Best Ever Portobello Breakfast Sandwich

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Who doesn’t love leftovers for breakfast after a night of grilling?

If you’re like me, you usually grill a surplus of vegetables so you can devour them over several meals. After all, you put in all that work! Why not cook a few more AND pair them with Hunts Best Ever Ketchup?

Hunt’s tomatoes are California-grown and make for such a delicious and thick ketchup that you’ll never want to be without it on grill night!

Sometimes when we have large get togethers, my friends and I don’t get to cooking all of the fresh vegetables, so it’s up to me to prepare them the next day. One of the best vessels for serving them up is in a breakfast sandwich.

Since I don’t usually feel like firing up the grill again, I do all of the cooking in the kitchen. So, the recipe below is a breakfast sandwich you can make sans grill. Or, you can grill the mushrooms and shishito peppers the night before and put this sandwich together in a jiffy! Whatever strikes your fancy!

Best Ever Portobello Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients
Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
10 cloves garlic, minced, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
4 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/2 lb baby arugula
16 small shishito peppers
4 large eggs
4 brioche hamburger buns
Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup 

Directions
Preheat the broiler and add mushrooms to a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 6 cloves garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the mushrooms and set aside.

Transfer the mushrooms to the broiler and broil for 5 minutes on each side. In the last minute of broiling, add cheese slices to the mushrooms and allow the cheese to melt. Keep warm.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in arugula and season with salt and pepper. Sautee until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

To the same pan, heat an additional tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shishito peppers and season with salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally, until partially blackened. Remove from heat.

Break four eggs into small ramekins. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a small cast iron skillet. Pour one egg at a time to the skillet. Using a spoon, baste egg with olive oil from the pan and cook for about 1 minute, until the edges are crisp, and the yolk just begins to thicken. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

Toast brioche buns if desired.

Prepare the sandwich: Spread copious amounts of ketchup to both sides of the bun. Top the bottom half of the bun with arugula followed by the Portobello mushroom, shishito peppers, and egg. Finish with remaining bun half and enjoy!


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Chicken Enchiladas with Real California Monterey Jack Cheese and Sour Cream

Did you know that enchiladas are a great way to clean out your fridge? Whether you have leftover chicken, dairy, veggies, or all of the above (!), enchiladas can be a fabulous way to reduce waste in the kitchen. On a typical week, I tend to have tortillas, peppers, and onions hanging around in my fridge, so all I have to do is pick up a couple ingredients, including Real California Milk dairy products, to get these enchiladas going! Sometimes I even have rotisserie chicken leftover which makes these enchiladas super yummy!

We all know #CADairy products can be relied on as a healthy and tasty way to consume essential vitamins and minerals, but did you also know that sustainably feeding a global population that is expected to grow to ten billion by 2050 will require collaboration, as well as an innovative and efficient food system? California’s dairy farm families are well-positioned to play a major role and are committed to continuous progress by maximizing resources and minimizing pollution. So, when purchasing dairy, I encourage you to look for nutritious Real California Milk products that nourish people.


Chicken Enchiladas with Real California Monterey Jack Cheese and Sour Cream

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

 

Ingredients
2 ½ pounds skinless chicken legs, thighs, and breasts
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
5 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husks removed
1 medium onion, halved
1-2 medium serrano or jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil plus additional for frying
12 corn tortillas
½ cup Real California Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Real California Milk light sour cream or Mexican crema
1 small white onion, finely chopped
½ bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped
4 birdseye chilies, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Directions
In a large stockpot, add chicken, bay leaf, peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, and ½ onion. Add cold water several inches above chicken level and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 150F (the temperature will rise when the chicken rests). Reserve ½ cup chicken broth and transfer chicken to a platter, breaking up the chicken a little with two forks to speed cooling.

Meanwhile, add tomatillos to a large saucepan with 3 cloves garlic and ½ onion. Add cold water slightly above tomatillo level. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until tomatillos are soft. Strain tomatillos and garlic and set aside to cool.

Once tomatillos and garlic have cooled a little, add to a blender with reserved chicken broth and peppers. Blend on high until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and blend again for 10 seconds to combine.

In a shallow skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Lightly fry tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, adding new paper towels between each tortilla.

To plate, fold tortillas in half and slightly overlap them in an even layer (3 tortillas per person). Spoon over a layer of tomatillo sauce followed by a layer of shredded cheese, chicken, Mexican crema, diced onion, and cilantro. Top with additional tomatillo sauce, and garnish with birdseye chilies if desired.


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Zucchini Fries with Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup

Summer is officially upon us! That means there will not only be a lot of grilling and barbecuing but also a LOT of zucchini growing in our gardens.

I can think of no better way to use up summer’s gift of fresh zucchini than making fries to serve up with your summer barbecue and dipping them in Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup. So much yum! The zucchini is super sweet and pairs so well with the ketchup’s flavors.

Hunt’s Best Ever ketchup is grown with vine-ripened tomatoes from California and is made without high fructose corn syrup. It’s thick, and rich, and perfect for all of your summer cookouts!

Zucchini Fries with Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2-4

Ingredients
Light olive oil, for deep-frying
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cups flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 large zucchini, halved, cut into 4-inch by 1/3-inch strips
Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup, for serving
Thyme leaves, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add olive oil to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat the olive oil over medium heat until the temperature reaches about 350 F.

Beat two large eggs in a medium bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Add flour to a medium plate. Combine panko, parmesan, salt, and pepper on another large plate.

Coat zucchini in the flour, then dip into the eggs, shaking off any excess. Dip the strips into the panko. Add coated strips to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Add zucchini to the oil in batches, and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve the fries on a large plate with Hunt’s Best Ever Ketchup and lemon wedges. Garnish zucchini with thyme and additional parmesan if desired.


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Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and a Cenote!

Mexico Part 3: My throwback to my Mexico trip wouldn’t be complete without another picture of Octopus!

This pulpo carpaccio from indigo beach club is a delicious lunch at Indigo Beach Club's restaurant in Playa del Carmen

This carpaccio de pulpo from Indigo Beach Club  in Playa del Carmen looks out of this world doesn’t it? Especially with the pineapple pieces and a little spicy kick from the sauce. So much yum! Lunch with a beach view is probably one of my favorite pastimes.

A view from the beach at Playa del Carmen in Mexico near the Indigo Beach Club.
Playa del Carmen’s beach. Lovely sunset views with seagulls flying over the Caribbean sea.

What’s fun about the beach in Playa del Carmen is it takes you on adventures. After our visit to the beach club, we took ourselves on a leisurely stroll along the sand until we ended up, sort of by accident, at the ferry terminal to Cozumel. Visiting the island hadn’t been in our plans for the day, but since we were at the ferry and it was leaving in 15 minutes, why not?

In Cozumel, we sipped on margaritas at a cantina along the waterfront, watched the last cruise ship take off, and researched restaurants to visit. Our choice: Kondesa. Their lovely garden setting combined with perfectly cooked seafood made for a special evening!

Cozumel's sign in the city center of Cozumel, Mexico. An island in the Caribbean near Playa del Carmen.
A view of the Caribbean sea from the island of Cozumel in Mexico.
The streets of Cozumel overlooking the cruise ships. A pretty sunset view in the island of Cozumel.
A restaurant in cozumel that serves seafood and caribbean and mexican fusion food. The restaurant has a pretty garden setting and makes for a romantic night out!

Although… that doesn’t mean we didn’t have to run back to the ferry  😂 The last ferry was scheduled to leave around 10pm and I think we made it there with one minute to spare.

A trip to the Yucatan wouldn’t be complete without visiting a cenote and that we did! My last pictures are of Cenote Azul, which are a quick taxi ride from Playa del Carmen. Cenotes are natural pools filled with fresh water and are of course, great for swimming! It was fun spending a few hours there and swimming with a few fish as well!

Cenote Azul in Playa del Carmen Mexico is one of the closest cenotes next to the city. It's a great place to swim in the Yucatan.
Cenote Azul is a great place to swim in the Yucatan. It's between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

I bet you want to visit Mexico now! I know I definitely want to go back soon!

A view of Cancun from a plane in the Yucatan, Mexico. Cancun's strip is a sight to see, especially during sunset!

If you loved this post, you will love my other posts about my visit to the Yucatan. Check out Playa del Carmen or Bust and Tulum: Coastal Cliffs, Centuries-old Ruins, and Octopus. Oh my!

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Tulum: Coastal Cliffs, Centuries-old Ruins, and Octopus. Oh my!

Mexico Part 2: Tulum! Coastal cliffs, centuries-old ruins, and octopus, oh my!

Octopus at Encanto Cantina in Tulum, Yucatan, Mexico.

Tulum is one of those locales that you know is a special place once you step foot on its soil. While we didn’t have much time in town, Adrian and I were swept away.

Selfie at the tulum ruins

Not literally off the cliffs with breathtaking views of the Caribbean sea or anything.

But figuratively? We were enthralled with its natural beauty, itss rich history [the ruins are a must-see]….

…. and you guessed it, the FOOD!

Octopus tacos at encanto cantina in tulum mexico

Yep, Tulum offers coastal cuisine at its finest - like the octopus from Encanto Cantina? Oh so YUM! Or maybe you want a little turf with your 🐙? No problem. Steak gorditas have got you covered.

