FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
Most of the cookbooks I review are sent to me by the
publisher. However, I do buy a cookbook now and then
and the latest one is Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2012, $35.00/hardback). She is a Food Network favorite of mine and I'd love to be her neighbor! For Ina Garten, foolproof means more than just making a recipe successfully; it's also about planning a menu, including coordinating everything so it all goes to the table at the same time. In Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, Ina shows how to make a game plan so everything is hot while you keep your cool. There are notes throughout detailing where a recipe can go wrong plus tips for making recipes in advance. This is Ina's eighth best selling cookbook. Order from Amazon.com. With 150 gorgeous color photographs by Quentin Bacon, I was attracted to Provencal Cherry Tomato Gratin. What a yummy way to add to our consumption of vegetables
PROVENCAL CHERRY TOMATO GRATIN
•3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
•1-1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup good olive oil, divided
•1 teaspoon dried thyme
•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
•3 large cloves garlic, peeled
•1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
•2 cups coarse bread cubes from a country-type bread
Preheat oven to 400oF. Place tomatoes in a 9x13-inch glass or ceramic dish. Add the 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the tomatoes evenly in the pan. Place garlic, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until garlic is finely chopped. Add the bread cubes and process until bread is in crumbs. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse a few times to blend. Sprinkle the crumbs over the tomatoes. Bake the gratin for 40 to 45 minutes until the crumbs are golden and the tomato juices are bubbling. Serve hot or warm. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.
CANCER PROTECTIVE PLANT FOODS
According to Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, senior
nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, cancer
prevention may be as close as the supermarket produce department or farmer's market. Among the many protective
fruits and vegetables are carotenoid-rich squash, carrots,
pumpkins and sweet potatoes .... associated with breast,
prostate, colon and lung cancer protection. Apples, which
contain cell-protective quercetin, protect against mouth,
throat, lung and colon cancer. Cranberries contain benzoic
acid, which protects against colon and lung cancer and
some leukemias. Dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, contain indoles that help detoxify the liver. And the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, help fight cancers of the stomach, prostate and lung as well as oral cancer.
SOURCE: Duke Medicine HealthNews, January 2013.
GROUNDHOG DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Whether Punxsutawney
Phil sees his shadow or not, Groundhog Soup will make
•1 lb. fresh bulk sausage
•1 large onion, chopped
•1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
•1 quart water
•1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
•1 cup diced potatoes with or without peeling
•3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/4 teaspoon pepper
•1 bay leaf
•1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
•1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
•2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
(Bush brand is my choice)
In a large saucepot over medium heat brown the sausage
and onion together. Drain fat. Add remaining ingredients
with exception of beans. Cover and simmer for about 2
hours, adding the beans the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Remove bay leaf before serving. Recipe serves 6.
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3RD
It became a tradition at the Thaman's on Super Bowl
Sunday to serve Zippy Beef Olive Spread (Page 1, Thank
You, I'm Glad You Like It). Daughter Mary Ann and I still
make it for family gatherings but honestly, I don't need
much of an excuse to whip up a batch throughout the year
because it's also good on toast or as a sandwich filling.
Download PDF of Memo #2303
So... this whole 'shredded chicken' thing. I had never even heard of it until I moved to Ohio three years ago. And to be honest, I'm not the biggest fan. I know, I know... it's like a rite of passage for Ohio-ans. There's even a website dedicated to it. But, something about the goopy chicken just weirds me out. And after reading some recipes, I can see exactly why. (Canned chicken, cream of celery/chicken/mushroom soup, crushed crackers, breadcrumbs??!) This shredded chicken, however, is top notch. Shredded Chicken Caesar Sandwiches are a fun twist on the old standby, packing a ton of flavor. Chicken breasts are poached, then shredded, and mixed up with tangy Caesar salad dressing and shredded Parmesan. It's piled high on toasted garlic bread, just waiting to be devoured. To start, poach some chicken breasts. Just bring a pot of water to a boil, and let the chicken pieces simmer 10-15 minutes until they are cooked through. Shred the chicken (very carefully, it's hot!) and add some Caesar salad dressing and Parmesan cheese. All the elements of a chicken Caesar salad, in a hearty sandwich form. (Definitely husband-approved.) I absolutely loved this meal... it was filling, but light. The chicken had just the right amount of tang, and the garlic bread really took it over the top. The shredded chicken would also work great in the crock pot for a group. Just cook the chicken pieces on low 6-8 hours until cooked through; shred, and add remaining ingredients as instructed in the recipe below. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Shredded Chicken Caesar SandwichesServings/Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- ½ cup Caesar salad dressing
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- dash pepper
- shredded romaine lettuce
- ciabatta buns or French baguette
- garlic powder/seasoning
Produce Sales Director for Chief & Rays Supermarkets, Gary Argiropoulos, was kind enough to share this fabulous recipe that utilizes pears. Just take 2 of your favorite ripe pears, slice in half and remove the core and seeds. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg in a ziploc bag. Add pears and shake until pears are coated. Place in a baking dish and add a pat of butter in the seed cavity of each pear. Bake at 375 for approximately 25 minutes. A terrific side dish with any entree! Plus, the recipe is easy to double or even triple. We suggest a little scoop of ice cream to go with these pears. Yum!
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
For what it's worth, this is National Soup Month. A big
fan of soup any day of the year, we're featuring a soup
recipe from a cookbook I received for Christmas from my
brother and sister-in-law in Fort Wayne: Come To the Table,
A Collection of Recipes by St. Vincent de Paul Church. The
318 page cookbook was published by Morris Press for St.
Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Fort Wayne, IN 46825. To
order a copy phone the church at 260-489-3537.
The soup recipe we're sharing is Unstuffed Pepper
Soup. Chief and Rays now have reduced sodium, MSG-free Swanson's Beef Broth in 14.5-ounce cans. Since regular condensed soups have more salt than we need my suggestion for the tomato soup is Campbell's Healthy Request.
UNSTUFFED PEPPER SOUP
•1-1/2 pounds ground beef
•2 large green peppers, chopped
•1 large onion, chopped
•2 cans condensed tomato soup, undiluted
•2 (14.5 oz.) cans beef broth
•1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, not drained
•1 (4 oz.) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
•1-1/2 cups cooked riceIn a Dutch oven or large saucepan, cook beef, green peppers and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the broth, soup, tomatoes and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and heat through. Makes 10 servings.
SOURCE: Come To the Table, A Collection of Recipes by St. Vincent de Paul Church, Fort Wayne, IN 46825. Proceeds support the Seminarians of the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese.
HEART ASSOCIATION WARNS OF "SALTY SIX"
If you are watching your sodium intake, it's not just
French fries and potato chips you need to be wary of, says the American Heart Association. The association has introduced the "Salty Six" to raise awareness of a half dozen foods that may be loaded with excess sodium. The six top sources of sodium in today's diet, according to heart experts, are: Bread and Rolls - One slice can contain as much as 230 milligrams. Cold Cuts and Cured Meats - Deli or prepackaged turkey can have as much as 1,050 milligrams.
Pizza - One slice can have 760 milligrams.
Poultry - Choose chicken wisely, avoiding products enhanced with sodium solution. Just three ounces of fast-food style nuggets can contain almost 600 milligrams.
Soup - One cup of canned soup gives up to 940 milligrams.
Sandwiches - A sandwich can easily top 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
SOURCE: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, January
"DOWN HOME" FOODS POPULAR THIS MONTH
From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day we're inclined
to go heavy on calorie-rich foods. Not so in January,
when "down home" dishes like Mac and Cheese and meat
loaf sound more appealing. Years ago Milli Simerl, a Toledo
Edison home economist, made a microwave meatloaf that
I served to my family. It could have been a Lipton Soup Mix
recipe because it called for a package. I no longer use the
mix because it contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). Instead, I replaced it with Better than Bouillon and dry minced onion. Keep in mind that Better than Bouillon doesn't have less salt but it's free of MSG. It should also be noted that when Milli circulated this recipe moving turntables hadn't been added to microwaves and turning had to be done manually.
MILLI'S MEAT LOAF REVISED
•1/2 cup water
•1/4 cup catsup
•2 to 3 teaspoons Better than Bouillon
•2 tablespoons dry minced onion
•1 cup soft bread crumbs
(make in the food processor if you have one)
•2 pounds ground beef
•Sweet Sour Sauce
In a round 2-quart glass ovenware casserole, combine water, catsup, bouillon and dry minced onion. Add egg and
mix with a fork. Add bread crumbs and ground beef; combine gently. Form into a ring shape in the casserole. A heatproof small custard cup may be inserted in middle to retain shape. Cover with waxed paper. Cook for about 12 minutes but better check in 8 because time may vary depending on your oven wattage. Remove excess fat. Spread with Sweet Sour Sauce after 5 minutes. To make sauce, combine 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup catsup and 1 teaspoon dry mustard. To serve, cut in 6 to 8 wedges.
