How To Prepare Spaghetti Squash 3 Different Ways

Spaghetti Squash. If you are one of the few people who actually know what a spaghetti squash is, it’s probably safe to say you can only prepare it one way. Squash as spaghetti. Served with … what? Yep, you guessed it, pasta sauce.

Well, prepare to have your minds blown! We recently did a cooking demo at the Detroit Eastern Market where we displayed three different dishes using that oblong yellow vegetable. And, to add more of a wow factor, all three dishes can be created in 30 minutes or less.

With the varying dietary intake that has America divided like the current presidency, we decided to offer one dish as vegan, one as vegetarian, and one as carnivorous.

We’ll get more into that later. For now, let’s describe a spaghetti squash and briefly review its health benefits. If you’re in the majority of the people who haven’t even heard of this vegetable, then you’ll probably asking yourself “what is a spaghetti squash?” Picture this … a winter vegetable with a hard pale yellow exterior with a stringy flesh. Got an image in your head? Ok good, hold on to that for a sec.

Now let’s take a moment to reflect on the nutritional value of the almighty spaghetti squash. First of all, it’s very low in calories. I mean … we’re talking less than a half a gram of fat per cup. It’s also low in carbs, containing only 10 grams per cup. Two things this squash is high in is fiber and water content. All of these qualities bundled together makes the spaghetti squash pretty darn attractive!

  • good for weight loss
  • good for weight management
  • aids in regulating digestion
  • helps to reduce constipation
  • helps to lower cholesterol

Ok, enough of that. Let’s get back to the good stuff … how to take this vegetable nerd and turn it into three different delicious dishes.

The first dish is Spaghetti Squash with Rustic Tomato Sauce. It’s a hearty dish that warms the stomach on a rainy day. Vegan.

Spaghetti Squash with Rustic Tomato Sauce

 

 

The next dish is Spaghetti Squash Casserole. This meal is a flavorful twist on the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Carnivorous.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

 

The final dish is Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes with a Moroccan dipping sauce. This is an appetizer that will surely impress anyone who takes a bite. Vegetarian.

Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes

Dipping Sauce for Fried Quinoa Spaghetti Squash Cakes

Trust me … you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this vegetable nerd. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them. Don’t be afraid to interchange ingredients. Don’t be afraid to make them your own.

How to Make Cauliflower Puree … to serve with Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts & Smoked Harissa Chicken Quarters

I recently visited one of my best friends in Nashville, TN. On our first night out, we had dinner at Sambuca. It’s a sassy, sexy restaurant located downtown that has great food and live music. Our drinks, appetizers, and meals were nothing short of amazing. I had a salmon dish and my friend had a chicken dish. And this post is dedicated to my friend’s magnificent meal. The general idea is pretty similar, but of course the actual recipe is quite different.

For tonight’s dinner, I made Vegan Cauliflower Puree, Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts, and Smoked Harissa Chicken Legs. I served it with one of my favorite wines, Robertson Winery’s Natural Sweet White Wine. Needless to say, it was a BIG hit! Another entry in the clean plate club.

I did a live Facebook (Culinary Kisses Facebook Page) post on how to make the Cauliflower Puree. It’s very easy, very quick, and very flavorful. I started with cauliflower crumbles, but you can just buy a head of fresh cauliflower and grate it yourself. I lightly steamed the crumbles, then added them to a food processor. The recipe below is vegan, but if you want your puree non-vegan just use your regular favorites instead of the veganized ingredients (i.e. margarine & sour cream).

Cauliflower Crumbles
Steamed Cauliflower
Pureed Cauliflower

 

 

 

 

Vegan Cauliflower Puree

For the brussel spouts, all I did was char them stove-top in the pan. At the end, I added sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Keep in mind that charring can be light, medium, or dark. The brussel sprouts are a dark char in this recipe.

Raw Brussel Sprouts
Charred Brussel Sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the star of the show … Smoked Harissa Chicken Leg Quarters! I recently came up with this spice mix, and it is totally amazing! It turned out exactly as I thought it would (no edits to the recipe required). I mixed together five main, individual spices plus salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Smoked Harissa Spice Mix

After seasoning the chicken, searing it on the stove, and finishing it off in the oven (spiked with a little white cooking wine), you end up with crisp chicken skin that is loaded with the perfect marriage of exotic spices. Underneath, you will experience moist, tender meat that seems to melt in your mouth.

Cauliflower Puree, Pan Charred Brussel Sprouts, and Smoked Harissa Chicken Leg Quarters

Smoked Harissa Chicken Quarters

The plate will impress, the flavors will make you fall in love, and the taste is supremely tantalizing!. Serve this meal to anyone you want to receive chef props from. Trust me, all who eat this will bow down to the apron!

 

 

Baby Spinach Salad with Homemade Mango Chipotle Dressing

This is a simple yet nutritious salad that is sure to please your toughest critic. Not only is the flavor out of this world, but the benefits of eating this salad can be called “healthy on a plate!” Let’s look at each main ingredient and talk about how each one adds to value to this delectable dish.

Baby Spinach Leaves

SPINACH

  •  contains an antioxidant that is known to lower glucose levels
  • contains chlorophyll, which is active in cancer prevention
  • is high in potassium, so it can lower blood pressure
  • aids in bone health
  • helps to prevent constipation and aid in regularity
  • helps to build and maintain collagen, which is required for healthy skin and hair
  • is low in calories, but high in iron, calcium, and magnesium
  • very high in vitamins A and K

 

Latin-style Black Beans

BLACK BEANS

  • one cup is equivalent to 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein
  • has many health benefits that aid the cardiovascular system
  • aid in bone structure and strength
  • high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • aids in managing diabetes
  • helps prevent cancer, heart disease, and obesity

 

Avocado (halved & sliced in shell)

AVOCADO

  • contain more potassium than bananas
  • loaded with heart-healthy fatty acids
  • full of fiber – about 10 grams in one avocado
  • aids in lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
  • are naturally nutrient-dense, containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals
  • great for vision
  • high levels of calcium plus vitamins D and K assists in preventing osteoporosis
  • helps prevent cancer in the colon, stomach, pancreas, and cervix
  • improves digestion
  • is a natural detoxifier
  • helps prevent chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease

 

Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

TOMATOES

  • aids in cancer prevention; specifically bladder, breast, cervical, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and skin cancers
  • high in vitamin C; which is good for the adrenal glands, reducing stress, and boosting the immune system
  • rich in potassium; which is known to lower blood pressure
  • rich in folate; which is known to lower blood pressure
  • a good source in vitamin K; which is necessary for strong, healthy bones
  • very low in calories
  • high in biotin; which is good for healthy hair, skin, and nails

 

Red Onion Slivers
Sliced Boiled Egg
Raw Jalapeno Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other ingredients include red onion, boiled egg, and jalapeno peppers. Each of them have a number of added nutrients and health benefits.

Mango Chipotle Dressing 2

The salad dressing for this recipe is a “golden treat” that is super easy to make. It can also be used as a vegetable dip or a taco topping. Be sure to store it in an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator for use up to 2 weeks.

Baby Spinach Salad

You can enjoy this salad for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. No matter which mealtime you choose to have it, I can guarantee you it will never disappoint. Click the link below for the salad dressing recipe. Enjoy!

Mango Chipotle Salad Dressing 2

 

 

 

How to be Sleek and Sassy in the New Year

Well, here we are again … at the top of another new year. This is the time when most of us take a moment to reflect on the prior year. We take a proud note of what we’ve accomplished and we beat ourselves up over what we didn’t. There’s one thing that’s on most of our “Didn’t Get To Do” list every year: LOSING WEIGHT! Most of us have a few extra pounds that we declare on the 1st day of every year to shed. We always start off strong and with the best intentions. Slowly but surely, those intentions diminish into wishes. Excuses begin to take over where determination once ruled. Procrastination pushes our weight lose goals further away from reality. And before you know it, you’ve slipped back into how things were.

How can we change this vicious cycle? How can we make 2017 the year of real change? How can we evolve from “yes I can” to “yes I did?” That’s simple, just don’t buy into any of the gimmick diet trends, the newest magic pill, or the latest fat melting gadget. Instead, adapt a healthy lifestyle. Make it a way of life and not a quick fix plan and you will surely succeed at being sleek and sassy in 2017.

Start off by choosing three ways to change your diet. Then focus on one change a month for three consecutive months. Take a look at the chart below as an example:

 

MONTH                            TAKE AWAY                     INCLUDE

   January    Sodas & sweets    More water & smoothies
   February    Fried food & processed food    More fresh fruit & veggies
   March    All beef & pork    More fish & minimal poultry

 

You should also include more fitness into your life by following the same principle. January can be the month to walk, February can be jogging or aerobics, and March can be Zumba or swimming. These small, gradual yet effective changes will yield drastic results. Implementing guidelines will lead you into the healthy lifestyle you need, require, and deserve. So by the time April rolls around, not only will you be sleek and sassy, but you’ll have adapted a wellness way of life that you can benefit from for the rest of your life.

You may read this and think this plan sounds easy enough (and technically it is), but realistically it can be a bit of a challenge. Trust me, the cravings will come! Hold out. Don’t give in. The key is not avoidance, but replacement. Don’t try to talk yourself out of eating a quarter-pound hamburger, just replace it with a black bean burger. Or if you’re a lover of all things sweet, make sure you keep fresh fruit around at all times. Also, you must be proactive with your daily meals. If you have several meetings planned back-to-back and know that you won’t be able to leave the office and take a lunch, then pack a sensible lunch (like an oven-roasted vegetable medley with rosemary lemon baked chicken) that includes a salad, a piece of fruit, plenty of snacks (like raw almonds or kale chips) and bottled water. Don’t allow yourself to get to the point of what feels like starvation or get stranded without any healthy eating options. If you do so you’ll want to eat the first thing you can get your hands on, and it probably won’t be anything healthy. Before you know it, you’ll more than likely over-indulge in this spur-of-the-moment, unhealthy food selection and regret your choice immediately afterwards. Guilt can be a tricky thing to deal with when it comes to your health, so avoid it by planning ahead and you’ll be just fine.

It’s a new year and it’s time to take control of your health once and for all. Don’t do it for the man in your life or for that person you want to impress. Do it because you love yourself enough to do it for yourself. Take back your power. Be an advocate for your own health. Make a statement in 2017. Fit and fabulous is nice, but sleek and sassy is taking it to a whole new level … so own it!

Our Take on the Cook the Book Challenge, Week 1

In a previous blog post we stated there was a slight mix-up on our end regarding Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe, Warm Quinoa with Vegetables and Eggs. Well, as promised, here’s our take on that dish.

Quinoa Veggie Bowl with Egg

Our version has some of the same ingredients: like quinoa and an egg. But it also introduces a variety of alternative ingredients that turned out to be a surprising delight of a dish. I didn’t follow any type of protocol with this one. It was just one of those random things that literally “popped” in my head.

I developed this recipe within a matter of minutes. You should have seen me scrambling around my kitchen trying to find a pen and a piece of paper to jot down the culinary thoughts that were running through my brain. It was truly a whirl-wind experience, but I have to admit that I love being the vessel for such a spontaneous burst of culinary creativity. It’s truly inspirational.

One of the best things about this dish is that it can be eaten ANY time of day. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this version of a “quinoa bowl” will be a light yet filling treat to anyone who indulges in it.

Now, let’s get you to the good stuff … the recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy cooking!!!

RECIPE: Quinoa Veggie Bowl with Egg

Quinoa Veggie Bowl with Egg

Detroit Jam Co.

The Detroit Jam Co is a local Detroit-based company that represents a creative spirit and drive that isn’t found anywhere else. You see, proud Detroiters are resilient, hard-working, and loyal people who will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. We partnered with DJC because we share that same spirit and drive.

Detroit Jam Co

We have developed 7 recipes that highlight the deliciousness of Detroit Jam Co products. We took 4 jams:

  • Savory Tomato Jam
  • Raspberry Rhubarb Rose
  • Apple Pie
  • Honeyed Apricot Jalapeno

 

DJC Logo

I know what you’re probably thinking … those are interesting names for jams, especially since jams are typically a sweet delight that’s added to toast, bagels, and of course the classic peanut butter and jelly (or jam) sandwich. So the staff cooks and chefs at Culinary Kisses took those jams and made the most fabulous dishes that are as unique as the jam itself.

Click on this link to view the Detroit Jam Co website: http://www.detroitjamco.com/. They offer several of jams that do not disappoint on flavor or fun.

And here are the 7 recipes we developed. We hope you enjoy them!

Tomato Jam Chicken
Apple Crisp Squares

RECIPE: Apple Crisp Squares                            RECIPE: Tomato Jam Chicken

 

Tomato Jam Tacos
Triple R Waffles

 

 

 

 

RECIPE: Tomato Jam Tacos                          RECIPE: Triple R Waffles

 

Warm H.A.J. Kale & Salmon Salad

 

RECIPE: Warm H.A.J. Kale and Salmon Salad

 

 

Mini Vegan Cream Apple Pie Cups

 

Mini Vegan Cream Apple Pie Cups

 

 

 

Raspberry Rhubarb Rose Smoothie Bowl

 

RECIPE: Raspberry Rhubard Rose Smoothie Bowl

Marcus Samuelsson’s Warm Quinoa with Vegetables and Eggs (Week 1)

warm-quinoa-salad

When I learned that one of my favorite chefs of all time was doing a cooking challenge, I was super elated! I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was fate. Chef Marcus Samuelsson announced the #RedRoosterCookbook Cook the Book Challenge. Once a week until the end of the year, Chef Marcus will post a bonus recipe from is latest cookbook, The Red Rooster Cookbook, on his website. Home chefs (yah, that’s me) can take the challenge by cooking the recipe and instagramming the dish pic using the hashtag #RedRoosterCookbook. Each week, Chef Marcus will select his favorite pic and regram it on his account. Sweet challenge, right? I know! The Cook the Book challenge was mine for the winning, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

So why do I think it’s fate this challenge came about? You see, I just so happened to have run into the man himself this summer. It was the strangest thing! I was walking around the Detroit Eastern Market in a Saturday morning (as I usually do … nothing new there). It’s routine for me to go to the market on a Saturday morning to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers. Actually, the Detroit Eastern Market is the oldest farmers market in the country; as it 1st opened in 1841. Yes, that’s right … 175 years ago. Cool uh? Anyways, I usually arrive at the market around 9 or 10am, but not this Saturday. This time, I didn’t get there until about noon. I really don’t like shopping this late because all of the best produce is either gone or picked over. But this particular time I woke up late. So I scurried to dress and ran out the house.

