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By learning about basic ingredients and how to use them, you can create simple, quick and delicious meals your family will love!!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Salsa Verde Chicken Salad

We grow our own green chilies and use them to make homemade "chili sauce". Green chilies, a little vinegar, and salt and pepper make a delicious, but simple chili sauce. I recently found a new product called Salsa Verde from Pace. Made with tomatillos and jalapenos, this sauce adds a tasty kick to chicken salad. (Even better, this salsa packs a lot of flavor with only 15 calories in 2 tablespoons.) Serve with Fruit Kabobs.

6 (4 oz) Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced into small bite-sized pieces
4 Eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1/4 cup Salsa Verde ( I love the Pace brand)
1/4 cup Light Miracle Whip (can also use fat-free or regular)
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and adjust salt and pepper to taste. You might like to add more salsa for more spice. Spoon onto whole wheat buns for a light and tasty dinner.

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

1 pound Beef Boneless Sirloin or Round Steak, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash White Pepper
1 pound Broccoli, cut into flowerets (about 4 cups)
1 tsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/4 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 tsp Vegetable Oil
6 cloves Garlic, pressed
1 tsp Ginger Root, finely chopped
1 (8 oz) can Sliced Bamboo Shoots, drained

Toss beef with salt and pepper, and a dash of white pepper.

Heat a little over an inch of water in a saucepan and place broccoli in the boiling water; heat to boiling. Cover and cook 2 minutes to blanch the broccoli. The broccoli should be bright green. Immediately rinse with cold water; drain and set aside.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix cornstarch and soy sauce, then stir in sesame oil and broth.

In a wok or skillet, heat your oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger root and stir for a few seconds. Quickly add bamboo shoots, then stir in the beef and broccoli and cook until beef is done.

Last, add the cornstarch mixture; cooking and stirring for about 30 seconds or until thickened.  Serve on top of brown or white rice or noodles.

This is a really great wok. Easy to use and easy to clean up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grilled Tuna Salad Nicoise


When you were little and your parents told you fish was brain food, they were right! Recent studies show that people who eat fish at least once a week have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.  This is a delicious high-protein meal packed with healthy veggies and a light dressing.

1 lb fresh Tuna Steaks, cut 1 inch thick
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1⁄3 cup White Wine Vinegar
2 TB Drained Capers
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Dijon-Style Mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 lb Small Red Potatoes
8 oz Green Beans, trimmed
1/2 cup Red Onion, cut into wedges (1 medium onion)
2 small heads Boston or Bibb (butter) lettuce, rinsed and cored
8 Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
3 Hard-Booked organic eggs
1/3 cup Ni├žoise Olives or Pitted Kalamata Olives

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Set fish aside.

Prepare Caper Vinaigrette: In a screw-top jar combine olive oil, vinegar, drained capers, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Remove 1⁄3 cup to use as marinade. Cover remaining vinaigrette and set aside.

Place fish in a shallow dish; drizzle with the 1⁄3 cup vinaigrette. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, peel a strip around the center of each potato; place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add green beans; simmer, covered, about 5 minutes more or until potatoes and beans are tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Set aside.

Drain fish, reserving marinade. For a charcoal grill, grill fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, carefully turning and brushing with marinade halfway through grilling. If desired, place onion wedges and cooked potatoes on grill for the last half of grill time. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.) Discard any remaining marinade.

Using 2 forks, flake the tuna into pieces. Cut eggs into halves. Line a serving platter or individual plates with lettuce leaves. Arrange fish, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, onion, eggs and olives on lettuce. Drizzle with remaining Caper Vinaigrette.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Shake

15 oz  Canned Pumpkin - 1 can (not pie mix)
1/4 cup  Raw Cashews
1/4 cup  Low-Fat Milk, (or Vanilla Soy Milk)
2 TB  Maple Syrup
1/4 cup  Chai Tea Concentrate
2 TB  Milk Creamer (or Soy)
2  Dashes Cinnamon
2  Dashes Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
1 1/2 cups ice (or for a treat, coconut water ice cubes)
Optional: 1/2  Frozen Banana, Pinch of Flax Seed Oil/Meal for added nutrition

Add all your ingredients, except the ice, to the blender.

Blend on high until smooth. The pumpkin will make this smoothie thick, so be patient while blending. Add a bit more milk if needed.

Keep blending and slowly add in the ice. Make sure it blends icy-smooth! Again, if you need to add a bit more liquid, do it gradually. You can always do a taste test before pouring and modify as needed to suit your own tastes.

If desired, for extra flavor and nutrition, add a few extra cashews.  Pour into glasses, and sprinkle with cinnamon on top. Makes 2 - 3 servings.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Many people only use Pumpkin in the fall months and they are missing out on a delicious and healthy treat. Pumpkin can be used in smoothies, breads, soups or these yummy pancakes. While very low in calories, Pumpkin is rich in potassium, magnesium and iron plus the antioxidant beta-carotene.
1 1/2 cups  Milk
1 cup  Pumpkin Puree
1 Egg
2 TB  Vegetable Oil
2 cups  Flour
3 TB  Brown Sugar
2 tsp  Baking Powder
1 tsp  Baking Soda
1 tsp  Ground Allspice
1 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp  Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp  Salt
Oil, as needed, for grilling pancakes

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, and oil. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a separate bowl. Then stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.


Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve with warm maple syrup.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creole Salmon Patties with Fresh Salmon

This is another delicious recipe for salmon patties, but it is made using fresh salmon instead of canned.

2 cups Fresh Salmon, flaked, skin and bones removed
1 cup Saltine Cracker Crumbs
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 -2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
1/4 cup Milk

Canola Oil for frying

Begin with the flaked salmon in a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients through the Old Bay, putting the milk in last. You want the mixture to be moist as it needs to be a little sticky to form the patties. You can add a splash more milk, if needed. (Do not let the mixture get runny.)  Form mixture into hamburger-sized patties and sprinkle each side of the patties with Old Bay Seasoning, then place the patties on a plate.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Heat briefly, and then add the patties to the pan. Brown about 3 minutes on each side, until golden. (Note: Only flip the patties once during cooking.) Serve immediately with cocktail sauce or a light lemon-dill sauce.

Makes about 5 patties.  Leftovers make great sandwiches!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Low Country Shrimp Boil

Low-Country Boil? Frogmore Stew? Beaufort Stew? Shrimp Boil? The name given to this delicious meal will likely depend on your region, as each area of the country has its own name for this combination meal of seafood, potatoes, corn on the cob and kielbasa.  Regardless of the name you are most familiar with, this hearty meal is a family favorite, and nothing tastes more like summer than a huge pot of boiling seafood.  As a bonus, since this is a fairly messy meal, the kids seem to love it even more.

The main ingredients are adjustable according to your personal preferences. Add a little more shrimp or a little less crab or kielbasa, just add each ingredient to the pot in the same order, so all of the foods are cooked through, and finish cooking at the same time.

This recipe serves 10-12 adults.  Serve with lemon wedges, lots of napkins and a big bowl in the middle of the table so everyone can discard the empty shells.  Enjoy!!

 
 
 

Old Bay Seasoning, to taste ( we use approx. 1/3 cup for a large pot)
1 Whole Lemon
1 TB Tabasco Hot Sauce, more or less to taste
3 - 4 pounds small Red Potatoes, scrubbed, cut in half
3 (16 ounce) packages cooked Kielbasa, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 - 10 ears Fresh Corn, husks and silks removed, ears cut in half
5 pounds King Crab Legs, broken pieces work best (can substitute Snow Crabs, just use what is in season)
5 pounds fresh Shrimp, deveined, peeled or unpeeled

Heat a very large pot of water using an outdoor turkey pot, or over medium-high heat indoors. Add Old Bay and Tabasco to the pot, then squeeze the lemon juice into the pot and then place the whole lemon in the pot and bring to a boil.

Add potatoes and sausage, cook for about 10 minutes. Add the corn and crab; cook for another 5 minutes, then add the shrimp when everything else is almost done, and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.

Drain off the water and pour the contants into large servings bowls. Be sure to have 2 -3 large empty bowls on the table to discard crab and shrimp shells. Serve with ice cold beer and lots of napkins.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tarragon Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs are an American favorite for any picnic. There are an endless array of recipes for these tasty little appetizers from basic to fancy and mild to spicy. Try Firecracker Deviled Eggs, Deviled Eggs with Pepper & Horseradish, or Pesto Deviled Eggs for a new twist.

This recipe uses French Tarragon, a delicate herb which has a slightly anise-type flavor. You might also find Russian Tarragon plants which have a more mild flavor.  Many grocery stores now carry fresh herbs in the produce section.
 
Tarragon Deviled Eggs and Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs
 
6-8 Large Eggs (I like the eggs generously filled, so I usually boil one or two extra for extra yolks)
1 tsp finely minced fresh Tarragon, plus a bit more for garnish
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
3 TB Mayonnaise (regular or low - fat)
2 tsp Dijon Mustard

While eggs are cooling, blend together the tarragon and vinegar. Mix in mayo and Dijon mustard, and let this mixture sit while the eggs are cooling.

When eggs are fully cooled, carefully cut in half lengthwise and remove yolks to a bowl. Mash yolks well with a fork, then mix in tarragon/mustard/mayo mixture. You can fill the eggs with a spoon, or put the mixture in a plastic bag, cut off one small corner, and squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Garnish finished eggs with chopped fresh tarragon, if desired.