Gochujang Chicken Rice Bowl

Gochujang Chicken Rice Bowl

While I was in England, Joe took me to this wonderful Korean Bowl restaurant that serves rice bowls with different types of marinated meat, stacked with raw veggies, and different yummy sauces. It was so good, I decided to re-create my own bowl for you guys, and I’m pretty proud of this recipe! If you’re ever in Leicester, go to Grounded Kitchen… it’s healthy, filling, and good af.

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“Gochujang” is a popular condiment from Korea, and is a red-chili paste that is savory, spicy, and pungent. It pairs well with beef, or chicken and is easy to make yourself as well. Many grocery stores in my area carry different varieties already made, so I just bought one (time and money saver).

NOTE: I cooked the chicken in my Instant Pot on the pressure cooker setting. You can cook your chicken stove top, in a crock pot, or pressure cooker.

I made mine with cauliflower rice for a low carb option, but you are welcome to make it with jasmine or brown rice.

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Gochujang Chicken Bowl
Serves 4

For the Gochujang Chicken:
3 tbsp. gochujang hot pepper paste
2 tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Korean chilies (or Thai), crushed
1 pound chicken tenders or breasts (frozen or fresh)
Sesame seeds

For the Cauliflower Rice

Bowl Toppings:
Red bell pepper, sliced
Avocado, diced
Green onions, chopped
Red cabbage, chopped
Baby spinach
Chopped peanuts
Spicy mayo (or Yum Yum sauce)
Sriracha
Lime slices

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients for the chicken, starting with the dry ones, and then adding in the liquids. Do not add the sesame seeds. Mix well.

2.  Coat chicken in gochijang sauce, and place in Instant Pot. Select pressure cook option for 15 minutes, making sure your steam valve is switched to the closed option. Put lid on pot, lock, and cook. (If you do not have a pressure cooker or instant pot, you can cook your chicken with sauce on the stove).

3. In the meantime, prepare your cauliflower (or regular) rice. Directions are linked above.

4. Once chicken is done cooking, use the natural release on the steam valve for five minutes.

5. Turn Instant Pot off. Shred chicken in pot, and mix well with sauce, making sure all meat is evenly coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds lightly onto chicken.

6. Now to assemble the bowls. Spoon rice into bowl, then chicken, and then your toppings…. there’s no wrong way to do it! Eat and enjoy!

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Sweet Potato Nachos with Instant Pot Carnitas

Sweet Potato Nachos with Instant Pot Carnitas

For Christmas, my mom got me an Instant Pot, and for the past few months, I’ve been experimenting  and learning how to use it (I have yet to try boiling eggs in it, which I really want to try next). What I’ve liked cooking most in my pot is chicken and meat – it cooks for 40 minutes or so, and can be shredded right after. It’s 10x faster than a CrockPot, and for me, that’s perfect. I’m a busy woman and got things to do, and places to be!

I posted a Shrimp Nachos recipe earlier this year, and here we are just a few short months later with more nachos. Clearly, I love me some nachos (who doesn’t?). These however, are healthier, and you can feel less guilty as you shovel them down.

Replace those corn chips with a complex carb, and try my Sweet Potato Nachos! I whipped up an avocado cremé sauce, that I’ll include too! I promise you won’t miss those grain-filled chips. Nachos are all about the toppings anyways, the bottom is just to serve it all into your mouth.

This recipe is Paleo and Whole30 approved (minus the cheese)!

NOTE: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, NO PROBLEMO! Cook these in a crockpot on high for 6-7 hours instead.


Sweet Potato Nachos with (Instant Pot) Carnitas
Serves 6

For the Instant Pot Carnitas:
4-5 lbs pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
2 large oranges, halved
1 lime
1 c water
1 bottle of beer

For the Sweet Potato Slices:
4 large sweet potatoes
Mexican Chili Powder Seasoning
Salt
Olive Oil

For the Avocado Cremé:
3 avocados, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 lime, juiced
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
Adjust ingredients as needed

Additional Nacho Toppings:
Pickled Onions
Pico De Gallo
Cilantro
Cojita Cheese
Valentina Hot Sauce
Pickled Jalapeño Slices

Directions:
1. Cut pork shoulder into 2 inch cubes. Make sure the fat is trimmed! Place meat into 2. Instant Pot, and rub pork pieces with all dry ingredients. Make sure all pieces are coated well and evenly.
3. Squeeze the lime and oranges over the pieces, and set rinds (pulp side down) in the Instant Pot.
4. Add in water and beer.
5. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Make sure the seal valve is CLOSED, and will not be open to release steam. Don’t forget, it takes 10 minutes for the pot to warm up (I learned the hard way… always read the manual first).
6. When the meat is finished cooking, allow it to release naturally for 15 minutes. Shred meat with fork after it has cooled.

