Category Archives: Ethnic

Almost Blackened Chinese Chicken

This Make Your Own Takeout installment made a fantastically quick and easy Saturday night supper.  It involved absolutely no planning (with the exception of defrosting the chicken), and honestly came together as I went along.  After work last Saturday, I threw together the marinade, added the chicken, and went for a nice long bike ride with my hubby.  When we returned, of course we were ravenous, and I was so glad that all I had to do was sautee the chicken, and throw together some quick sides.  Dinner was on the table in less than 20 minutes, candlelight, music, and all.  Combined with some quick-cooking brown rice and stir-fried veggies, neither of us missed our local Chinese joint one bit.


Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts


Ginger Root

Soy Sauce

Hoisin Sauce


Cayenne Pepper


Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cooking Spray


Start by trimming and cleaning up your chicken.  Then you can prepare the marinade.  I love to marinate anything in zip-top storage bags, it makes for easy clean up and all around marination, but of course, you can use any bowl or dish.  Peel and finely mince several cloves of garlic and a good knob of fresh ginger root (the Microplane is excellent for this), and add it to your marinating receptacle of choice.


Now, add the soy sauce, hoisin, and some lemon juice (I’m not gonna lie, I usually use fresh, but I didn’t have any, and as I mentioned, this involved no planning, so I used bottled…frown on me if you like).  Then add several sprinkles of all of the seasonings.  I normally add a little more than I would use to season the meat, to the marinade (mental images help on this one).

030Now, woosh it all around to combine.

031Add the chicken, and give it another woosh.  Then set aside and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes (if you’re using the bag, make sure to seal it), mine was in for about an hour and a half.

032When you’re ready for dinner, lightly mist a skillet with cooking spray and allow to get very hot.  Add your chicken to the pan.

034Now, don’t mess with them!  You want to let them caramelize (that is, allow the sugars from the marinade to brown on the chicken).  When you’ve achieved a nice dark brown, almost burned looking crust, you can flip them over.  And just believe me, those dark bits are awesome!

035Don’t be scared!  Now allow the second side to get equally caramelized and the chicken to cook through.  If your chicken breasts are a little bit thicker, you may need to lower the fire so that they can cook through without the outside burning.

036Conserve your money, save your time, and ENJOY!



Filed under Chicken, Ethnic, Make Your Own Takeout

Healthified: Pastelillos

A pastelillo is basically the Puerto Rican version of an empanada.  I grew up eating them and definitely consider them a comfort food.  One more plus…DH is practically a slave to them!  The only problem is, they basically consist of deep-fried pastry dough and greasy ground beef:  not exactly figure-friendly.  While I don’t want to completely sacrifice the essence of the dish, I want to be able to eat them more often, without the guilt.  So with this post…I’ve decided to officially launch a brand spankin’ new category:  “Healthified!”  Because yes, like so many people, after Christmas I vowed to do whatever I could to stay healthy and become more fit.  I’m not really the type to totally give up things that I love; I believe in enjoying life, and clearly, for me food is a big part of that.  To achieve my goals,  I’ve been altering some traditionally unhealthy meals to make them more suited to my efforts (and of course, bumping up my exercise routine!).  I’m not giving up cheese, or meat, or carbs, or really anything, I’m just modifying and moderating.  I hope you all enjoy my efforts and join me by making a change, so that you can be a better you, too.




Bell Pepper

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Spanish Green Olives (Alcaparrado or Manzanilla)

Goya Adobo (con pimiento)

Goya Sazon (con culantro y achiote)

Bay Leaves (dry or fresh)

Tomato Sauce

Goya Discos Grande (freezer section, make sure to defrost ahead of time)

Ground Beef (as lean as you can afford)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Note:  I would normally use fresh cilantro, as well, but I didn’t have any, so I skipped it and the recipe still turned out delish.


Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.  Then heat a drizzle of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  While the pan heats up, finely chop all of your veggies.

001Then add the veggies to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.

004Saute until veggies soften and onions begin to go translucent.

008Add in the ground beef and allow the first side to brown up.

010When the bottom is nicely browned, turn and allow to cook through and mix with veggies.  Drain off any excess grease.

Next, season to taste with the Adobo, Sazon, and more salt and pepper, if needed.  Then add tomato sauce (enough to really move everything around and coat the mixture), bay leaves, and olives.

012Stir well to incorporate and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

014Remove from heat, discard the bay leaves, and allow to cool for a few minutes.  While you wait, carefully separate your discs, lay the first one out and fill one half with a small amount of meat mixture.

017Fold over disc so that edges meet.

