Cluck’ing Awesome Food

The last few weeks in Omaha have been brutally cold. The high has been 0 degrees for 3 days straight, and our lows are consistently in the negative double digits. You have to wonder why we live in a such a cold place when we could easily be relaxing on the beach in Florida. One of the biggest reasons is the food. Even when it’s this cold and miserable, you look forward to the little things like temperature Tuesday at Runza or picking up some delicious food from the local restaurants in Omaha.

Recently, a new place opened and it has taken the city by storm. They sold out consistently the first days they were open and their following on social media has exploded. Once you pay them a visit, you’ll understand why. For the last decade in Omaha, there really hasn’t been a great fried chicken sandwich place. Sure, there are classic fried chicken places like Time Out Chicken in North Omaha or Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering (or if you’re feeling more soul food, there’s Small Bites in Bellevue, Mouth of the South in West Omaha, and Herb Sainte in Aksarben), but when it comes to sandwiches and fast, casual dining, there wasn’t anything like that available in the Metro.

Dirty Birds is the name, and let me tell you, it was named appropriately. Whenever I get the Nashville style chicken sandwich, it’s drizzling with the Nashville sauce. What I really love about the place is that it’s all home made. It was started by two guys, named Dan Whalen and Moses Moseley, and they thought about opening a place when they worked at Kitchen Table. They understood that Omaha lacked a place like this, and they believed they were up to the challenge.

Original Chicken Sandwich with Tater Salad

Upon visiting, you will notice that they have sandwiches, buckets of fried chicken, and other delicious appetizers on the menu, ranging from hush puppies to debo fries (they also have brunch in the mornings on weekends). Everything is made from scratch and some recipes have been passed down. My favorite is the tater salad. It has that classic potato salad taste but with a twist that includes some cut up pickles. The first time I visited (which was on day 2 of their opening), they ran out of buns for the sandwiches. They easily corrected that by substituting the buns for their homemade biscuits. It was out of this world. The biscuit was super soft, buttery, flaky, and had many layers. The tater salad was fresh with mashed potatoes and some fresh pickles as well. The chicken sandwich was giant. I couldn’t take a full bite because it was that large. It was seasoned well and the chicken itself was very juicy. Sometimes, when you get chicken sandwiches at a restaurant (especially fast-food places), it’s really dry. The exterior was super crunchy and with the Nashville sauce, it was even better. I will say, the breading was quite plentiful, so if you’re gluten-intolerant, then maybe this place isn’t for you!

Nashville Chicken Sandwich on a Biscuit

This sandwich was by far the best one I have had. The Popeye’s chicken sandwich does not stand a chance against it (I shouldn’t compare it to something so mediocre but its the most relevant to people). The best parts are that it’s all made from scratch, you’re supporting local, and it’s so delicious! So, if you’re ever near the Blackstone Switch, you need to stop in and pay them a visit. I am sure you won’t regret it.

Nashville Chicken Sandwich with Borracho Beans in the back their Fried Chicken with Tater Salad and a Biscuit

Enjoying Omaha

As any person that enjoys food so much, you know that cooking at home is great and all but sometimes you need to take a break and treat yourself. One of the best parts about living in Omaha is having a vast selection of restaurants. Are you craving Chinese we got it, you craving Nepalese we have it, you craving Mexican food it’s here.

One of my favorite restaurants out west is Firebirds. I try to go every 6 months and I used to go a lot more frequently with a couple of my friends, but since the pandemic we haven’t been able to go out as much. Recently, I went and got to try the peppered sirloin and let me tell you it was phenomenal! I really really love pepper so if you’re not a pepper lover its probably not the steak for you. Every time you eat there you also get a yummy hot loaf of bread with their butter so that’s always a plus. The steak it self was cooked to perfection and it had this pepper sauce that was out of this world. I also got a loaded baked potato as my side and it was delicious. The crust of the potato was nice and salted and the inside had sour cream, cheese, green onion, butter, and bits of bacon. I would highly recommend this place and the peppered sirloin plate if you’re in town or looking for some good salads and steaks.

