Monday, June 20, 2016

Read These Helpful Tips Occasionally to Remind Yourself

1. Do not take yourself too seriously. No one notices you.
2. Dream more while you are awake.
3. Being jealous is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
4. Forget the issues in the past. Do not remind your spouse to remember their mistakes in the past. This will ruin your present happiness.
5. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
6. Realize that life is a school, and you are here to learn. The problem is only part of the curriculum that appears and fades away like algebra class, but the lessons that you learn will last a lifetime.
7. Each day gives something good to others.
8. Forgive everyone for everything.
9. Spend time with people over 70 and under 6 years old.
10. It doesn’t matter what others think of you.
11. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Friends do it. Please always contact each other.
12. One of your smiles can bring happiness to anyone, even if they do not like you.
13. You are special and unique.
14. There is someone you do not know who loves you.
15. Whether or not you have committed a monstrous mistake, something good comes from it.
16. Just when you think the world has looked away, is then returned back to you – take another look.
17. Always remember the compliments you have received. Forget about the rude remarks. Always remember that when life hands you a lemon, always ask for sugar!
18. Good friends are like stars, you do not always see them, but you know they are always there.
19. I would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend when I was here, than have a whole truckload when I am gone.
20. Happiness keeps you sweet. Trials keep you strong. Sorrows keep you Human. Life keeps you humble. Success keeps you glowing. But only the strong friendships keeps you continue going.

Persian/Asian Ground Turkey Meatballs

I created this recipe inspired by the Persian dish. They have similar spices as Asian recipes, and most of them are already in my kitchen. I use ground turkey for the lean meat, but ground beef or pork will work as well. The combination of herbs and spices are packed with vitamin C, cilantro, and mints. These meatballs can be threaded through a skewer to make as kabobs and then grilled. However, a simple way to finish these meatballs is to broil them in a high-heat oven or to pan-fry them. Serve with pita bread or rice with some dipping sauce*.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup grated white onions
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 garlic minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and gently mix them until the mixture holds together.

Form into 15 to 20 meatballs depending on the size of meatballs that you like.

 Spray the baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake in a NuWave® oven or regular oven set to 350° for 15 minutes. Serve.

*Ingredients for making sweet Vietnamese dipping sauce for these meatballs.
 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs each sugar and lemon juice
Minced garlic and fresh chili

Combine and stir the dipping sauce ingredients.

*Ingredients for making Middle Eastern sauce:
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 tsp lime juice
Salt, pepper
Mash the cheese and stir in the yogurt, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked Salmon

I have posted many baked fish recipes on my blog so far. Today, although using only a few ingredients, this recipe is for a very healthy and hearty meal. The NuWave® oven is fantastic for baking this fish. I like the combination of lemon juice, nonfat Greek yogurt, and fermented miso paste. Mustard enhances this creamy marinade. Eating more fish is a prescription for good health with its low calories, high-protein, and abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. I also top this dish with fresh chives, and, I have to say, this is a million dollar dinner.

Two 6 oz. salmon fillets
Marinade ingredients:
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbs miso paste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
Garnish: chopped fresh chives

In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Place fish on a baking dish and divide the marinade equally before brushing it over fish.

 Marinate the fish for one hour and bake in a preheated oven set to 350° for 20 minutes (I use a NuWave® oven because it takes only 10 minutes).

Eat as is or serve with grilled mushrooms and steamed baby bok choy. Sprinkle with chopped chives.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash has an elongated shape with a mild orange color and is rich in Vitamin A, C and as lots of fiber. With the many healthy benefits and and sweet flavor from butternut squash, I think this winter vegetable is at the top of my favorites list. Many wonderful recipes use butternut squash. One of my easy recipes uses butternut squash in a crockpot. For this recipe, I am not just using butternut squash, but I also use carrots, daikon, and kelp to improve the flavor of the soup. I find that the crockpot is the perfect kitchen gadget to make this soup. The soup can be served as a vegetarian soup or with added ground meat, fish, or shrimp to jazz up the flavor.  Place all the ingredients in the crockpot and forget it.

4 cups cubed butternut squash
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 piece daikon, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
One 2” x 2” piece of kelp, cleaned
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups coconut milk
Other ingredients:
½ lb. ground chicken or turkey
1 tbs oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger

 Garnish with chopped cilantro

If you buy fresh butternut squash, you need first to peel off the skin and remove the seeds and membranes and then cut.

Most of the grocery stores now sell frozen butternut squash, which makes it easier to handle.
Place all the ingredients except the coconut milk into the crockpot. Set crockpot on low from 4 to 6 hours or on high from 1 to 4 hours.

When the time is finished, use a trusted handheld KitchenAid® or other blender to blend the soup.

Add coconut milk and adjust the seasoning at this point. This soup is ready to serve. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Adding ground meat into this soup:
While the soup is cooking, heat cooking oil in a sauté pan. Stir in shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.

 Add cayenne to the soup at the same time as the coconut milk for a little kick.

