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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Twelve Pounds of Christmas

The Christmas season is usually the time of our greatest gains of the year. I hope this little poem eases the pain. Merry Christmas.

Twas the first day of Christmas
With family gathered round
The table filled with pies and such
That adds one holiday pound

Twas the second day of Christmas
And the trimming of the tree
One too many egg nogs
Thus pounds two and three

Twas the third day of Christmas
I dash from store to store
Double latte with whipped cream
Old St. Nick brings pound four

Twas the fourth day of Christmas
Grandma’s fruitcake did arrive
Hope I get that brand new belt
To make room for number five

.Twas the fifth day of Christmas
And I’m in an awful fix
One too many chocolate Santa’s
I fear my pants can’t hold pound six

Twas the sixth day of Christmas
That divinity was heaven
I couldn’t eat just one or two
Now I’ve added on pound seven

Twas the seventh day of Christmas
And I’ve overfilled my plate
Mashed potatoes overflowing
Here comes pound number eight.

Twas the eighth day of Christmas
I’ll have to stand in line
To exchange this gift for a bigger size
To make room for pound nine

Twas the ninth day of Christmas
Go rest ye gentlemen
Watch football from your easy chair
Make room for pound ten

Twas the tenth day of Christmas
The stairs creak as I go down
To the fridge for a midnight snack
This will make the eleventh pound

Twas the eleventh day of Christmas
When one of Santa’s elves
Brought me a half a box of fudge
That quickly adds pound twelve

Twas the twelfth day of Christmas
As my wish list I revise
Now all I want from Santa
Is to fit a smaller size

Happy Holiday’s to all
Is the last wish I say
These twelve pounds of Christmas
Are gone come New Years Day

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On the night before Christmas...

If you have traditionally read Twas the night before Christmas at this time of year this poem may sound slightly familiar. I hope it makes you laugh. Merry Christmas to everyone.


On the night before Christmas and I just couldn’t sleep
So I lay in my in my bed counting sheep after sheep
The lambs all cooked to a perfect medium rare
Adorned a lavish table set with kings fare

As the family all rested dreaming of Christmas glee
I began to fret about vanilla crème Brule
With mama in her gown and I in my chef smock
Only nine hours till dinner says the bedside clock

When down in the kitchen something was awry
Had the kitten helped himself to my pumpkin pie?
I dashed down the stair to see what was the matter
And there lie in pieces mothers’ antique platter

On what will I serve guests on the morrow?
Perhaps Aunt Rabbit has one I can borrow
A stage for the ham and turkey and mutton
With succulent flavor, dressed cute as a button

The hour now seven and the family’s still a snooze
Prep time now march not a moment to lose
As a tight wound toy soldier I haste to work
To polish and peel times not mine to shirk

Truss turkey, bake bread, stir mac into cheese
Set table, print name cards, take a break now, oh please
Though my feet will swell and back sure to ache
I’ll take no rest till the last guest gets cake


In the oven goes the ham on the stove cooks the peas
Time to rest, not so fast I’ve gifts to wrap you see
Soon out of town family will fill up this house
With no room to stir for even a mouse

Now the house is a buzz children run to and fro
Is the casserole burning? Dear turn the oven to low
I’m thinking that next year we’ll go out to eat
But Christmas won’t be Christmas if the house stays so neat

Does Ole St Nick work as hard delivering toys?
As I do for this feast that my family enjoys?
I just can’t stop this grand old tradition
If so just think of the fun we’d be missin’

True I love a proper and prim set table
Like might exist in a Rockwell picture fable
And I love to have family year after year
Sit and share in the holiday cheer

This season can be hurried and the cooking a scare
But everything always gets done by a hair
As the last guest drives away clear out of sight
A Merry Christmas its’ been again tonight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To Cook A Turkey……

Long before I had any culinary aspirations I watched my family labor and sweat over the Thanksgiving turkey year after year. It seemed as though cooking the holiday bird was a very very difficult task that took up almost an entire 24 hour day. Between the thawing and the carving of the annual Thanksgiving bird there were many tense moments around my house.
Now that the Thanksgiving turkey preparation has fallen to me I take a slightly different and less arduous approach to getting the bird from freezer to fork. If you can identify with the worries of cooking your own Thanksgiving turkey then here I come to make the day a little easier.

First some background on how to season the Thanksgiving turkey. This step can range from simple salt and pepper to elaborate preparations that involve marinades, injections, rubs or brine. When the care and cooking of the turkey is my job I usually use a sweet spicy rub with a sweet citrus injection giving the bird flavors within and without.
For the rub try a mixture of about one half cup of dark brown sugar mixed together with 2 tablespoons of chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add to this a half teaspoon of salt and rub the mixture all over the skin and even under the skin of your bird. Once the cooking has begun baste the bird from time to time with melted butter. The injection if you so choose to do what I do is a mixture of maple syrup and orange juice. These flavors are unique to Thanksgiving but will be a welcomed change.
As to how to cook the Thanksgiving turkey follow the package directions. On every bird, unless you go out and bag one from the wild, there is information on the time and temperature relative to the weight of the bird. Following these instructions is key to having a Thanksgiving turkey that is properly done but not dry.
Please note that nowhere in the sharing of Joe’s personal Thanksgiving turkey recipe were there instructions for covering the bird while cooking. Covering a turkey would cause it to steam rather than roast and that is not a pleasant site when it garnishes the center of the holiday table.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy cooking

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Candy Coated Apples

Every fall around Halloween me and Sara make caramel apples for the fall festival at church. This year we decided to make candy coated apples. The recipe is much simpler than the caramel ones (see the last RHC post). Both are  fun. What makes them healthy you ask? We make them once per year!

1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon red food color
12 apples
12 sticks
1 sheet pan lined with parchment paper

Combine the corn syrup, water, sugar and food color in a sauce pan and set over high heat. Cook to the hard crack stage (310 degrees) then remove from heat to cool slightly. While the sugar mixture cooks place a stick in each of the apples. Once the sugar mixture cools slightly coat each apple and place on the parchment lined pan to cool.
For even more interesting candy coated apples coat some in chopped nuts and some in colorful sprinkles.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Caramel Apples

When it comes to candy this is your season. For the kids and the kid in you it is officially open season for all things sweet. One of my favorite treats has always been caramel coated apples. This I suppose is because this treat provides a bit of nutrition with an overload of sugar.


While you still have a little time to get your Halloween goodies together or even plan for next year you should try your hand at making your own caramel apples. With a few ingredients that you probably already have you can easily make these tasty and nutritious seasonal treats. Just be careful with the hot sugar mixture and handle with care.



1 pound dark brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
12 popsicles sticks
12 medium apples

In a heavy bottom 3 quart saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter, condensed milk, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses and salt. Stir over medium heat until all of the sugar dissolves. Brush the sides of the pan with water to ensure that all of the sugar dissolves. Next attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook until the temperature reaches 236 degrees stirring constantly. Next pour the caramel mixture into a metal bowl and allow to cool to below 200 degrees. Next place the sticks in the apples and dip into the caramel. Place on a sheet pan lined with buttered aluminum foil. Allow to cool and enjoy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

From The Fridge: Real! Fresh Vegetable Soup!

A night at the Chef's house. Just the other night we made a fresh vegetable soup out of just those things in the fridge. How is your fridge stocked.....



3 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ cups onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup carrot peeled and chopped
3/4 cup bell pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 ½ cups fresh zucchini chopped
1 ½ cups okra sliced
1 cup fresh green beans chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart vegetable or vegetable stock
2 cups tomatoes chopped
Salt and pepper to taste




In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onion, celery and carrot. Sweat these vegetables for 8-10 minutes. Next add the garlic and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes. Next add in the zucchini, okra, green beans and thyme continuing to sweat over medium high heat for another few minutes. Next add the stock and tomatoes reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Finally season with salt and pepper to taste.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

A recipe for 4 or 5

1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
¾ cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot place the potatoes and cover with water. Set over high heat and cook until tender. Remove from the heat and drain. Combine the cooked potatoes with the buttermilk and cream cheese then season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm and serve.

Sautéed Okra with Bacon and Garlic

A recipe for 4 or 5

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of fresh okra (preferably smaller pods)
½ cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup cooked bacon pieces
Salt and pepper as needed to taste

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan then add the okra and onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes and add in the garlic and bacon. Finish with salt and pepper and keep warm for service.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Pasta

A recipe for 3-4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of chicken breast diced
½ cup onion sliced
½ cup red bell pepper sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chopped tomato
Parsley, chopped as needed
Thyme chopped as needed
Chicken stock as needed
1 pound linguine cooked
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of a lemon



Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the chicken until done and remove. Next add in the onion, pepper and garlic and sauté for several minutes. Next add the tomatoes and continue to cook for another minute. Add the parsley and thyme then the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Next add in the pasta and finish with butter and lemon juice.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

A recipe for 8-10
 ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound andouille sausage cut into ½ pieces
4 pounds chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 cup flour
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken stock
½ cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon file powder

In a large stock pot heat the one tablespoon of vegetable oil and brown the sausage for 6-8 minutes and remove. Next season the chicken with the Creole seasoning and cook until well browned in the fat remaining in the pot. Once the chicken is browned remove and reserve until ready to use.

Combine the remaining vegetable oil and the flour in the same pot and cook over medium heat until dark brown in color. The roux should be chocolate in color which contributes the characteristic flavor and appearance to the dish.

Next add the onion, celery and bell pepper to the dark brown roux. Cook this for 4-5 minutes then add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne pepper and bay leaves stirring to combine. Next add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour. Then add the reserved chicken and continue to simmer for 30-45 minutes.

To finish remove the pot from heat and retrieve the chicken and bay leaves. Discard the bay leaves. Pull the meat from the chicken and add to the gumbo along with the green onions, parsley and file powder. Stir to combine and serve.

Caramelized Pear Salad

Do you feel the nip in the September air? Fall is on the way and here is a great dish for that occasion.

1 tablespoon butter
2 large firm pears peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
10 ounces of mixed greens
¼ cup blue cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup grape tomatoes halved

In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter then add in the pear slices and brown sugar. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until pear slices are brown in color. Remove from heat and reserve.

Next whisk together the rice wine vinegar, cider vinegar, shallots, honey and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper then set aside.

Next place the mixed greens in a large bowl and add in the blue cheese, walnuts and tomatoes. Finally toss the mixture together with the reserved pears and the dressing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cook the Vote!

I have an informal poll going today to see what you favorite Real Healthy Cooking blog recipe is. In the comment section write and tell us which one you have tried and liked the best.

Thanks

Joe

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blueberry Crisp

We recently attended a family gathering and took along this Blueberry Crisp. When you see the ingredients you will likely ask is this healthy? The answer is yes it really is, enjoy.

5 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar plus a half cup for the topping
1 teaspoons fresh ginger minced
2 slices of fresh lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 cups bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Set the blueberries over medium heat and add in the sugar, ginger and lemon slices. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Next bring the mixture to a boil and combine the cornstarch and orange juice. Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling blueberries stirring constantly to thicken. Remove from heat and remove the lemon slices and transfer to a 9x9 casserole dish.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. For the crust combine the remaining sugar, bread crumbs, butter and cinnamon then top the blueberry mixture. Bake until the topping is well browned.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

A recipe for 4-6

This goes great with Chicken Saltimbocca! Just Sayin'
5 cups chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 pound fresh portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the chicken broth and reserve. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and begin to sauté the onion until slightly browned then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Next add in the mushrooms and continue to sauté several minutes. Then add the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and rice stirring to coat. Begin adding the chicken broth 1 cup at a time and allow it to absorb into the rice each time. Finally after all of the broth is incorporated stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Chicken Saltimbocca

This is a classic Italian dish that literally means "jumps in the mouth". Take a look at the ingredients and it is clear that it will jump in your mouth with all those great flavors.


