Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata

A simple asparagus with an orange and olive relish | mjskitchen.com

 

Asparagus with orange and kalamata is a light and delightful dish that I love making this time of year when there’s the overlap between good quality citrus and young shoots of fresh asparagus. This dish that can be served as a warm side or cold salad.  For a warm side steamed asparagus is immediately serve with the cold orange kalamata topping.  The contrast of the hot asparagus with the chilled orange is quite enjoyable.  For a cold salad the steamed asparagus and the orange kalamata topping are both chilled at least one hour or over night.  As a cold salad, this makes a mouth calming complement to a spicy entree.

This dish makes an excellent lunch or dinner salad as well as a dinner side for numerous entrees.

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Braised Orange Ginger Chicken

Chicken braised in orange juice with ginger and other spices | mjskitchen.com

 

How many ways can one cook chicken?  Well, just out of curiosity I Googled “chicken recipes” and got 12,400,000 results! That’s a lot of chicken goodness!  In my personal recipe book, I have over 100 chicken recipes that I’ve created, adapted or revised over the years.  This Braised Orange Ginger Chicken is one of those recipes and one of our favorites. It’s easy to make, full of flavor and has an awesome sauce!  To make sure all of that awesome sauce gets fully appreciated, serve this dish with a side of rice, polenta, couscous or other grain.  A side of bourbon carrots makes a complementary side as well.

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A Tantalizing Collection of Soups and Stews

A Tantalizing Collection of Soups and Stews | mjskitchen.com

When the cold weather just doesn’t want to go away, there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of soup or stew.  Below is a collection of recipes that will not only warm you up, but make you feel good inside and out.  And no matter what your diet – vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or carnivore – you’ll find several soups to keep you warm, healthy and happy. Continue Reading →

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Spiced Chocolate Atole

Spiced Chocolate Atole: Chocolate almond milk with atole (blue corn flour), red chile and other spices | mjskitchen.com

 

One of my favorite breakfasts when I was a kid was a pop tart and a glass of chocolate milk made with Bosco.  Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I still like my chocolate milk, but I’ve made the switch from Bosco to chocolate almond milk and instead of pop tarts, I prefer a slice of banana bread or cranberry bread.  Also, instead of just plain chocolate milk, I whisk in a little atole (toasted blue corn flour), a dash of ginger, and a few other spices, for a spicy hot beverage that is quite satisfying on a cold morning.

This Spiced Chocolate Atole is a version of champurrado, but is lighter (not as thick) than most champurrado recipes and is also lighter than my winter atole smoothies I shared back in 2013. It is also much easier to make.  Nothing to blend, just a little whisking.  In the winter, I like it hot, but it can also be served cold for a summer beverage.  Just make it the day before and refrigerate.

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Carne Adovada Enchiladas

Red chile enchiladas made with leftover carne adovada or pulled pork | mjskitchen.com

 

Oh…what to do with leftover carne adovada or pulled pork. In this kitchen, it’s normally used to make a batch of enchiladas.  It doesn’t take but about 1 cup of tender braised pork to make enough enchiladas for two people. If you have more than that, then make a larger batch and serve the whole family or family and friends.

Like with any batch of enchiladas, you can keep is simple by just using the meat, tortillas and the desired amount of chile or enchilada sauce, or, you can add other ingredients to create a complete, one dish meal. And that’s what I’ve done with these carne adovada enchiladas. Fresh spinach and onion are added to each layer along with a little sour cream,  and, even though I don’t show it in the pictures, a fried egg is placed on top along with a little more red chile.  Normally, our enchiladas are smothered in red chile, but because the carne adovada was already very spicy, I held back.

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Sweet Pepper Stew (aka Peperonata)

A peperonata stew with sweet peppers, tomatoes, capers | mjskitchen.com

 

Sweet Pepper Stew is a version of the Italian dish – Peperonata – that is normally made in the fall when there is an abundance of different colored sweet peppers. However, several years ago Bobby made this lovely dish for me for Valentine’s Day and it’s been our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner every since.

Buying organic fresh sweet peppers this time a year is not cheap, but this dish is well worth the price. To the peppers we add frozen tomatoes and basil from our summer garden, along with a few capers.  After resting in the refrigerator overnight, this sweet pepper stew becomes quite “juicy” from the tomatoes and flavorful from the melding of all of the wonderful ingredients.  You can eat it by itself, or serve it with a nice baguette or homemade bread.  It’s also quite good over creamy polenta.  Finish your meal off with a Coffee Scented Chocolate Pot for a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day home dining experience.

What is your traditional Valentine’s Day meal?

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes with 3 ingredients in less than 20 minutes | mjskitchen.com

When you want a really quick and healthy side dish, reach for a couple of sweet potatoes.  Not only are sweet potatoes downright delicious, they are also full of vitamins A,  C and E, B6, iron, potassium, manganese, and fiber, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.  They cook up fast and don’t need a lot of other ingredients to make them taste good because they are so sweet and scrumptious on their own.  The sweet potatoes that I buy at my local market are as about as sweet as a potato can get and you can see how orange they are.  Once mashed, they almost become florescent.

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Grits with Red Chile and Cheese

Grits with red chile paste, roasted red chile and cheese | mjskitchen.com

 

As many of you already know, grits and chile is one of my all time favorite breakfasts.  At least once a week I’m cooking up a pot of grits and in the cooler months, we could be eating them 2 to 3 times a week.  With all of the great chiles out there it is pretty easy to keep our grits exciting by changing up the flavor with different chiles and cheese.  In previous years, I’ve shared my chipotle, feta and grits and my grits and green chile.  Now it’s time for Grits with Red Chile and Cheese.  These grits are just as easy to make as all of the others and can be made in less than 20 minutes; however, you do need some kind of red chile paste and either some roasted red chile or roasted red bell peppers.

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Thai Green Curry Shrimp

A quick and easy Thai Shrimp Curry with green curry paste | @MJsKitchen

Most of the time when we get a craving for Thai food we go out to eat.  However, this Thai Green Curry Shrimp dish is the exception.  I found a basic Thai Shrimp Curry recipe years ago in Bon Appetit (Feb 2008).  I loved the “base” of the dish (the coconut milk, broth, and Thai flavorings), but I wanted more vegetables. The Bon Appetit recipe only uses onion and tomato, and I’m not a fan of tomato in my curry dishes, especially green curries. So as you can see here, I’ve changed it up a bit.

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