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September 26, 2010

Mediterranean Clam Chowder

I call this Mediterranean Clam Chowder to escape the scrutiny given clam chowder with tomatoes. According to some, adding tomatoes to clam chowder was frowned upon to the point that the Maine legislature introduced a bill in 1939 making tomatoes in clam chowder illegal. I am so glad that today we can eat clam chowder with tomatoes because this recipe is yummy.

Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1:15

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced in 3/4" cubes
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano,chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 – 16 ounce can diced tomatoes, Italian style (with basil)
  • 4 dozen clams
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil then add the bacon and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the leeks and sweat them for 2 more minutes. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic and when fragrant, add the thyme and oregano. Pour in the stock and cook for approximately 30 minutes.

    While the stock is simmering, place the clams in a large pot, add 1/2 cup water, and cover tightly. Steam over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes and transfer the opened clams to a bowl. Discard any clams that do not open. Remove about half of the clams from the shells and set aside.

    Add the tomatoes to the soup and simmer for 15 more minutes. Stir in the shucked clams, salt and pepper to taste.

    Terri’s Tips

  • Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with the clams in their shells and additional thyme sprigs
  • Add the clam cooking water to the stew for additional flavor
  • If tomatoes are in season use fresh, otherwise use canned

    Posted by terri at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Mom's cornbread dressing

    Did your mom ever make something that just couldn't be matched? Well this is that recipe. I've watched her make it at least 45 times and her's still turns out better. Wonder why that is :o).

    Serves 12-14
    Prep time: 12 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups crumbled corn bread, see recipe.
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth, more if needed
  • Salt and pepper

    Instructions:

    Place the cornbread and croutons in a large bowl.

    In a large pan, melt the butter and sauté on medium heat the onion and celery until softened.

    Add the garlic and herbs. Heat for 3 more minutes.

    Add the onion mixture to the cornbread mixture.

    Moisten with the chicken broth, use more chicken broth if needed.

    Season with salt and pepper.

    The dressing should be very moist about like dough.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Stuff turkey, roasting chicken, pork crown roast or chops with dressing and cook until meat thermometer reads appropriate degree of doneness.
  • See chart for internal temperature for meats.
  • Make this recipe your own, for example add one pound cooked sausage or 1 cup fresh cranberries and ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, or use ¾ cup dried cranberries. Try adding 1 large tart apple, peeled, sliced and diced with the sausage. Be bold add apples, sausage, cranberries and walnuts.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Save (hide) a little left over dressing for yourself for the next day

    Posted by terri at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

    Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

    In case you haven't noticed, my recipes are all about making them your own. Try this recipe for basic cornbread and make it your own by adding a variety of ingredients.

    Serves 10
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 35 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 400°. Put butter or oil into a 9-inch cast iron skillet and melt in oven.

    In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Combine the cornmeal and the buttermilk mixture and stir until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared skillet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Make a well in center of cornmeal mixture and add buttermilk, whisk in eggs, and melted butter. This save washing that extra bowl
  • Make it your own by adding 1/3 cup canned whole kernel corn, ½ cup sautéed onions and green peppers or use a jalapeno for heat, some call this Mexican cornbread
  • Looking for an easy recipe? Pour cornbread batter over 1 pound cooked ground beef and 1 can chili beans and top with cheddar cheese. Use the Mexican cornbread recipe.
  • This basic recipe is the cornbread used for my mom's cornbread dressing.

    Posted by terri at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

    Ginger Pumpkin Bisque

    This soup is like eating warm pumpkin pie with a spoon. Try the great garnishing ideas and suggestions for adding a zesty twist.