A recipe for 4
4 boneless chicken breasts (3-4 ounces each)
Black pepper
4 tablespoons Olive oil
½ cup onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 shallots sliced
3-4 slices prosciutto ham chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon cold butter


Season the chicken breast with pepper. Then heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat and sauté the chicken breast on both sides until thoroughly cooked then reserve in a warm place. Next add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and begin to sauté the onion, garlic and shallot for several minutes, next add in the ham and tomato then cook for another couple of minutes. Finally add in the chicken broth, fresh thyme and butter then return the cooked chicken to the pan to heat through.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zucchini, Squash, Onions and Herbs

 Zucchini and squash have a much richer flavor when they have cooked to the point of turning slightly brown. The natural sugars in those veggies caramelizes for terrific flavor. Add the fresh herbs and look out!
A recipe for 6-8
2 medium zucchini sliced3 yellow squash sliced
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper as needed
2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil shredded

Place the zucchini, squash and onion in a bowl and coat with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper then either grill or roast until well browned. Meanwhile place the fresh herbs in the same bowl and set aside. When the vegetables are cooked toss in the fresh herb mixture adding additional seasoning as desired.

Asparagus: It Just Needs Heat

The best recipes are the simplest. Asparagus as I hear is tricky for some. The secret is that it really only needs heat whether from the grill, the oven or a saute pan. A little olive oil, salt and pepper and it is a breeze.

A recipe for 4-6

2 tablespoon olive oil
20 stalks of fresh asparagus
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch kosher salt


Heat the oil on a  griddle over high heat and place the asparagus on it. Season with the pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly browned.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Roast Corn and Black bean Salsa

A recipe for 6-8 servings
Here is another recipe from my Piedmont Park cooking class series. 

Nothing is better that sweet corn in the summer and this is a unique way to put it on the table. 

4 ears yellow corn roasted and cooled
11/2  cups black beans rinsed and drained
½ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup chopped tomato
½ cup roasted red pepper chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeno
2 tablespoons garlic minced
Juice of one line plus the zest
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Toss all ingredients into a bowl and combine. Serve chilled.

For a twist on the twist this is just as tasty served warm with grilled fish or chicken!

Sweet Potato Salad

A recipe for 4-6 servings
This recipe is from my series of cooking classes held at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Great change of pace from traditional potato salad!
5 medium sized sweet potatoes roasted but still a little firm the chilled
¼ cup sweet onion chopped
¼ cup celery diced
½ cup pecans chopped
¾ cup pineapple chopped
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ cup non fat yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes then combine with the remaining ingredients. Chill

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Barbecue Salmon Salad With Apple Butter Dressing

BY JOE ENGELBIRD from his Georgia Magazine feature

http://georgiamagazine.com/recipes.asp?menu=1&id=628&opt=ARCH&mon=3

A recipe for 4
4 (3-4 ounce) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons Cajun or blackening-style spices
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Olive oil, as needed for cooking
1 cup apple butter
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
Salad fixings, as needed
Directions
Coat each salmon fillet with spices and brown sugar. Let marinate for 10-20 minutes. In a hot pan, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Sear the fillets 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Note: This works well on the outdoor grill as well. While salmon is cooking, combine apple butter, barbecue sauce and orange juice; reserve. When salmon is done, place on top of the salad fixings and drizzle with the prepared apple butter sauce.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories: 414; Total fat: 12 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Carbohydrates: 51 grams; Protein: 27 grams.

