Easy Eats – Pimento Burger

Pimento Cheeseburgers

Source: Annie's Eats
  • For the pimento cheese topping
    • 4-oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light is fine)
    • 1 tablespoon diced pimentos
    • 1 tablespoon grated onion
    • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • salt & pepper, to taste
  • For the burgers
    • lbs. ground sirloin
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • teaspoons salt
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • To serve
    • burger buns
    • lettuce
Method Heat a grill to medium-high. To make the pimento cheese, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, onion, and Worcestershire in a bowl; stir until completely combined. Set aside. To make the burger patties, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Gently knead together, being careful not to overwork. Form into four equal patties, indenting slightly in the center. Grill the burgers, turning once, until done to your liking. A couple of minutes before the burgers are finished cooking, add 2 tablespoons of the pimento cheese mixture and finish cooking so that the cheese melts on top. Remove from the grill and let rest about 5 minutes. Serve on toasted burger buns and top with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy!   EasyEats_EmailBlock_5.26 Pimento Burger

Mary’s Memo – May 23rd

HAPPINESS IS NOT ABOUT MONEY


The pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right according to the Declaration of Independence. And researchers have long associated happiness with good health and wealth. Is this true? From the 1920s to the 1950s, an era of depression and world war, as household income rose, there was an increase in people’s self-reported happiness. But more current research shows that money increases happiness only to a certain point. A December 2015 study published in The Lancet, Britain researchers who tracked 700,000 women in the United Kingdom, concluded that the reverse is true. Their surveys found that having better health in the first place makes people feel happier. Whether its happiness that influences health or the other way around it’s clear that good emotional states and good health go together. Studies by the Nobel laureate psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman, PhD, showed that money increases happiness until a person or family earns about $75,000 annually. After that, emotional well-being doesn’t increase with additional income.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, Spring 2016.

INCLUDE FRUIT AND VEGGIES AT EVERY MEAL!


Is the salad you had for dinner one or two servings? It depends on how big it was. Does lettuce and tomato on your turkey sandwich count? Yes! However, keeping track of servings turned something that should be enjoyable into a chore. It’s much easier to remember that every time you eat, whether it’s a meal or a snack, at least one fruit or vegetable should be in the menu. According to Sandra Proctor, PhD, RD, an assistant professor in the department of food, nutrition and health, at Kansas State University, “The nutrients, protective effects and satiety that we get from fruits and vegetables are unparalleled.” Proctor added: “There are so many benefits, but people just don’t get enough.” Ideally, produce should take up half your plate. If you’re opting for fruit, choose fresh or unsweetened frozen, rather than canned fruit in syrup or juice. For vegetables, there’s renewed emphasis on choosing those that are dark green, orange or red. Those bright colors are the result of powerful disease-fighting phytochemicals. Legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils, count as both a vegetable and a source of protein.

How to work it in: Toss veggies into grain or pasta dishes (or substitute spaghetti squash for noodles), soups and omelets. Make smoothies with greens, berries and avocado or Greek yogurt for a little creaminess. Including fruit, such as lemons, mangoes, oranges or berries in savory dishes creates a brightness that balances some of the heavier flavors.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, May 2016.

ONE POTATO TWO POTATOES OR MORE


Because I love potato cakes made with leftover mashed potatoes, I purposely cook more than enough so I can make them for another meal. They’re even more flavor-enhanced with the addition of cheese (whatever kind you have on hand) plus minced chives, scallions, cooked chopped bacon or bits of chopped cooked ham or a combination of any of these.

GLORIFIED POTATO CAKES


• 1/2 cup prepared mashed potatoes
• 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
• 2 tablespoons minced chives, scallions, cooked chopped bacon, bits of chopped boiled ham or regular ham or a combination of two of these.
• 1 1/2 teaspoons butter plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Our Family extra virgin olive oil
• Reduced-fat sour cream
Mix mashed potatoes with cheese plus one of the other “ad-in’s.” Heat butter and olive oil in 8-inch non-stick skillet. Dredge potato cakes in flour. When butter and olive oil are hot, prepared potato cakes on both sides until golden brown. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream if using. Recipe makes 2 potato cakes. Serve with a fried egg.

A RECIPE REVISITED


Although my spouse never liked cold soup because soup should be hot, he never understood why I would promote one served cold because of an earlier statement saying hot foods are served hot and cold foods cold. Microwave Vichyssoise was a hit at my microwave classes in the 50s for the Bryan Parks and Recreation Department. Although I’m known for replacing whipping cream with evaporated milk in many dishes, 1 cup whipping cream is a must for vichyssoise.

