Life Chef

life chef asata reidAsata Reid started the culinary-education programs of Life Chef to help fill the gap between what you should be eating and the dilemma of how to eat healthfully. Life Chef is making the world a healthier place, one plate at a time.  Join Chef Asata in the delicious, life-affirming revolution where we cook with joy, dine with pleasure and celebrate life!

Here are some recipes, quick, easy and made from easily obtained ingredients. Click here for a printable version of these recipes.

Sesame Mint Fruit Salad

1 cantaloupe melon peeled, seeded and diced

½ honey dew melon, peeled seeded and diced

2 pints strawberries, stemmed and sliced

1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

¼ toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and serve.

Honey Glazed Cabbage

1 head cabbage, sliced, core removed

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp honey

salt and pepper

Heat oil with garlic over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot. Add cabbage and saute until it starts to wilt. Add salt, pepper and paprika and stir well. Stir in honey to coat and serve.

Lemony Rosemary Potatoes

3-4 large white potatoes, scrubbed and diced (skin on)

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 sprig fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried

zest from 1 lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat oil with rosemary over medium high heat.  Add potatoes and onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, cover loosely and continue cooking until potatoes are tender about 5 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in lemon zest prior to serving.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lime & Cilantro

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp lime juice

salt and pepper, to taste

3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or spray with cooking spray. Place cauliflower into a bowl with dry spices, salt and pepper. Drizzle with lime juice and oil, then toss well to coat. Pour cauliflower onto baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and caramelized, stirring once. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

Oven Sweet Potato Wedges

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, each cut into 8-12 wedges

1 Tbsp cooking oil

pinch  salt

¼ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp garlic powder

pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange oven racks so that they occupy the upper half of your oven.  Prepare a sheet pan by coating with a thin layer of oil or cooking spray.  Place wedges in a large bowl, add oil, and toss with your hands to coat thoroughly.  Add the spices and toss again.  Arrange wedges on the sheet pan in a single layer, do not over crowd or they will steam and get soggy instead of getting crispy.  You may have to use multiple pans or cook them in batches.  Place your sheet pan(s) in the upper ⅔ of your oven for ten minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another ten minutes.

Marinated Carrot Salad and Herb Spring Mix

2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

1” piece ginger, peeled grated

1 Tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp evoo

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

10 to 12-oz Spring mix lettuces

½ cup fresh parsley leaves

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

Marinate carrot ribbons with the ginger, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil for about 10 minutes. Arrange lettuce, parsley and mint on a platter, and pour carrots on top of the lettuce herb mixture. Serve immediately.

Pomegranate, Apple, Fennel Slaw

1 head fennel, greens removed, thinly sliced (or celery)

4 apples, thinly sliced (Sweet apples like Gala are preferred)

Areoles (seeds) from 1 pomegranate

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Handful of parsley leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl, toss well and serve.

Rosemary Garlic Black Eyed Peas

½ cup olive oil

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves, mashed

1 15-oz bag frozen, pre-cooked Black Eyed Peas

In a medium sized pan, slowly heat oil, rosemary and garlic over medium-low heat until garlic begins to sizzle and starts to brown.  Turn up the heat and carefully add the black eyed peas.  Continue cooking until peas are tender, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

2 pints fresh cranberries

1 jar of orange marmalade

½ cup of water or orange juice

1-2 cinnamon sticks

2-3 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. When the cranberries start to burst, remove from heat and allow to thicken. As the sauce sits, it will get thicker.

Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes

½ lb diced sweet potatoes

1 cup apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a pot, cover and simmer over medium heat until sweet potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), and the cider has reduced to a bit of a glaze.

Spinach Salad with Lemon, Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

15 oz spinach

1 lemon

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 oz of feta or chevre cheese

salt and black pepper to taste

3 Tbsp pine nuts (toasted), or other toasted nuts like pecans or walnuts

Place spinach in a large bowl, sprinkle with juice from ½ lemon, 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts and dot with goat cheese by using a spoon.

Cheddar Corn Cakes

2 cups Arrowhead Mills cornbread mix

2 Tbsp olive oil

1¼ cup water

6-oz shredded cheddar cheese

2 scallions, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all liquid ingredients, add cornmeal mix, stir until blended.  Heat a griddle to medium-high and coat lightly with oil.  Using a spoon, drop quarter sized rounds onto the griddle.  Cook until batter is set, then flip each cake and finish cooking about 3 more minutes. Serve warm.

