Simple But Very Filling Breakfast

If you’re trying to lose weight and/or want to eat something simple and yummy that will keep you from feeling hungry for a long time, then the recipe below is one of my favorites.

Ingredients

  • Banana Nut Crunch Cereal (2 cups) – available at Target
  • Kirkland Ancient Grains Granola (1 cup) – available at Costco
  • Blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • Chopped walnuts (1/4 cup) (if you want more walnuts than what’s included in Banana Nut Crunch)
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk (2 cups)

Instructions

Combine everything, wait 5 minutes for ingredients to soften from the milk, eat.

Quick and Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

There are many stir fry vegetables recipes online but they seem more complicated than they need to be (unless I’m just not picky enough about how stir fry vegetables is supposed to taste). The main thing the be concerned with is sodium / salt. You typically add soy sauce to the vegetables but unless you get low sodium soy sauce, the sauce will be already salty so you don’t need to add salt to the vegetables.

For the ingredients, all you need is a stir fry vegetable blend (I get mine from Costco) and soy sauce.

I sometimes add chicken to if I want to add protein.

To make the dish look colorful, I like to add one red bell pepper chopped into bite-size pieces.

You don’t need to defrost the vegetables. Just get a wok, put in some olive oil, wait a bit for the wok to heat up, throw on some frozen veggies, and toss periodically.

Once the veggies are soft, pour on some soy sauce and toss periodically again. the picture below shows it with chicken. If you want a darker look, add dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is less salty than regular soy sauce. After a while, give it a taste to see if it needs more soy sauce or not. If not, you’re done.

The soy sauce is only 15 calories / tbsp.

UPDATE: I tried some other recipes that call for a mix of various sauces and I think it did taste better BUT it come with a lot more calories to the all the sugar in Hoisin sauce. If you don’t care about calories, then try this recipe for the sauce instead:

  • 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce (90 calories)
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black vinegar splash of toasted sesame oil

If you do care about calories, omit the Hoisin sauce.

Beef Instead of Chicken

If you prefer beef, you can add precooked, pre-sliced beef sirloin (available at Costco).

Or, to get more for your money, you can buy pre-marinated tri-top (available at Costco).

I tried this out and it came out great. Just preheat an over to 375 (convection bake), stick in a thermometer and set the target temperature to 135. When it’s done, your oven will (should) beep. Take it out and leave for 10 minutes.

Then just add to your veggies.

Fire-Roasted Vegetables

Costco also sells frozen fire-roasted vegetables as well.

This was good but the vegetables were smaller and I didn’t care for some of the vegetables. Nevertheless, it was still very good. In the pic below, I added yellow bell pepper.

KETO UPDATE

If you are on the Keto diet and want to limit carb intake, then here’s a modification of the recipe above.

For the vegetables, use Kirkland Normandy vegetables.

Since this vegetable medley isn’t carb free, you can mix it with Shirataki / Konjac rice (0 net carbs) or riced cauliflower (low carbs) to add bulk to your meal.

For the soy sauce, all you need is Lee Kum Kee Supreme Soy Sauce. It’s got 0 carbs.

For protein, I prefer pre-grilled chicken breast from Costco.

Below is a picture with riced cauliflower.

To simplify cooking, mix the frozen vegetables and refrigerated chicken breast in a covered microwaveable bowl (leaving a small opening in the cover) and heat for 4 minutes. Then transfer to a pan and cook with olive oil. When almost done, add the soy sauce.

Quick and Yummy Pasta Recipe

1. Add water to a pot and bring to boil

Add salt to water to taste

2. Put pasta in a bowl

I prefer angel hair pasta. Since it’s long, break it into 3.

WARNING: Pasta will grow like crazy when cooked. Put half or a third of the raw pasta amount.

3. Cook the pasta

Put the pasta in the pot and cook till it reaches your desired hardness

4. Prepare meatballs

For convenience and speed, just buy pre-cooked, frozen meatballs. Then, heat them up in a microwave on high for 4 minutes.