Also check out the article that is featured in Georgia Magazine!
http://georgiamagazine.com/archives_view.asp?mon=3&yr=2008&ID=1880

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ginger Peach Ice cream

A recipe for 6-10 ½ cup servings

1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
3 cups low fat milk divided
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 egg yolks
1 can nonfat sweetened condensed milk
2 pounds chopped fresh peaches

Combine the gelatin and the water and set aside. Next heat half of the low fat milk with the grated ginger over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until steaming. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks with the sweetened condensed milk and add in the steamed milk ginger mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and heat stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Next strains the mixture through a fine sieve then add the dissolved gelatin and remaining milk.
Chill the mixture for at least two hours to overnight. When ready to process combine the custard with the peaches then process according to manufacturers’ directions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's so Real! about it?

Since the inaugural post here at Real! Healthy Cooking the hits have increased and for that I thank you. Since the blog has been up for several months I figure it may be time for a little definition. And in the raging sea of the food and nutrition blogosphere a little definition will surely set Real! Healthy Cooking apart from the rest.

Notice that the Real now has an exclamation mark! That is simply to emphasize that what you get here is real and authentic. These recipes are ones that we use at home and ones that I have used in my cooking classes for many years. These recipes work and are really easy to make. As a rule I only use recipes that are no more than 5-6 ingredients.

Real! Healthy Cooking is a way of creating foods that are, well Real! All of the Real! Healthy Cooking recipes are focused on the four things that we all want from our foods: Taste, Enjoyment, Quick and Healthy.

So Real! Healthy Cooking is tasty, fun, fast and healthy food. Look for the Real! Healthy Cookbook Vol 1 soon. In the meantime stop by often for new recipes and also check out the companion blog theconservativenutritionist.blogspot.com/ . The Conservative Nutritionist promotes the ideas behind Real! Healthy Cooking so order up a slice today.

Thanks Much

Joe

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

A recipe for 3-4

1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Creole spice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion chopped
½ cup celery chopped
½ cup green bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups prepared grits

Combine the shrimp with the Creole spice and set aside. Next add two tablespoons of olive oil to a sauté pan and set over high heat. Once the oil is hot sauté the shrimp until nearly cooked the remove from the pan. Add in the remaining olive oil and sauté the onion, celery and pepper until well browned then add in the garlic and tomatoes. Cook this mixture for 3-4 minutes then add the chicken stock and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Finally return the shrimp to the pan and finish with the butter. Serve warm with prepared grits.

Note that chicken can be used in place of the shrimp

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes with Sizzle Peaches

If it is you aim to eat a healthier diet can butter be included? Yes because nothing else tastes like it and the main reason we eat is because things taste good or at least should taste good. So use a little butter (a little)!


Buttermilk Pancakes
A recipe for 6-8
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter melted and a little extra for the griddle
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and then add the milk, egg, butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.Next spoon the batter onto a hot griddle that has been brushed with a little butter(about 3-4 tablespoons per pancake) and cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes.

Peach Sizzle Topping
2 fresh peaches peeled and sliced
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 ½ cups orange juice
1 pinch cinnamon

Peel, seed and dice the peaches then combine with the remaining ingredients in skillet over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the peaches are tender and serve hot with the pancakes.

Thai Inspired Chicken Satay

Most of my recipes are less that 7 or 8 ingredients but a few will necessarily have a few more and this is one of the. This Thai inspired dish is a great and tasty way to do chicken. This might even be a good change of pace for a summer barbeque. Fresh lemongrass is found in specialty markets and really sends the flavors soaring.


Marinade:
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 ounces soy sauce
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons minced lemon grass
½ tablespoon chili paste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Water if needed
2 pounds boneless chicken breast cut into strips
Wooden skewers as needed


Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, lemon juice, sesame oil, brown sugar, lemon grass, chili paste, ginger, garlic and cilantro together to form a paste. Add in a little water if needed to thin the mixture. Next add in the chicken and allow marinating for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. Next remove and place each chicken strip on a skewer and grill over hot coals for 4-5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve the chicken with peanut sauce. This dish is also great with pineapple or mango salsa


Peanut sauce:
1 cup peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons red chili paste
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Juice of two limes
½ cup hot water


Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili paste, brown sugar and lime juice and add in the water as needed to thin out the sauce.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Caribbean Roasted Chicken with Corn Relish

Carribean Roasted Chicken
1 pound of boneless chicken cut into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon jerk spice
½ tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped

Sweet Corn Relish
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ diced sweet onion
½ cup diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 ½ cups sliced grape tomato
¼ cup prepared salsa

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Dry the chicken strips on a paper towel and set aside. Next toss the remaining ingredients together in a bowl then add in the chicken. Place the marinated chicken on a sheet pan and Bake for 15-20 minutes of until the temperature reaches 165 degrees. If you are planning to grill the Jerk spiced chicken the place each strip on a skewer and cook over high heat until 165 degrees.

While the chicken is roasting heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan. Next begin to sauté the onion and bell pepper until just tender then add in the garlic. Next add in the corn kernels and continue to cook over high heat while stirring. Finally add in the grape tomatoes and the salsa sauce and bring to a simmer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jicama Slaw with Mojo Dressing

A recipe for 3-4

Jicama also know as a Mexican turnip has become widely available in most supermarkets in recent years. It is white in appearance once peeled and a bit sweet. It can be eaten raw or cooked.


1 1/2 cups Jicama, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Cracked black pepper, as needed

In a large bowl stir together lime juice, mustard, and orange juice. Add vegetables and cilantro, tossing to coat, and season with cracked pepper to taste.
Slaw may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled.

Guacamole Chicken Salad

A recipe for 4-6 servings
If you don't like avocado try this anyway. Once you make it you will love it.


2 soft avocado peeled and mashed
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup red onion minced
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons garlic minced
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 pinch of salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped pecans
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce
1 pound roast chicken shredded.

Combine the avocado, mayonnaise, onion, red bell pepper, Anaheim pepper, garlic lime juice and mustard in a bowl and stir to combine. Next add in the cilantro, salt, cranberries, pecans, Worcestershire and hot sauce then stir to combine.

Light Milk Shake

A recipe for 3-4

It is typical to hear folks say that an attempt to eat a lighter or healthier diet means eating bland foods. Nothing could really be further from the truth. It simply takes a little experimenting with different ingredients to get it just right. Here is just such a recipe.


2 cups light ice cream
1 cup fresh strawberries stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 banana peeled and chopped
¾ to 1 cup skim milk

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add more milk or ice cream as desired to achieve proper consistency.

Note: any fruit may be added as desired to make the Light Milk Shakes

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

If you think you don't like Brussels Sprouts then you haven't tried them this way.


1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
1 quart of boiling water or stock
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup crispy rendered bacon
2 crushed garlic cloves
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons melted butter
Pepper to taste

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and plunge into a saucepot of boiling water or stock. Cook until bright green and slightly tender then remove and reserve. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add in the Brussels sprouts sautéing for 4-5 minutes or until slightly brown. Next add in the bacon, garlic and onion and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Finish with the butter and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca

A recipe for 4

If you have ever wondered what chefs like to eat this is one of my favorites.


4 boneless chicken breasts (3-4 ounces each)
Black pepper
4 tablespoons Olive oil
½ cup onion sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 shallots slices
3-4 slices prosciutto ham chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon cold butter


Season the chicken breast with pepper. Then heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat and sauté the chicken breast on both sides until thoroughly cooked then reserve in a warm place. Next add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and begin to sauté the onion, garlic and shallot for several minutes, next add in the ham and tomato then cook for another couple of minutes. Finally add in the chicken broth, fresh thyme and butter then return the cooked chicken to the pan to heat through.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Classic Ratatouille

