Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Festive Fare

Three days of family feasts-made from scratch using favorite recipes and foods.  Here are two of those recipes that might be good for a New Year's Eve buffet.

Mexicano Shrimp & Vegetable Kabobs

(10 skewers)

Peel shrimp, leaving tail intact.  Clean and cut vegetables.
20 jumbo, tail on, deveined raw shrimp
10 baby portabella mushrooms, halved
2-3 zucchini squash, chunked
1 orange sweet peppers, seeded and cut in half

Mix marinade ingredients.
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano leaves

Place shrimp and vegetables in a large zipper storage bag.  Pour over marinade.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Assemble kabobs, alternating colors on skewers.  Bake at 325 F. for 15 minutes.

Recipe from McCormick.

Rainbow Pesto Pasta

(Serves 10)

Pour 1/3 cup boiling water over sun-dried tomatoes.  Soak for 10 minutes.
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)

Combine drained tomatoes, almonds, basil, garlic and cheese in a mini food processor.  Process until finely chopped, adding some of the tomato soaking water if necessary.
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup parmigiano type cheese, grated

Saute celery, shallots, peppers and mushrooms in oil for 3-5 minutes.
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 c shallots, diced
1/2 cup fennel, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
2 teaspoon olive oil
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving a small amount of water.
12 ounce rainbow pasta 

Combine sauteed vegetables with pesto and pasta.  Add some of the pasta water as needed.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Memory Makers

"The best memories are about things we did, not things we bought" .  Food and things we make together are big memory makers.  Bob and I made the house together last weekend, the day we decorated the tree.  A cardboard kit with a few embellishments we glued, painted and embellished together.  The cranberry chutney is a seasonal favorite.  I made and canned some 4 dozen (1/2 cup) servings this year for Moms' friends at the Senior Center and for Bob's coworkers.  (The recipe is on the jar lid).

The cookie recipe was inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine.  I didn't change much, other than to reduce the sugar.  They were a bit time consuming and a bit pricey, but delicious.  I packed 2 each in little cellophane bags for Bob's coworkers with a few bags left for Bob and I.

Winter Stollen Cookies

(40 Cookies)

Combine flour, almonds, sugar, egg whites and salt.  Beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes.
4 1/2 ounce almond flour
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the sugar and buttery spread on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
1 cup sugar
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Reduce the speed to low, add the eggs and egg yolk and beat until just incorporated.
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
Stop the mixer.

Mix flours, baking powder and salt.
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add to mixer.
Add cherries, cranberries, lemon zest and orange zest.
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoon orange zest 

Add vanilla extract.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix on low until just combined.

Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick, measuring about 9 1/2 X 13 1/2.  Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate the dough about 1/2 hour.

Remove the top sheet of parchment.  Spread the almond filling over the dough to the edges.  Starting on the long side, tightly roll the dough around the filling .  Pinch the long seam closed.  Wrap in parchment.  Freeze 6 hours or overnight.

Position rack in center of the oven.  Preheat to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment.
Unwrap the frozen dough.  Slice in scant 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Transfer slices to baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
Brush with melted buttery spread.
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Bake 12-14 minutes, rotating sheets and swapping their positions halfway through baking.

Brush warm cookies with more melted butter.  Sift confectioners' sugar over them.
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 Tablespoon Confectioner's Sugar 
Cool on baking sheet 15 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Mulled Turkey

An aromatic blend of spices-cumin, coriander, cinnamon and fennel-adorn this turkey tenderloin.  Combined with twice baked potatoes and Gruyere, our supper culminated a "Happy Friday". The recipes both were inspired by Food Network Magazine.  The 1/2 pound turkey tenderloin cooked in just over an hour in a counter-top "slow" cooker (on high).  The medium local potatoes baked in a toaster oven in less than an hour and, once stuffed, browned in about 15 minutes.

Mulled Turkey

(Serves 2-3)

Mix spices together.  Dip turkey into spices, pressing mixture against the breast.  Place spice rubbed tenderloin on a shallow rack inside a slow cooker.  Drape with garlic and shallots.
1-.58 pound turkey tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoon shallots, diced

Place broth and lemon in bottom of crock pot.  Cook on high for 1 hour.
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lemon cut in wedges

Brush turkey with a vinegar/mustard blend.  Continue baking until turkey interior reaches 165 F.
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Slice with electric knife.  Garnish with Cranberry Chutney.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Molasses Cookie for Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus is busy too with visions of family fun during this festive season.  She's mindful of eating and wants a sweet cookie that complies with Dietary Guidelines.  These chewy cookies have 2 teaspoons of added sugar per cookie and are made with 1/2 whole grains.  The recipe was inspired by Southern Living Magazine.  

Molasses Cookies

(26 cookies)

Mix together dry ingredients in a side bowl:  (Flours, baking powder, soda and spices)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In mixing bowl, cream buttery spread and sugar for 2 minutes.
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add molasses and vanilla to mixing bowl.  Mix only till blended.
1/4 cup Black Strap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in 1 egg.
1 egg

Add flour mix to bowl, about 1/3rd at at time, mixing only till blended.

Scoop heaping tablespoon dippers of dough.  Roll in turbinado sugar.
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar

Place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake in preheated oven 9 minutes, switching pans top to bottom racks 1/2 way through.

Cool on pan on wire rack 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on rack 30 minutes.

This Mrs. Claus ate 1 cookie with my morning coffee, followed by a meal consisting of 1/2 cup homemade granola, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt and 1 cup skim milk.

I'm off to water aerobics soon, knowing this exercise is good for my bones and my waistline!   

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Tree That's Fun to Take Down

Fresh baked dinner rolls with a cheesy center, homemade tomato soup and fresh pineapple slices made a tummy comfy dinner on this 5th day of Christmas.  The pull apart bread, shaped like a Christmas tree, was inspired by Delish magazine.   I followed a Fleischmann's Yeast dinner roll recipe designed to knead and shape the dough, then allow it to rise in the refrigerator to be baked at a later time.  

Cool Rise Dinner Rolls

(20 mini rolls)

Mix flours, yeast and sugar in bowl of electric mixer with dough hook in place.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar

On stove top, heat milk, water and buttery spread to 125 F.
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Gradually add to mixing bowl.  Beat at high speed 2 minutes.

Add additional flour, egg and salt to bowl.  Beat at high speed 2 minutes.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, warmed slightly
1/2 teaspoon salt

Gradually add remaining flour, kneading until dough leaves sides of bowl, about seven minutes.  Remove dough to a bowl greased with olive oil spray.  Turn and cover.  Allow to rest 2 minutes.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour 

Divide dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each.  Shape dough around a 1/2 inch chunk of cheese.  Place about 1/3 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Arrange in a Christmas tree pattern.
2 1/2 cheddar cheese sticks, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Spray with olive oil spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. 

About 45 minutes till dinner, pull tray from refrigerator.  Allow to rest 20 minutes while oven preheats to 375 F. 

Mix egg and water.  Brush over dough balls.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning pan 1/2 way through.
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Garnish with grated cheese, pepper and parsley.
2 tablespoon grated Parmigiano cheese
1 mini sweet red pepper, minced
Fresh parsley, snipped

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Randy Roast

While I purchased the counter-top primarily for dried beans, I've found it's great for quicker cooking of roasts.  Because you can "brown" in the same pan prior to cooking, I'm even more of a cheerleader.  The recipe for Brisket with Apricots and Prunes is from Food and Wine Magazine.   Mine has eye of round roast and more vegetables.

Beef with Apricots and Prunes

(Serves 8 Meat Portions, 4 Vegetable-Fruit Portions)

Brown meat with vegetables in olive oil.
1.75 # eye of round roast
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, separated into rings
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup red peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Add remaining ingredients.  Program cooker to "Cook" for 45 minutes.
4 turnips, halved
2 medium potatoes, peeled and wedged
6 small carrots, cut in strips
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup diced prunes
8 apricots
For firmer vegetables, add 15-25 minutes later than beef, then cook 20-30 minutes more.  I did not want to have to reduce the pressure to add the vegetables, then bring the pressure up again.

Slice meat with electric knife for thin slices.