5. Prepare pasta sauce

For convenience and speed, just buy premade pasta sauce. Rao’s marinara sauce is particularly good and available at Costco. Pour an adequate amount over the cooked meatballs.

then heat in a microwave for 2 minutes.

6. Strain pasta

When pasta is cooked, strain it and put it back into the pot.

7. Mix sauce, meatballs and pasta

Pour the sauce and meatballs into the pot of pasta and mix.

8. Serve and enjoy

Optionally top with grated parmesan cheese

Best Baklava

Though you can find baklava all over the world including in the US and the Middle East, I find that the best baklava is Turkish baklava. This should come as no surprise as you will find baklava shops on almost every street in Istanbul and probably all over Turkey. Since a main ingredient in baklava is pistachio, and the center of pistachio cultivation in Turkey is in the city of Gaziantep, some consider Gaziantep baklava to be the best. In 2013, Gaziantep baklava became the first Turkish product with a European protected designation of origin and geographical indication.

According to the Lonely Planet guide book on Istanbul, following are some of the best baklava shops there.

  • Karaköy Güllüoğlu
    Karaköy, Rıhtım Cad. Katlı Otopark Altı No: 3-4 Istanbul / Turkey T: +90 212 293 09 10 
  • Köşkeroğlu Restaurant
    Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Mumhane Caddesi, No 2/D, Beyoğlu, Istanbul – Tel: 0212 245 35 14
  • Kaşıbeyaz Baklava
    Nispetiye Mahallesi, Aytar Caddesi, No 31/C, Beşiktaş, İstanbul – Tel: 0212 281 10 50
  • Emiroğlu Baklavacısı
    Murat Reis Mahallesi, Nuh Kuyusu Caddesi, No 289/A, Üsküdar, İstanbul – Tel: 0216 334 58 26
  • Hacı Bozan Oğulları
    Bahçelievler Mahallesi, İzzettin Çalışlar Caddesi, No 13, Bahçelievler, Istanbul – Tel: 0212 575 49 49
  • Gaziantep Baklavacısı
    Küçükyalı Merkez Merkez Mahallesi, Rüştü Sarp Caddesi, No 25/A, Maltepe, Istanbul – Tel: 0216 417 71 20
  • Gaziantepli Altınoğlu Baklavaları
    Kadirga Liman Cad. 17, 34450 Istanbul, Turkey

I have personally tried Emiroğlu baklava and can confirm that it is one of the best. It’s got just the right amount of moisture unlike some other baklava which are too dry or wet.

One baklava shop you will most likely see in Istanbul is Hakkizade Hafiz Mustafa 1864. Their baklava is good but a bit too dry for my taste. Emiroglu is better.

Some particularly good types of baklava are:

Baklava with Pistachio

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Pistachio, Milk, Starch, Egg, Salt, Semolina, Water, Lemon juice.

Carrot Slice Baklava with Cream and Ice Cream

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Pistachio, Milk, Starch, Egg, Salt, Semolina, Water, Lemon juice.

Nuriye with Milk

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Hazelnut, Milk, Starch, Egg, Semolina, Salt, Water, Lemon juice

Şöbiyet

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Pistachio, Milk, Starch, Egg, Semolina, Salt, Water, Lemon juice,

Creamy Baklava

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Milk, Starch, Egg, Salt, Semolina, Water, Lemon juice

Baklava with Walnuts

Ingredients: Flour, Butter, Sugar, Walnut, Starch, Egg, Salt, Water, Lemon juice

Beef Stew in a Pressure Cooker Recipe

So, I tried making this traditional beef stew in a Crock-Pot pressure cooker and it came out so good that I had to post the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.75 lbs stewing beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (prepackaged wet or dry)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped thyme (dried is easier if available)
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups diced carrots (frozen is easier if available)
  • 1 cup diced onions (frozen is easier if available)
  • 1.5 cups quartered baby red potatoes (prewashed is easier if available)
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (if not available, substitute with regular onion)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives (dried is easier if available)

