Pork Tenderloin With Apples

Pork Was Made For Apples!

The sweet tart flavor of apples were made for the rich taste of pork so we often cook a pork tenderloin as a fast supper.  All you need is one saute pan to create this luxurious meat dish. Serve it with mashed potatoes and our Braised Red Cabbage for a German take on dinner.

pork tenderloin with braised Apples

Two Food Nuts Pork Loin with Sauteed Apples:

Pork Tenderloins come in all sizes but we choose one that will serve the two of us.  If you are making this for a family, you can generally feel comfortable serving 1/2 a small loin per person. If you have a bunch of hungry husbands and sons to feed as we do when our sons and grandsons are here for dinner, let us suggest buying the larger tenderloins and serving 1/2 to each person.

  • 1/2  Pork Tenderloin per person
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence per pork loin
  • 2-3 springs of fresh Thyme
  • butter and olive oil for frying (we like to use both for better browning of the meat.
  • 2 granny Smith or Macintosh apples per pork loan. Cut into slices and cored. (Peeled or not, its your choice)
  • 1/4 cup cold water or apple juice.

You need to remove the silver skin from pork tenderloin. removing silver skin Use a sharp knife to slide between the silver skin and the meat. 

Heat a large saute pan and when it’s hot, add the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted add the seasoned meat to brown on high heat.  Once the meat has browned all over, turn the heat to medium and add the sliced apples to the pan.  Add the water or apple juice. Toss in the fresh Thyme stems and cover the meat until the apples soften and the meat is tender. About 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the Pork Tenderloin.  Do not over cook. You want the apples to keep their texture and the meat to have the slightest pink blush when sliced.

pork tenderloin with braised ApplesMake it a perfect dinner with your favorite side dish.  Serve the apples surrounding the Pork Tenderloin.

Spicy Mango Salsa

Sweet Heat!

When we go to The Mandarin Restaurant, Elfie always goes for the Mango Salad.  She loves it so much that she used the idea of Mango and Chili to create a Spicy Salsa that’s great with meat or fish.  When rich food is complimented with something light and fruity the combination is always a hit. This salsa can be made ahead of time so its a cook’s friend when company is coming.  Around here, its just one of those things that finds its way to the table because we love it!

spicy mango salsa

Spicy Mango Salsa:

We use a mandolin to slice the fruit.

This is a tool that you will use a good deal so it might just be worth the investment.  When making onion soup, coleslaw, scalloped potatoes or anything else that requires a lot of slicing we have found the Mandoline to be easy to use and quick to clean afterward.

  • 1 ripe Mango, peeled and slicedmandoline
  • 1/4 of a sweet red onion, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • a few drops of sesame oil if you have it

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to develop.

Serve with meat or fish!

 

Talapia with Mango Salsa

Spicy Mango Salsa Adds Interest to Talapia.

We probably don’t eat enough fish compared to those that live next to an ocean. Unless you live in a big city most of the fish you see in the grocery store was frozen before being sold to you. We’ve solved that problem by shopping at alternative markets. We have the good fortune of having some ethnic markets close to our home and they have a fresh fish counter.  Once you try Asian or Caribbean markets  you are going to find as we have, that the taste of fresh fish is far superior to anything sold in a regular supermarket.

talapia with mango salsa

TwoFoodNuts Talapia with Spicy Mango Salsa:

Serves 4

The Salsa:

 

We use a mandolin to slice the fruit.

mandolineThis is a tool that you will use a good deal so it might just be worth the investment.  When making onion soup, coleslaw, scalloped potatoes or anything else that requires a lot of slicing we have found the Mandoline to be easy to use and quick to clean afterward.

  • 1 ripe Mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 of a sweet red onion, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • a few drops of sesame oil if you have it

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to develop while you prepare the fish and rice.  Look at those colors!                                                                                  spicy mango salsa

The Talapia

  • 4 Talapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • salt and pepper
  • butter for frying
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter

Method:

  • Place the flour onto a plate or shallow bowl.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Stir to mix and dip fillets into the flour.
  • Once dredged heat the butter in a non-stick saute pan.
  • When the butter is melted cook the fillets on medium-high heat till lightly brown.
  • Turn and brown the second side. This takes just minutes.

