March 10, 2015

Product Review

Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal

Healthy + Good = Breakfast

I received the Quaker Steel Cut Blueberry & Cranberry Oatmeal to try for free. Each pouch only took 3 minutes. You just have to put the oats into a bowl, add water and microwave. That’s it! It is any easy way to get a healthy breakfast into your family and because the oats are cut instead of rolled, they have a more thick, satisfying whole-grain texture (less gummy). The blueberries & cranberries are real pieces of fruit and taste great. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to try the Brown Sugar & Cinnamon variety.

October 31, 2014

Barley Veggie Chili

With the colder weather coming, I thought you might like to try this dish.  My family really liked this -- and  there is an added bonus -- it is full of good and healthy ingredients!

Barley Veggie Chili

3 Tablespoons olive oil
Barley Veggie Chili
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 pepper, cut into chunks
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup zucchini or squash, cut into chunks
15.25 oz. can of corn, drained
4 oz. can mushrooms
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, not drained
28 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans, undrained
2/3 cup barley, drained and rinsed
6 oz. can tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In medium saucepan, heat oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add carrots, pepper and celery.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Add to slow cooker and add rest of ingredients.  Stir to blend everything.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

October 10, 2014

Let's Talk

Here is an invitation I received for my readers to win a free cookbook!  It is called Sweet and is a handbook for all things dessert from the editors of Food Network Magazine.  One of their favorite partners, Read it Forward would love for you to participate in their "sweet" giveaway -- they have five copies up for grabs and anyone can enter to win by simply following this link.

Good Luck Readers!

September 16, 2014

Freezer Fun

(I did mention this quite a few posts ago but I thought it was worth mentioning again)

Did you know that you can freeze zucchini?  According to the Will It Freeze book by Joan Hood, it is best to use young zucchini about 3 in. (7.5 cm.) long.  Wipe zucchini with damp cloth, trim ends and then cut into 1/2-in. (1 cm.) slices.  You can either blanch for 1 minute, cool in ice cold water for 1 minute, drain and open-freeze or you can saute in butter for 1 minute.  If you use the saute in butter method, cool in fridge afterwards.  Once these processes are done, pack into rigid containers leaving 1/2-1 in. (1-2 cm.) headspace or put in freezer bags.  Can freeze up to one year.

When ready to use, cook the blanched, frozen zucchini in boiling water or thaw in a colander so they remain firm (and not soggy).  You can then prepare the zucchini as your recipe dictates.  If the zucchini was sauteed in butter, finish cooking in butter until tender and golden brown.  

* * * * *

I just used some of the frozen zucchini from my garden this summer in last night's meal -- Vegetarian Chili or many times I'll just  throw some in the pot when I am making soup.  Of course, if you shred the zucchini just freeze in rigid containers or freezer bags (no need to blanch first).  When ready to use, unthaw and use in your bread and muffin recipes.

September 12, 2014

August 17, 2014

Zucchini Chips

I don't know about you, but I've made zucchini every which way lately!  I have so much in the freezer too for future muffins, stews, soups, etc.  Our garden went a little crazy this year!

Anyways, I decided that the last recipe I was going to try this summer was making zucchini chips.  Oh my gosh. . . these were really, really good!  And I'm not a super fan of zucchini to begin with.  You've got to try them and then tell me what you think!

Zucchini Chips
Zucchini Chips

1 zucchini
1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper (about 4 shakes should do!)
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Cut off the ends of your zucchini.  Then slice them thin (no need to peel).   Make sure the slice them thin so they will crisp up.  Place between two sheets of paper towels and blot them.  Then place them on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Lightly brush with olive oil.  Mix salt, pepper and paprika.  Sprinkle on top of zucchini being careful not to use too much.  The chips will curl up as it bakes so a little goes a long way.  Bake for about 2 hours until chips are browned and crisp.  Every oven is different so check periodically.  If you have any left over (!) put in a sealed container to store.

August 6, 2014

Health and Fitness

I've already told you a few health benefits of cherries (go to this link) but here are a few more. . .

Because of the melatonin, cherries can naturally help you get a better night's sleep.

Cherries can also improve your memory due to it containing anthocyanin.

A study in 2012 discovered that people experiencing gout had less of a chance of having an acute gout attack after eating cherries.

Because of the fiber, eating cherries may also improve your cholesterol.

The beta carotene found in cherries helps with eyesight as well.

July 3, 2014

What's For Dinner

What's on your kitchen table this week?  Here is what ours is looking like!

*Barley Veggie Chili, Corn on the Cob, Pears, Rolls

*Honey Garlic Chicken, Rice, Sweet Carrots, Cherries

Honey Garlic Chicken
*Spaghetti with Garden Marinara Sauce, Spinach Salad, Watermelon, Garlic Toast

*Grilled Turkey Sausage, Baked Fries, Corn on the Cob (we still have some corn left to use up!), Blueberries

*Grilled Hamburgers, Potato Salad, Fresh Veggies, Sliced Apples

*Tomato Pie, Italian Salad, Fruit Cup

*We have a BBQ to attend!

 Note:  if the dish is highlighted, the recipe has been posted

June 29, 2014

Patriotic Trifle

Do you need a quick dessert idea for the Fourth?  Here's one that fits that bill and it tastes good too!

Patriotic Trifle
Patriotic Trifle

Angel Food Cake
21 oz. can cherry pie filling
21 oz. can blueberry pie filling
12 oz. Cool Whip
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract

Cut the angel food cake into 1" squares.  Place half in a large trifle bowl (or any large bowl). Spread cherry pie filling over cake.  Mix Cool Whip, sugar and extract together.  Spread half of Cool Whip mixture over cherry pie filling.  Place rest of angel food cake on top.  Then spread blueberry pie filling.  Top with remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  (Although this is one of those desserts that tastes better the next day so allow the flavors to blend!)

Servings:  a lot!

Did You Know. . .

that Thomas Jefferson was the first person to bring a pasta making machine to the United States?  The year was 1789 and it was after he was finished being the ambassador to France.

that the word "noodle" actually comes from the German name of "nudel"?

that in 1848 pasta was made in America for the first time commercially?  Antoine Zerega, a Frenchman, opened his factory in Brooklyn, New York and used one horse to power the machines; he also would dry his pasta by putting it on the roof and letting the sun do the work!

that the top brand of pasta in Italy is Barilla as well as in the United States?

June 28, 2014

Tip of the Day

Would you like to try your hand at making your own noodles? Well, here's a few tips to keep in mind:

*Kneading is crucial.  Make sure the dough is smooth and elastic.

*A dough that is moister will be easier to work with; a drier dough will be more crumbly and can be more frustrating.  Be careful though. . . if it is too wet it will stick to the rollers in a pasta machine.

*Make sure once the dough has been kneaded, it is allowed to rest if that is what the recipe calls for. This usually takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.  Don't skip this part!

*You will have better noodles if you just use egg yolks.  Whole eggs will make your dough a little bit tougher.

June 22, 2014

Daily Deal

Here's a freebie that will go fast. . . Lipton Iced Tea K-cup samples.  Just click on this link.

June 12, 2014

Chicken Noodle Dinner

There's a restaurant I go to and I've always liked their chicken noodle dinner.  I figured I could make it even better at home.  So. . . when my dad gave me some of his homemade noodles I decided to see if I was right.  I was!  This actually turned out really, really good.  I think the key is homemade noodles though -- thanks Dad!

Chicken Noodle Dinner
Chicken Noodle Dinner

3/4 carrot, chopped
3/4 celery, chopped
3/4 onion, chopped
10 Tablespoons butter, divided
5 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
7 cups water
12 oz. cooked chicken, cut into chunks
4  to 5 cups cooked egg noodles (homemade are the best!)

Melt 8 tablespoons butter.  Cook carrots, celery and onion until slightly tender.  In a separate small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Add flour making a roux and cook for 1 minute on low.  Add to vegetable mixture.  In addition, stir in chicken bouillon, parsley, salt, pepper, sage, poultry seasoning and water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down to low and simmer for 40 minutes (?).  Add chicken and noodles and cook until heated through.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

June 11, 2014

Did You Know. . .

that corn tortillas were actually made before even Christ was born, actually about 10,000 years before? They, of course, were made of native corn using the dried kernel.

that flour tortillas weren't created until the Spaniards brought wheat to America?

that there is a Mayan legend that states that tortillas were created by a peasant who wanted to feed his hungry king?

June 7, 2014

Let's Talk

Have any of you ever tried making homemade tortillas?  I've never tried this but somewhere in the near future, I plan on trying it.  I would love to get a tortilla press -- it looks so much easier to use then rolling it out by hand.  Here's a video showing you how. . .