Fluffiest Creamiest Dreamiest Mash Potatoes

I declare this the fluffiest, creamiest, easiest mash potatoes ever! Pretty too! Good old mash potatoes get a lighter feel with garlic butter infused milk.

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Ingredients
:: 10 lb bag of Yukon Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes.
:: 1 cup milk, warmed
:: Garlic cloves or powder
:: 1 stick butter
:: Salt, black pepper, parsley flakes.

Directions
:: Boil cubed potatoes in water and salt.
:: Warm up a cup of milk on the stove, with garlic cloves and butter.
:: Drain softened potatoes, add half of warmed milk.
:: Mash with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper as you go.
:: Add more milk and continue to mash till desired consistency.
I love my mash potatoes super airy and fluffy, so lots of milk and butter for me.
:: Garnish with parsley flakes and top with a slice of butter for a golden finish.

No-Fail Juicy Smoked Turkey

There's a lot going on in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, so when it comes to cooking the turkey, I take the easiest approach with a recipe that never fails to produce beautiful juicy delicately complex flavored birds.

This recipe is simple, requires no stuffing and allows the bird to smoke over a tea of your choice, under a foil tent. I substitute table salt with an Asian soy-sauce chicken marinate to give it a fail-proof flavored golden brown hue. The result is a turkey that’s super moist and didn’t dry out.

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Ingredients
:: 15-20 lb turkey (defrost according to instructions)
:: Olive oil
:: Lee Kum Kee soy sauce chicken marinate
:: Black pepper
:: Green or black tea bags

Directions
:: Place 2-3 tea bags of your choice into the roasting pan. Fill to the base of the rack with water.
:: Place chicken/turkey on roasting rack.
:: Rub with olive oil and chicken marinate, and sprinkle with black pepper.
:: Cover with foil, and roast for 3.5 to 4 hours at 325 deg.
:: For crisp golden skin, remove foil at the final 30 minutes.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board or platter, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the trussing strings before carving.

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GARLICKY PULL-APART BUTTER ROLLS

With this hack, it’ll be the softest pull-apart dinner rolls you’ve ever ‘made’.

These Hawaiian Rolls are begging to be smothered in homemade garlic butter. Takes just a few minutes and so easy. You can even use residual heat to toast them after pulling the turkey out of the oven. They make the perfect dinner rolls for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

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Ingredients
:: King’s Hawaiian Rolls
:: 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
:: Garlic powder
:: Parsley flakes

Directions
:: Melt butter for 10-15 seconds in the microwave
:: Brush butter over buns.
:: Sprinkle garlic powder and parsley flakes over butter.
:: Bake/warm buns for 3-5 minutes in the oven.

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Steamed Black Mussels in White Wine and Tomato Sauce

When it comes to feeding a crowd at short notice, mussels are cheap, quick to cook, and delicious. They are easy to dress up to look a million bucks. Using frozen prepackaged mussels meals (tomato or white wine varieties) eliminates cleaning, scrubbing and de-bearding. Simply give these frozen meals a boost by making a broth of fresh garlic, basil, tomato and white wine sauce for it. The broth is good on its own, but the steamed mussels make a wonderful addition. Serve with lots of crusty bread or pasta for a hearty, substantial meal.

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Ingredients
:: Frozen pre-packaged mussels (Tip: ALDI $2.50 per package)
:: Garlic, chopped
:: White wine
:: Can of diced tomatoes
:: Basil, chopped

Directions
:: Sauteed garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
:: Add diced tomatoes and white wine.
:: Add mussels to the pan to steam. Cover tightly for about 10 minutes.
:: Discard any mussels that did not open fully.
:: Serve with baguette or over pasta.

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Roasted Beets and Sweet Potato Fries with Tahini Sauce

What can be healthier, and tastier than a side of roasted veggies? Roasting veggies (especially root veggies) brings out the best flavor in them.

Simply oven roast or grill them in olive oil and salt, then drizzle tahini dressing over them. How easy is that for an addictive yet healthy side dish.

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Ingredients
:: Package of prepared beets
:: Package of prepared sweet potatoes or butternut squash
:: Seasoning: Olive oil and sea salt.  I like mine with a dash of paprika for a kick!
:: Dressing: Tahini is my fav.

To oven roast, preheat oven to 430 degrees.  In a baking tray, combine beets and sweet potatoes with olive oil.  Bake for up to 45 minutes, stirring once midway.  Cook until all veggies are tender, then salt and dress them just before serving.

