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Recipes Avocado and Lemon Salad Avocado Lemon

Avocados are not only tasty, but also  rich in potassium, folate, lutein and Vitamin E.  That makes them very healthy. Lemons are tasty, rich in potassium, folate and in Vitamin C. Not many people know that avocado and lemon are actually  a perfect match. Combined together, they can make a great salad.

Recipes: Avocado lemon salad

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and mashed

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of sour cream

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of lime juice

1 tablespoon of minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of honey

3 cherry tomatoes

2 sliced cucumbers

1 teaspoon of white pepper

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation

In a blender, put the avocados, the water, the sour cream, the lemon juice, the lime juice,  the minced fresh dill, the virgin olive oil, the garlic powder, the cinnamon and the honey. Use the cherry tomatoes and the sliced cucumbers for garnish. Season with white pepper and salt.

Notes

Instead of honey, you can use 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.  If you want the salad to be less sour, you can replace the lime juice with 1 tablespoon of orange juice. If you aim for a milder flavor, you should not use the garlic powder at all. If you want a thinner consistency for your salad, you can use an additional 1/2 cup of water. If on the other hand, you want your salad to have a thicker consistency, you should use only 1/4 cup of water in the first place. It is best that this particular salad is served and consumed immediately. It can be kept in the fridge for a few hours, but it won’t taste half as good.

Kentucky Burgoo

Kentucky burgoo is a dish served all over Kentucky, and at the Kentucky Derby.  Many festivals and large gatherings make burgoo most of the time because the dish feeds a lot of people.  Living in Cincinnati allows me to travel down to to Mount Vernon to my fishing cabin, and stop at various places along the way to enjoy this dish.  Many small diners all over Kentucky serves the dish on their menus, and each one is prepared differently.  One of the main images I visualize when the word burgoo is mentioned is a lot of friendly people sitting together appreciating the time and effort it took in creating this delicious stew in a large black cauldron. 

I was interested to see what the proper definition of burgoo was, so I looked on the Internet.  According to wikipedia, burgoo is a term used for many types of stew or porridge made from a mixture of ingredients.  There is no standard recipe for burgoo because everyone makes the dish differently.  Burgoo recipes remind me of gumbo or jambalaya recipes because every cook adds something different to the recipes according to taste.  When the stew was made in the earlier days, various game meat was used such as opossums, squirrels, rabbits, deer, pheasants or quails.  Most of the meat was leftover from hunting, and people would bring 1 or more ingredients to be added to the pot.  Whatever vegetables were grown from various peoples gardens was added to the pot.  Some of the various vegetables added were cabbage, corn, lima beans, green beans, onions, okra, celery, potatoes and many more.  Kentucky has an abundance of wildlife running around, and some of the best fresh vegetables I have ever tasted.  Many farmers sell vegetables all over the state which are better than store bought.

My recipe for burgoo is modernized because grocery stores don’t offer rabbit, squirrels, opossums or pheasants at discount prices.  I also prepare the stew in a large crock pot or large pot because I don’t have a large cauldron, or the time to prepare over and open fire.  I love to make burgoo in the fall when the vegetables are plentiful and the weather is cooler.

INGREDIENTS

1 Lb. Boneless Chicken thighs

1 Lb. Chuck beef roast

1 Lb. Country pork spareribs

1 Lg. Onion, diced

4 Tbsp. Worcheshire sauce

2 Tbsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Pepper

3 Garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Q. Beef stock

1/2 Q. Chicken stock

1 Sm. Box of lima beans

1 Sm. Pkg. frozen mixed vegetables

4 Ribs Celery, diced

4 Carrots, diced

1 Green bell pepper, diced

5 Potatoes, diced

1 (16oz.) Can crushed tomatoes.

Cut up chicken thighs and beef roast into large cubes.  Leave the bones in the country ribs because bones add more flavor, and can be picked out easier when finished cooking. 

In a large pot on medium to low heat, combine cut up chicken, beef roast and country pork ribs.  Add onion, garlic, worcheshire sauce, salt, pepper, chicken stock and beef stock.  Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until meat is near tender. 

After 2 hours, add celery, carrots, bell pepper, frozen lima beans and mixed vegetables.  Cook for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender.  After 30 minutes, add diced potatoes and can of diced tomatoes.  Cover and let cook 25-30 minutes longer until potatoes are tender and burgoo is thickened.  Usually the potatoes will thicken the stew from the starch they produce.  If you want the stew thicker, combine 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, mix until combined, pour in pot and stir until thick.  Serves 6-8.