018Use a fork to seal and crimp edges.  Repeat this process until all of the discs are filled and sealed.

019Cover a cookie sheet with a silpat, parchment paper, or a light coating of cooking spray.  Then place each pastelillo on the cookie sheet and lightly mist with cooking spray.

021Bake 10-15 minutes until crust is bubbly and crisp.


My baked, healthified version.

The original deep-fried version.

The original deep-fried version.

Allow to cool just a bit (they will be very, very hot right out of the oven) serve with a simply dressed salad, and ENJOY!



Filed under Beef, Ethnic, Healthified, Make Your Own Takeout, Uncategorized

My Foodbuzz True Delights Contest Entry-Spicy Shrimp and Cashew Fried Rice

As a part of Foodbuzz’s partnership with Quaker, they developed a foodie recipe contest.  All entries had to feature at least one of the nine key ingredients in the new Quaker True Delights Granola Bars, of course, the predictable thing would be to submit a sweet rather than a savory recipe, but as anyone can tell from reading this blog, I don’t bake that much.  Not that I don’t like too, I just don’t like what happens when DH and I eat a dozen cookies, half a cake, and six brownies, a piece!  So, not too long ago, I made beef fried rice and on a whim, threw in a handful of cashews.  We totally adored it, and recalling that dish, I decided to develop a fried rice combo for the True Delights contest.  The addition of the cashews, some fresh scallions, and hoisin sauce, really jazzed up my basic fried rice and made it pretty contestworthy, if I  may say so myself.  By the way, the grand prize is a trip for two to Chicago for the Outstanding in the Field event!  So cool!  Hope you try out this recipe and wish me lots of luck!

Note:  Because it’s for a contest, this entry is not in my usual measurement-free format, but as usual feel free to change anything to your liking.



18 Small Shrimp
1 1/2 cups cooked White Rice
1/2 cup Cashews
2 ribs of Celery
1 large Carrot
1/2 of a medium Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
1 bunch of sliced Scallions
2 tbsp. Fresh Ginger
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Peas
1 Egg
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1/2 cup less 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a skillet (remember it’s fried rice so don’t be too skimpy with this), you want your pan to get very hot. While it heats up, chop all your veggies, excluding the peas. I use a microplane for the garlic and the ginger, just because I prefer it very fine.

Once the pan is hot enough (the oil should shimmer when you swirl the pot), add your veggies and sautee until onions are translucent. I also season the veggies with salt and pepper (layering the flavor).

Once the veggies are nicely sauteed, add the shrimp to the pan and cook until just pink.

While the shrimp is cooking, you can roughly chop a couple tablespoons of the cashews, for garnish.

Then you should push all the veggies and shrimp aside and scramble the egg into the pan. You can either scramble the egg in a bowl and quickly stir it in or you can crack the egg into the pan and stir it in very quickly (I forgot to scramble it ahead thus, I discovered that the second option works just fine). Once the egg starts to cook, you can incorporate it into everything else.

Again, move everything over to one side and add the cashews, so they can toast up a bit. After about a minute, stir them into the rest of the mixture.

Then you can add the rice to the pan. You should be sure to crumble it up with your fingers instead of throwing in the whole block. Now’s the time to add in the ground ginger, pepper flakes, hoisin and soy sauce.

Stir everything together until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Add in the peas and continue cooking until the peas are just heated and tender.

Remove from heat and stir in scallions, less about two tablespoons.

Serve in warm bowls with a sprinkling of scallions and a few of the chopped cashews. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Ethnic, Make Your Own Takeout, Seafood, Silly Stuff

Sort Of South Of The Border Shrimp Wrap

I realize that this is kind of a spring forward to summer, but I needed a quick lo-cal, midweek meal, and this very tasty wrap fit the bill.  Working at a florist means that certain weeks of the year require long hours and lots of preparation.  Needless to say, the week of Valentine’s Day is always one of them.  I knew I wouldn’t have the time to cook, most of the week, but I needed to have some blogging material for this week.  Problem was, I forgot to take any protein out to defrost.  My quick fix?  Frozen raw shrimp.  I usually just pull them out a few minutes before I start cooking, and quick thaw them by submerging them in cool water.  If they are taking a little longer than I need them to, I change the water once or twice to keep it warmer than the temp of the shrimp themselves.  In this recipe, you’ll notice that I use the same method to thaw frozen vegetables to use in salads or other cold dishes.  Anyway, this wrap really hit the spot.  It was filling, healthy, and flavorful.  Even DH was happy, after complaining at the mention of shrimp salad…lol.  I’ve decided to submit this one to Joelen’s Foodie Films Event.  The featured film is Tortilla Soup, which of course calls for Mexican-inspired dishes, and although this one’s not exactly traditional, it does feature a lot of traditional Mexican flavors and they were certainly the inspiration for this dish.  Hope everyone will check out all the film-inspired recipes, at the end of the month.  Her site is amazing!


