Pineapple Rings–How to make dehydrated Pineapple Rings

Dehydrated Pineapple Rings

Dehydrated Pineapple Rings

One of my go to snacks is dehydrated fruit.  I’m a particular fan of pineapple rings.  But, if you’ve ever purchased organic dehydrated pineapple rings, then you probably know that pineapple rings are a snack that can be out right expensive! I mean outlandishly expensive! On top of the expense, it’s pretty hard to find pineapple rings that haven’t been soaked in baths of sugar.  I’m not a fan of adding sugar to dehydrated fruit.  It’s sort of an oxymoron to me that sugar is added to dehydrated fruit at all, because if you know anything about dehydration–then you know that the sugar in fruits concentrate when dehydrated, so there really isn’t a need to add sugar–unless you’re dehydrating something really tart like cranberries then I could see the purpose of adding sugar. Last week I purchased a pineapple, I fully intended to eat it fresh. However,when I cut, and tasted it– it was pretty tasteless. Disappointing for sure. The pineapple clearly needed to ferment more.  Rather than chuck it, I sliced it and put it in the dehydrator and made pineapple rings. The resulting pineapple rings were not only flavorful, but they were sweet–everything you want would want in a fresh bite of pineapple–minus the juice of course.  The pineapple rings lasted all of 2 minutes, my sister in-law, my niece and Page, gobbled them right up–I’m pretty sure they would’ve passed on the fresh slices.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time 6-8 hrs 10-12hr for thicker slices

Ingredients:

2 whole fair trade organic pineapple

Directions: Remove the stem from the pineapple, then slice off the top and bottom.  Slice off the skin, making sure to remove all the eyelets.

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Now slice the pineapple thinly.

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Keep in mind that the thicker you slice it, the longer it will take to dry.  If it’s too thin your pineapple rings will turn out crisp, if they are a bit thicker, they’ll be more leathery, so it’ just a matter of what you’re seeking in consistency.  After slicing, cut out the center core by carving a circular cut in the middle of the pineapple.

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Remove the core and discard it.

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Place the pineapple rings on your dehydrator sheet,

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Set the dehydrator to 135F.  If you’re doing this in the oven, set the oven to 150F or the lowest possible setting.  Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, 10-12hrs if you cut thicker slices.

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Once dry let cool, then enjoy!

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Page could not wait for me to take a picture, she loves these so much!

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if you like this recipe, try the recipe for my pineapple fruit roll-ups!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan, Lemon and Red Pepper Flakes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan, Lemon, and Red Pepper Flakes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan, Lemon, and Red Pepper Flakes

 

 

I was at the farmers market this past Sunday, doing my usual weekly shopping.  One of my favorite vendor’s had these beautiful stalks of brussels sprouts.  I got so excited about them that a woman, who was also shopping, pulled me aside and whispered : “How do you cook those?” This isn’t the first time this has happened to me,  believe it or not, people stop me all the time, either at the farmers market, or at Whole Foods, to ask how to cook a variety of vegetables. The funny thing about people asking me cooking questions is that they almost always whisper the question?  I don’t understand why they whisper the question! I want to tell them, “you know you’re not the only person on the planet who has no idea what to do with ((insert name of vegetable here)).”   I shared this recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with the  the lady at the farmer’s market. It’s simple, easy and so delicious.  It’s one of my absolute favorite ways to cook and eat brussels sprouts.

 

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound of brussels sprouts halved

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

3 tablespoons of olive oil ( or ghee or coconut oil)

Sea salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes to a medium sized bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl add the brussels sprouts, oil and sea salt, toss well making sure that all the brussels sprouts are evenly covered with oil.

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Place on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven.

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Cook  for 10-15 minute, or until the brussels sprouts take on a significant amount of color and they become crisp and tender. Sprinkle the sprouts with  half the cheese and cook for another minute or two, just until cheese melts and becomes crisp, remove the sprouts from the oven, transfer them to the bowl with the lemon juice and the red pepper flakes, toss well to coat the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, serve immediately and enjoy! These are crispy, tangy with a little kick! They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal!