7. Slice sweet potatoes into coins, 1/4 of an inch thick.
8. Place on large baking sheet (two if needed), and spread slices evenly so that they are not overlapping one another.
9. Generously season both sides with Mexican spice blend, a few pinches of salt, and then drizzle top with olive oil.
10. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and cook for another 15 minutes, or to desired crispiness. Personally, I don’t like mine too crispy.

11. While carnitas and potatoes are cooking, make pickled onions in the mean time. (Follow link for recipe!)
12. Once pickled onions are done, time to make the avocado cremé.

13. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Add dry ingredients, and then liquids, and blend until blended well. Adjust ingredients as needed to obtain consistency and taste. There’s no wrong way to do it!

14. Top nachos with sweet potato slices as base, followed by carnitas, avocado cremé, pickled onions, pico de gallo, cilantro, cojita cheese, and hot sauce, and any additional toppings! Valentina hot sauce tasted amazing on these. 🙂

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Make Your Own N’awlins Muffuletta

Make Your Own N’awlins Muffuletta

Down in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, there’s an old Italian grocery store famous for its Original Muffuletta Sandwich created by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo. Central Grocery was opened in 1906 by Lupo, and the shop still brings in hundreds of locals, tourists, and foodies from around the world every day.

The iconic store is lined with fresh pastas, aged cheeses, cured pork, and a wide assortment of other delicacies that I really wish I could have taken on the plane home. As I was waiting to board my flight back to Nashville, the woman sitting across from me had a plastic bag beside her feet. And, what do ya know – it was a Central Grocery bag, filled with two perfectly wrapped muffulettas. Even though I had eaten one just two hours before, I almost offered to pay her for one of them… I am dead serious.

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So, what exactly is a muffuletta, and what makes it legendary? Salvatore developed this sandwich with a mouth-watering olive spread (consisting of capers, pickled Italian vegetables like cauliflower, pepper, and pimentos), kalamata and green olives, garlic and herbs), Genoa salami, mortadella, hot capicola, provolone cheese, all on their fresh-baked muffuletta bread. It’s so good, you really would smack your momma for a bite.

When you order in store, you’ll notice sandwiches are wrapped, and piled high. In other words, they’re not made to order. How come? Well, that’s the key to this recipe. The sandwiches are pre-made so the olive oil from the salad marinades into the bread, bringing out the intense flavor of the olive spread. The first time I made my own, I failed to do this, and it was not the same.

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If you Google other muffuletta recipes, you’ll notice many of them make their own olive salad. I say skip the trouble, and buy Central Grocery‘s own jarred salad – you’re saving yourself the hassle, and buying THE salad they use in-house!

Now, if you can afford it, and want to try one of the OG sammies without flying to NOLA, you can. For $109, Central Grocery will overnight you two muffulettas packed on ice (shipping included) through Goldbelly.com. Cool concept, but I enjoy making my own!

TIP: It is difficult to find traditional muffuletta bread outside of New Orleans. Traditionally, it is a round loaf with sesame seeds. It’s okay to use French, Ciabatta, Italian, or make your own with this recipe.  The bread is VERY important to the integrity of thesandwich and should be a large, thick-crusted, round loaf of bread! Good things can not be rushed.

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N’awlins Central Grocery Muffuletta 
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 (10-inch) loaves round Italian bread with sesame seeds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
16 oz of Central Grocery Olive Salad spread
½ pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
½ pound ham or spicy capicola, thinly sliced
½ pound mortadella, thinly sliced
½ pound provolone, thinly sliced

Directions:
MAKE AHEAD
1. Horizontally slice loaves evenly in half with sharp bread knife.
2. Dip brush in olive oil, and brush generous amounts of oil onto insides of sliced bread (the inside, not the outside!)
3. Add a thick layer of olive salad to both insides of bread loaves.
4. Chill in fridge overnight.

THE NEXT DAY
1. Assemble sandwiches by layering meats and cheeses on bottom half of sandwiches.
2. Atop of olive salad, layer meats one at a time (salami, capicola, mortadella) followed by provolone. Repeat until you have used up all meat & cheese.
3. Place top sandwich on top, and wrap each sandwich in foil. Allow to sit for an hour or two, to let the flavors meld together.
4. Traditional muffulettas are pressed. Press down with a bacon press if you so wish.
5. Serve, and demolish!

Let me know if you made this recipe and what you thought! Tag your pics on Insta @goodAFeats! xoxo, Amber

Whole30 Zuppa Toscano Soup

Been home for two days, and I’m still coming down from my “New Orleans, New Year’s” high. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities for so many reasons – a 300 year old city packed with rich history, diverse culture, and delectable food. I had the most wonderful New Year’s trip, but I’ll save those stories for another post.

