August 2, 2018

Perfect Cauliflower "Fried Rice"

I was against the idea of cauliflower rice for the longest time.  For no reason other than being so in love with rice that I thought it was a waste to even try and substitute cauliflower for rice.  I mean come on! I mushy veggie that will pass as rice? I was not convinced.  UNTIL! Until I picked up some bags of frozen cauliflower rice from Costco and decided to play around with different recipes and techniques to create the absolute best fried cauliflower rice that you will ever have! And I think I nailed it. FINALLY!

The key to this recipe is you have to cook the "rice" very well and over moderately high heat.  This will dry the cauliflower until it crisps up just enough and enhances the texture to make it more rice-like. I decided to add Asian flavors but you can take this recipe in any flavor direction you wish. In 10 minutes I had a mound of flavorful goodness. I could not get over how good it was!



Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
3 Tablespoons Yellow Onion, finely diced
3 Tablespoons Red Bell Peppers, finely diced
4 Cups Frozen Cauliflower Rice
1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
1 Tablespoon Granulated Onion
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil








{In a large non-stick saute pan over medium high heat, add your avocado oil, onions and peppers.  Lightly season with salt.}



{Saute for 3 minutes or so until the onions and peppers start to brown.}


{Add in your frozen cauliflower rice.}


{Over medium-high heat, stir constantly to brown and dry out the frozen cauliflower.  Make sure it is perfectly mixed with the onion and pepper mixture.  Continue to brown for about 4 minutes.}




{Add in your seasonings: granulated garlic, granulated onion, fresh cracked black pepper, dried parsley.  Mix well and let sauté for a minute or two more.}


{Continue to mix until each piece of cauliflower is perfectly seasoned and has contacted the hot pan surface.  Evenly spread the mixture out and create a single layer so that the rice crisps up a bit.  I think this is key for a true rice-like texture.  Cooked cauliflower can become mushy, and in my opinion, can develop a very unpleasant texture. By sautéing the riced cauliflower over a moderately high heat, and in a thin layer, it will brown perfectly without steaming and becoming mushy.}


{After about two minutes, remove the pan from the heat and add in your soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix well, serve immediately and enjoy!} 


This could not be more rice-like; I was so blown away when I tasted it. The texture is there, the flavors are there. Imagine this with some cooked shrimp for shrimp fried rice or with little nuggets of chicken for chicken fried rice!


Because I am limiting the amount of carbs I am eating, I had this with a seared tuna steak and literally licked the plate clean. I now know what I will be eating for the next few weeks, won't you join me? :)





May 19, 2018

Easy Sweet & Spicy Kale

This has been one of my favorite go-to side dishes to make for a really long time.  I always forget how good it is until I make it again and the pan is gone in 2.5 seconds, haha - my family absolutely loves when I make this. This is an unusual way to have kale as it has a sweetness that is kind of unexpected.  After taking a bite though, you will question why you are not sprinkling sugar on every single green veggie that you eat. LOL :)

A simple little recipe like this is good to keep in your repertoire to whip together and impress your family on a weeknight or for Sunday dinner. Not only is this super easy to make, it requires very few ingredients; win and win, if you ask me! Plus, what a delicious way to get more greens in, if that's a goal of yours.

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Tablespoons of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes {or less if you can't take that much heat}
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
4 Cups Chopped Kale {or 1 large bag from produce section}
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth {or veggie broth, for a vegan option}


{In a large pan over medium high, heat the olive oil and saute your onions and red pepper flakes until fragrant and just starting to become translucent, about 3 minutes.  Then add in your crushed garlic and saute for a minute more.}

{Add in your kale.  You will want to do this in batches, coating each handful with the oil, onions and garlic mixture, so that it wilts down a bit.  Otherwise, your pan will be overflowing and it will be difficult to mix. Once the kale is in the pan and has started to wilt, season with salt and pepper.}

{Sprinkle in your sugar and mix well.}

{Next in goes the chicken or veggie broth.}

{Turn the heat down to medium {not too low!} and let this simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes, stirring it once or twice.}

{After about 15 minutes, the broth evaporates and together with the sugar, creates this flavorful glaze on the kale.  It's sweet, spicy, savory, garlicky and so very delicious. There is a serious amount of flavor here and a couple of ingredients. If that is not perfection in a side dish, I don't know what is!}

{Serve it up piping hot and watch it disappear in minutes! :) I love making this whenever we have grilled or fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.  It is THEE perfect pairing. 

