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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cranberry Pecan Granola

This is my latest obsession!  I make this granola almost weekly now and I savor every little bite.  It is so easy to make and so much better than a lot of granola on the shelves these days.  I love it with pecans and cranberries but you can easily substitute it for whatever nut and dried fruit you prefer (or have on hand).

3 cups rolled or old fashioned oats (not instant)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans
2-3 tablespoons flaxseeds

Preheat oven to 300.  In a large bowl, mix oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt.  Add molasses, oil, and vanilla.  Press into a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, add pecans and flaxseeds.  Press the granola down and then cook another 15 minutes.  If you like big chunks of granola, allow to cool completely in baking sheet.  If you prefer looser granola, cool for a couple minutes in baking sheet then stir it around and then let cool.  Mix in dried cranberries.  That's it!  Easy and delicious.  Store it in an airtight container.

If you like it chunky, make sure you press it down well and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Granola stores beautifully in large mason jars.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Shawarma style chicken

I have been craving chicken shawarma for a while now and decided to do an at-home version.  This is not true shawarma though because real shawarma isn't roasted in the oven. But it is really good.  Really good. I made some hummus and tzatziki sauce and bought some pita to complete the meal. I made a lot so we could have it for leftovers too (but that's always a struggle because my husband wants to eat all of it right away).


11 cup greek yogurt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
juice of large lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 lbs chicken, cut into thin strips
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a plastic bag and add chicken.  Marinate for 3-4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and add chicken.  Roast for 15 minutes then remove from heat.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and some of the chicken (don't overcrowd) and sauté until brown.  Continue this process until all chicken is browned.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Potluck Chili

Nothing beats a big pot of chili on a cool night in October.  Well, it's October but it's in the nineties most days here in Abuja.  That didn't stop me from cooking up a delicious pot of chili.  I turned the a/c down while I cooked it so I could at least pretend it was cool outside. Regardless of the temperature, the chili is delicious.  I am typing this up thinking about the leftover chili that I'm having for dinner tonight.  And I can't wait!!

2 tablespoons oil
1 med red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1lb ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 small can tomato paste
1 can drained black beans
2 cups chicken broth
3 cans plum tomatoes

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onions in oil.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Once browned, drain fat if needed.  Add spices (chili powders, cumin, and oregano) and stir for about a minute.  Next add the tomato paste and stir to combine and let cook for another minute. Add the black beans, broth, and tomatoes and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ginger Dressing

This dressing is easy, quick, and delicious!  The raw ginger and garlic are so good for you too.
You can whip this up in just a few minutes (the longest part of the recipe is chopping the garlic and ginger).  It will keep in the fridge for awhile.  I store mine in a small jar and just give it a good shake before using. Oh, and this is also good poured over noodles with some chopped veggies on top (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions).

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons ginger, minced
3/4 cup olive oil (or sesame oil)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients into a jar, close the lid and shake well.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Shrimp and Grits

I love shrimp and grits!  It's not something I make very often but when I do, I always wonder why I don't make them more frequently.  This is such a quick, easy meal to prepare and it tastes fantastic!  I used parmesan and cheddar in my grits but you can substitute it with any cheese you prefer.  Also, cooking the grits in stock will give it a deeper flavor.

4 cups water (or stock)
1 cup grits
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
7 slices bacon, chopped
juice of half a med lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 cloves minced garlic

Bring water to a boil, add grits.  Cook, stirring occasionally about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, cheeses, and salt and pepper.

Rinse and pat dry shrimp. Cook back pieces until crispy then remove from pan.  Saute shrimp in the bacon grease until pink.  Add lemon juice, parsley, onions, and garlic and continue to cook about a minute.

Get a nice big serving of grits and top with the delicious shrimp mixture.  Heavenly.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fish Tacos

I've made a lot of fish tacos but I think these might be the best yet!  They are equally good as fish taco bowls - served over quinoa.

Chipotle Sauce
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
4-7 ounces chipotle chilies in adobo (more or less to taste), finely chopped

Combine and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Can be made a day ahead.

Cilantro Lime Slaw
This is fantastic with fish tacos. It really balances the heat of the chipotle sauce.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 cups shredded cabbage (or pre-shredded slaw mix)

Blend everything except the yogurt and cabbage. Add yogurt and mix just until combined. Pour over cabbage and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Can be made a day ahead.

2 tablespoons each ancho chile powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin
1 1/2 pounds cod
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn tortillas
2 tablepoon canola oil
lime wedges
avocado slices
cilantro leaves

Salt and pepper fish.  Then combine seasonings in small dish and rub and coat fish with the mixture.
In a dry pan, heat to medium high.  Cook tortillas about 30 seconds per side.  Wrap in foil to keep warm.  You can place the foil packet in the oven at a low temperature to keep warm while you cook the fish. Turn heat down to medium and add oil. When oil shimmers, add fish and cook about 4 minutes per side.  Break fish into smaller pieces.


Time to assemble the tacos and eat!  Place the fish on a tortilla, top with chipotle sauce, slaw, avocado, cilantro leaves, and a squeeze of lime.  Serve the corn salad (recipe below) on the side.  Life is good!

Corn Salad
I served this salad as a side dish for the tacos but when I had a taco bowl with the leftovers, I added it to the bowl.

2 cups frozen corn kernnels, thawed
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup edamame
salt and pepper to taste

This one is pretty easy, just throw everything into a bowl and combine.

This is the fish taco bowl I made the next day and it was fantastic.  It had everything above plus quinoa.  Yum!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Seeded Bread

This is an easy bread recipe that is so delicious!  I really love this bread - good for toast, sandwiches, or just slathered with a little butter.  The flax and sunflower seeds make it especially lovely.  I hope you give it a try!

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons fast acting yeast
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons flax seeds
3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds

Throw everything except the sunflower seeds into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer  stir until combined.  Then knead on medium speed for a minute or so. Lightly grease mixing bowl with spray or oil then cover and let it rise on the counter for a couple of hours.  Then move the bowl to the fridge and let it sit for another couple of hours. Move the dough to the counter and knead it for several minutes  on a lightly floured surface while adding the sunflower seeds. Form into a loaf and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle top lightly with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour.  Forty minutes into this rest, place a cast iron pan on the lowest rack in your oven and preheat the oven to 425.  When the hour is up, get 1 cup of water ready to pour into the cast iron pan (to create a bunch of steam and a lovely crust on your loaf) and slash the top of your loaf with 3 cuts (1/2 inch deep).  Place dough on middle rack, carefully pour the water into the cast iron pan and then close the oven door (it will steam a lot). Bake about 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack to allow it to cool completely.


All recipes are on Petitchef