Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!



                                                         Happy New Year Everybody!

Spicy Pop Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Twice-Baked New Potatoes


Dinner Tonight: Spicy Pop Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Twice-Baked New Potatoes






Ending 2012 with a bang for dinner! Prepared a couple of new recipes for dinner, Spicy Pop Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Twice-Baked New Potatoes. Sounds good, tasted even better! Both recipes are based on recipes from The Food Networks Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman). If your looking for two delicious recipes look no further!

I made substitutions from the original recipes where I could to cut calories and carbs. For the Spicy Pop Pulled Pork I used Diet Dr. Pepper, Splenda Brown Sugar, and also added Garlic to the recipe. Then on the Twice-Baked New Potatoes I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat the Potatoes with, Philly Fat Free Cream Cheese, and Daisy Reduced Fat Sour Cream.


I put the Pork in the oven about 11:00 am and by 2:00 pm the aroma had filled the kitchen! Interesting recipe. You have your Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt), Onions, Garlic, Diet Dr. Pepper, 1 can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Splenda Brown Sugar, and Sea Salt and Pepper. Is that a combination of Ingredients or not! But it all works, It tasted incredible! The flavor was spot on. You had heat from the Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce and then the sweetness of Brown Sugar and Diet Dr. Pepper. After 6 hours I removed the Pork Shoulder, it was very tender, and used 2 forks to shred it and then put it back in it's own juices until we were ready to make our sandwiches. Served them on a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun.


Ready to bake for a second time


Now for the Twice-Baked New Potatoes. I purchased some medium sized New Potatoes at Kroger early this morning. I first preheated the oven to 375 degrees F. I then drizzled the Potatoes with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and tossed them to coat. Roasted them until the potatoes were tender and the skin was slightly crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Then using a spoon to remove the insides, leaving a small margin of potato intact. To the scooped out potatoes, add the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mashed until the mixture was totally smooth. Give it a taste and add more salt if necessary. I then scooped the mixture into the potato shells. At this point you can cover and refrigerate them until dinnertime. Before rebaking I topped each one with Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese then when you're ready, bake the potatoes in the oven until golden brown on top. The potatoes came out creamy and delicious! The Pork along with these Potatoes makes one delicious dinner! For dessert much later a Jello Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Pudding topped with Cool Whip Free.

 

Just added the Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
 


Spicy Pop Pulled Pork



Ingredients:


1 Onions, peeled and quartered
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 - 2 1/2 lb. Pork Butt (pork shoulder roast)
Sea Salt and freshly Gound Black Peppercorn
One 11-ounce can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
2 cans Pop (I use Diet Dr Pepper)
4 packed tablespoons Brown Sugar or 2 Tbls Splenda Brown Sugar


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Start by placing the onion quarters and garlic cloves in the bottom of a Dutch Oven. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper, and then place on top of the onions. Pour the chipotle peppers over the top, and then crack open the cans of pop and pour them over the whole thing. Add the brown sugar to the liquid and stir.

Cover the Dutch Oven, put in the oven and cook for at least 6 hours, flipping the roast 2 or 3 times during the cooking process. When it's done, the pork will be dark and weird and wonderful. It'll also be fork-tender. That's when you know it's done.

Remove the meat from the Dutch Oven and shred completely. Then return the meat to the Dutch Oven and keep in the juice until you need it. Divine!


Twice-Baked New Potatoes

Ingredients:


12 new potatoes
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces Philly Fat Free Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Daisy Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh Chives
1 Clove Garlic, pressed
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and toss them to coat. Roast until the potatoes are tender and the skin is slightly crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Use a spoon or small scoop to remove the insides, leaving a small margin of potato intact.

To the scooped out potatoes, add the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until the mixture is totally smooth. Give it a taste and add more salt if necessary.

Scoop the mixture into the potato shells. At this point you can cover and refrigerate them until dinnertime. When you're ready, bake the potatoes in the oven until golden brown on top.


* I topped my Potatoes with Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese before rebaking them. *



http://www.foodnetwork.com/ree-drummond/index.html


http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/spicy-pop-pulled-pork-recipe/index.html


http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/twice-baked-new-potatoes-recipe/index.html

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

To tenderize a tough steak, salt it generously for an hour before cooking to break up tough proteins. Then just wipe off the salt before cooking.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs w/ Potatoes Au Gratin, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread


Dinner Tonight: Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs w/ Potatoes Au Gratin, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread





Cold outside but warmed it up on the inside! I prepared Crock Pot Baby Back Ribs w/ Potatoes Au Gratin, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread. I love fixing these Ribs! The night before I cut the rack in half so they fits in the Crock Pot. I then rub in JB's Fat Boy Haugwaush BBQ Sauce and place them in Hefty Zip Lock Bag, then into the fridge to marinate all night. JB's Fat Boy has several sauces and rubs for all meats. I've use them all and purchase them at a local Kroger. So back to the ribs. Next day I line my Crock Pot with a Reynolds Crock Pot Bag. Another fantastic invention! No scrubbing the Crock Pot with these after using just throw the bag away and wipe out the Crock Pot of any moisture, clean up done! I spray the bag with Pam Spray and add my ribs to the Crock Pot.


I just tighten the lid, turn it on low, and I'm done. I cook them anywhere from 7 - 8 hours, I cooked these for dinner tonight for 8 hours. After about 5 hours I poured about a half bottle of the BBQ Sauce over top the ribs. The aroma through out the day is amazing! The only hard part is trying to get the ribs out whole, their so tender they fall apart. No knives needed, the bones just pull out. Fantastic flavor, moist and tender, and very easy to prepare.


For side dishes i prepared a couple of cans of Del Monte Low Sodium Cut Green Beans (the family could live on Green Beans!), Idahoan Au Gratin Homestyle Casserole, and Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. I left the Idahoan Product info and instructions at the end of the post. For dessert is the same thing we had last night, because it was so good! Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Bob Evan's Glazed Apples.
 

Idahoan Au Gratin Homestyle Casserole

Product Description
There’s no better way to start a savory Au Gratin homestyle casserole than with world-famous Idaho® potatoes, which is why you’ll taste only 100% grown-in-Idaho potatoes in this rich & cheesy side. For family meals or for special occasions, this cheesy, delicious dish is sure to please.

Preparation Instruction
Oven Directions
Best for Golden Browning

PREHEAT oven to 450°F. COMBINE potatoes and sauce mix in 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
STIR in 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine or butter with whisk.
BAKE uncovered for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender (sauce will thicken slightly when cooling).
Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.
BAKING NOTES: To prepare 2 casseroles at once, double all ingredients, increase baking dish size accordingly, and bake about 30 min. To bake potatoes and roast meat at the same time, bake at 375°F for about 45 min; 350°F for about 50 min; or 325°F for about 60 min.

