Sautéed Flounder

Let’s start out with a healthy version of sautéed flounder over brown rice with some sautéed broccoli. I am trying to make things tasty and maybe a little lower in calories just for good measure! So let’s get started with this new one.

As you can see in the picture, here is a 4 oz portion of flounder I sautéed in a non stick pan with a little butter. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper along with some paprika for flavor and color.

saute flounder

It was served over a half a cup of some brown rice that was hanging around in the fridge along with a serving of broccoli that was sautéed with some salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice.

So I hope you guys stick around to see what else comes about, and I am always open for suggestions for whatever you want me to cook for you with or without a healthy spin on things.

finished flounder


Sautéed Pork with Apple Brandy Sauce and Roasted Carrots

This was a meal I wanted to cook because my wife, per her doctor’s orders, has to try to eat gluten-free for the next few weeks and she really didn’t like anything she had found so far. I also wanted to do it for her just to cheer her up! So let’s go.

Mashed potatoes – potatoes boiled until soft, drained, then put back on the stove where you add a lot of butter and cream, some salt & pepper and beat them until smooth.

Roasted carrots – medium carrots peeled, sliced in half, tossed in some olive oil, seasoned with some salt & pepper, tossed on a pan and put into a 400F oven until the edges start to turn golden brown.

While the carrots are roasting, dice up an apple, put it in a bowl with 4oz brandy, 4 tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of cinnamon and let it hang out until after you cook the pork cutlet.

Pork cutlet, last part, salt & pepper both sides cook in a medium hot pan with butter for a few minutes, turn and finish cooking until you have 145F internal temperature. Take it out of the pan and set it on a plate with the mashed potatoes and the carrots while you make the sauce.

Lastly the sauce, carefully pour the cup with the apple, brandy and seasonings into the hot pan, it might flame up a bit, stir all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan left from cooking the pork. Let the apples cook for about 2 minutes while the pan sauce reduces. Turn off the heat and stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter and let them melt into the liquid in the pan. This should thicken the sauce a little. Check for seasoning and if all is good pour over the pork and enjoy a very delicious gluten-free meal!

Pan Seared Pork


Classic Hummus

I like to mix things up a little, so for an appetizer, I thought I might like to make something healthy. My wife’s brother and his wife love hummus. I thought like to show them that you can make the same stuff for a lot cheaper than you can buy it, pre-packed in some plastic container at the supermarket. Also since you make it fresh at home, you know what is inside it. This also allows you to flavor it with anything you can imagine. So here goes classic hummus made in a minute when they were here.

The main ingredient is chick peas. Regular old out of the 16oz can, rinsed and drained chick peas. To that I added 6 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of salt + 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 4oz of tahini paste, which is ground sesame seeds found in the super market, 2 lemons cut in half and the juice squeezed into the processor. Process on high for a few moments making sure to scrape down the sides so everything is thoroughly incorporated. You might have to add a little water if it is too thick. Adjust it to your liking. After that you should end up with something that looks like this.



To serve, I placed some in another container had some fresh Nan bread, pita chips and some fresh vegetables arranged on a platter. Everybody was impressed by how simple and tasty it was.



Isreal Couscous with Peppers

I like serving couscous in the summer, you don’t really have to cook it, you can make it a day ahead and you can serve at room temperature. So here is how I did it this time.

I took a red onion, red, green and yellow pepper and diced them pretty small and sautéed them in some good olive oil with some salt & pepper and chopped fresh garlic. Put that in a mixing bowl to cool while I cooked the couscous.

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I like the Israeli couscous because it is bigger than the regular one. I used two boxes this time, cooked with chicken stock instead of water for extra flavor. Cook per the instructions on the box, just be careful not to over-cook it because it will turn to mush and you really don’t want that.


Take the freshly cooked couscous and combine it with the onion and pepper mixture. Here you might have to add a little olive oil and check your salt & pepper seasoning.


Let it cool and then cover it and store it in the fridge.

Enjoy ~

Homemade Spring Rolls

On the way home from having lunch with my wife, I noticed that there was a new oriental market that opened up by her office, so I swung by to check it out. It was a nice little place and the owners were very helpful. I had been on a quest for rice paper for a while checking the local supermarkets without finding any. This place had a few to choose from so spring rolls were on the menu for dinner. So let’s roll on in on how to make them.