    Serves 10
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 50 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup shallots, chopped
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh gingerroot, grated
  • 1 tablespoons walnut oil +1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetables) broth
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1- 16 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon,
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thymethyme, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Crème fraiche to garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated to garnish
  • Additional sprigs of thyme to garnish

    Instructions:

    In a 3 quart saucepan cook shallots, onions, and gingerroot in oils over medium heat until translucent. Stir in flour. Add vegetable or chicken broth and cider. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup, bay leaves, cinnamon, thyme, pepper and cloves. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Cool slightly. Puree in blender in batch until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and add whipping cream and vanilla. Heat an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Prepare in advance the soup through the puree stage and refrigerate up to 3 days or process in jars for canning.
  • The soup can also be frozen after the puree stage.
  • To serve, heat the soup, stir in the cream and vanilla, and heat through.
  • For a zestier flavor serve with ginger cranberry relish
  • Try crystallized ginger and finely chopped thyme as a garnish
  • Sweeten the dish with crushed gingersnaps as a garish

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Omit the cream and add and additional cup of chicken broth and top with a dollop of low fat sour cream

    Posted by terri at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

    Ginger Cranberry Relish

    Add beautiful color and zest to your Thanksgiving turkey or try it as a side dish with my other suggestions

    Serves 8 (side dishes)
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, pickled, chopped
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    Instructions:

    In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries. Return to boiling and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, over medium high heat for 5 minutes or till the cranberry skins pop, stirring occasionally.
    Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon and pickled giner. Cover and chill till ready to serve.

    Terri’s tips:

  • If you can’t find pickled ginger use grated fresh ginger
  • Serve as a side dish with turkey, ham or even Ginger Pumpkin Bisque

    Posted by terri at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

    Marinated Mixed Grilled Vegetables

    A great way to use all those garden vegetables plus get at least two servings of the recommended 5 fruits or veggies a day.

    Serves 6
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes

    Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally about 1 inch thick
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced diagonally about 1 inch thick
  • 2 onions, quartered and separated
  • 6 small red potatoes, cook in microwave about 5 minutes to soften, quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon each fresh marjoram, and basil, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper (freshly ground), to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

    Instructions:

    Combine all ingredients and marinate at room temperature about one hour or refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight.
    Grill over medium prepared fire or roast in preheated 375º F oven until vegetables are tender and slightly brown, about 20-25 minutes

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Use 2 tablespoons Italian dressing with herbs for a quick marinade
  • When in season, add green and yellow bell peppers for more color
  • You can add broccoli and cauliflower too!
  • Fresh in season tomatoes can also be added, quarter and seed

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Always use vegetables in season and buy local produce (or grow your own)when possible
  • If you can't get local and the season has past, use frozen vegetables.

    Posted by terri at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Lime and Mint Mojito

    This is a great way to use some of the abundant mint from your herb garden. Mix the mint with sugar water and freeze in ice cube trays so you can have mojitos all winter or just add to your favorite tea.

    Serves 6
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Drinking Time: As long as you are still in control!

    Ingredients:

  • 3 ounce light rum
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lime sliced into 8 slices
  • 3 ounces syrup water
  • 4 ounces club soda
  • 10 mint leaves, washed

    Instructions:

    Place mint, lime juice, syrup, and lime slices into a mixing glass and muddle until juices are combines and mint has released aroma. Add rum and shake with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh mint sprigs and serve.

    Terri's Tips:

  • Add mango, strawberries, blackberries, or any other fruit that you like. The friut should be muddled slightly with the lime

    Posted by terri at 03:35 AM | Comments (0)

    Layered Mint Salad

    The layers in this salad create a beautiful presentation. Allow it to set for a few hours before serving to develop the flavor profile.

