Since many of us are still in the pandemic lockdown, self-imposed or mandated, deciding what to cook has become a chore. Many of us are probably planning out weekly menus to cut down on grocery runs, which many of you know can be a daunting experience with masks, lines, and empty shelves; and I won’t even get into disinfecting all the groceries we bring home! Such is our new “normal” at least until this scourge passes.
Another main concern for many of us is a disrupted food chain caused by virus outbreaks at many of the meat packing plants nationwide. Not only is this virus causing meat shortages, but it puts plant employees considered essential workers, and their families at risk. I know we all want to do our part to stop the spread and also hopefully keep folks from hoarding meat. (Remember the Toilet Paper back in March? I don’t think the factories have caught up yet!) Anyway to show our support for meat packing plant employees and hopefully lessen the demand for meats workers’ advocates are calling for Meatless Mondays. So you might want to plan your weekly menus to include at least one meatless day, it’s good for your health as well as one small step in stopping the spread. So I thought this month I’d share some meatless recipes with you.
One of my favorite seafood dishes is Salt & Pepper Shrimp, we used to order it every time we dined at a Chinese restaurant. Since I found a recipe for it we can enjoy it at home. I modified it to fit our tastes and I think made it a bit simpler to make. Served over steamed white rice it’s yummy!
1 lb. Medium to Large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 tbls. sea salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tbls. ground white pepper
2 tbls. ground black pepper
1 tbls. garlic powder
3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 + cup peanut oil
Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour
In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch, 1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder
Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel
Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot
Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok
Cook until shrimp turns pink – turn halfway for even cooking – you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry
Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain – Do not turn stove off
If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil – add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden
Add fried shrimp back into pan
Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
It’s Taco Tuesday and at my house that calls for a batch of Homemade Fresh Salsa. I know there are lots of bottled salsa out there, but seriously? Bottled salsa can’t compare to homemade!
In my husband’s family there’s a serious Salsa recipe competition! Each of my in-laws guard their “secret” salsa recipe; and each one claiming boasting rights to the best Salsa in town. Having tried their salsas I must admit the male darned good salsa! Who has the best, that’s hard to say without offending anyone!
Now having watched them make their salsa over the years I’ve been able to piece together my own version that of course is just as good!
Making homemade salsa isn’t very hard it just takes a bit of time and effort, but the end result is so worth it!
I usually mix up enough to fill 2 quart size Mason jars. This will keep in the fridge about a week or so, not that we have it for that long. We love using it on tacos, nachos, and even in fresh pita bread. It’s seriously that delish!
So here’s how to make Fresh Salsa, try it and you’ll never buy another bottle of it again!
Are you a fan of hearty Italian cooking? Do you love pizza and pasta? Well we’re big fans of Italian cuisine and pizza and pasta are our favorites, specially those with marinara sauce!
Sure we have our favorite Italian restaurants both here and abroad. But nothing beats home cooking! And a bowl of spaghetti is comfort food at its best.
Pastas and pizza have 2 basic ingredients; dough in the form of noodles or crust, and sauce. So making it at home should be easy, specially since you can buy pasta, crust, and sauces dried, frozen, or bottled from any grocery store. But why settle for boxed sauces (or pasta or crust) when making it from scratch is so simple?
Ok maybe making pizza dough is a bit time consuming and so is making pasta, but the sauces, well that’s pretty easy! (If you want to make homemade pasta check out my review of the Philips Pasta Machine). Marinara
One of the easiest and most versatile sauces is Marinara Sauce. You can use it for pasta, think spaghetti marinara; pizza, think Margherita; sandwiches, think meatball subs; and as a dip, think fried mozzarella sticks!
So today I’ll share my Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe. Believe me it’s super easy!
I use canned Fire Roasted diced tomatoes to give it that homemade taste. Sugar cuts the acidity of all those diced tomatoes so don’t leave it out even if you think it’s weird. And lastly I add some spice with crushed red peppers, yes, the the stuff you sprinkle on your pizza; you can add the tablespoon or more if you like spicy or omit it if you don’t.
Ginger Snaps are a family favorite. These old fashioned Ginger Snaps are nothing like the boxed cookies you’ll find in many stores during the holidays. Those boxed cookies are crunchy and taste pretty much like store bought gingerbread.
If you’ve never tried homemade old fashioned ginger snaps, then you’ve never truly had ginger snaps. These home made cookies sparkle with a dusting of sugar, they’re lightly crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the center. And they’re oh so delicious!
My Christmas baking wouldn’t be complete without these yummy Ginger Snaps. I usually make 3 batches; 2 for gifting and 1 for our cookie jar. Let me tell you, the cookie jar empties out pretty quickly!
Here’s the recipe for Savvy Nana’s Old Fashioned Ginger Snaps. Be sure you make a couple of batches because I guarantee they’ll disappear in a blink of and eye!
By the way they’ll fill the house with a wonderful Christmas aroma while they’re in the oven!
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsulphered molasses
2 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sugar topping – mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon together to make this topping
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Fit standing mixer with a paddle attachment
Place sugar, shortening, salt, and baking soda into the mixing bowl and mix until smooth and creamy
Add egg and mix until well blended
Add molasses and mix until well blended
In a separate bowl mix flour and spices together and add dry mixture to shortening mixture
Using a 1” cookie scooper or tablespoon make 1” dough balls.
Drop each ball into sugar topping and roll in the mixture until well coated
Place sugared ball on a parchment or silicone mat covered baking sheet about 1” apart
Bake for 10 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool for 4-5 minutes
Using a spatula carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely