Cauliflower Nachos

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Ok, who has ever heard of such? I tell ya, 2017 was the year of the cauliflower and it’s carrying over into 2018.  I must say, I’m not sad about it, I love cauliflower mashed potatoes and the cauliflower rice is delicious but now nachos!!! Woooohhhh.  We’re doing a new thing here in the food world and it’s a good thing!  😉

When it comes to eating, I always prefer healthy anyway.  That way I don’t feel so guilty if I overindulge.  Lol… Well, I know you’re curious as to how to make these babies so let’s get started. 😀

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive or  avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into ½-inch slices
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of minced onion
  • A dash of salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
  • 1 chopped avocado or guacamole

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or one of the
  3. Pour the oil, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and cauliflower in a large bowl and gently toss to coat.  Arrange the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and bake until it starts to brown, which will be about 12 -15 min.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, top with cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese has melted nicely.  Probably 3-5 min.
  5. In a small bowl mix diced tomato, cilantro, jalapenos, onion and if you choose, salt and mix together.
  6. Arrange the cauliflower pieces nicely on a tray and top with the tomato mix, avocado or guacamole.
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The Fake Take on General Tso… Honey Baked Cauliflower!!!

cauliflower

Oh the days of when I used to go to the Chinese carry out and get either sweet and sour chicken or general tso.   Ummm….. just sitting here thinking about it makes my mouth water for some and revisit those old days.  But I won’t because not only are those types of meals fattening but they can be loaded with MSG which can cause me to swell.  So those meals aren’t looking so good to me now.

However, in my quest to find delicious and healthy meals. I just happened to stumble upon this beauty that recreates my old classics without the fat and the not so good-for-you MSG.    Honey Baked Cauliflower!  Oh what a joy it is to recreate your favorite dishes but with a healthy twist. How I can’t wait to dive right in and eat this while just relaxing on my sofa.  Yes, it’s comfort food at it’s very best…. sweet, sticky and yummy.   Would you like to partake of this sweet goodness? Well, let me stop going on and on and get right to it.  Thanks to http://kirbiecravings.com/2016/01/honey-garlic-baked-cauliflower.html… you’re able to make this delicious recipe to enjoy as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs (Kikkoman brand preferred for even baking)
  • 2 large eggs, whisked

for the sauce:

  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 6 tbsp water + 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • Or Annie Chun’s Korean sweet and spicy sauce in place of the soy and sriracha

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Set whisked eggs aside in a small bowl. Set panko crumbs aside in a separate bowl. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Dip cauliflower in egg mixture and then shake a few times so that excess egg drips off. You don’t want to dampen your breadcrumbs with excess egg because then they won’t stick to the cauliflower. Then roll in panko a few times until fully coated and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all cauliflower is coated. About halfway through, your breadcrumbs may start to clump together from the egg coating touching it, making it harder to stick to the cauliflower. To help get these clumps to stay on the cauliflower, gently press them with on when coating the cauliflower.
  3. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until coating is a dark golden brown and crunchy.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, make sauce on the stove.In a small bowl, completely dissolve cornstarch in water and set aside. Add all sauce ingredients except the cornstarch + water to a small pot or saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir a few times until ingredients are mixed. This should only take a few seconds. Then add cornstarch water to the sauce. Stir until sauce reaches a simmer again (make sure to stir otherwise the cornstarch will clump up) and cook until sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Allow sauce to cool a few minutes and thicken even more. Drizzle over cauliflower or toss cauliflower in sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped scallions if desired.
  • If you make any adjustments to the sauce (i.e. add more soy sauce or other liquids) you may need to also add more cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Remember to dissolve any additional cornstarch in a little water before adding it.
  • You should have enough sauce to drizzle over all the cauliflower but if you want to coat your cauliflower or you used more than a small head of cauliflower, you may want to double the sauce.

 image and recipe from © Kirbie’s Cravings.

Enjoy with Love,

Nakesha

Have A Drink On Me

Umm….It’s that time of the year. Can you smell the aroma of fall in the air? Well, if not, this beverage will sure get your senses going. Hot and delicious, many people can’t wait to run to Starbucks to get this soothing beverage during this time. What am I talking about?  I’m talking about Apple Caramel Cider.

Many versions of this recipe are floating around but I’m going to give you an easy and simple way to make it that will surely please your tastebuds. Let me know how you like it.

Apple Caramel Cider

caramel apple cider

Ingredients

  • 8 cups apple cider or juice
  • 1 cup caramel flavoring syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • Whipped cream, caramel ice cream topping and cinnamon sticks (3 inches), optional

Directions

  • In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the apple cider, vanilla extract & caramel syrup.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Pour cider into mugs; garnish with whipped cream, caramel topping and cinnamon sticks if desired. Makes about 12 servings.

Ok my friends. Enjoy this sweet treat.