A recipe for 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups onion diced
1 cup bell red pepper diced
2 cups eggplant diced
1 cup zucchini diced
1 cup yellow squash diced
4 cloves garlic sliced
2 pounds tomatoes peeled and chopped (Canned diced tomatoes will also work well)
3-4 tablespoons basil shredded
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat and cook the onion and bell pepper until soft and slightly browned. Next add in the eggplant, zucchini and squash and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until soft. Next add in the garlic and tomatoes, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Finally finish the ratatouille with the basil and parsley and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cucumber Dill salad

A recipe for 6-8 servings

4 cup fresh cucumber julienne
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons garlic
½ cup onion sliced
¼ cup red bell pepper sliced
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 pinch salt

Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss
For best flavor chill several hours prior to use

Monday, May 30, 2011

Banana Pudding with Ginger Snaps

A recipe for 10-12 servings

I like traditional vanilla wafers in this recipe but I love ginger snaps. Give it a try this summer.

2 fresh, whole eggs
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
1 pound ripe banana
3/4 pound gingersnap cookies


Steps:
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together.
In a heavy pot over medium heat scald 3 cups of the milk.
As the milk begins to boil remove from the heat and temper into the egg mixture.
Return the milk and egg mixture to the heat in the heavy pot and bring to a boil stirring constantly.
Pour the mixture into a clean bowl.
Add the vanilla flavoring to the mixture and chill in an ice bath.
In a tureen alternate layers of the custard, bananas, and gingersnap cookies
Chill and serve.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day

To you who answered the call of your country and served in its Armed Forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy, I extend the heartfelt thanks of a grateful Nation. As one of the Nation’s finest, you undertook the most severe task one can be called on to perform. Because you demonstrated the fortitude, resourcefulness and calm judgment necessary to carry out that task, we now look to you for leadership and example in further exalting our country in peace.

Harry Truman
The White House

This letter from President Harry S. Truman was addressed to George T. Yearty, my grandfather. It was sent to him and thousands of other young men and women returning victoriously home following World War 2 as an expression of thanks for their honorable service to our Country.To honor their service this Memorial Day please read and remember.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Balsamic Sirloin Steak Skewers

A recipe for 4-6

1 ½ pounds lean sirloin steak cut into 2 inch cubes
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves of garlic crushed
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Bamboo skewers as needed
Balsamic Glaze as needed*

Pat the steak pieces dry and set aside. Meanwhile combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and parsley to make the marinade. Season the marinade as desired with salt and pepper and add the steak pieces to the mixture. Allow at least two hours for marinating the place 4 pieces of the steak to each skewer. Grill or roast to desired doneness. Top with balsamic glaze prior to service.


* Balsamic glaze may be purchased in local markets but is also easy to make. Just place 3 cups of balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar in a sauce pan and reduce by two thirds. The remaining glaze should be slightly thick and very flavorful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peach Crumb Pie

A recipe for 8-10

*It is almost peach season. To set the mood here is a very easy and delicious (light too) peach crumble pie recipe. If you have a few quarts in the freezer from last year then you are a peach lover.


2 pounds fresh ripe peaches peeled, pitted and cut into one inch chunks
¾ cup apricot jam, warmed
¼ plus 2 tablespoons cup sugar
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter sliced
½ cup oats
½ cup sliced almonds

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Combine the peaches, apricot jam, 2 tablespoons sugar, ¼ cup flour and orange juice in a large bowl and toss then pour into a 9X12 baking dish.

For the topping combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup sugar, 1/3 cup sugar brown sugar and the salt in a food processor and pulse several times.
Next add in the butter and pulse until the mixture is incorporated.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the oats and almonds then stir to combine.
Spread the topping over the plum mixture and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until fruit is tender.


Hint-This is not bad with a little ice cream!

