Thanksgiving Ready

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With thanksgiving around the corner, it’s good to have options to lighten traditional classics like sweet potato casserole. I enjoyed sharing my easy recipe with yesterday’s demo at the Red Stick Farmers Market. Though there was not butternut squash at the market yesterday, if you can find it, try subbing out half of the sweet potatoes to lighten the carb load and add in other nutrients. Since we are also in cold and flu season, I also showed how to make a fresh immune booster to keep you and your loved-ones protected or armed with a speedy recovery boost this season. Check out the recipe for each below.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 8

Ingredients:
4 cups diced sweet potato (3-4 small)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. whole milk (or preferred %)
1 tbsp. red stick spice Vietnamese cinnamon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tbsp. raw cane sugar
1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Directions:
1. Place a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half longwise. Cut each half into three strips then cube into medium-sized chunks. Add to pot.
3. Let boil for 12 minutes or until tender with a fork.
4. Strain and place in a large bowl. Mash with a large spoon and add butter, honey and sugar and mix until well blended. Add milk and spices and mix well.
5. Place in a small oven safe dish and cover top in chopped roasted pecans. Bake for 5 minutes. *optional (Be careful not to burn pecans.)

 

Immune Booster
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3-4 fresh juiced satsuma or orange
3-4 fresh juiced lemon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 drops of oil of oregano pee individual serving *optional

Directions:
1. Peel satsumas and break in half. With a glove hand, juice satsuma sections over a medium bowl with a pouring spout.
2. Rinse lemons and cut in half. Remove visible seeds and juice each half, cut side up over the bowl.
3. Stir mixture with a fork or spoon and remove any spotted seeds. Add honey and mix until dissolved.
4. Add cayenne and stir well. Pour into individual containers for storage in the fridge. (A salad dressing container or top-able condiment container should work.)
5. Add optional oil of oregano only when ready to consume. Otherwise, the entire mixture will taste like a pizza within an hour. 🙂

Fall Flavor Fix

IMG_8141.JPGIf you’re as excited as I am for the cooling weather, it’s both a great time to get outdoors and to step into soup recipes. The Fall is abundant with a variety of vegetables that are easy to make into soups. I am a fan of roasting vegetables to bring out and transform their flavors. For my first soup of the season, I decided on roasting eggplant, butternut squash and garlic for a buttery and nutty flavored soup. Not only is it rich and creamy, but nice and flavorful. If you’re missing the meat, crumble a slice or two of bacon on top with a little fresh green onion for an added punch of bold. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Soup ingredients:
1 medium purple eggplant
1 medium butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk (2% or whole recommended)
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
1 tbsp. onion powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut squash in half longwise and scoop out seeds and pulp with a spoon. Add to baking sheet.
3. Rinse eggplant and cut off each end then cut in half. Cut 1-inch thick chunks and slice longer slices in half. Add to baking sheet.
4. Peel garlic and cut in half. Add to eggplant and coat it in olive oil on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
5. Remove eggplant and garlic and place into a bowl to cool. Check squash with a fork and if it is tender (fork sinks in) remove sheet from oven and let cool. If not, let cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off oven.
6. Once cooled (10 minutes) remove skin from eggplant and squash. Add to a food processor or blender with water and blend until smooth.
7. Add to a medium pot and add seasoning and milk and stir until well blended. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy.

Winging It

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With football season upon us, it’s good to have a recipe or two of something easy and game worthy in your back pocket. Dips and chips are always a crowd pleaser and rotel certainly pops to the forefront of easy options. I like to make my own mix with a couple hunks of good cheddar and pepper jack and cream cheese to smooth things out; add ground meat and a can rotel and you’re in business. Though there are not often leftovers, this is great on top of fresh baked fries, topped with fresh tomato, pickled jalapeño and a little sour cream to boot.

In addition to my take on rotel, I like to wing it at home with crispy oven baked wings that I can sauce any way I please. Not only is it easy, but certainly more cost effective. My package of 7 whole wings (14 pieces) totaled $5.05 and on average I’ve spent about a dollar per wing.

Try your hand at making both dishes with the recipes below.

Rotel ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell peppee
1/2 lb. mild cheddar cheese (block or shredded)
1/2 lb. pepper jack cheese (block or shredded)
1 8oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 10oz can of rotel original
1 diced medium jalapeño (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Peel and dice a medium onion. Slice, remove seeds and dice the bell pepper. Add both to a pot over medium heat.
2. Add ground beef and seasoning and break up with a fork or large spoon.
3. Slice or shred cheese (if block) while beef cooks.
4. Dice optional jalepeno. Add the can of rotel with liquid and diced jalepeno. Reduce heat to low-medium.
5. Add pepper jack and cheddar cheese and mix to melt. Add cream cheese.
6. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally until fully melted.
7. Serve with chips or over fries

 

Wings ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of wings
1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tbsp. sirracha
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. ketchup

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Add wings and other ingredients to a ziploc bag, close it and shake and massage bag to evenly distribute oil and seasoning.
3. Add to baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. (Should be crispy and browned.)
4. In a bowl, whisk BBQ sauce and honey until well blended. Add in other ingredients and mix well.
5. Remove wings from oven and add to the bowl.
6. Toss well then add back to the baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.
7. Remove from foil and enjoy.

A Bit Of Fall Harvest

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The cool morning was a great start to the food demo at the YMCA on Howell Boulevard. It was perfect weather and a great crowd for a fall stew. I’ve been on a kick using different proteins and veggies for fall stews. This version included ground round beef, fire roasted diced tomatoes, corn, green onion, garlic, zucchini, squash and kale. I flavored the dish with easy-to-find ingredients that has a spot in most pantries. This dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare including prep time since you will be chopping vegetables and adding them as you go. Find your favorite pandora station or pop in a cd for some tunes while you cook. Enjoy and share your feedback!

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 lb ground round beef (85/15 or 80/20)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste (no salt added)
1 14.5 oz can of regular or fire roasted diced tomato (no salt added)
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups chopped green onion including whites
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup of fresh corn
1/2 cup of julienned zucchini
1/2 cup julienned squash
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. sea salt (optional)
1/2 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups of water

Directions:
1. Place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ground beef and break apart with a fork or large spoon.
2. While the ground beef browns, rinse two green onion stalks. Cut off root ends and chop thin. Add to ground beef and stir.
3. Smash garlic cloves by laying knife flat against a clove and striking gently with the heel of your hand, chop off rough end and chop garlic into chunky pieces. Add to pot and stir.
4. Once meat is browned, stir in the can of tomato paste and add the can of diced tomato.
5. Shuck 2 ears of corn and rinse it. Cut it off of the cob and add corn to pot and a cup to a cup and a half of water. Bring to a boil then top and reduce heat to medium.
6. Cut both ends off the zucchini and squash. Cut each in half horizontally, then cut them in half vertically. You will only need half of each vegetable. Slice each half into thin strips. (If using a larger squash or zucchini, lay each half flat side down and slice in half like you would a thick burger patty or hunk of cheese).
7. Add the squash and zucchini to the pot and add seasonings and stir.
8. Rinse kale and rip into small pieces into a bowl. Add kale and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.
9. Serve by itself or with rice.

Enjoy!

A Bit Of Mobile Fun

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I was happy to take part in the first mobile market of the season with BREADA to host a food demo. Though still warm out, there was a great variety of fall produce. I decided to make a fall salad with a fresh satsuma balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve eaten many salads that have included kale, but I decided to make it the base. The trick is to tear it small and add it to the vinaigrette first to help it break down quicker and be less bitter. Turnips, often boiled or roasted, are great raw and made a great addition to the salad. They were peeled and thinly sliced or shaved using a mandolin. If a mandolin is not part of your kitchen tools, a potato peeler or box grater on the smallest setting would also work. While I love veggies, I prefer to add meat to the dish. You can really add any protein of choice, a piece of fish, baked or grilled chicken, grilled steak or even a pork chop if desired. It was great to see so many people try the dish and not only like it, but buy kale to try something new at home. The ingredients and directions for the salad and vinaigrette are listed below. Enjoy!

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 satsumas juiced by hand or juicer (about 1/4 cup of liquid)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
Pinch of salt

Salad ingredients:
3 cups chopped or ripped kale
1/4 cup shaved turnips
1/3 cup sliced cucumber
1/3 cup sliced zucchini
1/8 cup diced bell pepper
1/8 cup diced green onion

Directions:
1. Peel 2 small to medium-satsuma (small orange). Over a medium-sized bowl, juice sections of the fruit at a time. Remove seeds, if any.
2. Add balsamic vinegar and oil and whisk until well blended. Add seasonings and mix well.
3. Rinse kale and set on a paper towel. Remove the leaf from the stem and rip into small bite-sized pieces into the bowl with the vinaigrette. Mix with tongs or a fork until kale is well coated.
4. Peel two small turnip roots with a potato peeler and slice with a mandolin over the bowl or if using the peeler or box grater, on a plate before adding to the bowl. Stir to coat turnips in dressing.
5. Wash zucchini and cucumber and cut off both ends. Slice the zucchini in half longwise before cutting the half in half and then into thin slices. Repeat with cucumber and add both to the bowl.
6. Wash green onion and bell pepper. Cut off the tips of a few green onion stems before chopping roughly until you have roughly 1/8 of a cup and adding to bowl. Cut of a fourth of the bell pepper and remove any seeds before slicing thinly and chopping it small.
7. Toss salad, plate and enjoy.