Broccoli Bulgur Health Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium crown broccoli (broken into florets, hard stem discarded)
  • 1 large carrot (peeled, cut into thick slices)
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 stalk celery (cut into thick slices)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (hulled)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (cooked with 1 cup water)
  • 1 medium lemon (juice only)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 handful raisins (optional)

Directions

Step 1
Prepare the bulgur and set aside to cool.
Step 2
Using a food processor, whir the broccoli and carrots until about the consistency of rice. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl.
Step 3
Process the parsley, cilantro and celery until finely chopped. Transfer to the large bowl.
Step 4
Add sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, and bulgur to the two vegetable mixtures and stir to mix.
Step 5
Whisk together the lemon juice and maple syrup, add to the salad mixture and toss to thoroughly distribute the dressing. Optionally add raisins or other dried fruit.
Step 6
Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. Keeps well overnight.

A sweet and sour balsamic vinegar glaze with a hint of orange turns beets into a luxurious side dish.  Butter adds richness.  Omitting the butter and chilling the beets in the sauce makes a great summer side dish.

Orange-Balsamic Sauced Beets

Serves 2 - 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
A sweet and sour balsamic vinegar glaze with a hint of orange turns beets into a luxurious side dish. Butter adds richness. Omitting the butter and chilling the beets in the sauce makes a great summer side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon orange zest (from 1 small orange, grated from outer zest only, avoid pith)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted, optional)
  • 3 cups beets (roasted, boiled, or canned; cut to 1/2-inch dice.)

Note

To serve cold, omit the butter and chill the beets in the sauce.

Directions

Sauce
Step 1
Mix the vinegar and sugar in a small, non-reactive stainless steel, glass, or enamel pan. Boil briskly over high heat until the mixture is reduced by about half or it coats a spoon; about 10 minutes.
Step 2
Remove from heat and stir in orange zest and butter. If possible, set aside to steep at least 30 minutes. If not using for more than 2 hours, store in refrigerator.
Assembly
Step 3
Reheat the beets if cold in a microwave or steamer. Reheat the sauce if it is cold.
Step 4
Toss the beets and sauce until the beets are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Serve hot.

Baked beets = lazy beets.  And they are wonderfully tasty, too.  No difficult peeling; the skin is easily sloughed off the cooked beets.

Fresh beets are delicious but peeling and paring them can be a messy job.  Cutting the hard red globes can be hazardous and you have to be careful not to have the knife slip.  They also aren’t a quick veggie like green beans or corn which are ready to eat a minute or two after they get hot.  Beets must be cooked until soft so are difficult to throw into a last minute meal.   Instead, plan ahead and bake beets.

Baked Beets

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh beets

Directions

Step 1
Trim the roots and stems from the beets. If the greens are very fresh, these can be prepared like spinach or turned into a pesto. The raw trimmed beets themselves may be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Step 2
When ready to cook the beets, scrub them with a brush or nylon scrubby to remove all grit.
Step 3
Wrap each beet in a square of foil, sealing tightly.
Step 4
Place wrapped beets on a lined pan. Use foil, parchment, or a silpat for the lining. The beets are likely to leak during cooking and the burned beet drippings are very difficult to remove from the pan.
Step 5
Bake the beets in the middle of the oven until a fork goes through the foil and into the each beet easily. The amount of time necessary will vary with the size of the beets and the oven temperature, which may be from 250F to 400F. This means the beets are easily cooked next to other items in the oven. Allow an hour and a half for a large beet in a 350F oven.
Step 6
Allow the beets to further steam and cool in the foil wrappings. They may be stored, still wrapped, in the refrigerator for a week.
Step 7
When ready to use the beets, unwrap and slough the skin off with your fingers, a paper towel or running water. Cut into the desired sizes and serve hot or cold or incorporate in other recipes.

 

My grandparents’ icebox cookie recipe as written by my father.

Mother and Dad Horman’s Ice Box Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb butter (melted (the recipe doesn't specify salted or not))
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup walnuts (chopped)

Note

This version of the recipe and instructions are taken directly from a typed  version of the recipe on "Gaylord Volunteers are Notable"  notepaper so it was presumably done by my father and it is his parents' recipe.

Directions

Step 1
Cream together melted butter and sugar.
Step 2
Add remaining ingredients and blend well.
Step 3
Form into long loaf with hands on floured paper and refrigerate until firm. Slice into pieces 1/16"-1/8" thick and arrange on ungreased cookie sheet allowing space between each piece. Put loaf back in refrigerator between batches.
Step 4
Bake @ 350F for 12-15 mins. Release from cookie sheet while still hot. Remove from cookie sheet when firm.