Let me know if you try this, I'd love to hear what you think! 



March 28, 2018

Taco Salad Tostada (Low Carb)

I have been cutting back on eating carbs for the last few years and I have a few "go to" easy recipes that I can make in a pinch when I am hungry but don't have a lot of time. My waistline definitely benefits from eating less carbs and sugar so I try to cut back as much as possible, without sacrificing flavor.  And if you've been reading my recipe posts for a while, you know that I love FLAVORFUL food. This is a fail-proof way to have a completely satisfying meal that has very little carbs. At one point, I was eating this for dinner three times a week.  Yep it's THAT delicious ... I am so excited to share!

Ingredients {Serves 4}: 

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Chopped
1 Small Green Pepper, Chopped
1 Pound Ground Chicken {Beef or Turkey works too!}
1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Granulated Onion
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Cups Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese {or whatever cheese you like!}
1/2 Cup Avocado Oil 
4 Low Carb Flour Tortillas {I like Mission Brand's Carb Balance, which are 4 net carbs each}
Assorted Toppings {I used guacamole, sour cream, hot salsa, pickled jalapeños and spinach}



{In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and peppers until they start to get brown, about 6 minutes. 

{Add your ground chicken, season with salt and pepper,  and continue to brown, until done.}


{Drain the excess grease from the pan.}


{Here is what I use to create my own taco seasoning.  It feels great to not have to buy that processed taco seasoning packet.  This blend is taco seasoning perfection!}


{Season the ground chicken, pepper and onion mixture with your taco seasoning.}

{Mix it well and lower the heat.}


{Cover your seasoned meat mixture shredded cheese. Do not skimp on the cheese! Low carb lifestyles are possible because of cheese! :)

{Cover the pan to let the cheese melt over the seasoned meat mixture. YUM! You can totally end the recipe here and enjoy this with a salad... or on its own... But let's continue because you NEED this tostada in your life.}

{To a large frying pan, heat about 1/2 cup of your favorite frying oil.  I love using avocado oil for its heart healthy benefits. It's the only oil I use to fry! Add your flour tortilla to the hot oil and begin to brown.} 

{This will literally take 15-20 seconds per side.  Keep a very close eye on it and flip it back and forth on each side with tongs, for even browning.  Your tortilla will puff up and bubble in the process... it's fun to watch. :)}

{Look at that crispy bubbly goodness.  Drain the oil from the fried tortillas really well on paper towel and set aside. They will be perfectly crispy and crunchy... and ready for the taco salad goodness.}

{Now it's time to build the tostadas ...}

{Start with the cheesy, seasoned ground chicken mixture.}

{Top that with your favorite salsa... I am obsessed with this brand.}

{Next up, top with lettuce {I used spinach!} and a few dollops sour cream.}

{Top it with the guacamole...}

{And finally a good twist of fresh cracked pepper.}

{The flavors and texture combinations work so amazingly well... every bite was better than the last.  It's also fun to eat these... not quite a pizza, but almost a taco... and somewhat like a salad...I am obsessed!!

I can't wait to try these with corn tortillas... I bet they would puff up even more. Definitely trying those next... with some sort of beefy cheesy mixture... Oh yes, sounds like a plan - I'll be sure to report back. 

xoxo, thanks for reading! 



January 29, 2018

SuperBowl Eats: White Corn and Black Bean Guacamole

Ok. Just to warn you - this guacamole is completely addicting and will disappear in mere minutes after putting it out for your guests to enjoy. Pro entertaining tip: make a couple of batches and keep an one in a covered container chilling in the fridge.  Just when the bowl is being scraped to get the last little bit of this guacamole goodness out... BAM - pull out your other fresh batch and prepare to be praised! Hehehe!