To grill, combine beets and sweet potatoes in olive oil.  Grill on medium heat until veggies are slightly charred, turning occasionally.  Salt and dress them just before serving.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan Cheese

A true crowd pleaser. If you’ve never liked Brussels Sprouts, you’ll change your mind now. These are slightly charred, crisp, savory with hints of molasses from the balsamic vinegar, accompanied by the sharp, nutty taste of quality Parmesan Cheese.

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Ingredients
:: Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
:: Balsamic Vinegar
:: Olive Oil
:: Salt and Pepper
:: Quality Parmesan Cheese

Directions
:: Toss trimmed and halved Brussels Sprouts in some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
:: Roast or grill until outer leaves are slightly charred.
:: Transfer to a serving bowl and grate Parmesan Cheese over.

Ginger Marmalade Salmon

Quite many of you have been to my home and had this dish but would you believe this is the first time I gave this Ginger Marmalade Salmon a photo shoot it deserves?

Mr P says its because the dish gets attacked as soon as it lands on the table.

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This Ginger Marmalade Salmon is moist, flakey and melt-in-your-mouth good. 😋 And I hope you'll try it too. You may never want dry restaurant salmon dishes ever again.

About 2 years ago, I came up with the idea of gently cooking salmon for that perfect melt in your mouth texture. And Marmalade gives the salmon a beautiful glow! 😍

To achieve that, I put a frozen slab of salmon straight into the room temperate oven, set to 375 degrees for 40 mins and walk away. It's that easy!

And now I always have a slab of frozen salmon on an oven-safe porcelain platter, ready for the oven in case we run out of food during a party. Prepping ahead allows me to discreetly pull it out of the freezer and into the oven without missing any time with my guests. You bet this will be on my dinner table at the next family gathering.

It’s also great for busy week night dinners since there’s minimal cleanup thanks to parchment paper.

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Ginger Marmalade Salmon
The Day Before
:: Line an oven-safe porcelain platter with parchment paper.
:: Arrange salmon on platter. Fold the tail end under if it doesn't fit.
:: Smear 2-3 tablespoons of marmalade jam and sprinkle ginger over the salmon. (I like the ones with the orange peels)
::Then, wrap with clear wrap and freeze.

To Cook
:: Take salmon platter out of freezer.
:: Remove clear wrap.
:: Place platter in room temperature oven.
:: Set to 375 deg for 40 mins.
Sometimes I surround the fish with frozen brussels sprouts or green beans.

To Serve
:: Simply transfer platter to the dinner table.
:: Serve with spinach raisin jeweled rice or quinoa.

Will you try this technique?

Balsamic Strawberries Sundae

These easy and elegant ice cream cups with balsamic macerated strawberries and toasted almonds make a perfectly decadent dessert! Be prepared for lots of ohhhhs and ahhhhs from family and friends, and get ready to provide the answer to “What’s in this sauce?”

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Ingredients
:: A good quality vanilla bean ice cream
:: Strawberries, sliced
:: Bottle of balsamic reduction

If you can’t find balsamic reduction, simply mix
:: 1 tsp sugar
:: 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
:: optional, a dash of black pepper

Steps
To assemble, simply spoon strawberries and balsamic reduction over scoops of ice cream.

Tip: You may also macerate the strawberries in balsamic vinegar ahead of time, but it softens the strawberries, and I don’t like the look of ‘sad strawberries’. So I simply drizzle balsamic vinegar over.

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Pear Nectar + Thyme Cocktail

This is a refreshing take on the traditional mimosa. Simply swap orange juice for pear nectar. Thyme is optional but it definitely adds an aromatic flavor to it. A morning cocktail that’ll surely impress your guests.

TIP :: Champagne can never be too cold. According to French champagne producer, Moët, to achieve proper dilution, the champagne must be poured into a large glass first and ice added after, otherwise it will lose its effervescence. The ideal setup is “3 large ice cubes, not crushed ice.” ~ New York Times Moët Interview 2016.

Pear Nectar and Thyme Cocktail
Pear Nectar and Thyme Cocktail
Pear Nectar and Thyme Cocktail
Pear Nectar and Thyme Cocktail

Keeping In Motion

Anyone else need one last cup of coffee before the weekend?

I’m finally back in my happy place (my kitchen) with my camera. It’s been a whole year since eye surgery and I’m ready to pickup the camera (and eat) again. But first, coffee …

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Apple Sausage and Potatoes

As we gear up for Thanksgiving and out of town guests, I want to share a crowd pleasing favorite of ours.

