Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gnocchi in a Creamy Tomato Sauce w/ Mushrooms & Chicken


Last post was a photo tutorial of How to: Gnocchi, so of course I had to make this post about what I did with it. I actually froze half a batch to use for later & made this delightful meal, it was incredibly delicious! It was all just an attempt to create something marvelous in hopes it would taste well together & it indeed was a success-- definitely a new go-to sauce in my book. Another great thing about this sauce in particular is that is is healthy as well as filling & not over-indulgent, unless you go for seconds ;) Serve this alongside  some roasted vegetables or a nice garden salad, enjoy!

Gnocchi in a Creamy Tomato Sauce w/ Mushrooms & Chicken: (serves 2)

Ingredients:

gnocchi:
1/2 batch potato gnocchi

chicken:
2 tsp olive oil
1 tomato bouillon cube
1/2 chicken breast

sauce:
2 tomatoes
1/4 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil or butter
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
basil, oregano, pepper flakes
salt & pepper
Directions:

  • Prepare gnocchi. Set aside in the fridge or pull out from the freezer. 
  • In a small bowl, place olive oil & bouillon cube and begin smashing it together to create a smooth consistency. Next brush it on the chicken breast covering every side, let marinade for a few minutes. 
  • Heat oven to 350F degrees.  Place chicken breast and tomatoes (slightly drizzled w/ olive oil) in an oven safe dish and cook for about 15 minutes, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove from oven, cut chicken & dice one tomato. Pulse the other in a food processor to reach a chunky yet smooth sauce.
  • Heat a large pan over low heat & add olive oil, onion & garlic to saute for a couple minutes. Add the spices/herbs/seasoning, diced tomatoes, chicken & mushrooms. Combine, let cook for another minute or two. Add in the Greek yogurt & tomato puree/sauce, combine, & toss in shredded cheese, stir again. Let simmer together for a few minutes to thicken and meld together. 
  • Boil water & salt in pot while the other is cooking. Toss in gnocchi, let cook for about 4 -6 minutes, should rise to surface. Remove from water & gently toss into sauce mixture. Serve with a little extra cheese on top & a salad on the side.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to: Gnocchi

I must tell you I was pretty nervous trying this out, but had some leftover baked potatoes & thought what a better way to experiment & hopefully make the husband a nice dinner. To my surprise it was super easy & will definitely try again using different flavors-- sweet potatoes, beets, cauliflower, cheeses, spices, & herbs. I paired mine with a Creamy Tomato Sauce with Chicken & Mushrooms (recipe to come). I hope you experiment, let me know how it goes!

Gnocchi: (serves 4)

Ingredients: 
2 large potatoes
1 egg
1 cup white or whole wheat flour (for recipe & surface)
salt
herbs & spices

Directions: 
  • First, you need to boil potatoes until soft & peel them as they are still warm. Let cool completely before grating them. This ensures that the egg will not cook while making the gnocchi.
  • Grate potatoes or you can rice them if you have the tool on hand. On a floured surface create a circle & add about 1/2 cup flour, salt, and desired spices & herbs. At this point crack an egg in the middle & gently mix egg with your finger tips.
  • Begin combining mixture with your hands & gently kneed dough together until it forms a round ball. Add flour if dough feels too wet still or is sticking to the board. Shape into a log and slice with a spatula or any tool to create equal sections. 
  • Now roll each section into long strips. Make sure they are equal in size rolling them together to compare-- this ensures equal cooking time.
  • Now take the spatula or any tool to cut 1/2 in pieces from the dough strips and set them aside. Do this part quickly as they get warm they will begin to stick together. In this case, sprinkle flour on top to help keep their shape.
  • Take each gnocchi and press it against a hand-held cheese grater or fork to create marks-- this helps for sauces to cling to the gnocchi. 
  • To cook: place about 20 gnocchi at a time in boiling water with salt for about 4 minutes. The gnocchi cooks very fast and should rise to the surface to help you know when its ready. Drain water & serve with desired sauce & toppings.
  • To freeze: If you know you won't need all of it, you can simply freeze them. Place them on a plate or         baking sheet not touching pieces, place in the freezer until solid. Remove and place in a zip-lock bag until ready to use. To reheat, just throw in boiling water & will need a couple extra minutes to cook thoroughly.















Friday, February 22, 2013

Creamy Avocado Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

This may be the simplest of all sauces as it requires no cooking or dicing, but is full of vibrant flavor and good for you nutrients. It's an all around winner with its few ingredients and tasty palette. I paired mine with zucchini noodles, but you can of course use any noodles you would like, or even combining wheat & vegetable noodles. The avocado offers the creaminess of the sauce, but also simultaneously gives it a nice thickness to sauce. I simple loved it! You can of course add any additional spices or herbs to the mix, even some spinach would be a nice touch & serve alongside some chicken for a complete meal.

