Brainy Gourmet

Brainy Gourmet
The Doctor is into Delicious!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rib Eye Steak with Philly Poblano

Price per serving for two: $ 4.58

You will need to buy as many rib eye steak as you need. For this dinner, just me and my sweetie, I needed only two. I was lucky to find a package of two USDA Choice Angus Rib Eye Steaks for just $7.97.  Really nice beef. I bought one poblano for less than one dollar and already had potatoes on hand in the pantry and cream cheese left over from breakfast.

Take from your pantry, amount of potatoes you will need as well as olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, and mint.  Turn your oven to F400. Take out your cast iron black skillet and drizzle in some olive oil. You can do the same with a glass dish with the halved poblano. First, give attention to the poblano, halve it and take out seeds, press down into the glass dish. Fill each half with 3 tbs of cream cheese and grated cheese (whatever you have) and then top with grated parmesan and some dried herb seasoning. Pop into the oven once you are up to temperature for 15-18 min. Season your steak to taste and lay in the cast iron skillet. If you like your steak seared then you can do that on high flame for two min. each side. Once, you have seared the meat, move to the oven, I like to use the top shelf for the poblano until crispy, putting the steak on the bottom shelf, cooking to your preference; for medium rare, no more than 7-8 min if previously seared. If you did not sear, then about 8-10 min. depending on your oven quality.
You can now cook your potatoes ... microwave on high for about 4 min.




In very little time you have a steakhouse meal that would cost you more than 9.99 per person or more at most restaurants.

" He who eats meat, eats to the Lord" Romans 14:6

Blessings ~



Friday, January 30, 2015

Blackended Food is Cajun Style, Really ~ Its all in the Presentation

Guest Blogger ~ My Mom

Blackening is a cooking technique made famous by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme by which meat or fish is cooked in a cast-iron skillet that's been heated until almost red hot. Prudhomme's original specialty was blackened redfish. The food is customarily rubbed with a cajun spice mixture before being cooked. The extra-hot skillet combined with the seasoning rub gives food an extra-crispy crust.* Read more at: http://www.foodterms.com/encyclopedia/blackened/index.html?oc=linkback

You know... sometimes, food just gets 'blackened'. What can you do? Remember, its all in the presentation. For instance, once I made a pot roast and then got busy with the kids. Oops! Well, instead of getting mad at myself, I remembered that its all in the presentation. I learned this from my mother. She told me that we as housewives/homemakers must always be vigilant and watch for ways to salvage that special evening meal with our hubby and family. So, when things have gone terribly wrong in the kitchen and your man comes home and explains "What happened to the roast?" Reassure him that you are using a  not so modern cooking technique that was made famous by chef Paul Prudhomme.  
Explain that, currently, it is all the rage in the finest restaurants. You proudly announce that you will be serving blackened Angus roast beef with carrot medallions and new spring potatoes, blackened and served with a smooth blackened au ju. For dessert you are serving a blackened apple tart with a burnt black sugar glaze. And, don't forget to make that special extra dark roast coffee served black to sip afterwards on the deck.

Remind him that doctors have used charcoal to cleans the digestive track of poisons so your dinner will be a healthy way to improve the digestive system. 


Seriously, when it comes to eating blackened meat or fish or even charcoal grilled chicken or hamburger, just remember that "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial" 1 COR 10:23

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gettin Ready for The Game? Junk Food ~ Fun Food!

Like a lot of American kids, I grew up eating fun food, by today's standards that means junk food. Fortunately, my mother made healthy dinners every night and we rarely ate out. So, I think my diet was fairly balanced. I was enlightened though one morning like watching television, having to stay home from school with a cold. The program was the first ever topic made public as far as I knew, 'health food'. The guests on this talk show were living off grid, back then it was easy to do. They grew and or raised their own food. I feel in love with the whole idea of it. Which was a good thing as I look back because I went right to the fridge and threw out everything that was 'junk food'.  For some reason, my parents did not notice it being gone, probably just thought it was eaten... I had four other siblings. Little did they know. Well, I went on a health food binge. I ate only Grape Nuts cereal for breakfast instead of Captain Crunch and gave up bologna for tuna fish, I started to eat more salad and less macaroni and cheese. 

My parents' cupboard looked like many average Americans'...

Today, I could not imagine buying such things as Marshmallow Fluff, Doritos and Skippy Peanut Butter and Cool Aid.  What is interesting though, is that such food was considered Ok to eat; after all, it was FDA approved. It was fun food. I think the most amazing fun food is chip dip. People in many countries around the world have no clue what chip dip is and that it is just fun to eat. However, I suppose that Humus is a kind of chip dip and I bet you can find that many cultures have fun food which is basically simple food that many people (all at once or one sitting) can enjoy together.

With the Big Game (Superbowl) coming up, many a dip will be served. Nowadays, we have healthy dips: spinach dip, guacamole dip, olive oil and fresh garlic dip, cheese dip with veggies, and fruit dip with crackers. I guess we have come a long way Baby!  Maybe, fun food ~ junk food is just Americana... pursuit of happiness! What's on your menu for game day!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken Gumbo and Baked Brie

Price per serving for three: $3.37

Being frugal is great. To make this dinner, I have all ingredients except for the croissant dough and brie. I will be using the left over chicken from yesterday's chicken stock, adding to that one small can of diced tomatoes, and 1 cup of  fresh frozen okra. All I have to buy is some Italian turkey sausage, the dough and brie. All of those items can be bought very reasonably at ALDi.

Take the stock and left over chicken from your refrigerator and start to simmer on the stove. Open and add one small can of diced tomatoes (you can also use fresh).  I also will be adding rice which I have in the pantry. I like to cook the rice separately and add on the end. This way the rice stays firm.  After adding the tomatoes, you can add the turkey sausage dropped in as small formed balls, and then the okra including a pinch of salt and some additional dried herb seasoning. Let this cook covered on the stove for 25 min. on medium flame/heat. In a another small pan, fill with water and a bit of salt to boil the rice.

Meanwhile, turn on the oven to F375. Once the heat is up, form the croissant dough around the brie and place on a sheet of foil in the oven. Bake until brown.





This is a hearty meal for the French Creole Cajun in your family. Ahh eee!

Blessings ~




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bread and Soup! Simply Bliss

 Rosemary Garlic Bread and Homemade Soup!

There is hardly a price to put on fresh bread and a bowl of soup.

I have blogged often on how to make homemade chicken soup that will knock your socks off for very little cost. I used to tell students that they could make a pot of chicken soup for ten people under $6.50 or even 5 dollars if they used only wings. All you need is a whole chicken, and I bought one today for $5.52, natural free range. Add, one onion and three cloves of garlic, sea salt and black pepper to taste and some dried herb seasoning. You put it all into a pot of water, turn on the heat and viola! If you want to have noodles or rice with your soup 'stock' then cook them on the side. Remember, until you add other foods i.e. pasta/rice or veggies, your 'chicken soup' is just chicken stock which is soup ~ broth.

Good bread is all you need on the side. Aldi has excellent organic Rosemary and Garlic bread in whole unsliced loaf form that you can pop into the oven. It comes out crusty on the outside and tender on the inside, full of savory flavor.

That's all you have to do to get a full tummy.

Give us this day our daily bread ~

Have Your Family and or Friends for Dinner!

Rev. 3:20 " Here I am ~ Look, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me as ~ friends.

Whether you have family of friends for dinner, it is a wonderful experience an incredible social event...and a memorable social activity. It is sad that more often, we eat alone or worse if we do eat together we still eat alone having our heads in our phones 'electronic devices'. Even at the home around the dinner table, this can see this post modern social reality. In public restaurants, we can observe people in their own little worlds. Is that what the phrase 'to each his own' meant? Rather no. Yet, we make all kinds of excuses for not having dinner at home let alone sharing it with a group ~ family or friends. I often hear that having people over family or friends is some kind of major event as in too much trouble. It does not have to be. Keep is simple, and you can ask everyone to bring a dish. The point is that you 'we' do come together to share a meal and we do so fully with all of our attention to those around us.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Veggies Don't have to be Green to be Good!

Gimme some roots...

I mentioned in a previous blog that I have a problem with insoluble fibers... which means a lot of veggies are not good for my digestive system. In a much earlier post, I wrote about eating root vegetables and squash and the benefits they have. Veggies don't have to be green to be good was the message in that post. 
I love french cut parsnips and carrots sauteed. The taste is a sweet-savory nutty flavor. This vegetable side is very easy to prepare and goes with any meat. I use one large parsnip and carrot. I am lucky that I can buy them singly rather than in a large bag. I slice them lengthwise which I call the french cut or ... like French Fries. To my covered skillet, I add the usual 3 tbs of coconut oil and olive oil. My preferred seasonings are: garlic powder, sea salt,and  red pepper flakes along with dried herbs - rosemary, mint and oregano. In ten to twelve minutes, voila.  The cost of this side is less than $2.00.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Olive Oil ~ Extra Virgin Cold Pressed


Olive Oil ~  Ancient ~ Blessed Benefits 

 


I cook everyday with olive oil. I use it on my hands and face. I read somewhere that a certain Hollywood movie star claims her long time beauty is because of olive oil.  


Not many people know that olives were likely first domesticated and cultivated in the Mediterranean basin some 6,000 years ago or so. It is thought that oil from the olive was one of several attributes that likely made the bitter fruit attractive enough to result in its domestication. However, the production of olive oil, that is to say, the deliberate pressing of oil out of olives, is currently documented no earlier than ~2500 BC. Olive oil was used for variety of purposes, including lamp fuel, pharmaceutical ointment and in rituals for anointing royalty, warriors and others. The term "messiah", used in many Mediterranean-based religions, means "the anointed one", perhaps (but of course, not necessarily) referring to an olive oil-based ritual. http://archaeology.about.com/od/foodsoftheancientpast/qt/Olive-Oil.htm
The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.
olive oil
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid. Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis.  http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/olive-oil.htm




 http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil

 http://www.jsonline.com/features/food/kenosha-woman-sells-olive-oil-from-her-family-farm--in-greece-b99422938z1-288420071.html

Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese ~ Poland's Best



The Best Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese Ever!


Poland has the best sour cream and cottage cheese I have ever eaten. Their sour cream is so rich, and creamy its like pudding. I remember taking palm sized sweet cheese filled pierogi (cooked and cooled) and dipping them into a wide mouthed jar of fresh homemade sour cream. Amazing!


Poles make cottage cheese 'homemade' by taking what they call their everyday white cheese (cooked curd) and adding sour cream to it. Well, basically this is how cottage cheese is made - at home or anywhere else.


The fact is, cottage cheese originated in eastern Europe. As it was then and is now, cottage cheese is a soft, cooked curd cheese. Unlike many other cheeses, cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein, making it a popular food among dieters. Its soft texture and relatively bland flavor also make it ideal for babies and young children. Cottage cheese can be easily prepared at home and will keep well in a refrigerator for up to one week.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how_4602745_make-cottage-cheese.html

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Incredible Chicken Parmesan

Price per serving for two: $3.00

You will need to buy at least a six piece package of chicken thighs.  I picked up a beauty for $4.91. If you don't have on hand: canned crushed tomatoes ($1.09) or fresh frozen, then go shopping. Everything else should be in your pantry.

Take from the pantry list:
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Garlic Cloves
Garlic Powder
Bread Crumbs
Parmesan Cheese
Red Pepper Flakes
Dried herb seasoning
A few yellow potatoes

Turn on the oven to F400. Take a glass dish and generously drizzle over the bottom olive oil.  Chop finely as many garlic cloves as you like dropping them throughout the bottom of the dish and then sprinkle in all the above mentioned seasonings, except the dried herbs which I reserve for on top.  Take your chicken thighs and pound them out flat. Lay them into the glass dish directly onto the olive oil, garlic and seasonings. Now, shake over the thighs covering all pieces with grated parmesan cheese and then do the same with your bread crumbs. Top with dried herb seasonings * rosemary, mint and oregano. Put into the thighs into the oven uncovered and bake for 12 min, depending on your oven. My is an old 1963 Caloric and it takes a bit longer. When they are brown, remove from the oven and pour over the top a small can of crushed tomatoes, grate some additional hard cheese on top and place back into the oven on 300.
Now, prepare your potatoes. I just peel and boil. Once they are tender, drain and drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and parsley flakes if you have or use fresh garnish.

Looking into the oven, they chicken parmesan should be bubbling and smelling up the entire house, for sure the kitchen. Its time to set the table and call everybody in. Say the Blessing and Enjoy!




Why Everyone Should Love Good Coffee

It should be rich and dark ... like good chocolate


Having lived in Europe for over ten years, I came to love rich dark coffee. Now, when I was little, my grandfather drank strong coffee but he always put milk as he preferred Latte. I drank some of his latte from time to time but always told me not to drink too much as it would put hair on my chest. I wasn't ready for that. Not sure I would want that today but I suppose I could be ready to battle it if it happens since I drink coffee every morning. What about my love of coffee? It has to be strong but not bitter, it has to be rich as in heavy and smooth, like chocolate. It has no bad after taste and it should set your day and mood in the right direction. The philosopher Immanuel Kant said he would not be alive or able to get through a day if not for coffee. I happen to agree.

Rising in the morning, coffee-drinking, writing, reading lectures, dining, walking, everything had its appointed time, and the neighbors knew that it was exactly half-past three o'clock when Kant stepped forth from his house in his grey, tight-fitting coat, with his Spanish cane in his hand, and betook himself to the little linden avenue called after him to this day the "Philosopher's Walk." Summer and winter he walked up and down it eight times, and when the weather was dull or heavy clouds prognosticated rain, the townspeople beheld his servant, the old Lampe, trudging anxiously behind Kant with a big umbrella under his arm, like an image of Providence. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/661456-the-history-of-immanuel-kant-s-life-is-difficult-to-portray

There are plenty of studies out there that tout coffee as a health food and others that say it is not. I just read that it may in fact protect against some serious diseases.  The same can be said about wine. What I say about both is that quality and quantity have to be weighed in. As with wine, the quality of coffee is very important. As far as where coffee comes from as in geography, it is like wine. And, sometimes it depends on if it was a good year or not.  There is a brand I prefer called 'Jacobs Kronung'.  Unfortunately, it is not for sale in most supermarkets or grocery stores... but my little Polish deli carries it and for that I am so thankful.
www.enjoybettercoffee.com

So Gather round the Coffee Table and Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lamb for Dinner ~ An Excellent Choice If I Do Say So!


Price per serving for two: $3.50

You will need to buy two or as many ground lamb patties as you need. I bought my favorite brand, two nice thick patties cost no more than $5.51. To that as a side, potatoes and baked squash, which I happen to have on hand... figuring in at an additional 1.50. The squash came from my garden and the potatoes I have been trying to use up for the last month. Potatoes do keep very well. We have a root cellar, quite large and well ventilated.

Take from your pantry:
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper Flakes
Dried herb seasonings.
*rosemary, mint and oregano

Grab your covered skillet and as usual, add 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil. Some of you may wonder why always the same amount. Well, I am cooking for two, I know what I need for that amount. But, any good cook should be able to judge the amount of oils need to cook any piece (s) of meat, fish or chicken. As far as I am concerned, when it comes to good oils, there is no set amount. Just be generous enough to cook the meat without burning and enough oil so that you get a good liquid, savory sauce from it. 
Turn on the oven and when hot enough, bake your potatoes and squash. Of course, you can microwave.
This is the fastest meal around... in my opinion. The lamb takes all of 25 mins. When your oils are melted and mixing up in the skillet, add your seasoning to taste and lay in the lamb. You can also sprinkle the top of the patties with more dried herb seasoning, as with oils, when it comes to herbs... too much is not a problem.
That is all! ... "if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal together as friends. Rev. 3:20



Monday, January 19, 2015

Teriyaki Pork with Rice Noodles

Price per serving for two: $3.47

You will need to buy one pound packaged pork tenderloin. I picked up one at ALDi for $3.55. One box of rice noodles ($1.89.) and one red and green fresh crisp bell pepper ($1.50).

Take from your pantry:
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Garlic Powder
Teriyaki Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes
Creamy Peanut Butter
Linguine Sized Rice Noodles

Grab your covered skillet and on a low flame melt in 3 tbs of coconut oil and the same of olive oil.  I tend to go a bit heavier on the coconut oil for this recipe, which means generous 3 tbs. I slice up my red and green pepper and scoop them up into the skillet. To this, I add my seasoning of seal salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, go easy on all seasoning as the teriyaki sauce has plenty of flavor on it own.  Let this mixture cook for about 8 min. Then, add to the skillet, 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce and one tbs of creamy peanut butter *note if it is salted then there is no need to add the sea salt when putting your seasonings in.
Next, turn up your flame to high and let this mixture start to sizzle and bubble. Now, take your pork tenderloin and slice into 1 inch medallions. Press down on the medallion side as you place them in the skillet having moved over your peppers. Cover and let cook for 12 min, on med. flame/heat.  In the meantime, boil water, adding a pinch of salt, to cook your rice noodles. Keep an eye on the pork medallions and peppers, stirring occasionally.
Once the noodles are tender, drain and pour into a low lipped white serving dish. Then, pour out your medallions and peppers. You can garnish as you like using fresh parsley. I always put out teriyaki sauce and soy sauce on the table.

This is a sweet and savory dish if there ever was one. Good Eating and Blessings!



Taste Buds ~ Why Do we Like Sweet and Salty?

Sweet and Salty, what are our taste buds telling us?


Flavor—encompassing both aroma and taste—provides the defining characteristic of how we experience food. Flavor has long been an enigma to scientists: Aristotle described two categories of taste, sweet and bitter. Today we recognize five basic tastes in food: sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and umami (savory). But what are the scientific components of flavor, and how can flavor be studied, quantified and replicated?
Flavor is caused by receptors in the mouth and nose detecting chemicals found within food. These receptors respond by producing signals that are interpreted by the brain as sensations of taste and aroma. Certain taste and aroma combinations are characteristic of particular foods.



For example, a green apple tastes the way it does because the unique combination of chemicals found naturally within it are perceived by our mouths, noses and brains as the distinct blend of sweet and sour tastes and volatile aromas characteristic to the fruit. Identifying this chemical profile allows food producers to retain flavor in preserved green apples and, through synthesis of these flavor compounds, makes possible the production of candy, soda and other products using artificial green apple flavor.

However, even in understanding that, the chemicals that produce flavors are notoriously difficult to study because a single natural flavor may contain hundreds or even thousands of component substances, and some of these substances are present in minute quantities. For example, one of the nine key aroma compounds found in pineapple is so potent that human subjects can detect it at only 6 parts per trillion—the equivalent of a few grains of sugar in an Olympic-size swimming pool. Understanding the components of flavor has become more important than ever with the modernization of food systems and the increased reliance on processed foods.

“The perfume of a rose, the tang of an ocean breeze, the aroma of a sizzling steak—tastes and smells, two of our senses by which we characterize the world around us. And yet, we can not adequately express, define, or explain our taste and smell sensations. We can record the sounds we hear, we can photograph the sights we see, but we cannot store and retrieve the flavor of a food or the scent of a flower except in and from our mind.”
— Irwin Hornstein and Roy Teranishi, USDA ~ The Chemistry of Flavor, a C&EN feature, 1967.

Source: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/usda-flavor-chemistry.html

Embracing Meat ~ He who eats Meat eats to the Lord

Embracing Meat

Meat – with a focus on incorporating more organ meat and offal – is a paleo mainstay. The plan also encourages shellfish; a large variety of vegetables; some fruit; fats including fatty fish and coconut oil; probiotic foods and glycine-rich foods like bone broth.
Cutting legumes and starches reduces excessive blood sugar fluctuations. We don't realize that bad bacteria in your gut thrives and eats off of sugar....thus, overgrowth of bacteria, especially yeast, can stimulate inflammation in susceptible people.
 https://www.yahoo.com/health/is-the-autoimmune-paleo-diet-legit-108265096783.html

In previous posts and current ones, meat has been the main component in meals. Sides are usually, potatoes, root vegetables or pasta. Very few salads and raw vegetables are suggested simply because of the digestion aspect; such roughage is more likely to cause intestinal problems for some people which is mostly due to the fact that they contain insoluble fiber. Moreover, for anyone concerned with sugars and weight gain, let it be known that all vegetables contain sugar of differing amounts.

The best advice is always to know your own body. We just don't listen closely or if we do, we don't want to pay attention to what we are hearing. If your body tells you not to eat something, then don't. The mind often says 'yes' when the body says 'no'. And, visa versa. Listening to your body is the key. It takes years for some people, or a trip to the emergency room before they admit that did not listen to their body. Listen and live well!

In the Bible, we can read "One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. ... He who eats meat eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God...None of us lives to himself... If we live, we live to the Lord". Romans 14: 2-8

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Food You Just Dream About ~ Brainy Husband's Super Gooey Hot Burger

Price per serving for two: $4.50

The price of beef keeps going up. However, a treat like this once in a while is something to save up for. Why? Because, it is one of those foods you just can't stop dreaming about.... you gotta have. Its a bucket list for a foodie. And, since this is Brainy Husband's favorite meal, guess who is cooking it... my super brainy husband. After all, its his recipe.

You will need to buy, good quality ground beef at least one pound. I paid only $5.00 dollars at Aldi for one pound and it was their 'Simply Nature' organic brand.  You will need to buy some bread, not hamburger buns. Aldi now carries and incredibly delicious "Rosemary Garlic" organic bread in its Simple Nature line. It is so yummy. I paid $2.99 for a loaf. You will need to buy sliced cheddar cheese if you don't have and some Giardinara which is Italian vegetable relish... you pick hot or mild.


Take from your pantry:
Olive Oil
Garlic powder
Sea Salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes
*dried herb seasonings
rosemary, mint and oregano

In a covered skillet, add 4 tbs of olive oil. To that add your ground beef 'shaped' patties which you have seasoned to taste using the recommended seasoning from the pantry list.  Turn on the range, using a med. flame to start. Once the olive oil and seasoning starts to sizzle, you can lay in your beef patties and cover.
After about 8 min. turn them over for another 8 min. Then turn down the flame to low and cook for another 15 min. In this time, prepare your Rosemary Garlic loaf by placing the entire loaf in a F400 degree oven. After 7  min. take out the loaf and slice it into one and half inch slices, place them back in the oven on F350.
Check your burgers. Once the meat is cooked to your taste, usually in this amount of time it is cooked to medium, it is time to sear the patties by turning up the flame, put a cover on to keep the grease from spattering. Once seared to your liking, turn the flame to low and then take the sliced bread from the oven, butter the slices and place them buttered side down in the skillet (moving aside your patties) to soak up all the flavor. Take the bread out of the skillet and place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of each pattie, put the lid back on the skillet and let the cheese melt. Once the cheese has melted, take the patties out and place them onto your bread leaving the top bread slice off. Now, it is time to garnish. my sweeties prefer hot Picante Salsa and or Giardinara relish. Place the top bread on top and press down. Savor!





