Monday, October 24, 2016

Smothered Chicken ---- slow cooker

Prep :10 minutes         Total Time : 3 hour 20 minutes     8  ingredients       6  servings
You can never go wrong with smothered chicken, but our simplified recipe delivers big flavor with the help of a secret weapon—herb cream cheese. This saucy dish comes together in five simple ingredients and is great paired with pasta or potatoes.

1          package (20 oz) boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
1/4     cup Progresso™ chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
1          container (8 oz) chive & onion cream cheese spread 
1/4     teaspoon salt
1/2      teaspoon pepper
1           cup chopped cooked bacon 
1         cup frozen sweet peas
Cooked egg noodles, as desired

1 .  Spray bottom of 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chicken thighs to slow cooker.
2 .  In small microwavable bowl, mix chicken broth, cream cheese spread, salt and pepper. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; beat with whisk until smooth. Pour mixture on top of chicken thighs. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut (at least 165°F).
3 .  Stir 3/4 cup of the bacon and the frozen sweet peas into chicken mixture; mix well. Increase heat setting to High; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until peas are cooked.
4 .  Serve chicken and sauce over cooked egg noodles; top with remaining 1/4 cup bacon.
For creamy smothered chicken, make sure to use regular cream cheese and not the reduced-fat version.

Heart healthy

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Maxy sez : 6 Spices for a Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Flavor With a Side of Diabetes Health
Who knew a diabetes diet could lead to fun exploration of your green thumb and your global palate? Type 2 diabetes cooking can be both tasty and healthy once you learn about the health benefits of certain spices. “Spices should take the place of sodium in your diet, and they have health benefits — they’re rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds,” says Juli Adelman, LD, CDE, with the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. “I encourage people with type 2 diabetes to grow their own herb gardens and boost up their spice racks.”

Many herbs, such as parsley, mint, and dill, pack a flavor punch that simply makes eating or drinking more pleasurable, while others could help with managing type 2 diabetes. Enjoy eating and growing herbs and spices; just don’t consider them a substitute for other type 2 diabetes treatment. “Moderation is key,” says Gustavo Ortega Jr., RD, with Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles. “The idea is to use spices as part of a balanced diet instead of as a supplement.”

Here are six spices that can make your diabetes-friendly meals more tasty and healthy.
“Basil has a lot of flavonoids and goes well with tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mozzarella,” Adelman says. Eating plenty of basil may improve blood pressure control, according to a research roundup published in April 2014 in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. High blood pressure can be a concern with type 2 diabetes. Two of three people with diabetes have high blood pressure, according to the American Diabetes Association, so it might be worth growing a basil plant to enhance your meals.                                            Cinnamon

“Cinnamon is an antioxidant that’s been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugars,” says Ortega. Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that can prevent or slow cell damage, according to the National Institutes of Health. Cinnamon’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity is highlighted in a review of plant-based compounds for people with diabetes. The review appeared in November 2014 in the International Journal of Molecular Science. Adelman suggests adding cinnamon to oatmeal or mixing it into chili and stew.
Garlic appears to be linked with lower fasting blood glucose levels, according to an analysis published in December 2015 in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Adelman suggests including it in hummus, mashing cooked garlic into cauliflower, or adding cooked garlic to steamed spinach. Garlic may thin your blood or interact with medications, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before incorporating it into your diet. In general, always check with your doctor or a dietitian about your nutritional needs before making any changes to your diet, Ortega says.
“Rosemary is an antioxidant and best when used with bell peppers, legumes, or cabbage,” Ortega says. It also goes well with fish and lean meats, like chicken breast. Rosemary is a hearty herb that you can grow and maintain in a pot or garden, and research suggests it may have anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties.
Tiny thyme leaves deliver strong flavor to roasts and sauces and go well in many dishes, from eggs to soups. Thyme is also rich in antioxidants, according to a laboratory study of the plant published in August 2015 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Turmeric is a yellow spice often used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes like curries. Turmeric may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, according to research published in October 2014 in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Add turmeric to stir-fry, lentil soup, or sprinkle it into chicken or tuna salad (with yogurt instead of mayo as the base) for a zesty twist.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Egg and Toast Cups --- breakfast

These scrumptious all-in-one breakfast muffins are pure genius and require just one muffin tin to create perfect single-serving portions.  Everyone will ask for more . 
 Serves 6 (serving size: 1 egg cup)       Total time: 38 Minutes

6     (3/4-ounce) slices whole-wheat bread
1     tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1     ounce shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1/4    cup finely chopped tomato
6     large eggs
1/4     teaspoon kosher salt
1/4     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2     bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1     tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Flatten each bread slice with a rolling pin until very thin. Trim crusts off bread. Lightly brush both sides of bread slices with melted butter. Cut each bread slice in half diagonally.

3. With cut sides facing, place 2 bread halves in each of 6 muffin cups, making sure to cover bottom entirely and allowing bread corners to extend above rims. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes or until bread is slightly firm. Remove pan from oven; sprinkle 2 teaspoons shredded cheese into each cup. Top each cup with 2 teaspoons chopped tomato. Crack 1 egg into each cup; sprinkle eggs evenly with salt and pepper. Bake an additional 18 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still a bit runny or to desired degree of doneness. Remove egg cups from pan; sprinkle evenly with bacon and chives, if desired.

Heart Healthy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Super easy peasy chicken and dumplings

Sometimes I am so pressed for time and so worn out I scour the internet for the simplest possible nourishing meals I can find. And if I can do it all in one pot I am a happy camper. Since I almost always have left over chicken in the fridge, this recipe was perfect.
Supermarket-roasted chicken, cream of chicken soup, and canned biscuits make  the  quickest, easiest version of the classic chicken and dumplings dish your grandma used to make. You cannot mess up. And guess what?? My family liked it and thought I had gone to a lot of trouble. It is comfort food and we are dusting off our comfort dishes for what we are told is going to be a harsh winter (according to the 'Farmers' Almanac')

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

1 (32-oz.) container low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 lb.)
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (10.2-oz.) can refrigerated (Pilsbury) big buttermilk biscuits
2 carrots, diced (Optional: I throw in a just few frozen peas and corn niblets to make it more colorful and interesting)  
3 celery ribs, diced

1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; return to a low boil.
2. Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
3. Drop strips, 1 at a time, into boiling broth mixture. Add carrots and celery. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking. Serve it.

 Eat it up!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hush Puppies with Green Tomato Jam

 TOTAL TIME: 1 Hour 30 Minutes       Makes about  3-1/2 Dozen

1     tablespoon baking powder
1     cup milk
3     tablespoons sugar
1     cup yellow cornmeal
1     cup all-purpose flour
3     tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or 1 tablespoon melted butter plus 2 tablespoons melted bacon fat
1     large egg, lightly beaten
1     tablespoon kosher salt
1/4         cup sugar
1            garlic clove, very finely chopped
1-1/2      teaspoons ground cumin
1/2          cup honey
2         pounds Green Zebra tomatoes, (green tomatoes of your choice)cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4      teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2      cup apple cider vinegar
Vegetable oil, for frying
One 1-inch cinnamon stick
1       tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 .  In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the egg, milk and melted butter and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the hush puppy batter for at least 1 hour.
2 .  In a medium saucepan, combine the diced tomatoes with the honey, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, about 40 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Season the tomato jam with salt. Transfer the jam to a bowl and let cool.
3 .  Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Set a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove. Stir the hush puppy batter. Drop tablespoon-size balls of batter into the hot oil, about 6 at a time, and fry, turning a few times, until they're deeply browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the hush puppies to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter. When all of the hush puppies have been fried, reheat them in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until they're hot. Serve them with the green tomato jam.

The hush puppy batter can be refrigerated overnight. The tomato jam can be refrigerated for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before serving.
Beer Crisp pale ale that has a good balance of malt and hops is perfect with these spicy hush puppies. Try the refreshing Geary's Pale Ale from Portland, Maine, or the easier-to-find Samuel Adams Pale Ale from Massachusetts .

Heart Healthy

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chicken Mushroom Spaghetti Casserole

My love for comfort food casseroles and one pan dinners led me to try this very simple casserole recipe with simple ingredients. It turned out well and was a satisfying meal. Easy to make and hard mess up for beginners.


1 whole chicken, cut up, or 8 chicken thighs
1 lb(s) thin spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup green bell peppers, finely diced
¼ cup red bell peppers, finely diced
1 tsp seasoned salt
⅛ - ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the chicken into a medium pot of water and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for a few minutes, then turn to a medium-low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (a bit longer if you think it's needed) . Take the chicken out of the pot (leave the liquid for cooking the spaghetti) and let cool slightly. Pick out the meat to make 2 generous cups.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. Cook the spaghetti in the broth from the chicken until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain the spaghetti, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
4. Add the spaghetti to a large bowl and combine with the chicken, mushroom soup, 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar, the green and red peppers, seasoned salt, cayenne, onions and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in 1 cup of the reserved liquid at first, adding an additional cup if needed.
5. Place the mixture in a casserole pan and top with the remaining 1 cup cheddar. Bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover the casserole with foil.) Note: The uncooked casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Enjoy ... compliments accepted.