Firebirds Peppered Steak

Another great restaurant that I recently tried was Mouth of the South. This restaurant has been open for a while, but it was in a different location much farther from us, however, it then moved to 168th and Center. Ive heard many great reviews and saw it on yelp, but I had not had the opportunity to try it out yet. So two weeks ago, my fiancé and I decided to finally try it out. As an appetizer we ordered the crab dip and it was really good. Usually when you order a seafood dip the meat ratio lacks, but here they made sure to overload it with plump crab meat. My only complaint was chips… I was really hopping for something a little more homemade, but the Tostitos chips worked (Am I being too picky?).

Mouth of the South Crab Dip

After we finished the dip, our entrees came out and I can’t tell you how amazing they both were. My fiancé was feeling the chicken pasta and she was not disappointed. It was cheesy buttery goodness and the chicken was blackened so it was sooo good and it had an amazing seasoning. For my meal I ordered the classic etoufee and it was the right choice. Etoufee can be so different depending on the region you eat it and whose making it, but this was as close to the original etoufee that I had when I was down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was well seasoned and it also had a ton of crawfish in it. The grits that came in the etoufee were also very delicious and fluffy. I added a little hot sauce, because it always needs a kick. There’s some other delicious etoufee that I have had in Omaha, for example, Herb Saint, (which is also amazing) but I felt like this was the closest take on the original dish. They did ask us for desserts, which thinking it was a cajun restaurant they must have beignets but they actually did not. Maybe next time.

Mouth of the South Etoufee with the Chicken Pasta in the back

Another classic Omaha that I had not been to since I moved here is Jerico’s. At first when you look at the yelp page you might not be very impressed because it seems like a little old fashioned restaurant with basic regular food. However, looks are deceiving. We ordered the fried portobello mushroom appetizer to start off, and while it seemed nice, they were out of this world. The mushrooms had a really great batter and seasoning and the cheese sauce they served them with was delicious. You also get a salad when you select an entree so I decided to get the salad with ranch and my fiancé selected hers with blue cheese. So while I waited for the salad to come out, I decided to treat my self to a glass of wine. I selected the house red Jerico’s wine made by Soaring Wings (local winery south of Omaha in Springfield NE). It was some of the best wine that I have had. I even asked the waitress if they sold bottles in-house, but sadly they didn’t.

Jerico’s Salad

Our salads arrived, and again they looked very basic but the dressing and the toppings made it one of the best salads I have had. My fiancee’s salad also had a lot of blue cheese crumbles which was her favorite part. After we devoured our salads they brought out the main course and WOW it looked phenomenal. I had the 10oz cut of prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and a side of creamy horseradish and my fiancé had the same but a smaller cut of prime rib. We cut a piece of the prime rib and dunked it in the au jus sauce and tried it. Words couldn’t describe how much our taste buds were enjoying that bite. Hands down it was the best prime rib I have had. I like mine cooked medium rare, and it was cooked to perfection. The au jus also was very well seasoned and just took the prime rib to the next level. I would definitely say that we will be back here very soon.

Jericos Prime Rib

I really hope you enjoyed this post and hope that you get to try one of these Omaha gems soon. Whether you live in town, or if you visit Omaha for CWS sometime.

In my next post I will introduce you to a new delicious restaurant focusing on chicken that just opened in the Blackstone Switch called Dirty Bird.

Stay Tuned!

The Beef State

I know its been a while since I last posted but I have been very busy with the holidays, my job, and keeping up with my healthy lifestyle. However, I assure you that there will be many more recipe and restaurant adventure posts to come. Now that work has calmed down and that the holidays are over I have some more free time to write.

Living in the beef state we’re blessed to have some of the best cuts of meat available at the store or a nearby steakhouse. Whether you are going to your local butcher or going to your favorite steakhouse you won’t be disappointed. If you have a nice grill at home or a cast iron skillet I would always recommend for you to just buy a filet, ribeye, or porterhouse and save some money and make it at home. If you have not made a steak or you aren’t comfortable with the process yet; fear not, today I will teach you how to make the perfect steak.

Personally, I love to get a ribeye cut because it usually has better marbling and a little extra fat on it. This fat creates the best flavor as it renders when you are searing/grilling it. I also always use rosemary, thyme, garlic, and grass fed butter when making my steaks. If you want to take it to the next level, I make a little side of seasoned herbed butter to top off my steak after it cooks (which is just a little butter, minced garlic, and then some thyme).

Directions:

First, I season my steak with pepper and salt and then I add a little Worcestershire sauce on both sides. I like to let it sit with the seasoning for about 5 minutes so that the meat has a chance to absorb the flavor. Then I set my cast iron skillet on medium heat with about 2 tbsp of Kerry Gold grass-fed butter (non-salted). After the butter melts and prior to adding my steaks to the pan I add a couple droplets of water to make sure its sizzles (thats how you know its hot enough to add the steaks). Depending on the thickness of your steaks it will affect the cook-time that I leave them on the skillet before flipping them. However, 3-4 mins per side for 1 inch thickness is usually my golden rule.

Once you have flipped the steaks once and let the additional 3-4 mins expire, add another 2 tbsp of butter, rosemary, thyme, and garlic to your pan. Then just baste the steaks in your butter liquid constantly for the last minute. After this has been completed (and your steaks have reached a temp of 135 degrees or medium rare), remove the steaks and let them rest on a plate for about 10 minutes. If you are grilling them, just add the steaks once the grill has reached a medium high temp and let them cook for 3-4 mins on each side. Once they reach the temp of 135, remove and let them rest for 10 mins. It’s pretty simple but you can ruin your steaks pretty easily by doing these no no’s that I have done.

  1. You add the garlic, herbs, and butter to early so they crisp up and burn
  2. You cut your steak right after you cook it
  3. You have the heat up too high so the outside chars, but the inside never reaches the proper temp
  4. You use oil with a very low smoke temperature so your whole kitchen smokes up
  5. You don’t heavily season your steak

Ingredients:

  • 8-12 oz ribeye
  • 5 tbsp of Kerry Gold butter (1 for additional butter steak topping)
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic or 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 stems of rosemary
  • 2 stems of thyme
  • 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

I really hope you enjoyed this special tid bit on cooking a proper steak. Its perfect to use for a dinner night in or a special night with your significant other. Usually my go to side is some baked/grilled asparagus and a baked potato or some quinoa. Please stay tuned for next blog post on my recent restaraunt adventures to Jerico’s, Dirty Bird, and Mouth of the South!

Yummy Soups for a Chilly Day

Brrrrrr…this week in Omaha the temperature dropped from 90 some degrees to about 55. So during times like these I start to crave a nice hot soup! Luckily I have two great recipes that always warm up my toes. One, is a creamy tomato bisque and the other is a hearty lentil soup. I know… some people hate lentils, so I thought I would give you two options. However, just be aware that lentils are actually really great for you. They’re a fantastic source of protein (especially if you’re vegan) and fiber, but if you are watching your carbs, just be careful, as they do pack a load. These two soups have completely different flavors, but I love both! Usually, with the tomato soup my fiancee and I will make grilled cheese to pair with the soup. When I make the lentil soup I add some extra chilles to add spice and get the sinuses cleared up. You can also heat up a couple tortillas and just roll them up and eat them with the soup.

I will have to credit this recipe to my fiancé who has been making this dish for a very long time. Since the first time I tried it, I fell in love! It just hits the heart. The lentil soup goes back to my childhood. When it started to get really cold my mom would always make this amazing lentil soup with some poached eggs and delicious vegetables. I think if you can’t decide which one to make first, dont worry you can make the other one next week. I promise that you won’t regret it.

