to be interesting visually, so I decided it needed to be on the blog.

The taste was excellent, too.

Story is: I had some leftover spaghetti sauce that I made for us the other day. I didn't feel like eating pasta, but wanted to have more of a pizza-type dish instead. But not pizza. I also had some of that delicious rolled mozzarella left over, (the one with prosciutto & basil). 

So...I just needed some bread. French bread or baguettes. I didn't feel like baking any of those and driving to Katy was out. Wal-Mart was definitely out. That left the local grocery store, which is where I buy the majority of food items between trips to H.E.B. and other good stores in Katy & Houston. Support your local merchants!

Okay, the grocery store, Bill's, used to have a bakery but after they moved back to their old location a few years ago, they didn't have the room or the equipment. They purchase baked goods from a bakery in Houston. The items from this bakery are okay. I don't buy them that often. When I decided on this little endeavor, the baguettes that were available were in horrendous shape. They were under-baked and had weird looking spots on them, as if something was dripped into the baguette pans before the dough went in. So those baguettes were out.

Next best thing? At Bill's, that would be: Alexia's Garlic Baguettes. These baguettes are really, really good. They are partially baked and you do the rest at home. Bill's started carrying these...let's see....last year? The year before? It wasn't terribly long ago.

First, they had single baguettes. I noticed that they were almost always low on these when I went through the frozen section while shopping. Now they have double packs of this bread, plus some Alexia Dinner Rolls (the whole grain version). Good! Maybe we'll see even more Alexia products at Bill's in the future!

Back to the original story:

Of course the garlic baguettes already have garlic and butter, but I thought they would be okay for some pizza action. I opened the package and one of the loaves was broken in half. Dang it! I was going to cut them lengthwise, even though they are partially cut into slices.

Okay, so I ended up with two slices and four sections cut lengthwise. No problemo, Ahnuld.

Added "pizza" sauce and a slice of the mozzarella roll on each piece, then popped them into the oven until the cheese melted pretty good.

So here is the result. With the Superbowl coming up and all, I figured, enh...why not post it? It's a fast, fun food for a party, even when it's not Superbowl time. It looks impressive and it's really easy to make. It only took.....(how many paragraphs now?)....a little bit of yakking on my part to finally get to the point. Ha ha!

I suggest doing this next time instead of wasting money on frozen pizzas or frozen french bread pizzas. Those things have a LOT of crap in them, and frankly, they aren't really that good, even the more expensive brands. And yeah, pizza delivery. Convenient, but not all places have French bread pizza and really, there's a lot of junky-monkey crap in those products as well. Make it yourself whenever you can! You'll be eating less junk (chemicals, etc.) and have more flavor, even if you use a bottled sauce (as long as it doesn't have a lot of junk in it).

Okay, I will shut up now. Here is the photo of the baguette pizza:

Baguette Pizza

Salad: Everything but the Kitchen Sink...

Did I go overboard with these salads? Nahhhhhh!!!

The salad base, which is almost completely covered, was: Romaine lettuce, kale, a mix of baby greens, cucumbers, zucchini, turnips, carrots & cauliflower.

Top layer: Cheddar cheese, boiled eggs, smoked turkey, tomatoes, avocados, Black Forest ham, mozzarella (rolled with prosciutto & basil), Muenster cheese, provolone, bacon & red onions.

Sprinkled some chia seeds on top as well. Do you think adding the chia was too much? NAH! :)

Then we had: t-bone steaks, loaded baked potatoes, sauteed green beans and New York cheesecake for dessert. Just kidding! We had the salad and that's it. Sure didn't need anything else!

What can I say? I didn't have time to eat all day so this covered 3 meals for me. :)

"Everything But the Kitchen Sink" Chef Salad

Salad Base

Yes indeedy! There were two. Each completely consumed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A shrimp po-boy is a thing of beauty...

I don't dine out very often. Recently I had the opportunity to eat at "Antone's," and that opportunity was one I grabbed with both hands and with great enthusiasm.

It was hard to make a decision because Antone's has expanded its menu over the years.

The shrimp po-boy won the coin-flip this day. At first glance it appears that there isn't enough shrimp in the sandwich. Let me assure you, there was. It had the perfect amount.

It was DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEElicious!!! If the shrimp had been a little spicier, I would have been happy but the coating was still good. The vegetables were super-fresh and the French fries were nice and hot. They were generous with those puppies, too.

On this same day, I heard the sad news about Antone's closing its original location in Houston. I haven't confirmed this news yet, so don't quote me on that. However, I encourage you to stop in for lunch anytime you can, particularly at this location, which is at 610 and T.C. Jester in Houston.

Shrimp Po-boy

Monday, January 21, 2013

Let's Talk Salad for a Minute...

Salad...we should have at least one a day. Two would even be better. Even eating a simple salad made with lettuce & tomatoes is better than not eating salad at all.

Eating a simple salad can get to be monotonous, so let's jazz it up with plenty of colors, flavors, textures and extra vitamins.