MICROWAVE VICHYSSOISE


• 4 scallions (green onions), chopped
• 3 cups peeled, diced potatoes
• 3 cups boiling water
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon MSG-free Better than Chicken Bouillon
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 cup milk (whatever kind you normally use)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Combine scallions, potatoes and water in 2 1/2 quart glass casserole. Cover and cook on high 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in butter and Chicken Flavored Better than Bouillon. Process in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to casserole, stir in whipping cream, milk and seasonings. Cover and microwave on high an additional 3 minutes or until heated through. Chill thoroughly. Garnish with chopped chives. Recipe makes 8 servings.

Download PDF

Easy Eats – Hawaiian Beef Burgers

Hawaiian Beef Burgers

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home
  • 20-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 (one package) Hawaiian hamburger rolls
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and sliced in half
  • lettuce
  • feta cheese
Method Drain pineapple, reserving juice. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup pineapple, pepper, and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 4 patties; place in a glass dish. In a small bowl, combine reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Pour marinade over burgers; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning burgers once. Drain and discard marinade. Line grill with foil. Place patties on foil and grill 6-7 minutes. (This helps them stay together... they tend to fall apart.) When burgers are seared, remove foil from grill and place burgers directly on grill. Grill until desired doneness, flipping once. Slice Hawaiian rolls in half and toast. To assemble burgers, place patty on bottom half of bun. Top with a bit of feta cheese and three bacon halves. Top with a piece of lettuce. On top half of bun, spoon a bit of reserved pineapple. Sandwich together and eat! Yum! EasyEats_EmailBlock_5.19 Hawaiian Burger

Mary’s Memo – May 16th

WEED IT OR EAT IT?


It’s up to you whether you dig purslane (PERS-lin) up or decided to eat the leaves stem and all! According to Sandra Mason, Horticulture Extension Educator, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, it can be seen growing in your garden in June but not as an invited guest. Purslane is native to India and Persia but has spread throughout the world as an edible plant. Purslane has fleshy succulent leaves and stems with a yellow flower that is also edible. They look like a baby jade plant. The stems lay flat on the ground as they radiate from a single taproot sometimes forming large mats of leaves. Check out U of I’s Midwestern Turf Grass Weed identification website for some great pictures of purslane. Purslane, often called pigweed, is an annual reproducing from seeds and stem pieces. Seeds from purslane have been known to stay viable for 40 years in the soil. If you are trying to control purslane the number one rule is don’t let it go to seed. It grows just about anywhere from fertile garden soil to the poorest of soils. Its succulent characteristic makes it very drought tolerant. Purslane aficionados prefer eating fresh young plants, especially young leaves and tender stem tips. The taste is similar to watercress and spinach. If overcooked it tends to get a little slimy. You can also purchase purslane seeds for cultivated forms for better flavor and easier harvesting. Not only is purslane a good source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and vitamins A, B6, but it also contains more of the essential fatty acid Omega 3 than most other plants. Wash thoroughly before serving raw in salads, cooked briefly and used as a green or added to soup. For recipes go to http://www.prairielandcsa.org/recipes/ purslane.html.
Source: University of Illinois and Food Lover’s Companion, Fourth Edition.

LIGHT OR REGULAR?


Read labels. The regular product has fewer ingredients while lighter counterpart has many more added chemicals, at least that’s my observation.

CLUTTER AND CHAOS LINKED TO CALORIES AND COOKIES


Keeping your kitchen uncluttered and calm might help prevent you from munching empty calories. A recent Cornell University experiment, published in Environment and Behavior, compared snacking habits of 100 young women. Half were assigned to a clean kitchen where they completed a writing assignment without directions. The others were sent to a cluttered kitchen where they had to work while a researcher noisily attempted to clean up. Then all participants were presented cookies, crackers and baby carrots for what they thought was a taste test. Those in the clean, quiet kitchen consumed fewer calories than participants surrounded by clutter and noise, who ate more cookies. What was on the participants’ minds also mattered: Women asked to write about a time when they felt chaotic and out of control ate more cookies than those told to write about being organized and in control.

MY FRIEND THE SLOW COOKER


For soups, sandwich fillings and entrees, I would not be without a slow cooker whether it be a 4-quart one or bigger. A fan of Allrecipes.com, this slow cooker 3-ingredient Chicken and Salsa caught my attention. Recipe didn’t say what to do with the sliced onions when they’re cooked but I am thinking they’re to flavor the chicken since its baked breast-side down. In my opinion, onion slices are too fatty to eat. Also, recipe said to cook for about 5 hours. Having done that, chicken fell apart when I tried to lift it from the cooker. That said, my recommendation is to cook no more than 4½ hours or when temperature of thickest part of thigh reads 165o. Meat is super-moist. Use as an entrée, shredded in sandwiches or as a filling for tacos.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN AND SALSA


• 1 sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
• 1 5-pound Sanderson or Miller whole chicken
• 1 20-ounce jar medium salsa

For easier clean-up line cooker with an Our Family Slow Cooker Bag. Spread onion rings into the bottom of the cooker. Place chicken on top of onion layer breast-side down. Pour salsa over the chicken. Cook on high until no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 4½ hours. An instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh near the bone should read 1650. Remove chicken from the slow cooker, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before cutting.
Source: Used with permission of www.allrecipes.com, the world’s favorite recipe web site.

Download PDF

Easy Eats – Balsamic Peach Chicken Skillet

Balsamic Peach Chicken Skillet

(adapted from CookingClassy.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 (5 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/4 lbs chicken breast tenderloins
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups sliced firm but ripe peaches (about 2 medium)
  • 1 (14.5) oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil ribbons

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 3 minutes then push far to the side. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet and transfer to a plate, while leaving oil and onions in skillet (if you don't have much oil left you can add another 1/2 Tbsp). Add garlic to skillet and saute 20 seconds (you can push onions back to center if you haven't already). Add balsamic vinegar and cook and stir until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in honey then add in peaches and tomatoes and toss, season lightly with salt and pepper. Return chicken to skillet, nestling between peaches and tomatoes (you can lift some of the peaches and tomatoes over the chicken to create more room), cover skillet with lid, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until chicken has cooked through (it should register 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer), about 6 - 9 minutes. Top with fresh basil and serve warm. EasyEats_EmailBlock_5.12 Peaches3

Mary’s Memo – May 9th

BENEFITS OF A VEGETABLE GARDEN


More and more people are planting a vegetable garden. Since the space in mine is limited, I try to make the most of it. Helpful to me are items purchased from the Gardeners Supply Catalog at 1-800-427-3363. They include metal supports for tomatoes, a trellis to grow cucumbers and last year a bean tower for pole green beans. To protect the bean tower from “critters” a circular screen is wrapped around it. My favorite cherry tomato is the Black Cherry but two red grape tomatoes and an “early bird” tomato is included. Celebration is my tomato-of-choice. It isn’t too late for you to plant a garden and the health benefits are many!

NEW FROM McCORMICK


Herb Grinders are made with gently dried, large cut leaves that lock in natural oil. As jar is twisted these oils are released to deliver a fresher taste and aroma. Choose from oregano, parsley, basil and Italian.

BERRY GOOD FOR YOU!


Trying to include more fruit in your diet? From a health standpoint, berries are one of your best bets. Berries contain many important nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber and several minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants, the substances that protect us against free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells such as DNA). Berries contain two types of phytonutrients called polyphenols, the same substances found in tea, red wine and chocolate, that have been linked to cardiovascular benefits. Anthocyanins, the compounds that give berries their bright color, are antioxidants. They help strengthen the immune system, boost cardiovascular health, combat inflammation and help prevent conditions such as cancer, explains Tanya Freirich, RD, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weil Cornell. “Berries also contain ellagitannins and ellagicid, which has been linked to cancer prevention, decreased inflammation and cardiovascular benefits.” Raspberries and blackberries are highest in fiber (about 8 grams per cup). Strawberries are highest in vitamin C (84 milligrams per cup) and blueberries have the highest antioxidant content. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2016.

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CRACKERS


If you like them on the spicy side you’ll want to make Alabama Fire Crackers from Sara Coe, Houston TX, via my sister Ann Trentadue. It’s important to thoroughly mix the spice mixture, oil and soda crackers together. As for the pepper flakes, adjust to your taste. Since I don’t use anything with monosodium glutamate, I replace the packages of ranch dressing mix with 2 ounces Penzeys MSG-free Ranch Dressing Mix. To order a Penzeys catalog call 1-800-741-7787.

ALABAMA FIRE CRACKERS


• 1 2/3 cup vegetable oil (like canola)
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 1-ounce packages Ranch Dressing Mix or 2 ounces Penzeys Ranch Dressing Mix
• 1 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 pound box saltine crackers

Place vegetable oil, garlic and onion powders, ranch dressing mix and crushed red pepper flakes in 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Seal and mix thoroughly. Add crackers and swoosh carefully to cover crackers with seasoning mixture. Let bag set for an hour and swoosh again. Keep repeating for several hours and then overnight. Remove from bag and store in a canister or clean plastic bag.

Anything with lemon will get my attention like the Food Network’s recipe for Baked Lemon Chicken. Although their recipe called for a cut-up skin on chicken or 8 pieces, I replaced it with 8 bone-in Miller thighs, skinning them to reduce the calories.

BAKED LEMON CHICKEN


• 8 pieces chicken thighs, skin removed
• Kosher salt and pepper
• Flour for dredging
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
• Zest of half a lemon
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tablespoon Our Family honey
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (not bottled)
• 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 4000F. Season thighs with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides in flour, shaking off excess. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chicken and sauté until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Don’t crowd in skillet. Set thighs aside and reserve. Discard the oil and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet over medium low heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until golden, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest, garlic, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes more. Whisk honey, lemon juice and broth. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Use a slotted spoon to transfer onions to a 9x13-inch glass oven-proof baking dish, spreading them out. Arrange thighs in a single layer on onions. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Pour the liquid mixture over chicken. Bake in preheated oven, basting every 15 minutes until thighs are cooked, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve. Note: Onion mixture is delicious on mashed potatoes.
Source: Adapted from Food Network recipe

Download PDF

Easy Eats – Strawberry Crumb Bars

Strawberry Crumb Bars 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups flour 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces 1 egg, beaten 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped 1/2 cup sugar 4 teaspoons corn starch Preheat oven to 375. Grease (or line with foil) a 9 x 13 pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry blender, until pieces are no bigger than pea sized. Stir in the egg to form a crumbly dough. Pat half of the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch, then spread the strawberry mixture on top of the dough in the pan. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the strawberry layer. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool before slicing and serving. EasyEats_EmailBlock_5.5 Strawb

Mary’s Memo – May 2nd

RESTAURANT CALORIE BOMBS


Restaurant meals may contain more than a day’s worth of calories (without drinks, appetizers, sides and desserts), says a Tufts University analysis of 364 independent and small chain spots. The highest-calorie eateries were Italian (1,556 per meal, on average), Chinese (1,478) and those serving American style cheeseburgers and rib-eye steaks (1,451). Greek, Japanese and Vietnamese meals averaged 984 calories or fewer.
Source: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on line January 19, 2016 via Consumer Reports on Health, May 2016.

TEA AND COFFEE DRINKS ARE LOADED WITH SUGAR!


Research from the United Kingdom nutrition advocacy group “Action on Sugar” highlights the excessive sugar content of certain hot beverages sold in many U.S. coffee shops and fast-food chains. Of the 131 flavored hot drinks analyzed, 35 percent contained as much or more sugar than a can of Coca Cola. For example, Starbucks’ Venti (20-ounce size) white chocolate mocha with whipped cream contains about 18 teaspoons of sugar(about 288 calories from sugar alone), while chain’s Venti chai tea latte had about 13 teaspoons (about 208 calories from sugar). Choose the drinks as an occasional treat rather than a daily beverage.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2016.

REGARDING LAST WEEK’S RECIPE FOR PORK CHOPS WITH CORN DRESSING


The original recipe called for a 15.25 ounce can of cream style corn. Since the current can size is 14.5 ounces, you need to reduce the amount of bread cubes from 6 to 5 cups.

DIETARY STRATEGIES THAT HELP PREVENT DIABETES


Exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week; do moderate-intensity activities, such as brisk walking, swimming or tennis.

Talk with your doctor about weight-loss strategies if you are overweight; losing weight can help bring down your blood sugar levels. Work with a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about diabetes prevention and management to create a healthier eating plan.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2016.

A FAVORITE POUND CAKE


Cooking for one means that I can’t bake a cake unless company is coming so I made Bailey’s Irish Cream Pound Cake Siblings Day April 10 (page 89) of my cookbook, “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It.” Since the cookbook was published, I’ve made one change in the recipe and that is to use only 1 tablespoon of Bailey’s Irish Cream and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in the glaze instead of double the amount.

BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM POUND CAKE


• 1 2-layer Betty Crocker cake mix with pudding added
• 1 small package Hershey instant vanilla pudding mix
• 5 large room temperature eggs
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• Glaze

Preheat oven to 3500 or 3250 if Bundt pan has a dark interior. With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, oil and Bailey’s Irish Cream for 4 minutes. Grease and flour baking pan making sure every part of pan is covered. Add chopped pecans to bottom of pan; spoon batter evenly on top. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 8 minutes. Turn out onto cake plate. When cold, drizzle the glaze over top of cake. To make glaze, whisk together the Bailey’s and powdered sugar.
Source: “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It.”

