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Ultimate Mango Lassi

I’m just going to go ahead and brag and say that I make a damn good smoothie.

It’s not like smoothies are rocket science, but it is fairly easy to go wrong if you’re just indiscriminately adding handfuls of spinach willy nilly with your fruit.

Pro Tip – Brown smoothies are no fun no matter how much they still taste like strawberries.

But this, THIS smoothie was by far the best that I’ve ever made.

So good that I’ve deemed it the Ultimate Mango Lassi!

For those not familiar with the term Lassi, it’s a yogurt based drink popular in India. Mango is by far the most well known lassi flavor in the US, but apparently in India they have both sweet and savory lassis.

What sets this apart from other mango smoothies is the addition of cinnamon and cardamom. Just a tiny pinch of each totally changes the flavor into something warm and slightly exotic.

Here’s what you need:

Ultimate Mango Lassi Ingredients

Mangoes (fresh or frozen), Plain Greek Yogurt, Vanilla Almond Milk, Cinnamon, and Ground Cardamom.

Click here for an Ultimate Mango Lassi Shopping List

I drink smoothies almost every day so I’ve added a few extras to help bump up the fiber, nutrients, and protein.

My go-to trio of smoothie extras is Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, and Flax Seed.

Smoothie Extras

If you’re a regular smoothie enthusiast, I think it’s worth the extra money and effort to include some or all of these seeds in your smoothie. You’re getting 3 of the Superfoods here…all adding protein, fiber, and those important Omega-3 fatty acids we’re supposed to be eating.

The main reason I decided to go with this seed trio is that by adding it to my smoothies every day, I am getting enough protein so that the smoothie satisfies my hunger throughout the entire morning. If I eat just a fruit only smoothie, I’m starving an hour later.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Spring Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Leeks

I’ve been on a lucky roll lately in trying new recipes.

Sometimes you try something that looks good on paper but the end result just isn’t all that inspiring.

Other times you try something thinking, “Okay…this could be good” and are totally blown away.

Spring Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Leeks is one of those blow you away (in a BIG WAY) recipes!

Traditional Roasted Chicken, while a staple at our house, can sometimes feel like in a fall or winter meal. After all, Thanksgiving dinner is all about a giant roasted bird.

This chicken, however, makes me think SPRING! Spring leeks, spring new potatoes, spring greens/arugula, spring dill.

Then to top it all off, a delightful and light drizzle of tangy yogurt sauce. Yes, yogurt on chicken.

Go with me on this one. It’s amazing.

Here’s what you need:

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Leeks Ingredients

Chicken, White New Potatoes, Leeks, Garlic, Lemon, Fresh Dill, Baby Arugula (optional but recommended), Olive Oil, Sriracha Sauce, Plain Yogurt, Cumin, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Spring Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Leeks Shopping List

Plan Ahead! For the best flavor, this chicken needs to marinate for 30 minutes. It can even marinate up to 8 hours if you really want to plan ahead. I’ve always just started the chicken marinating first thing then by the time I get everything else ready to go, read a couple of emails, pour a glass of wine, the 30 minutes has passed.

For the marinade, combine 3 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons of Sriracha Sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Whisk to combine.

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2 Tablespoons of Sriracha has a bit of a kick to it. I taste it more in the potatoes than in the chicken. To me, this is not overly spicy but if you are sensitive or cooking for kids, you might want to try this with 1 Tablespoon of Sriracha at first. Otherwise, go for it!

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Orange Peel Shrimp

Orange Peel Shrimp!

Remember a few weeks ago when we ditched unhealthy, deep fried carryout for homemade Sesame Chicken?

Well, life in the Better Than Carryout Department is about to get a whole lot better!

Orange Peel Shrimp is so good, so quick, so easy to make at home that you’ll never pay for the over priced, over MSG-ed, gloppy carryout version again.

While this has what some might consider a few “speciality” ingredients, I make enough Asian-ish food that things like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and especially chili garlic sauce are regulars in my pantry/fridge. Some goes for fresh ginger. Plus, these are all ingredients that you can find easily at the regular supermarket.

Here’s what you need:

Orange Peel Shrimp Ingredients

Shrimp, Orange, Ginger, Chili Garlic Sauce, Brown Sugar, Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce/Tamari, Chicken Broth, Cornstarch, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.

Also recommended (but not pictured) is rice for serving and some sort of green veg as a side.

Click here for an Orange Peel Shrimp Shopping List

I like to serve this over brown rice but any type of rice like basmati, jasmine, white, etc. will do the trick.

The rice takes longer than the shrimp so start to cook it FIRST before you even prep your other ingredients.

I usually use 1 regular navel orange for this recipe but had a bowl full of tangerines on the counter that I needed to use. Any kind of orange citrus will work here.

First thing is to use a microplane or other small grater to remove the rind or zest from the orange. You’ll want at least 2 teaspoons of zest.

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Then squeeze the juice from the orange (or tangerines) to equal 1/2 cup.

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Click HERE, there’s more!

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Cucumber & Avocado Salad

It’s hot here. It’s early May and it’s already hot here. 

I think I can keep the whining somewhat in check by eating another bowl of Cucumber & Avocado Salad.

This is ridiculously easy and SO good.

You get the cool, crisp, crunchiness of the cucumber and the creaminess of the avocado.

It’s a match made in funky salad heaven!

Here’s what you need:

Cucumber & Avocado Salad Ingredients

Hot House Cucumber, Avocados, Lime, Green Onions, Parsley or Cilantro (not pictured), Mayonnaise, Sriracha Sauce, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Cucumber & Avocado Salad Shopping List

I have one of those long, skinny hot house cucumbers cut into quarters and then chopped.

They’re sometimes called English Cucumbers and usually come wrapped in plastic in the produce section rather than covered in that weird wax like regular cucumbers.

They’re much less bitter and more tender than regular cukes. You don’t need to peel them unless you want to and you can eat them seeds and all.

Sometimes I peel strips off the cucumber but that’s more for aesthetics than anything else.

If you want to use one or two regular cucumbers, go ahead but you’ll probably want to peel and seed them first.

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Place the chopped cucumbers in a medium bowl and add 1-2 thinly sliced green onions.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Derby Day Mint Juleps!

An encore post because everyone needs a fancy hat and a Mint Julep!

Rider’s UP!

Tomorrow is Derby Day. Do you know how to make a Mint Julep?

Those of you who have known me for any amount of time will know that bourbon is my drink of choice. In fact, it’s a family thing.

I am primarily a bourbon on the rocks kinda girl. No mixers, please. No water. And don’t even think of coming near my bourbon with coke. Shudder.

However, once or twice a year, I like to enjoy a Mint Julep. They are lovely and light and, made correctly, not too sweet.

Here’s what you need:

Bourbon!, Fresh Mint, Simple Syrup (Sugar, Water & Mint shown below),  & Crushed Ice.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican Corn Salad – Prepare to swoon!

Do you remember last summer when we made Elote or Mexican Grilled Corn?

Elote - Mexican Grilled Corn

Well, if you skipped it and didn’t try it (like EVERY MEMBER OF MY OWN FAMILY) you have seriously been missing out on the hot & cheesy corn action.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s messy. It’s also requires a grill which many of my friends who are apartment dwellers don’t have.

So imagine how happy I was to find a recipe that takes all the great things about Mexican Grilled Corn, makes them easier, and puts them into a funky salad!

Here’s what you need:

Mexican Corn Salad Ingredients

Fresh Corn (4-6 ears), Green Onions, Jalapeño Pepper, Garlic, Lime, Cilantro, Mayonnaise, Olive Oil, Chili Powder, Queso Fresco, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Mexican Corn Salad Shopping List

If you’ve ever just plopped corn down on your cutting board and started cutting the little kernels off the cob, you know that it’s a huge mess.

The kernels pop off and fly everywhere. You’ll have more corn on your floor and stuck to your cat than you will in your salad.

I’m here with a quick and easy corn cutting tip!

Grab a small bowl and put it upside down inside a really big bowl. Stand your ear of corn up on the small bowl and cut down the sides to remove the kernels.

Easy Trick for Cutting Corn Off The Cob

No fuss, no muss, no flying corn. Works like a charm.

I used 5 ears of corn and had a mixture of white and bi-color corn. Grab whatever is freshest at your store. Fresh corn cut off the cob is definitely the way to go for this salad.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Chicken Provencal

Since starting this blog/website almost 5 years ago, I’ve tried a lot of chicken dishes.

It’s one of the things you can count on people to want…good, easy, delicious chicken dinner.

We’ve featured a lot of chicken here on Idiot’s Kitchen, but maybe none with more bang for the buck than Chicken Provencal.

The New York Times has a great cooking page (on line and of course, in print) that you can subscribe to. Every day they will email you a list of recipes and reasons why you should cook them.

Chicken Provencal was featured a couple of weeks ago and I immediately bookmarked it. My friend Cody also bookmarked it and then sent it to me to be sure I’d seen it. (Remember he’s the friend who often buys me the exact same cookbook I buy for him at Christmas.)

Cody made it first and immediately texted to tell me to GET ON IT! He was right, this is one good chicken recipe.

And it couldn’t be easier to make. Fancy food that totally fits a weeknight schedule.