Whirr sunflower seeds, grated parmesan, flour and a bit of liquid in a food processor and a great cracker is the result.  They are strong enough to scoop a fairly stiff dip but with seasoning are wonderfully nutty tasting on their own.

It’s also an inexpensive way to have really good, high-protein, whole-grain crunchies for in front of a football game on the tube.  4 bags (5 pounds) of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Raw Sunflower seeds are only $12.60 on Amazon ($10.71 as a 15% discount subscription).  There are just shy of 5 cups in each bag.  Sunflower seeds are good for these crackers, in breads, as crunch in a salad, and straight out of the bag as a snack. 

Sunflower Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (shelled, untoasted, unsalted)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (other flours may be substituted)
  • 2oz parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon spice or dried herb mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons whey or water

Note

These easy-to-make crackers are a healthy whole-grain alternative to boxed crackers.  They are strong enough to be used for dipping.  Consider making several variations to take to holiday parties with a favorite dip.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and move a rack to the middle of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon sheet.
Step 2
Use a food processor to grind the sunflower seeds, flour and grated cheese into a coarse flour. Mix in the seasoning.
Step 3
With the food processor running, add liquid one tablespoon at a time until a crumbly dough forms. If you have added too much water, correct by adding flour one tablespoon at a time.
Step 4
Roll the dough very thin (about 1/10th inch). This may be most easily done using the thickest setting of a pasta roller or between two pieces of parchment paper.
Step 5
Cut the dough into desired shapes. You may use a round or shaped cutter, a pizza wheel, or a table knife. Place the pieces of dough on the lined baking sheets. You may prick the crackers with a folk for decoration. If you roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, you may leave the dough on the paper, score it, bake on that paper, and break the crackers apart when cooled.
Step 6
Bake 10 minutes. Turn each cracker over and cook 10 minutes on the other side for a total of twenty minutes. Allow to cool on the parchment paper.
Step 7
Crackers can be eaten while still warm or allowed to cool thoroughly and store in a micro-perforated bag or dry container.

Getting the cheese smoothly incorporated into a “cheese-and” soup can be a daunting task.  Often the semi-melted cheese wants to grab hold of whatever solids are in the soup before it will form than velvety-smooth texture we all love.  Other times, the cheese will sink to the bottom and scorch or wrap itself around the stirring spoon or whisk.

TWO POTS TO THE RESCUE!

In one pot, prepare the broth and any solids you want in the soup.  In the other one, make a bechamel-based cheese sauce.  Stir the two together and you have the wonderful cheesy soup we all crave.

Foolproof Two-Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serves 2 - 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Soup
Misc Serve Hot
This two-pot method makes a very smooth and cheesy soup. It can be adapted for many cheese soup recipes.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli crown (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon achiote paste (or other seasoning to taste)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4oz cheddar cheese (diced or freshly grated)
  • pinch salt (or to taste)

Note

Homemade cheese soup is a wonderful treat!  There are infinite varieties to be made.   Try this two-pot method anytime you want a cheese soup.  Prepare the other ingredients with the broth in pot one; make a cheese sauce in pot two; combine and serve.  What could be easier?

Preparing a cheese sauce separately and adding it to the other ingredients prevents clumps of cheese from forming around any solid ingredients like meat, vegetables, or pasta.   It also allows a lower temperature to be used on the cheese sauce than might be used to prepare the other soup ingredients.  Having two dirty pots is a small price to pay.

Directions

POT ONE
Step 1
Choose a pot large enough for all the soup ingredients. Simmer the chopped broccoli in the chicken broth until al dente, approximately 3 minutes. Set aside.
POT TWO
Step 2
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and the achiote paste (or other seasoning). Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring, until the flour is cooked and most of the achiote paste is melted, about 3 minutes.

Achiote paste is found among the Mexican foods in many supermarkets but you may replace this with any seasoning you wish. Dry mustard brings out the taste of cheese. A bit of smoked salt or liquid smoke is also good. Freshly grated nutmeg is another option.
Step 3
Add the milk and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cook slowly, stirring frequently, until a smooth sauce develops, about 3 minutes.

Initially, the cold milk may cause the flour and butter to "seize" but they will soon melt back into a smooth sauce.
Step 4
Slowly add the cheese while continuously stirring. until a smooth cheese sauce develops.
POT ONE
Step 5
Stir the cheese sauce into pot one. Leave behind any brown skin that may have formed on the bottom of a too-hot pot.

