Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Buckwheat Salad

I made a big batch of buckwheat the other day but added too much water in my rice cooker by accident! It came out soggy and mushy. Instead of tossing it, I decided to turn it into a pilaf and give it some more texture by frying it up and adding some interesting ingredients. The results were a delicious scramble of sorts. I hope you like it as much as I did!
Buckwheat Salad:
2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
4 cups cooked buckwheat
2 medium sized carrots, shredded
1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in 1 cup water for 10 minutes and then drained and chopped
1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
In a large pan, heat up oil.
Add in the cooked buckwheat and stir until heated through.
Add in the grated carrots, soaked raisins and spices and stir to fully combine.
Top with the seeds and serve warm or hot.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Easy Pumpkin Thai Curry

Want a very quick and easy Thai curry recipe that will serve 2-3 people and takes just a few minutes to prepare? Well, look no further! I substituted the sugar I usually use in curries with dates and it worked out great. Enjoy!
Easy Pumpkin Thai Curry:
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (can use canned)
2 tsp Thai red curry paste (can get in most supermarkets)
4 dried dates, pureed in a food processor
Splash of fish sauce (found in most Asian food stores and some supermarkets)
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Heat in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it starts to reduce a bit, approximately 10 minutes.
Serve with rice, vegetables, meat or whatever you like.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Carrot Ginger Dressing

For the last few weeks, I have been participating in The Whole Life Challenge which is a nutrition, fitness and overall healthy living regimen for 8 weeks. There are some food restrictions but I have been able to make some healthy substitutions, like Greek yogurt instead of silken tofu that I used to use in the following recipe. I used to eat this dressing at the famous east village restaurant Dojo for decades and figured out how to make it myself a few years back. I hope you enjoy it!
Carrot Ginger Dressing:

4 medium sized peeled carrots
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp fresh, ginger, chopped
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
3/4 inch slice red onion
1/4 cup fresh pineapple or other natural sweetener like dates
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
1/4 cup neutral oil like grape seed, avocado or canola oil
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Curried Chicken Salad

This is a really delicious and simple protein filled recipe that is also perfect to make from leftover roast chicken. Great for lunch , dinner or even a snack!

Curried Chicken Salad:

4 cups chopped, cooked chicken from 2 large breasts
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients together and serve cold on a sandwich or over greens.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Corn Frittata with Kale

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What to do when you have a little leftover ricotta from making a lasagna? How about making a quick and tasty fritatta? I love using up some leftover corn as well to give it some summer freshness. Enjoy!
Corn Frittata with Kale
9 eggs
1 1/2 cup cooked corn cut off the cob or defrosted frozen corn
1 cup kale, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper to taste
2 oz. ricotta
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, add in the salt and pepper and set aside.
Wash and chop the kale and then pat dry.
Heat up the butter in a medium sized ovenproof skillet and cook the onions until translucent. Should take about 5 minutes.
Add in the kale and saute until wilted.
Add in the corn and stir until heated through.
Add in the eggs and wait about 30 seconds until you slowly start folding the eggs toward the middle, letting the runny eggs flow to the sides.
Gently fold the eggs in on themselves for about 2 minutes and then add the dollops of ricotta cheese on top.
Place on the top rack of the oven and broil for about 3 -5 minutes until the eggs are fully set.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Chick Pea Salad with Mango

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Are you looking for a VERY large salad for your upcoming BBQ that will be healthy, delicious and won’t have you break the bank? Try this simple and tropical chick pea salad and you’ll never have to be be that person who brings macaroni salad again.
Chick Pea Salad with Mango:

1 HUGE can of chick peas-6 cups
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 scallions, chopped
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 mango, chopped
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp smoked paprika

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir to combine and chill.
Serves a crowd!
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Tuna Salad with Celery and Dill

Summer is here which means it is time to turn off the hot stove! Try this fresh summer salad that will taste great and keep you trim in your bathing suit!

Tuna Salad with Celery and Dill:
3 cans white tuna in water
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped cashews
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh dill
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Drain the tuna and place in a large bowl.
Add in the other ingredients and stir to combine.
Serve chilled over leafy greens or on multigrain bread.
Serves 5- 6
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

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What says “family dinner” more than a roast chicken? I’ll tell you what; A REALLY easy roast chicken! As long as you are not squeamish placing lemons into the cavity, this chicken will be the most simple and flavorful that you have made. Adding some potatoes in the casserole dish will allow you to have your side dish already prepared without doing any extra work. Heck, throw in some carrots and you are a true chef! Enjoy!
Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1 3 1/2 lb chicken (preferably organic)
1 1/2 lemons, halved
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
drizzle of olive oil
5 medium sized potatoes quartered
optional: 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
In a deep casserole dish, place the chicken.
Take the 3 halves of lemon and insert into the chicken’s cavity.
Drizzle the outside of the bird with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.
Surround the bird with the potatoes and carrots if you are using them and drizzle them with olive oil
Bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the skin is golden brown.
Remove and serve immediately.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Paleo Curried Carrot Soup

As cliche as it is, I try to detoxify in January to start the year off right. I consume way too much starch and dairy during the holidays so I follow a modified Paleo diet for a couple of weeks in January to get a head start on health for the year. Below is an adaptation of a recipe that my mother used to make from the NY Times many years ago. I substituted all the dairy and flour and it turned out great! I hope you like it!
Paleo Curried Carrot Soup:
2 TBS olive oil
one medium onion, chopped
4 gloves garlic, minced
2 TBS coconut flour (Can get at many supermarkets now-especially Whole Foods)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 lb carrots, chopped
one TBS curry powder
one cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large , heavy pot over low flame
When hot, add in chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions are wilted-don’t let garlic burn! Avoid burning the garlic by constantly stirring and keeping the flame very low
Add in the carrots ,curry powder and coconut flour and stir to coat
Add in the broth, partially cover the pot and let simmer over low-medium flame for about 1/2 hour until the carrots are tender
Puree with a hand blender/immersion blender or blender
Stir in the salt, pepper and almond milk and enjoy!
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Kale Salad with Roasted Squash and Apples

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The new year is a perfect time to start healthier habits , like making salads a staple in the weekly menu. For an easy and healthy change, try incorporating roasted vegetables that you prepare early in the week into your salads. They are filled with nutrients and if you plan ahead, they are an effortless addition. Enjoy!
Kale Salad with Roasted Squash and Apples:
Large Bag kale-Approx. 10 cups Kale
1 small butternut squash peeled, diced and roasted for about 30 minutes on parchment paper lined baking sheet-let cool
2 apples, peeled and diced
one large carrot, peeled and chopped (the entire thing)
One cup toasted, chopped pecans
2 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 chili powder and 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
flavored vinegar -I like Chocolate Vinegar from “Olive That and More ” in Montclair, NJ
olive oil for dressing
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Fill a large salad bowl with kale and wash and dry. Set aside
Place medium sized frying pan over medium flame and add 2 tsp olive oil
When oil is hot, add apples and honey and stir
Let cook for a few minutes until apples start to soften
Add in roasted butternut squash, stir and let heat through
Add in 1/8 tsp chili powder and cinnamon , stir and let cool
Add apples and butternut squash to salad. Then add in pecans, carrots, goat cheese and toss
Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar , toss and serve
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