18 September, 2013

Baby Sous Chef

September? Well, how did that happen? I'll tell you how it happened. It's a Girl!

Simple Plates is over joyed to announce the addition of Baby SP to our family. 
We are so overwhelmed with love for this bundle of love!
Simple Plates posting may be fewer and farther between from before but I promise not to quit! The recipes might even be "more simple" now that they will be created between feeding, changing, bath time and snuggle time. So stay tuned, my friends, and join me for another ride down a winding, curvy and sometimes bumpy road that is life. How sweet it is!

19 July, 2013

Summertime Favorites

This month we are celebrating three years of Simple Plates! I admit year three's posts have been few and far between but I prefer quality over quantity (lame excuse). This heat is getting to my brain and blocking my inspiration (another lame excuse) so I decided to search the SP archives to revisit a few summertime favorites. I hope these oldies will keep you cool!

Slaw Dogs with Mango

Chicken Pineapple Sandwich
Whipped Sorbet

Corn Summer Salad

Shrimp Scampi

01 July, 2013

Simple Coleslaw

It is summer so let us have a conversation about coleslaw. I am very picky about my coleslaw and normally only like my own. And the reason for that is a lot of people and restaurants put sugar in their slaw.

I do not put sugar in my coleslaw.
I repeat.
I do not put sugar in my coleslaw.

I also don't put sugar in my iced tea which apparently is a sin in the South but let's continue...

We all have different taste buds and different likes so I will not judge you (to your face) if you do like sugar in your slaw. Here is my very basic coleslaw recipe that is versatile and can be used to top off your fish tacos, your pork tacos, sausage dogs or served as a side dish.

Simple Coleslaw
(The measurements will depend on your group size and personal preferences.)
cabbage, shredded
carrots, shredded or diced
red onion, diced
green pepper, diced
Jalapeno, diced
salt and pepper to taste
red wine vinegar
Combine your veggies, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and mayo. Depending on the size of your coleslaw you will add more vinegar and mayo but I recommend starting with about 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of mayo.

28 June, 2013

Fridge Clean Out Quiche

 When my fridge needs a good cleaning I will make a quiche/frittata and a salad. Confused? I am not talking about the cleaning of the fridge surface. I am talking about cleaning out of the small amounts of veggies, meats, cheeses, and grains that may have accumulated for the last week or so. You didn't throw those away, did you? I didn't think so! Not my readers!

Before we get started,  you may be wondering the difference between a quiche and a frittata. After limited research I am satisfied by the simple difference of a quiche is French and has a crust while a frittata is Italian and crust less. The similarities are combining eggs, cream or milk, and any other ingredient on hand and finishing it in the oven.

Here is what my most recent clean out looked like:
1 cup of cooked quinoa (you can use rice or just skip the crust)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
Mix the quinoa with the parmesan cheese and one egg. Layer the bottom of a cake pan with the mixture and bake on 375 for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
6 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup of habanero spiced cheese cubes
Combine 6-8 eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and whatever you have cleaned out of your fridge. Pour mixture into your pan and cook on 350 for about 35-45 minutes or until eggs are set. The length of cook time will depend on how many eggs you are using and your ingredients.

Not bad for a fridge clean out!
Then I cleaned up some more by making this salad:
arugula, dates, almonds, corn, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

Dinner served! Fridge cleaned! Grocery store trip needed..

06 May, 2013

Grapefruit de Mayo

Hello friends, readers, strangers.
I do not know if you know this about me, but I hate to waste food. Especially fresh produce someone has grown in their garden or picked from a tree and they want to share with me. Recently, my Mom challenged me with a large amount of grapefruit. See exhibit A

Exhibit A
Oh yeah! I got this.
Grapefruit and Avocado Salsa
(served 2 on top of fish and with tortilla chips)
3 grapefruits
1 avocado
1/4 small red onion, diced finely
handful of cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper

Cut grapefruits in half and cut between and around the pith. Remove segments and squeeze juice into a separate bowl. Toss grapefruit with red onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then add avocado, gently combine and serve.

*My grapefruits were extremely juicy. I used the juice of 1/2 of grapefruit for the salsa. And I found two other recipes that will use the remainder of the grapefruit juice.
Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Grapefruit Margarita

19 April, 2013

Steakhouse Egg Bake

In my last blog post I said I was going to focus on salads in the month of April. However, the ample April showers are throwing off my game. I am a "moodafoodie" and a "weatherfoodie" and I just made those terms up. It means my food cravings and cooking are inspired by my mood and the weather. It is hard for me to eat a salad on a rainy day. So I am not sharing a salad recipe today. Sorry!