Kentucky burgoo is very good served with bread, crackers, croutons or rolls.  Burgoo can also be served alongside a mint julep in order to have a taste of the Kentucky Derby.  Burgoo also freezes well if leftovers.

SOURCE

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgoo

Healthy Salad Ideas

Eating healthy and eating something that tastes good can sometimes be a challenge. Fats, sugars, and carbohydrates are what trigger the feeling of satiety, or fullness and satisfaction. Unfortunately, in excess, these items do not lend themselves to healthy eating.

Salads have been a diet staple as dieters attempt to balance filling up with low calorie content. Unfortunately the average salad found in restaurants is either a horrific combination of fats and high calorie dressings or bland iceberg lettuce with a few vegetables thrown in for good measure. There is a vast array of fresh ingredients that can take a salad from boring to fantastic if one takes the time to understand what is available.

A healthy meal is all about balancing the right amounts of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates. In creating a salad consider that it does not have to have lettuce as a base. If using lettuce consider the wide variety of lettuces available.

Iceberg lettuce is cheap, it also has the least flavor and nutritional value of any lettuce. Essentially it is crunchy water. It also can occasionally have a somewhat bitter flavor.

Romaine is a firm lettuce with a strong rib running through the center of the leaves. This staple of Caesar salad is easily purchased in most supermarkets. The outer leaves tend to be slightly bitter while the hearts are softer and sweeter.

Butter lettuce is becoming increasingly popular for its smooth texture and mild flavor. Varieties include Boston and Bibb lettuce which have large sturdy leaves that are excellent for wraps.

Leaf lettuces, such as red and green leaf are commonly used to garnish sandwiches, they have broad curly leaves and mild flavor.

Mixed field greens can be found with packaged salads in the supermarket. These blends contain a mixture of herbs, lettuces and spinach and lend themselves well to oil based dressings and or a vinaigrette.

If you simply despise the taste of lettuce, try a mild variety. The addition of nuts, grilled meat or fish, and even cheese and cooked eggs will add needed protein to your meal. The proteins will satisfy cravings and keep blood sugar levels stable, while the greens will act as a filler.

Choose toppings carefully, vegetables such as fresh cut peppers, broccoli, carrots, and onions add color, and thereby visual appeal, as well as flavor. Be careful of canned items such as olives, jalapenos or banana peppers. While flavorful these items add sodium and cause the body to retain water.

Consider making a salad of simply the toppings you love or including items such as rice, beans, pasta or cooked grains like barley or couscous.

Here are a few of my recipes for salads that make flavorful meals in and of themselves or serve as great accompaniments to meat or fish.

Mediterranean Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber

1 medium red onion

1 red bell pepper

1 large tomato

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs fresh chopped garlic

salt and pepper to taste

fresh herbs such as basil or oregano or dried herbs can be used in a pinch

Large dice the vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss.

If you have the time refrigerate the salad for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend, otherwise serve immediately. Fresh herbs add wonderful flavor. In a pinch dried will do but use less as they will be more potent and somewhat bitter.

Tabbouleh

1 pkg couscous or bulgur wheat

1 small cucumber

1 small tomato

a handful of fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

3 to 4 tbs lemon juice

Olive oil

Prepare the couscous or bulgur according to package directions and allow to cool to room temperature.

Small dice the tomato and cucumber. Chop the parsley and combine with the vegetables and cooled couscous in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

Here’s my variation which uses cilantro and cherry tomatoes and a hearty South American grain called quinoa. Quinoa (KEEN-wa) has a nutty flavor and is high in protein making it an excellent choice for dieters.

1 pkg quinoa

1 small cucumber

1 cup of sweet cherry or grape tomatoes

1 small bunch of fresh cilantro

½ red onion

Olive Oil

½ of a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and cool to room temperature.

Small dice the cucumber and onion and slice the tomatoes in half.

Chop the cilantro and add it to vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Stir in the quinoa and drizzle with olive oil.

Squeeze the juice of half of a lemon over the salad and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir well to combine.

Both versions of this salad are delicious fresh and even better the second day as the flavors combine.

Mixed Green Salad with Spicy Raspberry Vinaigrette

I discovered this quite by accident while experimenting in the kitchen.The combination of flavors is wonderful and the dressing is sweet and just a bit spicy.

4 cups mixed field greens or chopped romaine

½ cup sliced red onion

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ cup toasted walnuts

Dressing

¼ cup of raspberry vinegar

½ cup olive oil

2 tbs chopped fresh garlic

3 tbs sugar, honey or agave nectar

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt and pepper

Combine the vegetables and walnuts in a large bowl.