Tomato Soup Ingredients

  • 1 lb of tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 handful of basil
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 1 1/2 of heavy creme
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

Directions:

  1. Roast tomatoes (halved), garlic, and onion in the over at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
  2. Once those items are cooked, switch them to a large sauce pan and use an emulsion blender until it’s broken down to a sauce, or you can transfer to a blender and blend the three ingredients.
  3. Add salt, basil, heavy creme, pepper, and parmesan cheese to your sauce pan or blender and blend again.
  4. Serve your soup

Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • 1 lb of lentils (color doesn’t matter)
  • 6-8 cups of water (depending on how thick you want it)
  • 2 tbsp of salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 4 diced roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1/2 lb of mushrooms
  • 6 eggs
  • 1-3 chopped serranos (add more if you want it really spicy)
  • 1 tbsp of cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring the 6-8 cups of water to a boil in large sauce pan
  2. Add salt, half onion, garlic, lentils to the sauce pan
  3. Once the lentils come to a boil turn down the hit to a low medium and allow to cook for 45 mins
  4. On the side add olive oil to a sauté pan and add your diced tomatoes, other half of diced onion, kale, and mushrooms.
  5. Cook them throughly
  6. In the last 15 mins of the lentil cook time, add the contents that you sautéd
  7. In the last 5 minutes of the lentil cook time crack your 6 eggs in the large sauce pan with the lentils (space them apart).
  8. Once you feel the lentils are soft and the eggs looked cooked through, serve in a dish and add a little of the chopped Serrano and cilantro
  9. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy these soups as much as we did, and stay tune for my broccoli bake and fish tacos! If you want me to try any dishes you have please send them my way and I will try to share them and recreate them with my own pizzazz.

The whole enchilada

If you’re like me, you probably love every type of enchilada. There’s mole enchiladas, enchiladas verdes, seafood enchiladas, and of course cheese enchiladas. However, in theme with my current health journey I want to introduce you to the zucchini enchilada! You’re probably thinking, “this is going to be a lot of work” and “I am going to need so many different ingredients.” In actuality it’s a pretty easy dish to make and the only ingredient you might not have and would need to buy is the enchilada sauce.

Normally when I have enchiladas you eat 2-3 and then you’re so stuffed. Not only that but you also feel bad eating more from all the carbs in the tortillas and the filling. However, with this dish there’s not as much of a guilty feeling because the wrapping is made with zucchini instead and the filling is just potatoes and beans (feel free to make with any other of your favorite veggies like mushrooms or sweet potatoes as well). The other great part of this dish is that it almost tastes like there’s meat in it and it doesn’t taste too veggyish. Sometimes with some vegetable substitutions you can really taste the difference, but my fiancé really loved them (and she’s a little picky).

Partial Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 can of refried beans (8 oz)
  • 1 bag of Mexican Style Cheese blend (12 OZ)
  • 2 tbsp of cumin
  • 2 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 bottles of Trader Joes enchiladas sauce
  • 4 zucchinis

Toppings:

  • 1 tbsp of sour creme
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 avocado

Directions

  1. Wash all vegetables prior to cooking
  2. Cut potatoes into small half inch pieces and start to boil water
  3. Throw your potatoes into the boiling water and then bring to a simmer after 5 mins of boiling
  4. Use mandolin to slice zucchini (long way) into very thin slices
  5. Once potatoes are done add to a mixing bowl and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Open can of beans and add to mixing bowl with all your spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic, and salt).
  7. Grab your zucchini slices and then put next to each other three of them the long way. Then add a spoonful of your stuffing and add to the he center and spread over the 3 slices.
  8. Then roll the zucchini slices like taquitos and add to a baking sheet or cast iron pan after you buttered it (pam spray works as well).
  9. Fill baking sheet or cast iron with enchiladas, and then top off with the bottle of enchilada sauce and then your cheese.
  10. Bake enchiladas for 20-30 minutes on 375 degrees.
  11. Slice your avocado into thin slices, and cut up green onion and cilantro.
  12. Remove enchiladas from oven, add your portion to your plate and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and avocado.
  13. Enjoy
Finished Enchiladas

Hope you loved these as much as I did! Remember you can have more than 2 helpings since these are a little healthier 😉

Come back next time for a Broccoli Alfredo Bake!