Place a lemon slice on each fillet, pour the lemon juice in the pan and place the cold butter in the middle of the pan while you stir it into the lemon juice. This will make a glaze for the fish. The fish is cooked when it flakes with a fork and is lightly browned. Serve immediately!

talapia with spicy mango salsaIf it’s true that we eat with our eyes then get up to the table right now! Talapia is such a lovely mild fish and the salsa works perfectly to jazz it up. We love a rice pilaf when we eat fish. Tell us about your favorite fish recipe!

Eggs For Dinner. Ole!

Eggs With A Mexican Twist.

Busy lives demand fast, healthy meals that hit all the high notes in taste. This dish offers protein without meat, speed in preparation and savory flavors sure to please. It’s versatile too. We love eggs for dinner and this is a favorite at our house, we hope it will be at your table as well.

eggs for dinner

Lets get started:

The base of this dish is warmed flour tortillas topped with:

  • scrambled eggs(2 per person)
  • You can do the “Hungry Man or Woman” version and use 3 eggs.
  • sour cream
  • chopped tomatoes
  • fresh avocado
  • grated cheese (use your favorite)
  • Chopped red chili (optional)
  • chopped fresh herbs (we used Italian parsley) try sliced green onion too!
  • salsa.

We begin by cracking the eggs into a bowl and adding chopped red chili. Set aside.

Next chop fresh tomatoes and avocado and herbs. This takes just minutes.

Grate some cheese. This is a  good way to use up those bits in the fridge  Just a little to keep fat in check.

Place two non stick pans on the stove. You will heat the tortillas by placing on the hot pan for 30 seconds per side.

Make the scrambled eggs while you heat the tortillas. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the best dish by placing the scrambled eggs on the warm tortilla, then topping with dollops of sour cream, the chopped tomatoes, avocado, cheese, salsa and herbs.

It took Elfie no more than 15 minutes to make this start to finish. It’s rich in protein from the eggs and avocado and bit of cheese. It’s going to be your new favorite meat-free supper!

mexican eggs

 

Baby Its Cold Outside Shepherd’s Pie!

Comfort Food Shepherd’s Pie

Boy, this one is really “Old School”!  Everybody likes comfort food and in order to be really comforting it has to be simple to make. Before we built our new house, we lived in a little cabin here on the property. The kitchen was an after-thought, so making big fancy meals didn’t work. We spent a lot of time outdoors in those days as we tried to tame the jungle that was our little country property. After a long day of raking leaves, or shoveling snow we’d be exhausted but starving. This humble little supper was a favorite then and now.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

Here’s our TwoFoodNuts Shepherd’s Pie recipe:

Serves 4

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 can peas and carrots or (1 & 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 1 package Beef gravy Mix, (we like Knorr or International Gravy Mix)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cold water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Russett Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup soft butter for mashing

Peel and cube the Potatoes. Boil in a pot of salted water until very soft. Drain well and mash with 1/4 cup butter.

sheppard's pie filling

Fry the ground beef until well browned. Add the onion and fry until it is just transparent.  Add the peas and carrots, sprinkle the gravy mix in and add the water. (If using frozen peas and carrots you need to microwave for 3 minutes or so).

Gravy mix

Bring the meat filling to a boil and once the gravy is thickened, place the meat into a 2 quart casserole dish. Scoop the warm mashed potatoes on top and using the open side of the spoon, make a nice pattern on top.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes since everything is hot when assembled.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

The top should be lightly brown and the gravy will bubble up when its done!

Sheppard's Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after a hard day, this is your reward! What do you think? Would you stick around to eat with us?

Cran-Apple Sauce

Kick Up The Turkey This Year!

Who does not love the tart, sweet taste of Cranberry Sauce with Turkey or Pork?   We foraged so many apples this year that we thought they should be incorporated in our annual Cranberry Sauce making.  This year was an amazing year for apples.  Since we live in the country, we have old trees right here in the yard but the road sides were abundant with “Free Food” too.

homemade cran-apple sauceWe love not knowing what we’re going to get when we forage.  Some apples were sweet and crisp, some were so very tart, others were a bit mealy.  No matter, by mixing up the apples we created so many wonderful treats. Our Cran-Apple Sauce is just one of them.

Look at that color!