It is easy to scorch a cheese sauce by having the pan too hot. If you do end up with a slight brown crust on the bottom of your pot, don't worry. Just try not to scrape too much of it into the final soup. Unless it is truly burned and black, it is unlikely to add an adverse flavor to the soup.
Step 6
Taste the soup and adjust the saltiness if necessary. The amount of salt you may, or may not, need to add to the soup at the end is dependent on the saltiness of previous ingredients. You may have used salted or unsalted butter. Boxed chicken stock is likely to be much saltier than homemade. The saltiness of cheese varies a good deal. Use your own tastebuds to determine your preferences.
Step 7
Allow to simmer very slowly over low heat until the flavors have melded, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Approximate nutrition information for one serving of sauce (1/8 recipe):

spinachcrustpizza1

No-flour spinach crust “pizza” with butternut squash & red-pepper sauce, sauteed mushrooms, salame, and mozzarella.

Foregoing red sauce forever is a fate I am not willing to accept gracefully but like many folks, if we eat tomatoes, onions, or garlic we are up during the night with wonky tummies.   So, the hunt is on for a reasonable substitute and this sauce may fit the bill, even as just variety for those of you who are able to enjoy tomatoes with reckless abandon.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 45 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Condiment
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Butternut squash (roasted)
  • 2 large Red bell peppers (roasted)
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine (or other sweet or dry wine, or mild vinegar, to taste)
  • 1/4oz Dried porchini mushrooms (rinsed to remove grit)
  • 1/2 cup Water (heated to boiling)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil (preferable one with a fruity or peppery taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (to taste)

Note

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Directions

Roasted Butter Squash
Step 1
Allow about two hours for preparing the squash. May be done the day before and refrigerated.
Step 2
Wash the butternut squash but do not peel. Poke with several holes to prevent bursting. Wrap with foil and place on a baking pan to catch leaks.
Step 3
Bake for approximately one-hour in a 400F oven or until a fork poked through the foil goes into the squash easily.
Step 4
Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, unwrap, and remove skin and ends and discard. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise and discard any seeds and fibrous membrane. Roughly mash the pulp and place in a large saucepan.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Step 5
Set the oven broiler to high and and a rack in the top-most position. If using an electric oven, keep the oven door ajar to prevent the element from cycling off.
Step 6
Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
Step 7
Cut the peppers in half. Remove the stems, whitish membranes, and seeds. Wash the peppers to make sure all seeds are removed.
Step 8
Place the pepper halves skin side up on the foil and press with the palm of your hand to flatten somewhat. If some parts are folded under, break to unfold skin side up.
Step 9
Broil the peppers on the top rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until the skins are almost completely blackened. If at 10 minutes, they have cooked unevenly, rotate the pan for any additional time.
Step 10
Upon removing the tray of peppers from the oven, fold the foil in half and crimp the edges forming a bag in which the peppers will steam.
Step 11
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the skin. It may help to rub off some of the blackened skin with a paper towel. The pepper flesh will be darkened from the charred skin.
Step 12
Roughly chop the roasted bell pepper flesh and add to the saucepan with the butternut squash.
Rehydrating the Mushrooms
Step 13
Place the dried mushrooms in the hot water and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
Step 14
Strain and reserve the mushrooms and their liquid, discarding any remaining grit.
Step 15
Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them and their liquid to the squash and peppers.
Assembling the Sauce
Step 16
Place all ingredients, excluding salt, in a large, non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 17
Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients in the sauce pan. Alternatively, cool the sauce somewhat and carefully puree in a standard blender or food processor and return to the sauce pan.
Step 18
Simmer the sauce gently another 5 minutes, adding a bit of water, if necessary to prevent the sauce from boiling dry.
Step 19
Taste the sauce to determine whether the flavors have melded and how much salt needs to be added. Add the salt and taste again.
Step 20
When the sauce is done to taste, it may be used immediately, kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, or frozen for later use.

Approximate per serving nutrition information based on 2 servings:
 

Red Cabbage, Beets & Cranberries Slaw with smoked sausage and melted smoked gouda on the side.

Summer is a great time for salads. This recipe takes three healthy winter foods and turns them into a delicious summer slaw. A little planning ahead helps to make this recipe. Fresh cranberries are in the stores for a short period during the Winter holidays and roasting and chilling beets takes a few hours, but you can solve these problems by making do with sweetened dried cranberries and canned beets. The taste won’t be the same but the salad will still be delicious.

