Saturday, March 28, 2015

#316: Cheesy Breakfast Casserole, By: V

It's been a long week and with upcoming weekends full of plans to celebrate Vishu with my parents, go to Richmond for a bridal shower, and then again for the wedding itself, this weekend we are planning on truly relaxing.  But, that didn't exactly come so easy this Saturday morning.  I woke up early to take my car to the auto shop to get a few things fixed. So, S picked me up and brought me home.  Since we were both starving, I whipped up this quick and hearty Breakfast Casserole.

I thought I'd pop up this quick post to share the recipe while I wait on the call from the shop telling me my car is all good to go (fingers crossed).  Hope you all try this recipe out this weekend!

Just a quick aside - this recipe can be easily modified, opt in sweet potatoes or regular pootatoes for the OreIda ones, use kale in lieu of spinach, ground beef or lamb in  lieu of turkey, and the options continue.  Weekends are all about being flexible, right? Enjoy!


Half a bag of OreIda hash brown cubes
2 cups spinach
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsps paprika
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the hash brown as per the directions on the bag.  
  2. Place them in your casserole dish and mash up with a potato masher or two foks.  Create a base of mashed hash brown potatoes. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the paprika on top of the potatoes.  
  3. Chop up the 2 cups of spinach and add them to a pan with 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil.  Cook the spinach down and add this as the next layer on the casserole.  
  4. Cook the ground turkey in a pan.  There's no need for oil if you use a nonstick pan.  But, if you don't use a nonstick pan, add in 1 tbsp of oil.  Once the turkey is cooked, add the other 1 tbsp of paprika.  
  5. Add the ground turkey on top of the spinach layer.  
  6. Then top off the entire casserole with the shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choosing). 
Serve this with some chopped up avocado for a nice creamy side.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Commissary and Kapnos

Last week my best friend, K, was visiting from Oregon.  While I didn't have much time to document the lunches and dinners I prepared (which included a foray into cauliflower rice) I did take a few pictures at the happy hour and dinner we enjoyed.  So, this is my review of Commissary and Kapnos. 

One evening we went to Commissary for happy hour.  This place gets fairly full around happy hour. We enjoyed the truffle fries (although, another customer's nachos looked like the better choice) and the drinks.  We even asked the bartender if he could prepare our mutual favorite, a Pimm's Cup. Now, a Pimm's Cup is traditionally a British drink which has more of a clean lemon-lime flavor.  This is because you are supposed to put in one part Pimm's liquer (gin-based) and two parts lemon-lime soda or ginger ale.  However, major fail by the bartender (and this was after we showed him the simple recipe off our iPhone), but we had to commemorate things none the less.  See how our Pimm's Cup is dark enough to pass for a Rum and Coke, most Pimm's Cups are supposed to be much less dark.

Another night we went to Kapnos for dinner.  Kapnos, is another Chef Mike Isabella, establishment. See my review of Graffiato and you'll understand why I was so excited to try out Kapnos.  K is a vegetarian, so I thought it would be good to just order a few veggie small plates and share, which is exactly what we did.

We started off with the Melitzanosalata, a smoked eggplant spread with roasted peppers and topped with feta and walnuts.  This was my favorite dish of the night! Delicious! The contrast of the crunchy walnut with the creamy eggplant was phenomenal, and the saltiness of the feta really complimented the dish.  Not to mention, that garlic pita that was served alongside the spread, was so light and airy!

Next we ordered the Grilled Broccolini which was topped with a "salsa" of tomatoes, capers and kalamata olives.  Along the side was some creamy mizithra cheese. The cheese is made from goat's milk and has such a mild flavor, it was almost like a mascarpone or creamy greek yogurt on the side of the dish.  The cheese added a creamy contrast without compromising the flavors of the broccolini and tomatoes.

The final plate was so delicious, you can see I forgot all about taking the picture and dove in. Spanokopita is a phyllo pie filled with spinach, leeks and feta.  This small plate was fabulous.  The phyllo was well prepared - crunchy, flaky and not too greasy.  

I already told S, me and him have to go back to Kapnos.  I just have too many other dishes I'd like to try! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

#315: Mini Chinese Meatballs, By: V

This has been the coldest winter Washington, DC has seen in over 20 years.  Needless to say, I  don’t think I’ve ever experienced frigid temps like we’ve been having.  This weekend we ‘spring forward’ into the next season, but we’re still seeing an on-and-off snow fall.  Crazy, right? 

Well, on Monday I met up with my friend R for a quick dinner, before a movie date she had that night.  R and I have been friends since high school, so it’s always great to meet up with her because we have that kind of comfort level where you can talk about anything.  We gabbed about friends and her new date over bibimbap bowls at The Mixing Bowl.  While neither of us had tried this small Tysons Mall spot, a friend of mine told me it offered super healthy option all in a convenient bowl.  I already love bibimbap, a convenient Korean rice bowl dish with meat, veggies and a deliciously spicy sauce, so this was a great option.  I ordered my bowl with brown rice, spicy chicken, radish salad, kale, kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage), cucumbers – all topped with gochujang (a spicy sauce made from fermented red chili, glutinous rice, soybeans and salt) and a fried egg.  When the egg breaks into the rice, trust me, you're immediately happy choosing this add-on!

This week I made some “mini” Chinese Meatballs.  I’m keeping the “mini” in quotes, because lets be real, I may have every intention of making something “mini,” but some times what you plan for doesn’t exactly come to fruition, and you end up with “medium” meatballs.  Either way these delicious meatballs make a great addition to noodles, soup, or just as a protein-rich snack or appetizer. 

The options are limitless, you could add lemongrass, oyster sauce or green onions to these meatballs as well.  But, I kept my recipe fairly simple and worked with what I had right in my kitchen.  I mean with the freezing temperatures who wants to venture outside, am I right?

Mini Chinese Meatballs


1/4 cup grated yellow onion
1/2 tsp five spice
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 lb ground chicken
2 medium-large crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsps olive oil

  1. First prepare the onion, ginger and garlic.  Use a cheese grater to grate yellow onion and ginger.  Use a garlic press or finely chop the garlic cloves.  
  2. Place your ground chicken in a bowl.  Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the meat.  
  3. Then add the five spice, red chli flakes, fish sauce and soy sauce.  
  4. Incorporate everything together with your hands. (yes, time to get in there!)
  5. Form the mixture into meatballs - the size can be your preference.  If you have difficult forming the meatball shapes, you can add 1/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko to the mixture to help them form easier.  
  6. Pour olive oil in a pan on high heat.  Once the oil is hot add the meatballs in one layer. Cook in two to three batches, if needed.  Make sure you don't overcrowd.  Cook on high heat on one side and flip over.  Cook on the other side for one minute.  Then lower the heat to medium and cover; cook like this for two minutes to be sure the meatballs are cooked through.
  7. Once you've cooked all the meatballs, return them to the pan and add 1/4 cup Thai ginger broth (or any broth).  Turn to high heat and cook covered for about three minutes.  Remove the lid and continue on high heat for two minutes until the liquid evaporates. 

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