Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wild African Peanut Soup

Category: Main Dish
Difficulty: Fairly Easy (some chopping and uses two pans)
Healthy!


This is a lighter version of African Groundnut Stew that I have posted a couple of years ago. Groundnuts and peanuts are the same thing. Who knew? This recipe adds a bit of fresh ginger for a little "zip". Give this to your kiddos and they will love it--so will you! My daughter originally got this off of the very excellent "Budgetbytes.com" site--I adjusted it only slightly. I also added the word "Wild" to the title because I like the word "Wild".... Yield: Feeds 4 big eaters or 5 Pygmies.

Ingredients:

1 T vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger
1 inch fresh ginger
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion
1 t cumin
1/8 t ground cayenne pepper
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 C natural-style chunky peanut butter (the kind with oil on the top)
6 C vegetable or chicken broth
1 lb raw chicken meat (breasts or tenders are fine) chopped into large cubes
1/2 bunch rinsed collard greens (2-3 cups chopped)
1/4 bunch cilantro (optional garnish)

Directions:

Peel and mince ginger and garlic very fine. Saute in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is soft and fragrant but not brown. Dice onion and add to pot. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2" cubes and add to pot. Saute until it takes on a darker appearance. Meanwhile add broth to a 3 qt. pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken and cover. Boil until chicken is no longer pink. In the other pot--season sweet potato mixture with cumin and cayenne. Add tomato paste and peanut butter and stir until mixed. Gradually add broth in which the chicken was cooked to the sweet potato/peanut butter mix--then add chicken. Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Add chopped collard greens and cook about 15 minutes until greens are limp and potatoes are soft. Squash the sweet potatoes a bit with a potato masher or fork in order to make the soup thicker. Ladle soup into large bowls and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (if desired).








Monday, March 9, 2015

Todd Wilbur's Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie Clone

Category: Desserts
Difficulty: Easy
Not Healthy But Worth It

The real Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip cookie recipe has apparently never been sold. But this is the closest thing to it that I have tasted. They don't look the same...but they are just as ooey-gooey. I remember when Mrs. Fields first introduced her cookies to the world. I was there! I lived with my parents near Palo Alto CA at the time. It was there that she took her product to a Stanford business class--who came up with her marketing plan. The first cookies she produced and sold inside the old "Liddicotes" store-front  on University Ave.. She even handed out warm samples for free to  passersby. That was the key--they were fresh and warm. My sister and I used to go to her shop after vigorous work-outs to reward ourselves! These are best eaten warm with cold milk. Absolutely worth the guilt. Recipe by Todd Wilbur. Yield: A Baker's dozen 4" cookies

Note #1: In case you have some left after 36 hours--freeze them. They do not keep well.
Note #2: This is a needless warning because you won't have any left after 36 hours.
Note#3: Try using half Guittard or Andies Candies mint chips--WOW

Ingredients:

1 C (2 sticks) butter
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
3/4 t salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 12-oz pkg.Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I believe MF uses Hershey's brand--but I use Guittard)
1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter--sugars-vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and/or nuts.  Use a scoop or two spoons to make blobs of dough the size of golf-balls and arrange on greased or parchment covered pans--6-8 cookies fit on a sheet at a time. Bake for 16-19 minutes or until done to your preference. Some like 'em brown...some like 'em just browned around the edges. INDULGE!






Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Throw 'Em In" Mexican Chicken Stew

Category: Main Dishes
Difficulty: Easy--and you can use a slow-cooker if you like
Healthy

Every cook in California probably has a Mexican soup or stew recipe--this is mine. What's different about this recipe is that there is so little chopping involved. I hate chopping. Even with a food processor... you have to clean the darn thing after you're done cooking (does anyone else think this way?)! So this is a recipe where you just open cans and bags and boxes  and "throw 'em  in". Hence the name...

This recipe makes a bunch--about 10 one-cup servings. I like it thick--like a stew. But if you want soup--just add a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce or beef broth 'till you have it how you want it. If you  have a small family--eat some and freeze some for those "I just can't get off the couch" nights. It's very healthy--only 294 calories of vegetables and nearly fat-free protein. Serves 10 --Adapted from "Living Lean with Trader Joe's" cookbook by Jamie Davidson.

Notes: The tomatoes ARE canned--but if you want to chop up 8 small or 6 large fresh organic tomatoes and add them to the bubbling pot instead--go ahead! Just be sure to add a small can of tomato sauce as well (for moisture). If you are allergic to corn or it is too high in glycemic value for you--simply leave it out. Substitute a chopped yellow and a chopped red bell pepper--they're sweet and pretty.

Ingredients:

2 medium onions (chopped)
4 crushed and minced garlic cloves
1 T olive oil
6 C cooked chicken (cut in chunks--in a pinch you can use 2 rotisserie chickens)
1 pkg. Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Mix (or equivalent)
4 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (or use fresh--see above)
2 15-oz cans black beans or a bag of dried beans that have been soaked overnight and washed 3X
2 C frozen or fresh organic non-GMO corn (or see substitute above)
2 C chicken broth
2 shredded corn tortillas or 2 t cornstarch or arrowroot mixed in 1/4 C water
2 T fresh lime juice (optional)
1/4 C chopped cilantro (optional--but don't skip it unless you hate cilantro)
plain Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions:

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot or slow-cooker until tender--about 3 minutes. Add chicken-taco seasoning-tomatoes-beans and corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer at least 15 minutes. Stir in  two shredded corn tortillas or substitute to thicken. Keep stirring occasionally and add water as needed if it gets too thick. Serve garnished with line juice and cilantro and/or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt... Do freeze some if you can!
















