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Monday, March 27, 2017

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Look, I work everyday so I understand,When it comes to dinner during the work week, we want three things: fast, delicious, and easy. Sadly, when it comes to choosing, "delicious" often falls by the wayside. If you're a meat eater, however, there's a secret weapon that's as quick as it is versatile and flavorful: ground beef.

Sure, it's not exciting on it's own, but it cooks up fast, requires less guesswork for doneness than larger chops or chicken, and can be used in a myriad of different ways. Here are 10 easy options for cooking with ground beef tonight — play your cards right and you'll hopefully have leftovers for lunch tomorrow, too.

 So today, I'm talking about Slow Cooker Stuffed peppers.

Hearty, protein/fiber loaded peppers packed with so much flavor – and it’s all made in the crockpot. Easy and effortless! Check it out!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 cup salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, optional
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Lightly coat the inside of a 6-qt slow cooker with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, rice, 1 cup cheese, black beans, corn, salsa, cilantro, cumin and chili powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper cavity.
  3. Place peppers into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours, or until the peppers are tender and the beef is cooked through.
  4. Uncover and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and cook on low heat for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve immediately, drizzled with sour cream, if desired.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good.....Try it tonight! Enjoy! Eat Well My friend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dutch Baby Pancakes

The Next time you stumble upon a lazy Saturday morning, the kind where you stay in your pajamas until noon (My wife and I have a lot of those now of days), and maybe linger over a second cup of coffee, try this recipe out and let me know how you like it...Dutch Baby Pancakes.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place butter in a large cast iron skillet, or 9 by 13 baking dish, and melt for a few minutes in the hot oven. Be careful not to let it burn.
  3. Beat eggs until frothy, then whisk in milk and vanilla. I use my whisk attachment on my Kitchenaid Mixer.
  4. Gradually add flour and salt. Mix until well combined.
  5. Remove skillet with melted butter from the oven and pour dutch baby batter over the butter.
  6. Return to oven for about 15 minutes. The dutch baby will puff up and the edges and top will be golden brown.
  7. Cut and serve immediately with strawberries, powdered sugar, whipped cream, or maple syrup.
 Finished Product!  Doesn't that look good??

ENJOY!  Eat well my friends!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shakshuka

Look, I don't name these dishes...When one looks tasty and interesting, I post it here on this blog...This is the case with Shakshuka..(sound it out!)

Thanks to Tori Avery for this recipe..This Middle Eastern one-pan dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce is spicy and tangy. Seasoning canned tomatoes rather than buying pre-made sauce makes this dish even cheaper..

 In Israel ,Shakshuka is often eaten for breakfast, but I have heard you can serve this for dinner  with a side salad as a light evening meal. It’s super easy and versatile.  It’s a vegetarian one-skillet meal that is easy to make, very healthy, and totally addicting

So Check it Out!

INGREDIENTS: 




  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste-- spicy!)
  • Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

  •   DIRECTIONS:

     Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.


    Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.


    Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).


    Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.


    Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

    Some people prefer their shakshuka eggs more runny. If this is your preference, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top-- then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.
    Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired. Shakshuka can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, serve with warm crusty bread or pita that can be dipped into the sauce (if you’re gluten-intolerant or celebrating Passover, skip the bread). For dinner, serve with a green side salad for a light, easy meal.

    That's it....Mmmmmmmmmmmmm it certainly looks tasty....

    Enjoy! Eat Well My friends!

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    Bucatini Puttanesca



    Forget the name...Don't knock this until you've tried it...

    This is a one pot pasta dish...Tomatoes simmer with anchovies, olives, and capers for a tangy, rustic meal sure to please all taste buds.  Bucatini are long noodles with a hole through the center that captures some of the sauce. As a substitute, use thick spaghetti.

    INGREDIENTS:

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 12 ounces bucatini or thick spaghetti
  • 3 pints multicolored cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste.
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 24 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • DIRECTIONS:
    1. Heat a large high-sided sauté pan over medium heat.
    2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, anchovies, oregano, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly to break up anchovies.
    3. Add stock and pasta to pan; bring to a boil.
    4.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    5. Add tomatoes and tomato paste.
    6. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until pasta is done.
    7. Remove pan from heat; add remaining ingredients, tossing to combine.
     

    See Simple...An easy one pan pasta dish for snowy winter nights like this, when you come home from work and want something good, but don't feel like doing a whole lot. I'm feeling like that more and more.

    Enjoy!  Eat Well My Friends!

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Apple French Toast Waffles

    This is a dream come true for me....I think the title says it all...

    INGREDIENTS:
    • For the spiced apples:
    • 4 medium apples, peeled and cored
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • For the french toast waffles:
    • 1/4 cup applesauce*
    • 1/2 cup half and half
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or allspice)
    • 4 slices potato bread
    • butter, for serving,
    • apple syrup, for serving
    • plain yogurt, for serving
    DIRECTIONS:
    1. First, make the spiced apples: slice the apples and place them in a medium saucepan. Add the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir well to coat.
    2. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until the apples soften, about 15 minutes.
    3. Pour the apples into a bowl (and puree a scoop of them to make 1/4 cup of puree that you'll use for the waffles--if you're not using applesauce).
    4. Preheat a nonstick waffle iron to the highest setting (yes, the hottest setting--anytime I don't do level 5, they stick).
    5. In a shallow pie dish, whisk together the apple sauce (or apple puree), half and half, egg, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves (or allspice).
    6. When the waffle iron is preheated, spray it lightly with cooking spray.
    7. Dip one slice of the bread in the egg mixture quickly on both sides, and move it to the waffle iron. Close and cook until done--if you undercook it, they will stick.
    8. Repeat with the remaining bread. It may look like you won't have enough egg mixture, but I promise you will.
    9. Serve the waffles warm with butter, maple syrup, and the apples.
    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm pretty good! Huh? I'm ready for some Waffles now! and some Cold Milk...

     Enjoy!  Eat Well My Friends!

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Penne With Tomatoes and White Beans


    I admit...This doesn't look or sound that appetizing...but give it a try.. Open your mind...It's Pasta, how bad could it be?

    This Dish comes from Genoa, Italy, where they're known for creating tasty combinations of veggies, pasta and beans. You can sub feta cheese to give this a Greek twist.

    INGREDIENTS:

    8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • DIRECTIONS:

    Cook pasta according to package directions.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.

    Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute.

    Add tomatoes and beans.

    Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5-7 minutes to allow flavors to blend.                                                

    Add spinach, olives, salt and pepper; cook and stir over medium heat until spinach is wilted.

    Drain pasta; top with tomato mixture and cheese.
     
                                                            Yield: 4 servings.
     
    There, Nice and Simple...Enjoy!  Eat Well My Friends!

    Tuesday, March 7, 2017

    Zuppa Toscana

    Zuppa Toscana, pronounced "Soupa Toscana" is my wife's favorite Italian Soup...She orders this everytime we go to the Olive Garden...

    Zuppa Toscana With bacon, spicy Italian sausage, garlic, potatoes, and cream, this rich soup is the definition of comfort food.

    Now Here is the recipe at long last...


    INGREDIENTS:
    • 4 slices bacon, diced
    • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 3 cups baby spinach
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
    2. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
    3. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in sausage and spinach until spinach begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    5. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon.
    And there it is...Easy right?  ENJOY!!


    Food Safety Tips
    Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


    1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

    Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

    2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

    Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

    3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

    4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

    One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

    * Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

    * Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

    * Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

    5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

    Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

    6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

    Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

    7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

    You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

    8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

    The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

    9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

    10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

    You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






    Cavier & Vodka
    Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household