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January 31, 2016

Chocolate Mint Parfaits

Great presentation and easy to make by using instant pudding and frozen whipped topping.


Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 package (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding (can use sugar free)
2 cups milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup whipped topping, thawed (can use low fat or fat free)
2 drops red or green food coloring
10 peppermint candies, (green and white or red and white), roughly crushed

Instructions:

Beat pudding mix, milk and extract with whisk 2 min.
Whisk whipped topping and food coloring until blended.
Layer pudding alternately with whipped topping in 6 parfait glasses. Top with peppermint candies. Refrigerate 15 min.

Cooking Wiser:

To make a healthier version use sugar free pudding and low fat whipped topping.

Use 1% milk to make the pudding.

To save time, make pudding and color and flavor the whipped pudding the day before. Assemble when ready to serve.

Posted by terri at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Beef Pot Pie

Simple and yummy, that's what I want my beef pot pie to be. So I use a frozen or refrigerated crust and beef from last night's dinner. Make a sauce and whoa-la you have a great meal.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound lean beef, cubed, cooked
1 ½ cups carrots, peel and sliced 1/4"
½ cup celery, sliced
1 large potato, peel and diced
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon dried herbs (basil, thyme or combination
2 cups beef broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a microwavable bowl combine carrots, and celery with ¼ cup water and cook in microwave until carrots are slightly tender. Drain.

Cook and stir onions in butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and herbs. Slowly stir in beef broth, then add milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 5 minutes.

Place beef, carrots, celery and peas in bottom pie crust; pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in preheated oven until pie is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cooking Wiser

Save time, use frozen mixed vegetables. You can add a potato if it isn't in the frozen package. Pre cook the potato in the microwave.

You can add other vegetables that you like- corn, green beans, mushrooms and/or peppers.

Make individual pies by cutting out 4-5 inch circles from the pie crust (use refrigerated pie crust). Store brand works just as well as the more expensive brand. Place the circles in a muffin pan, coated with vegetable spray. Spoon in the filling and top with another pie crust circle. Bake until pie crust is golden about 15 minutes.

Save a few calories and use 1% or 2% milk.

Posted by terri at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

Mediterranean Style Frittata

A frittata is the Italian version of an omelet. The ingredients are mixed in with the egg rather than being folded inside. Any combination of ingredients can be used to create your own version but this version is low in calories and cholesterol.

Serves 4
Prep time: 8 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup packed baby spinach
2 green onions
4 large egg whites
6 large eggs
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese with basil and sundried tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon salt free Greek seasoning (such as Cavender)

Instructions:

Preheat broiler. Heat oil in a 10 inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. While oil heats, coarsely chop spinach and finely chop onions.

Combine egg whites, eggs, cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl. Stir well. Add spinach and onions, stir. Add egg mixture to pan cook until edges begin to set, about 2 minutes. Gently lift edge of egg mixture, tilting pan to all uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with pan.

Cook 2 minutes or until egg mixture is almost set. Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until center is set. Transfer the frittata to a serving platter and cut into 4 wedges. Serving size 1 wedge.

Make it your own
Other ingredients that taste good in a frittata include:
sausage, (turkey sausage), mushrooms, zucchini, ham, other cheeses such as cheddar, fontina, parmesan, and tomatoes.

Posted by terri at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2016

Chorizo, Lentil and Vegetable Stew

Rich in flavor and packed with nutrients. Lentils are combined with chorizo and vegetables for a complete meal.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 pound fresh Mexican chorizo sausage
2 cups dried lentils
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon green bell pepper, finely chopped to garnish

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in celery, onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the chorizo sausage; cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.

Pour off any excess grease from the sausage, then add the lentils and chicken broth. Season with turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with green bell pepper.

Posted by terri at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Grilled Havarti Cheese and Dill Sandwiches

When Havarti cheese melts it is smooth and silky with increased flavor. So it makes a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Add a little dill for additional flavor, the combination is fantastic.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 medium thick slices Havarti cheese
½ teaspoon dried dill

Instructions:

Melt ½ tablespoons butter on medium heat in small saute pan. Place one slice of bread in pan and swirl around to coat with butter. Add cheese. Spread butter on another slice of bread and place on top, butter side out.

Cook until golden brown on bottom, flip and continue to cook on other side until golden brown and cheese has melted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

You can cook all 4 sandwiches at once by using a larger skillet.

Serve with dill pickle slices or bread and butter pickles.

Cooking Wiser

Decrease calories by using olive oil to replace the butter

Use any cheese that you like, even a low fat cheese will work. Mix and match, use two cheeses like goat and cream cheese or cheddar and gouda.

Posted by terri at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2016

Basic White Sauce (Béchamel)

A béchamel sauce is one of the five mother sauces. While there are only 3 basic ingredients it takes time to develop a smooth and silky sauce.

