Archive for ‘Recipes’

March 4, 2019

Let’s Go Green With Avocado!

Even if you don’t recycle, you can still go green with avocado! It’s time to bring the focus back to food for a minute. Spring hasn’t quite arrived, but I’m already craving salads made from fresh, tender spring greens. The farmers market in my neighborhood will open in April. In the meantime, I’m creating salads using red cabbage, baby arugula, and kale.

I’m not a big fan of most bottled dressing so I usually toss something together at home. I use a variety of vinegars-balsamic, apple cider, rice wine, and white wine-and pair them with extra virgin olive oil. Sometimes I’ll buy oil or vinegar infused with herbs, peppers, or fruit for some extra flavor dimension. For creamy dressings, I used to start with yogurt. Now I prefer avocado.

Avocados have a creamy texture and plenty of fat to serve as a base for dressing. They’re a great dairy alternative. And they provide lots of yummy nutrients.
avocado
One-third of a medium avocado has 1 gram of protein, .3mg of iron, 250mg of potassium, 11mcg of vitamin K, 45mcg folate, .7mg pantothenic acid, and .1mg copper plus iron, vitamins C,E,& B, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.

That same serving of avocado has 3g dietary fiber and no sodium, sugar, or cholesterol. The fiber content combined with unsaturated fat makes avocados filling, heart-healthy, and diabetes-friendly.

Here’s an avocado dressing recipe I’ve been using:

Spicy Avocado Dressing

One ripe avocado
1 tbsp COYO natural flavor coconut yogurt alternative
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp salt
4 grinds black pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice (optional)

Place avocado, coconut yogurt, and Sriracha in food chopper and pulse until smooth and creamy. Place avocado mixture in medium bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, and orange juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Keep the avocado turning from turning brown by adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice before refrigerating.

If you’re not in the mood for salad, you can always use avocados to make guacamole. In addition to the traditional dip or salad, I sometimes use guacamole instead of mayonnaise or mustard on a sandwich to give it a boost in flavor and moisture. It’s especially good with roasted or fajita chicken.

Don’t forget to add avocado to your poké bowl. It’s delicious with rice, tofu, cucumber, carrots, edamame, and salmon, tuna, shrimp, or chicken.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention avocado toast. If you don’t want to make it at home, it’s most likely served at a coffee shop near you although it may not be gluten-free.

I’ve seen recipes that call for adding avocado to salsa, margaritas, and even pudding. I can see using them in muffins or fruit breads in the place of butter although I have not tried this.

But that’s what going green with avocados is all about…using them more often and in more variety. Have fun going green and bon appétit!

https://www.californiaavocado.com/nutrition/nutrients

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270406.php

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/40-avocado-recipes-so-you-can-eat-as-much-avocado-as-possible

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/bombarded-words-eat-healthy-really-mean/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/secret-always-kiss/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

November 26, 2018

New Life for Leftovers

This week is a good time to create a new life for leftovers. In general I don’t mind leftovers, but I have my limits. Once I’m tired of eating a particular holiday menu item, I like to repurpose it to make it palatable again. If I don’t, I’ll be tempted to throw away perfectly good food.

Leftover plans have to be flexible because I never know exactly what will be eaten, what will be taken home by my family, and what will stay in my refrigerator. When incorporating leftovers into other dishes, I just work from a general framework and make things up as I go.

Turkey quickly becomes a turkey/avocado/bacon wrap using gluten-free tortillas or paleo wraps. Sometimes I go full turkey club by adding tomato, lettuce, and cheese to the wrap.

If you have leftover turkey and gravy, it’s easy to make creamed turkey on toast. It’s the same idea as chipped beef on toast and has that same retro feel of grandma’s kitchen.
corn
This year I ended up with lots of corn. I’m going to use it in Mexican cornbread, but I could make corn/potato chowder or corn casserole. I could also include it along with other veggies in a frittata. Frittatas are always an easy, delicious, gluten-free way to repurpose cooked vegetables.

If you have too much stuffing, consider turning it into a bottom crust for shepherd’s pie. If you have them, the filling can be made with leftover turkey, vegetables, and gravy. If you don’t, create a filling using breakfast sausage, green peas, and a little sour cream. Top off either version with mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes before baking.

Winter weather often accompanies the holidays making warm, cozy soup an appealing option. Mashed potatoes and gravy can become the base for a thick, creamy soup. Corn and green beans can be incorporated into vegetable soup.

Fresh cranberry/orange relish makes the perfect topping for an almond torte. We always have extra relish. We all love it, but it’s not something you want to eat in large servings and it’s such a strong, tart flavor that it doesn’t always pair well with other strong flavors. On the other hand, its strong flavor enhances the mild flavor of the torte.

Last year, I used a leftover sweet potato to create a topping for panna cotta. It was so good everyone asked for it again this year! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it:

Sweet Potato Topping

1/2 cup cooked sweet potato
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp honey
Pinch of salt

Place sweet potato and maple syrup in food chopper or blender and purée until smooth. In medium skillet, melt butter. Add puréed sweet potato. Whisk in cream and honey and sprinkle with salt. Cook for a minute or two. Allow to cool.

I’m not sure why I thought to turn that sweet potato into topping, but I’m glad I did. That’s the great thing about creating new life for leftovers; you can end up with unexpectedly good food that would never have been thought of otherwise.

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/lighten/

October 29, 2018

Veggies in the Oven Make the Kitchen Toasty Warm

Veggies in the oven make the kitchen toasty warm and I love that on a cool fall day! Whether you roast or bake, the oven is a wonderful place to cook vegetables!
cabbage
Before the advent of microwave ovens, pretty much everyone baked potatoes and sweet potatoes in their full size, conventional oven. It wasn’t as common to roast or bake other vegetables unless they were cut up in some kind of casserole. A quick look at the 1953 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book advises boiling most vegetables in a small amount of water.

cookbookMy grandmother fried okra, but boiled carrots, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, turnips, and green beans. She even made stuffed bell peppers in her pressure cooker, not in the oven.

I’m not sure why I started cooking vegetables in the oven, but I love the results! Cauliflower is one of my favorites to roast. I cut it into small florets, then toss it in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. I roast the florets until they have some black edges. Yum! I wish I had some right now.

My newest favorite is baked red cabbage with herbed butter. If I start by making extra butter, I can easily turn this into a sheet pan meal by adding pork chops and red seedless grapes. I place the pork chops in the center of the pan and salt and pepper on each side. Then I alternate grapes still on stems and cabbage wedges around the edge of the pan and drizzle all of it with butter. The baking time is the same, but I turn the pork chops halfway through.

Here’s the recipe for enough butter for a sheet pan meal:

6 tbsp salted butter
4 – 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 – 2 sprigs fresh mint
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Sprinkle of salt

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add rosemary, mint, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Remove herbs & garlic.

To bake one head of red cabbage, cut it into small wedges and place on aluminum foil in a sheet pan or other baking pan. Lightly salt, then drizzle with herbed butter. (You’ll need 1/4 to 1/3 of the butter for the cabbage.) Place in preheated 375 oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot!
oven cab
If you decide to try this recipe, make sure to purchase red cabbage rather than radicchio. While they look similar, the two are not the same. Radicchio is a member of the bitter-flavored chicory family along with Belgian endive, frisée, and escarole.

When the cabbage bakes, the color becomes an even deeper purple. It’s a beautiful addition to a plate. And when cooked this way, I prefer the flavor to that of green cabbage. That may be a good thing during cold and flu season. A cup of red cabbage contains 85% of the daily value of vitamin C.

A toasty warm kitchen. A beautiful, delicious, healthy baked vegetable and left-over herbed butter to use on pork chops or include in pasta sauce. OMG! Does it get any better than this?