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Grilled Pork Chops with Spicy Mustard Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops With Spicy Brown Mustard Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops With Spicy Brown Mustard Salsa

One of my favorite restaurants to eat at, when we are in Los Angeles, is Cafe Brazil. It’s a small restaurant, with seating for less than 50 people but the food is fantastic. If you’ve ever watched any dating show, then you’ve probably seen this restaurant several times, dating show’s love to film dates there. It holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first restaurant’s  that my husband I would frequent when we were dating.  His mom lived in LA so we’d go up for a visit, and then grab lunch or dinner before heading back, sometimes with mom in tow.  The food there is pretty straightforward as far as food goes, meat, beans and rice, fresh tropical juices.  Simple as can be, but the food doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good.  One of my favorite entree’s there is grilled pork chops with beans and rice, and a simple tomato and onion salsa, to which they add fresh parsley and a spicy brown mustard vinaigrette! So what’s a girl to do when a craving for Cafe Brazil strikes? Get in the car and drive there, or make it herself! I obviously chose the latter!

 

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Prep time: 5-7 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Salsa:

1/2 cup tomatoes chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons of parsley

sea salt to taste
Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt to taste

Pork chops
2 thick pork chops

1 teaspoon garlic powder,

1 teaspoon onion powder,

1 teaspoon paprika,

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

sea salt to taste

Directions: Combine the ingredients for the mustard vinaigrette and set aside.

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Combine the ingredients for the salsa, top with the vinaigrette and set aside.

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Combine the seasoning for the pork chops, then rub generously into pork chops

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Grill chops for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through–do not over cook, pork chops dry out quickly.  Once chops are done, top with spicy salsa and enjoy!

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Homemade Chicken Stock -Using Leftover Roast Chicken Carcass

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Store bought stock is great, it involves no work, other than opening a box, and pouring it into your pot. What’s not to love about that? As great as the store bought chicken stock is, it lacks the depth of flavor you get when you make a homemade stock.  Although you gain flavor from making a stock at home, it does take time, even if you use a pressure cooker. If you are going to make this chicken stock, then do it when you have a few hours to lay around the house. Although this isn’t something you need to check very often, it does require time to simmer. This particular chicken stock is one of my favorite methods of making chicken stock, mainly because I get to make use of something that would normally get thrown out–the left over carcass of a roasted chicken. You read that correctly, this chicken stock is made using the carcass of a roast chicken.  I normally add the chicken carcass, and the bones from the thigh and leg bones, I just pick the meat off of them and add them to the pot.  If you’d like a more potent chicken flavor you can add a few raw legs into the pot as well, but I find that it’s not necessary, if you simmer this stock long enough it will be full of flavor. Tomorrow I will show you another way to make chicken stock, which I learned from Modernist Cuisine, stay tuned.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients: 1 Roast Chicken carcass

1 cup of organic carrots diced

1 cup of organic celery diced

1 large brown onion diced

4 sprigs of organic thyme

2 large cloves of garlic sliced

7 cups of cold water

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:  Add the oil to a stock pan or pressure cooker, add in garlic and onion, and cook until onions turn translucent about 5-7 minutes.  Add in carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes. image   Add in the carcass of the chicken and any additional bones that you have saved, add in the thyme image Add in the cold water, image   Bring stock up to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours.  When I cook this on the stove I check it every 45 minutes. After about 3.5 hours on the stove this stock, should be nice and flavorful, but the longer you cook it, the more concentrated it becomes and thus more flavorful. After the flavor is where you want it, turn off the fire, allow to cool to room temp, you can remove the fat that has formed on top of the stock at this point, then strain the stock through a sieve.  If you are doing this in a pressure cooker, which I recommend, after adding the water to the pot, close the pot, lock the lid and bring up to pressure, lower the heat once the pot has pressurized, and cook undisturbed for 2 hours. Turn off the heat, then depressurize your pot according to the manufacturers instructions, remove lid, and allow the stock to cool to room temperature.  Strain the stock through a sieve and freeze in an airtight container. This recipe makes about 4.5 cups of stock, I split it in half and freeze it. It makes it easier when I have a recipe that requires only 2 cups of stock. The remaining half cup of stock, I freeze in ice cube trays, and once frozen, I seal those in a ziplock type bag.  One ice cube of stock is about  tablespoon of stock, great to  make sauces with. image

Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup–It’s gluten free!