Currently, our country has been swept with an out of the ordinary cold front, even reaching all the way down to yes, New Orleans. It got down to 25 F one evening… I didn’t bring a coat, either (that was a fun walk around the city).  Currently, I have friends in Long Island, New York, stuck in a snow storm, so I suppose I’ll take my cold temps, no snow, in Tennessee. Although… I wouldn’t be opposed to a snow day. Hehe.

I forgot to announce I won an AMAZING, LeCruset Dutch Oven from one of my favorite Nashville food bloggers, Southern Fatty. I used it for the first time the night I got back into town, and I’m in love…. Give Southern Fatty a follow on Instgram – he’s always posting the most scrumptious treats.

Since it’s been so cold, I decided to cook something that would warm me up. I’ve also decided to do Whole30 this month, to help myself get back on track after the holiday gluttony I consumed. Mainly, I wanted to cut sugar completely out of my diet, and Whole30 allows no refined sugar of any kind, nor honey, or maple syrup. I’m on Day 2, and had a craving on the first night… LOL.

FYI, I made my soup spicy af. It definitely cleared my sinuses out. If you want to achieve this, use hot Italian sausage and 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes, otherwise use only one teaspoon.

4AC05173-2729-4ECC-8572-42E1B73AEF52Whole30 Zuppa Toscana Soup
Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 tbsp bacon fat, or grease (if you don’t have it on hand, get 1/2 lb bacon)
1 lb hot italian sausage (use regular if you don’t like spicy)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tbsp oregano
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like)
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
fresh pepper
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 cups low sodium beef broth
8 small to medium red potatoes, unpeeled, chopped
3 large handfuls chopped kale, fresh
13.5 oz coconut milk (full-fat)
chopped bacon (optional topping)

Directions:
1. If you don’t have bacon grease on hand, fry 1/2 pound of bacon in a dutch oven, stove top. Once bacon is crisp, remove bacon and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan.
2. Add the Italian sausage to the pan, and stir into crumbles while cooking. Mash the meat with a fork to make it into crumbles. Cook until meat is brown, and there is no pink.
3. Add and stir in pressed garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and crack some fresh pepper. Saute’ for a few minutes.
4. Add all broth, and potatoes, and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat, add coconut milk, and kale, and cook for another 5 minutes. Kale should be tender but not over wilted.
6. Please taste at the end, and determine if you need to add more salt or pepper!
7. Top with chopped bacon if you so wish!

-xoxo, Amber

Sweet n Spicy Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos with Goat Cheese

This is going to be short and sweet, literally. Christmas is TEN DAYS away y’all. Between work, shopping, and holiday parties – it’s a busy month for us all. Don’t get stressed out with your party food and baking – make it easy on yourself. Granny wants you to bring an appetizer for dinner? No worries – I got you! This recipe fast and easy, but it’s DAMN good.

We all love bacon, do we not? This is a spin on traditional stuffed jalapenos (usually made with cream cheese or cheddar). These jalapenos are filled with chive goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and my little secret – a hot pepper jelly glaze on top. The hot pepper jelly really knocks this recipe up a notch, and adds a special sweetness to counteract the spiciness. I have tried several hot pepper jellies, and the best are always homemade batches. I recommend you find a local source or make it yourself for the best flavor. I also recommend you use an entire strip of bacon for each jalapeno, so don’t you cut that strip in half!

These make a great appetizer for any party or tailgating event, and can be baked or grilled. I recommend grilling these if given the chance, because the flavor of a grilled jalapeno is insanely delicious.

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Makes 16 jalapenos

Ingredients:
8 whole jalapenos, large
1 lb of low sodium bacon (16 slices)
8 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped finely
Hot pepper jelly
Fresh cracked pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Slice jalapenos in half, carefully scooping the insides and seeds out. Leave stems on, and set halved jalapenos aside. Be sure not to touch your eyes or face when handling jalapenos or jalapeno seeds – it will leave a burning sensation, and trust me, it’s not fun!
3. In a mixing bowl, mix chives and softened goat cheese. Mix well.
4.  With a small spoon, scoop chive goat cheese into each jalapeno. Fill each jalapeno almost to the top, but do not mound goat cheese.
5. Wrap each jalapeno with a slice of bacon. I have found the best way to do this is start with the fatty end of the bacon, and work your way down and around the jalapeno. If both ends of the bacon slice are on the back of the jalapeno, they won’t peel up as easily when roasting. Secure both ends of wrapped jalapenos with 2 toothpicks if you feel it necessary (I did not).
6. Add wrapped jalapenos to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each jalapeno with a small amount of hot pepper jelly. Sprinkle cracked pepper on top.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked and crispy (it will be darkened from the red pepper jelly). Note: Some goat cheese may come out while cooking, but that’s to be expected.
8. Let cool 5 minutes and serve!