    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 25 minutes
    Total time: 40 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups fresh in season tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced

    Instructions:

    Place quinoa in a large bowl.
    Combine juice, oil, salt and pepper, and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine.
    Pour the juice over quinoa.
    Layer half of the quinoa with half of the mint, onions, parsley, cucumbers, red pepper, and tomatoes, repeat layers beginning with remaining quinoa, mint, and so on. End with tomatoes, mint and dill.
    Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours up to 24 hours.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Quinoa is called the mother grain because it is high in protein with all 8 essential amino acids.
  • Can use bulgur in place of quinoa.
  • Can serve chilled or at room temperature
  • Prepare this in a trifle dish for a beautiful presentation

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Quinoa is found in the specialty section of most grocery stores, to save money, replace with couscous or bulgur

    Posted by terri at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Pecan and Cilantro Crusted Halibut

    Halibut is a wonderful fish, mild, light and flaky. It tends to be dry when overcooked so follow these instructions for the best results.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Total time: 15

    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound halibut steak, slice into 1/2" thick strips
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup corn flake crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

    Instructions:

    Salt and pepper both sides of Halibut and cover with lime juice. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
    Mix pecan, cilantro, flour, cornflake crumbs together.
    Firmly press pecan mixture onto each side of the halibut.
    Heat oil and butter in large skillet. Sauté fish until golden brown quickly cooking each piece on medium high heat.

    Serve with Cilantro Lime Aioli

    Terri's Tips:

  • Cook the fish quickly and be sure not to overcook to avoid drying the fish out.
  • Use 1 cup Ranch dressing, lime juice to taste and 1/2 tablespoon chopped Cilantro for another sauce option for the fish
  • This recipe works well for other fish such as cod or perch. It is also great for chicken

    Posted by terri at 02:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Crab Cakes with Cilantro Lime Aioli

    Don't cover up the great taste of crab with a lot of bread filling. This recipe uses cornflake crumbs or breadcrumbs only on the outside so that you get mostly crabmeat on the inside.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    4 scallions, white and light green parts finely chopped
    3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 pound lump crabmeat
    2 cups finely crushed cornflakes or fine bread crumbs
    4 tablespoons butter

    Instructions:

    In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, scallions, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
    Stir in the crabmeat and stir to combine.
    Form mixture into 8 patties, each about 1 inch thick. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point several hours in advance; refrigerate until ready to cook.)
    Coat each patty on both sides with cornflake crumbs. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in nonstick skillet over medium heat.
    Add 4 crab cakes and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total.
    Transfer cooked crab cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
    Add remaining butter to pan and cook remaining crab cakes. Serve with Cilantro Lime Aioli

    Terri's Tips:

  • Always check crab meat well for any bits of shell
  • You can use any fish to replace the crab meat, even Salmon
  • Use last night's grilled tuna or salmon- a great way to use left overs
  • Keep cornflake crumbs on hand as a staple and store in freezer after opening
  • Make 16-20 mini crab cakes as appetizers

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Use vegetable oil to replace butter- it won't have quite the flavor but it will reduce the calories
  • Save money by using replacing half of the lump crab with claw


    Posted by terri at 01:23 AM | Comments (0)

    September 22, 2010

    Grilled Goat Cheese Tortilla Sandwiches with Mango Lime Salsa

    This dish is fun to serve at parties as an appetizer. Any occasion is a special occasion to celebrate with family and friends. So fire up the grill and get the party going.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes

    Goat Cheese Tortilla Sandwiches

    Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 8 - 6 inch flour tortillas

    Instructions:

    In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese and the next 5 ingredients, through the salt and pepper and mix well.
    Spread the goat cheese mixture onto 4 of the tortillas and top them with the remaining tortillas.
    Place the stuffed tortillas on the grill over a medium low fire and cook until the cheese melts and the tortillas are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side.
    Cut into eighths and serve with the Mango Lime salsa.

    Mango Lime Salsa

    Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced small
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno or other fresh chile pepper of your choice, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Instructions:

    In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
    The salsa will keep covered and refrigerated for 2 days.

    Wine selection:

    Choosing a wine to go with goat cheese can be challenging but when it works, it is truly invigorating. The flavors of the cheese in this recipe need a wine that will match its tanginess without being tart and that’s what you will find with a brisk acidic Sauvignon Blanc.

    Terri's Tips

  • Cutting a mango can be tricky but there is a special technique that works every time: Stand the mango on end and slice through the thick section from top to bottom on both sides. Once you have exposed the flesh of the mango place peel side down and cut criscross patterns through mango to the peel but not through it. Invert the peel and remove flesh as chucks


    Cooking Wiser:


  • Use a whole wheat tortilla for a healthier version

    Posted by terri at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

    September 20, 2010

    Trimming a beef tenderloin

    If you have more time than money, try trimming your own beef tenderloin. Follow these tips for easy, successful results:

  • Rinse the beef and pat it dry

  • You will only need a cutting board and a boning knife

  • First remove the white opaque membrane encasing the meat

  • Remove the chain of meat that is connected by a membrane on the back side and reserve for another recipe

  • Next step is to remove the connective tissue, called the silver skin beneath the fat by slipping the tip of a boning knife underneath the silver skin, angling it slightly upward using a gentle sawing motion, until you have removed the entire silver skin from the tenderloin. Discard the silver thin.

  • Trim the ends so that the tenderloin is nice and even. Use the trimmed pieces in soups or stir fry.

  • The tenderloin is ready for cooking. Try Roasted Beef Tenderloin.

    Posted by terri at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

    Buying Local Foods

    If you don’t seek out local foods you should try my taste test for proof that local food is better.

    Take peaches for example. During our travels this summer we passed a South Carolina peach farm and stopped to sample their peaches. While dripping fresh peach juice down our shirts, we bought two baskets on the spot. I couldn’t believe the flavor. They were delicious. I remember thinking that I hadn’t tasted a peach like that in years. We ate peaches everyday for two weeks and we never had to refrigerate them. They lasted much longer than I thought they would. But with all good things, it came to an end. The peaches were gone and a few days later I found myself wishing that we could have just one more before the end of summer. Then I saw South Carolina peaches in the store. Wow, how wonderful. I bought four and I couldn’t wait to get home to try one. I was so disappointed. Not only were they tasteless but the texture was mealy. What could have happened? Why were they so bad? I decided to do a little research and this is what I found.

    Grocery stores buy in bulk to keep costs down. It can take several weeks from the time the peach is picked to the time it reaches the store shelves so they’re often picked green and exposed to ethylene to force ripening. Naturally fresh foods are more flavorful with just the right texture since they have more sugar and starch. But flavor and texture is also determined by where the produce is grown. Greenhouse produce will disappoint every time, because all a grower has to worry about is getting it to the store looking good. Do you taste a peach in the store before you buy it? Probably not and that is what the grower is banking on.

    There are many other benefits to buying local produce. You will be promoting good health, supporting the local economy, and protecting the environment. Better tasting foods will encourage people to follow government guidelines to eat five fruits and vegetables daily. Locally grown food has less additives and higher nutrients. Shipping foods uses more fuel for traveling long distances and more packaging materials that end up in our landfills. Foods that are shipped are often sprayed with additional chemicals to ward off insects.

    According to an Iowa State research report, if we grew 10% more produce for local consumption it would result in an annual savings ranging from 280,000 to 346,000 gallons of fuel. It’s hard to believe that a typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table. This summer I learned a great deal about where our foods come from. Imported food makes up a substantial and growing portion of the U.S. food supply. You could sit down to a meal and in one day eat foods from at least 20 different countries mostly from Canada, Mexico, and China but foods also come into the U.S. from Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand among others. As much as 80 percent of our seafood and 45 percent of fresh fruit is imported. Importing food brings with it a concern for keeping Americans healthy and safe.

    Depending on where you live, the growing season will vary across the country. So plan ahead, purchase your produce during peak months, or plant your own small garden next spring. Freeze and/or can corn, beans and tomatoes for later. Studies have shown that frozen or canned food has more nutrients than foods shipped great distances. Buying local food tastes better, is healthier and is good for the environment and your local economy.

    Next time I’ll share some tips for canning fruits and vegetables.

    Posted by terri at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

    September 17, 2010

    Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Sides for Topping

    The tenderloin is a lean and very tender cut of meat that is often prepared for special occasions. I say "enjoy it anytime even just for two." The left overs can be used later for sandwiches, in a salad or frozen for later. Reheat and enjoy a fantastic meal after a long day at the office.

    Serves 8-10
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes for medium rare

    Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2 lb.) beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Generously salt and pepper tenderloin and place into the skillet. Sear on all sides until dark golden brown. Cover tenderloin evenly with garlic and place it and all of the pan juices into a roasting pan. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes for medium rare or until thermometer reaches 130 degrees.

    Click here for tips trimming a beef tenderloin.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Serve with Mushroom Ragout, caramelized onions, red wine shallot sauce or even a pesto sauce

  • Let meat set 15 minutes in a warm place to rest before carving.

  • Resting allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat

  • Ask the butcher to trim the tenderloin

  • Beef usually pairs well with a big Cabernet but tenderloin is a leaner cut of beef that will be enhanced with a good Pinot Nior, one with some complexity. This pairing will bring out the nuances and wonderful characteristics of both the food and the wine.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • To save money you can substitute the tenderloin for your favorite cut of steak or even chopped sirloin. The preparation will be the same for any cut, first pan sear then roast in oven. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

  • If you trim the tenderloin you might save money but not time :o)

    Posted by terri at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

    September 10, 2010

    Salad Wraps

    Turn a salad into a meal with this great wrap idea, just add your favorite salad ingredients. Enjoy with cool refreshing mint tea.

    Serves 6
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • Spinach greens and lettuce, enough for 6 wraps
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • Other optional vegetables include: peppers, onions, broccoli, and/or cauliflower
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons salad dressing
  • 1 package dry salad dressing mix
  • Assorted herbs (chopped basil and parsley or try basil pesto
  • 6 tortillas

    Instructions:

    Mix together cream cheese and dressing mix. Arrange tortillas, one on each of 6 plates. Spread with cream cheese and top with lettuce and spinach then with remaining vegetables. Drizzle with dressing and herbs. Fold or roll and serve.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • If you like chef salads: add cheese, eggs, and bacon. Or if you like salad with grilled chicken or shrimp, add to the wrap. Sliced turkey or ham works well too. I love avocados.

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Try sun-dried tomato wraps or for a healthier version try whole wheat wraps.
  • Use low fat or fat free cream cheese and olive oil and red wine vinegar to sprinkle over salad greens
  • Adding sliced hard boiled eggs or low fat roasted turkey will provide protein. Be selective when choosing deli meats. Avoid those high in salt and fat.

    Posted by terri at 02:01 AM | Comments (0)

    September 04, 2010

    Country Style Green Beans

    I grew up with green beans that were cooked in a large amount of water until they were very tender. Later I discovered beans are also great when sauteed with a little olive oil and seasoning until crisp tender. I love both kinds. So here is my version of tender, country style green beans. If you prefer a bean cooked el dente you will enjoy one of my other recipes like sesame green beans.

    Serves 6
    Prep time: 10 minutes- for stringing and trimming beans
    Total time: 55 minutes


    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6-8 ounces seasoning meat

    Instructions:

    In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are tender.

    Terri's Tips:

  • Use chicken or vegetable broth to replace water for more flavor
  • I use ham hock or bacon for the seasoning meat

    Cooking Wiser:

  • Omit the seasoning meat and add fine herbs to flavor beans. This will eliminate fat and calories.

    Posted by terri at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Lentil and Chorizo Stew with Smoked Paprika

    Lentils, a member of the legume family are a great source of protein. They also provide cholesterol-lowering fiber therefore being a special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders. But most importantly they abosorb and release flavors resulting in great soups and stews.