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving Unprepared Prepared
Calories 100 160
Total Fat 1g* 2% 9%
Saturated Fat 0g 0% 8%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0% 2%
Sodium 590mg 25% 28%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7% 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4% 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g

http://www.idahoan.com/products/retail/augratin-homestyle-casserole

Kitchen Hint of the Day

When storing a cooked roast in the fridge, place it back into it's own juices whenever possible. When reheating sliced meats, place it in a casserole dish with lettuce leaves between each of the slices. The lettuce provides just the right amount of moisture to keep the slices from drying out.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pan Sauteed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs w/ Cornbread


Dinner Tonight: Pan Sauteed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs w/ Cornbread





Another snow passed through over night and left us with another 2" or 3" of snow. Once again the neighborhood pulls together and streets and drive-ways are cleared by 10:00 this morning! Its cold but absolutely beautiful outside. The snow has every limb of the trees draped in snow.


For dinner I prepared a comfort food classic, Pan Sauteed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs.  I Just love these one pan wonder meals! Chicken, Herbs, Potatoes, and Carrots you know it has to be good! To prepare just Pre - Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then Season the chicken as desired and Coat with the flour. Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat then add the chicken and cook until it’s well browned on all sides.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and add the onions and potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, chicken stock, lemon juice and oregano  and heat to boil and return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet. Time for the oven, Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme or any other fresh Herb. Cornbread goes real well with this meal!




The Chicken comes out super moist and with a fantastic flavor! The seasoning, Herbs, and the lemon Juice gives the Chicken that perfect taste. The same with the Vegetables, Carrots and Potatoes burst with flavor.  The full recipe is at the end of the post. For dessert later a bowl of Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Bob Evan's Glazed Apples.



Pan Sauteed Chicken With Vegetables And Herbs

Ingredients;
4 Bone-In Chicken Breast halves (I used boneless Chicken Breasts)
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
8 Ounces fresh Baby Carrots (about 16)
1 Pound New Potatoes, cut in quarters
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 1/2 Cups Swanson Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Chopped fresh Oregano Leaves
1 Tablespoon Chopped fresh Thyme Leaves
1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary


Directions:

* Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
* Season the chicken as desired.
* Coat with the flour.
* Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
* Add the chicken and cook until it’s well browned on all sides.
* Remove the chicken from the skillet.
* Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
* Add the carrots, chicken stock, lemon juice, spices/herbs (Except Thyme),  and oregano and heat to boil.
* Return the chicken to the skillet.
* Cover the skillet.
* Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
* Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
* Sprinkle with the thyme or any other fresh herb.

Another Birthday and Another Year Ahead of Cancer!

Today is my Birthday, 54, and it's always an extra personal celebration being a Cancer Survivor! To see another Birthday means I'm still here and staying ahead of cancer. It's my dream before it's my time to go to hear the Medical world announce that they have finally found a cure for Cancer! This coming July (2013), if all goes well, will be my 9 year anniversary of being Cancer Free. I still see my Oncologist every 3 months, Scans and X-Rays every 6 months, and my Dermatologist 2 times a year. Prevention, Prevention, Prevention! It's huge for all Cancer Survivors to stay on top of it. I lost my left leg to Melanoma cancer back in 2001 and then had to fight again afterwards. Then I was involved in a Cancer Trial at University of Pittsburgh for one year along with 93 others. I was told sometime back that I was the only one to have survived due to the trial and whole lot of prayer from family and friends. A prosthetic leg, unfortunately, never worked due to the fact my leg was cut so short (Just under my left hip). But I have accepted being an amputee and life in a wheelchair. And through it all I feel very blessed! So Happy Birthday to me and very proud to say I'm a Cancer Survivor!

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

Let the roast stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you carve it. This gives the juices time to be reabsorbed and distributed evenly. When you cook a roast, the juices tend to be forced to the center as those near the surface are evaporated by the heat. Resting the roast also allows the meat to firm up a bit, making it easier to carve into thinner slices. Meat gets tougher as it cools on your plate, because the collagen, which has turned to a tender gelatin, thickens. The best way to eliminate that problem is to be sure you serve steak on a warmed or metal plate. After carving a roast, keep it in a warmer or put back in the oven and leave the door ajar.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fried Ocean Perch w/ Loaded Potato Casserole and Cream Style White Corn


Today's Menu: Fried Ocean Perch w/ Loaded Potato Casserole and Cream Style White Corn





It was a cold but beautiful day out. About 3" - 4" of snow on the ground and another 2" - 4" due tonight. Our streets were all cleared and dry so it was great to be able to get out for a spin around the neighborhood. I'm blessed with some great neighbors. Not being able to do a lot of things outside around the house, like shoveling snow and such, I never have to worry about it as my neighbors are always there to lend a hand! And really our entire neighborhood is like that, always there to help each other out.

So after spending some time outside today i was ready for a good meal. Tonight I prepared  Fried Ocean Perch w/ Loaded Potato Casserole and Cream Style White Corn. I purchased the Ocean perch last week at Meijer Seafood Dept. i love perch whether it's fresh water or the Seafood variety, which is what I had tonight. To prepare it was very easy. After rinsing it and patting the fillets dry I seasoned them with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper. I then pan fried them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 3 - 4 minutes per side, until golden brown on all sides. These came out delicious! I made extra so there will be some awesome Fish Sandwiches for lunch tomorrow!


For side dishes to go with the Perch I prepared Idahoan Loaded Pototato Homestyle Casserole. I love all the Idahoan Potato Products. A very quick and easy way to prepare some delicious Potato Dishes. I also prepared a single serving can of Del Monte Cream Style Sweet White Corn. For dessert/snack later some Cheese and Turkey Pepperoni Slices on Ritz Whole Grain Crackers. The Cheese is a new one I'm trying, Tilamook Extra Sharp cheddar. I purchased this at a local Super Kroger Cheese Dept. They always have small baskets of different Cheese priced at under $5, that way you can sample them before buying a block of it. I sliced it up earlier and sampled it and it's one fine Cheddar! My favorites are Extra Sharp Cheese and this one is Extra Sharp. I've product info below on Idahoan Products and the Tilamook Cheddar.




Idahoan Loaded Baked Homestyle casserole


There’s no better way to start a savory Loaded Baked® homestyle casserole than with world-famous Idaho® potatoes, which is why you’ll taste only 100% grown-in-Idaho potatoes in this rich, cheesy, bacony side. For family meals or for special occasions, this cheesy, delicious dish is sure to please.  