Shrimp (frozen or fresh)

Red Onion

Radish (or any crunchy veggie of your choosing)

Corn (canned, fresh, or frozen)

Fresh Parsley

Bell Pepper

Mayo (I used Lite)

Fresh Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper



Cayenne Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Flour Tortillas (mine were whole grain)


Start by thawing out your shrimp, and if you are using any frozen veggies, those as well.  If your shrimp are not peeled, do so as soon as they are defrosted enough to be easily removed.  You can also remove your tortillas from the fridge now, so they can come to room temperature.

0011Heat a large skillet over medium-high flame with just a drizzle of olive oil.  While the pan heats, chop all of your veggies and toss into a large bowl.

0063Add  the peeled shrimp to the hot skillet, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

002Sautee until the shrimp are just pink, stirring once or twice.  This will happen very quickly.

003When the shrimp is just cooked, squeeze half of a large lemon over the shrimp and use a spatula to scrape up all the seasoning and browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

0051Remove the shrimp and allow to cool enough to handle.  Then cut each shrimp into small 1/2 inch size pieces.

0081Toss the shrimp into the bowl with your veggies.

0101Squeeze in the other half of lemon, and add in about 1/2 a cup of mayo.

011Stir well to combine all of the ingredients.  Once everything is combined, do a taste test.  You may need to add more mayo to really homogenize the salad, or even a little more of your spices.  Start light with the mayo, you can always add more, but it’s pretty impossible to take away.

0121Spoon a small amount of salad onto each tortilla shell.  Remember not to overfill, or you won’t be able to close the wrap.

0131Fold up both ends and the longer sides as you would for a taco, and serve with crispy garlic oven fries, or even just some good old-fashioned potato chips.



Filed under Ethnic, Seafood, Silly Stuff, Uncategorized

Parmesan Peppercorn Pasta Bake

Empty cupboards…Empty fridge!  Oh, jeesh!  What’s a girl to do?  Why, turn to her trusty casserole dish, of course.  After being out of town for almost six days, I was plagued with the ever-daunting bare kitchen, and nor the time or the energy for the grocery store.  So, I searched the cupboards high and low.  I needed something quick, tasty, and of course bloggable.  I came up with a sort of fake-out lasagna pasta bake, using a partial box of lasagna noodles, some Italian sausage, and tomato puree.  We really, really enjoyed this dish, and I will definitely remember it when I need another weeknight quickie.


Italian Sausage (I used hot)


Fresh Garlic

Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles

Tomato Puree (or any canned tomatoes of your liking)

Bay Leaf

Italian Seasoning (or fresh herbs, of course)

Parmesan Cheese




Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kosher Salt


Start by bringing a large pot of water to boil.  Once it reaches a hard boil, add a hefty amount of kosher salt to the water (remember, the water should be just about as salty as sea water, I know it seems like a lot, but pasta needs it).  While the water comes to a boil, slice the sausage into bite size pieces.


Add the sausage to a frying pan over medium heat( no need to add oil, the sausage has enough fat in it) and allow to brown and cook almost all the way through.

0022While the sausage browns, chop some onion and mince some garlic.

0032When the sausage is almost all the way browned, add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking until sausage is golden and veggies are cooked through.

0051In the meantime, break up your lasagna noodles.  You can really have fun with this.  There is no need for uniform pieces, as long as the sizes are similar (so they cook at the same rate).  The more rustic the better.

006When the sausage is ready, add the tomato puree, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and a bay leaf.

0092By now, the pasta water should be boiling, so go ahead salt it, and add your noodles.  Give them a good stir, until the water returns to a boil.  Since it is now in small pieces, you may need to stir the pasta occasionally so it won’t stick, but just occasionally.  While the pasta cooks you can make the cheese sauce and preheat your broiler.  For the sauce, make a basic roux (you can find a more exact description of how to do this in Meatloaf Meatballs) out of butter and flour.  In this case, the roux should be a blond one.  You want the flour to cook, but not pick up any color.

011After a few minutes, the flour should be cooked through and you can add some milk.  You want the final product to be thick but not stiff.  I suggest starting out with a little more milk than you think you need for this consistency, because it will reduce a little.  Once the sauce comes to a boil, you can reduce the heat and add a hefty handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Stir the sauce until the cheese is completely melted in, then add lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Remember, this is a Parmesan Peppercorn sauce, so it should be really peppery.

