Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gorgonzola Pear Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

To prepare pears wash well and then core them with a apple corer, leaving the skin on. After coring pears push Gorgonzola cheese into center of pear, packing it in tightly. Wrap pears in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or you may serve them immediately. Wash Bibb lettuce or spring mix for salad greens and place on a chilled salad platter. When ready to serve slice pears into thin circles and place on top of salad. Sprinkle top of salad with Craisins and drizzle on dressing. If you would like an extra crunch add some walnuts too.

  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. honey

  • Boston Bibb lettuce or Spring mix salad
  • 1 pear, serves 2
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Craisins
  • Walnuts, optional

If you do not want to take the time to stuff the pears you may just add pear slices and crumbled Gorgonzola on top of the salad instead. Enjoy, and stay cool!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beer Bread

Whoever said that beer is just for drinking should know that you can have your beer and eat it too. This is by far the easiest homemade bread that anyone can make. My goodness only 3 ingredients, how cool is that. You can pick what type of beer that you would like to use. The heartier the beer the stronger the taste will be. I made it with a bottle of New Castle Brown Ale and it really had a nice hearty flavor to it. I also made it with a bottle of Miller and it had a milder beer flavor. There are so many variety of beers out there be brave and try one. I want to try a Jalapeno Pepper Ale next. Beer Bread for You!

Beer Bread
  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 oz. beer, must be warm
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all 3 ingredients and bake in a greased 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 2 3/4 inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert slice and serve while it's still warm.

I want to credit this recipe to the Valley Elementary Fundraiser cookbook that I volunteered to publish back in the 1989-90 school year.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Taco Seasoning Mix

Well, I don't know about you, but I find that packaged taco seasoning is simply awful. It's way too salty, and not spicy enough. It is so simple to throw together a few spices to make your own, and this recipe blows away the prepackaged stuff. You can control the salt and spice amount as well. Also I have found that you can get away with 99% lean ground turkey with this recipe. Top with your favorite taco toppings and everyone will be impressed. Or you may choose to make a Taco Salad with it. How cool is that? 

Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½-1 tsp. ground chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1.3 lb. ground turkey or ground beef

In a small bowl mix together first 7 ingredients. In a 2 cup measuring cup put ketchup, water and spice powders. Whisk together and set aside.

Brown ground beef or ground turkey in skillet. When meat is no longer pink and is cooked through, drain off fat. Place back onto stovetop. Add spice mixture to meat, stirring well until all meat is coated. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve with soft or hard taco shells of your choice.

I find that the store-bought seasoning packs are not seasoned enough and they are too salty. This tastes better and is much cheaper, too. I always use 1 tsp. of chipotle powder, we like it on the spicy side.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin

I just love potatoes, and I think they get a bad rap. This fascinating little tuber is actually quite nutritious, containing more potassium than a banana. It's surprisingly high in vitamin C. Boiled, or baked with the skin on will provide a multitude of nutrients, plus healthy dietary fiber (although most of the other vitamins and minerals are in the potato flesh itself). That is why I always leave the skin on. So here you go you can have your potatoes and eat them too. Healthy can taste good!

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin
  • Yukon gold potatoes skins on and sliced thin, about 4 cups
  • 1 medium sweet vidalia onion sliced thin
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder, optional
  • 1 cup reduced fat grated Sargento Cheddar cheese
Wash potatoes well and then slice very thin. I like to use my mandoline slicer for the potatoes and the onion. Then peel and slice the onion too. Set aside and melt margarine in a small pot over medium heat and as soon as margarine is melted whisk in flour then add milk and whisk together well stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper and optional seasonings at this point. As soon as mixture heats up and thickens slighty remove from heat. Spray a 2 ½ quart Corning bakeware dish with pam spray. Layer potatoes and some onion alternately until all is in the dish making sure that potatoes are on the top layer at the end. Pour milk mixture over top of  potatoes and onion then cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Then remove lid and add cheese and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered, for a total bake time of 1 ½ hours.

The yellow meat potatoes have a more buttery flavor to them and really help make these tasty without a lot of added fat.