Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Healthy Mediterranean Cooking

If you like dips, you have to try hummus! Hummus is a healthy way to snack because it is full of fiber, protein and flavor!

Creamy Hummus

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c tahini (sesame paste)
6 TBLS freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 TBLS water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hat sauce
100% whole wheat pita, warmed
Raw veggies, cut into sticks

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste for seasoning, serve chilled or at room temperature. Serve with warmed pita and raw veggies for dipping.

I would need to add more hot sauce and serve with green, yellow and red peppers!! A classmate added roasted red peppers (more hot sauce) and said it was delicious. Sarah-Jane suggested rinsing the chickpeas (or any canned veggie) to remove sodium.

Think it's too expensive to have gourmet, fresh and healthy salmon for supper for a family of four? Think again! This recipe is delicious, feels fancy and only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. The added bonus is that it's healthy and costs about $4.00 per person.

Salmon and Confetti Couscous

Olive oil
4 (4oz) pieces of salmon (skin removed)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1 box Near East brand Whole-grain Wheat Couscous, Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Flavor
1 box grape tomatoes, slice in half
1 c crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
1 bunch green onions (green parts only, about 1 cup)
1 12oz bag frozen broccoli that can be steamed in microwave

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to glass pan and place the salmon. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the top of the salmon and sprinkle to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of the confetti couscous (see below).

Confetti Couscous

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Meanwhile steam broccoli in microwave according to package directions. Fluff couscous mixture with fork. Add steamed broccoli, tomatoes, crumbled feta, and green onions to couscous. Can be served hot or cold.

This salmon was delicious. We usually cook ours with lemon juice and onions in tin foil, which is very good also. Sarah-Jane cooked the couscous in low sodium chicken broth instead of water; which added a great taste. I know that this couscous recipe is going to be a family favorite. Remember that any veggie can be added.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1/4 c tsp salt, optional
1/3 c coarsely chopped dark chocolate (2oz)
1/3 c coarsely chopped milk chocolate (2oz)
2/3 c chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mash together the butter and sugars with a fork until well combined. Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and the pecans and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter unto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Not much more to say about these cookies, only that they were absolutely wonderful

Friday, March 4, 2011

Soups and Stews Class

Taco Soup

1 lb ground round (you can use ground turkey/chicken)
1 onion
1 package taco seasoning
1 package original ranch dressing
1 TBL chili powder
2 16 oz cans hominy
3 16 oz cans stewed tomatoes
2 small cans green chilies
1 1/2 cups water

Brown ground meat and onions; add all of other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes

I can't begin to tell you how good this soup was! And so different from other taco soups I have eaten. Several of the ladies from the class have told me they have made this soup several times since.

Polish Cabbage Soup

1 small head of cabbage (diced)
1 16 oz can tomatoes
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 quart water
1 TBL butter
1 tsp sour salt (citric acid)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 c sour cream

Combine first eight ingredients. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Beat egg yolks and sour cream together. Gradually add 1 c of soup to egg mixture slowing raising the temperature of eggs. When egg is tempered, add to soup. Remove from heat and stir constantly until well blended. Can be served immediately.

This soup is very rich and one you wouldn't want to eat everyday; but would be good for a special lunch/dinner. I would serve it with polish sausage or a grilled cheese sandwich. Tempering the egg mixture is very important; if it is not tempered you will have scrabbled eggs in your soup. We do carry the sour salt in Ingredients.

Corned Beef Stew

1 12 oz can corned beef, chilled
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 TBL oil
2 cups water
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp ketchup
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp beef bouillon

Cut meat into small cubes and set aside. In a Dutch oven type pan, cook onion, celery and green pepper until tender, in oil, but not brown. Add water, potatoes, zucchini, undrained tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and bouillon. Raise to a level of boiling, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in corned beef. Cook until meat is heated; maybe 1 or 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

I didn't even know there was such a thing as canned corned beef; but it tasted great in this stew. You can use regular corned beef; but if you do, add with all other ingredients and cook until tender.

Homemade Saltines

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c butter
1/2 c buttermilk
1 egg

Sift together flour, salt and soda. Cut in butter. Stir in buttermilk and egg, mixing until liquid is absorbed. Do not over mix. Knead dough for 5 minutes on lightly floured board. Work with half the dough at a time, rolling into a rectangle. Roll to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch squares. Prick dough with a fork. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Place on a baking sheet and bake in 400 degree preheated oven, using middle rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. makes about 5 dozen.

