Mashed Potato

My first mashed potato was delicious. I boiled a couple of big potatoes (the individually wrapped kind labeled for baking) in water seasoned with salt. When the potatoes were soft and ready, I drained the water and returned the pot with the potatoes in on a low flame. This helped to keep the potatoes hot and for any remaining water to further evaporate. I only did this for a few minutes.
Then it was time to skin and mash the potatoes. I used a fork to mash the potatoes. While doing it, I added a pinch of salt, pepper, about two ot three tablespoons of milk and lots of butter (a few slices at a time). I added parsely when I was close to the consistency I wanted (slightly chunky). It smelled and tasted so good.
I served my first mashed potato with a couple of grilled Angus beef steaks marinated in old fashioned barbeque sauce plus some steamed brocolli and cauliflower in butter, salt and pepper. Awesome!

Clear Chicken Soup

I cooked a classic chicken soup tonight for dinner. I sauteed chopped white onions and diced chicken breast fillets. I stirred in some salt and pepper then poured in my chicken stock. I let it boil for a minute and added chopped celery hearts and carrots. I simmered to cook the vegetables and let the flavors really blend in. Then I covered the pot and let boil for the last 30 seconds before turning off the flame. I kept it covered for a minute or so and start serving. Deliciously great by itself or with plain steamed rice!
Oh, and I had milk marinated chicken breast fillets covered with seasoned breading fried in canola oil to a great golden brown finish for my main course.
Mmm-Mmm-Mmm-Mmm-Mmm… Life is good.

Chicken Pepper Pasta

I love pasta. So by some accident, I sort of invented this pasta recipe which I enjoy preparing once in a while.
I start by cutting (orange or yellow) bell peppers in lengthwise quarters and putting them skin down in the oven toaster for around 10 – 15 minutes. Afterwards, I place them in a plastic container and covered them while steaming hot to keep the steam in. This would help the skin of the bell peppers to soften. In 10 – 15 minutes or so, I can easily slide the skin off the bell peppers using my fingers. Then I would cut the bell peppers lengthwise at a little less then 1cm wide per slice.
For the thin spaghetti that I’ll be using, I boiled water flavored with olive oil and salt. The spaghetti usually took around 6 – 7 minutes to cook. But boiling the water gave me enough time to prepare the sauce.
I sauteed in olive oil some chopped garlic, onions and boneless chicken breast tenderloins which I’ve cut into strips of around 1/2" thick. I added some salt and Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning. Then I added the bell peppers and covered the pan to let the chicken sweat without necessarily cooking them well — just enough for the outer meat to appear white. Finally, I added a can of Italian style stewed tomatoes and simmered the mixture. Once in a while, I stirred and crushed the stewed tomatoes to help thicken the chicken and pepper tomato sauce.
By the time I was done with the sauce, the spaghetti’s ready as well. I drained the spaghetti and added them to the sauce. I took this opportunity to adjust the taste with salt or Mrs. Dash. Of course, I didn’t forget the basil for that extra Italian inspiring flavor and aroma. It was terrific! I was able to cook enough for 5 persons!
Good thing there are 5 of us in the house today…
(Alternatively, I remember the first time I cooked this, I started by marinating the chicken strips in chopped garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice for like 7 minutes. I used the chopped garlic to saute but discarded any excess lemon juice since it might make the pasta taste, too, sour to be true.)

Ground Beef Fiesta

I never thought it would taste good. But it did!
I sauted chopped garlic, onions and red bell peppers in a shallow pan. I stirred in the ground beef until lightly colored. I added some salt, some pepper and covered the pan to let the beef sweat. I added potatoes and carrots cut into small cubes. Then I poured in a little water to help cook the vegetables which took around 3 – 5 minutes. I chopped some celery hearts and added them to the mix as soon as the potatoes and carrots looked done. I covered the pan and cooked for a few more minutes stirring occassionally. When the water I added evaporated already and all that remained were the natural juices from the beef and the vegetables, I decided it was time to celebrate my dinner.
It looked awesome! Red, orange, yellow, green and beef just looked happy together — like fiesta with a naughty hint of spicyness! Since I cooked a lot for a meal, I used the leftover to create a Ground Beef Fiesta Omelette the next day. Yummyness!