Dramatic Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Category: Main Dishes
Difficulty: Medium- Easy (takes about an hour to make--but easy)
Pretty Healthy (relatively high glycemic content--but GF and SF and relatively low-fat)

So company's coming and they are all very health conscious. You want to make something special...a show-off entree. But you don't have very much time or much money either. This is what you do: Go to a Big Box store and get one of those HUGE pork tenderloins that is the size of a small submarine. Cut two ends off of it--leaving at least a 12" roast in the middle. Cut the ends into 1" pork chops and throw them in the freezer for another time. Then carefully "butterfly" the roast. This is done by cutting a spiral into the roast (like a jelly or cake-roll) so that it can almost lay out flat after you are done cutting. Look it up on Google if you want pictures on how to do this under: "How to Stuff a Pork Loin Roast". The "U-Tube" video by "Food Wishes" is great!

Can you boil water? You can make the stuffing! Can you mix 3 ingredients together in a pan? You can make the sauce.  This was adapted from a recipe in "For Goodness Taste" by the Rochester Junior League. Serves 8 --one slice each.

Ingredients:
1 6 or 7 lb. pork loin roast (butterfly it yourself--or have your butcher do it)
12 oz. long-grain wild rice mix (get a good one with a lot of wild rice--I used Lundberg's Wild Blend)
1 large or 1 1/2  medium onion (chopped)
1 C celery (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 T olive oil or coconut oil
2 C dried apricots (chopped)
1  C prunes or dried figs (chopped)
1 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground ginger
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 C Marsala wine
1-2 T Palm sugar or brown sugar (to taste)
13 3/4 oz. can beef broth

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook 12 oz. dry rice according to package directions.  Add 1/2 t salt if there is none in the wild rice mix you are using. Sautee onion-celery-garlic in oil until vegies are tender; drain off fat. Combine vegetable mixture with rice-apricots-prunes and spices in a large bowl. Spoon stuffing evenly over butterflied pork loin (see "How to Stuff a Pork Loin" on U-Tube) and roll up like a cake-roll.  Common Sense Secret: If you have some kitchen string-- use it to tie the loin in place (see video). If you don't have any--cut strips of clean old sheeting or any undye-ed or white fabric you might have around to tie the pork in gentle bondage. Roast loin at 400 degrees in a large roasting pan that has been greased for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Check at this point to see if it is 170 degrees on a thermometer or white tinged with pink if cut with a knife. If it is still VERY pink--leave it in 10-15 minutes more then check again. If it's white--take it out immediately!!! It will cook for a few minutes more after it is taken out of the oven so a white tinged with pink is optimum. This is mui importante--pork loins can get dry in a split second!

Put loin on a serving platter and cover ith foil to keep warm when it is done. When ready to plate--cut loin into 1" thick spirals. Serve with additional stuffing on the side and this wonderful sauce over all:

Wonderful Sauce:

Skim off fat from pan juices in roasting pan. Add cloves-bay leaves-wine and broth to juices. Cook over medium heat--stirring frequently to reduce sauce to about 2/3 of it's usual volume. It should be like an "au jus" at it's finish.  Add palm sugar to taste. Strain and serve in a gravy boat accompanying pork and stuffing. DO urge guests to put some on the stuffing as well as the pork.






















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Egg Babies

Category: Brunch
Difficulty: Insultingly Easy
Very Healthy (and extremely convenient)

I loooove breakfast! I always want eggs and bacon and hash-browns AND some kind of roll that's full of sugar. And a rich dark roast coffee with real cream . But who has time to make all that? Or the metabolism to eat it? Maybe a 16 yr. old track star but not me! So I make these little protein-filled babies... and the coffee (naturally). Eat them warm and store what's leftover for up to 3 days in the fridge. Just heat up a couple in the microwave and there you have it: a healthy breakfast! Quantity: 8 Egg Babies.

Ingredients:

Optional Fillings:
Green onions (chopped)
Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained on a paper towel and chopped) or T.J.s packaged brand
Cheddar cheese (grated)
Swiss Cheese (grated)
Jack Cheese (grated)
Asiago Cheese
Oh Heck Any Kind of Cheese You Like
Canned green chilis (mild)
Fresh cilantro (chopped)
Fresh spinach (chopped)
Bacon (chopped)
Sausage (any kind)
Hamburger (brown it first and drain--15% fat is best)
Firm Buffola Mozzarella (cut in 1/2" cubes)

Egg Mix:
6 eggs
2 T milk
1/2 t onion powder (if you only have onion salt--use it instead of regular salt)
salt/pepper to taste ( using Lawry's seasoning salt is also good)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin liberally or use lots of spray oil (olive oil is healthy). Cook your meat proteins and prepare all other fillings. Add a large pinch of two or more of  any or all of the fillings listed above to your muffin tins. Here are some good combo's--

Buffola Mozzerella and green chilies and Jack cheese
Spinach and ham and cheddar
Bacon and Swiss
Sun-dried tomatoes and cheddar
Hamburger and spinach and cheddar (like a Joe's Special)

Always put the grated cheese on top because it looks pretty. Pour egg mixture over fillings up almost to the top of each muffin tin. Bake until puffy and light brown around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before removing with a knife. Eat warm or let cool and store in a plastic bag. Can be reheated in a microwave (about 30 seconds).