You can make these with whole wheat flour if you want and remember when using sea salt you don't need as much. These tasted very, very good and are not "crumbly" like store bought saltines. They went well with both of the soups and the stew.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Romantic Valentine Cooking Class

We had a wonderful class February 8 with Lana. Along with learning how to make a beautiful and delicious meal we heard some romantic stories from our classmates. The stories ranged from a young man sneaking around, designing just the right ring with his mother-in-law to be and "lying" to the woman he was going to propose to. His proposal started "I've been lying......." We heard about about a man sitting with his brother when this young lady walked by and he told his brother; "there is the woman I am going to marry" and they hadn't even dated, they were married a few months later and have been married 27 years. There was the man who wanted to include his future bride's daughter, so he gave her the ring to give to her mother when he proposed. And there was the story about the husband getting down on one knee to ask his wife to renew their vows this May. She says she will now have two anniversaries to celebrate. I believe they have been married 30 years! It was so much fun to hear everyone's story.

Below are the recipes from our class:

Shrimp de jonghe

10-12 raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Approximately 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic

Place on stick of butter in an oven proof shallow plate. Place in oven or microwave to melt. When completely melted, cool slightly and sprinkle most of the bread crumbs over butter allowing them to become saturated.

Place garlic on crumbs.

Arrange shrimp on crumbs. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over shrimp. Cut up remaining butter into small pieces and evenly distribute on shrimp. Place in oven until pieces of batter are melted and shrimp turns from grey to a pale coral color. Serve immediately.


4 thin slices of round steak
4 slices of prosciutto ham
1/2 c fresh white breadcrumbs, unseasoned
1/3 c grated romano or gran padano
1 c beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbl EVOO
2 c canned Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 TBL tomato paste
1/2 c dry red wine
1/2 tsp oregano
4 TBL parsley, minced

Blend bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Pound the round steak very thin. Place a slice of prosciutto on top of each piece of steak, and the spread 1/4 of the breadcrumb mixture in the center of each slice of steak. Roll it up, and within an inch and a half of the end, tuck in the sides and tie with butcher string.

Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven or deep frying pan, brown the meat on all sides. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and half a cup of broth, bring to boil. Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hour. Add more broth, if necessary. When meat is tender, season sauce with salt and pepper. Remove from the sauce, slice, and spoon remaining sauce over top, serve immediately.

Fanned Potatoes

4 nicely shaped large russet baking potatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 TBL finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp sea salt or coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine garlic, rosemary, parsley, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Peel the potatoes. Cut crosswise. Cradle potato in a large spoon, wooden or plastic and slice down at 1/8 inch intervals (the curve of the spoon will prevent cutting through completely). As you complete the cutting process, place each finished potato into ice water (this helps the potato "fan").

Drain potatoes, pat dry with paper towel, carefully toss in garlic mixture. Place potatoes on sprayed baking pan, bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Asparagus Bundles

1 1/2 lbs asparagus spears
EVOO for drizzling
Fresh black, green or pink pepper
4 slices of center cut bacon or pancetta
Scallions and/or lemon peel for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or grill

Lightly coat spears with EVOO. Season with ground pepper; divide asparagus by number of servings. Group spears and wrap securely in piece of bacon or pancetta. If desired, tie with scallion and/or lemon peel.

To grill, place on grate. Cook 10 minutes.

For oven preparation, place bundles on slotted pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

Whichever method is used, cook until bacon is crisp and asparagus is tender.

Outrageous Dessert

1 c AP flour
3/4 c sugar
2 TBL cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c cocoa
1 3/4 c hot water
2 TBL oil
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c chopped walnuts

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until smooth, stir in nuts. Pour mixture in 8 x 8 greased pan. Set aside. In separate bowl, mix brown sugar, 1/4 c cocoa. Sprinkle this over batter. Carefully pour the hot water over top. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes.

Keep warm until ready to serve. When removing from pan, scoop out a portion and turn spoon over so that sauce is on top.

