Saturday, January 13, 2018

Spicy Sausage and Chickpea Soup with Garlic Oil

Time  1 Hour 30  Minutes       Serves 6 (serving size: 1-1/2 cups)

1/4        cup olive oil 6 garlic cloves, sliced    
1           pound spicy Italian pork sausage, casings removed
 1         cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 onion)
 1/2      cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks) 
1/2       cup chopped carrots (about 2 large carrots)
 4         cups chicken broth
 1        (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
 1        (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
 1/2     teaspoon black pepper 
4         cups chopped Lacinato kale (about 3-1/2 oz.)

1      Cook oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium until garlic begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and discard garlic; reserve 3 tablespoons of the garlic oil.

 2      Increase heat to medium-high. Add sausage to pan; cook, stirring often, until browned and crumbled, about 6 minutes. Remove sausage from pan; drain on paper towels. Add onion, celery, and carrots to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and pepper; stir in sausage. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes. Stir in kale; cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 tablespoon reserved garlic oil.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Chicken Soup_____ Slow Cooker

                            Total Time        6 Hours 20 Minutes
No dish is quite as soothing as a hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup. Slow cookers couldn't have made the road to comfort any easier: Simply toss in the ingredients, switch on, and then walk away. We love old-fashioned, wide egg noodles for this  dish. To make sure they aren't mushy and overcooked, don't leave them in the slow cooker any longer than 10 minutes.

2            pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skinned and trimmed 
3            medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 1/4 cups)
 1           celery root, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
 1           medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned, chopped
 2           garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
 2            fresh thyme sprigs 2 fresh sage sprigs 
1             fresh rosemary sprig 
1             bay leaf 
1-1/2      teaspoons table salt 
1             teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 8            cups chicken broth
 2            cups wide egg noodles 
3             tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
 1            tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 1           Place chicken and next 11 ingredients in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken and vegetables are tender and chicken separates from bone.

 2            Remove chicken from slow cooker. Dice meat, discarding bones. Return meat to slow cooker. Stir in noodles and parsley. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 to 20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Serve immediately, and garnish with any leftover chopped fresh parsley.

Red Beans & Rice with Sausage ____Slow Cooker

Total time 16 Hours 30 Minutes  --8 hours soaking  in the  refrigerator
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 cup bean mixture, 1/2 cup rice, and 1-1/2 teaspoons green onions)

Don't be turned off by the total time this dish requires: Eight hours are simply for soaking beans overnight, and another eight are for hands-off cooking. Because dried kidney beans contain a toxin that's not killed at the low temperatures of the slow cooker, I  boil them briskly for 10 minutes first; don't be tempted to skip this step.

1         pound dried red kidney beans
1         tablespoon olive oil 
1        pound andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
 1-1/2    cups chopped onion 
1-1/2     cups chopped poblano chile
 1          cup diced celery
 2          tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt 10 garlic cloves, crushed 
1          (12-ounce) can lager-style beer (such as Budweiser)
 4        cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
 1/2     teaspoon ground red pepper
 1/4     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
3         bay leaves 
1/2      cup thinly sliced green onions, divided 
2         tablespoons cider vinegar 
4        cups hot cooked long-grain rice

1         Sort and wash beans; place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain beans.

 2        Return beans to saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes; drain.

3       Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; cook 6 minutes or until browned. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through garlic); cook 8 minutes. Stir in beer; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Place sausage mixture in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add beans, stock, red pepper, black pepper, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

4        Discard bay leaves. Stir in 1/4 cup green onions and vinegar. Serve over rice; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onions.
The dish can be frozen up to  1 month.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Beef Stew Slow Cooker

Time    30 Minutes     Total Time    7  Hours
Serves 8 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)
This is an ideal  dish for the slow cooker, where gentle, prolonged cooking turns tough beef into tender bites. Serve the stew over a mound of Fluffy Mashed Potatoes.
Get out your slow cookers  everyone , we will bring  you dishes  to satisfy  any and all taste buds .

2       tablespoons canola oil, divided 
2       pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes, divided
 1      teaspoon kosher salt, divided
 12    ounces cipollini onions
 4     garlic cloves, minced 
2      tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
 1/2        cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine, divided
 1-1/2     cups unsalted beef stock;
 1     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
3      thyme sprigs
 8     ounces small button mushrooms 
4      large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
 2     tablespoons all-purpose flour
 Thyme sprigs 
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

1        Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of beef; cook 8 minutes or until well browned, turning to brown on all sides. Place browned beef in a 6-quart electric slow cooker; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining beef, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

 2      Add onions to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Add onions to slow cooker. Add garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes or until half of liquid evaporates. Add stock and pepper; bring to a simmer. Carefully pour stock mixture into slow cooker; nestle thyme sprigs into liquid. Top beef mixture with mushrooms; scatter carrots over top.

