Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie

Saying the word “smoothie” makes me smile and crave a cool, thick mixture of healthy ingredients sliding slowly down into my tummy. I get a chilling sensation now on my skin just imagining the pleasure and taste of a good smoothie. Finding relief from the heat and humidity is always on my mind during the summer season.
Yes, I call myself “The Souper” because I do have a passion for homemade soups, in cold weather. But when the dog days of summer are here, my food interests turn to less cooking on the stove and more toward fast, cool meals. My smoothie recipe makes an excellent breakfast or late afternoon snack. This recipe is filled with good nutrition. Ingredients in this smoothie include fruits and proteins packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
It is my pleasure to share with you my favorite smoothie recipe. If a cool, thick and rich drink is your goal for easy-eating on a hot summer day, then this is a drink for you.

Prep time about five minutes
Servings: Two adult portions

What you will need:
•Cutting board
•Kitchen knife
•Large spoon
•Two tall serving glasses

•Crushed ice, three cups
•Greek yogurt, 6-8 oz, plain, strained (example - FAGE Greek strained yogurt)
•Banana, one peeled and sliced
•Strawberries, one cup fresh, washed and sliced
(save one whole strawberry for garnish on the glass)
•Milk, 1/3 cup fat-free
•Honey, Two tablespoons (or more during the blending process.)
•Vanilla extract, one teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•Almond butter, two tablespoons from jar (similar to peanut butter)

The Process:
•Put all of the above ingredients into a blender.
•Put the cover on the blender tightly.
•Pulse with on and off settings of the blender to mix the ingredients.
•With the blender off, take the top off to push down the ingredients in order to blend the mixture better if needed.
•Put the top back on the blender and continue blending the mixture with a steady speed until the desired texture is reached.
•With the blender off, take the cover off and taste the mixture with the spoon before pouring into two tall serving glasses.
•Adjust flavor of the smoothie by adding more honey if needed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Turkey Cutlets - fresh, thin with Panko Crumb Coating

Turkey Cutlets - fresh, thin with Panko Crumb Coating

Another surprise from Plainville Farms poultry products. No, I am not being paid to mention these products. I happened upon my first split-breast, fresh turkey breast at my local supermarket and raved about it in one of my blog posts recently. So when I went back to my supermarket to get another split-breast turkey breast they were featuring instead fresh, thinly sliced, turkey cutlets. These are packaged and just looked so inviting I had to purchase them.

My mind was racing with ideas for preparing these healthy poultry options. And now you can see how I cooked and presented my new favorite food. Oh, did I mention yet how quickly these little cuties cook up? It took about a minute or two on each side and...done.

I encourage you to see for yourself how fresh and easy-to-prepare these products are from Plainville Farms. Here is the link to the website:
A reminder on my poultry and meat personal qualities: No antibiotics, No growth hormones, only vegetarian fed and humanely raised.
Plainville Farms satisfies my fresh food quality standards.

One tip worth a mention for this recipe: Panko Crumbs brown much better and produce a nice crunch to the cooked cutlet. The Panko crumbs can stay firm during the frying at high heat. (A couple of turkey cutlets were prepared, but no photo) with a coating of white flour and they did not look good after frying nor did they taste as well as with the Panko crumbs.)

If you are calorie counting: a serving of fresh turkey (4 oz. or 112 g.) has 120 calories. Depending on how you prepare the turkey, depends on the calorie count.

Preparation time for this recipe is about ten minutes.
Cooking time for all the cutlets is about 15-20 minutes. (time depends on the size and count of the cutlets.)

Here is a photo of the ingredients used in this recipe mentioned:
List of Ingredients:
Eggs, three whole eggs
Water, one half cup of cold water
Kosher salt, one tablespoon
Panko Crumbs, four cups (approximately, depending on number of cutlets.)
Black pepper, crushed, enough to sprinkle a little bit on each cutlet,
so about one half of a tablespoon, again, depending on the number of cutlets.)
Oil, one quarter cup vegetable or canola oil to begin with; add a little more if frypan gets too dry during the cooking process or the cutlets.
Parsley, one quarter cup, chopped, of fresh flat-leaf parsley

What you will need:
One medium bowl
One large bowl
One large baking sheet
Parchment paper or waxed paper
One large fry pan
One pair of tongs
One serving platter

Photos during the preparation process:

The process:
In the medium bowl, mix the eggs with water and Kosher salt.
In the large bowl, put the Panko Crumbs and spread around.
Put each turkey cutlet into the egg mixture.
Put the egg-coated turkey cutlet into the Panko Crumbs and cover all over the cutlet.
Repeat with each cutlet:
Place coated cutlets on a lined baking sheet with either parchment paper or waxed paper.
Let the cutlets dry a bit before beginning the frying process.
Pour the oil into the large frying pan and turn heat under the frying pan up to medium high temperature.
Add the dried coated cutlets into the hot frying pan with the cooking oil.
Sprinkle a small amount of the crushed, black pepper while cutlets cook.
Let the cutlets brown on one side, then with the pair of tongs, turn the cutlets over to brown on the opposite side.
Cooking time is about two minutes per cutlet side. (time depends on the heat of the cooking oil.)
Do not burn the frying cutlets.
Place the cooked turkey cutlets on to a serving platter.
Sprinkle the chopped, fresh parsley on top of the cutlets before serving.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meatloaf - with new spice combinations

My meatloaf recipe with new spice combinations - a very nice surprise.

Everyone has a special meatloaf recipe. Fantastic when it is a family tradition passed on to the next generation. I have my favorite, go-to, family recipe also.
Last night, though, I was looking through my spice collection and I chose a combination of spices that attracted me because of the warmth of each ingredient. Wow, what a surprise to find that this blend of spices created a new version of my family's recipe for meatloaf. Can't wait to share this with you, too.
Along with our meal highlighting this new meatloaf recipe, I served a side green salad and for the comfort carb sidedish, I prepared my new go-to grain: Roasted Brown Rice Couscous (gluten-free). Oh, and it does come in a convenient box, is organic brown rice and cooks-up in 15 min. How easy is that? (As Ina Garten, "Barefoot Contessa" would say.)
Hope you will try this healthy grain as your sidedish when you have comfort on your mind at mealtime.
Thank you Lundberg Family Farms for Roasted Brown Rice Couscous. Gluten-free, Vegan and 100% whole grain. Kosher product, too. Here is the link to their product: http://www.lundberg.com/Products/Roasted_Brown_Rice_Couscous.aspx

Preparation time of this recipe: about 15 minutes.
Cooking time for this meatloaf: about one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes, depending on the calibration of temperature in your oven.

Loaf pan coated with Canola Oil spray on bottom and all sides.
Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Oven mitts
Place oven rack in the middle portion of your oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Kitchen knife
Large spatula
Serving platter

Ground beef, one pound
Egg, one whole egg
Ketchup, one half cup; a little more also to spread on top of the meatloaf before cooking.
Worcestershire sauce, one quarter cup
Cumin, one teaspoon
Paprika, one teaspoon smokey version if possible, if not then plain paprika
Cinnamon, one teaspoon
Kosher salt, two teaspoons
Black pepper, one teaspoon, crushed
Parsley, one quarter cup fresh, chopped (or one tbs. dry parsley)If using fresh parsley, save a few pieces to put on top of the cooked meatloaf for a pretty pop of color as the garnish.

Assemble the meatloaf mixture:
Put the ground beef into the large mixing bowl
Crack one whole egg into the mixing bowl with the ground beef
(option: crack the egg into a small bowl first to make sure the egg is fresh and then empty the egg into the ground beef.)
Add the ketchup into the mixing bowl with the groundbeef and egg.
Add the Worcestershire Sauce into the above mixture also.
Add the cumin, paprika and cinnamon into the mixture above.
Add the salt and crushed black pepper into the mixture above.
Add the fresh, chopped parsley into the groundbeef mixture, too.
Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl with the wooden spoon using a light, turning-over stroke, so all the ingredients remain loose.
The goal is to have a mixture with some air in the combined groundbeef texture.
Add the meatloaf mixture into the greased loaf pan.
Spread some ketchup on top of the uncooked meatloaf.
Place the loaf pan into the preheated oven at the middle section of the oven.
The meatloaf will be ready when it is browned on the top of the meatloaf, and the meatloaf has pulled away from the sides of the loaf pan.
Depending on the amount of fat in the groundbeef used, you may want to pour off some of the liquid fat that remains in your loafpan. Use your oven mitts to carefully carry the cooked meatloaf in the loafpan to the sink to pour-off the fat into the drain of your sink.

Serving suggestion:
Using your kitchen knife along with a large spatula, cut wide sections of your cooked meatloaf and carefully place on the serving platter.
Put a few pieces of whole, fresh parsley on the top of the sliced meatloaf for the garnish.

Prep2eat: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep2eat: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: "When I smell these cookies baking in my home my mind wanders back to memories of a tummy-warming breakfast of oatmeal as well as my love..."
Click on name of cookie for this recipe.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roasted Turkey Breast - any day of the week.

(Uncooked split-turkey breast ready to go into the oven.)

What a wonderful surprise to find a small, fresh split-turkey breast in my supermarket. This special find fulfilled my goal of purchasing poultry that fits my criteria: Humanely Raised; Vegetarian Fed; No Antibiotics; No Growth Hormones. Thank you, Plainville Farms. www.plainvillefarms.com Check out their website or on Facebook.

