Vanilla Banana Crepes with Cinnamon Apple Pieces

While on a business call, this recipe came up. Since I have some TLS Vanilla on hand, it was the perfect start to a well developed recipe. Most of the time someone comes up with a recipe and you have to go to the market to buy all the ingredients. Well for me, this wasn’t the case. If you don’t have the TLS Vanilla and/or Pumpkin mix, you can go here to find it.

What you need: non stick pan or crepe pan, baking spatula, spatula for cooking, coconut oil, apple, cinnamon, swerve sugar (if KETO), TLS vanilla powder, egg, banana, plate for serving. You can line the crepes with parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other.

Ingredients:

TLS Vanilla powder

1 egg

1 medium banana

What I found with this is you can mix it all with a hand mixer or spatula.

Instructions:

Mash the banana with the 2 scoops of TLS vanilla powder. Beat the egg in a cup – add it to the mashed banana and powder.

If you have a non stick pan, you can coat it with a little coconut oil – it may separate, but that is okay. I have a crepe pan I use, only because I find it easier to flip the crepes.

Once the pan is hot enough (you want it hot enough to cook quick, but not enough to burn the batter), pour a scoop of the batter on the pan and move the pan around in a circular motion so the batter will spread to the edges. If it doesn’t do it by itself, take the back of a spoon and spread it around yourself. Once the crepe starts to bubble, it is time to flip. You can use a spatula for this process so you don’t break the crepe.


Goat Cheese Stuffed Roma Tomatoes with Prosciutto

When I had my catering business way back when, it was called Marchina’s (named after my three children – Mark, Christian, and Nina). The byline for the business was Simple but Elegant. I had a few items one the menu, and this was one of them. It was hit with all my clients!

Roma tomatoes are the right size oval for this dish. Their firmness allows flexibility for holding the goat cheese, and holds up under high heat.

Here is what I did:

Take the Roma tomatoes, cut in half and hallow out the seeds and pulp (reserve for cooking later if you like – otherwise compose or discard). I used my Core and More to scoop the seeds out.

After scooping, take herbed goat cheese(approximately 1 teaspoon (use regular teaspoon, not measuring). Place inside hallowed out tomato. Wrap with prosciutto over edges so that top is sealed. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes. I placed my tomatoes on my large bar pan, which cleans easy after use and doesn’t need to be seasoned. Keep an eye out if your oven is hotter.

When they are finished cooking, take out and let sit for a good 10 minutes. If you bite into one, it will be really hot because of the heat and steam in the tomato. Once cooled serve with a salad and/or place on their own.


Pepper Steak

This recipe reminds me of my mom. She used to make pepper steak with white rice and the sauce would just soak into the rice and make it nice and flavorful. After posting this from my facebook live video, I challenged my 81 year old mom to post her recipe in my comments. Well, we’ll see!!

I started replicating a lot of moms cooking when I moved out of the house in my twenties. Living on my own (sometimes with roommates) I had to learn how to cook. Rents were so high in Boston (surprise) that I had to buy groceries and become very creative in the kitchen. I remember going to the grocery store and purchasing enough chicken and beef to get me through the week. I was never one of those college ramen kids, so I learned pretty quick, and mostly through trial and. error.

Although this isn’t my mothers recipe, this is what I did:

Steak – I used precut stir fry steak (approximately 2 pounds).. I rinsed it, pat it really dry (you want to pat it dry so it doesn’t produce any moisture when cooking (this will toughen the steak). You want to sear it so it keeps the juices in.

This dish is great with flank, skirt, or flat steak (the less expensive you get, the more you have to pound the steak). Here’s what you do to pound it: take plastic wrap and place it on the counter, place steak on top, then place another piece of plastic wrap on top. Pound with cube side first, then flat side (until steak is really thin). Pepper and toss with flour until lightly coated (if you are Keto, you don’t have to coat it). Set aside.

Prep a skillet with 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbs butter. High heat until butter is just browned (but don’t burn it). Toss the flour coated meat into the skillet, not crowding it (remember, we don’t want the meat to steam, we want it to sear). If you have to do it in batches, you may need to divide 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Sautés until beef gets crispy (flash cook for about 1 minute on each side). Turn heat down if it gets too hot (you can always take the pan off the heat too). Set aside.

Prepare the liquid: combine the following. Two cups of water, 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, 1 tsp better than bullion (beef flavor), tsp sugar (I use Swerve sugar alternative), 1 tsp mince ginger, 1/4 cup soy sauce. Place to side.

After slicing the yellow pepper, red pepper, and onion (cut onion in half, then medium slices (around the same width of peppers). If you want to add green beans and/or asparagus to this meal you can. Toss all ingredients into the saucepan with two cloves of garlic minced (if you don’t like a lot of garlic, only use one clove). Add water as you cook the vegetables. I usually judge the water as I go because I like my pepper al dente (bit to the tooth). My husband likes the peppers mushy. :(.