 3     Cover and cook on LOW for 7 1/2 hours.

4      Strain mixture through a colander over a Dutch oven or large skillet; discard thyme sprigs. Bring cooking liquid to a boil; cook 6 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Stir in remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons wine and flour, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Stir into cooking liquid; cook 1 minute or until bubbly and thickened, stirring constantly. Pour over beef mixture; toss gently to combine. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Food for Thought : 7 Things You Never Knew Lemons Could Do

 Put this zesty citrus fruit to good use with these unexpected tricks that take some of the hassle out of your cooking session.
A slew of foods can benefit from a little lemony love in the kitchen.
We all know lemons are delicious, adding a citrusy kick to everything from salad dressings to cocktails. And the laundry list of health benefits is seriously impressive – not only does the fruit contain antibacterial properties that cleanse the kidneys and liver and strengthen your immune system, but it offers a hefty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants that fight free-radicals and help keep you looking younger.

*Health booster: Get in the habit of starting the day with a cup of hot water and lemon – it’ll kick start your metabolism and get your morning off to a healthy start!

What fewer people know is that lemons also have some unexpected uses. Here are seven ways the handy fruit can solve your trickiest kitchen dilemmas and help enhance your meals.

1. Prevent Browning: A few squeezes of juice can do wonders for avocado, apples, bananas, and peeled raw potatoes, since lemon juice is just acidic enough to prevent the oxidation that turns produce brown. Try this trick the next time you’re doing meal prep ahead of time or when you set out a platter of fresh sliced fruit for dipping in a Chocolate Fondue.

To crisp up lettuce leaves, soak them in a bowl of cold water + ½ cup of lemon juice, then refrigerate for an hour.

2. Stop Rice From Sticking: Have a problem with clumpy rice? You’re in luck – adding a few drops of lemon to your cooking water helps prevent the rice from sticking together. Added plus? The lemon juice will also whiten your rice and keep it looking great on the dinner plate! Try this tip with our Green Tea Rice recipe.

3. Keep Brown Sugar Soft: The juice isn’t the only useful part of the lemon; its super moist and flavorful peel can work wonders in the kitchen too. Add a slice of the skin (with the pulp completely removed) to your box of brown sugar to keep it from clumping and hardening. This way, you won’t have to do any sifting the next time you make our Old-Fashioned Apple-Nut Crisp.

4. Crisp Your Lettuce: No need to toss that limp lettuce! A little lemon juice and water can help bring your leaves back to life. To crisp up limp leaves, soak them in a bowl of cold water and ½ cup of lemon juice, then refrigerate for about an hour. The leaves will come out revived and ready for eating. Try it out on a simple green salad topped with our Roasted Garlic Dressing.

5. Cook Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs: Even if you’ve mastered perfectly hard-boiled eggs, try brushing the eggshells with lemon juice before adding them to the pot for a little added insurance. The lemon juice helps keep the shells from cracking while they cook, and it also makes them easier to peel once they’re ready to eat. Try this technique before you enjoy the eggs in our Golden Polenta and Egg With Mustard Sauce.

6. Tenderize Meat: Lemon juice is a great meat tenderizer; the acidity gently breaks down the fibers in meat, leaving it scrumptiously fork-tender. See it in action with Steak Salad-Stuffed Pockets or our Moroccan Flavored Pork Ragu.

7. Enhance Flavor: Last, but certainly not least, lemon’s yummy flavor can totally transform a meal. It brightens up creamier dishes, balances the flavor in seafood, and is a great sodium-free substitute for sprinkling on salt. Squeeze lemons over our Sizzled Citrus Shrimp, try them sliced with our Lemon Lovers' Asparagus, and get zesty with Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil.

In memory  of a proud and loving grand-poppa

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Food for Thought: Take small steps

January is here and many of us  will  let our New Year's resolutions slid a bit. While about half of us make resolutions, only about 8 percent actually achieve their goals. Most resolutions focus on weight, fitness, overall health or self-improvement. Reasons for not achieving these goals are many, but most of the time it is because we try to change too much of our current lifestyle too quickly. As with any challenge, it is important to start off slow and measure achievements in small steps. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay on a healthy path for 2015:

Wear a pedometer. You don't have to spend a whole lot of money on one, but don't go for the cheapest option either. You can get a quality pedometer for about $20. Make sure to calibrate it for your stride. Those who wear a pedometer and monitor their steps each day walk an average of one mile more than those who do not. A healthy goal is 10,000 steps per day.

Always opt for water. Whether you are eating at home or at a restaurant, always have water with your meals. Keep water with you at all times.

Make fish a part of your meals at least twice a week. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and albacore tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Make sure you are getting 8 hours of sleep each night. Studies have shown that you really do need that much sleep per night. Getting adequate sleep not only helps you feel better, but it also can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, and boost your memory.

In memory  of a proud & loving Grand-Poppa Grand-poppa