Zucchini, Squash and Onion with Fresh Herbs

A recipe for 6-8

2 medium zucchini sliced
3 yellow squash sliced
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil shredded

Place the zucchini, squash and onion in a bowl and coat with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper then either grill or roast until well browned. Meanwhile place the fresh herbs in the same bowl and set aside. When the vegetables are cooked toss in the fresh herb mixture adding additional seasoning as desired.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

A recipe for 6-10 servings

2 cups fresh pineapple diced
1 cup fresh mango diced
½ cup red onion small diced
2 tablespoons red bell pepper diced
1 clove garlic minced
3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ cup pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill. The flavors are best after a night in the fridege. This relish goes really well with grilled seafood and chicken.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oven Roasted Salmon with Citrus

A recipe for 4 servings

1 lemon sliced
1 lime sliced
4 salmon fillets 4-5 ounces each
Salt and pepper as desired
1 bunch of cilantro
4 slices of sweet Vidalia onion
2 celery stalks
2 cups fresh orange segments
¼ cup fresh tomato salsa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile arrange the lemon and lime slices on a baking dish. Place the salmon fillets on top of the citrus fruits. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and top each with the cilantro, onion and celery. Bake for 20-25minutes until done. When done discard the celery and cilantro and squeeze the remaining juice from the lemon and lime. Serve with the orange segments and a spoonful of salsa.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

A recipe for about a half gallon

1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoons water
3 cups low fat milk
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
3 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Add the gelatin to the water and set aside to dissolve. Next in a saucepan heat 1 ½ cups of the milk with the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate till the mixture is steaming. Combine the egg yolks with the condensed milk and add drop by drop the heated milk mixture to it. Once combined return the mixture to medium heat and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until it will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any solids then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Finally add the remaining milk and refrigerate for at least 2 hours of overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to direction.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad with Balsamic Dressing

A recipe for 10-12 servings

1 pound bowtie pasta cooked and chilled
1½ cups balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 cup red onion diced
1 cup red bell pepper diced
2 cups grape tomatoes halved
½ cup zucchini slices
½ cup yellow squash slices
3 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup parsley chopped
1 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste



Place all of the chopped veggies in a bowl and add in 1 cup of the balsamic vinegar. Let the mixture marinate for at least an hour or overnight. To complete the dish add in the cooked pasta, parsley and feta cheese then season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish the salad by adding the olive oil and the remaining balsamic vinegar if needed so that the salad will have plenty of dressing and not be too dry.

Smothered Green Beans

A Recipe for 4-6

1 pound fresh green beans snipped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper thinly sliced
½ cup crispy bacon drained and crumbled
½ cup pecans
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot of boiling water blanch the green beans until bright green but still crispy (about 4 minutes)then remove and reserve. Meanwhile heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and begin to sauté the sliced onion and bell pepper. Next add in the green beans and continue to sauté over high heat. Finish the dish by adding the bacon, pecans and season to taste.

Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry

A recipe for 4-6

1 pound chicken small diced
1 cup prepared stir-fry sauce
¼ cup olive oil
2 fresh carrots peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli thinly sliced
1 small zucchini thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash thinly sliced
½ cup onion sliced
¼ cup bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 pinch crushed red pepper


In a bowl marinate the chicken pieces for 1 hour in ¼ cup of the stir-fry sauce. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil on a wok or griddle and cook the chicken pieces thoroughly then remove. Next heat the remaining olive oil and cook the carrot, broccoli, zucchini, squash, onion and bell pepper tossing to cook evenly. Next add the garlic and then add back the cooked chicken for another few minutes. Toss the mixture with the remaining stir-fry sauce and serve warm with steamed rice

Vegetable Soup

A recipe for 8-10

2 tablespoons olive oil
11/2 cup onion chopped
¾ cup celery chopped
¾ cup carrot chopped
½ cup bell pepper
4 cloves garlic minced
2 shallots minced
½ cup yellow squash diced
½ cup zucchini diced
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 can red beans rinsed and drained
2 cups dry ziti pasta
Salt and pepper as needed for taste
1 stalks of fresh thyme


In a large heavy pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper cooking for several minutes until tender. Next add in the garlic and shallot and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add in the squash and zucchini and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Next add in the chicken stock, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, red beans and pasta. Finally adjust the seasonings to taste and add in the fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta is tender.