Archive for ‘Recipes’

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.”

June 27, 2018

What’s Your Favorite Summer Cover-Up?

What’s your favorite summer cover-up? It’s summer & time for the beach. You may have a beach cover-up, but what about your food? Sometimes it can use a good cover-up too!

As we approach the 4th of July, I’m dreaming of slow cooked ribs, smoked pork butt, burgers blackened on the grill, salmon and corn covered in grill marks, and because it’s hot, ice cream for dessert! All of these are delicious simply seasoned with herbs and spices, but this year I think I’d rather slather them until they’re covered in sticky goodness. 
grill
The question is, what cover-up will I choose for a rack of tender ribs? Actually, I may cheat on this one. My lawn care man has promised to deliver a sample of his newly created BBQ sauce. He describes it as tangy & spicy. Those are the qualities I prefer in BBQ sauce and his is getting rave reviews from friends.

Purists may prefer only Memphis-style dry rub on their ribs. I like them rubbed and then basted with a thick sauce that caramelizes on the edges. This only applies to ribs. I want my pork butt covered up after it’s put on my plate if I cover it at all.

For variety, I like mango salsa or sauce, you might prefer apple, apricot, peach, plum, or strawberry. I want to try a cherry based sauce or possibly a mixture of sweet cherries and raspberry. In my head, pineapple sounds like a good compliment to cherries and raspberry, but I’ll have to do a taste test to see if it works like I think it will. Orange might work better.

Moving on to the pork butt, I think I’ll shred the meat and cover it with slaw. Mayonnaise and vinegar cabbage coleslaw is probably the most common version served with pulled pork. I’m going to use my mom’s vinegar coleslaw recipe.

Mom’s Cabbage Slaw

2 large heads of cabbage, shredded
6 or 7 white or red onions, grated or finely minced
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 3/4 cups salad oil
1 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons celery seed
Fresh ground black pepper

In large bowl, combine cabbage onion, sugar, and salt. Toss and set aside.

In saucepan, combine oil, vinegar, dry mustard, and celery seed and bring to boil.

Once cabbage has produced juice (about 5 minutes), drain it through a colander, then place in large bowl. Pour the boiling dressing mixture over drained cabbage. Add fresh ground black pepper and toss with a fork.

Allow to sit until cool. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours prior to serving.

I’m going to keep the burgers homestyle as well by mixing Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning into the meat. Homestyle? Well, not for everybody, but this blend of 13 spices and seasonings originated in my hometown and was always in our pantry. When I was a kid, a glass jar of Cavender’s was a standard Christmas gift for relatives who lived far away and could not purchase it in their local stores. I don’t think they have the glass jars anymore, but the seasoning is still tasty. For a light touch, I’ll serve the burgers with thinly sliced seedless cucumbers and tzatziki.

Honey glazed salmon sounds appealing. Salmon can handle some strong flavors. I often feel like what I’m served in restaurants is under seasoned. A good dose of salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon or lime along with the honey should give me moist, full-flavored salmon.

I really can’t think of a better cover-up for corn than butter. If the corn is sweet & fresh, I’ll skip the salt and just use salted butter. Anything else seems to detract rather than enhance.

Now, for dessert! Obviously, there are hundreds of ice cream topping choices. I prefer fresh fruit or chocolate or a combination of the two, but rather than limit my friends to my choices, it’s easy to set out small dishes of shredded coconut, a variety of chopped nuts, cookie pieces, cereal, fruit and chocolate sauce. I make them all gluten-free so I can enjoy any leftovers.

Truthfully, most of this is long-term planning. This 4th comes on the heels of too many months of family caregiving to make the actual execution sound appealing. I think I’ll choose a mindless float in the pool. Nonetheless, I’m excited about the ideas!

The 4th of July will come around again next year. Maybe that will be a good time to invite a few friends over to enjoy a favorite summer cover-up!

https://greekseasoning.com/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/?s=cole+slaw

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.”

February 5, 2018

My Heart Will be Filled With Love and My Tummy With Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

My heart will be filled with love and my tummy with chocolate for Valentine’s Day! I’ll be keeping DJ, my 18-month-old grandson on Valentine’s Day this year. Along with a card, I’m giving him a real, working stethoscope. He’ll get to listen to his heart while we talk about hearts and lungs and friendship and love. Valentine’s Day holds many natural lessons. The chocolate, I’m saving for myself.

If your Valentine is gluten-free, you may be tempted to shower him/her with flowers, jewelry, movie tickets, or stethoscopes rather than food. There’s nothing wrong with any of those. Sometimes they’re my choices as well. But if you really want to score points, take on the challenge of cooking a homemade gluten-free dessert. It won’t be as hard as you think, and the thoughtfulness and effort are certain to touch the heart!
brownie and punch
Since chocolate is a tradition for Valentine’s Day, brownies can be a good choice. The only specialty products needed for the following recipe are a small amount of almond flour and coconut flour. These flours are widely available in regular grocery stores. (The almond flour may be called almond meal.)

If you cannot find almond or coconut flour in your area, they are available from Nuts.com, King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. or big box online retailers like Walmart and Amazon. All of the other ingredients are regular baker’s chocolate, brown sugar, butter, and the like.

There’s no special equipment needed to make this gluten-free Cooking2Thrive recipe, but a heart-shaped cookie cutter can add some romance to the finished product. Just wait until the brownies are cool before you cut them.
recipe card
Brownies
12 brownies

4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, rough chopped
1/2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, rough chopped
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup blanched almond flour
3 tbsp coconut flour + enough to flour baking pan
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup walnut pieces

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

Place butter, chocolate, and honey in sauce pan.  Heat over low until melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool for 3 or 4 minutes.  

While chocolate is melting, whisk together almond flour, 3 tbsp coconut flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  

Once chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, add vanilla, brown sugar, and egg to it and mix well. Add chocolate mixture to bowl with flour mixture and combine. Stir in walnut pieces.  

Pour batter into prepared 8 x 8 pan. Bake in 350° oven for 18 – 22 minutes. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

It’s always comforting to have a gluten-free dish prepared by someone you trust, and food really does taste better when it’s prepared with love.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love and chocolate!

https://nuts.com/nuts/almonds/flour.html
https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/flours/coconut-gluten-free.html
https://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?w=almond%20flour&af=type:products
https://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?p=Q&view=grid&deftab=products&w=coconut+flour

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.”