015Now, when your pasta is just al dente (after about 7 minutes start checking it by tasting it), drain it, but don’t shake off too much of the cooking water, it helps everything move around well when you combine the pasta with the sauce.  After the pasta is drained, return it to the pot and combine with the red sauce (remember to remove the bay leaf, it is not digestable).

0161Pour half of the pasta into a casserole dish and top with a few dollops of the Parmesan sauce.

0181Add the rest of the pasta and a few more dollops and pop into the broiler to brown the cheese sauce and crisp up the top layer of pasta.  Keep a close eye on it.

020Okay, so my sauce got a little darker than I would have liked, but I swear, those dark spots were the tastiest bits of the entire dish.

0231ENJOY those burned bits!  I sure did.


Filed under casseroles, Ethnic, Pasta

Spice It Up With Shrimp Fra Diavolo

I realized, not long ago, that I have not posted any seafood here on One Bite At A Time.  Like many foodies, I really, really love seafood, and since moving in with DH, I have definitely turned him into a lover of all most victuals of the sea.  Although I don’t have the budget to buy fresh seafood often, I try my best to get it whenever I can, and almost always buy a big bag of frozen shrimp when it’s on sale.  Now, I know that many of my favorite gourmet chefs would denounce anyone who cooks frozen shrimp, but lets face it, most of us regular people can’t afford to buy fresh shrimp at $9.99/lb.  When I do luck out and find the aforementioned shrimp on sale, I have lots and lots of fun experimenting and trying out new flavor combinations.  Here’s a recipe for shrimp fra diavolo that I’ve been making for quite a while now, I usually serve it over plain white rice or pasta, but this time around I thought I’d do a basic parmesan risotto.  The creamy risotto was a great complement to the spicy shrimp.  Of course, feel free to change up the type of tomatoes you use or swap out my choices for your favorite herbs.  As usual, my aim is to provide you with a guide, ideas, and inspiration.  Here it is:



Fresh Basil

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Garlic


Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Canned Tomatoes (I used puree, it was on sale)


Begin by heating a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat.  While the pan heats, combine the shrimp with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.

0021When the pan is hot, add the shrimp.

0031While the shrimp cooks, chop the onion and herbs and mince the garlic.

0014When the shrimp is just pink, remove from the pan and set aside.

005In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until tender and translucent, but not browned (the heat should be turned down to medium-low).

0072Then add the tomatoes, a little bit of water, and cayenne pepper to taste.   Stir to incorporate.

0081Allow to reduce and thicken, by simmering over low heat (in the meantime, you can prepare the other components of your meal).  Then stir in your herbs, and allow to simmer a little longer.  You want the sauce to pick up the flavor of the fresh herbs.

0091When the rest of your meal is just about complete, toss the shrimp back in the pan, just to coat and reheat.

0101Serve over a piping bowl of your desired starch, and ENJOY this simple, spicy, and succulent delight!



Filed under Ethnic, Seafood

A Long, Leisurely Christmas Eve

This year, DH and I spent Christmas Eve at home, just the two of us.  After working many, many hours all throughout December, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.  I cooked slow, we ate slow, we drank slow, and we truly enjoyed.  Because of our love for all things Spanish, I made a leisurely tapas style meal, consisting of two rounds of food.

The Menu

Round One

Kalamata Olives

Manzanilla Olives

Pa Amb Tomaquet

Tempranillo Wine

Pa Amb Tomaquet is a Catalan specialty consisting of lightly toasted bread rubbed with garlic and vine ripened tomatoes and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkled with kosher salt...muy delicioso!

Pa Amb Tomaquet is a Catalan specialty consisting of lightly toasted bread rubbed with garlic and vine ripened tomatoes and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkled with kosher salt...muy delicioso!

Round Two

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions


Patatas Bravas

…and, more Tempranillo

My first attempt at brussel sprouts...yeah, they're good.

My first attempt at brussel sprouts...yeah, they're good.

The Star

Patatas Bravas…I searched high and low for a recipe that sounded like what  I ate in Barcelona.  I finally found a recipe that seemed right and they came out terrific.  Probably the best I’m gonna get on this side of the Atlantic.

Behold, a true beauty!

Behold, a true beauty!

Hope everyone ENJOYED their holiday celebrations, and wishing peace, love, prosperity, and of course more good eats in 2009!


Filed under Ethnic, Uncategorized