Monthly Archives: May 2014

Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

Lunch can sometimes be the most frustrating meal of the day. I work from home (which is great!), but I don't always want to take the time to cook myself lunch. If I take too long of a 'lunch break', I have a hard time getting back into the groove of working. So, usually I whip up a quick sandwich or salad. But a girl can only eat so many turkey sandwiches before going crazy! IMG_6829 Today's recipe makes a great lunch option - Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad. With just a little prep time on the weekend, you can have a quick and healthy meal ready to scoop and serve. It's got a great mix of carbs, protein, veggies, and a little fat from the peanut sauce. The creamy sauce is full of nutty and spicy flavor, perfect for coating the noodles and the chicken. Get started by boiling the fettuccine noodles according to the package directions. Then, slice your bell peppers, one each of the red, yellow, and green varieties. I like to slice them very thin so they are similar texture to the noodles. IMG_6815 Then, prep the chicken. If you have leftover chicken from a recipe, use that! I grilled up some chicken tenders, but you could just as easily pick up a rotisserie chicken or the ready-grilled chicken strips in the refrigerated section. IMG_6816 Now, the sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine peanut butter, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, white vinegar, honey, half a jalapeno, and a few garlic cloves.Whirl it around until it's completely smooth. Then add a handful of roasted peanuts, whirling until it's a consistency you like. I like mine a little chunky. PicMonkey Collage.jpg All that's left to do is toss everything together! Noodles, peppers, chicken, and sauce. IMG_6819 Store it in the refrigerator for a quick lunch option or an easy dinner side. IMG_6820 ---

Spicy Peanut Chicken Noodle Salad

Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings

  • 12-oz fettuccine noodles, (about 3/4 of a 1-lb box)
  • 1-1¼ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked & diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼-½ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ¼-½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½-1 jalapeno pepper , minced
  • ½ cup peanuts

Method

1. Boil fettuccine noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water after draining.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce. Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, minced garlic, and minced jalapeño in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup peanuts and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. (I like mine a little chunky.)

3. In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, chicken, sliced peppers, peanut sauce, basil, and cilantro. Mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator 1-2 hours before serving. Serve chilled.

Source: adapted from Pinch of Yum

 

Mary’s Memo – May 26th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


For me the barbecue season begins Memorial Day weekend and just in time to make outdoor grilling more intriguing is Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer, the quick fix way to turn everyday food into exceptional fare. How about Grilled Apricot-Ginger-Lime marinated Shrimp or Grilled Raspberry-Chipotle Marinated Baby Back Ribs? Are you in the middle of a busy week? There’s hardly anything quicker to prepare than Basil-Tangerine Marinated Chicken Breasts. Or if company is coming stir up a surprising Beet- Horseradish Marinade, soak some salmon fillets in the marinade for a half hour and bake for an amazing easy dinner with plenty of time leftover to spend with your guests. Recipes range from comforting American, French and Italian marinades to adventuresome and assertive ideas from Mexico, Latin America, Asia and beyond. Lucy Vaserfirer is a culinary educator and blogger. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, she teaches culinary courses at Clark College in Vancouver WA, and at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham OR, and appears often on cooking segments on Portland-area TV. Her previous books are Seared to Perfection and Flavored Butters. She lives with her husband in Vancouver WA.

When you don’t have time to start from scratch and mince garlic, chiles and other ingredients, you can rely on sriracha, the popular chile and garlic sauce (available at Chief), good as a marinade for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork chops, beef steaks, white fish fillets, shrimp and sea scallops.

SRIRACHA MARINADE


• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/4 cup sriracha sauce
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons sugar

Measure the canola oil, srichacha sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar into a 1-gallon zip-top bag and shake and squeeze until blended. Add thighs, pork chops or beef steaks and marinate 2 hours to overnight. White fish, shrimp, sea scallops and squid should marinate 20 to 45 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels, then grill over direct heat. Marinade makes enough for 4 to 6 servings. Source: Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer (Harvard Common Press, April 2014, $17.95/paperback), available at Amazon.com.

ALL ABOUT BLACKBERRIES


Keep in mind that berries of any kind are very perishable and should be used as soon as possible after you bring them home. Never wash until you are ready to use them. When blackberries were on sale recently I served my version of Taste of Home’s Fresh Blackberry Cobbler. I replaced vegetable shortening with butter and whole milk with 2% (what I had in the refrigerator). It worked fine so use whatever kind you usually buy.

FRESH BLACKBERRY COBBLER


• 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 4 cups fresh blackberries, washed and air dried
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons cold butter
• 1/2 cup milk (whatever kind you use)
• Vanilla ice cream (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in blackberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour into 1-1/2-quart oblong glass baking dish. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Drop evenly over hot blackberry mixture (I had 3 rows). Bake in preheated 400ºF oven until topping is golden brown. Mine took between 20 to 25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home recipe.

One of my Bryan Chief tasters was Dr. Gary Sammons, retired Bryan chiropractor, who told me his mother, Pearl, made 111 Kentucky Fruit Cobbler. It takes less time than the one I made so I tried it over the weekend. The Sammons' serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Cobbler can be made with strawberries, blueberries, fresh peaches, apples, etc. He also told me they cut the 1 stick of butter in half and I followed their recommendation.

PEARL’S KENTUCKY COBBLER


• 1/2 stick butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup fresh fruit

Melt butter in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish in oven. Mix flour, sugar, milk and self-rising flour together. Pour into dish. Arrange fresh fruit evenly over batter. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.
Source: Dr. Gary Sammons, Bryan, OH.

PS: After having everything ready to make the cobbler, I discovered that my self-rising flour use-by date had expired so I made my own by mixing 1 cup flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoons salt together.

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BBQ Turkey Burgers

It's grillin' season! There's nothing quite like a Chief smokehouse brat or burger fresh off the grill. While I love beef burgers, sometimes it's fun to mix it up a bit with turkey or chicken. BBQ Turkey Burgers are a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and full of flavor. Topped with gooey cheese and sweet caramelized onions, they were a hit with my family. The trick to making a moist (not dry) turkey burger, is to use ground turkey (not turkey breast, which has practically no fat to it), and not to overcook it. IMG_6680 Before you start the burgers, get the onions going. They take about 20 minutes. Just add some sliced onion with some olive oil and a pinch of a salt to a saute pan and cook over medium heat until golden brown. onions.jpg For the burgers, combine a pound of ground turkey, a little cheddar cheese, your favorite BBQ sauce (for me, it's Sweet Baby Ray's!), cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix it all up and form into four patties. IMG_6678 Grill over medium-high heat about 8 minutes on each side until cooked through. If you like your cheese melty, add it during the last 1-2 minutes. Top the burgers with additional BBQ sauce and the caramelized onions, and serve up on your favorite buns. IMG_6679 Looking for other burgers recipes? Check these out! ---

BBQ Turkey Burgers

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • ¼ cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • BBQ sauce, for topping
  • sliced Havarti or mozzarella cheese, for topping

Method

1. To start the onions, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions with pinch of salt about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the burgers. Combine ground turkey, grated cheddar, spices, and BBQ sauce in a large bowl. Mix and form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 8 minutes on each side until cooked through.

3. Top with cheese, caramelized onions, and additional BBQ sauce.

Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Mary’s Memo – May 19th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


The population of the “oldest old” is expected to triple soon, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So what really counts when it comes to enjoying the extra time on earth? The answer is to have full use of your mental abilities and be free of disabling neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “Keep Your Brain Young” by Dr. Fraser Smith and Dr. Ellie Aghdassi (www.robertrose.ca, Toronto ON, April 2014, $24.95/softback) addresses the subject and also includes 150 recipes. Dr. Smith, BA, ND, was trained at Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, CA, where he also served as the former Dean of the Naturopathic Program. He is registered to practice naturopathic medicine in Ontario and licensed as a naturopathic physician in Vermont. He is past president (2008 to 2013) of the Illinois Association Of Naturopathic Physicians. He currently resides in Illinois. Dr. Ellie Aghdassi, PhD, RD, is the Program Manager for the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA), a Registered Dietitian and a Senior Scientific Associate at the University Health Network. She resides in Toronto, ON. Book is available at Amazon.com.

EGGSTRA! EGGSTRA!


I notice that medium eggs are often on sale at area Chief Supermarkets. These are fine to scramble, fry or make egg salad but not for baking because recipes are developed with large eggs. Large eggs are also my preference to devil because there is more yolk in a large egg. By the way, I cringe when I see recipes calling for ‘hard boiled’ eggs because they should never be boiled! I do 7 eggs at-a-time in a Cuisinart Egg Cooker but when more are needed, set eggs out until they are room temperature, then cover with water; set over medium heat and when water just starts to bubble on top, remove from heat and cover for 20 minutes. Then place pan under cold running water (ice cubes will hasten the process) until shells feel cool; drain and peel. For ease of peeling, it helps if eggs are not fresh-from-the-store. How long should ‘hard cooked’ eggs be refrigerated? It is better to use them within 5 days because with cooking, the shell lost its protective coating.

ALLERGIES


Can adults develop allergies? The answer is yes. People can develop allergies or allergic asthma at any age. It’s likely that some of them had an allergic reaction as a child or adolescent that they don’t remember. Moreover, if you have one allergy, you can progress to others over the years, perhaps as a result of getting a new pet or moving to a region with different trees, plants and grasses. Most food allergies begin the first or second year of life, but they can certainly develop in adulthood, with seafood being the most common culprit. In addition, food intolerances (to lactose in milk, for example) are most likely to begin, or at least become more bothersome, in adulthood. Until fairly recently it was common wisdom that children not be fed highly allergenic foods until they are a year old. But it turned out that there is no evidence that avoiding these foods past four to six months of age reduces the risk of allergies. In fact, it’s now known that early introduction of highly allergenic foods helps promote tolerance of them. If you think you or a family member has an intolerance for a certain food, discuss it with your primary care doctor.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, Special Spring/Summer Issue.

LESS MEAT CAN BE A GOOD THING


You’re going to be seeing more entrees with a minimal amount of meat on Mary’s Memo, mainly to cut cost but also because we don’t need it to be healthy. An example of this kind of entrée is Impossible Buffalo Chicken Pie made with rotisserie chicken. I haven’t found an impossible pie I didn’t like and anything with a hint of Buffalo wing taste will always get my attention!

IMPOSSIBLE BUFFALO CHICKEN PIE


• 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce
• 1 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (4-ounces)
• 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup Original Bisquick
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken with Buffalo wing sauce until well coated. Stir in cheese and celery. Pour into ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl, mix Bisquick, cornmeal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cut into 6 wedges; drizzle with blue cheese dressing.
Source: 3rd Place Winner Bisquick Recipe Contest 2010.

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Lightened Up Broccoli Salad

There's nothing quite like the spring time... and I think spring is actually finally here! One of my favorite parts about the warmer weather is rolling out the grill and having a few people over to hang out on our patio. Last night, we had a few friends over, and I whipped up a few of our summer favorites - Chipotle Chicken Kebabs and BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers. I knew I wanted a lighter side to go with the meal, and a crisp and fresh broccoli salad sounded great. However, most broccoli salads are loaded with excess fat, calories, and sodium. (All those yummy ingredients... mayonnaise, bacon, cheese!) I decided to create a new version of Lightened Up Broccoli Salad - swapping plain Greek yogurt for some of the mayonnaise, subbing crunchy sunflower seeds for the salty bacon, and cutting down on the amount of cheese. And ya know what? It was just as good as the original! All our guests gave good reviews. IMG_6701 Start out by blanching the broccoli. This just takes the raw taste out of it. Simply drop the broccoli into boiling water for 1 minute, and then plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Spread it out onto a towel to drain the liquid. IMG_6695 IMG_6696 Meanwhile, make the dressing. A little plain Greek yogurt, light mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. IMG_6697 Then it's time to assemble the salad. Combine the cooled and dried broccoli, a few sliced green onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, cubed cheddar cheese, and as much of the dressing as you need to coat the broccoli. I used almost all of it. IMG_6698 Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. IMG_6700 ---

Lightened Up Broccoli Salad

Yield: Serves 6-8

  • 2-lbs broccoli florets
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • ½-¾ cup raisins
  • ½-¾ cup sunflower seeds
  • 4-oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Method

1. Drop broccoli into boiling water for 1 minute. Plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking process. Lay out on a kitchen towel to dry.

2. For the dressing, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, green onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, and cheese. Pour dressing over mixture, adding enough to coat. You might not need it all.

4. Store in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

Source: adapted from Aggie's Kitchen

Mary’s Memo – May 12th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


With hundreds of recipes for sumptuously mouth-watering candies, chocolates, pralines, crèmes, fudges, toffee and holiday treats, 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock, this candy bible covers everything from the traditional to the exotic. Complete with easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photos, it’s a treasure trove of information and inspiring recipes. Most of us are intimidated by the thought of making our own candies, but the author shows us how to master a few basic principles that every candy maker should know.

Jane Sharrock is a third-generation candy-maker who grew up surrounded by good cooks, great food and delicious homemade candies. Her mother and her aunts made cooking look so effortless that it never occurred to Jane that others might struggle in the kitchen. Eventually Jane realized that she had unique training  and not everyone had a Home Economics professor, old fashioned country cook, farmer’s wife and second-generation candy maker as a mother and mentor. Armed with a sizeable collection of old fashioned candy recipes and decades of kitchen wisdom passed from generation to generation, Jane wrote a candy cookbook in hopes of inspiring a new generation of candy makers. Jane lives in Oklahoma and works for the Federal contracting industry. In her free time she enjoys cooking with friends and family.

Because I happen to like layered peppermint bark, that’s the recipe we’re sharing, even though it’s more likely to be served at Christmastime. Dare to be different and make it now!

GOURMET LAYERED PEPPERMINT BARK


• 8-ounces chocolate candy coating
• 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
• 2 teaspoons peppermint extract, divided
• 12-ounces white chocolate candy coating
• 3/4 cup crushed candy canes

In the top pan of double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the dark chocolate candy coating and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract until well blended. Pour the chocolate mixture onto baking sheet lined with waxed paper, spreading into a thin, even layer. Cool 20 minutes or until chocolate is firm. In top of a clean double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the white chocolate coating, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining peppermint extract until well blended. Pour the white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate layer, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy canes. Cool and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Source: www.robertrose.ca, Toronto, ON, May 2014, $24.95/softback.

BUILDING BETTER BROCCOLI


A pair of discoveries, reported in PLOS One, may lead to better broccoli in the produce aisle. University of Illinois researchers, seeking to boost levels of anti-cancer glucosinolate compounds found broccoli and similar vegetables, sprayed the plants shortly before harvest with methyl jasmonate. That natural, non-toxic plant signal chemical tells genes in the broccoli to produce the anti-cancer agents. Unfortunately, testing showed it also accelerated the production of ethylene, which causes plants to decay. Spraying a second chemical recently discovered in plants, 1-methlycyclopropene, was found to block ethylene and prolonged shelf life. The one-two punch, scientists hope, will help protect against cancer while also protecting the broccoli in your fridge.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, May, 2014.

BAKED TOMATOES


It will be awhile before we have home grown tomatoes but in the meantime, Baked Tomato Casserole, is an excellent side dish to serve with grilled meats and fish year round!

BAKED TOMATO CASSEROLE


• 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
• 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix
• 1/4 cup butter

Sauté chopped onions in 1/4 cup butter. Mix drained tomatoes, sautéed onions, salt, pepper, oregano and brown sugar together. Spoon into 9x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sauté stuffing mix in 1/4 cup butter and sprinkle evenly over tomato mixture. Bake in 250ºF oven for 1-1/4 hours. Recipe makes 4 to 5 servings.

An excellent relish at barbecues is Dilled Carrot Sticks. I happen to think that regular carrots have a better flavor than mini carrots.

DILLED CARROT STICKS


• 1 pound medium-sized carrots
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• 1 cup water
• 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon mustard seed
• 1/2 teaspoon dill weed

Peel carrots into 3-inch lengths. Cook in boiling water until almost tender but not overcooked. Drain; cut carrots lengthwise into quarters. In saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed and dill weed. Simmer mixture 10 minutes. Add carrot sticks and simmer 1 minute longer. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Drain carrots thoroughly before serving. Recipe makes 3 cups.

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

Happy Cinco de Mayo! What better way to celebrate than with a Mexican fiesta? I am definitely a fan of Mexican food... as you can see by going through the blog archives! If you're hunting for some yummy food to make to celebrate, here are a few of my favorites from the past: I figured to round out all the Mexican goodness above, I'd share with you a Mexican-inspired dessert - Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars. They are a riff on a popular Mexican dessert, sopapillas, which are fried pastries coated in cinnamon-sugar.

IMG_6508

This version has flaky pastry dough layered with a creamy cheesecake filling. It's all topped with cinnamon-sugar, and is the perfect cool treat after a hot & spicy meal. It's SO easy to make, too. First, mix up the filling. Just a couple blocks of cream cheese, sugar, an egg yolk, and some vanilla extract. IMG_6493 To assemble, pop open a couple cans of crescent rolls. Unroll one into the bottom of a greased 9x13-inch pan, pinching to seal. Spread with the cream cheese mixture, then top with another can of crescent rolls, pinching to seal. Sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon-sugar.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Bake at 350*F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate several hours before serving.

IMG_6509

Question: What's your favorite food to serve on Cinco de Mayo? --- Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars Yield: 9x13-inch pan
  • 2 8-ct. packages crescent rolls
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • cinnamon-sugar
Preheat oven to 350*F. Spread one package of crescent rolls into the bottom of a 13x9-inch pan. Cream together cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla. Spread evenly over crescent rolls. Cover cream cheese mixture with other package of crescent rolls.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, and refrigerate. Serve cool. Source: family favorite

Mary’s Memo – May 5th

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!


According to Wikipedia, Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for fifth of May, commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862. Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day September 16, Cinco de Mayo is observed mostly by Mexican Americans in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. More than ever before, Americans are embracing the food of other nationalities including our neighbor, Mexico. Celebrate the day with Slow Cooker Posole with Pork and Chicken. PS: It freezes well!

SLOW COOKER POSOLE WITH PORK AND CHICKEN


• 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/2 pound boneless pork loin roast
• 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained
• 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth (I use Swanson’s)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
• 1 bay leaf

Place chipotle pepper and water into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into slow cooker. Add the pork, chicken, hominy, green chilies, onion, garlic and chicken broth. Season with oregano, cumin, pepper and the bay leaf. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours until meats are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Allrecipes.com, the world’s favorite recipe web site.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PALEO DIET


The creators of the Paleo diet claim the diet is best suited for our bodies because it is the “unique diet to which our species is genetically adapted through evolution and natural selection.” It is also referred to as the “caveman diet” or the Stone Age diet.” The Paleo diet is said to be based on the diets of our preagricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors who lived more than 10,000 years ago. The diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables. It also emphasizes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds plus “healthful fats” from plants including oils from olives, walnuts, flaxseed, coconuts, avocados and macadamia nuts. It excludes refined sugar, dairy, legumes including peanuts, grains, processed foods, salt and refined vegetable oils such as canola, peanut, soybean and corn oils.

The Paleo diet is high in fiber due to high intake of fruits and vegetables, and it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids from seafood, nuts, and flaxseed and walnut oils. However, unlike the Mediterranean diet, it omits dairy, grains and legumes which can be part of a healthy diet. Omitting these food groups may cause a deficiency in certain nutrients including calcium and vitamin D. Also, since the Paleo diet emphasizes animal sources of protein , it can be high in saturated fat if you don’t limit yourself to lean meat and skinless poultry. Science has shown that the diets of Paleolithic ancestors actually varied widely, based upon the geography and climate of their location, so there is no single “best” diet that creators of the Paleo diet claim. The Paleo diet emphasizes some important points that can be incorporated into your diet: eating less processed foods and refined sugars and more fruits and vegetables; however, the Mediterranean diet is a better choice because it is lower in saturated fat and it doesn’t exclude good sources of fiber, such as grains and legumes.
Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2014.

MORE REASON TO EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES


Scientists have known for decades that a fiber-rich diet protects against obesity and diabetes, but recently a French-Swedish team of researchers discovered one of the mechanism for that protection. The authors expect the findings to influence new nutritional guidelines geared to preventing obesity and diabetes. Simply put, the bottom line is to “encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in soluble fiber,” says Giles Mithieux, lead study author and researcher at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. The research team found that soluble fibers in fruits and vegetables are fermented by intestinal bacteria into short-chain fatty acids, which can be assimilated by the body. These acids confer a protective effect… for example, animals fed a fiber-rich diet are less fat than animals fed a fiber-free diet. This protective mechanism seems to come from the ability of the intestine to produce glucose and release it into the blood between meals and at night. Glucose is detected by the nerves in the walls of the portal vein, which collects blood coming from the intestine and sends a nerve signal to the brain. The brain then triggers certain functions that are diabetes- and obesity-protective. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, cabbage, green peas, corn and legumes including dried beans, lentils or peas.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, May 2014.

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