Thursday, February 25, 2016

For the Love of Grain!

   I love all sorts of grains! There was a very short period of my life, few years ago, when I was being tested for potential gluten allergy (long story!) and all I could think of is that I won't be able to eat my beloved grains! Wheat, barley, rye... I just can't live without them and the thought that I might not be able to eat them was pretty scary. Thankfully gluten allergy was eliminated and I could go back to enjoying my bowl of buckwheat! Since Justin and Christopher also like different grains (which makes me super happy) I cook them very often, either as a side dish or casseroles or in the soups. This time I made a farro side dish for some chicken and just to make sure that nobody will skip their veggies (I'm looking at Justin here), I added some here - it made the dish much more delicious and it made the veggies harder to avoid!


* 1 cup quick cook farro
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 large carrots, shredded
* 16oz mushrooms, chopped
* fresh parsley
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper


1. Cook farro in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions with a pinch of salt for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook for 10 minutes until softened.

3. Add farro, mix until combined and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

   Grains and mushrooms - some of my favorite ingredients! I could probably just eat this dish on its own, nothing else needed, it's so good. The crunch from farro, the earthiness from mushrooms, the sweetness from carrots and the freshness from parsley - that's all you need in a perfect dish!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Magic of social media!

   Have you seen those short cooking videos on Facebook or Instagram? I am absolutely addicted to them, to the point that I am obsessively checking my phone every five minutes to see if there is a new video! Some dishes look more interesting than others, but I really love the ones that are very simple and use only few ingredients. This recipe (below) of what I call "Savory Mini Monkey Breads" is one of my favorite dishes I've seen on social media. It's quick, semi home made (store-bought dough), it has only few ingredients, you only need one bowl to prep it (and a muffin pan)... and it's so easy, the monkey could do it (I think that's where the name came from)! Oh, and each time you make it, you can use different "flavorings" to change it up!


* 2 boxes of Pillsbury Grands!® Flaky Layers Original Biscuits
* 1/2 stick of butter, melted
* 1 tbsp garlic powder
* 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


1. Cut all the biscuits into 4 pieces. Put in the bowl.

2. Add  melted butter, garlic powder, parsley and cheeses. Toss everything gently with your hands and transfer into the muffin pan (5-7 pieces into each muffin).

3. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

   One bad side of the dish is... that my boys refused to eat anything else for dinner and just stuffed there monkey faces with the monkey breads! I guess it's a compliment to the chef, so I shouldn't complain! 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Game On!

   Looking for a last minute idea for a snack to enjoy during the Big Game? We all know everybody (us included) is going to have wings, guacamole and deli platters, but how about something to substitute potato chips with? It's only February, so I bet most people are still sticking to their New Year's resolutions and are looking for "healthier" snacks that are not necessarily carrots or celery sticks.  Roasted garbanzo beans - they are full of protein, they are super crunchy and you can create any flavor profile you like - sweet, salty, mild or spicy! My spice mix turned out to be awesome and I highly recommend it!


* 2 (15 oz) cans of garbanzo beans
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp five spice 


1. Wash and drain garbanzo beans. Put them on the paper towel and pat them dry.

2. Put dry beans in the bowl, add olive oil and spices and mix together until everything is evenly coated.

3. Spread them into a single layer on the baking sheet and bake at 400F for 45 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes.

    Roasting time depends on what you are looking for - if you would like them to be hard and crunchy, add  extra 5 minutes; if you like them softer, 40 minutes is probably all you need. They turned out really good and every time I look at my boys their jaws are moving... I'm not sure if we will have any left for the actual game if they keep "sampling" them like that!