Quinoa Vegetable Soup (Home Cookin’)


So happy to share my Quinoa Vegetable Soup recipe as part of the #LIFHolidayHealthCampaign! This dish can be prepared with the Lucky Iron Fish for a simple and nutritious iron-rich meal.

Iron is essential for a healthy and productive life. Many of us do not stop and think about just how important it is – it affects one’s energy levels, immune system, brain and muscle development, and so much more! Around the world, there are countless children and families who do not have access to iron-rich ingredients like meat, seafood, or dark leafy greens. The Lucky Iron Fish is a convenient, easy and inexpensive way to ensure a sufficient amount of iron in one’s daily diet. All you do is place the fish in a pot of boiling liquid for ten minutes and remove. It works best when a few drops of lemon or other citrus juice are added. To find out more about the Lucky Iron Fish, please visit their website here: Lucky Iron Fish.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 head of green cabbage (cut into quarters or eights, depending on size of cabbage)
1 bunch of bok choy (chopped into two inch pieces)
1 yellow onion, cut into eighths
1 can plum tomatoes (rinsed, de-seeded and chopped)
3 gloves garlic (chopped)
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
A few squirts of fish sauce (to taste)
A few drops of lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Total cook time: Approximately 60 minutes

1. Add the water, vegetable broth, and lemon juice to a large pot.

2. Add the Lucky Iron Fish and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

3. Take out the Lucky Iron Fish.

4. Add the onions and garlic to the soup. Cook at medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes until softened.

5. Add as much cabbage and bok choy as will fit in the pot (you will most likely have leftovers). Add more water if needed. Cook at medium heat for another 15 – 20 minutes until the cabbage and bok choy are softened.

6. Add the tomatoes and a few squirts of fish sauce. Mix well and taste the soup. Add more if desired.

7. Add the quinoa and simmer on low heat for 20 min or until quinoa is fully cooked.

8. Season with salt and pepper as desired. (You may not need salt, as the fish sauce has a good amount of sodium. You can also eliminate the fish sauce to make this dish vegetarian/vegan.)

9. Enjoy your iron-enriched vegetable soup!

Quinoa Vegetable Soup (Home Cookin’)

Pancakes (Home Cookin’)

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so grateful for wonderful family, amazing friends, and, of course, good eats! Being away from the city for a few days gives me the opportunity to cook up a storm and experiment with new recipes. I’m obsessed with Food Network Kitchen’s Pancakes! They are incredibly fluffy, light as air, and oh so buttery. Check out the awesome recipe and see for yourself:  Food Network Kitchen Pancakes 

Wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, eggs), Dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder), and lots of melted butter

The batter is super light!
Cast iron skillets are the best invention ever
Topped with butter and drizzled with pure maple syrup, these freshly made pancakes are ready to be devoured!
Pancakes (Home Cookin’)

Popovers (Home Cookin’)

I just received a popover pan as a gift and I’m super excited to use it! My dad made popovers all the time when I was a kid, and I absolutely loved them. He shared the recipe with me that he has been using for years from The Joy of Cooking — it’s pretty simple and only takes a few minutes to prepare the batter. After about 35 minutes in the oven, the popovers were done. They were extraordinarily light and fluffy. I could eat ten of these in one sitting — they are so darn good! :)


Start off with flour, milk, melted butter, and salt — then slowly mix in one egg at a time


The batter should be fairly smooth and super light


Grease the pan with butter and then sprinkle some sugar all around


Each one should only be filled halfway before going in the oven


The finished product: light, fluffy, delicious popovers!



Recipe from The Joy of Cooking

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup all purpose-flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (Add one at a time)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Popovers, like souffles, need bottom heat only, so be sure if your oven is the type that supplies top heat when set on bake, to remove the upper heating element.

2. Grease the popover pan cups lightly with butter. Dust the cups with sugar, which will give the egg something to cling to.

3. Have all ingredients at about 75 degrees. Mix everything together, adding the eggs one at a time. Do not over-beat. The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream.

4. Fill each cup only 1/2 full. Too much batter in the pans will give a muffin-like texture.

5. Bake immediately  After 15 minutes, lower the heat without opening the oven, to 350 degrees. Bake for about another 20 minutes.  To test for doneness, remove a popover to be sure the side walls are firm.  If not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse.  You may want to insert a sharp paring knife gently into the other popovers to allow the steam to escape.

Popovers (Home Cookin’)

Thanksgiving Week Feast (Home Cookin’)

I took Thanksgiving week off and headed up to the country, where I had the time to cook every meal from scratch. It was a blast! I prepared an assortment of fish, chicken, pork, and beef dishes that were simply delicious. Gastronami loves being in the kitchen!


Bucatini with sauteed shrimp, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and white wine


Chicken Soup with egg noodles, carrots, celery, and parsley


Luscious and fatty pork belly


I want my baby back, baby back, baby back. Ribs, that is.


Sinigang with pork belly, baby back ribs, and baby bok choy


4 pounds of chuck roast


Love the smell of seared beef


Four hours later, the pot roast is ready


This pot roast is so much better than turkey!


