Three bean chili

17 Oct




One of the things I like about the Fall is making hearty stews, soups, and chili. I usually make turkey chili, but I’ve been trying to incorporate meatless menus into my week. You can serve this chili as either a main course with a side salad and cornbread or as an appetizer.

Prep time: five minutes

Total cook time: Twenty minutes


16 oz. can reduced sodium or regular black beans

16 oz. can reduced sodium or regular kidney beans

16 oz. can reduced sodium or regular cannellini beans

6 oz. can tomato paste

Half of onion chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

2 medium-sized carrots, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 yellow squash, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup water, plus a little more*(Depending on how thick you like your chili, add little or less water)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Pinch of clove

Pinch of basil

Cilantro to garnish (optional)


  1. In a strainer, add the canned beans and rinse under running water. Set aside.
  2. Over medium-high heat add the olive oil, followed by diced vegetables and sauté for about five minutes.
  3. Add the beans and remaining ingredients. Lower the heat and let simmer for twenty minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.








Coconut Pancakes with Carmelized Bananas

1 Jun

I’m always looking for ways to be creative with pancakes. Over the weekend, I decided to experiment with my three favorite things: pancakes, coconut, and bananas.  Makes about 9 big pancakes.

Ingredients and instructions for pancakes:

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup regular or light coconut milk (I used light since that’s what I had in my cupboard)

1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

1/2  tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

extra butter for pan

1. Heat coconut oil in microwave (30 seconds should do)

2. In small bowl whisk together eggs and milk.

3. In a bigger bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the egg mixture, followed by coconut oil, coconut flakes, and vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are well blended.

4. Melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat pan. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop out  batter and pour into pan. You may need to use a knife to evenly distribute pancake into a circle. Flip over when edges began to bubble. Repeat process until batter is gone.

*Tip: To keep pancakes extra moist, I usually butter each pancake after I remove them from the stove.

Ingredients and instructions for carmelized bananas:

3 ripened bananas, sliced

5 tbsp butter

3 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Combine sliced bananas in a bowl with brown sugar and mix together.

2. Over medium heat, melt butter and add bananas. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until bananas have browned. Remove from heat and serve over pancakes.

carmelized bananas

*Tip: If you find that the bananas may start to burn, add a little bit of water to keep them from burning.

Spiced Baked Apricots

25 May

apricots with yogurt and almonds

Every now and then, my sweet tooth will sneak up on me. Rather than giving into that nice chunk of brownie (Sorry brownie, you lose!) I saw at the bakery I decide  to do something with the few remaining apricots left in that mini basket that I purchased from my local Trader Joe’s.  They taste great served with almonds and a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I didn’t have ice cream, but I did have plain nonfat greek yogurt, which works just as great!


2 apricots, halved and pitted

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. In a medium bowl, combine apricots and sugar. Make sure that the apricots are well coated in the sugar.

3. On a cookie sheet, place the apricots skin side down and evenly distribute the butter and any remaining sugar into each half. Generously sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg into each half and place in the oven.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the apricots appear carmelized or soft, but not mushy. They should still have their form. Remove from oven and serve with vanilla cream or whipped cream.

Boneless Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce

7 May

I purchased a crock pot for just $10 at my local Kmart and it comes quite in handy! Strangely though I’ve never been a huge red meat-eater (I used to eat it once a year), but for some reason after moving to L.A. I’ve found myself  eating a little more.

I let it cook for about 7 hours. It was pretty much falling apart and full of flavor and tender. It’s very tasty when served with rice and greens such as kale or swiss chard. It’s even better with polenta if you want a rice substitute.


2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, cut into huge chunks

1 6 oz. can tomatoes paste

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/4  cup red wine ( I used a Malbec since it had been unopened for weeks, but I’m sure any red will probably do)

1 cup water

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp fresh chopped parsley (dried will do also)

1/2 tsp freshly chopped basil leaves (dried will do also)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp oregano

For marinade and instructions:

1 tbsp cooking sherry

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp herb de Provence

1/2 tsp oregano

1. Combine all ingredients in Ziploc bag along with ribs and let set in refrigerator for at least 4 hours–even better if you can do it overnight!

For Cooking:

1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and let it cook for at least 7 hours or until meat is cooked all the way through.

double layer lemon treat

4 May

I made this  for a dinner party that I hosted over the weekend at my place. The tartness of the lemons complements the subtle sweetness of the ricotta cheese. This recipe is good enough for a 9×12 in. pan

For Filling:

3 12 oz. jars of lemon curd

2 1/3 cups ricotta cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

lemon slices (optional) to garnish

For Crust

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

2 eggs, beaten

Instructions for crust:

1. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs

2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour and brown sugar. Cut butter pieces into the crust, followed by the eggs. Mix until all ingredients are well blended, careful not to overwork as this can cause a tough crust. If mixture seems too sticky, add a little more flour.

3. Press the mixture, evenly into a 9 x 12 in. pan. Let the mixture set for at least 4 hours or overnight. (I let my crust set overnight)

4. Once the crust is set, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cover the crust with parchment paper and pie weights and blind bake for 10 min. Remove from oven and remove pie weights. Bake for an additional 10 min. or until a golden brown. Remove from oven.

Instructions for filling:

1. In a large bowl combine egg, sugar, and ricotta cheese. Mix until all ingredients are well blended and cheese is smooth. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spread cheese mixture evenly over crust and bake for 20 min. or until cheese seems set. Remove and let cool. Once cool, evenly spread the lemon curd over the ricotta cheese. You may decorate with lemon slices, if desired.

3.Let set in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Artisanal L.A. Spring Show

14 Apr

I’ve fallen into a type of “chef’s block”, but hopefully I will get the much needed inspiration at this weekend’s Artisanal L.A. Spring Show! It sounds like the perfect foodie’s paradise–now, I just hope I don’t get too over board, spending wise…

Lemon Chicken with Pasta

30 Mar

It’s light, quick and easy to make. The fresh parsley gives it an extra kick.


*Two boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cubed (Or you can use 1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast)

3 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup spaghetti or other type of long-haired pasta (i.e. angel hair)

1/2 cup frozen spinach (You may also use fresh, if you’d like)

1/3 cup water, set aside

1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

juice from lemon wedge OR 1 tsp of lemon juice

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

For Marinade:

1/3 cup white wine or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix ingredients with chicken in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


1. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Discard the marinade and season chicken with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan and once heated, add the mushrooms, followed by the chicken pieces. In a separate pot, boil the water for the pasta and cook until pasta is tender (7-10 min.)

2. Brown the chicken on each side for about two minutes. You may need to use a little of the water from the reserved 1/3 cup to prevent from burning. Next, add the lemon juice and lemon zest.  Once it appears that the chicken has cooked all the way through, add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the parsley and butter.

3. Cook until the tomatoes are softer and spinach has cooked down. Add the pasta, butter, and parsley and mix all ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste, if you so desire. Remove from stove and transfer to a serving plate.

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