Today I am expanding on the blog post  in which I revealed that you can take ANY leftovers from ANY restaurant,"throw eggs on it", and make a meal. Recently, my husband and I were treated to a great meal at a steak restaurant by a work colleague. At the end of dinner I tried to avoid eye contact as I casually started packing up the leftover creamed spinach, mushrooms, and bits of steak.  Do you see where I am going with this? Oh yeah. Steakhouse egg bake. I risked a little embarrassment for you and maybe just a wee bit for me. You are welcome!

Leftover Steakhouse Egg Bake
Serves 2-4 (depending on how much leftovers you have)
steak, chopped
creamed spinach
roasted mushrooms, chopped
red onion, sliced thinly
4 eggs
cheddar cheese, grated
2 white corn tortillas (or flour tortillas, or leftover bread, or potatoes, or fries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Layer tortillas (or your carb of choice), spinach, mushrooms, steak and red onion. Break eggs on top and stir them up a bit with a fork. Drizzle a small amount of milk on top of the eggs to keep them from drying out. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked.


Bake and eat!

03 April, 2013

Cabbage Ramen Salad

It is April and in some parts of the country it is "springish". It is time to step away from the comfort food, plant our gardens and fire up the grill.  I would like to take this month and focus on salads.

I love salads or slaw's made with crunchy, shredded cabbage. I have enjoyed a cabbage salad that has raw ramen noodles and an Asian dressing several times in my life. A majority of the recipes online use the flavoring packet that comes with the ramen noodles and I tend to enjoy my salads without a side of MSG. I did some research, combined some recipes, and came up with a dressing sans MSG. The ramen noodles add more crunch and are interesting.  However, I will understand if the idea of consuming ramen noodles in any capacity freaks you out a bit and urge you to try the recipe without them. 

Cabbage Ramen Salad (serves 4)
1/2 bag of shredded cabbage or tricolor slaw mix
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or almonds)
1 bag uncooked ramen noodles, broken into bits

1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
1.5 Tbsp sugar (more to taste)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1.5 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients and taste. Per your taste, you may add a dash more salt or sugar. Dress salad and serve.

06 March, 2013

Stuffed Sweet Potato

Have you ever "waited patiently" for something in your life?

wait (verb) Stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.
patient (adjective) Able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious.

In some circumstances it can be unhealthy for us to delay action until a particular thing happens. And please raise your hand if while you wait for something or someone you do not become annoyed or anxious. Oh boy! That discussion deserves its own blog post.

Perhaps, it would be healthier for us to "hope" and to "hope patiently".
hope noun-a desire or expectation for a certain thing to happen

So I admit it, I am looking forward to, waiting and hoping for the arrival of spring, warmer temperatures, my garden to produce, and my grass to turn green. However, in no way will I delay any action until then. To do that would be to miss the last little bit of winter with its colorful sunrises, crisp chill in the air, and comforting warm foods.

Stuffed Sweet Potato
(serves 2 as a meal)
2 large sweet potatoes
1 or 2 chicken breast, cooked
1/2 green bell pepper (onions or any other color bell pepper)
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse your sweet potatoes. Use a fork to prick a couple holes around the potato. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for about 40-50 minutes. They are done when you can put a fork in them and their is a sweet syrup dripping from them. While the potatoes are roasting, add olive oil to a small pot on medium heat. Add bell peppers (or onions) and saute for a few minutes. Add black beans and cumin and simmer on low. When potatoes are done roasting, slice them down the middle, add butter, top with black beans, chicken, and sour cream.

18 February, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

The back story of this cookie as I remember it, is that my mother and my aunts acquired this recipe from a member of their La Leche group back in the mid to late 70's. The cookies were packed with oats and wheat germ and other healthy things (never mind the sugar and the butter) that helped keep one "regular".

And so we ate them.
And we ate them a lot.
And we ate a lot of them.
And sometimes we even called them breakfast. 

Myself and all 345 cousins (slight exaggeration but not much) of mine enjoyed every bite after a marathon game of Marco Polo in the pool or after a hard day of crawfishing out of the ditch using bologna as bait.

These cookies are my favorite. They are a part of my past and they will be a part of my future. They are soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside. They are not overly sweet and they taste even better the next day. The recipe has been altered over the years but this is the version I am sharing.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes 24 cookies)
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
9 ounces dark chocolate chips
3/4 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Combine wet ingredients with a mixer and then gradually mix in dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

I like to freeze them in individual cookies so I can bake them a few at a time. Scoop out individual cookies and put them on a baking sheet in the freezer for a couple hours. Remove them and place in a container for storage. Add a few minutes to the bake time when you pull them from the freezer.

