Upcoming Posts!

I’ve started a new weight-loss journey, so I’m going to be revisiting recipes and retooling them to be lower in fat and, whenever possible, healthier!

Coming up soon will be a Chicken Jalapeno Popper dip/casserole, as well as a Mexican Stuffed Shells dish. I sense a Mediterranean style salad in the near future as well, so 2024 will be off to a good start.

Right now, I’m still battling a sinus infection, so my on-line time is limited, gentle readers. I hope to see you soon!. – Jonathan Everyday


Pan Sautéed Asian “Pillows”

Having the fortune of cooking in a larger kitchen than I’ve been blessed with in my own house, I decided to go on a variation of the Ravioli recipe for something with a Far East flair. These are delightful morsels that are akin to potstickers

For Pasta Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten
For Filling:
1 lb fresh ground lean pork
2 tbsp minced ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 medium onion, finely minced
1 tsp Wasabi powder
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
2 tbsp sesame oil (divided)

To make the dough, place the flour, salt, and olive oil in a food processor and pulse four times to combine. Add the beaten eggs and process until the mixture holds together, forming a mass. Be sure not to over process the dough, or you will activate the gluten in the flour and your pasta will be tough and chewy. Remove the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a larger fry pan, brown the ground pork, onion, garlic, ginger, wasabi, cayenne and black pepper in 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tbsp olive oil. Drain off excess fat and add soy sauce. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and allow to cook for 2 minutes to infuse flavours. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Divide dough into two pieces of equal size. If you have a pasta roller, process until the dough is very thin; otherwise, roll it by hand until the dough is about 1/8″ thick. (On a pasta roller, this equates to about setting “5″). Brush 1 sheet of dough lightly with water, then place the filling, by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart, in rows. Cover with a second sheet of pasta, and press down gently, so that you can easily discern where the filling is located. Cut around the mounds of filling with a fluted round pastry cutter (or biscuit cutter). Ensure all the edges are well sealed to secure the filling.

Take a large skillet and heat remaining tbsps of Sesame and Olive oil. Sauté ‘pillow’ until lightly browned on each side. Serve with a green salad.

N.B. – If you don’t want to go through the effort of making your own dough, store bought egg roll wrappers make an excellent substitute.

Serves: 4.


Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry

Serve this with brown rice and steamed broccoli for a complete, lower-fat and lower-sodium alternative to Chinese take-away.

1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 scallions, sliced into 1/4″ (whites) to 1/2″ (greens) pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced (or run over a microplane)
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 six ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (or cubed tofu)

In a wok or large skillet, heat olive oil and butter until shimmery. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat until oil and butter exude the surface of the mushrooms and they take on a medium brown colour. Sprinkle with sea salt, toss to combine and remove to a bowl to hold.

Without wiping the pan, add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add in chicken and stir to combine. Cook chicken 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink. Add soy sauce and scallions, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the green part of the scallions have wilted. Add reserved mushrooms back to the wok or skillet and combine to heat through.

Serves: 4.


The Wannabe Gourmet’s Chicken Salad

There’s hundreds of variations of chicken salad recipes. This is my go-to.

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, baked and shredded
4 large eggs, boiled and diced
2 large white onions, diced
2 tbsp celery seed
4 tbsp dill pickle relish
2 cups low fat mayonnaise

Of course, you may feel free to adjust the ingredients, but once you have collected them all, simply put them in a bowl and using a large spoon, fold everything together, making sure you don’t make mush out of the chicken breasts.

Serve on toast, with crackers, as sandwiches, or even corn chips.

As a variation, you can add 1 package of Ranch style dressing/dip powder to the combination.


I Feel The Magic…

It’s been a while since we’ve engaged in a meaningful chat, dear readers of The Wannabe Gourmet. Pull up a chair and I’ll pour a cup of coffee for you.

Most people find Autumn/Winter to be a time for descent/death and spring to be a time for Rebirth. While I feel that way, too, I also see beauty in the rebirth brought during the Autumn/Winter timeframe, when the slate is proverbially “wiped clean,” giving us the ability to create, to find ourselves again.

Since I started this website in October 2008, there have been many ups and downs in my life. Sometimes the gardens have blossomed in beauty and life has been better than I could ever imagine. Other times, the weeds took over and an occasional tornado has blown it all away. I’ve been catfished, I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced. I’ve gone through hades in employment, but kept on travelling and, after a period of almost 17 years outlasted a supervisor whose sole intent it was to either terminate me or make it so I’d resign. I’ve had health issues culminating in a heart attack due to stress. Through it all, however, has remained the desire I have of assisting others in learning there’s more to life than just take-away food and UberEATS.

We’re at the start of a New Beginning for The Wannabe Gourmet. To be pendantic, I, Jonathan Everyday, am looking forward to this continued journey. My love for photography and cooking has never waned…though it had been severely curtailed due to circumstances. The kitchen should never be a place that scares you. So you have a dish that doesn’t turn out the way you’d like…. we’ve all had that. The important thing is that you learn from your experiences. Grow from life. Move beyond what didn’t work…into what allows you to shine. Maybe you’re not meant to be able to make beautiful desserts. Maybe main courses just aren’t your thing. Maybe…just maybe…you’re like me and can’t cook in small amounts. (The solution to that is simple: either get a freezer, or feed your friends and extended family!)

Join me in the voyage to new beginnings. Feel the sparkle. Embrace the magic!

Photo © 2022 L. B. Siegfried, Richmond, VA