Meatless Burgers

I know I know, before you even think about skipping this recipe just give it a chance. Americans love their beef, I get it (I love it too). However, sometimes it’s nice to give new things a try and you might be surprised how good it might turn out. I am not trying to change y’all into vegetarians, I promise, but there have been a lot of studies showing that lowering your red meat intake can have a multitude of benefits. Personally, I have been trying to eat less meat in general. I didn’t really want to put a title on it, just because I didn’t want to feel trapped and feel like I failed. Instead, I am just trying to eat less meat, trying to replace it with more plant based meals, and being more conscious of the ingredients I am utilizing. It was very hard in the beginning, but now it has been three weeks and I have been able to do 5 out of the 7 days with no meat. I am still eating seafood and fish, so its been more like being a pescatarian (I am eating eggs and diary products as well).

One of my favorite dishes that we have made are these chickpea burgers. At first I thought that the burgers would be really dry and without flavor, but after trying them they were the opposite of my expectations. These are very basic to make and it won’t require a huge basket of ingredients, except a few spices from your cabinet. It’s also very easy to prep and the cooking time is very short in case you are in a time crunch. One thing I would highly recommend is having an extra sauce like some hot sauce or some ranch as it just makes the burger ever better (we had sriracha and a green hot sauce).

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head of cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of cumin
  • 1 Cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 Can of chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo beans)
  • 2 Tbsp of paprika
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp of pepper
  • Preferred set of burger buns (we used sandwich thins)

Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup of mayo
  • 2 Tbsp of buffalo sauce

Toppings:

  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Head of Lettuce (we used kale)
  • 1 Jar of pickles
  • 1 Onion (we used purple onion)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut up cauliflower into small pieces (small enough to fit in food processor) and drizzle a little olive oil with salt.
  3. Put prepped cauliflower onto a baking sheet and place in your oven for 25 minutes.
  4. While your cauliflower cooks, place chickpeas in food processor with the cumin, paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Once the cauliflower is cooked, add it to the food processor and puree until finely mashed
  6. Let your mixture cool down in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Take mixture out of the fridge, and then add bread crumbs and mix together. Once mixed, form mixture into patties that will fit your buns.
  8. Get a skillet and add some olive oil, and put on medium to high heat. Place patties on your skillet and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until browned until each side.
  9. In your oven place your buns and lightly add butter to them to toast them up.
  10. Get a small container and add your mayo and buffalo sauce and mix together with a spoon.
  11. Cut up tomato and onion into slices, wash lettuce and cut to size, and then get your pickle jar
  12. Finally, add your toasted up bun on your plate, place a chickpea patty on your bun, add sauce to the top side of then bun and then add cut up toppings as you like and viola!

I really hope that you enjoyed these burgers as much as we did. Maybe now you’ll be more open minded to meatless dishes! For those of you that are already vegetarians or vegans I will be sharing a lot more yummy recipes to try out.

Next up Zucchini Enchiladas! Get ready!

Tricky Tofu

If you follow me on social media, you probably saw my new dish that I recently made called sweet chili tofu. Besides people telling me how good it looked; I also got a lot of people that asked how to make tofu because it either always tasted really bland or it ended up falling apart. Well today you’re in luck; I am going to give you some quick tips to working with tofu that I have learned over time. Before we do that though, I thought I would tell you a little about tofu especially for the people that have never heard of it or used it in their cooking. Tofu originates from Japan and is about 1000 years old. It was thought to be made on accident when a chef let soy milk cook too long that it caused it to curdle. Over time it has gained a lot popularity since its low carb, high in protein, and a good substitute for meat (read more here).

The first time I ever made Tofu I didn’t really like it. There was no flavor and it was barely noticeable in my dish because it had crumbled up. It still tasted like plain tofu; even though I added many different seasonings and sauces. Over time I found out what my issues were. First it is was preparation and secondly it was my method of cooking.