Directions

  1. Press BROWN/SEAR, set temperature to HIGH, and then press START/STOP. Allow multi-cooker to preheat.
  2. Add oil to cooking pot.
  3. Toss beef with salt and pepper and add to cooking pot.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until well browned.
  5. Add
    • garlic
    • thyme
    • tomato paste
  6. Stir for 1 minute
  7. Add
    • carrots
    • chopped onions
    • potatoes
    • pearl onions
    • broth
    • bay leaves
  1. Stir and bring to boil
  2. Press Start / Stop to stop all functions
  3. Secure the lid
  4. Press MEAT / STEW
  5. Set pressure to HIGH
  6. Set timer for 35 minutes
  7. Close Steam Release valve
  8. Press START / STOP to star the pressure cooking
  9. When cooking is done, add
    1. peas
    2. chives

10. Remove bay leaves and enjoy!

Yummy Coffee Recipe

This is the recipe to make Yummy Coffee. I call it Yummy Coffee because it’s yummy.

Ingredients

  • Nespresso
    • Variations Italia Amaretti Flavor – Limited Edition
    • Forest Almond Flavor – Limited Edition
  • 1/4 tsp Erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Little bit of whole milk

Instructions

  1. Make espresso using the Variations Italia Amaretti capsule
  2. Froth a little bit of milk in a milk frother
  3. Pour milk + froth into espresso
  4. Add Erythritol and cinnamon
  5. Stir and enjoy

Some Ninja Foodi Grill Recipes

Steak

Follow this recipe or the simpler recipe below.

Ingredients

  • NY steak from Costco
  • Canola oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Push Grill button
  2. Set doneness to “Medium Rare”
  3. While unit is preheating, pat steaks with paper towel to remove oils, rub canola oil over steaks and sprinkle on salt and pepper
  4. Insert thermometer from the side into thickest part of steak
  5. When unit beeps, add the steaks
  6. When unit beeps again, flip steaks
  7. When unit beeps again, remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Legs

Ingredients

  • Chicken legs or breast
  • Kinders Mild BBQ Sauce
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Push Grill button
  2. Set temperature to “MED”
  3. Set time to 25 minutes
  4. While unit is preheating, rub canola oil over chicken and sprinkle on salt and pepper
  5. When unit beeps, add chicken and set timer for 10 minutes
  6. After 10 minutes, flip chicken and set timer for 5 minutes
  7. After 5 minutes, liberally baste both sides of chicken with bbq sauce then set timer for 5 minutes
  8. After 5 minutes, repeat previous step and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. If internal temperature is below 160 F, keep cooking until it reaches 160 F.
  10. When internal temperature reaches 160 F, remove chicken and let rest for 5 minutes

Air Fried Chicken Legs

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken legs
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a large zip top bag and shake to mix well.
  2. Massage oil on each chicken leg
  3. Add all chicken to bag and shake until all chicken is coated
  4. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The longer the better. Overnight is best!
  5. Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes at 380 degrees (F). Add chicken to air fryer and use “air fry” setting at 380 degrees (F) for 18-20 minutes, turning chicken halfway through. Internal temperature of chicken should be at least 165 degrees (F).

Grilled Corn

Follow this recipe.

Grilled Vegetables

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes (from Costco)
  • Onions
  • Bell pepper
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Tomatillo peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Baby corn
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper

To save time, you can also buy prepackaged cut vegetables

Instructions

  1. Cut vegetables in half or in slices.
  2. Remove spicy seeds from peppers.
  3. Spray olive oil over vegetables
  4. Sprinkle coarse salt and pepper.
  5. Turn on Ninja grill
  6. Push grill button
  7. Push right up/down to set the time to 8 minutes
  8. Put veggies in grill
  9. The grill will beep when done.

French Fries

Crinkle-cut fries and hummus

Turns out baking french fries in the Ninja Foodi produces good results.

Ingredients

  • Frozen pre-cut french fries (I like the crinkle cut fries from Smart n Final)
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Push the Air Crisp button and allow unit to preheat
  2. For 1 lb of fries, set the temperature to 350 F and time to 20 minutes
  3. For 2 lbs of fries, set the temperature to 360 F and time to 27minutes
  4. Spray olive oil over fries and sprinkle with salt and pepper

As a healthier alternative to ketchup, eat fries with hummus.