Harvest Kale Salad

1 10-oz bag Spring Mix

10-oz kale, thinly sliced

2 apples, sliced

2 pears, sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp raspberry preserves

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt/pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the raspberry preserves and the rice vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper then whisk in olive oil until emulsified.

For the salad combine all of the other ingredients and toss.  Drizzle a little dressing over the salad, toss and serve immediately.

Spiced Greens

2 lbs of mixed greens such as kale, collards, chard, mustards, turnips

2 quarts vegetable stock

2 cinnamon sticks

1 2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cardamom

pinch of ground cloves

pinch cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Combine stock and spices and bring to a simmer. Stir in the greens, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the greens are bright green and tender.

Grilled Eggplant Salad

1 large or 2 medium eggplant

3-4 medium tomatoes

½ cup (packed) sliced fresh basil, or basil/parsley combo

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp good quality olive oil, divided

salt and freshly ground black pepper

pinch crushed red pepper

Slice eggplant into 1 inch rounds, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and grill on medium-high heat for 3 minutes, flip and finish cooking for another 3-5 minutes, or until tender (not mushy).  Remove from grill, allow to cool slightly, then cut into medium sized cubes.  Meanwhile cut tomatoes into medium dice and combine in a bowl with basil, balsamic vinegar.  Add cut eggplant, season with salt and peppers and toss.  Serve immediately.

Wild Rice with Dried Cherries

4 cups cooked Wild rice

1 leek

1 cup dried cherries

½ pecan pieces

2 ribs celery

2 tsp garam masala

1 bunch parsley, chopped

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the celery and leek and sweat until tender. Stir in the cherries and sprinkle with garam masala, then add the rice. Season with salt and pepper, and when everything is warmed through, stir in the parsley and serve.

Tomato Peach Salad

1 large tomato, diced

1 peach, diced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced

1 scallion (green only), sliced (Plant the whites, and the scallions will grow!)

2 tsp. rice wine vinegar or lemon juice

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

wee pinch of salt

¼ cup of goat cheese (optional)

Combine the ingredients, except the goat cheese, in a bowl and toss well. Top with crumbled goat cheese, garnish with basil sprig and serve.

Orange Scented Pan Roasted Beets

6 beets, peeled and cut into wedges

1½ cups orange juice

zest from 2 oranges

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

pinch cayenne pepper

½ cup maple syrup

pinch sea salt and black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel pot and bring to simmer.  Cover loosely and allow to cook.  The liquid will evaporate and the beets will become tender.  Serve beets in a bowl with reduced syrup and garnish with orange zest.

Herbed New Potatoes with Leeks

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, whites only, rinsed and thinly sliced

2 clove garlic, minced

1 lb new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges

1 tsp smoked paprika

handful of parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves

salt and pepper to taste

water as needed

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Saute the leeks until tender then add garlic and potatoes.  Stir well and cover.  Continue cooking about 4-5 minutes, then stir in the oregano and smoked paprika.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring once.  If potatoes are sticking to the pan, add 2 Tbsp of water and cover, cook for another minute, then stir by scraping up the browned bits.  Stir in fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Rosemary Turkey Burgers with Gouda Cheese

makes 3-4 4” patties

1 lb ground turkey

½ Tbsp dried rosemary

½ Tbsp dried onion

½ tsp ground garlic

½ tsp black pepper

salt to preference

4 slices smoked gouda, thick cut

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cucumbers, thinly sliced (peeled optional)

lettuce leaves

4 Portuguese water rolls, kaiser buns, or other soft hamburger buns sliced in half horizontally

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.  Form into 4” patties and set aside.  Continue with the burgers by heating a skillet over medium high heat.  Have a foil lined sheet pan on stand-by.  Place 3 patties in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes, flip and cook for three more minutes, then transfer to the sheet pan.  Continue until all the patties are browned on both sides, then place the sheet pan with the burgers into the hot oven on the lowest rack.  Cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the burgers are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear.  Remove the burger pan from the oven and immediately top each burger with a slice of cheese.  Return to the oven for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, also add the buns so they can quickly warm up.

To make the burgers, add lettuce leaves and one patty to each bottom bun, top with radishes and cucumbers and the bun tops.