As you can see I picked up some crab meat from the store, along with some bean sprouts and Thai basil. I julienned some carrots and sliced some romaine lettuce somewhat thin to go inside the rolls.


With everything all laid out nicely the tricky part starts now, softening the rice paper sheets. There are two ways of going about this task. One way is the long soak in cold water; the other is the quick soak in hot water. This part is totally up to you, but remember, there is only a limited amount of time to make and roll it. I prefer warmish water for a medium soak. This leaves the sheet somewhat firm yet flexible while you are working with it. Practice with a few using one ingredient, like the carrot sticks, until you are comfortable wrapping them up in a tight roll.

I find it easiest to roll them on a wood cutting board; they tend to stick to the counter top. Plus, you can leave the leading edge hanging off the board to make it easier to pick up and roll. Dip the rice paper in the bowl of water for however long you choose.

Place the wrapper in front of you. Imagine a clock on the face of the rice paper. Place the ingredients in a line as if you were filling the face of a clock between 4 & 5 o’clock across to between 7 & 8 o’clock. Now bring the 6 o’clock flap, which was hanging off the board, up and over the ingredients and roll tightly a little bit towards 12 o’clock.

Now take the sides and fold them towards the center, making a tight package encasing the ingredients. Continue rolling to 12 o’clock position. Right before you totally roll it, stop and rewet the top of the roll so the flap really sticks to the roll. Hopefully you will end up with something like the picture below.

rolled spring role

I got the first one done and I realized I had no dipping sauce!!! You could go out and get some sweet chili sauce in a bottle, but that’s not for me. I want spicy peanut dipping sauce!

In another bowl combine 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce & water and however much ground cayenne power and black pepper you can stand. We like it hot! If the sauce is still too thick, keep adding water to thin it out to your liking. Adjust the heat to your liking also.


Make the rest of the rolls and keep them in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to eat them.

That night we had the Spring Rolls along with the spicy peanut dipping sauce and a chilled bottle of Sake that was recommended by the owners of the shop. A very nice end to a great day.

springroll cut

Enjoy ~

Baked Hake Loins

We were at Costco and my wife was in the mood for white fish for dinner. Her being from the North East area I though some Hake fillets would be a good choice because they are like Cod.

So a simple preparation was called for, so here we go!

Simply rinsed off the loins, brushed them with melted butter, dusted them with plenty of Old Bay seasoning and then covered them with some Italian bread crumbs.

old bay hake

Popped them in our convection oven set at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes or just until the fish flakes apart when poked with a fork.

Served them with some black rice and sautéed broccoli.

baked hake w/ black rice

A little taste of New England really easy and really good. . . Enjoy ~

Enhance Boxed Stuffing

My in-laws were coming over for dinner last weekend and my father in-law mentioned a while ago that he likes stuffing. I saw that I had a box of dried bread chunks buried in the cupboard, for hurricane season, and I figured why not, even though it really doesn’t go with BBQ chicken I was making. So here is how I did it.

As you can see that is a whole stick of butter along with two tablespoons of salt and pepper, a white onion diced, five stalks of celery diced and a few carrots diced up also. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften.


Add two cups of chicken stock to the pan along with two tablespoons of Bell’s seasoning. Now take the mixture and pour it over the bread chunks, mix gently and you will notice it will be a little wet, this is fine because we are going to cook it tomorrow afternoon.


Let it cool on the counter top for about an hour, cover it with foil and put it in the fridge for later. When it comes time to cook it, place it in a 300F oven for about forty minutes to an hour or until it reaches 145F in the center of the pan.

You will have moist fluffy delicious stuffing to accompany your meal.

Enjoy ~

Smoked Pork

Take a 7 pound pork shoulder or also known as Boston butt, score the top fat in a checkerboard fashion and rub some of your favorite rub, or the one below, all over the meat.  Wrap up very well with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator for 24 hours. This will allow the rub to penetrate deeply into the meat to give it good flavor when it comes time to cook it.

The rub for this meat: 1 cup of each white and brown sugar; 3/4 cup of paprika; 1/2 cup of each chili powder, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, 1/4 cup of ground cumin, granulated onion. Mix together and store in an air tight container.

seasoned pork

Set the smoker up for 225F and as a rule of thumb, it ends up being 2 hours per pound for this temp. If you need it done faster turn up smoker to 275F for about 1.5 hours per pound.