Give me guacamole, good tortilla chips, an icy cold margarita and I am as happy as a clam.  Especially in the SUN. But since it is freezing cold and almost February, I will instead enjoy my guac, chips and icy cold margarita while watching the SuperBowl and screaming GO EAGLES!!


Ingredients 

4 Ripe Avocados
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Cup Canned Black Beans, rinsed
1/2 Cup White Corn {Fresh is best when in season, but frozen or canned works well}
3 Tablespoons Green Onion, chopped
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder {adds a subtle flavor - fresh garlic can overwhelm guacamole}
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper {or more if you like it spicy!}
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

{Seeing these fresh ingredients beautifully arranged makes me so happy.  I always make it a point to gather my ingredients, cooking utensils and bowls/dishes before I begin preparing recipes.  I start with a super clean and empty surface and arrange the ingredients just so. It turns the duty of cooking into a beautiful experience.}

{In a large mixing bowl, add in your avocado, lime juice and cilantro. Mash together until smooth. By mashing the cilantro with the avocado it releases the flavor. I know everyone is not a fan of cilantro {how is this even possible!?!}, so of course if you don't enjoy the taste of it, leave it out.


{To the avocado/lime juice/cilantro mixture, add in your black beans and white corn and chopped green onion.}




{Season with the salt, pepper, garlic salt, crushed red pepper, cumin and black pepper.}




{Serve in a pretty bowl and serve immediately!}


You don't even want to know how many football Sundays this year I've made and devoured this perfect guacamole.  And tequila is NOT optional. :)

xoxo, thanks for reading!



January 19, 2018

Cocktail Hour! Easy Apple Pie Margarita


This margarita recipe is one of my very favorites to drink in the fall and winter months.  It seriously tastes like an apple pie in a glass!  I love how easy peasy it is and by incorporating store bought pressed apple juice, this takes a few minutes to whip up but makes a BIG impact. If you've been reading my blog for a while or follow me on Instagram, it is no secret that I am literally obsessed with margaritas and have a relationship with them {hashtag margaritanista}. I would say I am definitely a margarita snob {not sorry!}.

Needless to say, I am always looking for the BEST new way to enjoy an icy cold margarita. :) 
 
Ingredients: {Makes 2 Margaritas}

Juice of 1 Lime
3 Shots {4.5 Ounces} Good Tequila {Silver or Gold}
6 Ounces of Fresh or Pressed Apple Juice
2 Ounces Triple Sec
Sugar + Cinnamon to Garnish the Rim
Lime + Apple {Or Pear!} Slices to Garnish the Drink



{It is driving me nuts that this picture isn't straight. LOL! But the beautiful sight of this icy cold bottle of tequila somehow makes it look better. :)}


{Start by adding the juice of a lime to a cocktail shaker.  I always buy really large limes; I LOVE extra fresh lime juice in my cocktails. And no, I'm afraid the bottled lime juice or the stuff that comes in those fake plastic limes just aren't the same. Fresh is best! :)}


{Next add in the shots of tequila. Your favorite one will do just fine. I happen to LOVE 1800 Silver! :)}


{In goes your GOOD apple juice.  I have also used apple CIDER here and it's just as delicious!}


{The triple sec goes in next, which in my opinion, is a very important ingredient.  It instantly adds a bit of smoothness and the perfect citrus accent to a margarita and is what takes it from good to GREAT! If you aren't regularly using it at home for drinks, I suggest you give it a try.}


{Shake, shake and shake all of these delicious ingredients well! I love the act of shaking a cocktail, hehehe! I always feel so professional!}


{A GOOD margarita always starts with a sugared or salted rim! I rimmed this apple pie margarita in a cinnamon and sugar mixture and it was the best decision EVER.  Every sip was so delightfully sweet.}



{Pour your golden delicious margarita over ice in a pretty glass and enjoy responsibly. It is sweet but tart, cinnamonny and limey... and all things GOOD. You will love this one!}



I cannot even stand how perfect this cocktail is. Perfection!!

xoxo, thanks for reading!






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