Any expert tofu cooker will tell you that you always need to dry off the tofu when removing it from the packaging. This allows for any sauces or seasonings to be more easily absorbed. If you don’t dry it off then it’s much harder for the tofu to absorb all the great ingredients you added. The second trick is to cut up your tofu into half inch squares. That way the marinade/seasonings have more surface area to get into, and it also takes less time for the flavor to be absorbed. Lastly always allow your marinade/seasonings to sit in your tofu for at least 30 minutes. By doing all these three tricks you’ll ensure that all the yummy flavors get into your tofu prior to cooking.

One thing to know is what dish you’ll be cooking so you know what kind of firmness of tofu you will be needing. If you are making a miso soup or a dish that the tofu won’t be the star of the dish you can always go with soft or medium tofu. For the dish that I made you need the tofu to stay together so you will need extra firm tofu. You can find all the different varieties at your local store. Trader Joes usually has 3 to 4 different varieties. Secondly, if you are going to stir fry your tofu or pan fry it make sure that you fold your tofu when stiring and don’t just mix it. By mixing it, the tofu will start to fall apart. By folding the tofu it will keep the tofu intact (read about folding here). Also make sure that you allow the tofu to brown/crisp up on each side so that you get that crunchy exterior but soft interior.

Sweet Chili Tofu with Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag of green beans
  • 1 Block of extra firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp of low sodium soy sauce

Toppings:

  • 1 Tbsp of fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 Cup of peanuts (can also use cashews)
  • 2 Green onions

Directions:

  1. Remove tofu from packaging and pat dry. Cut into 1/2 inch squares.
  2. Add tofu to a large mixing bowl and add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and lastly corn starch. Fold in ingredients and let tofu sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Heat up olive oil in a sauté pan and then add Tofu. DO NOT STIR. Allow each side of the tofu to crisp up and then individually flip every 2-3 minutes.
  4. Microwave or steam your green beans and place to the side to serve.
  5. Once tofu is golden brown remove from sauté pan and add to a mix bowl and then add in sweet chili sauce (fold again).
  6. Cut up cilantro, peanuts, and green onion into small pieces to top off tofu.
  7. Add tofu to a serving platter or individual plate and add a little cilantro, green onion, and peanuts. Then add green beans to the side and lightly salt or add a bit of soy sauce.
  8. A little thing I add to the dish for some spice is sriracha but you don’t have to.

I hope that after you try making this dish, you’ll want to try out other delicious tofu recipes. Trust me you have just unlocked another powerful ingredient that will add a lot of variety to your cooking. Did I mention that its really high in protein and low in carbs, so don’t feel bad having a second or third helping! If you enjoyed this blog post and recipe please share or spread the word. I will be adding many more recipes and more frequently. A lot of people have been cheering on this adventure so I will continue to provide and make your culinary journey a fun and exotic one!

Cheers! Keep on Cook’n!

The Best Meatless Ragu

Over the last couple weeks I have been trying out so many new meatless dishes that I have totally forgot to share them with all of you. Just today I made a fabulous eggplant gnocchi ragu, and we loved it! You won’t even notice that the meat component is missing. Traditionally an Italian ragu comes with some beef, turkey, or practically any meat you can think of. However, since I have been on this pescatarian kick I thought I would substitute eggplant for the meat. If you have never made eggplant or don’t think you will like it, I promise you that after you make it one time you will try to incorporate into your cooking. We made the sauce with tomatoes and basil from our garden and I really feel like it takes it up a notch.

Below is the ingredients you will need

Sauce components:

  • 3 Cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup of olive oil
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp of salt
  • 2 Tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 Tsp of dried basil
  • 2 Tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tsp of chili flakes
  • 1 Small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 Bags of frozen Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

For the roasted eggplant:

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tsp of cumin
  • 1 Tsp of chili powder
  • 1 Tsp of garlic salt
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil

Toppings:

  • 1 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp of ricotta cheese

Directions

  1. Add diced eggplant to your baking sheet with olive oil. Add olive oil, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt. Bake at 420 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large sauce pan heat up olive oil, and then add minced garlic and shallots and stir till golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes and then add salt, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil and then put it on low (enough to simmer ) for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the eggplant is fully cooked add to the ragu sauce. Take the fresh basil and cut it up with shear scissors and add to your ragu sauce.
  5. Take your frozen gnocchi bags and add onto of the sauce and cover with lid and let it simmer for another 10 mins.
  6. Check your sauce and make sure that the gnocchi is soft, and then serve onto a bowl with a dollop of ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese if desired.