Oven Directions

Best for Golden Browning

1 - PREHEAT oven to 450°F. COMBINE potatoes and sauce mix in 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
2 - STIR in 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine or butter with whisk.
3 - BAKE uncovered for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender (sauce will thicken slightly when cooling).
4 - Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before serving.
BAKING NOTES: To prepare 2 casseroles at once, double all ingredients, increase baking dish size accordingly, and bake about 30 min. To bake potatoes and roast meat at the same time, bake at 375°F for about 45 min; 350°F for about 50 min; or 325°F for about 60 min.

Stove Top Directions

1 - HEAT potatoes and sauce mix, 1 1/2 cups hot water, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine or butter to boil in 2-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to avoid boilover.
2 - REDUCE HEAT, then COVER and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and sauce reaches desired consistency (sauce will thicken slightly when cooling).
3 - Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes before serving.


Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving Unprepared Prepared
Calories                100                150
Calories from fat 10                50
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g*                2%                9%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%               8%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%                2%
Sodium 640mg               27%               30%
Total Carbohydrates 22g  7%                8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%                4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 2g

http://www.idahoan.com/products/retail/loaded-baked-homestyle-casserole/



Tilamook Extra Sharp Cheddar

Oregon's famed extra sharp cheddar, from a 99 year old farmer owned cooperative. Made of pasteurized cows milk and aged over 15 months for a complex balance of zesty bite and rich, buttery finish. Grate it, or melt it, or serve a big hunk to friends with a good lager and crunchy larqueta almonds.

Tillamook Cheese tastes best at room temperature. Cut your serving size and let it sit out for about an hour. We know it's hard, but it's worth the wait

http://www.tillamook.com/


Kitchen Hint of the Day!

The two methods used for cooking a roast are dry heat (without liquid) or moist heat (with liquid). When the meat is covered, steam is trapped in the pan. Many cooks use this method to prevent roasts from drying out. Dry heat (with the lid off) will brown the outside of the roast, and if you wish, you can baste it every 15 minutes to provide the desired moisture. If you go the moist heat route, lower the temperature by 25 degrees, and make sure to turn the roast or cook it on a rack so it's underside won't get mushy.

Lucky Foods for the New Year


Lucky Foods for the New Year
Our guide to feasting for future fortune
By Lauren Salkeld


For many, January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what's consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes. Whether you want to create a full menu of lucky foods or just supplement your meal, we have an assortment of recipes, guaranteed to make for a happy new year, or at the very least a happy belly.

Grapes
New Year's revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

Cooked Greens
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year's in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It's widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one's fortune next year.

Legumes
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.

In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin' john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.

Pork
The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.

Fish
Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year's table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church's policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalà, or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year's. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

Cakes, Etc.
Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year's around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In certain cultures, it's customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico's rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.
Cakes aren't always round. In Scotland, where New Year's is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called "first footing," in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The "first footer" often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.

What Not to Eat
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.
Now that you know what to eat, there's one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it's customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it's important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don't get too greedy—or the first place you'll be going in the new year is the gym.


Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods#ixzz2GMRzRsCi

New Year’s Day Tradition – Black-Eyed Peas and Greens


New Year’s Day Tradition – Black-Eyed Peas and Greens


On New Year’s Day, you’ll find people throughout the South eating black-eyed peas and greens. Many former Southerners have spread this tradition to other parts of the country. If this tradition is new to you, you probably have lots of questions – how did the tradition start? What do the foods symbolize? How do I cook them? Here are some answers to get you started.

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. According to a portion of the Talmud written around 500 A.D., it was Jewish custom at the time to eat black-eyed peas in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s possible that the tradition arrived in America with Sephardic Jews, who first arrived in Georgia in the 1730s. Common folklore tells that the tradition spread after the Civil War. The Northern Army considered the black-eyed peas to be suitable only for animals, so they didn’t carry away or destroy the crops.

There are a variety of explanations for the symbolism of black-eyed peas. One is that eating these simple legumes demonstrates humility and a lack of vanity. The humble nature of the black-eyed pea is echoed by the old expression, “Eat poor on New Year's, and eat fat the rest of the year.” Another explanation is that dried beans loosely resemble coins. Yet another is that because dried beans greatly expand in volume, they symbolize expanding wealth.

Clearly, a lot of people closely associate good luck with monetary gain. That’s where the greens come in (in case I need to spell it out, green is the color of U.S. currency). Any green will do, but the most common choices are collard, turnip, or mustard greens. Golden cornbread is often added to the Southern New Year’s meal, and a well-known phrase is, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” Pork is a staple of just about every Southern meal, so it’s usually cooked with the black-eyed peas. The pork seems to be there for flavor as opposed to symbolism, but some theorize that because pigs root forward when foraging, the pork represents positive motion.

There’s no single official way to prepare your black-eyed peas on January 1. One popular dish is Hoppin’ John, which is a mixture of black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon or ham hock. Some people throw a dime into the pot and believe that whoever winds up with the dime in their serving gets extra good luck for the coming year.

http://americanfood.about.com/od/resourcesadditionalinfo/a/New-Years-Day-Tradition-Black-Eyed-Peas.htm

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Turkey Pepperoni and Turkey Sausage Artisan Pizza


Today's Menu: Turkey Pepperoni, Turkey Sausage, Mushrooms, Black Olive,  Artisan Pizza




Pizza, Pizza tonight for dinner! I was at Walmart earlier today and picked up some Jello and next to that was Rolls and Biscuits and such. I noticed Pillsbury had a Artisan Pizza Crust that has 16 grams of Whole Grain in it. So I purchased a can of that. So Pizza was the Menu tonight. It's the first time I've tried it and it came out fantastic!


To prepare it just preheat your oven on 400 degrees. Use a medium to large cookie sheet pan and spray it lightly with Pam. Then just open the can and spared the crust. The good thing about this is you make your crust as thin or as thick you want. Prebake it for 8 minutes and then add your toppings and put it back in the oven 8 - 10 more minutes until the crust is golden brown. Just a note; precook any of the toppings that need to be cooked, like any Sausage, before adding it as a topping.




My toppings were Hormel Turkey Pepperoni, Jennie O Hot Lean Breakfast Sausage, Black Olives, Mushrooms (Sliced baby Bella), Sargento Shredded Mozzarella and Provolone Cheese, and Ragu Homestyle Pizza Sauce. As I said earlier the crust is fantastic! It bakes up to a golden brown with the outer crust nice and crunchy. The best homemade crust I've fixed. So I now have a new crust for my Pizzas! I left the Pillsbury product description and web site link at the end of the post. For dessert later a Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream Bar.  



Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust

Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust: A Whole New Fresh!
Get a taste of artisan-fresh and enjoy the benefits of 16 grams of whole grain per serving. It's perfect for cradling your favorite seasonal veggies and other delish toppings.
Make it fast, fresh and flavorful with Pillsbury’s new whole grain crust.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 0.17 crust (65.2 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.0g8%
Saturated Fat 1.0g5%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 370mg15%
Total Carbohydrates 30.0g10%
Dietary Fiber 2.0g8%
Sugars 3.0g
Protein 6.0g

http://www.pillsbury.com/Products/Pizza-Crust/Artisan-Pizza-Crust



One of America's Favorites - The Sweet Potato

Sweet potato in flower

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally, but many are actually poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum).
Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often mislabeled a "yam" in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" to also be labeled as "sweet potatoes".
The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatas are grown as ornamental plants; the name "tuberous morning glory" may be used in a horticultural context.
The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sized sympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.
In certain parts of the world, sweet potatoes are locally known by other names, including: camote, kamote, goguma, man thet, ubi jalar, ubi keledek, shakarkand, satsuma imo, batata or el boniato. In New Zealand English, the Māori term kūmara is commonly used.


The center of origin and domestication of sweet potato is thought to be either in Central America or South America.[6] In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago.
In South America, Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8000 BC have been found.
Austin (1988) postulated that the center of origin of I. batatas was between the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The 'cultigen' had most likely been spread by local people to the Caribbean and South America by 2500 BC. Zhang et al. (1998) provided strong supporting evidence that the geographical zone postulated by Austin is the primary center of diversity. The much lower molecular diversity found in Peru–Ecuador suggests this region should be considered as secondary center of sweet potato diversity.
The sweet potato was also grown before western exploration in Polynesia. Sweet potato has been radiocarbon-dated in the Cook Islands to 1000 AD, and current thinking is that it was brought to central Polynesia around 700 AD, possibly by Polynesians who had traveled to South America and back, and spread across Polynesia to Hawaii and New Zealand from there. It is possible, however, that South Americans brought it to the Pacific, although this is unlikely as it was the Polynesians who had a strong maritime tradition and not the native South Americans. The theory that the plant could spread by floating seeds across the ocean is not supported by evidence. Another point is that the sweet potato in Polynesia is the cultivated Ipomoea batatas, which is generally spread by vine cuttings and not by seeds.
Sweet potatoes are now cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, world production in 2004 was 127 million tonnes. The majority comes from China, with a production of 105 million tonnes from 49,000 km2. About half of the Chinese crop is used for livestock feed.
Per capita production is greatest in countries where sweet potatoes are a staple of human consumption, led by Papua New Guinea at about 500 kg per person per year, the Solomon Islands at 160 kg, Burundi and Rwanda at 130 kg and Uganda at 100 kg.
About 20,000 tonnes (20,000,000 kg) of sweet potatoes are produced annually in New Zealand, where sweet potato is known by its Māori name, kūmara. It was a staple food for Māori before European contact.
In the U.S., North Carolina, the leading state in sweet potato production, provided 38.5% of the 2007 U.S. production of sweet potatoes. In 2007, California produced 23%, Louisiana 15.9%, and Mississippi 19% of the U.S. total.
The town of Opelousas, Louisiana's "Yambilee" has been celebrated every October since 1946. The Frenchmen who established the first settlement at Opelousas in 1760 discovered the native Atakapa, Alabama, Choctaw, and Appalousa tribes eating sweet potatoes. The sweet potato became a favorite food item of the French and Spanish settlers and thus continued a long history of cultivation in Louisiana.
Mississippi has about 150 farmers growing sweet potatoes on about 8,200 acres (30 km2), contributing $19 million dollars to the state's economy. Mississippi's top five sweet potato producing counties are Calhoun, Chickasaw, Pontotoc, Yalobusha, and Panola. The National Sweet Potato Festival is held annually the entire first week in November in Vardaman (Calhoun County), which proclaims itself as "The Sweet Potato Capital".
The town of Benton, Kentucky, celebrates the sweet potato annually with its Tater Day Festival on the first Monday of April. The town of Gleason, Tennessee, celebrates the sweet potato on Labor Day weekend with its Tater Town Special.

Sweet potato roots

The plant does not tolerate frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F), abundant sunshine and warm nights. Annual rainfalls of 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) are considered most suitable, with a minimum of 500 mm (20 in) in the growing season. The crop is sensitive to drought at the tuber initiation stage 50–60 days after planting, and it is not tolerant to water-logging, as it may cause tuber rots and reduce growth of storage roots if aeration is poor.
Depending on the cultivar and conditions, tuberous roots mature in two to nine months. With care, early-maturing cultivars can be grown as an annual summer crop in temperate areas, such as the northern United States. Sweet potatoes rarely flower when the daylight is longer than 11 hours, as is normal outside of the tropics. They are mostly propagated by stem or root cuttings or by adventitious roots called "slips" that grow out from the tuberous roots during storage. True seeds are used for breeding only.
They grow well in many farming conditions and have few natural enemies; pesticides are rarely needed. Sweet potatoes are grown on a variety of soils, but well-drained, light- and medium-textured soils with a pH range of 4.5-7.0 are more favorable for the plant. They can be grown in poor soils with little fertilizer. However, sweet potatoes are very sensitive to aluminum toxicity and will die about six weeks after planting if lime is not applied at planting in this type of soil. Because they are sown by vine cuttings rather than seeds, sweet potatoes are relatively easy to plant. Because the rapidly growing vines shade out weeds, little weeding is needed. In the tropics, the crop can be maintained in the ground and harvested as needed for market or home consumption. In temperate regions, sweet potatoes are most often grown on larger farms and are harvested before first frosts.

Sweet potatoes very early became popular in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, spreading from Polynesia to Japan and the Philippines. One reason is that they were a reliable crop in cases of crop failure of other staple foods because of typhoon flooding. They are featured in many favorite dishes in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and other island nations. Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and some other Asian countries are also large sweet potato growers. Sweet potato, also known as kelang in Tulu is part of Udupi cusine. Uganda (the third largest grower after Indonesia), Rwanda, and some other African countries also grow a large crop which is an important part of their peoples' diets. North and South America, the original home of the sweet potato, together grow less than three percent of the world's supply. Europe has only a very small sweet potato production, mostly in Portugal. In the Caribbean, a variety of the sweet potato called the boniato is popular. The flesh of the boniato is cream-colored, unlike the more popular orange hue seen in other varieties. Boniatos are not as sweet and moist as other sweet potatoes, but many people prefer their fluffier consistency and more delicate flavor.