This sauce is the basis for many other sauces including
Morney sauce: Gruyere and Parmesan cheese added at the end of the cooking process
Cheddar Cheese sauce: Cheddar cheese also added at the end of the cooking process
Soubise Sauce: addition of pureed cooked onions
Nantua Sauce- addition of crayfish
Mustard Sauce- addition of mustard

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ onion, peeled, and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions:

Place milk, onion and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer. Lower the heat so that the milk just stays warm.

Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it becomes frothy. Take care not to let the butter turn brown, though — that'll affect the flavor.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving a pale-yellow-colored paste. This paste is called a roux. Heat the roux for another few minutes or so, until it has turned a light blond color. Don't let it get too dark.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the warm milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it's free of lumps.

Simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn't scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the onion and bay leaf.

Cooking Wiser
The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it's too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it's just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat.

For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a sieve.

If not using right away place a piece of wax paper over the top to keep a film from developing on top.Keep the sauce covered until you're ready to use it.

Posted by terri at 04:06 AM | Comments (0)

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce, one of the 5 basic Mother sauces, is made by cooking tomatoes down into a thick sauce and thickened with roux. Unlike more modern-day tomato sauces, the classic French tomato sauce is flavored with pork and aromatic vegetables.

The mother sauces are the foundation for many dishes and other sauces.

Spaghetti sauce is one of the more popular dishes made with tomato sauce.

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:

1 ounce salt pork, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 ham bone
Kosher salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
For the bouquet garni:
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
8-10 black peppercorns, crushed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Tie the Bouquet garni ingredients into a cheesecloth sack using a piece of kitchen twine.

In a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven, render the salt pork over low heat until the fat liquefies.
Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown.

Add the tomatoes, the ham bone, the stock and the bouquet garni.
Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Simmer in the oven, partially covered, for two hours.

Posted by terri at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

Rosemary Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

The tenderloin is a very tender cut of meat making it possible to cook quickly. The secret is cooking it to the right temperature to prevent overcooking and drying out this very lean cut of meat.

Rosemary with its lemon pine flavor, is a great herb for pork.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh rosemary and sage finely chopped (both herbs combined to make 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 -2-pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

Preheat oven 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix well. Rub the pork generously. Place the tenderloin in a baking dish and cook until juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes.

Cooking Wiser:

It is important not to overcook tenderloin. The internal temperature should reach 155 degrees.

Allow tenderloin to rest for 5-10 minutes. The final temperature should read 160 degrees F.

You can make the herb rub in advance and refrigerate for several days
Freeze the herb rub in ice cube trays, pop out and store in air tight bag in freezer for up to 6 months.

Posted by terri at 03:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2016

Creamy Avocado Soup with Tomato Lump Crab Relish

The Glass Bazaar Cooking classes are so much fun. I really enjoyed our recent Super Soups Class. The avocado soup was one of their favorites. It was served with a Minted Mango, Pineapple and Jicama Salad.


Serves 4
Prep Time: 9 minutes

Ingredients:

2 ripe peeled avocados, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ pound fresh lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
¼ cup tomato, chopped
½ small onion, finely diced
½ small red pepper, finely diced
Cilantro leaves, optional

Instructions:

Combine first 7 ingredients (through the salt) in a food processor and process until smooth.

Minted Mango Jicama Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 ripe mango, sliced and peel
1 cup jicama, sliced

Instructions:
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stir well with a whisk.

Add mango and jicama and toss gently to coat with juice mixture.

Posted by terri at 04:33 AM | Comments (0)

Taco Night

Set up a taco bar and let everyone create their own version. All you need are the basic ingredients plus a few more. It's fun and easy.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
8 taco shells
1 cup shredded lettuce
8 ounce container sour cream
1 jar prepared salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives, optional

Instructions:

Season ground beef with chili powder, salt and pepper and cook on medium high heat in a medium skillet until cooked through.
Heat taco shells in oven for 5 minutes to warm
Add beef to taco shells, then lettuce. Top with remaining ingredients.

Cooking Wiser

Save additional beef to make a sandwich or taco salad over the weekend.

Use chicken, shredded pork or make a veggie taco with sautéed sweet bell peppers, sliced zucchini and onions.

Other Toppings: Salsa Verde, jalapeno peppers, grated carrots, diced onions or sliced scallions.

Posted by terri at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a Mexican favorite. They can be made with chicken, beef or even vegetables. This recipe uses chicken, low fat sour cream and cheese to create a healthier version.
I also have a recipe for Chorizo Enchiladas.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breast, skinless, boneless, sliced into strips
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅔ cup shredded light pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons light sour cream
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
⅓ cup jarred salsa verde

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook about 3 minutes. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic and cumin; saute 4 additional minutes.

Add ⅓ cup cheese and the sour cream, stirring to combine; remove from heat.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly down center of tortillas. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in a small baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Pour salsa over tortillas; top with remaining ⅓ cup cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve two enchiladas per serving.

Cooking Wiser

Save time by preparing chicken sauce a day in advance.
Use left over chicken sauce for lunch over rice or as is.
Use your favorite cheese, Monteray Jack, Cheddar or any combination.
Substitute ground or shredded beef or sliced green, red, and yellow bell peppers. Roast the peppers to bring out more flavor.