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup green lentils
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 14 oz. canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Red chili flakes and salt to taste
  • Garnish with a dash of curry

    Instructions:

    Cook the lentils and bay leaves in a pot of boiling water (about 2 cups) for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still firm. Drain the lentils, saving the cooking water.
    In the meantime, heat a splash of olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat and sauté the chorizo for a minute. Remove the chorizo and set it aside, then sauté the carrots and onions in the oil for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two.
    Pour in the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, broth, and chili flakes (optional).
    Simmer all of this until the mixture has thickened, roughly 15 minutes. Then stir in the lentils and as much lentil cooking water as you want. Cook this together for another 10 minutes or so, adding the chorizo towards the end to heat it through. Season to taste. Serve with crusty hot bread.

    Terri's Tips:

  • General Rule for cooking lentils- 1 ½ cup liquid to 1 cup lentils
  • Do not salt lentils during initial cooking phase- it will toughen them
  • Using green and red lentils will provide a combination of textures because the red lentils are more tender

    Posted by terri at 02:59 AM | Comments (0)

    Golden Apple Cobbler

    When my friend asked me to create a cobbler for patients who had to avoid sugar (diabetics especially), I went to work testing different combinations of flour and sugar. This is the final result. I think it should be a favorite for anyone.

    Serves 8-10
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: one hour

    Ingredients:

  • 5 medium golden delicious apples, cored, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon +
  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • ¾ cup self rising flour
  • ¾ cup wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil

    Instructions:

    Melt 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons cooking oil in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
    Toss apples with cinnamon.
    In a large mixing bowl combine apple juice, milk, flours, sugar and cooking oil. Mix well. Pour batter over melted butter. Do not mix. Top with fruit, sprinkle with brown sugar.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until batter sets. Serve warm.

    Terri’s Tip:

  • You can use more cinnamon to sweeten the dessert a little more
  • Serve with vanilla bean frozen yogurt

    Posted by terri at 02:17 AM | Comments (0)

    Carmelized Onions

    "This is every cook's opinion
    No savory dish without an onion,
    But lest your kissing should be spoiled
    Your onions must be fully boiled."
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

    Carmelizing onions brings out the sweetness of the onion and creates a wonderful flavor. Try them on a pizza, in pasta, over a steak or burger, or in cream chesse as an appetizer.

    Makes 2 cups
    Prep time: 4 minutes
    Cook time: 15 minutes

    Peel and slice 4 large onions. Heat a large skillet and add the onions. Add no water, oil or salt; especially no salt as that will impede the caramalization process. Cook on medium high heat until the onions are a deep golden brown.

    Terri's Tips:
    Until I found onion googles, I placed a piece of bread partway in my mouth leaving most of it out to absorb the tear producing fumes produced with slicing onions. Sometimes I even wore swimming goggles.

    Posted by terri at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

    September 02, 2010

    Mushroom Ragout or Sauce

    This is a fantastic side dish that can be used with anything even cardboard :o)Enjoy it with steak, chicken, or add more stock and create a wonderful mushroom soup. See my tip on how to make a very simple mushroom side dish

    Makes 4 cups
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups mushrooms (cremini, shitake, oyster, portabella, buttons)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter

    Instructions:

    In a saucepan, heat the butter and add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes on medium high heat.
    Add the garlic and cook additional 2 minutes.
    Deglaze the pan with the wine.
    Whip the butter mixture into the broth and add to the mushrooms. Cook until thickened. Add the herbs. Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.

    Terri's Tips:

  • To serve as a ragout, simply omit the butter and flour mixture and broth. Deglaze with the wine and reduce until thickened
  • To create a very simple mushroom side dish from this recipe: cook the mushrooms as instructed above, add garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup sherry and cook until thickened, about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

    Make it Your Own
    Omit the beef broth and use vegetables broth or water
    Can thicken any of the above suggestions with 1/2 cup cream if desired

    Posted by terri at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

    Marinated Beef Stew

    There's no need to add salt to this recipe. The herbs and spices provide a powerhouse of flavor. It is incredibly, melt in your mouth delicious.