Once peppers and onions are cooked to your liking, toss the liquid you prepared into the pan and cook (boil) until it thickens. The Xanthum Gum is the binder to this recipe. Toss in the beef and cook for two minutes.

Server over white rice and/or Chinese noodles.


Broccoli Rabe with Italian Sausage

My sister-in-law got me hooked on broccoli rabe. She would make broccoli rabe with garlic and oil at Thanksgiving. This could be a meal in itself, cooked with Italian sausage and chicken stock. She would make it so much that I never thought to even ask her for the recipe. When I finally did ask her, twenty-five years later, she said, “You boil it, sauté it in oil and garlic and serve it.” Well, I boiled it until the stems were just tender, drained it, sautéed it in a sauce pan with garlic and oil until it looked like what she served. Then, just recently, my husband, my son and I went to a local restaurant and I saw it on the menu. I was so excited to see broccoli rabe on the menu. Now, my son eats broccoli (steamed, baked, raw – however it’s served). I didn’t think he wold like it so I ordered it as an appetizer and figured I would bring some leftovers for my lunch the next day. Well, boy, oh boy – he like liked it, my husband liked it (but said not something he (my husband) would eat all the time). The plate was finished before I could get a second serving. After that, I said I needed to replicate the recipe at home. This is when I figured the pressure cooker would come in really handy and cut the cooking the down by half-an hour.

This is what I did:

In a dutch over, crock pot, insta pot or what I use (my Quick Cooker), sauté two Italian sausage (you could use chicken sausage, hot Italian, or sweet Italian) in a tablespoon of olive oil. Once cooked through, add broccoli rabe (rinse, chop very small pieces), placing them in the quick cooker. Throw in 2 cloves of garlic (3 if you like strong garlic taste), 1 teaspoon of chicken stock (I use better than broth), 1/4 teaspoon of oregano, salt ( a pinch), and pepper (grind approximately 5 turns). Turn pressure cooker option on for Quick Cooker – it should be done in about 30 minutes. (NOTE: if using 1 tsp of better than broth, add 1 cup of water to recipe. This will make is soupy. If not adding water, add 1/4 tsp of better than broth. The broccoli rabe makes it’s own liquid from when rinsed in this case.

You can use a dutch over for this, following the same directions – you would just have to cook a little longer (until the broccoli rabe is tender).

Please send any questions my way.


Caesar Salad Dressing

Tonight on my live facebook feed I made a steak tip caesar salad – this is something my husband and I like to order form one of our local restaurants on the weekend. I figured, why not make it ourselves this time. I prepped the romaine lettuce ahead of time. Someone once mentioned to me that if I cut the lettuce with a plastic knife rather than a stainless steel blade, it won’t brown as quickly.. As long as it is sealed in a tight container, it will stay about a two days before turning brown. After prepping the lettuce, I cut a small round of ciabatta into small squares, tossed with some olive oil, herbs, and parmesan cheese and placed in over to toast until lightly browned. I also cut a small round of almond based tortilla into pieces to toast for my own salad (KETO style). While waiting for the croutons to toast, I prepared the dressing.

Now, caesar dressing is usually made with anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and raw egg yokes. Instead of using raw egg for this recipe I use mayonnaise. I combined the following:

RECIPE:

Before I start, I roast 1 clove of garlic in the toaster oven. Once roasted, I squeeze out the garlic in to my mixing bowl, adding 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of dijon mustard, 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. This makes enough for about four or five salads. If you are going to use raw egg and anchovy, mince 1 anchovy or more if you like it stronger with 1/2 oil (no mayonnaise).

After making the dressing, I prepared the salad, using precooked steak tips. The steak tips were marinated in greek dressing over night, taken out 1/2 hour before cooking on the grill. (NOTE: it’s always good to leave the meat out before cooking – if cold, the meat stays tight. If room temp, it’s relaxed and will cook relaxed and be much more tender). I cut the steak tips on the bias, to get a good bite out of the tip.


Keto Ground Turkey Loaf

I was so tired when I wrote this post in the wee hours of the morning. My apologies for any typos. I’m usually really good about reading what I write, and I promised you in my facebook live video that I would post the information last night. Well, I am here today to let you know that I appreciate you looking on and sharing this journey with me. I have fixed some of the typos and added some tips and pics.

This is the first time I cooked this loaf, it wasn’t enough for our family of five. It called for 1.5 pounds of ground turkey. It was devoured in a matter of minutes, so I told my husband he’d have to pick up an additional pound or two the next time he went shopping. This also meant that I had to increase the ingredients. Have you ever gone to the store with a list to then come back home and realized you didn’t get the right amount of something. Well, since I had to increase the cheese and the heavy cream, I also had to relay that information to the person who does the grocery shopping, “No, it’s not a half a pint any more, you have to get a pint!” I would say.