We used the sweeter apples that we foraged for this recipe.  If you can get Honey Crisp, or Royal Gala they will compliment the Cranberries wonderfully. We do not make a super sweet Cran-Apple Sauce. We like it to be tart.

peeling apples

TwoFoodNuts Cran-Apple Sauce:

  • 3 cups cranberries (they can be fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes the size of the Cranberries
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of half a lemon

cran-apple mixPlace everything into a large saucepan.   Heat to a boil and then turn the heat to medium.  Cook the mixture until the berries burst and the sauce thickens. Pour into sterile jars and hand tighten the lids.

filling canning jarsYour work here is done!

Cook’s Tip: It’s vital to sterilize canning jars before filling.  Wash jars and lids well in hot soapy water or clean in dishwasher.  Next, fill each jar with 1/2 inch of water and place in Microwave for 5 minutes on full power right before filling.  Lids should be placed into a bowl and pour boiling water over them for 5 minutes before sealing the jars.  Keep in fridge to be food safe and use within 3 months.  Not a problem at our house.

sterilizing canning carsDiscover new ways to use our Cran-Apple Sauce by serving with your next bacon and cheese sandwich or better yet, spread it on the filling of a Paninni with Ham and Swiss cheese.  Your next grilled Pork chop will love being accompanied by this sauce too! Even your crackers and cheese will never be the same with the addition of a little Cran-Apple Sauce!

TwoFoodNuts Cran-apple Sauce

 

3 Fast and Easy Dinners

Make a Delicious Dinner In No Time!

We want to remind you that you can make fabulous dinners in under half and hour. So this weekend, pick a pasta and whip up a garlic bread side dish for your hungry family. One pasts is seafood, and two are vegetarian. None will break the bank but all will reward the crowd.

Got a bag of shrimp in the freezer? Then give this a try!  Shrimp in Rose’ Sauce

Shrimp pasta

Poor Man’s food that tastes like a million dollars! Here’s the recipe. Cucina Povera or Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

spaghetti-a-la-lemoneYour third choice can be made with jarred Pesto and frozen peas. Give it a go! Pasta, Pesto and Peas!

Pasta Pesto and peas

Add a side of our fabulous Garlic Bread!

twofoodnuts garlic bread

It’s a great way to start the weekend!

Bacon Burgers!

Put Bacon “In” Your Burger!

 

The world is full of good and bad burgers. We’ve eaten many over the years but in all honesty there’s nothing as good as a home made burger. You know just what’s in it and you control the salt. Fast Food burgers are loaded with salt because there’s no love in them!

Bacon burgers

One of our favorite burgers around here has bacon and cheese on it so we thought, why not put the bacon and cheese “in” the burger. We used lean ground pork for the burger as well.   It cooks up juicy, flavorful and loves all your favorite toppings.  If you have only ever used beef for your homemade burgers, you’ll want to give this a try.  Pork is not a high fat meat but it does have great taste. You can also make this with ground chicken or turkey if you do not eat pork.

Lets make those TwoFoodNuts Bacon Burgers:

This recipe makes 7-8 generous burgers

  • 2 lbs lean ground pork
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (Panko can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmeasan
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

There are no eggs in these burgers so they are tender rather than dense.

Bacon Burgers

Begin by pouring the milk over the bread crumbs in a small bowl and allow to stand until the bacon is fried.  Fry the bacon until nice and crisp. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the fat and place in  the mixing bowl with the pork.  Add the soaked bread crumbs, the grated cheese and the seasonings. Mix lightly with a fork until you see that everything has been incorporated.

Divide the meat mix and form your burgers. We make this large batch and bag them individually so we can cook as many burgers as needed. Notice that we flatten them in the bags so they don’t have to defrost before grilling. These burgers are so rich and juicy you can pan fry them and they will be equally delicious.  Never press down on a burger when you are cooking it. This makes it dry.

Freezer Ready Bacon Burgers

TwoFoodNuts Chow Mein Noodles

The Perfect Side For Chicken!

We made our Sweet and Spicy Chicken for company the other day and thought it would be nice to try a new recipe as the side dish.  It seems weird that after all the cooking we’ve done that we have never prepared Chow Mein Noddles at home. It’s particularly strange since we love eating them when we go out of Asian food.  That being said, we bought a bag of the dried Chow Mein Noodles last time we were at BlueSky so we went for it.

Chow Mein Noodles

We opted to create a recipe that flavor the noodles to compliment our Sweet and Spicy Chicken. It turns out you could really serve them with anything that has an Asian twist.

Look for Chow Mein Noodles in any Asian store and most supermarkets in the specialty isle. Add some awesome crisp vegetables and complete them with a light sauce.

This can be a main dish by stir frying chicken breast pieces, shrimp or beef strips before adding the the vegetables.

Here’s how we do Chow Mein Noodles:

serves 6

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame oil (this is very pungent)
  • 2 Tablespoon freshly grated Ginger
  • 2 large Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or Palm Sugar
  •  3 green onions thinly sliced and sesame seeds to garnish

All of these ingredients can be bought at a supermarket now a days.

Chow mein Ingredients

For the Noodles:

  •  1 package dried Chow Mein Noodles
  • Salt for boiling the noodles
  • 2 cups of sliced vegetables of your choice
  • 3 Tbsp oil for stir frying

We used mushrooms, yellow carrot, sweet red peppers,  snow peas and garlic.   We fried the mushrooms separately first.

 

Boil the noodles in salted water until just tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Place a clean tea towel in a large bowl and allow the noodles to dry off before stir frying.  The noodles now take just minutes to prepare. When your meat dish is ready to serve, heat a Wok or large skillet.

When the Wok is hot, pour in the oil and the vegetables. Stir for just 1 minute.  You want the vegetable to remain crisp but heated through. Now add the noodles and the sauce to the wok and with two wooden spoons begin to toss the veggies with the noodles. You are not trying to brown the noodles. You simply want everything to be hot all through.

Chow Mein Noodles

It’s time to plate up your creation! Sprinkle the green onions and a few sesame seeds over the noodles and faster then you can say Karate Kid dinner’s ready.

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Chicken, Always A Good Idea!

We were having some friends over for lunch today. They are originally from Jamaica so something with a bit of zip was in order. Our friend Hope often makes Elfie’s favorite chicken dish when we visit them so we wanted to reciprocate today. Our Sweet Spicy version was just the answer.

Sweet and Spicy chicken

Now, this dish lends itself to Rice and Peas, a very Jamaican dish but we thought we’d put a different spin on it and serve Chow Mein Noodles. This is the first time the noodle dish has appeared on our table but it was excellent. We’ll post the recipe for you in a separate blog.

Whether you make this for two people or a crowd the prep time is about 5 minutes. We love that. No point dropping from exhaustion by the time the dinner guests arrive! So here we go.

 TwoFoodNuts Sweet and Spicy Chicken:

Serves 6

  •  12 chicken thighs. (You can do skinless and boneless to save calories) We don’t!
  • ¼ cup grainy mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 red chili seeded and minced (if you don’t like heat, leave it out or use less)
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons, plus the juice from both
  • Salt and pepper

Line a large oven-proof dish with Parchment paper (you’ll thank us at cleanup)!

5 minute prep time

Place the thighs, skin side down. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Mix everything else in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Bake at 350F for 45min to 1 hour depending on the size of the thighs. At the 30-minute mark, turn the meat to allow it to brown on both sides. Test with a fork. Meat should not offer any resistance. Serve with Rice or Chow Mein Noodles.

Sweet and Spicy chicken

Good enough for company but fast and easy for everyday dinners. Enjoy!

Lightening Fast Brownie Sundae

Wow Them With Chocolate!

These Sundaes are so simple to make, but they taste like you slaved for hours. Its really a dessert that is assembled from a group of quality ingredients that you buy.

Brownie Sundae

What you need to make these Brownie Sundae:

  • Ice Cream (we love Pralines and Cream), but use anything that compliments chocolate
  • Ready made or leftover brownies cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Sliced Strawberries, or fresh Raspberries
  • Whipping cream ( we like Readi Whip in a can) But please use Real Whipped cream not Coolwhip.
  • Chocolate Sundae Sauce
  • Chopped Pecans

We use a clear serving dish to show off the layers of this dessert.  It looks so sumptuous.  Place a scoop of ice cream into the dish, top with the Brownie cubes, add the Berries, load on the Whipping cream and top with the Chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of Pecans.

We can hear them cheering you from here!

TwoFoodNuts Brownie Sundae

Any Comments?

Bruschetta

Put This Dish In Your Repertoire!

We love this Bruschetta recipe because its so versatile. It can be a stand alone appetizer or a side dish to a great salad like Harry’s Famous Caesar Salad. Either way its a hit.  If you’re having guests, you can prep the topping in advance and pop it in the oven when they arrive. Look how appetizing the finished dish looks!

 image

When we talk about versatility, we mean that the type of cheese, bread, onions, or olives and all be swapped up. If your baguette isn’t fresh enough to serve at dinner, don’t worry its fine for this recipe because you’re going to brush it with Olive oil and toast i t anyway.

Here’s how Harry makes Bruschetta:

This makes 12 toasts. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

12 slices Baguette cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

  • 1/2 cup of chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Feta ( try Parmesan for a substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp minced green onion or chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or Kalamata olives your choice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Roasted Red Peppers if you have them
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil plus an additional 2 Tbsp to brush the bread.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

4-5 Fresh Basil leaves sliced to sprinkle on top of finished dish.

image

Slice the bread and brush one side with the olive oil. Place on a baking sheet.  Place all the ingredients except the basil in a bowl and mix well.  Pop the bread under the broiler and toast lightly. Turn the bread over and toast the other side. Once the bread is toasted on both sides, top with the tomato mixture reduce the heat to 400F and return to the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. You just want to heat the topping not cook it.

image

Serve right away but topping with the basil strips and get ready for the compliments!

image

 

 

The “One” Tart

One Apple, Makes One Tart That Feeds Four!

Sometimes you need a quick dessert that wows the audience. This “One” is going do just that!  You don’t need much to put it together.  We love anything made with puff pastry.  The quality of a ready-made butter pastry is perfect for this dessert. We make it early in the day, pop it into the freezer, then bake it while everyone is eating the main course.   Lets face it, a warm apple tart with a dollop of fresh cold whipping cream is always welcome.

 

Total prep time for this dessert is only 10 minutes once you have the ingredients on the work table, so lets make the “One” Tart!

apple desserts

Ingredients for our TwoFoodNuts “One” Tart:

  • 1 ready made puff pastry sheet about 12  inches square
  • 1 large Honey Crisp apple, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 large pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp Demarera sugar or any course sugar to sprinkle over the tart.
  • 1 cup heavy cream for whipping
  • 1 Tbsp sugar to sweeten the cream

Now you see why we call this the “One” Tart!

"One" Tart

Begin by allowing the pastry to thaw.  Roll it out on a fresh sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.  Place in the freezer while you peel the apple.  Peel the apple and cut in half or quarters.  Remove the core and slice the apple so it’s about 1/8th inch thick.  You want enough to cover the tart in a single layer.  Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter all over the tart.  It will solidify right away. That’s what you want!  Layer the apples in an interesting pattern to within 1/2 inch of the pastry edge. Drizzle the honey over the apples, sprinkle with the cinnamon, place the almonds on the apples and pinch the sugar over the top. Lightly run a butter knife around the edge of the crust about 1/2 in from the edge. This lets the crust puff a bit.

Now you can decide if you are baking it right away.  If you want it for later in the day pop it back in the freezer and the apples will stay nice and white till you’re ready.

It’s ready for the oven!  Bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven at 400F.  Puff Pastry does best when it’s cold before being placed in a hot oven. It causes the pastry to rise and become light and crispy.  When the “One” tart is baked, slice into 4 generous pieces and top with a heaping tablespoon of sweetened whipping cream.

French Apple tart

 

 

Aunt Iona’s Wax Beans In Cream,

Not Your Ordinary Wax Beans.

My Aunt Iona was born on a farm in Palmer Rapids Ontario and she was a fabulous cook.  I credit her with getting me started on my culinary journey.  I spent many a summer vacation with her at the cottage in Palmer Rapids Ontario.  She was very patient in showing me how to grow things and how to prepare the meals with the produce.  The bounty of Iona’s garden was always cooked simply but in a way that was so delicious.  One of my favorite recipes that Iona made was her Wax Beans In Cream.

Iona's Beans in cream

Iona’s Wax Beans in Cream Recipe:                                                                                  Iona Mantifel

  • One pound of beans, tipped, and cut into inch and a half pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the beans in salted water until just tender. Drain and return to the pot.  Turn up the heat for just 30 seconds to dry off the beans. (This helps keep the sauce rich)  Add the butter, cream and lots of freshly ground pepper and simmer for 3-4 minutes  Indulge!

It’s been a heart-warming memory for me to share this recipe with you. I hope you will try to carry on some of the food traditions that your family has created.  There’s something wonderful about keeping our beloved family members alive through our joy of cooking their recipes!

luv you

Miss you everyday Aunt Iona!

Love Elfie.

 

 

Cucina Povera

Tuscan Peasant Cooking.

 We  fondly remember our first trip to Tuscany. We stopped at a little cliff-side restaurant with a panoramic view of the countryside. The cypress trees reached to the sky at each of the little farms in the distance. It was so beautiful and hot!

Tuscan views

Since we had just arrived in Italy and this was our first trip, we wanted to eat in little places outside the cities.  Once you leave the tourist areas you get to eat “real” Italian food.  Italians have a way of creating exciting food using a few quality ingredients without much fuss.

That’s Cucina Povera  or the Peasant Kitchen.

We admired the views as we waited in anticipation for lunch to arrive. Today it would be Insalada Verde (Green Salad) and Spaghetti a la Limone (Lemon Spaghetti).

Spaghetti A la lemone

Of all the pasta we have eaten in our travels it has to be said that this one stood head and shoulders above all others. The flavors of lemon, garlic, peppery olive oil and fresh herbs make this a light but exciting pasta dish. The Parmesan gives it a richness that completes the experience.

We enjoy making this fast and easy pasta when we’re busy or when the fridge is empty. At our house you can be sure that even when there’s “nothing to eat” we will always have lemons, garlic and fresh herbs. The pantry may get low but no so much that you can’t find some type of pasta to save the day.

We hope you’ll try this simple delicious dish when you take a break from eating meat. We love meat based meals but each week we make the effort to have at least two meat-free dinners.

Spaghetti a la Limone by TwoFoodNuts:

 ingredientsServes 4

  • Half a package of regular Spaghetti noodles
  • Grated peel of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4-6 large Garlic cloves (depending on your love of garlic)
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley (divided in two)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup olive oil. (that’s 2Tbsp per person, so don’t panic)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

In a large pot boil salted water to cook the pasta until Al Dente.  While the pasta is cooking, put all ingredients (except Parmesan) into a large skillet and just warm through for a few minutes. You do not want the garlic to get brown. The moment the pasta is done lift it out of the pasta water with tongs or a pasta fork directly into the skillet. You want a bit of the water to create a sauce. Toss to incorporate all ingredients and serve.

Spaghetti A la lemoneSprinkle with Parmesan and reserved parsley. Drizzle with a bit more oil and Mangia!

Two Food Nuts Secret Sauce.

The Perfect Sauce.

We created a tomato sauce that is so versatile that we want to share it with you today. We use this sauce when we make our fabulous Cabbage Rolls, Stuffed Peppers and we’ve even used it with our beautiful Ricotta filled Zucchini flowers. It’s such a winner that you have to give it a try.  It’s so simple to make and you can freeze it so you’re never out of the sauce that makes your food sing!

Stuffed peppersDSC01741Two Food Nuts Secret Sauce:

  • 1 large can Tomato Juice
  • 1  680 ml can of Spaghetti Sauce (this is about 24 oz or 3 cups ) Harry uses Hunts Extra Spicy
  • 1 bottle of Pasata. (This is puréed tomatoes)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 red chili, seeded and minced is optional but oh so good.

Begin by: Placing everything into a dutch oven. Stir well and and allow to simmer on medium low for 1/2 an hour. Now you can allow it to cool and divide it into small portions for freezing or use it right away for Cabbage Rolls or Stuffed peppers.

Secret SauceOther uses:

  • Pan Stew with Chicken and potatoes (above)
  • Add it to a pasta with stir fried sausage and peppers
  • It makes a great base for a tomato rice soup
  • It can be a sauce for home made pizza
  • Add extra flavor to Tostatas
  • Riccotta stuffed shells

Enjoy making this simple sauce and let us know if you found a new use for it in your own Kitchen.  We’d love to know how you used our Secret Sauce!  Happy cooking.