Serve with stiff whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

I have to tell you everything was so good and Lana makes it look so easy that even I feel confident enough to try the recipes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Sarah-Jane Bedwell, Registered Dietitian conducted her "Rev Up Your Metabolism" class, January 22 at Ingredients. Along with recipes she shared the following eight ways to naturally speed up our metabolism: (I have included some comments.)

1. Eat Breakfast: If you eat a substantial and balanced breakfast, this will help increase your energy, control your appetite, and speed up your metabolism. Make sure your breakfast has both complex carbs and protein.

I do eat a breakfast every morning; but I am afraid that is doesn't include both carbs and protein. I am a cereal eater; but seeing that I enjoy breakfast I think this will be easy for me to follow.

2. Eat More Frequently: Never east less than 1200 calories per day. Every time that you east, your body experiences the thermic effect of food, which causes an increased metabolism. Eating something small every 3-4 hours can keep your metabolism raised.

I am not sure about this, what do you eat? When I am at the store I have hard remembering to eat lunch and when I do it is a protein bar (usually) of some sort or another. I am on an Atkins kick right now. A piece of fruit, yogart, almonds and even a spoonful of peanut butter were a few of the suggestions during class.

3. Do Cardio and Resistance Exercise: Exercise is one of the most important factors when it comes to increasing your metabolism. Do intense cardio exercise for 30 minutes or more per day, and your metabolism can stay spiked for up to 2 hours afterwards. Break up your exercise into 2 segments for even more benefits. Do resistance exercise 2-3 times per week to increase your muscle mass and therefore increase you resting metabolic rate to burn more calories 24/7!

Oh, boy the dreaded exercise. Yes I know I should exercise and yes, I feel so much better when I do; but.........

4. Get Plenty of Sleep: If you get less that 7 hours of sleep, you are more than 3 times likely to gain weight each year than if you get at least 7 hours. Energy and activity level is lower when you are tired, which means your metabolic rate decreases as well.

I don't remember the last time I slept through night, let alone got at least 7 hours. Sarah-Jane did tell us that eating a banana or walnuts before bed may help and many of the ladies offered their solutions. And I do know that #3 would help, too.

5. Use Caffeine in Moderation: 1-2 cups of coffee per day (or other caffeinated, calories-free beverage) has shown to be helpful in speeding up your metabolism.

People who know me know that I drink a pot or more of coffee a day!! Do you think if I cut back I would have an easier time with #4?? I did try cutting back by making my coffee half leaded and half no lead; but by 3 in the afternoon I was dragging and had the beginnings of a headache. I know, I know those are withdrawals. I am back to full lead but trying to stop earlier in afternoon.

6. Eat Spicy Foods: Hot peppers (such as jalapeno and cayenne peppers) increase the body's release of certain hormones (adrenaline), which stimulates the metabolism and increases calorie burn. This is due to capsasin, which is found in the peppers and increases uncoupling proteins found in the muscle. This causes the mitochondria to produce more heat; therefore, increasing the metabolic rate. Dried mustard and chili powder has been shown in some studies to cause the same effect.

Now this is an easy one. I acquired a taste for spicy food when were stationed in El Paso, 18 years ago and have cooked with various spices ever since. Sometimes I do get dishes too hot that Mitchell and Calla Rae have trouble eating them.

7. Drink Green Tea: Studies have shown green tea drinkers burn an extra 70-100 calories per day due to the catechins in the tea. Drink at least 2 cups of freshly brewed, unsweetened green tea per day to get these benefits.

What no caffeine! I am going to try drinking green tea. That may help me get through the afternoon. Now Sarah-Jane did say not to buy the green tea in bottles because it loses what you need to rev up your metabolism, so I will look into heating water at the store for my tea. I have had green tea and did like it; but again no caffeine!

8. Move More (All of the Time): The more you move the more calories you burn and the higher you metabolic rate will stay. Studies show that fidgeters have higher metabolic rates that those who sit still. It is especially important to move more toward the end of the day (evening) when metabolism can slow down.

I am not sure how you become a fidgeter :-); but I do know that I can move more often. At home I am always going up and down stairs so I am sure that helps somewhat. I do try to park further from the entrance when I go somewhere and if available I do take the stairs instead of the elevator.

For more tips and recipes you can log on to Ms. Bedwell is available for speaking engagements, as a consultant and as a nutrition coach and can be reached at 615.975.5634.