Friday, March 30, 2012

Sunday Dinner April 1st

Curried Carrot Soup
6 - 8 Servings
Ingredients
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ pounds carrots, sliced
4 cups vegetable broth or [water with 1 large bay leaf]
1 orange, juiced
 ½ lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoons curry powder

Method
Heat olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of stockpot. Add onions and cook until soft, but do not brown. Add ginger, garlic and carrots and cook until fragrant, about 3-6 minutes.
Add broth, orange & lemon juice and seasonings. 
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20-30 minutes.
If using bay leaf, remove it from soup and discard.
In batches, puree soup in blender [or in the pot with an immersion blender].

Thin with additional broth as needed and season to taste with salt and pepper

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Mandarin Orange
Servings 4

Ingredients
7 ounces spinach
4 ounces arugula
2 mandarin oranges, peeled, segmented
1 tablespoon sliced almonds or ¼ cup pecans
 For the Dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers

Method
Wash the spinach and arugula and pat dry.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until thoroughly combined.
Arrange the lettuce and arugula on a serving plate, along with the oranges and almonds on top. Drizzle with dressing.

Barbecue Chicken
4 – 6 Servings

Note:  to make chicken healthier, we are going to remove the skin and instead of a sweet ketchup barbecue sauce we are going to make a nice spicy tomato sauce.  This will cut many calories from your chicken.

Ingredients - for The Chicken
   4 lb chicken* cut in fourths or eighths
1 lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon black pepper

Removing the skin:
It's best to use cold chicken, so start the process early enough during the day or the day before you want to cook it.
Place chicken in the freezer long enough for it to become firm but not hard.
Select a sharp knife and cut the wings off of the chicken.
Then slice through the skin down the back of the chicken.
Using a paper towel to improve your grip, pull the skin away from the flesh and discard.


Instructions
Wash chicken pieces and blot dry with a paper tower.
Place chicken in a baking dish and squeeze the lemon juice it all over the pieces.  Slice up the lemon rind and set it aside.
Mix the seasonings together and sprinkle all of it on both sides of the chicken.
Place the lemon slices on top of the chicken.
Cover dish with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate until ready to use.
Can be prepared 24 hours prior to cooking

Renegade Barbecue Sauce

Note:  This is an Antebellum Barbecue Sauce with oil instead of butter, the salt and sugar has been reduced and unsweetened pineapple juice is used instead of water.

Ingredients
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, finely, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced or 1 tablespoon chopped
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups pineapple juice w/o sugar added
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (not black strap)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½  teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions - for the Barbecue Sauce
In a large saucepan, add oil, onion and garlic then sauté on medium low heat until onions are caramel in color, stirring occasionally.
Turn heat down slightly and mix in the tomato paste.
Add vinegar, pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar, molasses and spices.  Allow sauce to cook gently on medium low heat, uncovered thirty minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
If you want a smooth sauce, puree before using.


Preheat grill.  If using a charcoal grill ambers should be ash color not red.
Brush both sides of the chicken with barbecue sauce.
Place chicken on the grill and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on the first side, or until brown.
Turn pieces over and continue cooking for another 5 to 6 minutes.
Brush both sides with more sauce and continue cooking an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove chicken completely off the heat so that it does not dry out.

Note:  Remember the chicken has marinated in the lemon juice and spices therefore, it has been tenderized and requires less cooking time. 
Also note that the chicken will continue to cook internally 5+ minutes after removing it from the heat.
6 Servings
Ingredients
1 ½ pounds butternut squash, cut ½” on the diagonal
1 ½ pounds crook neck [yellow] squash, cut ½” on the diagonal
1 ½ pounds zucchini, cut ½” on the diagonal
½ bunch fresh sage, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Peel butternut squash, slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Slice squash again lengthwise then cut on the diagonal.
Wash then cut the crookneck (yellow) squash and zucchini in half lengthwise and cut on the diagonal.
Remove sage from the stems and rough chop.
Place the butternut squash in a bowl and mix in ½ sage, olive oil, salt and
pepper.
Place on a sheet pan and bake in oven until edges of squash is golden brown.  Approximately 45 minutes.
Combine the crookneck, zucchini squash and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to a sheet pan and bake in oven until edges of squash are golden brown.  Approximately 30 minutes.
Turn once ½ through the cooking time.
Once both pans of squash are done, combine them.
Serve hot

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Top 10 Salty Foods To Avoid in Your Diet

Reposted in part from: http://www.emaxhealth.com
 
If the following list makes you feel like there’s nothing left to eat, don’t despair! Just think natural: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, fresh nuts and seeds, and unprocessed or minimally processed foods are your best and healthiest choices. Season your foods with fresh herbs and spices, lemon and other citrus juices, and natural fruit juices, and you’ll find it much easier to avoid the top 10 salty foods and make every week World Salt Awareness Week.

  1. Breads and rolls. Bread items top the list not so much because they are high in sodium (although many are) but because people tend to eat a lot of them.
  2. Cold cuts and cured meats. These include bologna, hot dogs, ham, salami, and similar foods. One thing that makes these foods doubly hazardous is that they are often used in a sandwich—with bread or rolls.
  3. Pizza. Fresh or frozen, pizza is a haven for salty items, from the bread crust to the sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and other toppings.
  4. Fresh and processed poultry. Some of the more popular items in this category are chicken nuggets, BBQ chicken wings, and fried chicken
  5. Soups. The main culprit in this group is canned soup, and the amount of sodium can vary widely between brands and even within the same type of soup and manufacturer. Read labels carefully.









  1. Cheeseburgers and other sandwiches. Fast food sandwiches are the main characters in this category.
  2. Cheese. Americans love cheese—on sandwiches, pizza, fried as an appetizer, in casseroles and tacos, and on top of chili. There are some low-salt varieties, but beware of serving sizes.
  3. Pasta dishes. Spaghetti and pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and other pasta dishes are havens for sodium, especially the packaged and frozen varieties.
  4. Meat dishes. Meatloaf, roast beef and gravy, and other meat based entrees, especially frozen varieties, are typically loaded with sodium.
  5. Salty snacks. Pretzels, potato chips, popcorn, pork rinds, and other snacks can be found in low-sodium varieties. 


Monday, March 26, 2012

How To Handle Chicken Safely



Reposted from: USDA http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Chicken_from_Farm_To_Table/index.asp#12


  • Fresh Chicken: Chicken is kept cold during distribution to retail stores to prevent the growth of bacteria and to increase its shelf life. Chicken should feel cold to the touch when purchased. Select fresh chicken just before checking out at the register. Put packages of chicken in disposable plastic bags (if available) to contain any leakage which could cross-contaminate cooked foods or produce. Make the grocery your last stop before going home.

    At home, immediately place chicken in a refrigerator that maintains 40 °F. Use it within 1 or 2 days, or freeze it at 0 °F. If kept frozen continuously, it will be safe indefinitely.

    Chicken may be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged. If freezing chicken longer than two months, overwrap the porous store plastic packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a freezer bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to repackage family packs into smaller amounts or freeze the chicken from opened packages.

    Proper wrapping prevents "freezer burn," which appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of food. Cut freezer-burned portions away either before or after cooking the chicken. Heavily freezer-burned products may have to be discarded because they might be too dry or tasteless.

  • Ready-Prepared Chicken: When purchasing fully cooked rotisserie or fast food chicken, be sure it is hot at the time of purchase. Use it within two hours or cut it into several pieces and refrigerate in shallow, covered containers. Eat within 3 to 4 days, either cold or reheated to 165 °F. It is safe to freeze ready-prepared chicken. For best quality, flavor and texture, use it within 4 months.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunday Dinner March 25th

On the Menu

Garlic Ginger Pork Loin Roast
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients
3 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
Juice of 1 large lime or orange (about ¼ cup)
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons spicy mustard or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ½ - 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast

Note To ensure that your meat is done use a thermometer and cook to the recommended temperature.

Method
In a large, zip lock bag; add garlic, onion, lime juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ginger, salt and pepper and squish the bag around to combine the marinade ingredients.
Add the pork loin and turn the bag over and over so the roast is covered with the marinade, squeeze out all the air and seal.
Refrigerate overnight.
Remove roast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature in the bag before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the roast in the pan.
Bake roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes or use a thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Once roast is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil.
Let roast rest 30 minutes before slicing.




Jasmine Rice with Lima Beans and Dill - Vegan
4 Servings
Ingredients
1 cup Jasmine brown rice
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup frozen baby lima beans, rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Method
Rinse rice thoroughly with cold water and strain.
In a medium size pot, add rice, water and bay leaf; bring to a boil and let it boil uncovered for 7 minutes.
Drain rice through a wire mesh strainer reserving cooking liquid and bay leaf then set them both aside.
Return pot to the stove and heat, add the oil, thoroughly drained rice, bay leaf, lima beans, salt, onion and garlic.
Mix ingredients and let it cook approximately 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the reserved liquid; make sure it covers rice by at least 1 inch.  Add more water if necessary.
Bring pot up to a boil, stir then cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and let rice cook 35 minutes undisturbed.
After the 35 minutes has elapsed, remove pot from the heat and let it sit unopened for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove top and gently fold in the fresh dill. 

                                                               8 - 10 Servings
Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, julienne
1 large yellow pepper, julienne
1 large green pepper, julienne
1 large orange pepper, julienne
1 large red onion, julienne
4 - 6 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 large head of cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon garlic, granulated
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Method
In a large sauce pan or wok, add the olive oil, peppers, onions, garlic and1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Saute until onion are translucent.
Add cabbage, granulated garlic, remaining salt, pepper and liquid smoke, mix thoroughly, cover and cook on medium heat 20 minutes mix at least 3 times during the cooking period.
At the end of 20 minutes mix in the parsley and remove from heat.
Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Cabbage should be firm at the end of the cooking period because it will continue cooking from the residual heat and you do not want it to become mushy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Welcome to Spring - Salads

On the Menu
 Black Bean Avocado Spring Salad
8 Servings

Ingredients
2 cups black beans
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
½ bunch scallions cut on the diagonal
1 large jalapeno pepper, deseeded, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 large avocado, diced - How to
1 large mango, diced - How to
For the vinaigrette
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion

Method
If you must use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly in cold water and drain.
Combine beans and all the vegetables /fruit in a large bowl.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over salad.
Mix thoroughly and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Remix salad before serving.

 Asparagus and Arugula Spring Salad
6 - 8 Servings

Ingredients
1 pound slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed
10 ounces arugula
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 ½ ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
For the Vinaigrette Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Method
Preheat oven to 400°F
Whisk the dressing ingredients in small bowl to blend, cover and refrigerate.
Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and re-whisk before using.
Place asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle ¼ cup vinaigrette over and turn to coat, then spread in single layer.  
Roast asparagus until just crisp/tender, about 8 - 12 minutes, depending on size.
Cut asparagus in thirds on the bias.
Combine arugula, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes in large bowl.
Add remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Transfer salad to platter; add shaved cheese.
 8 Servings
Ingredients
6 medium golden beets
1 medium red beet - optional
¼ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
½ bunch Italian [flat leaf] parsley
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced - How to
1 medium red onion, sliced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Method
Preheat oven 350 degrees F
Wash beets thoroughly, and place them in a roasting pan.
Pour water and 1 teaspoon of oil over the beets, toss them around until beets are coated then roast in oven until tender.
Once beets cool, peel and cut into eighths.
Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.
Whisk together vinegar, remaining oil, salt, pepper and garlic pour over beets and mix thoroughly.
Let salad marinate a few hours before serving.





Black Bean Avocado Spring Salad

 Black Bean Avocado Spring Salad
8 Servings

Ingredients
2 cups black beans
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
½ bunch scallions cut on the diagonal
1 large jalapeno pepper, deseeded, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 large avocado, diced - How to
1 large mango, diced - How to
For the vinaigrette
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion

Method
If you must use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly in cold water and drain.
Combine beans and all the vegetables /fruit in a large bowl.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over salad.
Mix thoroughly and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Remix salad before serving.

Asparagus and Arugula Spring Salad

 Asparagus and Arugula Spring Salad
6 - 8 Servings

Ingredients
1 pound slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed
10 ounces arugula
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 ½ ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
For the Vinaigrette Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Method
Preheat oven to 400°F
Whisk the dressing ingredients in small bowl to blend, cover and refrigerate.
Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and re-whisk before using.
Place asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle ¼ cup vinaigrette over and turn to coat, then spread in single layer.  
Roast asparagus until just crisp/tender, about 8 - 12 minutes, depending on size.
Cut asparagus in thirds on the bias.
Combine arugula, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes in large bowl.
Add remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Transfer salad to platter; add shaved cheese. 

Golden Beet Salad

Golden Beet Salad
8 Servings
Ingredients
6 medium golden beets
1 medium red beet - optional
¼ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
½ bunch Italian [flat leaf] parsley
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced - How to
1 medium red onion, sliced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Method
Preheat oven 350 degrees F
Wash beets thoroughly, and place them in a roasting pan.
Pour water and 1 teaspoon of oil over the beets, toss them around until beets are coated then roast in oven until tender.
Once beets cool, peel and cut into eighths.
Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.
Whisk together vinegar, remaining oil, salt, pepper and garlic pour over beets and mix thoroughly.
Let salad marinate a few hours before serving.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are You Following the 7 Steps to Heart Health?

From Diet to Exercise to Cholesterol, American Heart Association Identifies 7 Factors for Cardiovascular Health.

  1. Never smoked or quit more than a year ago.
  2. A healthy body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat determined by a formula using weight and height.
  3. Physical activity, and the more the better. The new measure says at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is necessary for ideal health, or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous physical activity.
  4. Blood pressure below 120/80.
  5. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 milligrams/deciliter, a fasting measure of blood sugar level.
  6. Total cholesterol of less than 200 milligrams/deciliter.
  7. Eating a healthy diet. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet are followed. For a 2,000-calorie diet, these include:
a.    At least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day
b.    At least two 3.5 oz. servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish
c.    At least three 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains per day
d.    Limiting sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams a day
e.    Drinking no more than 36 ounces weekly of sugar-sweetened beverages

The AHA hopes the seven factors could improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20% by the year 2020, and also reduce deaths from cardiovascular-related diseases and strokes by 20%.