I also recommend having a digital meat thermometer with probe and cable, place it in the meat before starting to smoke it so you can track the internal temperature of the meat.

I started mine morning at 6 am with a mixture of apple wood and cherry wood chips that I soaked overnight. Went about my day cleaned the pool, went out shopping, needed potatoes to make potato salad to go with dinner, had lunch, hung out with my lovely wife, cut the grass, tended to the garden and then cooled off in the pool later that afternoon with a beer.

About 7:30 pm the meat thermometer started to ring. I set it to 195F. I open the door and what a beautiful sight and smells came racing out of the smoker! To make sure that it was truly cooked and soft I use the famous Stick a fork in it Method. Stab the meat with a fork and spin it around, if it spins freely then you really done because all meat has different thickness and densities. If the fork didn’t spin freely, it would go back in maybe for another half an hour or so until it would.

cooking pork

Now take the meat inside and cover it with aluminum foil for 1/2 hour to let the meat rest and the juices to absorb back into the meat.

cooked pork

After it rests take the bone out and with two forks shred the meat apart, but be careful it will be very hot!

pork pulled

Toast up some buns on the grill, get the potato salad out of the fridge along with your favorite BBQ sauce sit back and enjoy what you have smelt all day along with a beautiful sun set by the pool.

finished pulled pork plate


Spicy Shrimp and Polenta

My wife and I were discussing how much she likes grits for breakfast and I asked her if she ever has had polenta.  She said no, so I suggested that I make her some for dinner.  Dinner? As she looked at me funny, I said I bet you will like it, it would be my take on Southern shrimp and grits.  So this is what I did.

Start out with good polenta.  Make it to the directions on the package substituting one cup of water for one cup of heavy cream, add one stick of butter. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste.


cooking polenta

Pour off about half of the mixture into a buttered shallow pan if you have one. We are going to save that for another day. We will use this over the weekend for breakfast. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Back to dinner now.

polenta in a pan

Take the shrimp you are having for dinner and marinate them in some olive oil, and whatever spices you like to make them spicy say some crushed red peppers, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

seasoned shrimp

With the rest of the polenta in the pot add about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and mix in until its smooth, if necessary loosen the mixture a little with some more heavy cream. You are looking for a consistency of very thick applesauce. Put the bowl off to the side over very low heat and cook the shrimp.

cooked shrimp

Heat a non stick pan to medium high, add the shrimp, and cook a few minutes a side just until done. Scoop some of the hot cheesy polenta into a bowl and top with the spicy shrimp. Serve with a nice cool glass of your favorite white wine. As for my wife she now likes polenta just as much as grits.

plated shrimp


Blackened Scallops with Ginger & Garlic over Black Rice

My wife and I were shopping at Costco one evening and I noticed this new product- Black Rice. I have never seen it before and I thought it would be good to show off light colored foods. As we were driving home I told her that we will be having scallops for dinner with the new rice.

First off I had to defrost the scallops in some cold water. After that I had to pat them dry with some paper towels so the blackening seasoning sticks to the scallops, as you can see here.

dryed scallops

seasoned scallops

Before you heat the pan, sprinkle a few drops of oil and spread them around with your fingers so there is almost non-detectable layer of oil on the pan. Then heat the non stick pan to medium high and place the scallops in the pan. Important don’t touch the scallops while they are cooking or you won’t get that good blackening crust on them.  Let them cook on the first side for a minute or so, then carefully with a non stick spatula turn over and cook for another minute. Remove them from the pan for a moment. Wipe out the left over seasoning left in the pan and pour about 1/3 cup of good olive oil in and let that heat almost to a simmer.

Cut a good thumb sized piece of fresh ginger into super fine dice and the same with about two tablespoonfuls of fresh garlic.  Place them in the oil and let them cook together for about two minutes. You can see the little bubbles coming from the garlic and ginger in the picture.  Then squirt 3 or 4 shakes of soy sauce into the pan. Stir together and turn off the heat.

ginger fried

Cook the black rice how the package directs, lucky for us, we have a rice cooker and lay a strip of the rice on the plate, top the rice with the scallops and then carefully spoon the garlic ginger mixture over the scallops.  Sit back and enjoy something new and delicious.

plated scallops