Iceberg seems to be the most popular lettuce to use in salads but it is also the least nutritious. Check this link for some good information about lettuce: "Top Five Lettuce Types by Order of Nutritional Value."

Below is a salad made with a colorful assortment of vegetables. Did I go overboard? Yes. As I was building it, I said to myself: "I think we're going to need a bigger bowl!"

Here's what we ended up with in this salad: The base was Romaine lettuce and Kale.

Then the rest of the veggie gang marched in to join the fun: Turnips, stem of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, tomato and avocado.

I wanted to share this salad with you because I feel that sometimes people feel limited when deciding to make a know, like you HAVE to have only certain veggies or you'll be breaking a rule and the Salad Police will be beating your door down and calling for your arrest.

Not so! Never be afraid to throw different veggies in a salad--ones that aren't in "conventional" salads.

It certainly breaks the monotony and you get a lot of fun flavors and textures. If you're not a big fan of cutting vegetables up for salad, invest in a "Salad Shooter," or equivalent. Those things can greatly reduce preparation time. They're small and easy to clean, unlike a food processor.

Here's to healthy eating! BOOYAH!!!!

I started out trying to be neat about it but the vegetables got a little out of hand. There's actually quite a bit of the base under there. It just got buried.

Salad Gone Wild

This was the base: Kale & Romaine

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More Fun with Sriracha: The Sriracha Chicken Sandwich

These Sriracha chicken tenders would make an excellent po' boy sandwich. I didn't have any baguettes on hand so I made a regular sandwich with them the day after I enjoyed the successful Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tenders recipe.

This sandwich is served graced with tomatoes, lettuce, black olives and spicy ranch. If I'd had some sliced avocado, it would have been the perfect finishing touch.

I think it would be worth it to butterfly the breast, then follow the recipe as usual. Use the butterflied breasts to make a sandwich using regular bread, ciabatta bread or toasted hamburger buns. Yum!!

Beats any chicken sandwich from any fast food joint any day of the week! 

Sriracha Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tenders

Chicken tenders marinated in Sriracha, then tossed in a spicy coating. Unlike the Colonel, I will share my recipe. There's no junk in it to hide from the public. Like, you know, msg and other bad crap you shouldn't be putting in your body.

Served with celery, avocado slices and spicy ranch dressing.

Most of the time spent for this dish is the preparation time. The cooking time is minimal.

Stay tuned for this recipe, I'll post it as soon as I can.

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tenders

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tenders

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fish doesn't have to be boring...

Fish is a healthier alternative to meat, unless of course, it's battered and fried or baked and covered with a rich, creamy topping.

Well, you want to keep it light, right? Fish doesn't have to be boring. Toppings don't need to be made with butter & cream (though it is okay to do this on occasion).

The picture below is a fillet of swai. I would say it's like tilapia or cod, mild in flavor. The texture is more like tilapia, though.

This swai fillet was broiled 4-5 inches from the heat source for 7-8 minutes. You have to be careful with's just not as good when it's overcooked. 7-8 minutes is plenty of time (just watch your oven...temps can vary from oven to oven). Remember that there will be "carryover" cooking after the fillet is removed from the oven, too.

Back to the swai: the topping here is made from sauteed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and romaine lettuce. The lettuce is added at the tail end of cooking. Cook for about 2-3 minutes after adding it, then cover and turn off the heat.

An herb-infused sauce was also used on the fillet. Not a lot. It wasn't drowning in it. I simply drizzled it over the filet before topping it and drizzled a bit more on top of that.

I'll post the full recipe as soon as I can. The swai and the topping went well together served with Jasmine rice pilaf and steamed duo of broccoli and cauliflower.

It was a healthy meal and tasty, too!

Fillet of Swai with Vegetable Topping

Al Parfait

Here is "Al Parfait," so named because the base is part of the remainder of Al's birthday cake, which was homemade angel food cake. It's easy and fun to throw things like this together when you have guests for dinner and you want to make a dessert for them that isn't too heavy.

No fresh fruit was available for garnish so I used...what else? Sprinkles!!!! Yes, they aren't good for you and all of that, but you should always keep some in the kitchen to cheer you up.

Al Parfait

Blueberry Cookies

Blueberry Cookies
Blueberry Frosting
Garnished with Dried Blueberries

Need I say more? 

Dr. Frazier-stein's experiment was a success! It's alive...........ALIVE!! <<<(Pop-culture reference for horror movie fans.)

Click HERE for this yummy recipe! 

Blueberry Cookies

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lucky 7 Shrimp Salad

I spent a long day reviewing empirical studies and peer-reviewed articles for a research project. I decided that doing a bit of work in the "lab" was in order...for rest and relaxation. Here is what was born in Dr. Frazier-stein's lab today (click on the link below for the recipe):

Shrimp kissed with a marinade of balsamic vinegar, sesame oil & ginger syrup, then lightly roasted.

Served on a bed of baby greens dressed with emulsified apple dressing and garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Was it good? 


This one's a keeper! 

Lucky 7 Shrimp Salad