06 February, 2013

Broccoli Salad

It's time to come clean about a couple things:
I frequently try to spell broccoli with two l's and one c and have to "google" it. Every. Time.
I made this dish in November and I am posting it in February.

Now I didn't have to admit these things but I did. Because I am honest. And because the mini Christmas tree in the background of the picture may have given me away. And because someone from my family may have ratted me out that I made this dish for Thanksgiving.

Regardless, the broccoli salad is a hardy winter salad that can be made ahead of time and is also good leftover. This salad is made a number of ways and using varying amounts of sugar and mayo but the below recipe is how I generally like my broccoli salad (less sugar and mayo).

Broccoli Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
1/2 cup almonds, toasted at 300 degrees for 8-10 minutes
8 cups of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayo
1 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp vinegar (white vinegar or red wine vinegar)
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste

Combine broccoli, almonds, red onion and dried cranberries. Add sugar, salt, vinegar and mayo. Taste and add more salt and mayo to your preference. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until serving.

30 January, 2013

Fruit Salad

Do you have a simple plate that you make frequently without even thinking about it?
A recipe that most of your entire extended family (which is a million people) have made.
A recipe in which the act of preparing it brings a flood of memories.

For me, that simple plate is no more or no less than fruit salad.
The most basic fruit salad you can imagine without jello and without added sugar.
This fruit salad is great by itself, on top of cottage cheese, mixed with yogurt, or piled high on waffles. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand.  If your fruit bowl is full and no one has touched it in a while take some time and make this fruit salad and watch it disappear.

Fruit Salad
(this is a small version that serves 2 for about a week)
2 cups fresh strawberries (or frozen defrosted)
2 apples
3 oranges
1/2 cup pecans

Cut fruit into bite sized pieces, add nuts, toss and refrigerate. All of the fruit juices will meld together on their own. No sugar needed.

17 January, 2013

Avocado Salad

I struggled a little when deciding if this dish deserved a post.
And then I glanced at the top of my blog and saw this:
sim·ple/ˈsɪmpəl/[sim-puhl] –adjective- not elaborate or artificial; not complex
If "simple" didn't deserve a post, this blog wouldn't exist.

If I were stuck on an island and I could only have one food item with me, it would be a toss up between avocados or popcorn. The avocado wins since it has more calories and contains monounsaturated fats, potassium, fiber, and vitamins B, E and K. I could go on and on about my love affair with the avocado but I will spare you and share the easiest side dish you will ever serve.

Avocado Salad
(serves two as a side dish)
one avocado
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
Slice avocado in half and remove the pit. Leaving the avocado in its skin, run a knife lengthwise through the avocado and then run the knife in the opposite direction. Your avocado should be diced but still in tact in the skin. Add a dash of salt and pepper to the avocado and then fill the middle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

08 January, 2013

Hit Reset w/ Tilapia and Garlic Snap Peas

Welcome to the New Year of 2013!!
I apologize for my late arrival but I have been busy pressing the "reset button". You know that button you wish you had to get you back on track after much holiday indulgence.  I will never beat myself up about more time cuddling on the couch with family and less workouts during the holidays. And I would never curse myself for enjoying lots of rich and comforting holiday brunches, lunches and dinners topped off with some sugar on top. But once January rolls around, I will expect myself to push that "reset button". My reset consists of more active time and less couch time and refocusing on my intake of fresh fruits, veggies and natural food. So if your reset or resolutions look something like that you might enjoy these recipes.
Topped Tilapia (serves 2)*
1 tilapia fillet
10 white button mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3-4 tbsp bread crumbs
3-4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Add olive oil to a skillet and turn to medium heat. Saute veggies for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and combine with oregano, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Gradually add olive oil until mixture sticks together. Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper and drizzle the tilapia with olive oil. Spread the mixture evenly over the fillet. Bake for 25-30 minutes in 400 degree oven.
*This recipe comes from a stuffed mushroom recipe I use that always results in leftover stuffing. The amounts in the recipe are estimated to the best of my knowledge. You may end up with a little more or less than you need or want.

Garlic Sugar Snap Peas (serves 2-3)
8 oz sugar snap peas
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
canola or olive oil
Add oil to a skillet and heat on high. Add peas and saute for 2-4 minutes. Add garlic, stir and remove from heat.