Grilled Corn Using Ninja Foodi Grill

So, I tried making grilled corn using the Ninja Foodi Grill and surprisingly, it came out really good!

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

  • Corn ears (make sure the kernels are big so you’ve got some meat to bite in to)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Canola oil
  • Butter

Instructions

  1. Remove the husk (outer layers of the corn)
  2. Massage the kernels with canola oil
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper
  4. Turn on Ninja Foodi Grill, click Grill button to Max setting, set time to 12 minutes, let preheat, wait till it says “Add food”, then put in the corn
  5. Set a timer for 6 minutes then turn the corn over
  6. When done, massage butter over the corn or melt butter in the microwave and baste the corn with the liquid butter

Shakshouka / Menemen Recipe

Moroccan Shakshouka and Turkish Menemen are very similar. Here’s my version of these dishes.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 8oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (Target / FoodMaxx)
  • 2/3 cup frozen diced onions (Smart n Final)
  • 1//4 cup cilantro for garnish
  • 2 tbsp wet minced garlic
  • 10 tbsp olive oil
  • Smoked paprika (not regular paprika)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • Pita bread

Instructions

  1. Pour olive oil in medium 10″ pan on medium-high heat
  2. Fry onions and garlic until slight brown
  3. Pour in diced tomatoes and sprinkle in smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste (optionally, add tomato paste)
  4. When mixture is not too runny, make 3 deep dimples in the pan and crack each egg into them
  5. Cover and poach on low heat until egg white changes from translucent to white. Turn off heat so that egg yolk is still runny.
  6. Garnish with cilantro
  7. Cut some pita bread in quarters and warm for 15 seconds in microwave
  8. Eat
Fry diced tomatoes and garlic in olive oil
Cook fire-roasted tomatoes with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and optionally tomato paste
Make dimple in mixture
Crack eggs into dimples without breaking yolk
Cover and poach eggs on low heat until egg whites are white, not transparent
Like this
Garnish with cilantro and warm up pita quarters
Eat directly from pan

Steak Recipe Using Ninja Foodi Smart Grill

So, I just got the Ninja Foodi Smart Indoor Grill which doubles as an air fryer and mini oven. I have another cheaper indoor grill but tends to produce smoke and always trigger my smoke sensor. So far, though the Ninja grill is larger, it hasn’t emitted any smoke nor trigger my smoke sensor and produces better grill results.

Here’s how to make steak using it.

Ingredients for Marinade

  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (wet or dry)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes

Preparation

Get your steak (minimum 1″ thick and preferably from Costco). Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour into a large ziploc bag. Put steak in bag, turn a few times and let marinate for 1 to 8 hours.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Insert thermometer into middle of side of steak such that the tip is at the center of the thickest part.
  2. Turn on Ninja grill by pushing the grill button.
  3. Click the left up/down arrows to choose a doneness level. I like medium rare.
  4. Push the thermometer / preset button to start preheat phase
  5. When preheating is done, it will beep and tell you do insert the steak. Do so.
  6. Some time later, it will beep and tell you to flip the steak. Do so, preferably using silicone-tipped tongs.
  7. Some time later, it will be and tell you to get the steak out. Do so and wait 5 minutes before enjoying.

Grill Vegetables (optional)

To complement the steak, you can grill some vegetables in the Ninja grill also. Here are the veggies that grill well.

  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell pepper
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Tomatillo peppers
  • Corn

Instructions

  1. Cut vegetable in half or in slices.
  2. Remove spicy seeds from peppers.
  3. Slather with / baste in oil.
  4. Sprinkle coarse salt and pepper.
  5. Turn on Ninja grill
  6. Push grill button
  7. Push right up/down to set the time to 6 minutes
  8. Push thermometer / preset button twice to skip preheating
  9. Put veggies in grill
  10. The grill will beep when done.