Sweet potatoes have been an important part of the diet in the United States for most of its history, especially in the Southeast. From the middle of the 20th century, however, they have become less popular. The average per capita consumption of sweet potatoes in the United States is only about 1.5–2 kg (3.3–4.4 lb) per year, down from 13 kg (29 lb) in 1920. Southerner Kent Wrench writes: "The Sweet Potato became associated with hard times in the minds of our ancestors and when they became affluent enough to change their menu, the potato was served less often."
New Zealanders grow enough kūmara to provide each person with 7 kg (15 lb) per year, and they also import substantially more than this from China.
In the Southeastern United States, sweet potatoes are traditionally cured to improve storage, flavor, and nutrition, and to allow wounds on the periderm of the harvested root to heal. Proper curing requires drying the freshly dug roots on the ground for two to three hours, then storage at 85–90 °F (29–32 °C) with 90 to 95% relative humidity from five to fourteen days. Cured sweet potatoes can keep for thirteen months when stored at 55–59 °F (13–15 °C) with >90% relative humidity. Colder temperatures injure the roots.
Electronic sizing of sweet potatoes was first introduced to the industry by Wayne E. Bailey Produce Company of Chadbourn, North Carolina in 1990.


In 2010, the world average annual yield for sweet potato crop was 13.2 tonnes per hectare. The most productive farms of sweet potato breeds were in Senegal, where the nationwide average annual yield was 33.3 tonnes per hectare. Yields as high as 80 metric tonnes per hectare have been reported from farms of Israel.

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid), vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. Pink, yellow and green varieties are also high in beta-carotene.
In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light-colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. A 2012 study of 10,000 households in Uganda found that 50% of children who ate normal sweet potatoes suffered from vitamin A deficiency compared with only 10% of those on the high beta carotene variety.


Although the leaves and shoots are also edible, the starchy tuberous roots are by far the most important product. In some tropical areas, they are a staple food crop.


Candied sweet potatoes are a side dish consisting mainly of sweet potatoes prepared with brown sugar, marshmallows, maple syrup, molasses, orange juice, marron glacé, or other sweet ingredients. Often served in America on Thanksgiving, this dish represents traditional American cooking and of that prepared with the indigenous peoples of the Americas when European American settlers first arrived. Sweet potato casserole is a side dish of mashed sweet potatoes in a casserole dish, topped with a brown sugar and pecan topping. Sweet potato pie is also a traditional favorite dish in Southern U.S. cuisine. Sweet potato slices are fried in bacon drippings and eaten with the bacon on toast. Sweet potato fries or chips are another common preparation, and are made by julienning and deep frying sweet potatoes, in the fashion of French fried potatoes. Baked sweet potatoes are sometimes offered in restaurants as an alternative to baked potatoes. They are often topped with brown sugar and butter. Sweet potato butter can be cooked into a gourmet spread. Sweet potato mash is served as a side dish, often at Thanksgiving dinner or with barbecue. There is even a spicy condiment - Cackalacky Classic Condiment - that is made with sweet potatoes.


In South America, the juice of red sweet potatoes is combined with lime juice to make a dye for cloth. By varying the proportions of the juices, every shade from pink to black can be obtained.
All parts of the plant are used for animal fodder.
Sweet potatoes or camotes are often found in Moche ceramics.
Several selections are cultivated in gardens as ornamental plants for their attractive foliage, including the dark-leafed cultivars 'Blackie' and 'Ace of Spades' and the chartreuse-foliaged 'Margarita'.
Cuttings of sweet potato vine, either edible or ornamental varieties, will rapidly form roots in water and will grow in it, indefinitely, in good lighting with a steady supply of nutrients. For this reason, sweet potato vine is ideal for use in home aquariums, trailing out of the water with its roots submerged, as its rapid growth is fueled by toxic ammonia and nitrates, a waste product of aquatic life, which it removes from the water. This improves the living conditions for fish, which also find refuge in the vast root systems.
Researchers at North Carolina State University are breeding sweet potato varieties that would be grown primarily for biofuel production.


 What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.

Yams
Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.

Sweet Potatoes
The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.
Why the confusion?
In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 medium-size sweet potatoes
3 to 4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 3/4 teaspoons Equal® for Recipes or 6 packets Equal® sweetener or 1/4 cup Equal® Spoonful™
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Sea Salt and white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Directions:

Lightly grease potatoes; pierce with tines of fork. Place potatoes in baking pan and bake in 375°F (190°C) oven until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Cut potatoes in half; carefully scoop out flesh; reserve potato shells.
Mash potato flesh until smooth; mix in sour cream, Equal®, and orange extract. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Spoon potato mixture into reserved potato skins. Place potatoes on baking pan and bake in preheated 400°F (205°C) oven until browned, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans or coconut (after baking), if desired.
Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Smoked Cheddar and Mushroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Crinkle Fries


Dinner Tonight: Smoked Cheddar and Mushroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Crinkle Fries




In a span 24 hours here in the Ohio Valley it Thundered, Rained, Sleeted, Freezing Rain, and now it's Snowing. We have about 2" on the ground and they said we could expect anywhere from 6" to 8" with more coming over the weekend. Welcome to Ohio!


For dinner one of my favorites a Smoked Cheddar and Mushroom Bison Burger w/ Baked Crinkle Fries! Just love that Bison or Buffalo. I had ordered some Bison Products from http://www.buffalogal.com/. I had tried the Bison Top Sirloin about a week ago and tonight I'm trying the Buffalo Gal 1/3 Buffalo Patties. Their a really good looking plump Burger. I pan fried it on medium heat in Canola Oil about 4 minutes per side. The Burger came out moist and juicy with that fantastic Bison taste. I'll give it two thumbs up, excellent Bison Burger! I served it on a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun topped with Sauteed Mushrooms and a slice of Borden Smoked Cheddar.


For a side I had a serving of Baked Ore Ida Crinkle Fries. For dessert/snack later a 100 Calorie Mini Bag of Jolly Time Pop Corn.



Buffalo Gal 1/3 lb. Bison Patties

Description
6 (1/3 lb.) ready to grill burgers. Extra lean. Receive 2 (1 lb.) packs. 100% Buffalo.

Nutrition (3.5 oz.):
Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Calories: 110, Calories from Fat: 15, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 22g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 55mg

Suggested Cooking Tips:
Bison burger is lean (ranging from 93-96% lean) so when grilling or pan frying the burger - place it on medium heat - COVER. Allow the burger to do its cooking on one side. Don't poke, smash or continually flip the burger because you want to maintain all of the moisture and fat in the meat. When burger appears mostly cooked - flip one time and in 30-45 seconds it should be ready to serve. You might find that using a meat thermometer is helpful when first cooking the burger. It should reach 160 degrees internal temp.

http://www.buffalogal.com/13-lb-Bison-Patties-P1.aspx

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

Don't have a roasting chart nearby? Then follow this rule of thumb: Beef roasts will take about 20 minutes for the first pound and about 15 minutes for every pound thereafter. The USDA recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Prime Rib w/ Mashed Potatoes, Brown Mushroom Gravy, Green Beans, and..


Christmas Dinner: Prime Rib w/ Mashed Potatoes, Brown Mushroom Gravy, Green Beans, and Baked Rustic French Bread




First off Merry Christmas Everyone! Now let's talk about our Christmas Dinner Feast. I prepared a Prime Rib w/ Mashed Potatoes, Brown Mushroom Gravy, Green Beans, and Baked Rustic French Bread.


We purchased our annual Christmas Prime Rib Roast a couple a weeks ago from the local GFS Store. We always purchase one there and have never had a bad one. I put the Prime Rib in the oven at 1:30 PM at 250 degrees. At 3:30 I checked the temperature and it was spot on at 120 degrees, rare. I pulled it out of the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Letting it sit lets it finish cooking and absorb some of the delicious juices. When I sliced it the juices just flowed! Moist, tender and delicious!



For sides I prepared Bob Evans Mashed potatoes, Heinz Savory Mushroom Brown Gravy, 2 large cans of Del Monte Low Sodium Cut Green Beans, and baked a loaf of Pillsbury Rustic French Bread. For dessert later a bowl of Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Del Monte No Sugar Added Sliced Peaches.    

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Kitchen is Closed! Hello Dominos!


Dinner Tonight: Dominos Pizza




Merry Christmas Everyone! The kitchen has been closed today! The closest I've come to cooking was turning the microwave on for three minutes for Breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a Jimmy Dean Scrambled Eggs and Potatoes Breakfast Bowl. Lunch I went through the Drive - Thru of Subway. I had a 6" Fresh Fit Sub. It was a Turkey Breast & Black Forest Ham Sub on 9 - Grain Wheat Bun. Then on to dinner. It was unanimous, Pizza Tonight, Dominos Pizza! Pizzas has a bit more carbs and calories than I usually have but it's Christmas Eve and I've been good so why not. We had a Hand - Tossed medium Pizza with Cheese Black Olives, Mushrooms, Sausage, and Pepperoni. The pizza never stood a chance! Quite a day non - cooking, the microwave, a drive - thru, and home delivery.

Subway 6" Sub

Busy day tomorrow in the kitchen. Preparing a Prime Rib Roast with all the fixings. For dessert or a snack later, No Clue! Merry Christmas All!

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

Always use a shallow pot for cooking roasts. This will allow air to circulate more efficiently. Elevating the meat by cooking it atop celery ribs, carrot sticks, and thick onion slices also helps get the air underneath the meat (and gives it a great flavor!).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bison Sirloin w/ Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce,....


Dinner Tonight: Bison Sirloin w/ Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread




Steak and Potatoes for a Sunday Dinner! For dinner I prepared a  Bison Sirloin w/ Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread. First time for the Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce. I came across it at the best potato recipe site, http://www.potatogoodness.com 


For the Bison Steak I used Great Range Brand Bison. I seasoned it with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn. Pan fried it Canola Oil about 4 minutes per side, medium rare. I just don't think you can beat the flavor of Bison! Plus it's healthier than other types of meat also.


Now my side dishes! I had the new recipe Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce, Del Monte Cut Green Beans, along with Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. The Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce as I said earlier was recipe on the potato Goodness web site. It's a little time consuming but worth the effort and wait! Just a lip smacking Potato recipe! It has Fingerling Potatoes, Mixed Wild Mushrooms, Garlic, Heavy Cream, Dijion Mustard, Garlic, and Herbs. With all that you know how good this turned out! It's another keeper Potato recipe from the Potato Goodness web site. I left the recipe along with the web link at the bottom of the post. For dessert later a Jello Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Pudding.




Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes (any shape, size and color), halved lengthwise
2 cups sliced mixed wild mushrooms (such as small portabella, crimini or shitake)*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth*
1/4 cup chopped dried mixed wild mushrooms (1/2 of a 1-oz. package)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh thyme

Directions
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Tenting with foil will speed up cooking.) Stir in fresh mushrooms, garlic and shallot; cook for 10 minutes more. Add broth, dried mushrooms, mustard and herbs; cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until most of the broth has cooked off. Stir in crème fraiche and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with pepper and fresh thyme.

* Available in most grocery retailers’ produce section


Nutrition
Cal: 160 Chol: 30mg Sodium: 160mg
Fat: 9g Vitamin C 40% Potassium: 464mg
Carb: Fiber: 2g Protein: 3g

http://www.potatogoodness.com/recipe/783/Pan-Fried-Fingerling-Potatoes-with-Wild-Mushroom-Sauce/

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

To tenderize tough meat without a tenderizer, use baking soda. Just rub baking soda all over the meat, refrigerate for a few hours, and rinse well before cooking. For extra tenderizing, cover the meat with slices of kiwi.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three Bean Turkey Chili w/ Cornbread


Dinner Tonight: Three Bean Turkey Chili w/ Cornbread


Well Winter is here to stay. Not quite as windy but another cold but sunny Winter day. So like yesterday I wanted a hearty and healthy dinner that would warm you up a bit. So I prepared Three Bean Turkey Chili w/ Cornbread!


I love this Chili! Made in a Crockpot, which makes it a breeze to clean up. I just get everything prepped and ready in the morning and load the Crockpot up! I make it with Honeysuckle White Extra Lean Ground Turkey and 3 different Beans; Spicy Chili Beans, Dark Red Low Sodium Kidney Beans, and Cannellini White Beans. I add 1 Packet of McCormick Chili Mix to it and then load up the great spices on top of it; 1 Tbs Minced Garlic, 1/2 Tbs Ground Cocoa Chili Blend (McCormick), 1/2 Tsp Ground Chipotle Chili Pepper (McCormick), 1 Tsp. Ground Roasted Cumin, 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon, 1 Tbs of Cilantro Leaves, and 5 Dashes (or more) of Frank’s Hot Sauce or to taste! I also add 2 small cans of Tomato Paste and 1/2 cup of Water. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours (or on LOW 5 to 6 hours). I cooked mine on low for about 5 1/2 hours. After about 2 hours everything starts to come together and the aroma of the simmering Chili starts to fill the kitchen! Too Good!! I left the full recipe at the bottom of the post.

I also baked a small cast iron skillet of Cornbread. Cornbread and Chili are the perfect couple. I used Martha White Corn Meal Mix. I guess I use the Martha White Brand because my Mom always used it along with my Grandmother. It’s easy to fix, the instructions are on the bag. I use Egg Beaters and Extra Virgin Oil instead of Eggs and Vegetable Oil the recipe calls for. Bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes and you have some golden brown piping hot Cornbread! If you use a small cast iron skillet just cut the recipe in half and it comes out just right for the skillet size. For dessert a mini Banana Split. I make it wit a Dole Mini Banana (that I split in half), Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream, Smuckers Sugar Free Hot Fudge Topping, and Walnut pieces.