Red Cabbage Slaw with Cranberries and Beets

Serves 2
Prep time 1 hour, 5 minutes
Meal type Salad
Misc Serve Cold
A delicious and nutritious sweet-tart slaw incorporating red cabbage, beets, and cranberries.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen. If using dried, presweetenen cranberries, omit sugar but rehydrate 30 minutes in 1/2 cup hot water.)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups red cabbage (finely shredded)
  • 1 large beet (roasted or steamed, cooled, peeled, and cut into 1/2)
  • 4oz apple sauce (or 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and diced.)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (preferably toasted.)
  • splash vinegar (any type) (to taste.)
  • dash salt & pepper (to taste.)

Note

 

A bright-tasting salad packed with good nutrition that stands up well to ham or smoked sausage.

Approximate per serving nutrition information based on 2 servings:
 

Directions

Step 1
Grind the cranberries and sugar in a food processor until roughly chopped. Allow to sit 30 minutes for the cranberries to soften and form sweet juice.
Step 2
Combine cranberry mixture, shredded cabbage, diced beets and apple sauce (or diced apple) in a large bowl. Toss to mix evenly. Taste and adjust flavors with vinegar, salt & pepper. Chill for 30 minutes to meld flavors.
Step 3
Just before serving, add almonds and toss again briefly. Adding the almonds at the last minute keeps them crunchy.

Cucumbers are notorious for going bad before you get a chance to eat them, especially if you are cooking for one or two people.  Four people can easily demolish 1 large cuke cut into sticks.  But a single person?  Not so much.  And there’s nothing more disheartening than finding what’s left of a cucumber sitting in a puddle of its own juice in the bottom of the veggie drawer.

What can you do with a cucumber so that you don’t have to gobble it in one sitting?  Divide and conquer.

Remaining snack of pickle sticks wiped in remaining yogurt.

Let’s divide one large cucumber in thirds for one person. Soon after you bring it into the house, eat a third of it cut up in salad. (Or, as pictured at left, use it as a snack after making fresh pickles and tzatziki.)

Fresh pickles in a brine of balsamic vinegar, molasses, cinnamon stick, whole clove and applewood-smoked salt.

Take the second third and heat up a small amount pickle brine — either leftover pickle juice from a jar of pickles or a combination of salt, vinegar, sugar and whatever spices you choose. Slice the cucumber thinly and put it in the hot brine. Throw this in the refrigerator for a few days to mellow. Fresh pickles are the bomb! Instructions can be found here.

Yogurt, cucumbers, chives, dill, salt & pepper.

The final third can join yogurt to make a salad common across the Middle East and South Asia, variously called tzatsiki, raita, maast-o Khiar, Jajik, etc. You’ll find a recipe here.

Approximate nutrition information for 1/3 recipe serving of filling only:
  Nutrition figures vary greatly depending on specific ingredients used.

In the mood for sandwiches but have a bag of spinach that needs to be used before it expires?  This spinach, tuna and mushroom sandwich spread is delicious and satisfying.  It also comes together easily in just a few minutes.

According to the calculator in http://www.myfitnesspal.com/, one entire batch of the filling made using the brands of ingredients I chose was 682 calories (227 calories per serving for 3 servings).  You could easily reduce this by steaming the spinach without olive oil and cutting the amounts in the mayonnaise/yogurt/cheese dressing.  As is, however, it’s delicious.

Spinach and Tuna Sandwiches

Serves 2-3
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
A tasty sandwich filling putting a bag of spinach in two or three sandwiches in a very delicious way.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10oz fresh spinach ((1 bag))
  • opt.minced onion, pressed garlic or asefoetida (hing) (as desired)
  • 4oz mushrooms (sliced)
  • 12 medium oil-cured olives (pitted and chopped)
  • 5oz tuna (water-packed, drained (1 can))
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
  • 4 to 6 medium slices bread (toasted, if desired)

Note

Approximate nutrition information for 1/3 recipe serving of filling only:
Nutrition figures vary greatly depending on specific ingredients used.

Directions

Step 1
Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Saute spinach briefly until wilted, adding onion, garlic, or asefoetida (hing) if desired for flavor.
Step 2
Remove spinach from pan and drain well by pressing against the walls of a collander. Chop finely.
Step 3
Saute mushrooms in the now empty pan. When the mushrooms are golden, return spinach to the pan along with olives and drained tuna. Stir to mix and remove from heat.
Step 4
Mix together mayonnaise, yogurt, and parmesan. Stir this into the spinach mixture. Fill the sandwiches and serve, still warm.

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