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2373/2

http://www.farmerfoodshare.org/veg/cabbage/

http://www.farmerfoodshare.org/veg/radicchio/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-chicories-4040928

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/dont-like-peeling-butternut-squash-then-dont/

October 16, 2018

Soup’s On!

Cooler weather is finally here, so soup’s on – literally! When that first blast of cold air hits each fall, everyone I know starts to clamor for soup. From chili to chowder, hot thick soup fills and warms your tummy and is the perfect antidote for a chill.
tomato soup
Soup preference is often determined by the base of the soup. Some prefer broth or stock, some tomato, and some cream. This is reflected in the top five soups sold in America – chicken noodle, tomato, clam chowder, potato, and minestrone.

Of course the choices don’t stop there. There’s tortilla soup, French onion soup, chicken and rice, chicken chili, split pea, lentil, butternut squash, corn chowder, beef stew, ham and bean, lobster bisque, gumbo, vegetable, Thai chicken coconut soup, and phở. The possible combinations are seemingly endless.

My grandmother made her own chicken stock and canned her own tomato juice. These became the base for soup at her house. Most of us don’t feel like we can spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen prepping the base for a soup. That doesn’t mean the only way to have a delicious soup for dinner is to pop open a can or have some delivered.

A great soup can begin with ingredients you usually discard. Vegetable broth from fresh green beans, black beans, butternut squash, cabbage, greens, and even sour kraut can serve as a flavorful base.

You can also boil potato skins, and asparagus, mushroom, broccoli, and cauliflower stems that would normally go in the trash or composter in a separate pot at the same time you prepare those vegetables. You’re using veggie pieces that result from prep you’re already doing and you’re cooking during a time you’ll already be around the kitchen. That makes for a time friendly, budget friendly practice.

Put the resulting broth in a large glass jar in the refrigerator and save it for soup. You can add broth from multiple vegetables over several days to deepen the flavor and nutritional value.

Your broth can also include chicken skin, hearts, livers, and gizzards, or fat trimmed from beef, pork, or chicken. If you prefer, you can place these in a slow cooker with some water, onion, seasonings and vegetables to create broth while you’re at work. You’re going to discard everything but the liquid so don’t worry that the ingredients are ugly things you wouldn’t eat on their own.

When I am too taxed to have the capacity for planning soup in advance, I use prepared items from the grocery to get me started. My favorites are Pomi Tomatoes, Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth, and milk. I always have these items around.

pomiPomi Strained Tomatoes are just that. Tomatoes. There’s nothing added – no water, no salt, no preservatives. For a healthy soup base with a long shelf life and no prep time, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth is available from any store at which I shop. It comes in a low sodium version. The ingredients are: organic chicken broth (filtered water, organic chicken), organic onions, organic celery, organic carrots, natural chicken flavor, organic spices, sea salt. The only thing suspect here is “natural chicken flavor”, but there’s no MSG, no sugar, no yeast extract and the natural chicken flavor isn’t at the top of the list of ingredients. Truthfully, I don’t always buy the low sodium version.

I don’t always have cream on hand, but with a 2-year-old around I consistently have whole milk. It may not be quite as rich as cream, but it gets the job done in potato soup or corn chowder.

I also keep rice in the pantry, curry in the spice rack, onions and garlic on the counter, and herbs growing in pots on the back porch or in the house. All of these can be used to flavor or enhance soup.

The temperature in my house has dropped 10 degrees in the last hour, but I’m in luck. I have chicken breasts in the refrigerator, chicken broth and rice in the pantry, an onion and fresh garlic, some English peas and some rosemary. With those and some salt and pepper, I can make soup for dinner.

It won’t be long before soup’s on!

https://solesoups.com/2017/02/17/top-five-bestselling-soups-america/

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/products/#strained-tomatoes

https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=9EBAF56C-E113-11DF-A102-FEFD45A4D471

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/why-did-your-grandma-make-chicken-soup/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/dump-soup-perfect-for-a-lazy-day/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/travel-tip-12-cold-soups-vary-different-countries/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”