If you try these, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
-xoxo, Amber

Bacon Wrapped Seared Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Seared Scallops

If you know me, you know I love seafood. My dad was a foodie, and spoon fed me Cajun seafood gumbo at the age of one. Nashville had a sad selection of seafood restaurants in the 90s, but we still went to a place called, “Florida Seafood” a few times of year, as well as “Bro’s Cajun Cuisine” (where you can still get said gumbo… Charlotte Avenue – CHECK IT OUT).

I didn’t care for scallops until recently, but it wasn’t because they were necessarily  unappetizing . It was because every time I ordered scallops, they were rubbery and chewy. After ordering them from multiple establishments, I just figured that’s how scallops were supposed to taste – like a tire.

Thank God, I was finally served scrumptious scallops, and no longer presume them to be distasteful. The inspiration for this recipe comes from an amazing seafood restaurant in Raleigh, NC called “42nd Street.” They serve bacon wrapped scallops, and DAMN are they memorable. I had to create my own version… so, here we are.

I like to serve mine with asparagus, and lemon risotto.

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Bacon Wrapped Seared Scallops
Serves 4

12 fresh large scallops
1 1lb of bacon (I like lower sodium)
Salt
Pepper
Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Rinse off scallops in cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
3. Cut bacon slices in half OR if your scallops are large, wrap the bacon around, and cut off what you need to. Keep in mind bacon shrinks when it cooks. I like to put the thickest part of the bacon around the thickest part of the scallop. Make sure the bacon is tight around the scallop. Secure with a toothpick if you wish.
4. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of scallops.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip and then bake for another 10-15 minutes.
6. In the meantime, cook any bacon you have leftover in a cast iron skillet, or regular frying pan. Keep the grease in the pan!
7. Turn stove top [with the bacon grease skillet] on medium. Once oil is warm, sear each side of scallops for 2 minutes.
8. Remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes. Then you are ready to eat immediately!

-xoxo, Amber

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Keto Chili Con Carne

Keto Chili Con Carne

Here we are days away from October, and it’s still warm outside (at least it is in Tennessee). Well, I don’t care… Summer has ended, and I am ready for everything fall has to offer. Ready for pumpkins, ready for scary movies, ready for Halloween, and then – I will be ready to eat so much stuffing I can’t breathe (I feel like crap the next day but boy, is it worth it). I used to not care for autumn because I love summer so much, and autumn meant that summer had ended. However, in my old age (of 27), I have come to appreciate the bonfires, cool weather, pumpkin treats (+ ale), and chili.

Who doesn’t love chili? In a bowl, on a hot dog, on nachos – I’ll take one of each, thank you. My mom always made chili when I was a kid, and it was one of my favorite meals on a fall or winter day. My mom made great chili too.

Funny story – when I was a senior in high school, my dad wanted to make chili for dinner one night. My mom had always made the chili before, but dammit, he wanted to make it for once. He found a recipe by local weatherman, Bill Hall (RIP), in a cookbook of ours. The recipe was titled something along the lines of, “Knock You Down Spicy Chili.” But, how spicy can it really be? My dad ate spicy foods all the time, so surely it wasn’t THAT hot…. Well, my dad goes exactly by the recipe, and it was super cute how proud he was of his chili. My dad was not a bad cook – he made great burritos and could man any grill, but this was something new for him.

We set down to eat the chili, and each take a bite. We take another bite. I’m already feeling the burn… I said, “Daddy, the flavor is great, but it’s kind of hot.” He replies, “Maybe it’s just a slow burn while you eat.” We continue to eat more…. and after a few more minutes of suffering, we look at each other and decide, “Nope! Can’t do it.” We laughed so hard because we just couldn’t believe how hot it was! I felt like a dragon breathing fire. I now understood the meaning behind “Knock You Down.” Poor daddy… we had to dump his chili, but it gave us a good laugh.

This chili has a bit of spicy-ness to it, but it enhances the flavor if anything. It will not knock you down. It’s also not your typical chili recipe – there are no beans! This makes it keto and paleo friendly. Trust me, you won’t even miss the beans.

This is an easy meal for anyone to make. I recommend following the directions and throwing it all in a crockpot overnight. Stews are always more flavorful when they’ve, well, had time to “stew.”

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Keto Chili Con Carne (in a Crockpot)

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
6 slices of bacon
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 (16 oz can) diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 (8 oz) can of tomato paste
1/4 c. pickled jalapeños, diced
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed cayenne pepper
Dash of paprika
Avocado (optional)
Green onions (optional)
Sour cream (I like dairy free) (optional)

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, sauté onion, garlic clove, and brown meat. Stir often. Remove from stove and drain, once brown. Put meat mixture into crockpot.

2. Sauté peppers in a desperate skillet for a few minutes, and then transfer to crockpot.

3. Add remaining ingredients to crockpot, and stir. Cook on low overnight, or 6-8 hours.

5. Top with avocado, sour cream, and green onions.

-xoxo, Amber