The simplicity of my recipe for roasting the fresh split-turkey breast on a bed of cut veggies made up of carrots, celery and onions creates a magical sauce in the bottom of the roasting pan. The flavor dripping off of the cooking turkey into the vegetables under and around the turkey breast makes a gravey that is sweet and light in texture and flavor.
If you want to enhance and thicken this gravey, just add flour mixed in some cold water, add it to the gravey in a small saucepan, heat and stir until the gravy is your style. That's it. All done.

(Cooked split-breast turkey breast)

Preparation time before cooking is about 15 minutes.

Cooking time about one hour and forty-five minutes, depending on oven temperature accuracy and size of the turkey breast. The size of this split-turkey breast is 2.58 ounces and will serve six to eight people if serving about 4 ounces per person. (or cook and freeze small portions for fewer numbers of people eating.)
Test for doneness: A meat thermometer should read 170-175 degrees F. or
until juices flow clearly with a prick into the turkey breast meat.
During the cooking process, if you check the turkey breast and see that it is browning on top, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent further browning and drying out.
If you notice the vegetables have very little water around them, just add a bit more for the duration of the cooking process.

Carrots, 2 medium, peeled and sliced
Celery, 1 stalk, peeled and sliced
Onion, 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
Split-turkey Breast
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon, crushed
Paprika, 1 teaspoon
Olive oil, 1/4 cup dripped over the turkey breast
Water, 1/4 cup cold

Have oven rack in the center of the oven
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Wash and pat dry the turkey breast
Wash and dry carrots and celery. Peel and slice
Peel and slice the onion
Put all uncooked vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan
Put the turkey breast on top of the uncooked veggies
Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika on top of the uncooked turkey breast
Drip olive oil on top of the turkey breast
Add water around the vegetables in the roasting pan
Put the roasting pan with the uncooked turkey breast and vegetables into the oven on the center rack placement.
Roast the split-turkey breast until done.

Take the roasting pan out of the oven, cover the turkey breast with some aluminum foil and let stand without cutting for about 15 minutes to let all the juices remain in the turkey breast, leaving each slice moist and flavorful.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Calories, Carbs and Fats Repost from Tips and Tricks for the Everyday Cook

Important Nutrition Info and Why you should read food labels.
Posting this link from the foodblog Tips and Tricks for the Everyday Cook.
Vegetable picture from mentioned blog as well as my own Fruit photo from this blog.
Appreciate all the research that went into this informational nutritional post: please take a moment to view the following link:

The Souper



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guacamole - Homemade

Ingredients for Guacamole

My personal favorite recipe is from Williams-Sonoma's Recipe posted below. Give homemade guacamole a try...you won't be disappointed in the quality of flavor from making it fresh.

Note: If you own a Molcajete (a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic rock)then prepare homemade guacamole the authentic way. If not, a bowl with a fork to mash the ingredients together works just fine. Do not be intimidated in preparing this fresh recipe.

Note: When slicing or chopping chilies, use a plastic glove or gloves to prevent oil from the chilies staying on your hands. The oil is very irritating if you touch your eyes with oil from the chilies on them. If you are not wearing gloves during the cutting of the chilies, be sure to wash your hands immediately with warm soapy water to remove the irritating oils from your hands.

Hint: a ripe avocado is slightly soft to the touch. Not too mushy soft.

My recipe makes two cups of fresh guacamole.

1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
2 Tbs. finely minced white onion
2 Serrano chilies, finly chopped
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt or Kosher Salt, plus more as needed
2 large avocados, preferabley Haas brand.
2 Tbs. finely minced fresh cilantro or fresh parsley if you do not care for the taste of cilantro.

Garnish on prepared, fresh guacamole:
1 Tbs. small fresh cilantro or fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbs. finely chopped white onion
1 Tbs. finely chopped tomato

Directions to prepare fresh guacamole:
Put the tomato, onion, chilies, lime juice and 1/2 tsp. salt into a molcajete or small bowl, and mash with a pestle or fork to a coarse paste. There should be little bits or chunks in this mixture, not creamy smooth consistancy.
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh of the avocado into the tomato mixture.
Add the minced cilantro or parsley and mash into the tomato mixture, leaving the mixture a bit lumpy.
Taste this mixture and add more salt if you think it will make the flavor better, more balanced.

Keep at room temperature for up to an hour before serving, covering with clear plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the prepared guacamole.
If refrigerating for up to three hours before serving, do not add the cilantro or parsley until just before serving the guacamole. Keep the plastic wrap on the guacamole as mentioned above when keeping the prepared guacamole in the refrigerator.