Beef Stew ala Mechado

I spent a lot of time cooking lunch today. I started by sauteing red onions and tomatoes in a deep pan for stewing. I then added beef cut in stew size cubes and sauted the beef until light in color. I covered the pan for about 5 minutes to let the beef sweat. Afterwards, I added some whole black peppers, water and a beef boullion cube while stirring the mix to a boil. I covered the pan and simmered in low flame for 30 minutes. The whole intention was to slow cook the beef to make it tender so that it would be easy to cut a piece with just a fork.
When the beef was really soft, I added potatoes, carrots and half a small can of tomato sauce. I let the stew boil in high flame and simmered down to low flame again for around 5 – 7 minutes. I then added yellow bell peppers and simmered for another minute. Lastly, I poured in the remaining half of the tomato sauce and simmered for another minute. The stew naturally thickened after a few more stirring and then I was done.
It was perfect served with plain steamed rice.
I cooked far too many for a meal so, tonight, I plan to heat the leftover stew and add in additional flavors with some Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning, basil and parmesan cheese. A richer flavor everytime. Mmmmm…

Chicken Fries with a Twist

I enjoyed my dinner today. I cooked it.
I had a boneless chicken breast which I cut into pieces of around 1 to 1.5 inch thick. I rubbed them in garlic powder (out of laziness to chop some garlic). I then marinated them for 10-15 minutes in lemon pepper marinade.
On a non-stick frying pan, I heated canola-olive oil and butter. I then placed the chicken cuts and poured the excess marinade in to fry covered for 5 minutes on each side. Lightly browned on each side, I removed the chicken from the pan and I placed them on a plate. The pan is left with no trace of butter or excess marinade. All that remains is the cooking oil. I guess that means all of the marinade’s flavor are in the fried chicken fillets now.
I removed some of the oil and retained around a tablespoon on the pan which I put on the flame again. I put in chopped tomatoes and sauted for a minute. I added two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar sauteing in medium to high heat for around 2 minutes or so. I then added some basil and hot chili crushed peppers then covered the pan in low heat for a couple more minutes.
When I was done, I poured the chili balsamic tomato sauce over the fried chicken fillets. I sprinkled some basil and parsely here and… voila! A tasty sweet, tangy and spicy treat I enjoyed with plain steamed rice. Yummy!

Cold Rain Inspired Dinner

It rained the whole day today in NJ. Heading home, the rain stopped but the air was chilly cold. I needed to do something different. So, back home, I challenged myself to spend some time to cook my dinner.
I had a boneless breast fillet rubbed all over with garlic powder. I placed it in a bowl and poured some lemon pepper marinade. I cut the chicken lengthwise, like when you’re slicing bread, but not all the way as to separate it in halves. I then stuffed a thin slice of Swiss cheese, chopped red bell peppers and chopped tomatoes in my breast fillet. It looked like a sandwich with the breast fillet acting as the "bread".
I love basil! So I sprinkled some basil all over the chicken and set aside for a few minutes.
At medium to high heat, I heated butter and canola oil in a grill pan and fried the chicken covered for 3 – 5 minutes on each side. Afterwards, I pre-heated the toaster oven set for broiling and put the chicken in for like 20 – 25 minutes.
While the chicken was broiling in the toaster oven, I mixed the remaining marinade, chopped bell peppers and chopped tomatoes together creating a chunky marinade mix. Using the same grill pan where I fried the chicken, I poured in the chunky marinade mix which I cooked in low heat, scraping and stirring in the flavor still stuck on the grill pan. I cooked the chunky marinade mix just enough to sort of "clean" the grill pan. I wanted the sauce to turn a bit thick but I was careful not to overcook the red bell peppers and tomatoes because I wanted the resulting sauce to remain chunky. Afterwards, I removed the chunky sauce from heat and waited for the chicken to be done.
When the chicken was done broiling, I plated the chicken and finally poured the chunky sauce all over it. It looked, smelled and tasted so good! It was a delicious treat I enjoyed with a cup of very hot steamed rice to which I mixed about 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped parsely. I let the rice’s heat naturally "cook" the olive oil and parsely together. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!