We’re looking forward to spending more time in Tulum on our next visit to the Yucatan. Until then, we’ll be dreaming of its warm breezes and fresh seafood!

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Breakfast Pizza with Real California Milk Mozzarella Cheese

What do you do when you want to eat well but you’re dying to make pizza? You make pizza with Real California Milk mozzarella cheese and butternut squash pizza crust, of course! 

But this isn’t just any pizza. It’s pizza FOR BREAKFAST. It not only has the eggs and cheese that many of us crave in the morning, but it’s one seriously nutritious breakfast that will keep you fueled and satisfied throughout the bulk of your day.

While Real California milk mozzarella cheese provides a sustainable source of essential nutrients, such as calcium and protein, I love the substitution of the butternut squash pizza crust for regular pizza crust because the added pop of color (to taste the nutrition rainbow!) and the benefit of fiber makes it a no-brainer.

Are you ready to make your next breakfast epic? Make this and I’m sure you’ll want to make it again and again

Breakfast Pizza with Real California Milk Mozzarella Cheese

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4

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Ingredients
1 (10 oz) frozen butternut squash pizza crust
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ lb sweet Italian sausage
⅓ cup sliced red onion
1 medium fennel bulb, cored, halved, and sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp thyme, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup tomato sauce
4 oz shredded Real California Milk mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, scrambled

Directions
Preheat a baking stone in the oven to 450 F. Add pizza crust on a lined baking sheet. Bake from frozen for 10 minutes. Turn pizza over and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until golden. Remove crust from oven and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Set sausage aside in a bowl.

To the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add red onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened, scraping up any browned bits. Add fennel, garlic, thyme, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, until fennel begins to soften. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender and golden, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.

On a pizza peel, top pizza crust with tomato sauce, Real California Milk mozzarella cheese, fennel mixture and sausage. Pour egg scramble over the toppings and transfer the baking stone. 

Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the crust is lightly browned. Remove from heat. Allow pizza to cool slightly and serve warm.


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Rye Bread Toast with Real California Milk Fromage Blanc and Cherry Tomatoes

Need a quick snack that’s tasty and nutritious? Look no further than this rye bread toast with Real California Milk fromage blanc and cherry tomatoes!

While I grew up loving cheese toast as a child and have a battle scar on my pinky to prove it (trying to cook the dish as a 5-year old didn’t go exactly as planned when my smallest digit bumped into the broiler) -- I have to admit that this is the upgraded, adult version that is much more tasty!

Real California Milk cheeses are brimming with a sustainable quality that I absolutely love. That’s because California dairy farm families help ensure people have access to quality, sustainable and nutrient-rich foods. Plus, as a dietitian, I know recipes like this help add to the recommended servings of dairy that are essential for a healthy diet.

According to a recent study, consuming two servings of dairy per day (compared to a half serving) was associated with a reduced risk of total mortality, non-cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, major cardiovascular disease, and stroke. You can read more about that here.

So, what are you waiting for?! I dare you to toast yourself to good health with this tasty Real California Milk snack recipe!

Rye Bread Toast with Real California Milk Fromage Blanc and Cherry Tomatoes

Time: 10 Minutes
Makes: 4 snack servings

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Ingredients
4 slices sprouted rye bread
5 oz Real California Milk fromage blanc
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest and jucie of ½ lemon
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp capers

Directions
Toast rye bread and keep warm.

In a small bowl, add fromage blanc, garlic, thyme, lemon juice and zest. Stir to combine and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spread fromage blanc mixture over toasted rye bread slices and top with cherry tomatoes and capers. Serve immediately.


If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for Passion Toast, Mushroom & Brie Stuffed Pastry Wreath, and Beet Rueben Sandwich!

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Polenta with Sausage, Peppers, Fennel, and Real California Milk Cheese

This polenta with sausage, peppers, and fennel is outstanding. For so many reasons, if I may add.

To start, I experimented with using Real California Milk queso blanco and dry jack instead of the Italian standards - fontina and parmesan.

The flavors came out even tastier in my opinion because Real California Milk cheeses are where it’s at! Not a bad way to add to the three recommended servings of dairy per day by many trusted health organizations, right? You can read more about that here!

My second bragging right: Adrian and I made the polenta from scratch.

When I mean from scratch, I mean we grew Anasazi corn in our garden last summer and dried it. Seeing that we had some sitting on the shelf in a glass jar, we pondered what we’d do with it THIS time. In the past, we’ve made corn and wheat tortillas, a labor of love, so our goal this time was ease and simplicity.  