Pan-seared wild salmon with grilled zucchini


Panko-crusted Tilapia with coconut soy baby bok choy and Swiss chard


Meatloaf (ground beef, pork, and veal) with mushroom gravy

Thanksgiving Week Feast (Home Cookin’)

Plated: Seared Salmon with Butter Lettuce Salad and Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette (Home Cookin’)

For as long as I have been cooking (and eating) salmon, I’ve always paired it with white rice. (Those who know me well know that I am completely addicted to white jasmine rice.) Having salmon with just salad and no carbs was quite a deviation from my norm, but I eagerly embraced this change. I thoroughly enjoyed the tomato sherry vinaigrette, which was a gorgeous blend of sweet, tangy, and acidic flavors, and really complemented the salmon. The meal as a whole was fresh, light, and perfectly balanced. I think I’m going to start eating salmon with salad from now on! (Well, maybe sometimes… :-) )



Looking forward to a nice, light meal


Love this tomato sherry vinaigrette with shallots, chives, and honey


The pan is super hot so that the salmon skin will be super crispy


Crisp salad of butter lettuce, radicchio, arugula and frisée 


Medium rare salmon with super crispy skin over a fresh salad

Plated: Seared Salmon with Butter Lettuce Salad and Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette (Home Cookin’)

Plated: Gnocchi with Herb Pesto, Carrots, Peas and Haricots Verts (Home Cookin’)

This is one of my favorite Plated meals so far! All of the vegetables (English peas, heirloom carrots, and haricots verts) and the loosely chopped herb pesto added such bright, fresh flavors.  At first look, I thought that the gnocchi portion was too small, but it ended up being the perfect serving size for two people. I will definitely use this recipe again in the future — hopefully with gnocchi that I make from scratch!



Lots of fresh ingredients in this dish


Beautiful heirloom carrots


All chopped up and ready for roasting


Peas and haricots verts have been blanched


Gnocchi only took 4 minutes to cook


Bright, fresh pesto with pine nuts and pecorino


Perfect spring time pasta!

Plated: Gnocchi with Herb Pesto, Carrots, Peas and Haricots Verts (Home Cookin’)

Plated: Skirt Steak with Fingerlings and Dandelion Greens (Home Cookin’)

In the mood for something hearty…  Good thing I have this Plated meal already in the fridge! I’ve only had dandelion greens once before, so I’m glad Plated incorporated them into this dish instead of typical mixed greens. The skirt steak was juicy and delicious, the fingerlings were crispy, and the dandelion greens with lemon dressing added a nice freshness to the meal. I especially loved the paprika aioli for dipping my steak!



Ready to make some skirt steak! 


Prepping the fingerlings


I love the smell of steak while it’s frying


Lemon dressing and paprika aioli are good to go 


Another delicious dinner from Plated! 

Plated: Skirt Steak with Fingerlings and Dandelion Greens (Home Cookin’)

Plated: Maple Dijon Panko-Crusted Salmon with Peas and Carrots (Home Cookin’)

My second Plated order is comprised of two salmon and skirt steak dishes. On the menu for tonight: maple panko-crusted salmon with peas and carrots. The salmon topping consisted of melted butter, maple syrup, panko bread crumbs, dijon mustard, soy sauce, and parsley. Yum. While the salmon baked in the toaster oven for 8 minutes, I sauteed the carrots and peas. This is totally something that I will make at home again and again because it’s so tasty and easy!



Excited to cook up this salmon! 


Maple, butter, parsley and panko mix 


Salmon is ready to hit the oven 


Peas and carrots are looking perfect 


Tasty panko crusted salmon dish! 

Plated: Maple Dijon Panko-Crusted Salmon with Peas and Carrots (Home Cookin’)

Blue Apron: Linguine with Cod and Fresh Peas (Home Cookin’)

We ended our Blue Apron food fest on a high note with linguine, cod, and fresh peas. The cod was flaky and moist — I could have eaten it by itself, it was so good. I loved the bright flavor of the fresh peas (I de-shelled them myself) along with a squeeze of lemon juice for a touch of acidity. I think this was my favorite dish of the night — I will definitely be making this again! Thanks, Blue Apron, for three delicious meals!

Blue Apron


Third course, here we come!


De-shelled these puppies all by myself


Getting ready to fry the cod


It’s getting nice and flaky


Now the peas join the party


The pasta is added along with a squeeze of lemon juice


This delicious dish only took 30 minutes!

Blue Apron: Linguine with Cod and Fresh Peas (Home Cookin’)

Blue Apron: Chicken and Mixed Mushrooms with Garlic Bread (Home Cookin’)

It’s a Blue Apron kind of night! The next dish that I made was chicken breast with mixed mushrooms and garlic bread. The chicken was super moist (coating it in flour and frying it made all the difference) and went well with the sautéed mushrooms. I really liked the flavor of the sauce, even though I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms. Toasted garlic bread completed the dish and everyone loved it. Coming up… Linguine with cod and fresh peas!

Blue Apron


Second round of ingredients


Chicken is good to go


Time to add the mushrooms


Dinner is served — with a little toasted garlic bread on the side

Blue Apron: Chicken and Mixed Mushrooms with Garlic Bread (Home Cookin’)