Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Healthy Meatless Monday (Hoppin' John and Braised Kale)

Well, who doesn't want to try some healthy food after a couple months worth of indulgences?  I don't know about you, but I sure did enjoy some great food and some relaxing downtime over Christmas and New Years.  Now it's time to get back to good habits.  Plus, if Todd and I get to plan a trip to Hawaii later this Spring, I wanna be ready for that beach. 

I decided to cook a Meatless Monday menu of Hoppin' John and Braised Kale.  I bought dried black eyed peas (from the bulk bin - super cheap and easy!) and soaked and cooked them on Sunday.  On Monday, this meal took me about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, including the chopping.  Hope you enjoy this quick, easy, satisfying, weeknight, meatless, healthy, fiber-filled, colorful, (cheap!) meal as much as I did.

Smoky Hoppin' John (adapted from Cooking Light magazine)
(servings: 4, each serving = 287 calories and 8 g fat + 10 g fiber and 12 g protein)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
3/4 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
(15-ounce) cans unsalted black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped tomato
tsp chopped green onions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery; sauté 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add rice, stirring to coat. Add stock, 1/2 cup water, salt, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and ground red pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is done. Add black-eyed peas; cook, uncovered, 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with tomato and green onions.

Braised Kale
(servings: 4, each serving = 95 calories and 3 g fat)

1 Tbsp butter
8 cups stemmed and chopped kale
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale and water to pan; cover and cook 2 minutes or until wilted. Uncover and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sausage, pepper and onion skewers

So we love sausage, onion and pepper subs in my family ! I thought it would be fun to make it into a skewer for a satisfying appetizer but the recipe is the same as I would make it for an actual sub. Hope you enjoy.

2lbs. Sausage links scored cases on
3 greenbell peppers sliced thickly cut in half
2 red bell peppers sliced thickly cut in half
3 large onions sliced
4 or 5 banana peppers, pepperoncini or your favorite Giardiniera chopped
3-6 tbsp. Juice from the jarred peppers
Wooden skewers

Place sausage in a large pan and cover in water so it that just covers the sausages.Let it boil.  Once boiling adjust heat to medium, and turn sausages. Let it cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile in another pan heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee onions, peppers, and garlic. After sautéing for about 6-7 minutes salt and pepper to taste the peppers and onions. While this is cooking take water and drain out of sausage pot . Coat sausages with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Brown sausages until golden brown on all sides. Turn veggie mixture on very low heat. Once sausage is brown take out of pan and slice into bite size pieces then place back in pan. Once the sausage is browned, de-glaze pan with pickle juice. Cook down scraping up the bits. Add veggie mixture and chopped banana peppers. Cool mixture slightly to handle and put on skewers. Another great idea would be to toast up a baguette and serve like a bruschetta!

A glass of Merlot or a Pinto grigio would pair nicely!

See pictures below. Final presentation not shown. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Finger Foods & Celebrations!

December is a month of parties and endless celebrations!  With that in mind, this month 14 Foodies will be featuring a variety of Finger Foods!  With a cocktail or hot cocoa in one hand and a delectable appetizer or extra-sweet cookie in the other, we will be ready for this season! 

Cheers, friends!  We are all set to help you with your entertaining!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dish - Curry Chicken

Curry Chicken

I got this recipe from a coworker and first served it for Christmas dinner.  After losing my mom, my family and I have embraced non-traditional holiday meals not because we are running from the past, but because we are looking to the future.  Loss can bring challenges, but it is also an open door to new things, like Thanksgiving Curry Chicken!  Thanks Linda for the recipe!

A couple of things first, if you cannot find scotch bonnet peppers, use a habanero instead and the curry powder I used was from Archer Farms, the gold colored one.  Marinating the chicken overnight is best, but a few hours is fine too.  Don't worry too much about the quantity of ingredients, it will be delicious.

