Sardine Kelaguen

Yes…kelaguen…with sardines.  Don’t knock it ’till you try it. 🙂

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This is one of my favorite foods.  If you know what kelaguen is and you’ve never tried sardine kelaguen, you’ve got to try it now.  If kelaguen is new to you, the basic recipe for this island favorite is quite simple.  Chop up your favorite meat or seafood, then season ti with lemon or lime juice, salt, onions, and hot chili peppers.  Optional ingredients are freshly grated (or store-bought unsweetened) coconut.  All ingredients (except for the meat and/or seafood) is added to taste, meaning if you like your kelaguen more on the tangy side, add more lemon or lime juice.  Like it salty?  Add more salt.  Like it mouth-on-fire-hot?  Add lots of hot chili peppers.  See, it’s simple.

Click here to view my recipes for different types of kelaguen.

As for sardine kelaguen, you use canned sardines.  The photo below show “fish steaks” — this is fine too; the “steaks” are small, bite-sized herring that works just fine in this recipe. While you most certainly can use sardines packed in water, I really prefer sardines packed in soybean oil, and it’s what I recommend for this recipe.

sardines in oil

I have a family of four, but only three of us like this (my extremely picky daughter won’t get near this with a 10-foot pole).  That’s okay, though — that just leaves more for the rest of us. 😉

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Remove the sardines from the can, pouring off the excess oil.  Split the sardines in half, lengthwise, then remove and discard the bones (I also remove the stomach but leave it in if you like that kind of stuff).  Place the cleaned sardines into a bowl.

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I like lots of onions — sliced green onions or diced white or yellow onions — it doesn’t matter; add your favorite kind.  I added both. 🙂

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Add lemon juice, salt, and hot pepper, to taste. IMG_1508

Mix well, serve and enjoy! IMG_1510

I love this with hot, steamed white rice, or served as a dip with tortilla chips.  You can also make tortilla wraps (I recommend soft corn tortillas) or one of my favorites, stuffed in taco shells with lettuce leaves or mix salad greens.

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Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

 

Sardine Kelaguen
 
Sardines with lemon juice, salt, onions, and hot chili peppers. Serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips. These make incredible fish tacos!
Author:
Cuisine: Chamorro
Ingredients
  • 6 cans sardines packed in oil
  • The juice of 2 lemons (more or less, to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • *You can also use sliced green onions; add as much as you like
Optional:
  • Crushed or sliced hot chili peppers, to taste
  • Grated coconut, as much as you like
Instructions
  1. Remove the sardines from the cans; remove and discard the bones. Place in a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients; stir to combine.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

Bacon and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Cheese, Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, and Bread (well, garlic croutons in this case) all form the basis for this quick, easy, and delicious breakfast.

You can make in minutes…seriously.  I use a bag of already cooked sausage and bacon crumbles, but if you prefer a specific brand or flavor, by all means, use that.  Sometimes my kids request maple sausage and bacon instead of the pre-cooked stuff, so I make it for them.  Otherwise, aside from beating some eggs and half-and-half together, this recipe is easy-peasy.  In fact, this is a great recipe to get your kids into the kitchen and help cook.

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I usually have a bag of croutons in my pantry.  This is the kind we like to use.  You don’t have to use these particular type of croutons (use your favorite), or croutons at all for that matter.  If you have extra crusty bread on hand, use that.  I don’t recommend using regular sandwich bread for this recipe, however.  Regular sandwich bread would soak up all of the liquid quickly, and because this recipe cooks QUICKLY, the cooking time is not long enough to cook the soaked bread.  Using croutons ensures you don’t get soppy breading at the bottom.

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Pour the entire bag of croutons into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

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Crack the eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl.

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Add the half-and-half (you can use cream instead, if you’d like).

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Use a whisk to mix the eggs and half-and-half together.  You don’t need to whisk this for very long; mix just enough to break the yolks apart and mix up the whites so you don’t have any large globs of egg.

You can mix in some black pepper to this too.  DO NOT add any salt…the croutons, meat and cheese add enough sodium to this recipe.

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Pour the egg mixture over the croutons.

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Sprinkle the sausage and bacon mixture over the top of the pan.

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This is the brand of sausage I buy.  It comes fully cooked, and this particular brand includes bacon.  You can use breakfast sausage if you prefer (since this IS a recipe for breakfast casserole), but I’m usually pressed for time most mornings, and this helps move things along in my house. 🙂

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Okay, back to business.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese all over the top.  I used a mixture of grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

You can add other ingredients to this as well.  I think the next time I make this I’ll add chopped sun-dried tomatoes and maybe some diced bell pepper and onions.

