Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Brown Fried Rice with Bok Choy


Want a speedy meal that meets your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier?

How about fried rice?

Unlike the kind you get in restaurants, this fried rice is made with the much healthier brown rice, uses less oil, and is packed with three times the veggies!

It’s a lot healthier and diet friendly without compromising flavor.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep  time: 15-20 Minutes + time it takes to cook the rice

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 Cup of Cooked Brown Rice – You cook brown rice the same way you cook white, changing only the ratio of water to rice. Add 1 cup of water for a third of a cup of raw brown rice and you’re good to go!

1 Lightly Beaten Large Egg

3 Cups of Rinsed, Chopped Bok Choy – This a kind of Chinese cabbage with nice tender leaves. It is increasingly available in grocery stores due to the popularity of Asian vegetables. If you can’t find it, use Napa or Savoy Cabbage instead.

1 ½ Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

1/2 Teaspoon of Honey

½ Teaspoon of Hot Sauce or To Taste - Optional

1 Drop of Sesame Oil

1 Large Clove of Garlic, peeled and minced

1 Teaspoon of Peeled, chopped Ginger

2 Tablespoons of Vegetable or Canola Oil

1 Cup of Cooked Meat (Optional) – I used leftover cooked ham, but use any leftover meat you have. Chicken or beef would work well if finely chopped or shredded. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, leave it out.

Sesame Seeds (Optional) – They look pretty and add crunch, but they’re not necessary.

Equipment

1 Frying Pan or Wok

1 Spatula

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Knife and Cutting Board

2 Bowls

In the first bowl, mix the soy sauce, hot sauce, honey, and sesame oil. The other is for the beaten egg.

Heat the vegetable oil the pan or wok on high heat.

Swirl the oil around to evenly coat the pan.

Dump in the beaten egg and mix with your spatula until it starts to look like scrambled eggs.

Add the ginger and mix again.

Dump in the rice and mix it so the egg is evenly distributed throughout.

Add half the soy sauce mixture and stir with the spatula to evenly coat the rice.

Add the chopped bok choy and garlic stir it into the rice, cooking until the leaves have wilted slightly and brightened in colour.

Add the remaining soy mixture and the meat (if using) and stir to combine.

Put some in a bowl and top with sesame seeds if desired.

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.















Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ham and Cheese Potato Bake



Want a meal that’s cheap, feeds a crowd, and works for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Try this!

With just two potatoes, milk, some cheese, ham and a couple of green onions, you can create something that’s hearty, tasty, and guaranteed to please.

Can't eat ham? No problem! While it adds a lot of flavor, it won't kill the dish if you leave it out.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep time: 15-20 Minutes
Cook Time: 90 Minutes

Feeds 4 to 6 – Or 2 VERY hungry people

Ingredients

2 Large Potatoes – washed and thinly sliced

2 Cups Cooked Ham, finely chopped – You can get this in the deli section of the grocery store, or use a leftover roast

½ Pack of Plain Cream Cheese

1 Cup of Grated Cheese – Aged Cheddar is a tasty option, but use what you like

2 Green Onions, thinly sliced

4 Cups Whole Milk

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Teaspoon of Chili Powder

½ Teaspoon of Herbs – Basil or Oregano or Sage

½ Teaspoon of Salt

½ Teaspoon of Pepper

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

Equipment

1 Deep Baking Dish

Aluminum Foil

1 Medium Pot

1 Wooden Spoon

1 Whisk

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Knife and Cutting Board

1 Cheese Grater

Preheat the oven to 350 oF.

Grease the bottom of your baking dish and put a layer of sliced potatoes across the bottom.

In a pot on medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the flour and whisk to combine.

Cook until the flour is fully absorbed into the butter.

Pour in the milk and whisk so there’s no lumps of butter and flour.

Bring to a boil and add the cream cheese, breaking it up a little with the wooden spoon.

Simmer the mixture, stirring constantly until the cream cheese is completely melted and combined with the milk.

Add the grated cheese and stir again until well combined.

Add the chili powder, salt, and pepper and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the wooden spoon.

Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped ham and green onions.

Pour half the sauce over the potatoes.

Add another layer of potatoes and pour the remaining sauce over the top.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 90 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Let it cool on the counter for 10 minutes and serve!

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.













Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes


Want to indulge in something cheesecakey but worried about overdoing it?
How about cheesecake cupcakes?

The beauty of cupcakes is portion control. Eat one and put the rest in the fridge covered in plastic wrap for a later indulgence or share the rest with your friends and family!

This one is a guaranteed crowd pleaser because it combines the almighty cheesecake with the culinary trend of sweet and salty desserts.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Prep and Cook time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

1 ½ Packages/Bricks Softened Plain Cream Cheese

½ Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1 Large Egg

½ Teaspoon of Sea Salt

¼ Cup of Skor/Toffee Bits – Available in the grocery store next to the chocolate chips

Equipment

1 Muffin Pan

Paper Muffin Cups – You can get a pack of these in the dollar store in a variety of designs for about two bucks

1 Mixing Bowl

Measuring Spoons

Measuring Cups

1 Whisk or Electric Mixer

1 Regular Spoon


Preheat the oven to 350 oF.

In your mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cream cheese and beat until well combined.

Add the egg, vanilla, and beat everything together until smooth.

Add the toffee bits and sea salt and stir until they’re evenly distributed throughout the cream cheese mixture.

Line the muffin pan with the paper liners and put an equal amount of the cream cheese mixture in each.

Bake for 21 minutes or until the cupcakes no longer jiggle when the pan is gently shaken with an oven-mitted hand.

Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes on a trivet on the counter and serve!

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.









Monday, January 2, 2017

Nutrition and Fitness 101


Happy New Year Everyone!

With all of us in the throes of the holiday-binge-eating hangover, it’s time to talk nutrition. Many of us will vow to eat healthier and exercise more in the New Year and peddlers of gym memberships and fad diets will be ready to jump on us like carnivores on red meat.

I am not a Nutritionist nor am I a Dietician, Fitness Expert, or Doctor.

I am someone with enough health problems to see a doctor and dietician regularly and I’m a food blogger who researches the heck out of everything I post.

I am also fed up with all the bullshit going around about nutrition, weight loss, and health. Go into any major bookstore and try to find a book on these subjects. At least half of them are not about nutrition but about pushing fad diets that have little to no basis in actual nutritional needs.

Contrary to popular belief, nutrition is not all that complicated.

You want to eat healthy?

Stick to whole grains, lean proteins, and make sure at least half of what you eat consists of fruits and vegetables.

DON’T CUT OUT THE FOODS YOU LOVE COMPLETELY.

That’s a guaranteed path to giving up your diet and binge eating, bringing you right back to the weight and state of health you started in.

Like all things that matter, your health requires work, dedication and maintenance.

Eat the unhealthy stuff you love, but do it less and in smaller amounts, and where possible, substitute something bad for something slightly LESS bad.

I’m not talking about switching from full fat products to low fat ones. As Michael Moss points out in his book, Salt Sugar Fat, food companies will generally add sugar and/or salt to products they’ve cut the fat from in order to maintain the item’s flavor.

I’m talking about substituting the smart way.

If you love chocolate but generally go for the milk chocolate bar packed with sugar, switch it out for dark chocolate. It will satisfy your chocolate craving but because you don’t enjoy the taste as much, you’ll eat less of it.

Measure your cooking ingredients to control the amount of fat, sugar and salt you use. Measuring gives you control and allows you to be fully conscious of how much you’re adding, making you less inclined to put too much.

You may not like the taste at first but your body, taste buds included, is incredibly adaptable. You’ll soon lose taste for things with too much salt, sugar, and fat, and crave the healthier stuff you never knew you needed.

Wondering about the potential evils of gluten, carbs, dairy, or sweeteners or think you might be allergic or intolerant of something like lactose?

Don’t buy into the propaganda of fad diet pushers.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR.

Same goes for any nutritional lifestyle change you consider, like going vegetarian or vegan.

Your doctor knows about what’s good for you and is legally obligated to stay up to date on this stuff. They’ll be able to tell if you shouldn’t eat something because it hurts you, and they’ll be able to give you tips about what to substitute for what you’re cutting from your diet so you don’t get sick.

Want to lose weight and build muscle?

EXERCISE

Despite what your gym bunny friends and relatives will say, you don’t need a gym for this.

There are tons of workout videos on Youtube that are made to accommodate any home environment or fitness need from high impact to low and quiet to noisy that will usually only require the most basic equipment like a couple of hand weights and something you can use as a matt (like an old blanket).

If you can’t work out at home, go for a brisk walk and/or take up an outdoor sport. The fresh air and sunshine will do almost as much for you as the exercise itself and boost your mood too!

If you have a public pool near you, cool off in the summer while getting your workout at the same time.

Shoot for at least 15 to 20 minutes of moderate exercise at least 3 times a week. Moderate exercise includes chores like cleaning the kitchen and mopping the floors – if it’s an activity that gets your heart rate up but you can still talk while you’re doing it, it counts. If you think you can take more, take more, but don’t hurt yourself.

With the North American economy and employment rates far from optimal, in 2017 let’s aim to be healthier in a smarter, more budget-conscious way.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Samantha R. Gold


Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.