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup

Last week I was out with my husband running errands and we were trying to decide on lunch.  He wanted something filling, and I wanted a really great salad.  As easy as salads are to make and obtain, very few match the salads that I make myself.  I knew it would not be easy to find a place to eat in which we would both leave happy.  After verbally running through a list of eateries, my husband saying no to some, me saying no to others, we both compromised and settled on Panera. I ordered my salad, and after some time mulling over the menu, my husband ordered a bowl of lemon orzo soup.  The ceasar salad  I ordered, was not as great as the  Ceasar salad I make at home, but I was expecting that. However, my husband really enjoyed his soup.  I didn’t taste the soup, but it looked really good, and since he enjoyed it, I decided I would try to make it at home for him.  He is such a big fan of soups in general. When I make soup, which is not often, he rants and raves, because to him, soups are a big treat. The key to any great soup is the broth.  I made some broth with the leftover carcass of a roast chicken that we had for dinner.  I will share that recipe and two other ways to make chicken broth with you later.  For this soup use the best organic chicken broth that you can find.  I used a gluten free orzo for this, you can leave it outfor a paleo version of this soup, or use a regular pasta orzo for an authentic Lemon chicken orzo soup.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or 4 cups of pre-cooked chicken cubed

1 cup of diced carrots (3 medium carrots)

1 cup of diced celery (4 celery stalks)

1 large onion diced

2 large cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 cup of spinach finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro

3-4 Tablespoons of Lemon juice less or more depending on your taste

6 cups of organic chicken broth

1/2 cup of orzo gluten free brand

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoon of olive oil

 

Directions: Season chicken with sea salt and black pepper and set aside. In a stock pot heat oil, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until onions turn translucent, add chicken stock, and chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. image Add in orzo and cook until orzo is al dente (10 minutes), then stir in spinach, cilantro and lemon juice, turn off fire, serve and enjoy! image image

Grilled Cumin Spiced Chicken Kabobs

 

Grilled Cumin Spiced Chicken Kabobs

Grilled Cumin Spiced Chicken Kabobs

I made these chicken kabobs over the fourth of July weekend, and everyone loved them.  They were super easy to make and didn’t require a lot of time or effort to marinate. They’re a perfect quick fix dinner item, so I’m giving you the recipe.  My husband is still raving about these.  It just goes to show that a great meal doesn’t require a lot of time or ingredients.

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Prep time:10 minutes

Cook time:15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs–cubed

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of paprika

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Sea salt to taste

Directions:  In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the chicken kabobs together,

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then place the chicken on skewers.

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Grill chicken on a hot grill until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

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Serve and enjoy!

Marinated Mushroom Steaks

Marinated Mushroom Steaks

Marinated Mushroom Steaks

 

I make an entire meatless meal at least once a week.  Going vegetarian, or vegan, even once a week is great for your health, excellent for your pocket book, and a very environmentally friendly thing to do.  One of my favorite and I mean FAVORITE vegetarian meals is faux steak, with beans, rice, salsa, and plantains.  It’s simple–yes! But so delicious, and it reminds me of the delicious dinners I had while in Puerto Rico.  I switch out the steaks for marinated, grilled mushrooms, and the result is perfection!

 

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Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 7-10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 large Portabello mushrooms, undersides and stem removed

1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 large garlic clove sliced thinly

1 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions: Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl.  Pour over Mushrooms and let marinade for 30 minutes.

 

Grill on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, remove from grill and serve!

Marinated Mushroom Steaks

Marinated Mushroom Steaks