Here’s what you need:

Chicken Provencal Ingredients

Chicken, Shallots, Garlic, Thyme (optional), Lemon, Flour (GF is fine), Herbs de Provence, White Vermouth, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Chicken Provençal Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

The Provencal or Provençal, if we’re being correct, comes from the seasoning Herbs de Provence. A combination of dried green herbs like thyme, savory, and oregano, Herbs de Provence also usually contains lavender.

If you’re thinking that your chicken is going to taste like Grandma’s potpourri, don’t. The lavender adds a floral hint to the herbs when you smell it, but doesn’t overwhelm the flavor at all. If I hadn’t told you it was in there, you never would have known.

Plus, lavender makes it look very cool. You can find Herbs de Provence in almost any grocery store. I bought mine at The Spice & Tea Exchange in Winter Park/Orlando. (I’m out of control in that store and in their sister olive oil and fancy vinegar store across the street.)

Very little chopping for this recipe…

You need at least 6 shallots. Not red onions, shallots. There is a flavor difference that makes a big difference in this recipe. Shallots are much milder and will sweeten up even more as this cooks.

Peel the shallots and cut them in half lengthwise.

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Click HERE, there’s more!

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Tuna & White Bean Salad

Time for another funky salad addiction – Tuna & White Bean Salad!

You might be thinking, beans & tuna? Together?

The answer is a resounding YES! This was SOOOOO good.

Rather than the traditional mayonnaise laden tuna salad, olive oil and red wine vinegar give this salad a nice, light Mediterranean flavor.

Adding the beans gives you extra protein & fiber for a win-win salad situation.

Here’s what you need:

Tuna & White Bean Salad Ingredients

Tuna, Cannellini Beans, Celery, Parsley, Lemon, Shallot or Red Onion (not pictured), Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Tuna & White Bean Salad Shopping List

I have 2 (7 oz.) cans of white albacore tuna in water.

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Drain the water/tuna juice off the tuna and break the tuna up into small chunks in a bowl.

The original recipe called for tuna in olive oil but I can’t buy that or tuna in pouches because they do not contain the beloved water or “tuna juice” required by Miss Lulu.

She even knows the words tuna juice. She doesn’t care for the actual tuna fish at all, just the juice.

Henry is about 50/50 on the tuna juice but don’t even think of trying to open a can and sneak it by Lulu without handing over the juice.

Tuna Juice!

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Zoominations Lowry Park Zoo Tampa

We take a break from our regular scheduled food posts to go OUT & ABOUT on a little field trip to…

ZOOMINATIONS!

Zoominations is an Illuminated Chinese Lantern Festival currently taking place at Tampa’s own Lowry Park Zoo.

The lanterns and displays are up at the zoo during the daytime hours but the real magic happens at night!

For example, the Pagoda pictured below is impressive in the daylight. Made up entirely of porcelain plates, cups, and spoons, this lantern represents the famous Manfeilong Pagoda in southeast China.

Zoominations Pagoda of Dishes

The 68,000 dishes that make up this pagoda are hand tied (no glue gun allowed) and it soars an impressive 52 feet high, the same size as the original.

So, it’s really neat during the day…

But at night…Wowza!

Add a few thousand lights and dinnerware has never looked so cool!

Zoominations Pagoda of Dishes Illuminated

Click HERE, there’s more! Trust me, click on through…

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Sesame Chicken

sesamechicken

Sesame Chicken, how I love you!

Ever since I had to become one of the dreaded Gluten Free People, I thought my days of decadent Chinese carry-out were over.

Well, they sort of are over but they’ve happily been replaced with decadent but healthy (and easily Gluten Free) Chinese carry-out favorites at cooked at home.

Behold…homemade Sesame Chicken.

And here’s the interesting part, even if you’re not gluten free, you make this dish almost the same way. Rather than breading the chicken with flour, this Sesame Chicken uses corn starch for the coating.

I can tell you that this has quickly become a favorite around here.

Here’s what you need:

Sesame Chicken Ingredients

Chicken Thighs, Egg, Corn Starch, Vegetable Oil, Garlic, Ginger, Brown Sugar, Tamari or Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar (not pictured), Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds, Green Onions, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Sesame Chicken Shopping List

Timing Note:  If you want to serve this with rice, be sure to start cooking the rice FIRST so it will be ready when your quick and easy Sesame Chicken is done.

As I mentioned, rather than a thick flour breading, our Sesame Chicken uses a corn starch based batter. This is similar to what you would make for Japanese tempura or batter fried veggies.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 egg with 2 Tablespoons of corn starch.

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Add a pinch of salt if you like (I don’t) and some freshly ground black pepper.

Use a whisk to combine until liquid and very smooth. This will take just a minute to get going and be a gloppy mess until the corn starch starts to dissolve in the egg.

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Click HERE, there’s more!

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