Whisk the vinegar into the oil and add the remaining ingredients.

Toss with the rest of the salad and serve immediately.

This salad is excellent with crusty whole wheat bread or croutons and grilled chicken

Raspberry vinegar is common in most supermarkets but if you can’t find it, omit the sugar, substitute white or balsamic vinegar and whisk in a few tablespoons of raspberry preserves.

Curried Rice Salad

4 cups cooked brown rice, chilled

½ of a small onion, diced

1 tbs garlic

4 tbs olive oil

3 tbs curry powder

1 tbs turmeric

1 tbs sugar, honey, or agave nectar

salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium heat and add the turmeric and curry, stir for about a minute to open up the flavor of the spices.

Add the onion and reduce the heat, cooking until the onion is translucent. Cool

Combine the onion and spice mixture with the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine and season to taste.

Bowtie Pasta salad

1 package bowtie pasta, cooked and chilled

½ cup sundried tomato pesto

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 large tomato diced

¼ cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients and stir well. This salad works well cold or can be heated in the microwave for a change of pace.

Gluten Free Tomato Soup

Gluten-free Tomato Soup

Tomato soups are known all over the world. Most soups take a really long time to make from scratch. This is a very simple recipe that will not take long at all, plus it is gluten-free. It is a very creamy, tasty, and rich soup that will serve great with salads. This soup has a very high nutritional value as it contains lycopene. It is a very comforting soup that may be served any time of the year. This soup is made from fresh ripe tomatoes. 3 cans of diced tomatoes, drained may be substituted for the fresh ripe tomatoes if they are not available. That is what makes this soup naturally delicious. This soup has a very deep red color and is very inviting.

Leftovers from this soup make a great meal also, because the seasonings really sink in overnight. It may be frozen and used for serving another time. This soup is excellent for serving as a main dish or a side dish. It is something that the whole family will love. This recipe calls for almond milk and it makes the soup really flavorful. Adds a bit of nutty flavor. The sugar gives a little sweetness to the soup. For a more bitter tasting soup just hold the sugar. This tomato soup is a really good choice for those who are on gluten-free diets.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 large tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of dried parsley

2 cups of gluten-free chicken broth

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of black pepper

1/2 cup of almond milk

Directions:

1. In a large pot, saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, parsley, chicken broth, salt, and pepper and stir to mix the ingredients until well combined.

3. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

4. For a chunky soup do not blend. For a smooth soup, place the soup in a blender and blend for 2 minutes.

5. Pour the soup back into the pot and add the almond milk. Stir and heat until the soup is heated well. For a creamier soup add 1/2 cup of heavy cream/

6. Serve hot or warm and enjoy!

Recipesoups and Stews

Recipe: Red Chicken Stew

 Who doesn’t enjoy the taste and smell of a hearty stew in the bitter cold of winter or anytime for that matter. This is a family favorite in my house. It is a recipe that has been in my family for years. We have it every year on Halloween after we come back in from taking the children Trick or Treating. It is a great Fall food or a great warm me up when served on those early Winter evenings when it is snowing or raining outside. This recipe has always had my family coming back for seconds.

You will need:

2lbs boneless chicken breast

3 or 4 good sized potatoes, cubed

2 small cans of tomato paste

1 diced onion

Ketchup

1 cup of rice

Place your chicken in a good size stock pot and boil until the pieces come apart with a fork. Let cool for about 30 minutes then tear into good sized pieces. After peeling your potatoes and cubing them add those and your chicken to the broth. Bring to a boil and put in your tomato paste one can at a time, stirring to dissolve after each can. Add in your diced onion then add ketchup until it is a deep red color.This is more of a feel than a exact measurement, taste as you pour to get the texture and taste that you want. Add more water as needed. Bring to a rapid boil then simmer for 2 hours or until potatoes are tender. About 30 minutes before the stew is finished, put on a pot of rice. 

Serve the stew over rice and with a batch of homemade biscuits or a loaf of French bread and a hot mug of coffee. This is a great meal for those cool Fall evenings and your family will thank you!

Salads

For those who love Mediterranean cuisine, and look for something healthy, nutritious and delicious to eat during the summer months, a strawberry and feta salad will satisfy them immensely. This strawberry and feta  salad is easy to prepare, contains ingredients that are easy to find and cost a little, and can be eaten both for lunch and for dinner. Highly recommended for children who usually do not love salads. Once they have a taste of this salad they won’t be able to stop! Also, this salad is ideal for those who try to lose some weight but want to eat something delicious at the same time. 