TRIVIA WORTH TALKING ABOUT


The one hundred folds in a chef toque are said to represent the 100 different methods for cooking an egg. Source: Conversation Sparks by Ryan Chapman,Chronicle Books, 2015.

Download PDF

Easy Eats – Grilled Summer Corn & Tomato Salad

Grilled Summer Corn & Tomato Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • melted butter or butter spray
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 ears corn-on-the-cob husked
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Coat corn in butter and grill, turning occasionally, 15 minutes or until corn is golden on all sides; cut kernels from corn.
  2. Combine corn with remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and ground black pepper.
  3. EasyEats_EmailBlock_4.28 Corn Salad28

Mary’s Memo – April 25th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Not since the Greatest Generation marched off to war have Americans embraced home food gardening with such enthusiasm. With everyone from apartment dwellers to the First Family growing fresh, wholesome food, Seed to Supper, by John Tullock (Health Communications, Inc., March 29, 2016; paperback/$21.95) provides the perfect introduction to food gardening and cooking with home produce.

John Tullock is a lifelong gardener, self-taught gourmet cook and trained ecologist whose previous books have covered a range of topics including aquariums, hardy orchids, sustainable living and starting a small business. His natural Reef Aquariums sold 75,000 copies and is considered a “classic” in its subject area. Growing Hardy Orchids was named by the American Horticultural Society as one of the five best garden books of 2006. Pay Dirt released in 2010, sold over 10,000 copies during the first six months. The New American Homestead: Sustainable, Self-Sufficient Living in the Country or the City has inspired people all over the country to grow food at home. His most recent works are Idiot’s Guides: Vegetable Gardening and Idiot’s Guides: Straw Bale Gardening, both published by Alpha Books. He writes, cooks and gardens on his suburban homestead in Knoxville, Tennessee.

CREAM OF SPINACH SOUP


• 1 pound spinach leaves
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup finely minced onions
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 4 cups milk
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• Fresh nutmeg
• Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or hard-cooked egg yolks for garnish
Wash spinach leaves and then dump them in boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, cook for 1 minute. Drain. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking; drain thoroughly. Squeeze the spinach by handfuls to express some additional liquid. Place the spinach in a blender jar and reserve. Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté the onions until they are softened. Stir in flour until well combined. Add the milk slowly in a stream, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until the soup thickens slightly. Pour into blender jar with spinach; allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Puree the soup, return it to the pan and add the paprika along with a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Heat soup until it is hot (do not allow to boil). Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or minced hard-cooked egg yolk. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Seed to Supper, Growing & Cooking Delicious Foods No Matter Where You Live by John Tullock (HCI, March 29, 2016; paperback/$21.95).

SHOULD VEGETABLE OIL BE REFRIGERATED?


It usually isn’t necessary. Natural antioxidants in vegetable oils help fight spoilage but all oils will eventually turn rancid, developing an off smell and taste, especially is exposed to air. While some oils have a shelf life of one or more years under normal conditions, natural or unrefined oils last only about four to six months. Refrigerated oils last longer. To keep oil fresh, store it away from heat, light and air and seal it tightly. Buy only what you will use within a few months; if you buy a larger size, you might want to refrigerate it. Flaxseed, walnut and sesame oils have a short shelf life so you’ll probably want to refrigerate them. If your oil smells or tastes rancid, it may not make you sick, but if consumed regularly, oxidized fats could have undesirable cardiovascular effects. It won’t be good anyway.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 2016.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU NEED?


The numbers can be confusing. The Institute of Medicine advises getting 0.36 grams per pound of body weight (54 grams for a 150 pound person, for example). But the RDA for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, and the daily percentage used on nutrition labels is based on 50 grams. Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, April 2016.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK


Do make this entree when boneless pork loin chops are on sale. I have also made it with lean pork shoulder steak. This was a favorite when we were a family of 6.

PORK CHOPS WITH CORN DRESSING


• 6 boneless pork loin chops, cut I-inch thick and trimmed of as much fat as possible
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 medium onion, chopped fine
• 6 cups bread cubes
• 1 15-ounce can cream-style corn
• 1 teaspoon powdered sage
• 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

In large skillet brown chops on both sides in hot canola oil. Remove from pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add onion to pan drippings and cook until transparent. Add bread cubes, cream style corn, sage and salt. Spoon the stuffing mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange pork chops on top of stuffing, cover tightly with foil and bake in preheated 3250 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until chops are done. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Download PDF