Roasted Whole Chicken

I like to buy a whole roasted chicken at Costco or other large grocery store for a quick dinner. However, since I now own a NuWave® oven, it has changed the way I cook now. I began by first roasting just the chicken parts, and they turned out perfectly. So today, I feel confident enough to prepare the whole chicken. The NuWave® oven as proved what they claim by creating a good meal in less time. The NuWave® oven can save time necessary for cooking, is easily cleaned, and needs only a small space on the countertop. Many recipes for whole roast chicken start with a spice rub, herbs, and oil-butter. For people who are first attempting to roast a chicken at home, my advice is to buy the rub with a famous chef’s name and use that. I always make my own rub because I have a full herbs garden during the summer in the Pacific Northwest, and I want to take advantage of the summer season to enjoy my herbs. Anyway, if a NuWave® oven is not available, then a regular oven will work. The NuWave® oven uses the combination of convection, conduction, and infrared heat to brown the chicken and roasts the meat evenly. With that technique, the chicken will be juicy when it roasts. My recipe today will definitely help to assure you that they chicken will be juicy.

1 whole chicken (3 to 5 lbs.)
1/4 cup canola oil and melted butter
2 tsp of salt, black pepper, and paprika
Herbs and other ingredients:
1/2 cup of fresh chopped thyme, rosemary, oregano, and sage
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lime or lemon

Wash and remove the giblets from the chicken. Use paper towels to dry the chicken.

Mix herbs, garlic, and lemon juice in a bowl.

Place oil and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute or until the butter has melted.
If you do not have a NuWave® oven, then use a baking sheet. Tuck chicken wings under and tie the chicken legs.
Rub the whole chicken inside and out with oil-butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and herbs-lemon mixture.
Preheat oven to 350° and roast the chicken for 17 minutes per lb.

I use some sliced onion on the baking pan and place the chicken on top. Place the chicken in the NuWave® oven as instructed. Breast side down and bake for 35 minutes.

Rotate the chicken breast side up and continue to bake for another 35 minutes. I ran out of kitchen twine, so I use foil to tie both legs. It works okay. 

My whole chicken is done in one hour and 10 minutes. Some of the roasted chicken recipes use pan juice to make gravy or dressing. My chicken is delicious as is.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stir-Fried Salmon with Baby Bok Choy

Stir-fry dishes are easy and quick to prepare. The first step is to make a stir-fry sauce and is very much the combination of chicken broth and other spices. I know that stir-fry dishes are from Asian cuisines. Most of the stir-fry sauce is always have garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, sugar, and vinegar. For healthy lifestyles, a stir-fry dish is always recommended and also for busy moms who like to create a healthy dinner for their loved ones. Today, I will introduce an easy and healthy stir-fry dish and hope you like it.

8 oz. salmon fillets, cut into cubes
1 lb. baby Bok Choy, cut each in quarters
3 tbs peanut oil
1 cup green onions
Stir-fry sauce ingredients:
2 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2sp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
Thickening ingredients:
1 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs water


Combine stir-fry sauce ingredients and mix well.
Place cut salmon in a bowl and add 2 tbs of the stir-fry sauce and marinate for 1 hour.
Mix the thickening mixture and set aside.
Heat half of oil in a wok until hot. Add salmon and let cook for 3 minutes (gently turn the salmon and cook until opaque).

Remove salmon from wok. Add the rest of oil in a wok and stir in Bok Choy and stir quickly. Add the stir-fry sauce and cook (stir vigorously to mix with salmon).

Cook for 1 minute and add thickening mixture and green onions. Cook until the sauce has thickened (about 30 seconds). Serve with rice.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

The Asian cuisine has many recipes for curry. Vietnamese curry is one the dishes that is served on special occasions such as, birthdays, weddings, etc.. One of the ingredients that has a special flavor in Vietnamese curry is lemongrass. The ingredients and method of making curry among all Asian cuisines are very much the same. However, the Vietnamese chicken curry recipe adds taro and deep fries the potatoes before cooking. This method will keep the potatoes in shape after cooking. I have a simple recipe for Vietnamese curry. I just use chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken. I also use curry powder that is sold in any Asian grocery market, and I believe it now can be bought at American supermarkets as well. I use coconut milk instead of coconut cream because I do not like the creamy taste of coconut cream.  Some people might prefer the coconut cream for the recipe. Basically, taste is very much each cook’s choice. The list of ingredients is quite long but very easily put together.

2 lbs. chicken thighs, cut into big chunks
Marinade ingredients:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
Spice ingredients:
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh lemongrass
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 sweet potatoes
2 regular potatoes
2 carrots
1 cup oil
Other ingredients:
3 cups water or chicken broth
2 cups coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass
1 bay leaf
Garnish with chopped cilantro

Wash the chicken thighs, which you can either cut up or leave whole. Place chicken in the bowl and add all the marinade ingredients. Mix well and marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Peel and cut all the potatoes and carrots. Soak the cut potatoes in salted water to prevent potatoes from turning brown.

When ready to deep-fry, drain the potatoes to prevent the water from getting into the hot oil and making a mess in your kitchen. Heat oil in a wok and deep-fry the potatoes until golden brown and set aside.

Heat 1 tbs oil in a deep sauté pan and add all the spice ingredients to the oil and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Add chicken and brown chicken on all sides.

 Drop the lemongrass stalks and bay leaf.

Add water and carrots. Bring to boil.

 Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked. Add the deep-fried potatoes and coconut milk.

 Adjust the seasoning at this point with fish sauce, salt, and sugar.

 Simmer for 10 more minutes. Ladle curry onto a serving bowl. Top with cilantro and serve with baguette, rice, or noodles.

NOTE – If you would like a thicker sauce, then add a cornstarch mixture (1 tbs of cornstarch and 3 tbs of water) at the end of the cooking time but let cook for several more minutes for an even thicker sauce.