Friday, June 10, 2016

Gelatin Orange Slices (G)

I love summer cooking and the freedom it gives me to think of foods which, on one hand may lack that fall/winter comfort food quality, but on the other hand, make me smile!

My summer recipes include 'fun' type foods, uick meals, grilled meals and certainly meals with colorful additions.

Gelatin Orange Slices was inspired by a recipe from the "Food Network Magazine". It is kid-friendly, lovely to look at and easy to make.

Gelatin Orange Slices

2-3 Large oranges (4 smaller organic oranges)
2 3-oz boxes orange gelatin (sugar-free, optional)
1 1/2 Cups water

Cut oranges in half and scoop out flesh. (Do not use a knife - if the rind is punctured, the gelatin will leak out).
To keep the rind-halves upright, place them in a muffin tin.

Add water to a quart-sized glass pitcher and heat water until boiling. Add gelatin, mix well. Put mixture back in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds (H). Stir and heat for another 30 seconds (H). Continue until all the gelatin is dissolved.

Carefully fill the orange halves with the gelatin liquid. Place muffin tin on a flat surface in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. After gelatin is firm, remove halves and carefully slice each one into thirds. Enjoy right away or store, covered, in the refrigerator.  (These will keep in the refrigerator for several days)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sprout Burgers (G)

I bought my first seed-sprouter from a local grocery store in the 1980s. The kit included various seeds as well as directions on how and what to sprout as well as sprout-related recipes.

My fascination with sprouts, however, did not last. While I liked the flavors and textures, the  sprouts usually spoiled before I used them. The cycle of sprouting seeds once a year and then, forgetting about them continued for decades.

Unfortunately, because of GMO foods, pesticide and herbicide-laced fruits and vegetables ... I have become more and more concerned about what I am eating. Today, most of the produce I eat is organic. I consume meat on a limited basis and it has to be hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free-range, etc. I also do not eat gluten.

So once again, out came my sprouter! I ordered a variety of wonderful, organic seeds from easily found internet sources and I created a sprout-recipe file which includes snacks, main dishes, garnishes and even a dessert. This time, I will not shelve my sprouter! It is to become a valuable tool.

My Sprout Burger recipe makes use of at least 1 1/2 cups of sprouts. The flavors are so wonderful, I could eat the whole batch myself.

Sprout Burgers

1 1/2 C sprouts ( mung, salad mix, broccoli, lentil, etc)  - use your favorites or a mixture of them.
1 T canola oil
2 T Gluten-free flour
1 T Gluten-free panko crumbs (optional)
2 T milk
1 Egg
1 Green onion, finely chopped
1T green pepper, chopped
1 Rib celery, chopped
1 Clove garlic, minced
Pepper blend
Himalayan salt
1-2 C rice

Chop the sprouts and mix all the listed ingredients in a bowl. (The salt and pepper is 'to taste').
Mix until ingredients hold together. Heat griddle - med-hot. Spray with vegetable oil. Divide sprout mixture into four parts and place each on the griddle. Press each into a pancake-thin patty. Brown lightly on each side. Serve each burger with a pat of butter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper (G,V)

I grew up in the age of margarine and I can still remember how real butter tasted the first time my mother served it. At first, I didn't like it and then, all of a sudden, I thought it was wonderful.

Some foods look like they should not taste good, but if a person can get past the visual turn-off, they might enjoy things like snails, frog legs and even tofu!

Unfortunately, most of us eat things we grew up eating and new foods are not always readily accepted. I was not keen to try hummus the first time it was offered. It looked bland and unremarkable and when I did taste it ... I still thought it was bland and unremarkable.

Many years later, I did try a hummus flavor variety packaged by Trader Joe's. I loved one of the combinations the best - the Roasted Red Pepper. I would eat it first and wish the whole container had been filled with this delectable taste treat.

Recently, I decided to make my own Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. It was easy and the flavor - so amazing! Even better than Trader Joe's.

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper

1 lb chick peas (garbanzos)
Filtered water (optional)
Roasted red peppers
Salt (Himalayan pink optional)
Garlic powder (optional)

Put peas in a med. pot. cover with 6 cups water. Bring to a quick boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for an hour.

Drain water and rinse chick peas. Add 6 cups of water to drained chick peas and simmer gently with lid tilted until peas are tender - about 1.5-2 hours.

Put cooked chick peas in a food processor (Vita Mix). Blend until smooth. Add desired amount of filtered water to allow the peas to be less dense. Remove to a bowl. Add desired amount of roasted red peppers to food processor and blend until smooth. Add to blended chick peas. Salt to taste. Add garlic powder if desired.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hearty Chicken Fajita Soup (G)

Back in the day when I did not know how to make a good pot of soup, I mentioned the following to a friend: "My soups are tasteless and lack something. No matter what I add to them, I usually wind up with a big pot of something I don't really like!"

My friend gave me a hug, "You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you make soup! Start with a canned soup you like and add to it!"

What? Somehow I had always thought using canned soup as a starting point would be 'cheating'. I mulled over the canned-soup idea a lot and finally tried out my friend's suggestion. In truth, it was a good idea and it gave me a way to invigorate my flavor selections.

My soups improved dramatically!