 

 

 

Shrimp Pasta With Rose Sauce.

Ten Minutes To A Sensational Shrimp Pasta Supper.

Sometimes you just want a quick meal, but you know it still has to hit all the notes. Fast doesn’t have to mean you are giving up anything when you cook with Two Food Nuts! Since we love pasta we’ve learned to take a few simple ingredients and whip up something good enough to serve to company but perfect for a regular weekday supper.

Shrimp pastaThis pasta dish is ready in just minutes because the protein is Shrimp. Even better is knowing that you can use the smaller more cost effective raw shrimp that save you money. No need to use jumbo shrimp as in recipes where the Shrimp is the “star of the show”, even though in this dish it still plays a leading role.

Here’s the Two Food Nuts Recipe for Shrimp in Rose Sauce:

This recipe is intended for two

  • Pasta of your choice (we love using regular spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried Herbs de Provence or 2 tbsp fresh thyme and basil chopped
  • 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes ( use one if it’s large, 2 if they are small)
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper (add a pinch of chili flakes to add zip if you like)
  • 1 cup small raw shrimp (you can add them in frozen or thawed)
  • 1 cup light cream (we use 10% but you can use 5% if you are fat conscience)

Prepare Chopped fresh Basil and grated Parmesan for garnish on finished pasta.

Set a pot on the stove to cook the pasta. Add plenty of salt. Cook till al dente.        Meanwhile make the sauce. In a non-stick skillet, place all the sauce ingredients except the shrimp and the cream.

pasta flavoringsSaute the mixture gently till softened about 4-5 minutes. Then add the cream to the pan.

shrimp and pasta in a rose sauceAdd the shrimp and cook until they turn pick throughout.  Adjust the salt pepper and chili flakes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

saute shrimpAdd the pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to spread the sauce over the pasta. Use a bit of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.  Serve to bowls and garnish with the chopped Basil and Parmesan!

This is so fast that the pasta will be cooked in the time you prepare the sauce.You can almost see the flavors in this photo. Do you smell garlic and fresh  basil???

Serve with our Not So Secret Garlic Bread for a satisfying meal when you just don’t have time to cook.

Shrimp pastaTell us what you thought of this easy dish if you give it a try. we love to have your feedback.

 

Tostatas

There’s More Than One Way To Top Tostatas!

Here’s a dinner that the whole family will love. Kids and adults like being able to assemble a dish just the way they like it. Tostatas give everyone at the table artistic license.  Today we are doing our version using ground beef, but you can easily use ground chicken or forget the meat entirely and use re-fried beans as the key ingredient. We love when food is flexible. That means you can use what you have on hand.

TostatasThis is also a chance for the kids to get involved with making dinner.  Let them fill the dishes with all the toppings.  You can make life easy with cheese that comes grated, sour cream, ready made salsa and guacamole.  All you have to do is make the meat mixture and  its ready in about the time the kids get the sides assembled.

Here’s our Two Food Nuts Tostatas Meat Filling:

Makes enough filling for 6-8 Tostatas

  • 1 lb ground beef or chicken
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 celery ribs minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or crushed
  • 1 red chili pepper, (or Jalapeno) seeded and chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp anco chili powder or 1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
  • 1 tsp Worchesteshire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • one small bunch cilantro minced or torn
  • 1 bag of Tostatas Rounds (In the ethnic foods section not in the snack isle)

Beef TostatasBegin by browning the meat in a hot skillet. Once it becomes brown, add all the other ingredients except the ketchup and stir until the meat mixture is well cooked.  When you see everything come together, turn off the heat and add the ketchup. Stir and serve.

Tostatas ToppingsYou can top your Tostatas with anything that you like.  Lettuce, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, tomatillo sauce, re-fried beans, you name it!

TostatasHave fun at your next Mexican night dinner! Ole’

 

Summer Ratatouille.

The Lighter Side of Ratatouille.

Today we were at the farmer’s market and the produce was outstanding.  It led us to think of how to make a satisfying lunch of a few vegetables. Lately we have found ourselves creating some pretty remarkable dishes using what’s in season and what’s local.  Farmers aren’t given enough credit for their hard work and passion for growing wonderful wholesome food. Thankfully these Two Food Nuts appreciate everything that they put on our plates.

ratatouilleRatatouille is a dish found in Provence. It is a comfort food, made with a tomato base and lots of winter vegetables. It’s the inspiration for this lighter summer version.  Just look at those colors! A few humble ingredients put together with a pinch of love and a few herbs!  I know of a few restaurants that should be jealous of this creation!