I would say, you probably would have to triple the recipe if you have more eating. So here it goes:

RECIPE:

The original recipe asked for 1.5 pounds ground turkey, 1 medium onion (chopped), 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 of parmesan cheese, dried parsley salt and pepper. (NOTE: cooking at 425 degrees on convection for 30 minutes, it should be done. If cooking at the baking setting, then set the temp to 450 degrees for 30 minutes). Convection cooks around, while bake cooks from underneath.

Now, this is what I did:

Sautés medium onion, salt and pepper, set aside. Combine 2 pounds ground turkey (can be white or dark – dark has more flavor), 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I didn’t increase to 2/3 of a cup because I wanted it a little bit moister, 1/2 parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to your liking, tablespoon of parsley. I cooked sliced mushrooms (sautéed) and set aside (sauce in a little oil, splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of lime juice).

If you are going to cook it in baking dishes, about one pound in each dish will work well for 30 minutes of cooking time. Again, at 450 bake is pretty hot. If you are using convection, set bake temp to 425. If you choose the cast iron stove, keep the heat on medium and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes. I found 30 minutes was a little longer than I would have liked in my cast iron pan. I covered it too – there is a lot of liquid at the beginning, but it soaks into the meat when you let it sit after you take it off the heat and/or out of the oven.

The balsamic glaze – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, one medium whole tomato, 2 tablespoons of swerve brown sugar, 1/4 tsp of yellow mustard. I chopped the tomato, placed it in a saucepan, cooked the balsamic vinegar down (not completely (just until you see a shinny glaze forming), added salt and pepper to taste. Great addition with the mushrooms.


Make ahead Egg Pockets

This recipe was inspired by a KETO recipe I tried a while back when I started KETO. The KETO recipe had cheese and sausage, no vegetables, and was baked instead of microwaved. One thing about cooking, is that you can alter the recipe and experiment with your own tools. You don’t have to stick to what is asked of you. Well, with baking it’s a lot different, but savory – I live to mix things up. I’ll tell you about my KETO story another time, so for now here is my story about Egg Pockets.

I started with my tools: cutting board, three cup prep bowl, paring knife, coated santoku knife, one cup prep bowls with lids, and microplane cheese grater. Before I start, I set up the ingredients: onion, red pepper, spinach, cheeses (feta, cheddar, and herbed cheese), and eggs. Next comes the flavors: salt and pepper, southwestern herbs, garlic and herb, and a sprig of thyme from my garden pot (did you know you could now herbs in the kitchen window all winter?)

Now, this recipe can be a make ahead recipe for a couple of days. I wouldn’t go more than three days ahead if you are going to store the containers with the egg mixture in them like the picture shows (I’ll tell you why in a moment). I would suggest you prep all the other ingredients (onion, spinach, red pepper, calamari olives, herbs and cheese), and store them in the containers, then cracking the eggs the morning you’re expecting to cook, and adding them then. Why: I found that if you store the eggs with the mixture the eggs don’t get as fluffy in the microwave, and they tend to the turn the color of the spinach, and then you have green eggs.

Here is what I did:

First I started with the prep of the vegetables, dice the onion, pepper, and chop the spinach, dividing each into the prep bowls (I used approximately 1 tablespoon of onion, 1 tablespoon of pepper, and 3 tablespoons of chopped spinach divided among the four cups. Add the cheese (feta and calamari olive with a pinch of southwestern herbs, salt and pepper); (cheddar and thyme, salt and pepper); and (herbed cheese with garlic and herb rub seasoning, salt and pepper). (TIP: when the recipe says 1 cup of chopped spinach, you chop it first then measure it. When the recipe says one cup of spinach, chopped, you measure it first, then chop it). Next, add the spices, herbs, and the cheese to your liking (remember, if you want more onion, red pepper, or spinach, add as much or as little as you’d like. This is your food the way you like it.

Then (this is the part where you could hold off and add the egg as you serve). If you are going to serve two or more people, go ahead and prep the eggs. I used three eggs to the four cup servings. I added about a teaspoon of water to my egg base and whisk it really well. I pour the batter equally into the four cups (it comes to about the 1/4 mark on the prep bowl cups I used). If you are using mugs and/or ramekins, you could use a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Of course if you have cut more vegetables than I recommended, your servings might yield 1/2 cup each serving because of the mass of added ingredients. (NOTE: If you are going to microwave right away, they will cook nice and fluffy).

Like I mentioned in my live stream, I cooked my cups for 1 minute, however I have a 1000W microwave. If you have a higher watt microwave, your cups may only take 45 seconds. (TIP: test it out for about 30 seconds, then open the microwave door for each 10 second interval until it is fully cooked. Also, some people like their eggs on the soft or hard side, this would factor in how much time you would want to cook your eggs. Experiment, take a risk!!

Remember too, it will rise like a soufflé, and then fall when you take it out of the microwave. Salt and pepper to taste (your taste). I served my meal with diced avocado and yellow tomato (lime juice, salt and pepper). Good luck, and happy eating!!