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Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Cut into 12 pieces, serve, and ENJOY!

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THM NOTE:

For any THMs reading this, this is still an S meal despite the croutons.  This particular brand of croutons has only 5g of total carbs per serving, which is about the amount in one serving of this casserole (the size of the photo above).  The casserole makes about 12 servings.

 

Breakfast Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 bag garlic flavored croutons
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 bag sausage and bacon crumbles
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Layer the croutons on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix the eggs and half-and-half together. Pour over the croutons.
  3. Sprinkle the sausage and bacon crumbles evenly on top of the crouton-egg mixture.
  4. Top with shredded cheese.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

 

Buns in a Bowl

These gluten free “Buns in a Bowl” cook in just 40 seconds in the microwave.

This is a sturdy bread bun that I created just for eating burgers, but they’d be great for regular sandwiches.  I needed a bun that could hold up to all the fixins’ my family loves in a burger — a thick and juicy patty, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, onions, and pickles.

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To make them bun-shaped, I used an ordinary cereal bowl.   This is also a good size for sandwiches, although if you want a more traditional shape to your bread, you can use a container like the one pictured below.

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I don’t usually microwave plastic containers, so if I want a larger piece of bread (larger than what my cereal bowl makes), I use a larger bowl or plate.

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This recipe makes eight buns, enough for four burgers or sandwiches.  If you’d like my recipe for juicy burgers, click here.

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I included my easy, step-by-step process below.  My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  For THMs, this is an “S” recipe.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 🙂

Here’s how to make it:

In a small mixing bowl, place almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, truvia, salt and nutritional yeast.  Adding a sweetener is completely optional, but I find I like this bread better with just a hint of sweetness.  I had truvia packets on hand so that’s what I used here (one packet), but you can use stevia, THM sweet blend, or your favorite brand of sweetener.

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Next, mix in some melted butter.

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I mix in the eggs last — and separate from the hot melted butter — so that they don’t scramble in the hot butter.

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You don’t need a whisk to mix this together.  A fork will do just fine.

Let the batter sit for a few minutes to allow the almond and flaxseed flours to soak up the liquid and thicken up a bit.

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One of my favorite — and most used — kitchen gadgets is a cookie scoop.  I have many different sizes.  For this recipe, I used a two-tablespoon scoop.  One scoop is the perfect amount for one bun.  As you can see below, I slightly underfill the scoop in order to keep the buns slightly thin.  For taller/higher buns, fill the scoop to the rim (and maybe even a bit above the rim).

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Spread the batter evenly in the bottom of a cereal bowl.  It doesn’t look like much now, but once cooked, it’s the perfect size to hold a burger.

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Microwave on high for 40 seconds.

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Flip the bun out of the bowl and onto a plate to cool.

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Continue cooking the buns until all the batter is used up.  Depending on how full you fill your scoop, you can get anywhere between six and eight buns.

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Add your favorite burger fixins’ and ENJOY!  If you’d like my recipe for juicy burgers, click here. 🙂

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Buns in a Bowl
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 packet truvia
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
Instructions
Make the batter:
  1. Place the almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, truvia, salt and nutritional yeast into a small mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the melted butter; stir.
  3. Add the eggs; stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
Make the buns:
  1. Place two tablespoons of batter in a cereal bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for 40 seconds. Flip the bun out of the bowl and onto a plate to cool.

 

Tender and Juicy Burgers

I love grilled ribs and steaks, but occasionally I crave a really good, juicy burger.

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I’m not talking about those flat, plain, frozen patties you can buy in bulk, and taste like cardboard after cooking.  Rather, I’m talking about thick, juicy and tender burgers packed full of flavor.

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My family and I are trying to eat healthier, so I created this burger that added quality (and healthy) ingredients without sacrificing flavor.

You can find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.  For THMs, this is an “S” recipe.

To start off, I used lean grass-fed beef.  Now, this can be a bit pricey, so if this is not an option for you (or if you can’t find grass-fed beef in your grocery store), use “regular” ground beef.  I also used 98% lean beef in this recipe.  Now, I know what you’re thinking — how can beef that lean make juicy burgers?  Well, read on and I’ll tell you.  In the meantime, place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl.

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Most people start off with beef that’s no less than 85% lean (that means that 15% of what you buy is GROUND FAT).  Additionally, something called a panade — a mixture of bread and milk used to keep the cooked meat tender — is also added to the mixture.

Not in my kitchen.  Some fat is okay, but I still stick to no less than 95% lean when I buy ground beef.  98% lean is even better.

The juiciness come from my secret ingredient (shhhh…don’t tell anyone).  I add low-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese…yes, cheese…to the mix.  Don’t worry…if you’re mentally counting the fat and carb numbers in your head right now, I’ll save you the trouble.  Adding part skim mozzarella cheese to my recipe only adds <1g of carbs and 4.5g of fat per serving (one burger). 🙂

I like adding lots of flavor in the form of herbs, spices and vegetables.  I usually use whatever is in my fridge and pantry at the time, but the staples are diced onions (I used red here, but white or yellow onions are fine), garlic, black pepper, and an egg (use one egg for two pounds of beef).  Today, I also added onion powder, Italian seasoning, and rather than salt, I used a few tablespoons of powdered beef bouillon (look for one that has <1g of carbs per serving).  I also added a finely diced yellow bell pepper.

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There’s no good way to mix this using a utensil, so wash your hands, use that elbow grease and get right in there.  Mix, mix, mix.

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Separate the mixture into eight large meatballs.

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These are ready right now, as is, to flatten and cook.  However, by my count, I’ve added just a little more than 2g of carbs per burger with the addition of part skim mozzarella and beef bouillon, so I’m thinking we can afford one more gram of carb per burger.

Can you guess what that’ll be?  Yes!!  MORE cheese!  (I love cheese, if you haven’t figured that out yet.)  Not just ANY cheese, mind you, but Creamy Light Laughing Cow brand cheese.  It adds just one more teeny, tiny gram of carbohydrates to the burger, so we’re up to 3g now…still within “safe” numbers per serving (and these make HUGE burgers).

Take one meatball and make an indentation in the middle with your thumb.

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Make the indentation large enough to fit one wedge of Light Laughing Cow cheese.  Don’t make the bottom or sides too thin or the cheese will ooze out when you cook the burger.  You can leave the wedge like this but I recommend pressing it and spreading it out within the indentation you just made.

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Cover the cheese with the mixture, smoothing all around the sides to ensure the cheese is well-sealed within.

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Because of the low fat content in the ground beef, these burgers don’t shrink much during cooking.  However, slightly flatten it before cooking.  Cook on a hot grill pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes on each side.

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The burgers are done when clear juices start oozing out.  Do NOT poke or stab the burgers to check for clear juices…that will make your burgers dry out.  Slightly press the top of the burger with your finger; it’s done if the burger feels slightly firm when you press on it.

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Top with your favorite burger add-ons such as sliced avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, and bacon (hey, we cut back on fat so a little bacon won’t hurt). 🙂

Dig in and ENJOY!

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In case you’re wondering what type of bun that is in the photo above, it’s my gluten free, “Bun in a Bowl”.  You can find my recipe for it here.  For THMs, it’s an “S” recipe.

 

Tender and Juicy Burgers
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 98% lean ground beef
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons powdered beef bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 wedges Light Swiss Laughing Cow Cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, onion powder, beef bouillon, black pepper, and egg. Mix well. Separate into eight large meatballs.
  2. Make a small indentation in the middle of one meatball. Place one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Smooth the meat mixture around the cheese, sealing it in. Repeat for the remaining meatballs.
  3. Slightly flatten each ball into a burger patty. Cook in a grill pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned all around.
Serve with your favorite burger add-ons and ENJOY!

 

Eggs with Ham and Greens

This is not Green Eggs and Ham, mind you, but eggs cooked your favorite way on a bed of lean ham and tasty mixed greens. 😉

“Tasty greens?  Ich!” said my super picky 12 year old.  YES…TASTY GREENS.  Cook these nutrition-packed greens in a tiny bit of butter (everything’s better with butter, I always say) and garlic and it’s guaranteed to please a picky palate.

This is a healthy breakfast alternative for those mornings when you have a bit of time to actually cook something nutritious AND DELICIOUS.  Trust me, as a full-time working mom (and Soldier, by the way), breakfasts in my house consists of leftovers from dinner, or a cup of coffee and a piece of toast…not very healthy if you as me.

My family is slowly coming around to incorporating healthier eating habits.  This breakfast is getting us on our way.  It consists of two over-medium eggs (cooked on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet so no grease was necessary) on a bed of wilted spinach and baby kale and a slice of low-fat ham. Delicious!

Cook the eggs your favorite way; we like over-medium eggs.

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For the greens: Sauté 6 cups of mixed greens in just a pat of butter, and add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook the greens until they wilt then place them on a plate. This makes enough for 3 people.

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Add a slice of lean ham and voila! You have a delicious and healthy breakfast that’s the perfect start to your day.

Enjoy!

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