Recreate your favorites

8 Oct

Ever since I started cooking 3 years ago, I began eating out less and now I actually prefer my food to that which I get in restaurants.  There are times however when there is a certain restaurant dish that I am craving.  Something that I like to do is challenge myself to see if I can recreate that dish in my own kitchen and make it healthier and of course, more affordable.

Cooking your own food means you have control over what goes in the dish and you know the freshness of the ingredients.  I don’t know about you, but I prefer to know exactly what it is that I’m putting into my body.  I had a craving for some good Mexican food, which I do often, so I came up this dish inspired by restaurants such as Chipotle and Baja Fresh.  My version however is healthier, fresher, more affordable and made with love!  Here is how I created this dish…..

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I started by making the cliantro lime rice:

My favorite thing about their food is the cilantro lime rice they have which is really easy to recreate at home.  I also made it a bit healthier by using brown rice.  After cooking the rice, I added the chopped cilantro, juice of two limes and sea salt.

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Then I added a protein:

In this dish I used tempeh to give that flavor, texture and protein that you would get from ground beef or chicken.  Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans formed into a patty.  The brand that I used from Trader Joes also adds brown rice, barley and millet.  Even though tempeh is made from soy, it tastes completely different than tofu.  It has a hearty texture and slightly nutty flavor which makes it a perfect substitute for meat which is high in protein, containing about 15-20g per serving.

For this recipe I grated the tempeh with a cheese grater to give it the consistency of ground beef.  I sauteed this in a pan with some onion and seasoned it with chili powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt and pepper.  It doesn’t need to be cooked long, just enough to warm it through and let the flavors meld together.

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And of course the veggies!

On top of my rice and tempeh I added some chopped kale, diced tomatoes and sliced avocado.  Topping it with raw veggies makes it more of a cold dish which would be perfect to take to work.  However, sauteed peppers and mushrooms would also be good here.

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Next time your craving a dish from your favorite restaurant, why not challenge yourself to try to recreate it home with a nice glass of wine and some good music instead.

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Bon Appetit!!

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