Mary’s Memo – March 27th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Family Circle publishes a yearbook of their recipes for $34.96 but before you pay full price, check Amazon.com. Inside yearbook you’ll find hundreds of recipes for busy weeknights, preparation and cook times for smart meal planning, healthful and kid-friendly dinners and treats, nutrition information for planning a balanced diet and tantalizing color photographs throughout. A quiche fan, Spinach Sausage Pie jumped from the cookbook saying “try me!”

SPINACH AND SAUSAGE PIE


Pie Crust
• ½ pound crumbled sweet Italian sausage
• 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• ½ pound seeded and diced plum tomatoes
• 6 eggs
• ½ cup milk
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon onion powder
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350ºF. Fit a prepared pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and line with foil, pressing down. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes. In a skillet, sauté sausage 5 minutes; stir in spinach and cook 2 minutes. Spread 1 cup mozzarella over crust; add sausage mixture and tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella over tomatoes. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, onion powder, oregano and pepper. Pour over pie and bake at 350ºF for 1hour.
Source: Family Circle Annual Recipes 2016.

EATING FOR ENERGY: FOODS FOR FUEL


Energy drinks, energy bars, candy and processed snacks fill the grocery and convenience store shelves and promise to provide quick and delicious energy. The problem with many of these products is that the boost of energy relies on refined grains, sugar and caffeine. While these choices can provide a quick energy spike, they also lead to an eventual crash, which may leave you feeling lethargic and fatigued. Also, people who are sensitive to blood sugar spikes or caffeine may feel slightly nauseated, jittery or shaky. “Eating a lot of processed foods, such as sodas, juice drinks, crackers, cookies, or chips, can lead to a roller coaster of energy spikes and pits throughout the day. These foods also provide a lot of calories and sugar but lack important vitamins and minerals. These choices can eventually lead to overeating and weight gain,” says Jenna Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CNSC, a registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weil Cornell.

For sustained energy, it is wiser to choose foods that provide a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These foods break down more slowly, so instead of an energy spike followed by a crash, you can enjoy a continuous supply of energy. For example, old-fashioned oatmeal topped with ground flaxseed, chia seeds, almonds or walnuts and fresh fruit provides a good balance of whole grains, complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and healthy fat. This meal will keep you feeling full and energetic many more hours than a slice of white bread with jam or a toaster pastry. “Choose high-fiber, complex carbohydrates like whole grains (oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice), as well as vegetables and fruits, for consistent energy,” says Rosenfeld. “It’s also important to balance carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats.”
Source: Weill Cornell Medicine Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center, March 2017.

FROM MY COOKBOOK


One of my favorites from my cookbook is Peanut Butter Sundae Sauce It’s surprised me over the years that although you were generous enough to buy my cookbook, many haven’t tried the recipes. That includes this sundae sauce.

PEANUT BUTTER SUNDAE SAUCE


• 2 cups sugar
• ½ cup water
• 1 pound jar peanut butter (I use the original Jif)
• 1 cup half and half
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (no imitation vanilla for me)

Place sugar and water in saucepan. Boil until sugar is dissolved and clear. With an electric mixer, blend syrup, peanut butter, half and half and vanilla. Serve at room temperature over vanilla ice cream. Recipe makes 4 cups sauce.

WAS THERE EVER A REAL UNCLE BEN?


Yes. The original Uncle Ben was a black rice farmer who lived in Texas. His rice crop was renowned among rice millers in and around Houston for being of the highest quality. His rice was so good that other farmers proudly compared their rice to his, claiming it was “as good as Uncle Ben’s.”

In the late 1940s two of the founders of Converted Rice Inc. (forerunner of Uncle Ben’s Inc.) were having dinner in their favorite Chicago restaurant, discussing how to market their “converted” rice in the United States. They both were familiar with the Uncle Ben quality story and decided to call their product Uncle Ben’s Converted Brand Rice and manufacturer it in the rice-growing area around Houston, where Uncle Ben was said to have farmed.