This Apple Sausage and Potatoes is always a hit. Sweet and savory in one bite. It can be prepped the night before and otherwise it is easy to assemble in the morning.

I just served this two weekends in a row to two sets of guests and everyone was pleasantly surprised with the flavors.

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Apple Sausage and Thyme Potatoes
:: Optional Step: The night before, peel and slice potatoes, soak them in water and some salt.
:: In the morning, drain potatoes, put them in a microwaveable bowl, drizzle with olive oil, pepper, thyme, salt, toss. Cover and microwave 5-8 minutes (or 2 mins per potato).
:: Remove from microwave and pour entire contents into a pan. :: Add halved apple sausages. Chopped apples and sliced onions are good too.
:: On medium heat, sear/sautéed until apple sauces are aromatic and warmed and potatoes are lightly browned and crisp. Inside though, they are the creamiest potatoes ever.

What to do with that 5-8 mins? Scramble eggs. In a room temperature nonstick pan, spray butter generously. Then break 16 eggs over the butter. Now place pan on stove top on a medium flame. Using a spatula, start moving the egg mixture continuously. Release them off the sides, the bottom, fold it, stir it, don’t stop moving. In about 2-3 minutes, tadahhhh, you’ll have the air-est, fluff-iest, most buttery omelette.
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Happy weekend! ☀️ What’s in your plans for today?

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Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad

Summer means drinks, salads, grilled food, dining under the stars… beaches, sun block and laughter.  It also means getting creative with bowl recipes.

This zesty salmon bowl with a hint of spice is a versatile summer one-bowl dish.  I love that it is easy to eat with a spoon out of a mason jar at work, and absolutely share-able at a picnic.

Tip: For the juiciest, flakiest salmon, I always bake salmon from frozen and a cold oven.  I’ll grab a baking dish, lay a sheet of parchment paper, smear some marmalade jam over the frozen salmon, pop the dish into a cold oven, set the temperature at 375 degrees and walk away for 25 mins for a slice and up to 45 mins for a whole slab.  Allowing the oven and salmon to preheat together prevents overcooking.  Shocking thawed salmon in a heated oven results in a dry rubbery slice of fish.

There’s almost zero clean up, since you used parchment paper. Hooray!

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice

Ingredients
:: Salmon. Above, then I flaked it with a fork.
:: Brown rice or quinoa.
:: Cucumbers, diced
:: Cilantro/Coriander, roughly chopped
:: Zest and juice of limes
:: Cayenne pepper
:: Salt.

:: To make dressing, combine lime juice, zest, a dash of cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy) and pinch of salt.

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad

Directions
:: In a large bowl, combine rice and cucumbers.
:: Top with the flaked salmon.  Gently fold the salmon into the rice mixture.
:: Top with cilantro.  Add dressing. Give it another gentle toss and get ready to plate!

Variations:  Sometimes we switch things up a bit with tomatoes, bell peppers, string beans, onions…. anything you fancy, really. 

The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
The Belly Good Life - Zesty Salmon and Wild Rice Salad


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Tauhu Telor (Indonesian Tofu Omelette)

Originating from Java, Indonesia, Tauhu Telor is humble food that’s meatless and packed with protein; tofu, eggs, sticky soy sauce are the main ingredients.  The tofu omelette is usually fried in a tall stainless steel basket but you can make the omelette any shape you like with egg rings or a muffin pan.  I found my frying basket at Daiso.  The important stuff is the veggies and sticky sweet sauce.

This is a must-order at every Indonesian restaurant.  Served as an appetizer but you’ll find yourself having to resist another serving or you won’t have room for the main course.  And I wouldn’t blame you!  It’s hard to resist!

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Tauhu Telor
(Indonesian Tofu Omelette)
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Ingredients
:: 1/2 block tofu, drain liquids
:: 5 eggs
:: 1 cup beansprouts, blanched
:: Carrots, julienned
:: Cucumber, julienned
:: Crushed peanuts
:: Indonesian kecap manis. ABC Brand . It’s a sticky thick sweet soy sauce. Great for dipping egg rolls and frying rice.
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Instructions
:: In a bowl, beat eggs. Add tofu and mash into medium chunks.
:: Fry omelette as usual, or use egg rings or bake in muffin tin.
:: Top omelette with julienned cucumber and carrots.
:: Garnish with crushed peanuts.
:: Drizzle with sweet sticky caramelizrd soy sauce. And I won’t blame you for over pouring it!
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Enjoy! #nopassportrequired today.


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