Chop veggies and herbs 

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 t scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced white and green parts
2 t fresh thyme leaves
seasoned salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
4T curry powder
oil for browning
3 c water or chicken broth
1 whole chicken cut into pieces

Season the chicken with spices, use only 2T of the curry powder. Sprinkle on the garlic, onions, green onions, scotch bonnet (or habanero) and thyme. Rub it all in, cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Season and marinate the chicken
After marinating, add enough oil to just coat the bottom of a dutch oven and brown the chicken in batches with the remaining curry powder.  After browning all of the chicken return all of it to the dutch oven.  Pour in about 3 cups of water (enough to cover the chicken) and the tomatoes, cover and cook until the chicken is done, about 40 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice

Brown the chicken with remaining curry powder

Add liquid and simmer
Serve and enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wish you had my Nana's stuffing

Thanksgiving in my family would not be the same without my great nana's stuffing.  My papa's mom who was German taught my nana this recipe. Every time we make it the smells bring me back to my childhood . I hope you enjoy this recipe as we do. Sorry I didn't have any pictures of the recipe. I will update the recipe after thanksgiving with some pictures of the steps.

4 loaves toasted bread cut into cubes
6 celery stalks diced
4 large onions diced
3 garlic cloves crushed
Chicken stock
3 tubes Jimmy dean sausage mild, hot or sage. We usually use all 3 types
6 eggs
Salt and pepper
Chicken stock

Preheat broiler to high. While oven is preheating put celery, onions and garlic in a pressure cooker. Pour water or chicken stock over veggies till just covering mixture. Pressure cook for about 45 minutes. If you do not have pressure cooker you can sautee in a pan till veggies are caramilized. While this cooking toast bread in oven then cut into cubes. Cool celery mixture, then pour mixture into large pan with the bread, sausage , eggs , and seasoning.  Add chicken stock as needed to give stuffing moisture.  Do not over mix. If you want you can cook up a little patty to check seasoning. Then separate into foil packets. Refrigerate till next day. Bake in 350 oven till cooled through at least an hour.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish - Farro with Caramelized Shallot, Chickpeas and Pomegranate

Hello there!  Happy November!  The beginning of the end.  Of the year?  Oh no, mostly the end of my waistline.   Not this year!

I have opted to make some healthy substitutions this year, and after testing out this recipe, I think it's going to be delicious all the way to the next bathing suit season.

This vegetarian recipe has whole grains and beans to fill you up and keep you full and tons of color and flavor from the caramelized shallots and pomegranate.  A little Greek yogurt for serving adds richness and smoothness (and Calcium)!


1 cup farro
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, bring farro and 2 cups water to a boil.  Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until tender and chewy, about 30 minutes.  Drain and cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds and stir until fragrant and toasted, about 30 seconds.  Add pepper flakes and shallot; cook, stirring until deeply caramelized, about 2-3 minutes.  Add chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt; transfer mixture to a bowl with farro.

Toss in lemon juice, cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

3. To serve, dollop each portion with Greek yogurt.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil (optional).

Tip:  To remove seeds (called arils) from a pomegranate, simply cut the pomegranate in half and use the back of a wooden spoon to whack the back of the cut half.  Catch the falling seeds into a bowl.

I served this salad with some seared scallops that I brushed lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Simple, quick, healthy and delicious!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Welcome Back to 14 Foodies!

After a brief hiatus (okay, a little over a year), we are back to cook!  With the changes of the seasons and us all coming indoors for a few months, now seemed like an ideal time to get back in the kitchen!  We have decided to change our approach to our blog too.  Instead of cooking out of different cookbooks each month, moving forward each month our recipes will be focused around a certain theme and/or ingredient.  This will be a great way to showcase the time of the year as well as our own personal cooking styles. 

For November, our recipes will be all about Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is the time of year when we all come back around the table to enjoy each other’s company and a scrumptious meal!  Join us as we share some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes with you.

14 Foodies is excited to announce that we have some new contributors to our blog too.  Welcome, Carie, Renita, and Ashley!

It’s time to get cooking!  We’re glad that you’re here with us!