Recipes: Strawberry and feta salad 

(Serves 4 people)

Ingredients (for the salad)

1 handful of strawberries (about 35)

1 cup of finely chopped feta cheese

1/2 avocado, chopped into small pieces

1/2 red onion, sliced

Ingredients (for the honey vinaigrette)

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of lime juice

1 teaspoon of dry mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation

Put the strawberries, the avocado and the red onion in a large bowl and mix them well for 1 minute. Sprinkle the chopped feta cheese over the mixture. 

In another bowl, put the honey, the white vinegar, the olive oil, the lemon juice, the lime juice and the dry mustard. Stir them well for 2 minutes. Season with the salt.  Serve immediately.

Notes

If you want to add some more sweetness to the salad, you can use 3 tablespoons of honey instead of 2 for the honey vinaigrette. If you want more intense flavor you can use spicy mustard for the honey vinaigrette. Another thing you can do for more intense flavor is to use the dry mustard but also add a teaspoon of paprika. If you make this salad often and you want to break the monotony once in a while, what you can do is add a few  almonds or nuts in the salad. Children usually prefer caramelized almonds and nuts. Also, you can occasionally add 1 tablespoon of dried basil in the honey vinaigrette. It is important to eat this salad once it is ready, otherwise it won’t taste very good.

A fresh fruit smoothie with mango, pineapple and yogurt goes wonderfully with this salad, but if you want something stronger, sweet red wine is also a good alternative. 

Recipes Tomato Soup

Preparing this soup is very easy, healthy and tasty. This soup is included in many diet recipes. I prepare it once a week because it is very important for me that all the family members be healthy.

Ingredients:

1kg red tomatoes
1cup of water
some dill
black pepper

Method of preparing:

Wash and chop the ed tomatoes. Pour them with water , add dill and cook until the tomatoes are tender. Season with black pepper.

Serve it warm. You can add 1-2 tablespoons boiled eggs cut in a shape of cubes in every bowl with soup. Sprinkle with parsley. So, your soup will be delicious. You can also serve the soup with yellow cheese cut in a shape of sticks. Enjoy it!

Split Pea Soup Recipe

A nice, hot bowl of split pea soup is one of the best chilly weather treats out there. This recipe takes the traditional recipe and adds more vegetables, spices, and a helping of ham to make it a hearty meal in a bowl. This makes about three quarts, so there will be plenty to share. It also freezes well! I recommend keeping this overnight in the fridge before eating – for some reason, this soup is one of those foods that tastes better after a night in the cold.

This is a great way to use some leftover ham from a holiday meal. The smokier the meat, the better it will taste in this recipe, so don’t hold back with the smoky flavor! If you don’t have leftover ham, a ham shank from the grocery store works just fine.

SAVORY SPLIT PEA SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 lbs. dried, split green peas
2-3 cups smoked ham, chopped
2 quarts ham stock
1 small onion, finely minced
3 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin coins
1/2 tsp. savory
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Wash the peas until the water runs clear.

2. In a soup pot, bring the peas, ham stock, and minced onion to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir every 15 minutes to keep peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

3. Let the soup simmer for an hour.

4. Add potatoes, carrots, savory, thyme, and salt.

5. Cook until peas have pretty much dissolved and the potatoes are tender, which should take between 30 minutes and an hour.

6. When serving, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper.

7. Store soup in fridge, or freeze for later.

Making stews that will warm your body and heart.

The key to making a savory stew is just like making soup, you must have a flavorful broth, or gravy, for the base.

For any stew you make, first prepare the meat or poultry and while it is cooking add some water to the drippings and use vegetables and seasonings to flavor it.

For a perfect beef stew, you should take cubes of stewing beef and coat them in a mixture of flour and seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasonings. Once this is done, melt some Crisco into a frying pan and over medium heat start to brown the meat. You can cook it till it gets a nice brown color and is uniform in color all the way around each piece. You are browning it not only because it looks better, but mainly because it stays juicy when you sear the meat in this way. When you transfer the meat to a stew pot, or large saucepan, make sure you scrape all the drippings and brown particles in to the pot. That is where much of your flavor lies.

When you start to add vegetables to your stew pot, you can choose things you like best.  For a traditional beef stew, you should try onion and celery sliced thinly, potatoes cubed or cut into four to six pieces depending on size, sliced, or chunks of, carrot and any seasonings you wish to add to the broth.

You will then simmer this mixture till all is tender. Add water as needed and thicken it at the end if you wish to have a gravy base. Just use a couple spoonfuls of corn starch or flour mixed with cold water till smooth. Slowly stir that into stew while heat is turned off. Once mixed you can once again add heat till gravy is as thick as you like and all is well heated. It is hard to eat stew without good bread and butter to sop up all that delicious juice.

Another favorite wintertime stew is to make chicken and dumplings. Here again, you should start with the poultry. You will find the best juice comes from cooking a whole chicken and once cooked clean all the meat off the bone. It can take a couple hours to cook the chicken long enough so you have a tasty broth. The bones and the skin are what give it a great rich flavor. This is a time intensive project as you take all the meat off the bone, but worth it in taste. Everything that looks good will be saved for the stew. The pieces of meat that have too much fat or look discolored should not be used if you want a pretty looking dish. You can use other chicken parts, but this is the method preferred for a good chicken base. If you prefer, you can use wings and necks to make your broth, but then will also need breast to cut chicken pieces from to add to this dish.

When your meat is well cooked and prepared for the stew, add it back into the pot, discard bones and save other less pretty trimmings such as skin for the pets.

You are now ready to add the vegetables and you will enjoy the taste of thinly sliced celery and carrots cubed very small. Adding parsley seems to be necessary because it looks nice. It adds a flavorful touch so just decide how much you want in the stew and wash it and use a scissors to cut into small pieces. Just use the leaves not the stems for the prettiest look. You can add potatoes if calories are not of concern because you will be adding more starch in the form of dumplings. Cube these smaller than for a beef stew as they are more of an additive then a main player in this concoction. There are many recipes for dumplings, but using Bisquick baking mix and following their recipe gives good result. When you mix and drop these, use a light hand so they stay fluffy.

With dumplings, you may wish to forego bread, but a green salad would be a nice addition to your meal.

Another stew you may enjoy is almost identical to the beef stew, but made with pork cubes with the exception of some seasonings you may prefer, you can follow the above directions to the letter.

A stew that is very good and warming to the body and soul is a sausage stew. It is best with a smoked sausage and is very simple to make. The sausage is browned a bit with some onions. You can start this right in the stewing pot unless you have a large frying pan that accommodates it. You should add enough onion to give a fairly strong flavor, at least one whole one. It really complements the broccoli we will add. A whole bunch to a pound of sausage is about right. You will add potatoes in cubes to this dish. It is simple, but it should cook on low for an hour to meld the flavors. Experiment with the amounts of each item that you like best. Once again good bread will be welcome to enjoy the broth of this stew.

Stew can be basically anything you like. It should have a flavorful base broth, meat or poultry and veggies. You can run wild with your imagination and concoct something totally different from any recipe.

How to Make Shrimp Soup Stock

The great chefs say that the more you delve into good cooking, the more you return to basics. Rarely found in grocery stores, Shrimp stock adds a subtle flavor to soup, stew, chowder and gumbo that store brands simply can’t match. Homemade soup stocks are easy, healthful and inexpensive to make. You control the seasonings and sodium content. They can be frozen indefinitely or refrigerated for up to 2-3 days for later use. If you’ve been using canned chicken stock in fish based recipes, try this offering.

Ingredients

shells from 2 or more pounds of shrimp, rinsed

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 large yellow onion

2 cups water

2 cups dry white wine

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 large sprig fresh parsley

1 large Bay leaf (or 2 smaller ones)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1 pinch Dill weed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper (or more to taste)

Directions

Scrub the celery and carrots and slice them into 3-4 large pieces. Cutting at an angle will reveal more of the core and help the vegetables to release more of their lovely flavor. Quarter the onion. In a medium sized stock pot, add the water, wine, shrimp shells, vegetables, herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer until the shells have turned pink and the vegetables have softened, about 30 to 40 minutes. Skim off any foam that may form on the top with a large spoon and discard. Allow to cool in the refrigerator. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh colander into a storage container for freezing, or a stock pot for immediate use. Frozen stock will keep indefinitely. Refrigerated stock keeps for 2-3 days.

Variations:

For a Manhattan style stock, add 2-3 drops hot sauce, 1 teaspoon filet gumbo and 2 cups chopped tomatoes.

For Italian style dishes, add 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 peeled, smashed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 Tablespoon basil.

Beer based: Substitute 2 cups flat beer for the wine for an alternate flavor.

Tips: Try making stock as tonight’s shrimp dinner is cooking. A convenient way to store the stock is to freeze it in ice cube trays, pint or quart sized containers. When you need something special to thin a sauce or flavor a dish, just pop one out.

To Your Health!

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