Posted by terri at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2016

Cheesy Cheddar Cornbread

Adding cheese to the all American quick bread creates a creamy texture that is otherwise missing. You can bake this in the traditional round cast iron skillet or a square baking pan.

Serves 8 (Makes one 8 inch round)

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups self-rising cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 8 inch round cast iron skillet or baking pan. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Mix in cheese.

Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and oil in another medium bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated; do not over mix. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake until bread is golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best served warm right out of the oven but can be made a day in advance.

Cooking Wiser

To decrease calories, use low fat buttermilk or 2% milk

Make it your own by using a different cheese, for example use Hot Pepper Jack, Havarti, Asiago, or Swiss.

Turn it into Mexican cornbread. Add diced peppers, red, green or jalapeno or a combination, sliced scallions, chopped onions and/or 1/4 cup canned corn. About 1/3 cup total of any of the above ingredients should be just about enough.

Posted by terri at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2016

BBQ Chicken with a Sensational BBQ Sauce

This spicy, rich BBQ sauce will wake up your taste buds. The ingredients might surprise you but you won't be disappointed. I served it over chicken but it would also be good over pork or beef.

Makes 2 cups sauce

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon white mustard seeds, toasted and ground
½ onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup cola
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup
½ lemon, juice
2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (or more depending on how hot you like it)
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

Instructions:

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until slightly golden. Add garlic, mustard, Cajun seasoning, honey and cola and bring to a simmer. Add the Worcestershire, ketchup, lemon juice and the hot sauce. Cook for 20-30 minutes on medium low heat to thicken the sauce.

Salt and pepper the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan. Pan sauté the chicken until golden. Turn chicken, cover with lid and continue to cook until juices run clear. Can cut chicken into bite size pieces. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook on low another 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to blend into chicken.

Cooking Wiser

This recipe could be made and refrigerated over night to allow the flavors to continue to develop. Just reheat on low until heated through.

Double the sauce recipe and save half for another day.

Sauce will also be good with pork!

Posted by terri at 03:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2016

Basil and Jalapeno Pepper Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

I enjoy creating recipes especially when they turn out really good. It usually happens when I am trying to use items that I have on hand. For this recipe, I had made a Jalapeno pepper relish for another recipe and thought it would add great flavor to a pork tenderloin. It is delish!

There are varying degrees of heat in jalapeno peppers. Depending on a number of factors including the weather where the pepper is grown, they may be very mild to severely hot. To reduce the heat remove the seeds and use only the outer part of the jalapeno pepper.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup olive oil
3-pound pork tenderloin

Instructions:

For grilling:
Prepare a two level fire with charcoal on one side of the grill.

In a small bowl, combine the basil, garlic, jalapeno pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil, mix well. Rub the pork generously. Place the tenderloin onto the grill and cook by indirect cooking method or place pork into roasting pan and roast in 400 degree oven until juices run clear, about 20-25 minutes.

Oven roasted: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place prepared tenderloin in a roasting pan. Place in oven on middle rack and cook for 20 minutes or until desired level of doneness.

Cooking Wiser

It is important not to overcook tenderloin. The internal temperature should reach 155 degrees. Allow tenderloin to rest for 5-10 minutes. The final temperature should read 160 degrees F.

Allow the tenderloin to rest before slicing.

You can make the basil and jalapeno rub in advance and refrigerate for several days
Freeze the herb rub in ice cube trays, pop out and store in air tight bag in freezer for up to 6 months.

Posted by terri at 02:16 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2016

Lettuce Wedge drizzled with Blue Cheese Dressing and a Balsamic Sauce

One of our local restaurants serves one of the most amazing lettuce wedges I have ever had. I recreated their recipe and got really close if not better.


Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 slices bacon
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium tomatoes, finely diced
1 large head iceberg lettuce, divided into 4 equal wedges

Ingredients:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Add the blue cheese and mix just until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up 2 days before serving.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Crumble bacon.

In a small saucepan heat balsamic vinegar until reduced by half. Remove from heat and cool.

Core and quarter each head of lettuce and divide among 4 salad plates.

Serve a generous dollop of dressing over each lettuce wedge. Top with the crumbled bacon and diced tomato.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction


Posted by terri at 02:54 AM | Comments (0)

Dennis’s Macaroni and Cheese

While looking for the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe it became apparent that there are about 20 great recipes. So Dennis took a few that looked really good, combined, switched and added to until he came up with his favorite version. It was the best macaroni and cheese ever.

And a perfect time for comfort food.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 pound elbow macaroni
4 cups milk
2-3 springs thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
5 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Instructions:

Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and about 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the thyme sprigs and 2 garlic cloves.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Strain the solids out of the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Cook the bacon, remove and drain on paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease and add onions and paprika and sauté until onions are translucent. Crumble bacon and add bacon and onions to milk mixture. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Posted by terri at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)