3 Bean Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

1 lb. Honey Suckle White Extra Lean 99/1 Ground turkey
2 Cans (6 oz.) Hunt’s Tomato Paste
1 Can (15 oz.) Chili Beans
1 Can (15 oz.) Light Sodium Kidney Beans
1 Can (15 oz.) Cannellini Beans, rinsed
3/4 Cup of Water
1 Packet McCormick Chili Mix
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
1/2 Tbs Ground Cocoa Chili Blend (McCormick)
1/2 Tsp Ground Chipotle Chili Pepper (McCormick)
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Ground cumin
1 Tbs of Cilantro Leaves
5 Dashes of Frank’s Hot Sauce or to taste.
KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Oyster Crackers, Reduced Fat


Directions:

*COOK turkey in large saucepan on medium-high heat 10 min. or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add all remaining ingredients except 1 can of the tomato paste and the cheese and crackers.

*ADD to slow cooker and add in the remaining 1 can of tomato paste.

*COVER with lid. Cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours (or on LOW 5 to 6 hours).

*Serve in bowl or mug with cheese and the oyster crackers, A Tablespoon of fat free sour cream, or serve with some home made cornbread ears.





The Martha White Corn Meal

White Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix. Self Rising White Enriched with Hot Rize®

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 3 Tbsp (31g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g1%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Sodium 440mg18%
Total Carbohydrate 22g7%
Dietary Fiber 2g6%
Protein 2g
Calcium2%Iron6%Thiamin10%Riboflavin6%Niacin6%Folic Acid15%

Easy Curried Chicken and Vegetable Stew


Easy Curried Chicken and Vegetable Stew


Ingredients:

1 16 ounce package Frozen Stew Vegetables
4 large Skinless Chicken Thighs or Skinless Chicken Breasts (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds total)
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 10 3/4 ounce can Reduced-Fat and Reduced-Sodium Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 tablespoon snipped fresh Cilantro
1 tablespoon snipped fresh Basil


Directions:

1. Place frozen stew vegetables in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with pepper and sea salt. In a small bowl stir together soup and curry powder. Pour soup mixture over all in cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Remove and discard the chicken bones and, if desired, break meat into large pieces. Sprinkle each serving with cilantro and basil.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Newman's Own Italian Sausage & Rigatoni Complete Skillet Meal w/ .....


Dinner Tonight: Newman's Own Italian Sausage & Rigatoni Complete Skillet Meal w/ Whole Grain Bread




First day of Winter and BAM, I'm out throwing salt on the drive-way to clear the ice off! Good timing for our first snow, the first day of Winter! The wind chill today makes or temperature around 12 degrees, BRRRR!

That cold outside time to warm it up on the inside with a good, hot, and hearty meal! I tried a new one tonight, Newman's Own Italian Sausage & Rigatoni. It's another one of those one pot wonders, easy to fix and easy clean up. Freshly made pasta and Italian sausage in a tomato basil sauce. All natural. Made with Newman's own sauce. Ready in 10 minutes on stove top, (Product description.) It came out one hot delicious Italian dish! Like the other Newman's Own Skillet Dinner I had tried. The taste and seasoning were spot on, and more than enough for two. i served with Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Jello Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Pudding.  



Newman's Own Italian Sausage & Rigatoni Complete Skillet Meal

Newman's Own Complete Skillet Meal for Two Italian Sausage & Rigatoni:
Made with freshly made pasta
Made with Newman's own sauce
Ready in 10 minutes on stove top

Freshly made pasta and Italian sausage in a tomato basil sauce. All natural. Made with Newman's own sauce. Ready in 10 minutes on stove top. Made with freshly made pasta. Our Italian sausage & rigatoni complete skillet meal for two is full of naturally delicious deliciousness. Like freshly made rigatoni, Italian sausage, chunky tomatoes, and Newman s own tomato basil sauce. Just like in that fancy restaurant - except no jacket, tip or reservation required. All profits to charity. Newman's own foundation continues Paul Newman's commitment to donate all royalties and after tax profits from this product for educational and charitable purposes. Paul Newman and the Newman's Own Foundation have given over $300 million to thousands of charities since 1982. US inspected and passed by Department of Agriculture.

All Natural Ingredients:
Ingredients: Sauce (Tomatoes, Water, Diced Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Basil, Onion†, Sugar, Garlic†, Spices, Sea Salt, Citric Acid), Blanched Rigatoni Pasta (Water, Durum Wheat Semolina), Cooked All Natural* Italian Sausage Sliced And Crumbled (Pork, Water, Spices, Sea Salt, Dried Cane Syrup, Red Bell Pepper Powder, Dried Garlic, Flavorings), Red Bell Peppers, Yellow Bell Peppers.
†Dried
Contains: Wheat

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size 1/2 package (340g)
Calories 510
Calories from Fat 260

Total Fat 28g (44% DV)
Saturated Fat 6g (30% DV)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 45mg (15% DV)
Sodium 730mg (30% DV)
Total Carbohydrate 48g (16% DV)
Dietary Fiber 5g( 1% DV)
Sugars 4g
Protein 19g
Vitamin A (35% DV)
Vitamin C (90% DV)
Calcium (8% DV)
Iron (20% DV)

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

http://www.newmansown.com/product_detail.aspx?productid=126

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

If your broiling steaks or chops, save a few slices of stale bread and set them in the bottom of the broiler pan to absorb fat drippings. This will eliminate smoking fat, it should also reduce any danger of a grease fire

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fried Walleye w/ Cheesy Potato Casserole, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread


Dinner Tonight: Fried Walleye w/ Cheesy Potato Casserole, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread




While at Meijer yesterday they had Ocean Perch and walleye both on sale in their Seafood Department. I ended up picking up a couple of pounds of each. So tonight I went with the Walleye, preparing Fried Walleye w/ Cheesy Potato Casserole, Green Beans, and Whole Grain Bread.


To prepare the Walleye I first rinsed it with water and patting dry with paper towel. Then I seasoned it with Morton's Lite Salt and Ground Pepper and lightly coated it with Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs. I pan fried it in Canola Oil about 3 1/2 minutes per side. As always Walleye frys up to a perfect golden brown and delicious as always also. For side dishes it was leftovers, Green Beans from yesterday's meal and Ore Ida Cheesy Potato Casserole that I had frozen. I just warmed both up in the microwave and they were ready! I love this Cheesy Potato Casserole! It's become one of my favorite dishes and the good thing is that it freezes up and reheats beautifully. I've left the recipe at the bottom of the post. I also had a slice of healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert/snack tonight some of Newman's Own Black bean and Corn Salsa along with Tostito's Baked Scoops.






Ore Ida Cheesy Potato Casserole

Ingredients
1 bag Ore-Ida® Country Style Hash Browns
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cup Sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
1/3 cup green onions sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
2 cup corn flakes crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, onion and Hash Browns until well mixed. Spoon evenly into baking dish.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together cereal and butter. Sprinkle evenly on top of Hash Brown mixture.
4. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional sliced green onion if desired.
TIP: If desired, substitute condensed cream of chicken soup with condensed cream of turkey soup.
Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 10
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 358.3

Total Fat 21.6 g

Saturated Fat 12.5 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g

Monounsaturated Fat 4.6 g

Cholesterol 53.9 mg

Sodium 1,093.3 mg

Potassium 448.1 mg

Total Carbohydrate 31.8 g



http://www.oreida.com/recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?id=1968

Diabetic Friendly Chocolate Mousse and Easy Pineapple Cheesecake



With Christmas coming up shortly here's a couple of Diabetic Friendly Desserts for those that have to watch carbs. A reader that follows my blog passed these along to me to share. He said they came from a Diabetic Cookbook that contained Splenda made desserts. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!



Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

3 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1 cup Low Fat Milk
1/4 cup Egg Beater's Egg Substitute
1/2 cup Splenda Granular
1 teaspoon Corn Starch
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 cups sliced Strawberries


Directions:

Place chocolate and milk in a medium size saucepan. Heat over medium heat until chocolate melts.
Stir together egg substitute, SPLENDA®, corn starch and Grand Marnier in a small mixing bowl. Add to chocolate mixture. Stir constantly. Heat over medium heat while stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken (approximately 3 to 4 minutes). Remove from heat, pour into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend or process briefly (10 to 20 seconds) to make a more creamy texture. Pour into mixing bowl and cover.
Refrigerate chocolate mixture approximately 2 to 3 hours or until cool.
Whip cream and fold into chocolate. Refrigerate overnight to set. Will keep refrigerated for 3 days.
To serve layer strawberries and mousse in 6 all purpose wine glasses.
Makes 6 servings.

Nutrients Per Serving: Total Calories 220, Calories from Fat 140, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 9 g, Sodium
50 mg, Total Carbohydrate 18 g, Dietary Fiber 4 g, Sugars 10 g, Protein 4 g.





Easy Pineapple Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) package Reduced Fat Philly Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
2 (15-ounce) cans Dole Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 3/4 cups Cool Whip Free Whipped Topping
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener together. Stir in 1 can of pineapple and whipped topping to cream cheese mixture. Mix until smooth.
Pour mixture into crust and top with other can of pineapple. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Makes 8 servings.


Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/8 of recipe): Calories 330 | Calories from Fat 170 | Fat 19g (sat 10g) | Cholesterol 30mg | Sodium 230mg | Carbohydrates 38g | Fiber 1g | Sugars 28g | Protein 4g

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

Here's a simple tip to make your meat more tender. When it's ready to slice, make sure to cut it against the grain (Look for slight lines on the surface.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Herb Crusted Pork Roast w/ Sliced New Potatoes, Green Beans, and...


Dinner Tonight: Herb Crusted Pork Roast w/ Sliced New Potatoes, Green Beans, and Baked Harvest Grain Bread






Well my Dad was released this afternoon from the physical rehab center after a few weeks finally. It's great having him back home. I wanted to make a good welcome dinner for him and my Mom so I prepared a Herb Crusted Pork Roast w/ Sliced New Potatoes, Green Beans, and Baked Harvest Grain Bread. I had everything timed perfect for their arrival home, except knowing they had stopped and eaten at Wendy's! So much for a surprise dinner.


Anyway I prepared my favorite Pork Loin Roast recipe, Herb Crusted Pork Roast. You combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper for seasoning. You combine all the ingredients except the Salt and Pepper in a bowl and stir until well mixed. You then rub into your Pork Roast which will create the Herb Crust as it bakes. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests. The Pork comes out perfect! The Herb Crust gives that extra taste to make it one delicious Roast! Love this recipe.


For side dishes for the Roast I prepared Del Monte Sliced New Potatoes and also Del Monte Low Sodium Cut Green Breans. I also baked a small loaf of Meijer Bakery Harvest Grain Bread. Then for dessert/snack later something I haven't had in 10 years or more, Baked Soft Pretzels Bites. Their the Super Pretzel Brand, just bake them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Served with French's Yellow Mustard.




Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2007

Ingredients

1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, with fat left on
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


Directions
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, massage the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.

Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Panko Crusted Orange Roughy Fish sandwich w/ Baked Seasoned Potato Grillers


Dinner Tonight: Panko Crusted Orange Roughy Fish sandwich w/ Baked Seasoned Potato Grillers


Great news on the health front here at home, after several weeks in a rehab center my Dad is coming home tomorrow! The last week or so he's really progressed so he'll be home by this time tomorrow.

For dinner tonight I prepared myself a Panko Crusted Orange Roughy Fish sandwich w/ Baked Ore Ida Seasoned Potato Grillers. I had an Orange Roughy fillet in the freezer so I laid it out to thaw early this morning. So after it thawed I rinsed the fillet and rolled it in Flour then dipping them into Egg Beater’s, shaking off the excess. Then rolling them in a Panko Bread Crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika mix until covered on both sides of the fillets. I then lightly fried them about 4 minutes per side in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It came out golden brown and delicious! I served it on a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For a side I had baked some Ore Ida Grillers Seasoned Thick Cut Potatoes. For dessert/snack later a 100 Calorie Mini Bag of Jolly Time Pop Corn.



Orange Roughy with Panko

Ingredients
(4) 4oz. Orange Roughy Fillets
1c. Panko Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 c. Egg Beater’s
1/2 c. Flour
1 1/2Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
Rinse fillets and pat dry. Press both sides of fillet into flour for a light dusting , shaking off any excess flour. Mix bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a separate bowl. Meanwhile, heat Olive Oil in skillet. Dip floured fillets into egg whites, allowing excess to drip off. Place fillets, one at a time, in Panko Bread Crumbs, and lightly toss until both sides are covered. Place in oil and saute 4 minutes each side, or until fillet flakes easily with a fork.

Number of Servings: 4




Ore-Ida Grillers Seasoned Thick Cut Potatoes

'Tis the seasoning.
Have you tried grilling potatoes along with your favorite steaks, burgers and chops? Ours are seasoned with black pepper, herbs and spices for a tasty kick your family will love.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 3 oz
Servings Per Container: 7
Amount Per Serving
Calories 140.0Calories from Fat 45
Total Calories 980Total Calories from Fat 315
 % Daily Value* (DV)Recommended DV
Total Fat 5 g 8%65 g
Saturated Fat 1 g5%20 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0%300 mg
Sodium 360 mg 15%2,400 mg
Potassium 340 mg10%3,500 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21 g 7%300 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g 8%25 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 2 g


http://www.oreida.com/en/Products/S/Seasoned-Thick-Cut-Potatoes