NOTE: This recipe can also be shaped into meat balls or mini loaves but if you do, double the amount of Sweet-Sour Sauce.
SOURCE: Milli Simerl's recipe with help from Ella Mae Bard
and yours truly.
Download PDF of Memo #2302
So far, January hasn't been too brutal weather-wise... but the COLD is coming! With a high of 12*F on Tuesday, if there's ever a time fitting for soup, it's now! Soup is so delicious in the winter... it just warms you from the inside out. It also usually provides plenty of leftovers, which is always awesome in my book. The soup is pretty straightforward - saute onions, green pepper, and Italian sausage. Chief Smokehouse makes the best Italian sausage... give it a try next time you're in the store! Mix up some melted garlic butter, and cut slits in the loaf every inch or so, cutting almost all the way through but not quite. You want the bread to be able to stay together. Brush some of the garlic butter in each of the slits, and stuff a few slices of cheese in between as well. This has to be good... can't go wrong with cheese and garlic! Pop it into a 350*F oven for a few minutes, until the bread is golden and the cheese is melty. Seriously, who could deny this? I think I ate more bread than I did soup. I could never survive on a low-carb diet. Soup + bread = the perfect cure for the winter blues. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Stuffed Pepper SoupServings/Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped green pepper, (about 2 whole)
- 1 cup chopped onion, (about 1 whole)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ lb. sweet Italian sausage
- ½ cup uncooked rice
- 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Hasselback Garlic Cheesy BreadServings/Yield: 4 servings
- For the garlic butter
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1½ teaspoons garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch paprika
- 1 loaf French bread
- 4-oz white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF
There is a cookbook about everything this day and
age and this week it's about Roots by Diane Morgan
(Chronicle Books, October 2012, hardback). For anyone who ever picked up a strangely, gnarly looking vegetable and said "what's this?," Roots is the ultimate go-to-guide to the hearty, healthful, nutrition packed, budget friendly veggies found underground from the familiar (beets, carrots, potatoes) to the unfamiliar (jicama, salsify, yucca) to the practically unheard of (cassava, galangal, crosnes). Discover the fascinating history and lore of each one, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them and the best part .... more than 225 simple yet creative recipes that bring out their best flavors! Color photographs are by Antonis Achilleos, a New York-based photographer specializing in food. Diane Morgan is an award-winning cookbook author, freelance food writer, culinary instructor and restaurant consultant. She lives in Portland, Oregon. I don't know about you but I do like parsnips and carrots cooked with a pork roast so it's no wonder Morgan's Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Fresh Dill appealed to me. Flecked with fresh dill, the combo complements roasted poultry and is a colorful addition to a wintertime meal.
ROASTED PARSNIPS AND CARROTS WITH FRESH DILL
•8 medium parsnips
•1-1/2 pounds tender carrots
•1/3 cup olive oil
•2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
•1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
•2 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400oF. Trim and peel parsnips and carrots. Cut them into sticks about 3 inches long by 1/2- inch wide and 1/2-inch thick. In large roasting pan or oven-to-table baking dish, toss parsnips and carrots with the oil, dill, pepper and salt. Roast, stirring once or twice, until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife and lightly caramelized in spots, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately, or cover and keep warm for up to 1 hour before serving. (The roasted vegetables can be made up to 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated.) Recipe serves 8 to 10.
SOURCE: Roots by Diane Morgan (Chronicle Books, October 2012, hardback).
THE CASE FOR ROUND LAKE PRE-PACKAGED
I just started training for a spring marathon, and though I generally try to 'eat healthy', I really focus on eating well during marathon training. I have so much more energy when I eat a good mixture of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats! (And cookies, too. Can't forget those.) Roasted Chicken Wraps with Black Bean Salsa do a good job of fulfilling all those requirements. Loaded with super foods (beans + spinach + avocado), these wraps pack a lot of flavor. The wrap is filled with a layer of guacamole, then roasted chicken and a sweet & spicy black bean salsa. It's all rolled up with spinach for some veggie staying power. These were so good, my husband and I packed them up for lunch until all the ingredients ran out! The last day, there wasn't even any chicken left, but I made the wraps with just the black bean salsa and guacamole, and they were still delicious. First, start by mixing up the black bean salsa. It has to sit in the fridge for a bit to let the flavors mingle. I actually made this a day ahead, to make things simpler in the long run. Then, the guacamole. Fresh avocado mixed with lime juice, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Yum. (A little hint - if you have leftover guacamole, save the avocado pit and place it in the container with the guacamole in the fridge. It keeps it from turning brown as quickly.) To assemble the wraps, layer up the guacamole, roasted chicken, black bean salsa, and then a good handful of spinach. I just picked up a rotisserie chicken in the deli section. All I had to do was discard the skin and bones, and it was ready to eat! Roll everything up like a burrito, and that's it! Slice it in half if you want to get really fancy. Protein, check. Healthy fats, check. Fiber, check. (Now if I could only convince myself to forget about the brown butter chocolate chip-nutella cookies sitting in my kitchen right now... hehe...) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Roasted Chicken Wraps with Black Bean SalsaServings/Yield: 6 servings
- For the guacamole
- 2 ripe avocados
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno , seeded and finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, (from 1 lime)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- For the black bean salsa
- 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
- ¼ cup finely diced red pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 1 mango , peeled & finely diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 green onion , chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
- ½ cup canned corn
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- For the wraps
- 6 large tortillas or wraps
- 2-3 cups roasted chicken, shredded
- 4-5 cups baby spinach leaves
- guacamole (above)
- black bean salsa (above)
BEST RECIPES OF 2012
I made enough changes in this recipe to call it my own. The major one was replacing bacon with rotisserie chicken.
SOURDOUGH BREAD STUFFING
•2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
•1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•3/4 cup butter, softened
•1-1/4 cups sugar
•1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnam on Fillin g:
•1 tablespoon sugar
•1 tablespoon vanilla
•1 cup powdered sugar
•1 to 2 tablespoons milk
•1/4 teaspoon vanillaPreheat oven to 350oF. Butter the bottom only of a 13x9 inch baking pan. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in sugars. G radually beat eggs and vanilla into sugar mixture until combined. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until combined. Spoon half the batter into pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over batter. Dollop teaspoon amounts of remaining batter evenly over cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle over bars. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rolls. Recipe makes 24.
Not only did this recipe get rave reviews at the Bryan
Chief but I took it to a Thaman reunion later in the summer
and also served it to company.
CHICKEN SALAD WITH ORZO AND ARTICHOKES
•1/4 cup Crisco canola oil
•3 tablespoon white wine vinegar
•1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
•1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
•Salt and pepper to taste
•3 cups diced cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
•1/2 cup orzo pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions
•1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
•1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
•1 (7.5-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into thick slices
Whisk together all dressing ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine chicken, cooked orzo, tomatoes, green onions and artichoke hearts; toss with dressing to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Recipe makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Adapted from Crisco.com recipe, June 4.
Other favorites last year include the Three-Two-One Cake, Cookout Potatoes, Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup, Sweet Potato-Pear Casserole and Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup.
Download PDF of Memo #2300
New Year's resolutions. It seems that most people are either die-hard resolution fanatics, or they don't care at all. I'm definitely in the latter group. My past attempts at resolutions have always left me feeling guilty when I end up not succeeding. So, I consider myself as a 'work in progress' all year long, not just on January 1st. The most common resolution is to lose weight, or start eating healthier. While I could never give up my beloved sweets, I do prioritize a healthy, balanced diet. (Though you might not know it if you took a peek into my freezer and saw my ice cream stash.) Today's recipe is a lightened up version of a classic snack food - french onion dip with chips. Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt Dip takes french onion dip to a new, more sophisticated level. Real caramelized onions in the dip? Absolutely! Much of the fat is lost when sour cream is swapped out for ultra thick & creamy Greek yogurt. Double bonus if you serve it up with fresh-cut veggies
inst ead of in addition to chips.
Start by caramelizing the onions. Dice up two onions - one sweet & one red - into small pieces. Try to avoid crying waterfalls.
Throw them into a pot, along with some olive oil, butter, and salt. Cooking them low and slow is the key to sweet, caramelized perfection. Mine took about 50 minutes, start to finish. The nice thing is that you don't have to babysit them... Fold a load of laundry, take a minute to stir the onions. Unload the dishwasher, take a break to stir the onions. Once the onions are caramelized, set them aside to cool for a bit.
Serve with chips and/or veggies!
Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt DipServings/Yield: About 3 cups dip
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder