Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-fry

My mom is living with us while she fights cancer. She loves pineapple and shrimp, so I made this for her. It was so good. The dish is beautiful and would be great to serve to guests.

As always, here are my suggestions for tweaking the recipe. You can buy the shrimp already cleaned. It saves you about ½ hour. You can also use fresh pineapple. If you do that substitute orange juice for the pineapple juice. That way you won’t have a jar of pineapple juice you won’t use going bad in the fridge.  I try never to ask you to purchase anything that you will only use in the specific dish we are making. Buy hoisin sauce. Once you taste it, you will find uses for it. Your favorite hot sauce will do if you don’t have sriracha.

Always read the entire recipe before you begin.


Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-fry


Servings: 6-8
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 20 Minutes;  Dinner in 40 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a can opener, a whisk, 2 mixing bowls,  a deep, non-stick skillet, tongs, a paper towel lined plate, paper towels, and a large serving platter

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ pounds medium cleaned shrimp
  • Enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan twice
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ cup of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of snow peas
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger or ¼  teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-20 ounce can of pineapple chunks or 2 cups of fresh pineapple
  • 3 cups of steamed white rice
  • Sesame seeds and 2 green onions for garnish
Sauce
  • ½ cup pineapple juice 
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ⅛ cup COLD water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)

  1. Place the cornstarch into one of the mixing bowls. Generously sprinkle the shrimp with salt, garlic powder and onion powder. If you are using powdered ginger, sprinkle that on, too. Place the seasoned shrimp into the cornstarch and toss to coat. Set aside. The shrimp will get sticky, don’t worry.
  2. Drain the pineapple, reserving ½ cup of the juice. Put the cold water and cornstarch into the other mixing bowl. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Whisk in the juice, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Stir in as much or as little sriracha sauce as you want. Set aside.
  3. Cut the bell pepper into long thin strips, removing the seed and white pith. Set aside. Mince the ginger and garlic. Roughly chop the green onions, using both the white and green parts. Set aside.
  4. Cover the bottom of the skillet in a generous amount of oil and heat over medium-high. Sauté the shrimp in a single layer until they are crispy and then flip and cook through. This should take no more than 2 minutes per side. You may need to cook them in batches to keep from crowding them. Remove them to the paper towel lined plate when finished. You can keep them warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  5. Wipe out the skillet. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over medium high, Add the peppers and snow peas. The peppers take longer than the peas, so I put them in a minute or two first. Sauté until they reach your desired tenderness tossing almost constantly. Push to the side and add the fresh ginger (if you are using it) and garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add in the pineapple and the sauce, whisk until the sauce thickens and gently toss all the vegetables until everything is coated. Taste and adjust the salt.
  6. To serve, make a bed of hot white rice. Top with the vegetables. Then top the vegetables with the shrimp. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and green onions. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cordon Bleu means blue ribbon in French and refers to food cooked to the highest standard. The original Cordon Bleu is either chicken or veal, which is flattened, wrapped around cheese and ham, breaded and then fried. It is usually served with a white sauce.  I have given you instructions for an easier (but just as tasty) version.

 If you don’t have a skillet that can be used in the oven, just put everything into a glass baking dish and then top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. I made my own breadcrumbs by grinding croutons and a little fresh parsley. If you begin to boil the pasta water right as you cut up the chicken, the pasta should finish at the same time that you are ready to use it. If you cook it first, toss it with butter and salt to keep it from becoming goopy. Penne, ziti or any other tube pasta can be substituted for the penne rigate.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Active time: 10 minutes; Cook: 40 minutes; Dinner in under an hour
Hardware:  a large pot, a colander, measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and knife, a very deep skillet that can be used on top of  the stove and in the oven, a plate, tongs, a whisk


 Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces of uncooked penne rigate
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 8 ounces of cooked ham
  • 3 pieces of bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (preferably Dijon, but yellow will do)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½  cups + ½ cup shredded cheese (Swiss or Gruyère)
  • ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse the ham and dice. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and salt generously. Roughly chop the bacon.
  3. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it is crispy. Remove and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet sauté the chicken over medium until cooked through, flipping often. Set aside.
  5. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and sauté until the roux is golden brown. Whisk in the mustard and cream. Stir in 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese. Slowly stir until the cheese melts
  6. Fold the prepared pasta, ham and bacon into the cheese sauce. Add a generous amount of pepper. Taste and adjust the salt.
  7. Top with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the breadcrumbs are browned.
  8. Serve warm.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ham and Peas Macaroni Salad

Since the pandemic began, we haven’t eaten inside a restaurant. We have visited a few outdoor places, but we are definitely not ready to take a chance on inside dining yet. I find that I really don’t miss it much.  And what I do miss, I am trying to recreate.

That brings us to this tale of Ruby Tuesday’s ham and peas macaroni salad.  That stuff is so damned good. This took a few tries. I think I got it if not perfect then pretty close. I bought a ham steak and rinsed it to remove the salt. I also used homemade dressing. You can just use your favorite brand. You can also substitute any or all of the mayo with ranch. I used baby bells to add a little color, but if you are being true to the RT salad, use green bell peppers.

Now, if I could figure out how to make those pumpernickel croutons….

