Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rescue your Berries!

Are you ever frustrated after you pay $4.99 for a package of berries only to get them home and they are moldy?  I really thought it was just me, or where I was buying my berries, but then a friend of mine gave me the best tip!  I am so excited to share with you another wonderful use of my favorite cleaning device and salad dressing...Vinegar!  I switched to vinegar as a cleaning agent about 6 months ago and I have been really happy with it.  I dislike the scent of all the other synthetic cleaners and I can only imagine how harmful it is for your health.  I am glad to know I can use vinegar to preserve my berries as well.

Here is how you do it:

1 part Vinegar (Apple Cider is best) to 10 Parts Water.  Rinse the berries with your vinegar mixture and the vinegar will kill all the Mold Spores and bacteria that ruins your precious berries.

Hope you try out this fabulous tip!  I look forward to hearing any tips you all have!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Favorite Fall Flavor

When the leaves start to turn and the summer heat begins to fade, I get so excited for everything pumpkin!  Savory or sweet, pumpkin tops the list of my favorite flavors!  I am willing to try anything that promises to be rich with pumpkin goodness.  

What does pumpkin pair best with you ask?  Anything really.  Using pumpkin in a savory manner may be a bit trickier, but it is wonderful in pasta and breads.  The rich fall flavor of pumpkin is the perfect accompaniment to any wonderful meal!  I thought these adorable orange biscuits were the 
cutest way incorporate pumpkin into any meal.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Biscuits
Inspired by Cooking Light
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut up into pieces
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combing flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  With your hands or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.  Chill for 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine buttermilk and honey.  
Whisk until well blended and then add pumpkin.  

Using the back of a large spoon make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and pour into hole.  Fold in flour with a spatula.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, dough will be very moist. and knead about 4-5 times using flour as needed.  Roll dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick.  Fold dough in thirds (like paper to put in an envelope).  Roll dough out again, sprinkle with flour and fold again as before.  Roll dough into a 3/4 inch thickness.  

Cut dough with a 1 3/4 inch round cookie cutter to form 14 biscuits.  Place the biscuits, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  With a pastry brush, brush each biscuit with some maple syrup.  Bake for 14 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

Stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes this season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Asian Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Relish

 You will love this spin on traditional turkey burgers.  This recipe mixes a regular old turkey burger with all the bold Asian flavors that your taste buds love!  The creamy aioli and crisp cucumber salad are a perfect compliment as well!  Happy Thursday!
 Asian Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Relish
1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
1 Tbs. Chili Garlic Sauce
2 Tbs. Hoisen Sauce
2 Scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Red Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Carrots, minced
Salt and Pepper
4 Hamburger Buns

Chili-Garlic Aioli
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. Chili Garlic Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cucumber Salad "Relish"
1 large Japanese Cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Sugar
sesame seeds

Combine cucumber, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl to marinate.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  Put in refrigerator.

Preheat grill.  In a large bowl mix ground turkey, chili garlic sauce, hoisen sauce, scallions, garlic, cilantro, onion and carrots just till combined.  Form into 4 even patties.  Grill patties for 4 minutes per side or until fully cooked.

Meanwhile, combine yogurt , chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Put aside until burgers are done.  

Assemble a patty on top of each bun, some of the aioli and then some cucumber salad.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Double Points

We all know a great trick or two for getting an easy dinner together quickly, and I bet one of the tricks on the top of your list is a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.  From the deli section of the market to your dinner really is great.  No, it isn't the same as when you make it at home and yes, I am sure if you use this trick too often the magic fades.  My whole strategy is never to use the chicken as it comes, the whole magic for me is creating something else out of it.  Whatever you make is still going to take less time and if you are really creative, you can get a great dinner together and still have time to do something extra you normally wouldn't be able to fit into your day.  

Double points this night because this fab dinner idea got me two rewards: A relaxing bath while the potatoes baked and an extra 30 minutes to an hour to watch some TV that I didn't spend in the kitchen on my very tired feet!  Sound nice to you?  Keep reading.

Triple points if you count that my husband loved it.  I don't know if I should be offended that he talks about this potato more than almost any other thing I make, or just take it as a compliment and move on?  I am going to move on.  A compliment is a compliment!

Stuffed Sweet Potato
Serves 2
2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams, punctured with fork a couple times
1/2 cup Mashed Avocado or Guacamole
1 cup Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake sweet potatoes for  30-40 minutes until tender.  Cut the potatoes vertically and open to expose inside.  Mash the potato a little till fluffy then top with half of each of the remaining ingredients.  Repeat for the other potato.  Serve.  Yes, it was that easy.

Fact Section:  What the grocery stores call "Sweet Potatoes" and "Yams" are actually both Sweet Potatoes.  Yams are another thing all together that you don't normally see at the market.  The purple one with the orange inside has just been dubbed "yam" so that all of us who don't know can distinguish between the two.  I like Yams better for this recipe, the purple one with the orange inside, but in the picture above I used a traditional Sweet Potato (yellow inside). 

Also, this has to be the most nutritious way to eat a potato!  Instead of butter use healthy fat-avocado.  Instead of Sour Cream- use Greek Yogurt.  Instead of Cheese- Use Salsa for more flavor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pico de Gallo

I love making things that the start of the week that I can utilize in other things throughout the week.  Also, my husband loves snacks.  Actually that is an understatement, he LOVES snacks and always appreciates fresh salsa.  It is so quick and easy to make, so why not make it yourself? 

Stay tuned for later this week where I turn this into a main ingredient in the easiest dinner ever!

Pico de Gallo 
5 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup White Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh Lime juice
2 tablespoons Jalapenos, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Classic Minestrone

The first thing I always want when I return from a long trip is something that feels like home!  There is nothing more decadent than eating out every night and having a relaxing vacation, but I always come back just craving a simple, delicious meal.  Nothing fancy, just good food.  

Minestrone is so easy to make, tastes so fresh, is very healthy and keeps great in the refrigerator for days.  I love splitting my big pot into two tupperwares, one for the week and one to freeze.  That way, when I am craving it again or need dinner in a snap, all I have to do is defrost!  What is easier than that?

Classic Minestrone
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks chopped
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
3/4 cup Parmesan, for serving

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute.  Add beans, tomato paste and 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Stir in basil.  Serve with Parmesan cheese.

What are you craving when you come home from vacation??

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Back!

I'm Baaack!  Well, sorry I have been gone!  Brian and I took a wonderful trip down to Cabo for a week and it was wonderful!  We had the absolute best time and the best part about it was that we both came back completely refreshed and relaxed.  It was a much needed vacation, but I am glad to both back to work and back in my own kitchen.  

We ate tons of fabulous food while we are away, but I have to admit I really could not even think about eating any Mexican food or Guacamole for at least a month!  Not to mention we need to go on a Pina Colada-Detox!  Anyway, it is good to be home and there will be more posts to come!

Happy Wednesday!