When you read the recipe name it sounds pretty complex, but after you break it down its actually not that bad and its worth the hassle (I promise)! If you don’t want to use eggplant you can always substitute it with any type of meat. I would just recommend that you cook your meat separately and once its browned and fully cooked then you can add it to your ragu sauce when we added the eggplant. Overall this dish is also very healthy, but if you are trying to keep it vegan just skip the ricotta and Parmesan cheese and viola! I would definitely make this dish again and would recommend it to anyone that wants to have a meatless entree without any guilt.

Stay tuned for my next recipe… homemade tomato soup with grilled three cheese sandwich!!! YUM

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was a blast. In addition to hanging out with some of my friends I also did some really fun activities. After work on Friday, I headed to the driving range and met up with my friend Ana and Andrew. We hit some balls and caught up with each other regarding each of our weeks. I always find this time to be a blessing to talk about what’s been bothering you, what you have coming up, and even future plans. While we were finishing up, of course, we were starting to crave some margaritas. So we conjured up a plan to get our other friend Vikky to come out with us and try out the new Switch in Blackstone District. I really wanted them to try it because they have an Infusion Brewery and about six other restaurants inside; that way everyone can eat whatever their heart desires.

If you live in Omaha it’s a must try. When we first arrived they were all impressed at how many food options there was and how busy it was. I had already been twice that week because when something new opens up I need to try it and write a yelp review. We eventually decided to get Red Lantern (the Vietnamese restaurant) and Arepon (the Venezuelan restaurant). I got a Bahn mi and then I also got the Llanera arepa. My friends got the Pho, the Bahn Mi, and springs rolls. In addition to our food we got some beers at Infusion; I got the Blood Orange and the IPA they had on special for only $3. Our friend Ana decided to surprise us by getting multiple desserts at the Bubbly Tart, and let me tell you they were all so amazing. Even our friend Mariel, (who had just joined us) who bakes regularly, was in love. I would highly recommend trying the drinks and all the delicious food at the Switch.

The next day I met up with a couple of other friends to golf at Milts in Ralston. I’ve only been golfing a few times, and our buddy Brandon had never golfed before so it was going to be fun time. I enjoy playing with people that are still learning because if you play with folks that are really great, they can get pretty competitive or even annoyed if you keep messing up. However, golfing with Michaela and Brandon was a blast. We made a bet that whoever lost the most holes had to actually buy shots afterwards. Somehow Brandon and I tied, so either I really sucked or he had some beginners luck. After the game, we went to Varsity’s and enjoyed our shots and some buffalo wings.

Once I got a nap in, I then headed to my other friends house because he had been smoking a pork butt and some brisket. I think I timed it right, because as I walked in the brisket was just being unwrapped. Now I know some people don’t like brisket, but I love it. I quickly grabbed two pieces of white bread and Famous Daves Devils spit and made myself a sandwich. It was delightful. After a couple hours, the pork butt was finished so I then had a couple sandwiches of that and some coleslaw and potatoes salad. Any time I have BBQ it just makes me smile. For my cheat day it was perfect; I always say that you gotta treat yourself.

On Sunday I went to visit my parents because I had not visited them in a couple weeks. Every time I get to visit them we always have amazing food. As I walked in, she already had a Chile con Huevo (egg) going and had fresh beans that had been cooked. My dad was just seasoning some steaks that they had bought the day before. I could already tell it was going to be an amazing meal. I helped cook the steaks because they were about 1.5 inches thick and they wanted to make sure they were done right. Normally they get that really thin steak for carne asada so they’re not used to cooking that kind of thickness. After 10 minutes, the steaks were ready and it was time to enjoy. We plated our food and then sat on the patio enjoying the weather and catching up. I really appreciate this time as some people don’t have their parents around or the greatest relationship with them so I am lucky in that way. They always give me great advise and they’re always making sure that everything is going okay in my life. I love them and I love to visit them because not only do they always make delicious food, but I really enjoy being around my family.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!