Hearty Chicken Fajita Soup starts with a Campbell's soup:  Chunky Fajita Chicken with Rice and Beans. What comes out of the can looks nothing like what is in the can - but the flavors in the canned soup base are fabulous - it is the starting point!

Hearty Chicken Fajita Soup

1 Can Campbell's Chunky Fajita Chicken with Rice and Beans
1 Chicken breast half (hormone/antibiotic free, free range)
1 Can red beans
2 C water
2 tsp chicken base (I prefer Better Than Bouillon)
Shredded cheese (cheddar or a cheddar blend)
2 C Rice

Prepare rice according to package directions or use a microwave rice cooker. Set aside. In a pot or electric skillet, add 2 C water and heat to a simmer - add chicken base. Stir until blended. Slice chicken breast in half lengthwise and add to water. Cover pot and simmer for 10 min. Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add back to water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add soup and beans. Simmer until soup is hot and chicken is cooked through.

Put 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl; spoon soup on top of rice. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tomato Chicken Soup with Lime, (G)

Everyone I know loves soup! Whether it is a small cup or a hearty bowlful, soup means comfort, warmth and, usually - vitamins. Many soups are created from 'this and that' items hiding in the back corners of one's refrigerator. I have created soups because I craved a certain flavor or food or when I wanted to replicate a certain restaurant menu item. On the other hand, there are those wonderful family favorites like:

 1. Ham and Split Pea Soup

2.  'Lentil Vegetable Dish'

Whatever the deciding factor, don't give up on making your own soup!

 Featured soup has a very 'south of the border' flavor.

Tomato Chicken Soup with Lime

2 C fragrant rice
Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large sweet onion, diced
Pepper blend
3-4 boneless chicken thighs, no hormone, no antibiotic, free-range
1 can diced tomatoes with chipotle
1 small can gree chilies
4 C chicken stock
Cilantro, (I use a cilantro paste from a tube - find it in the produce section)
Juice from 1 large lime
Shredded sharp cheddar (optional)
Tostada shells, broken up (optional)
Cook rice and set aside.
Preheat a large dutch oven over med/high heat. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot - add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add sliced garlic; continue to cook. Stir occasionally until mixture is golden. Remove to a plate.
Add 1-2 T olive oil and place chicken thighs in the pan so they are not touching each other. Brown chicken on each side, 4-5 min. (You will have to lift the thighs from time to time to keep them from sticking to the pan bottom).
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, onion mixture, chilies and pepper blend. Turn heat down to a simmer and with the lid partially on, cook for 90 min. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and pull the meat apart with a fork to shred it. Add meat back to the tomato mixture. Stir in the cilantro paste and lime juice and blend evenly. Taste and add salt to taste.
Put 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and ladle hot soup over it. Sprinkle the top of the soup with sharp cheddar shreds. Serve with crushed tostada shells. Serves 4.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pineapple-lime Refresher (G, V)

Sometimes a recipe comes to me in the form of a total surprise. I might be on the trail of an  delicious food item and, because of extensive Googling - become lost in a maze of unrelated, but fascinating recipes.

The Pineapple-lime Refesher is a 'maze-find' which I have modified. It is a wonderful beverage and is easy to prepare. Pineapple-lime Refesher can be made for one or two people or a crowd. I love it the year round! Gluten-free and vegetarian.

Pineapple-lime Refresher
2 C cut up fresh pineapple
1 1/4 C cold water
1 T Sugar
Juice from one lime
Fresh pineapple spears (optional)
Combine first four ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Process until smooth.
Strain mixture into two glasses, discard fibrous solids.
Add ice and garnish with pineapple spears. Makes two servings. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lentil Vegetable Dish, (G, V option)

Lentils! If you eat them and love them - good for you. If you don't know about lentils, it is well worth the effort to get to know them.

To get you started, know this: lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and they help manage blood-sugar disorders because lentils help prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide significant amounts of the following: B-vitamins and protein - and NO fat.You might wonder if the calorie numbers of this tasty legume outweigh the benefits of the lentils' nutrition. They don't!

 A whole cup of cooked lentils contains under 250 calories.

I love lentils for their mild flavor, short cooking time and comfort-food appeal. Lentils can be combined with many vegetables, herbs and spices to allow for creative recipe expression.

Lentil Vegetable Dish is a great way to learn to cook with lentils. Besides the great flavors and healthy ingredients, the aroma of the sauteed cumin and onion is like culinary perfume!

Lentil Vegetable Dish
1 C lentils ( Split -green, red, black and/or a combination of lentils)
4 C water
1/2 tsp Hymalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
Olive oil
Ground cumin
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Pepper blend
1-2 carrots, cleaned and chopped
1 T chicken base (optional)
Rinse lentils and in a large pot, combine with water, salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer - partially covered - for 10-15 minutes.
In a large saucpan, heat oil over med heat. Add cumin, carrots and onion. Cook and stir until onion begins to brown. The aroma will be amazing! Continue to cook for about 5 minutes total. Add garlic and pepper blend. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir the carrot, onion, garlic mixture into the lentils. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until the lentils are very soft - 10-15 min more.
Add *chicken base. Blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings. *(If you do not use the chicken base, add more salt as desired).
Serve over fragrant rice.