Creamy Avocado Sauce with Zucchini Noodles: (serves 2)
Ingredients:
Sauce:
1/2 avocado
1 T lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
salt
pepper


Noodles:
2 zucchini or any squash

Additions:
1 tomato, diced
chili flakes
1/4 red onion, chopped & sauteed






Directions:

  • Prepare zucchini  peel zucchini with vegetable peeler into ribbons or slice into very thin strands. Place into a pan on medium heat with 1/2 cup water to cook the noodles. Add tomato & onions if desired. Let cook for about 7 minutes, until cooked, stirring occasionally  If noodles are sticking, add a little water at a time, to make sure they are simmering.
  • In a food processor, add all the ingredients & pulse until combined.
  • Place noodles & sauce (& any other mix-ins) together, gently combine & serve.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lunch Date: Los Tamarindos Garden Restaurant


Sunday we usually go out to eat after Church but today we decided to make it our "date" day & wanted to try someplace new. We seriously fell in love with this restaurant! We had been meaning to check it out for sometime, but just never got around to it-- but it is now one of my favorites. Needless to say we were impressed by the ambiance, the delicious cuisine, and even the service was excellent (hard to come by here in La Paz usually).

 It was so much fun as we entered, there were Mexican Folk dancers doing various dances throughout our visit. The entire place is just surrounded by trees & greenery. The two main & very large trees are tamarind trees that have been there since the 1700's, planted by the owner's french great-grandfather. There was also a ton of dishes to choose from, so we will definitely be going back. So here are a few pictures I snapped :)




I had just ordered a salad as I was wanting something fresh, but of course it was delightful. I also managed to steal a few bites off the hubby's plate, which all looked mouthwatering.

His plate was an assortment of typical Mexican cuisine-- emapanada, quesadilla, burrito, tamale, & some tasty re-fried beans.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dark Chocolate Sun Butter Cups

My entire life I have NEVER eaten a peanut butter cup as I am allergic, so ever since discovering sunflower seed butter it has been on my list to make my own, & a way healthier version at that. This has to be the simplest
recipe & treat ever, only 2 ingredients & basically only 3 easy steps. Not only that but also was AMAZINGLY delicious, a new favorite candy, seriously exceeding my expectations-- I consider it a little taste of heaven. 

This is also a great & cute way to celebrate your valentine without making them feel guilty, you could include a variety of healthy chocolate treats (dipped strawberries, coffee beans, dried fruit, pretzels or variations of this for them to indulge in (coconut, almonds, bananas or a fruit puree or add in some chia seeds for a boost of nutrients). No more excuses for eating those store-bought unhealthy candies, make your own knowing its much cleaner & tastier!

Dark Chocolate Sun Butter Cups: (makes 2)
Ingredients:
1 70%+ Dark Chocolate Bar (I used a small bar)
2 T sun butter (or other nut butter)

Directions: 

  • In a measuring cup or small bowl, break up the chocolate & melt in the microwave, using increments-- should take no more than 2 minutes.
  • Place 2+ liners in your muffin tin, depending on the amount of chocolate you have or how many sun butter cups you want to make.
  • Drizzle or spoon a layer of chocolate on the bottom, add 1 Tablespoon of sun butter (adjust to preference) gently to the first chocolate layer. Next add an additional layer of chocolate, making sure to cover all sides of the cup.
  • Repeat until all the chocolate is gone. Place in the freezer for a few minutes or refrigerator to settle. Remove paper liner & enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

La Paz Carnival 2013


Every year in Febraury, La Paz hosts its annual Carnaval, which is located right on the malecon (harbor), filled with entertainment, fun, and everything delicious. It of course has a lovely parade of floats that everyone gathers to watch, unfortunately for the second time in a row I have been sick and unable to attend. But Saturday night before the big parade (Sunday-Wednesday) we took our turn for some Carnaval action. We walked around looking at all the booths, observing options for our eats, and kept entertained by all the children with their face paints, glittered masks, and bright colored wigs sold by vendors. Also noticed a ton of tourists, its always fun to be apart of such an event. Of course there are a ton of rides, game booths, and shopping stalls, but our favorite is the food stalls-- everything just screams EAT ME. Although we also enjoyed the perforances, especially the traditional Mexican dancing, so much fun! We had an enjoyable time and hope to visit again before it leaves, as I want some special treats, like the sweet gorditas de nata, yum!

 

Walking by all the bread booths was seriously so tempting, everything just smells incredible.

 

We were wanting some delicious dinner & ended up stopping at a local restaurant located also on the malecon, Rancho Viejo, and we left stuffed-- no room for extra snacks or treats, next trip ;)
Shrimp Queso Tacos
Shrimp Soup