“How easy is it to make your own polenta?” we wondered. I found out that it’s easier than it sounds. Simply grind corn kernels to a fine consistency and you’re good to go.

Last but not least, I decided to add acorn squash to boost the nutrition! It worked like a charm. Did I mention that we grew the acorn squash and harvested it in JANUARY? That’s quite unusual for the Northern Hemisphere...

What can I say, it was a special polenta recipe.

You can make your own special polenta by following the recipe below!

Polenta with Sausage, Peppers, Fennel, and Real California Milk Cheese

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

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Ingredients
12 oz pre-cooked Italian Chicken Sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, quartered, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup fennel fronds, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 habaneros, seeded and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups Real California heavy cream
1 1/3 cup fine-ground polenta (not instant)
1/2 cups shredded Real California Milk queso blanco
1/4 cup Real California Milk Dry Jack, grated
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

To Garnish
Grated Real California Milk Dry Jack
Chopped parsley

Directions
Set oven rack to the top top position. Preheat broiler.

In a medium bowl, toss the  chicken sausage, bell peppers, shallot, fennel, fennel fronds, habaneros, garlic, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Transfer vegetables to a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until softened. Stir vegetables and roast for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place squash in a steamer basket and steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft. Allow to cool slightly and puree squash in a blender with 1/4 cup cold water.

Return squash puree to the pot and add chicken broth, heavy cream, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly stir in the polenta and reduce heat to medium. Continue stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes, until the polenta is tender and creamy.

Stir in queso blanco, dry jack, and nutmeg to the polenta and allow cheese to melt. Season to taste w/kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add polenta to bowls and top with sausage and vegetables. Garnish with dry jack and parsley if desired.


If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for  Osso Bucco, Avocado Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, & Pizza Two Ways!

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Playa del Carmen or Bust!

Adrian and I went to Playa del Carmen for Christmas, so I figured it's about time to share the pictures from our trip. Here's part 1 of 3: Tacos, huaraches, and posole, oh my!

In Playa, we feasted on al pastor tacos at El Fogon. The style is so different from what I've eaten in the US. The marinated meat is literally cut off of a vertical spit like gyros in Greece and served simply over a tortilla with melted cheese, yum!

One of the cooks at El Fogon added to the taco excitement by doing a little dance after he sliced off a piece of meat and catching it mid-air. What a pro.

We also tried the chorizo tacos, which were equally simple, and again, very different from the Mexican food I’m used to in California.

Between swimming at the beach and lounging at our pool at HM Playa del Carmen….

We managed to save room in our bellies for huaraches and posole at El Jurado!

I've only ever tried huaraches once and I knew that if the Yucatan'a tacos were so different from San Francisco's, the huaraches would be too. In case you don't know, "huarache" means sandal in a two Mayan languages (Purépecha and Nahuatl) because the dish is shaped like a shoe.

But that's where the similarities end, because these huaraches' ingredients were served on heavenly pillows of masa with refried beans. So incredible.

Last but not least, Adrian and I made friends with a lot of iguanas. This guy, I'll call him Fred, lives outside the parking lot at HM Playa del Carmen and is fed daily by staff. What a lucky guy!

Stay tuned next time for Tulum! I have so many great pictures to share 😃


If you enjoyed this post, check out my IG posts on my trips! Portugal Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Panama Part 1, Part 2, Part 3!

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Salmon Tikka with Everyday Dal Red Lentils

You might have guessed this by now, but discovering fresh and flavorful ways to cook at home is by far my #1 hobby!

One of my favorite brands to cook with for years has Maya Kaimal, so I couldn’t be more excited to see their products carried at Whole Foods Market 365 in Concord, CA. My local 365 carries Maya Kaimal’s most delicious (and vegan!) Everyday Dal pouches along with some seriously amazing Indian simmer sauces.

To celebrate, I made salmon with Maya Kaimal’s Tikka Masala sauce over Everyday Dal Red Lentils. The result: easy AND tasty! In the blink of an eye, you will have scrumptious dinner at your table with this recipe.

What’s even neater is that for the entire month of February, both of their product lines are on sale when you buy two!

Salmon Tikka with Everyday Dal Red Lentils

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 (4 oz) Atlantic salmon fillets
1/3 cup Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala Indian Simmer Sauce
8 oz Greek yogurt
2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (10 oz) pouches Maya Kaimal Everyday Dal Red Lentils

To Garnish
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine salmon and simmer sauce. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

In a small bowl, add yogurt, cilantro, coriander, cumin, garlic, lime juice, and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer salmon to a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145F. Remove from heat.

Squeeze lentils into a small pan and heat over low heat until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.

Divide lentils between plates. Top with salmon and garnish with yogurt, cilantro, and lime wedges.


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