Since I hadn’t eaten in about 12 hours, I ordered take out from the Russel Street Deli (another local gem). There I was … walking down the side walk … basking in the sunlight and minding my own business when I noticed something. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone who looked familiar. He was standing alone in front of a store in the market talking on his cell phone. I turned my head as I walked by (in what seemed like slow motion) to get a good look at his face. Then out of nowhere I said, “Marcus?” I sounded like I had just caught a glipse of a friend from junior high, like “Oh hey Marcus! Boy, is that you?” Not Chef Marcus, not Mr. Samuelsson, but Marcus. What was I thinking? Well, as it turns out, it was the one and only Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Holy S*#t!!!

marcus-and-aj

Ok, ok, back to the challenge. Week one’s recipe is for Warm Quinoa with Vegetables and Eggs. It’s a beautiful culinary experience that combines fluffy quinoa, crunchy cauliflower, and peppery arugula. It also adds a touch of Chef Marcus’s Scandinavian background by incorporating a raw egg. I know you’re thinking after an intro like this I must have won this challenge, but much to my dismay I did not. It’s okay though. I still support my culinary step brothers and sisters (LOL)! Below I’ve posted the pic of my dish that I submitted to this challenge along with the link to the recipe. I hope is that you will attempt this recipe in your own kitchen.

warm-quinoa-salad

RECIPE: Warm Quinoa with Vegetables and Eggs

With this being a new cooking challenge, I didn’t initially find the recipe. So me being the culinary creator that I am, I was hit with a whiff of inspiration and came up with my own rendition of what Warm Quinoa with Vegetables and Eggs looks and tastes like to me. So … please stay tuned to my blog because I will definitely post this recipe soon.

 

Antioxidant Salad

Not only is this dish a display of beautiful colors, but it’s also extremely nutrient-dense. This salad has everything from cucumbers to carrots, peppers to pomegranates, and seeds to scallions. And yes, I case you were wondering, those are black beans.

So, what exactly is an antioxidant? An antioxidant is a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals. This can lead to chain reactions that may damage cells. That’s why it’s so important to get your fair share of antioxidants from your food.

Antioxidant Salad 1

Antioxidant vitamins are A (fruit, vegetables, and eggs), C (fruit and vegetables), and E (vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds). We constantly hear how various berries are full of antioxidants, but did you know you can get the same (and in many instances, more) level of antioxidants from fresh vegetables? Let’s take a look at the nutrient (protein, vitamin, and mineral) breakdown of our Antioxidant Salad …

Romaine Lettuce: vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and potassium.

Spinach Leaves: iron, vitamins A, C, and K, vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Black Beans: fiber, protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and manganese.

Cucumbers: fiber, potassium, vitamins A, C and K.

Carrots: beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, folic acid, and fiber.

Red Bell Peppers: fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.

Pomegranate Seeds: fiber, vitamins C and K, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium.

Pumpkin Seeds: magnesium, manganese, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc.

Scallions (Green Onions): fiber, manganese, potassium, vitamins A, B6, C and K, and copper.

Antioxidant Salad 2

Now you know why this colorful display of vegetables, legumes, and seeds has been named the Antioxidant Salad. Click on the link below and follow this delicious yet nutritious recipe to “Eat the Rainbow” and all the antioxidants your body needs and loves!

RECIPE: Antioxidant Salad

 

Collard Green Cool Down

It’s officially Fall in Michigan. Aside from the classic favorites like cinnamon donuts, honey crisp apples, and hot cider, we also know it’s the ultimate season for fresh collard greens. Why you ask? Because farmers and consumers alike love to pick collard greens out of the ground after the first frost.

You see, the toughness of collards breaks down in extreme temperatures. Collards cook much quicker once they’ve been dusted with a light frost. The same holds true with these nutrient-dense greens and extreme heat. They break down much faster and reduces the cooking time when cooked over high heat.

Want to use your beautiful fresh collard green leaves in a non-traditional way? Consider these ideas: Mexican Collard Green Burritos or Collard Green Veggie Wraps. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

collard burritocollard wrap

These big, bold beautiful leaves are not only tasty, but full of nutrients that will prepare your body for the season. Collards are in the same family as kale and cabbage. This leafy green powerhouse is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They’re leaves and stems are also packed with vital minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc.

Whether you get your greens from your local grocery store or out of your own back yard, collards are a tasty, nutrient-dense addition to any meal.