Until next time,

<3~Nakesha~

Fourth of July Ideas

flag

 

It’s that time of the year again. Summer time of grilled delicious food, warm nights of sipping refreshing drinks and enjoying the festive bursts of explosive fireworks. Yes, for some reason the Fourth of July puts everyone in a good mood. One thing I love is laying on the grass and enjoying all the festivities that the fourth has to offer but before heading out to see the fireworks, here are a few menu items to help you kick off your 4th of July celebration.

Appetizers sure to please.

Grilled Pineapple and Guacamole. I love grilling and one thing about the summer is that I get to grill my veggies and certain fruit.  Here’s one that you will not have to feel guilty about eating.

pinapple guac

Ingredients

  • 2 large avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 2 pineapple rings ~1/2-inch thick, core removed
  • Olive oil or cooking spray

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Spray or brush both sides of the pineapple rings with olive oil or cooking spray.
  3. Grill 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
  4. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool to room temp.
  5. Cut the pineapple into small cubes.
  6. Remove the pit and scoop the avocado from its shell.
  7. Add lime and salt, and then lightly smash with a fork.
  8. Stir in onion, cilantro, peppers, and pineapple cubes.
  9. Serve with tortilla chips or as a taco topping.

(Courtesy of “Confections of a Foodie Bride”)

Strawberry Salsa – Umm….. I could eat this without the pita or tortilla chips.

strawberry salsa

Ingredients

1 ear of Corn, husked & cut kernels from cob (about 1 cup of kernels)

  • 3/4 cup diced Red Onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced Strawberries
  • 1/2 to 1 whole Jalapeño Pepper (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 diced Avocado
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • Season to taste with: Chili Powder, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder and Salt

Optional

  • Feta Cheese or Goat Cheese for topping

Instructions

  • Adjust rack to the middle of your oven. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss corn, onion and jalapeño (keep pepper whole for roasting) in a little bit of olive oil. Arrange corn kernels, red onion and jalapeño on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until kernels, onion & jalapeño are a bit browned and fragrant. Turn heat to low broil and roast for 2-3 minutes longer until you have a bit more char, be careful not to burn the mixture. Take out of oven and let cool to room temperature.
  • Dice the jalapeño into tiny pieces. Gently toss corn, onions, strawberries and avocado with the above spices. Add jalapeno to taste. Start with a small amount, you can always add more later. Top with feta cheese or goat cheese.

(Courtesy of Marla via familyfreshcooking.com)

Red, White & Blue Strawberries – As an appetizer or dessert, no one can resist sugar coated strawberries

strawberries

Ingredients

16 ounces white chocolate chips
Blue sprinkles
1 pound fresh strawberries
Wax paper

Directions

  1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the stem, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
  2. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries, if there isn’t a stem and dip them in the blue sprinkles.
  3. Lay the strawberries on wax paper to cool in the refrigerator for about 3 -4 hrs.
  4. Eat and enjoy.

 

Beverages

The Blue Lagoon – Cool yourself down and enjoy your company as you sip on something refreshing.

blue lagoon

Ingredients

  • 4 lime slices
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup blue curacao
  • 1/3 cup partially thawed frozen limeade concentrate
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Using lime slices, moisten the rims of four margarita or cocktail glasses. Set aside lime slices for garnish. Sprinkle sugar on a plate; hold each glass upside down and dip rim into sugar. Set aside. Discard remaining sugar on plate.
  2. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients; cover and process until blended. Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with reserved lime slices. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Sangria

AMEX_COCKTAILS_34

Ingredients

  1. 2 pounds seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed, plus 1/2 pound watermelon cut into balls with a melon baller and skewered on picks
  2. 1 bottle dry white wine
  3. 6 ounces vodka
  4. 4 ounces Cointreau or other triple sec
  5. 4 ounces Citrus Syrup
  6. Ice

Directions

In a blender, puree the watermelon cubes. Pour through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Add the white wine, vodka, Cointreau and Citrus Syrup. Stir and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir again, then pour the sangria into ice-filled white wine glasses and garnish with the skewered watermelon balls.

Nonalcoholic Punch

Watermelon Cooler

watermelon cooler punch

Ingredients

3 cups coarsely chopped seeded watermelon

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves

2 cups white grape juice

1 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel

3/4 cup fresh lime juice, chilled

32 ounce (4 cups) club soda, chilled

 Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Watermelon wedges or balls (optional)

 Directions
  1. Place watermelon in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Strain watermelon puree through a fine mesh sieve; discard pulp.
  2. In a large bowl combine sugar and mint. Using the back of a wooden spoon, lightly crush mint by pressing it against the side of the bowl. Add grape juice, lime peel, lime juice, and watermelon puree, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in club soda. Serve in glasses over ice. If desired, garnish with mint sprigs and watermelon wedges or balls. Serve immediately. Makes 9 servings.