Cheers!

Supplement your life

As you may already know, I have recently been all about eating healthier and getting your exercise in. However, in addition to that I have joined team supplements after listening to multiple podcast and reading many different articles regarding health benefits. Now at first you might be thinking that I am talking about taking testosterone boosters or the new hyped supplement for weight loss, but I am actually talking about vitamins and minerals.

Sure there are some vitamins and minerals that you can get from your daily food intake, but there are some that are more difficult to get based off your diet. For example, some people don’t really eat seafood or fish very often, so I am sure you are missing out on those good Omega-3s; or for example, if you’re not getting outside on a daily basis and drinking lots of milk, you are probably vitamin D deficient. However, don’t worry it’s not too late to start and change your lifestyle. I might add that I am not licensed Dr. or nutritionist, but I will give tell why I got into taking my vitamins and why they are important. Make sure that you do your own research and consult with your physician for maximum benefits and potential side effects.

About six months ago, I was listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast and there was a nutritionist (that had her Phd) that was speaking and talking about why it was so important to take certain vitamins. She explained that many people think that taking vitamins or supplements will not help your overall health and that most of it will be extracted when you use the restroom. However, she went on to say that the basis of this started off from an incorrect study that was published. When she reviewed the journal she found that they tried to prove their hypothesis that humans will not reap benefits from taking supplements or reverse cognitive decline, but they failed to include that these test subjects were actually about to die. They all had underlying health conditions, were elderly and were pretty much in hospice care. The main reason you want to take vitamins and supplements is to help in the long run, and not when you’re already in a bad state or dying as it won’t do any good. The main thing is that by starting early and in good health you will reap more of the benefits of taking these supplements.

Of course, after listening to that podcast I was hooked, so I listened to other podcast that she appeared on the Joe Rogan Show (total of 6), and then I also started to follow her personal podcast (called foundmyfitness.com). I also read up on all her claims and they proved to be true. So after doing a lot of reading and listening to hours of podcasts on nutrition I started my journey on getting the items I needed.

Based on her talks the first supplement that I decided to get was some Vitamin D3. Then of course I got my normal multivitamin, and then my Omega 3, Zinc , and finally Magnesium. Why did I get all these you my ask, well here’s the answer. The Vitamin D3 supports nerve and brain health, regulates insulin levels and diabetes management, helps with regulating cardiovascular system and lungs, and finally influences the expression of genes in cancer development. The Omega 3 is really good for lowering blood pressure, slows the development of plaque in the arteries, reduces the chance of stroke, and helps regulate heart beat. Zinc has been proven to help with strengthening the immune system which is necessary currently with the COVID crisis and it also helps with your metabolism function. Magnesium actually helps with so many things and is the one that surprised me the most. It helps with the regulation of thousands of biochemical reactions, it boosts exercise performance, helps fight depression, has benefits against developing type 2 diabetes, has anti inflammatory properties, reduces insulin resistance, reduces migraines, and can also help to lower blood pressure. As you can all of these have amazing health benefits, so you might be asking why you haven’t heard about these before. I had the same thought. Like I said previously most people believe that by having your normal meals you’ll be able to get all these vitamins and minerals, however, in actuality it can be very tough unless you perfectly plan out your meals. So instead I spend a few more dollars and make sure I have my daily recommended amounts.

The main thing about these supplements as Dr. Rhonda Patrick says is that you need to start taking them now so that you body has the benefit of time. Don’t be like the people in the studies and wait to be suffering from underlying health issues to start taking these supplements. I will say that after starting this regiment I have a lot ton of energy, I feel much more alert, and then the magnesium really helps with my digestive system regulation. Don’t just take my word for it though, please read on these topics and make sure that you check out Dr. Rhonda Patrick who has been a blessing in my journey to a healthier and wholesome lifestyle.

Check her stuff out on the following website:

https://www.foundmyfitness.com