The restaurant’s maître d’ was a close friend of the two men. They talked him into posing for the famous Uncle Ben portrait that is still on the company’s boxes today.
Source: The Book of Totally Useless Information by Don Voorhees.

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Easy Eats – Honey Garlic Shrimp

Easy Eats - Honey Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients

1/3 cup honey 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 TB minced garlic optional: 1 tsp minced fresh ginger 1 lb medium uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined 2 tsp olive oil optional: chopped green onion for garnish

Directions

Whisk the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger (if using) together in a medium bowl. Place shrimp in a large zipped-top bag or tupperware. Pour 1/2 of the marinade mixture on top, give it all a shake or stir, then allow shrimp to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or for up to 8-12 hours. Cover and refrigerate the rest of the marinade. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in the skillet. (Discard used marinade) Cook shrimp on one side until pink-- about 45 seconds-- then flip shrimp over. Pour in remaining marinade and cook it all until shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute more. Serve shrimp with cooked marinade sauce and a garnish of green onion. The sauce is excellent on brown rice and steamed veggies on the side.

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Mary’s Memo – March 20th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Happiness is receiving a new cookbook and for Christmas a friend sent me Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites Cookbook (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016, hardback/$37.50. My book came via Amazon.com.

Bourdain is man of many appetites. And for many years, first as a chef, later as a world-traveling chronicler of food and culture on his CNN series, Parts Unknown, he has made a profession of understanding the appetites of others. These days, however, if he’s cooking for family and friends.

Appetites, his first cookbook in more than ten years, boils down thirty-plus years of professional cooking and globe-trotting to a repertoire of personal favorites, dishes that everyone should know how to cook. The result is a home-cooking, home entertaining cookbook like no other, with personal favorites from his own kitchen and from his travels, translated into an effective battle plan that will help you terrify your guests with your breathtaking efficiency.

WONDERFUL MARINADE FOR CHICKEN


A Cornell University professor developed this marinade and I received it via Renee Isaac of Bryan via allrecipes.com. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of table salt. Renee reduced it to 1 tablespoon. Grilled chicken is to be basted with the marinade but I elected not to do this to cut the sodium even more. My Calphalon Grill Pan held 6 spread out boneless, skinless thighs.

CORNELL CHICKEN MARINADE


• 1 egg
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 2 cups cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Crack the egg into a medium bowl and whisk in the vinegar, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Arrange spread out thighs in shallow baking dish and coat each with sauce. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Source: Adapted from Cornell Chicken Marinade recipe from allrecipes.com via Renee Isaac.

NUTCRACKER’S VERSATILITY


It may surprise you but the nutcracker has other uses besides cracking nuts.

In my kitchen and even the bathroom, it’s responsible for opening containers it’s been used to open Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner that I can’t open any other way.

WHOLE GRAINS DEFINED


Since 2000, whole grain (WG) intake has been included among recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In the 2005 and 2010 Guidelines the message states, “Eat at least 3 one-ounce-equivalents of whole grains daily and at least half of all grains should be whole grain.”

Studies show that while both children and adults still fail to consume the recommended amounts, WG intake has improved greatly between 2002 and 2012, a period during which a significant study was conducted.

It’s with good reason that bread is called “the staff of life.” A diet rich in WGs is associated with lower mortality and death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), a broad category that includes stroke, atrial fibrillation, myocardial ischemia, cardiovascular death, coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction; all-cause mortality, and mortality from cancers, particularly colorectal cancer.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), many whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fiber, along with other important nutrients. Dietary fiber of whole grains may help improve blood cholesterol, and linium, which is vital for a healthy immune and thyroid Hormone. WG food should include one of these on the ingredient list: whole wheat, graham flour, oatmeal, whole oats, brown rice, wild rice, whole grain corn, popcorn, whole-grain barley, whole-wheat bulgur, whole rye, millet, quinoa and sorghum.

Source: Duke Medicine Health News, March 2017.

FIVE EASY STEPS TO HEALTHY DINNERS


One way to achieve a goal is to put your plan in writing. Choose the kind of lean protein you’ll be having each day: Fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of meat including beef and pork and plant proteins such as beans and tofu are all healthy choices.

Choose Your Grain or Starchy Vegetable. For example if you choose pasta, make sure it is whole grain. For example, whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

Fill In the Blanks

Some guidelines for a healthy meal include a vegetable, a fruit and a serving of low-fat dairy, along with a protein and a grain, in each meal.

Make A Grocery List.

Once you get a week’s worth of healthy dinner ideas, take your list to the grocery store. Initially, creating healthy meal plans takes some time, but it will go more quickly once you get in the habit of doing it every week.
Best of all, you’ll be eating healthier.

Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, March 2017.

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Easy Eats – Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage

Easy Eats - Crockpot Corned Beef & Cabbage

Ingredients

1-3 lb. Corned Beef Brisket w/ seasoning packet 1 lb. red or new potatoes, whole 3 carrots, cut in bite-size pieces 2 bay leaves 3 cloves garlic, whole 1 tsp. dried thyme 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. pepper 3 cups beef broth 1 head of cabbage, sliced into ribbons

Directions

Place the brisket, fat side up, in the crock pot. Sprinkle the seasoning packet all over it. Add the carrots, potatoes, and garlic to the crock pot.  Season with salt, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme. Pour in the beef broth. Cover with the lid and set the heat to LOW. Cook for 6 hours. After 6 hours, add the cabbage to the crock pot. Cover with the lid once again, and set the heat to HIGH and cook for 1 hour.

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Easy Eats – Healthy Cod

Easy Eats - Healthy Cod Ingredients 1 lb cod fillets 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes 1/4 cup diced yellow onion 1 green pepper 1 red pepper (or yellow) 1 cup spinach (chopped) 1 pkg sliced mushrooms 2 TB garlic 1/4 cup olive oil 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

Saute olive oil and garlic for 5 minutes on low/med heat. Add chopped peppers and onion, cover and cook on low for about 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, canned tomatoes and spinach, stir and cover on low/med heat for 5 minutes. Add cod on top of all the vegetables, season and cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to low and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Cod is done when it is flakey and starts splitting apart. *season to taste

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Easy Eats – Stuffed Peppers

Easy Eats - Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice 1 cup water 6 bell peppers 2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce 1 TB. Worcestershire sauce 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 1/4 tsp. onion powder Salt & pepper to taste 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned. Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.) In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

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Mary’s Memo – February 27th

PRIZE-WINNING GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH


My friend, Annie Watts, includes a recipe in her Christmas letter. One of her activities this past year was judging the 2016 Ultimate Grilled Cheese Contest. The winner was Andrew Kuehnert, Fort Wayne Indiana dairy farmer, for The Mousetrap.

THE MOUSETRAP


• 1 to 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
• 2 thick slices firm white bread (Texas toast-style)
• 1 thick slice medium Cheddar cheese
• 1 thick slice Havarti cheese
• 1 thick slice Colby-jack cheese

Preheat griddle or skillet to medium/high heat. Generously butter 1 side of each bread slice. Place 1 bread slice, butter side down, on griddle. Top with Cheddar, Havarti and Colby-jack cheese then second bread slice butter side up. Grill until golden brown and cheeses are melted, pressing down on sandwich and flipping as needed. Cover if needed to help melt the cheese. Remove from griddle and let stand 1 minute; cut in half and serve. Garnish if desired.
Source: Andrew Kuehnert, Fort Wayne Indiana.

FAVORITE SOUP RECIPE FROM MY COOKBOOK


Readers ranked Cabbage Patch Soup the one they liked best. Have you made it? Although our winter has been warmer than usual, a hearty homemade soup is always welcome.

CABBAGE PATCH SOUP


• 1 pound ground chuck
• ½ cup celery
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1 small head cabbage, shredded
• 2 cups water
• 1 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
• 1 15-ounce can ranch-style beans
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté meat and add drain fat. Add celery, onions, cabbage and water. Cook 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook 20 minutes longer. Recipe makes 6 servings.

WATCH THE SALT


Convenience foods are loaded with salt. That includes canned soups including Campbell Healthy Request cream of chicken and cream of mushroom that I’ve used to make casseroles.

The same can be said for sandwiches sold at fast food restaurants.

If you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, do try Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb is a good alternative. I had not realized that there are several flavors.

Fortunately many more salt-free foods are available including no-salt potato chips and tortilla chips. For someone who loves them as much as I do, they’re tasty.

VITAMIN E SUPPORTS HEART, BRAIN, EYE AND IMMUNE HEALTH


Sixty percent of Americans don’t get enough of this vital vitamin. You may not hear much about vitamin E but it more than pulls its weight when it comes to your health. It’s an antioxidant that helps protect cells from the damaging unstable molecules that occur naturally in the body. It boosts immunity, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing inflammation, and inhibits excessive formation of platelets that contribute to blood clots. Vitamin E intake from foods has been linked with a decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease, and vitamin also supports eye health by helping to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per adult men and women. “There are many ways to get adequate vitamin E in your diet from foods,” confirms Jenna Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC, a registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Include almonds in your oatmeal in the morning, or add hazelnuts to your salad at lunch or dinnertime. Swap corn oil for sunflower oils when cooking to boost vitamin E intake. Pack sunflower seeds as an easy portable snack.

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin meaning that the body needs fat to adequately absorb it. Almost all foods that are high in vitamin E are naturally high in fat, but don’t obsess over the calorie count as long as you don’t overdo it. “Some people may worry about the calories and fats in oils, nuts and seeds, says Rosenfeld. However, some fat is necessary for a healthy, balanced diet.”

It is better to obtain vitamin E from foods or a general multivitamin unless instructed to do otherwise by your healthcare provider, since vitamin E can interact with many medications. Rosenfeld adds that eating a balanced diet is vital for optimal health. “When you are consuming a variety of ‘real ‘foods, you are guaranteeing your intake of all vitamins and without having to calculate the dose or find a reputable brand supplement. Vitamin E foods include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, avocado, peanuts, corn oil and spinach.
Source: Women’s Nutrition Connection, January 2017.

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Easy Eats – Rosemary Ranch Salmon

Easy Eats - Rosemary Ranch Salmon Ingredients 4 salmon fillets Kosher salt Lemon Pepper Fresh rosemary, chopped fine (about 1 TB) Ranch dressing (about 1/3 cup)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking. (Use foil for easy cleanup.) Cut filets into individual serving sizes if large, about 3 inches wide. Sprinkle with kosher salt and rinse with water. Pat dry and place on prepared baking sheet. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over filets. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Chop fresh rosemary finely and sprinkle on top. Spread ranch dressing evenly on top. Bake for 10 minutes, skin side down (if yours have skin). Transfer to top rack and broil for 1-3 minutes or until top mixture is hot and bubbly and beginning to brown. You just want little specks of brown starting to happen. Serve immediately.

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Easy Eats – Oven Poached Salmon

Easy Eats - Oven Poached Salmon

Ingredients

3 cups broccoli florets 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes 1 lb. salmon fillets (cut into 4-4oz. pieces) 1 TB. olive oil 1 TB. soy sauce salt & pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut 4 long pieces of aluminum foil and lay flat on the counter. Add equal amount of broccoli and cherry tomatoes to each piece of aluminum foil. Add salt/pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce. Place salmon piece on top of each broccoli cherry parcel. Add salt/pepper to taste. Seal the aluminum foil parcels. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

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Easy Eats – Strawberry-Chocolate Parfait

Easy Eats - Strawberry-Chocolate Parfait Ingredients Strawberries (or raspberries, blueberries) Brownies, crumbled Chocolate Ice Cream Whipped Cream Chocolate Liqueur (optional)

Directions

Toss 1/2 cup strawberries (or berries of choice) with 1 TB chocolate liqueur (optional), layer with crumbled brownies and chocolate ice cream into 2 glasses. Top with whipped cream and more berries. Enjoy!

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