 


Servings: 6- ½ cup servings (seriously, who eats that little?)
Time:  Prep: 20 minutes, Cook: 9 minutes, Chill: 2 hours
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a mixing bowl, a pot, a colander, a large storage container

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta
  • ½ cup ranch dressing (your favorite brand or make your own) + 2 tablespoons
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced (½  cup) I used 2 baby bells, one red and one yellow for color
  • 1 cup diced, cooked ham
  • ½  cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  1.  Place the frozen peas in the colander. Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain the pasta over the peas. Rinse in very cold water and allow to drain completely.
  2. Dice the bell pepper, removing the white pith and seeds. Rinse and dice the ham. Try to make the dice of both the same size.
  3. Mix everything with mayo and ½ cup ranch. Reserve the rest of the ranch for later. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. Mix in the reserved dressing and more black pepper just before serving. (Pasta is thirsty and will soak up dressing. The reserved stuff will ensure that your salad is creamy.)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Zucchini Slaw

I realize that most of the recipes that I give you are for main dishes. My husband made grilled chicken last night and I created this simple salad as a side dish to go with it. I  have been working on a how-to video, but it won’t be ready for another week. So, I thought why wait to write up a new recipe.

Zucchini Slaw is really delicious and couldn’t be easier to make. Serve it instead of coleslaw or a salad. You need 8 ounces of prepared squash, so buy 2 large zucchini and 2 large summer squash. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, most grocery stores sell the squash already spiraled and you can save yourself time by buying that.

Servings: 6
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes Chill: 2 hours-Slaw in about 2 hours
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knife, a veggie peeler, a mixing bowl, a whisk, an airtight storage container 




Ingredients
Dressing
  • ⅔ cup mayo
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
………………..
 Salad
  • 8 ounces zucchini
  • 8 ounces yellow summer squash
  • 4 ounces of matchstick carrots
  • Dressing

  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside
  2. Thoroughly wash the squash, especially if the skin is waxy, because you are going to eat the skin. Use the veggie peeler to cut the squash into then strips. Just keep peeling like you do the outside until you reach the seeds. Discard the middle containing the seeds. Cut the long strips into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Toss the squash and carrots. Then toss the slaw with the dressing until everything is thoroughly coated. Chill for at least two hours. Stir and taste and to adjust the salt and pepper just before serving.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Banana Bran Muffins

Delicious and healthy
I love to cook. One of my favorite aspects of cooking is the freedom to be creative. Just add a dash of this, a bit of that and keep tasting until you have something delicious. Baking is not as forgiving. Baking requires much more science than does regular cooking. And not being a patient person, I never really learned to bake.

The lockdown gave me time to teach myself to bake. I watched every baking video imaginable. I read a gazillion cookbooks. And I baked recipe after recipe after recipe. We were all gaining doughy middles when my husband decided he wanted to start eating better.

Long pause. I am not a patient person, but I am also not one to pass up a challenge. When I saw baking something healthy as a dare, it was on!

Banana Bran Muffins are my first original baked good! I am so proud of myself. Not only did these muffins rise, they were really tasty! I used Kellogg’s All Bran cereal. These look like little twigs-not flakes. Fiber One makes a twiggy bran cereal, too. I usually give ideas for making changes to my recipes so you can personalize them to your own tastes. However, I am not comfortable enough with baking to do that yet. Good things these are delicous just like they are!

Servings:  12 muffins (2 muffins have less than 400 calories)
Time:  prep time: 20 minutes, cook time: 20 minutes, muffins in 45 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, two mixing bowls, a rubber spatula, a fork, a muffin tin, a cooling rack, paper muffin cups (optional)

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour cups
  • 1 ½ cups bran cereal
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Cooking spray
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚. If you are using muffin cups put them in the muffin tin. Spray the paper or the tin. Make sure that the spray is in the edges of the cups.
  2. In one mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cereal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In the other mixing bowl, mash the bananas with the fork. Mix in the milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix until everything is completely combined.
  3. Gently stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stir just enough to combine. Over stirring will make the muffins dense.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups or tins. If you want, sprinkle a tiny pinch of brown sugar onto the top of each muffin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are evenly a toasty brown. Serve warm with butter, apple butter, jelly or jam.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Peach Salsa

Peach Salsa
Peaches are in season right now. There are many wonderful dishes you can make with them. Try my Sunshine Peach Cobbler. It is amazing.

However, my husband and I are trying to eat less sugar and fat and more veggies and fresh fruit. Peach Salsa helps us move toward that goal without being boring (I’m looking at you steamed broccoli.)

This would be delicious on Jerk Chicken, Pan Seared Pork Chops, Island Pulled Pork Tacos or Crispy Chicken Tacos. You could also eat just the salsa with chips. It was really good!

Servings:  Makes 3 cups
Time:  prep: 5-10 minutes; Rest: 2 hours-overnight
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and a large knife, a pot and a bowl to peel the peaches, a wooden spoon, a zester, an airtight container




Ingredients

  • 4 large peaches (about 2 cups)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 tomato ( cup-3 ounces)
  • 1 small red onion ( cup-3 ounces)
  • ½ a green pepper or 3 baby bells ( cup-3 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  1.   Peel the peaches. Blanch the jalapeño at the same time. To blanch the pepper, cut it in half, discard the seeds and remove the white ribs. Boil the pepper for about 2 minutes and then plunge it into an ice bath.
  2.  Dice the peaches. Zest and juice the lime. Dice and seed the tomato. Dice the onion and peppers. Try to cut the fruit and veggies into equal size pieces.
  3.  Mix the fruit and veggies with the cilantro, zest and lime juice.
  4.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Allow the salsa to return to just below room temperature before serving.