 

Desserts

Berry Tart – For a healthy dessert alternative, I prefer fruit tarts over cake. The fruit on top of  mascarpone or some type of custard makes me feel like I’m doing something healthy for my body.

Dessert Tart

Ingredients

 Nonstick cooking spray
1 ounce refrigerated crescent dough
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed mint or basil leaves
2/3 cup mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 cups berries (red and/or golden raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and halved or sliced small strawberries), not mixed together.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil, extending foil beyond pan edges. Lightly coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, for syrup, in a small saucepan combine the 1/2 cup honey, the water, and mint or basil. Bring to boiling. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand to cool. Strain syrup, discarding herbs. Set aside.
  3. For cheese layer, in a medium bowl stir together mascarpone and 2 Tbsp. honey. (If using cream cheese, beat until smooth, then beat in honey.) In a chilled mixing bowl beat whipping cream to soft peaks; gradually stir into cheese. Spread cheese layer on crust. Use a knife tip to mark two lengthwise lines and three crosswise lines for form 12 squares.
  4. In separate bowls toss berries with about 1 Tbsp. syrup for each cup of berries. Spoon about 1/2 cup berries in each square. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Drizzle with remaining syrup, if desired.
  5. Lifting foil edges, transfer tart from pan to serving platter. Serve immediately or chill up to 4 hours. Tart is best when served the same day it is prepared.

Patriotic Pretzels

      p sticks    chocolate dipped pretzels    pretzels

Ingredients

1 bag of pretzel rods
1 bag of semisweet white or chocolate, chocolate
Red, White & Blue sprinkles

Directions

To make two dozen, place 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted; remove from heat. Using a pastry brush, coat the upper third of each pretzel rod in chocolate. Cover with sprinkles; stand pretzels upright in a glass. Place in the refrigerator until firm, about 5 minutes.

Red, White & Blue Popcorn

p pcorn

Instructions:

1.) Decide how much popcorn you want to use. You will need 8 candy melts per 1 cup of popcorn. The red ones coat the popcorn a bit more intensely than the blue ones.
2.) Melt the candy melts in the microwave at half power for 1 minute and stir. Melt again for 30 second intervals until you are satisfied with the texture. If you don’t wish to use a microwave, a stovetop double-boiler method is best. Be very careful, candy will be HOT!!! Let candy sit for a few minutes to cool.3. In each bowl, put desired amount of popcorn. Carefully drizzle the candy melts over top of the popcorn and stir each color with a large spatula.4. Let popcorn mixtures cool separately for about an hour, until candied popcorn has hardened and cooled to room temperature. Mix the blue and red popcorn together in a fresh serving bowl. Serve and enjoy

 

Fourth Décor

The snack station & Tablescape – What is a party without a snack station?  To make the patriotic water bottle shown on the left, visit your local craft store to purchase the flags and glue them securely to the water bottles for your guests. Use your imagination to create a festive tablescape or food station.

snack attack       tablescape     Sparklers

Ok guys,  these are just a few ideas to get your party going.  Don’t forget to add the kielbasa, Italian sausage and or hot dogs, along with your juicy burgers on the grill. No fourth is complete without it.

Happy Fourth

Nakesha 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Summer Bites

Caramelized Onion Walnut Pizza w / Apples

Summer means entertaining with friends and enjoying good food.  We all know the urge we can get when we’re with our friends to eat things we said we weren’t going to eat in order to have a slim figure.  Well, here’s one food that is filling and that I truly enjoy.  A spin off the old favorite food of almost everyone in the world.  What is it?  Pizza!   Here’s how to make a healthy and delicious summer snack that won’t leave you feeling guilty.

 apple walnut pizza

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 10 ounce package refrigerated pizza dough or Boboli (whole wheat)
1/2  Cups of gorgonzola cheese
1/2 Cup of walnut pieces

Directions:
1.     In a large saucepan melt margarine or butter. Add onions. Cover and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle sugar over onions. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes more or until browned, stirring occasionally.

2.     Lightly grease an 11 to 13 inch pizza pan. Unroll pizza dough (if refrigerated) and transfer to greased pan, pressing dough out with your hands. Build up edges slightly.  Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. For already made pizza dough, add to a lightly non-stick sprayed pizza pan.

3.     For refrigerated dough, spread cheese evenly over hot crust. Top with apples, onions, walnut pieces and more cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until heated through. For already made pizza dough, brush a little bit of melted butter or margarine on pizza dough, add onions, apples, walnuts and cheese.  To give your pizza little kick you can also add your favorite chutney or jam, instead of a little melted butter.  My recommendation would be Stonewall Kitchen’s – Fig and Raisin Chutney but watch the sugar content.

Ok, now that you have your pizza done, enjoy solo or with your friends and tell me how you like it.

P.S. There are different variations to make this pizza to your liking. You can add figs, pears,  goat cheese, feta or blue cheese instead of Gorgonzola. Whatever you decide, enjoy!

From Me To You With Love,
Nakesha