The beauty of this dish is it’s simplicity and variety. You can decide what you want to add into it.   Look at what’s in the market and what your family enjoys eating. Go ahead be brave!

To make this a vegetarian dish simply leave out the bacon. There is still so much flavor with just the vegetables.

ratatouille vegetablesFor our Two Food Nuts Summer Ratatouille we used:

This recipe serves two as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

  • 6 slices of diced bacon to get the party started
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 15 of tiniest potatoes halved or one thinly slice one large potato.
  • 1 Patty Pan Squash sliced
  • 1 large luscious field tomato sliced
  • 2  fresh garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence
  •  A few thyme and oregano sprigs
  • 1/2 of a red chilli finely diced for interest
  • 5-6 leaves of CavoloNero (Italy’s black Cabbage) or baby kale leaves and Greek Feta to finish.
  • Greek Feta to sprinkle on top

Notice there is no salt in this dish. We found the bacon and the Feta provided all the salt that was necessary. The chili brought the mild heat so no pepper was added either!

Begin by putting the bacon and oil in the skillet. Fry on high until the bacon is just beginning to brown. Add the potatoes now, stir to coat with the bacon fat and oil and add a small splash of water. Cover and cook on medium-low to allow the potatoes to soften.

ratatouille flavoringsAfter a few minutes, add the garlic and layer on the vegetables and the herbs and chilli. Cover, increase heat to medium high and allow all the ingredients to soften and the flavors to mingle. This only takes a few minutes but depends on the density of the vegetables used.

ratatouille ingredientsOnce everything has cooked down and  you can see a light broth in the skillet, your Ratatouille is done. Grab a big bowl and some amazing bread to sop  up all those glorious pan juices.

This dish can include other vegetables such a sweet peppers, snow peas, green zucchini, kale, sliced brussels sprouts, mushrooms or rapinni. It’s whatever you love.

Korean Vermicelli Salad

You Won’t Know This Is So Good For You!

When I was still working, a Pho restaurant opened across the road from Harry’s office. My business partner David and I found ourselves eating there almost once a week.  While Harry is not a great friend of Pho, he does love when I make the Vermicelli Noodle Salad. It just happens that it’s very warm today so guess what?  I’m making us the salad for lunch.

Korean vermicelli SaladKorean Vermicelli Salad as with much Asian food is very healthy.  We just love that we are eating well and enjoying such fabulous tasting food at the same time.  This dish relies heavily on fresh produce and today we used what we have on hand.  That’s one of the best things about this style of cooking.  It can be different each time you make it depending on the veggies or protein that you use. Today we used leftover shrimp.  There is no right or wrong!

Two Food Nuts Vermicelli Salad:

This recipe is for two hungry people

The Vermicelli Salad

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 3 green onions finely sliced
  • 20 Basil leaves sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or chopped salted Cashews if you have a peanut allergy.
  • We had 6 leftover cooked shrimp from our Garlic Shrimp Dinner, so in they go!

salad veggiesSwitch it up with other vegetables like: sweet peppers, bean sprouts, snow peas or cucumber.  Use whatever you have on hand be creative!

Place all the prepared veggies into a mixing bowl.  Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions for the brand that you buy.  They are not boiled like regular pasta.   Rice noodles do not expand like pasta noodles either so you need to start out with approx the amount you intend to add to your salad. When cooked we use 1 cup per person.

Cook’s Tip: Buy a medium sized rice noodle also known as vermicelli for this recipe. The very thin ones do not hold up to all the veggies, the very thick ones overwhelm them.

Dressing for the salad:

  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (use 1/2 tsp if you only have dried ginger)
  • 1 medium garlic clove grated or minced
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar  (use Palm sugar if you have it on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a fresh lime
  • 1/2 minced red chili pepper (optional) we like the heat it provides.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and noodles, toss well and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts or cashews.  Al meokkesseumnid!    Korean for Bon Appetite!

Korean vermicelli SaladDon’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family via Facebook or twitter!