    Serves 8-10
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time including marinating: 4 hours

    Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. sirloin or other cut of beef

    Marinade:

  • 2 cups red wine
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme (2 tsp. dried chopped)
  • 8 sprigs fresh savory (1-2 tsp. dried summer savory)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 12 cardamom pods (1-2 tsp. ground)
  • 2 stick cinnamon (1/2 tsp. ground)
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves

    Instructions:

    Combine marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from stove and set aside to cool, allowing the flavors to infuse the wine.
    Meanwhile, cut meat into cubes and place in a zipper-type plastic bag. When the marinade has cooled, add it to the beef and seal. Marinate for 1-1 ½ hours in the refrigerator—turning once.

    Stew:

  • 1 ¼ cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 ¼ cup celery, diced
  • 1 ½ cup yellow onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ½ Tablespoon fresh ground pepper

    Instructions:

    Remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towel or clean dish towel. In a large pot, brown meat in 1 tsp of oil. Remove meat.

    Add carrots, celery and onion to the pot and cook until beginning to soften. Add cooked meat and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

    Add broth and remaining spices. Bring to a simmer and cook until meat is tender about 1 to 2 hours depending on type of meat.

    Terri’s Tips:

  • Serve meat over herbed gnocchi or egg noodles.
  • Add a cup of cubed potatoes and serve with crusty bread—omitting the noodles
  • Try a Zinfandel for the marinade
  • The marinade can be made ahead and stored. It can also be canned or frozen, making this stew a simple dish to prepare- true comfort food

    Cooking wiser:

  • Taste the stew before adding the salt, most likely you won't need it
  • You can save money by using a less expensive cut of beef, the marinade provides lots of flavor and the wine will tenderize the meat

    Posted by terri at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Italian Sausage Casserole

    Feel like going Italian tonight? This rich but simple dish will satisfy especially when you add a glass of vino. Try a Sangiovese wine

    Serves 8
    Prep time 20 minutes
    Total time: 50 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound Rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella
  • red and green pepper strips to garnish (optional)

    Instructions:

    Remove the casing from sausage. Heat oil in a large pan, add sausage and brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Meanwhile cook pasta, al dente.
    Combine sausage, pasta, sauce, pesto, oregano, and 1 cup cheese. Mix well. Place into a 9x13 oven proof casserole dish and spread evenly. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 20-30 minutes.

    Terri’s Cooking Wiser Tips:

  • For added flavor and great texture use fresh mozzarella
  • Use mild and/or hot Italian sausage depending on your taste
  • Garnish with 1 tespoon fresh basil chopped
  • To enhance the flavor, sauté the onions before adding to the casserole

  • Serve this Italian dish with a good Chianti Classico

  • Make a wonderful vegetarian dish by omitting the sausage and adding ½ cup each diced zucchini, yellow squash and one medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • Eliminate perservatives and create more flavor by making your own sauce. You can make additional sauce; can or freeze for later

    Make it your own
    Create your own with added ingredients, try meatballs and/or sundried tomatoes for added richness or add ground beef in place of or with the Italian sausage
    Or stuff red and green peppers with pasta, top with cheese and bake


    Posted by terri at 02:25 AM | Comments (0)

    Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Salad with Balsamic dressing

    I first prepared this salad for an Italian cooking class and it was a hit. I hope you enjoy!

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

  • 2 pitas
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup green olives, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

    Instructions:

    Toast the pita bread. Set aside to cool. Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and olives into a large bowl. Toss with the basil leaves. Whisk the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl and add to the salad. Shortly before serving, tear the pita into pieces and add to the salad, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh mozzarella. Allow the salad to sit a few minutes and serve.

    Terri’s Tip:

  • Serve as a meal by topping with crispy bacon and/or chick peas to add additional flavor and protein.
  • This salad is best when the tomatoes are in season, see vegetable chart for more information
  • Use a variety of tomatoes for a colorful presentation, such as red, yellow, and ripe green tomatoes.

    Posted by terri at 02:06 AM | Comments (0)

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