Friday, January 16, 2015

Original Velveeta ~ Growing up Divergent

Growing up divergent means that I was introduced to and ate food that was not sold or eaten in its 'truly' original form. It means that many food products from the 70s and 80s differed in form; in that, they deviated from an original. Velveeta for instance would qualify in my book as a divergent food. For those of you who have no clue what Velveeta was/is, then I will offer the best definition. The name "Velveeta" was/is intended to connote a velvety smooth edible product. Smoothness and melting ability were/are promoted as its properties. I remember as a child, my mom using Velveeta to make grilled cheese sandwiches, or melt it and pour over broccoli.  Homemakers loved it. Why? Though, it was a processed cheese product, it had an original taste! It was originally identified as a type of American cheese. What made it 'original' was that it was softer and smoother than 'normal' cheese.

As a result, when melted/heated, Velveeta maintained a fully integrated, even, clump-free liquid texture which was the opposite of result when 'normal' cheese was/is melted or cooked at high heat. It was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey of the Monroe Cheese Company. In 1923, The Velveeta Cheese Company was incorporated as a separate company, and was sold to Kraft Foods in 1927.  Believe it or not, the product was advertised at the time as a nutritious health food. According to Kraft's website, back in the 1930s, Velveeta became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association's seal of approval. It was reformulated in 1953 as a cheese spread, whatever that means. As far as I know, today Velveeta is labeled in the US as a "Pasteurized Recipe Cheese Product".

The key words here being pasteurized recipe cheese product. Firstly, 'pasteurized' seems to make it appear safe. Second, 'recipe' sounds like what 'Mom or Grandma' use and lastly, 'product' is general term as we buy products all the time. Such products were meant to make life easier, tastier, and more fun. Kraft was and still is a major food producer. When I was a child they sponsored most television programs, football games and I think even the Rose Parade. Of course, they were always cooking with Velveeta and offering recipes using it to warm our hearts and stomachs. Is it a health food or healthy food?
Probably your health won't be hurt by it if you use it wisely. After all, "everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial" 1 Cor 10:23. There are some good things you can do with Velveeta.  Combine it with Rotel sauce and it makes a great dip. Mac and Cheese is really creamy with Velveeta.




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Can't Get Enough Pasta

Price per serving for two: $1.25

The reason why so many Italians ate pasta was because it was inexpensive and most ingredients were in the pantry: Bacon (back fat with a few strands of meat), Salt, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Flour, Eggs and Olive Oil. My Nonna was making her own pasta by hand, not machine. It came out perfect every time which means it was always delicate and delicious.  I love pasta. For me, its like art. I can taste it just by looking at it.

All you do is boil water, add a pinch of salt and once it is rolling, add your pasta. I realize that not everybody can make homemade pasta or if they can, ...have the time to do it. But, really, it is so easy. My Nonna never measured, she could just tell the dough was right by the feel of the dough between her fingers. She rolled it out and cut it with a dull knife all the while my grandpa's younger brother pulled at her skirt for a little bit of the dough to taste.
In a skillet, melt 3 tbs of fresh salted butter and add 1/4 cup of olive oil. To that, add diced bacon or back fat, and then chopped onion or garlic (garlic powder works too - they use it in the Olive Garden recipe) and I like to add scalloped parsnip (its sweet/nutty taste is amazing) depending on your taste. Once the bacon and onion/garlic have browned, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Then grate in some Parmesan cheese and also dried herb seasoning, stir and cover... turn off the flame.

When the pasta is done, and if it is fresh it takes no time at all to cook, just lift the hot pasta from the water and put directly into the skillet with the sauce. Toss and add a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan and some dried parsley flakes and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Its that simple. Say the Blessing and Eat!



Eat Fat to Burn Fat ~ And, PlayBall!

Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly!


Not long ago, the low-fat/no-fat diet craze swept across the food landscape. Manufacturers marketed low-fat and no-fat everything, and consumers responded by chowing down. It’s healthy, right? Wrong. All wrong. Besides stripping our bodies of a much-needed nutrient, low- and no-fat diet movements have increased obesity rates. Why? It turns out that fat provides a big component to the foods we love: Taste. When food manufacturers removed fat from their foods, they had to load the foods with sugar and salt.

Fat is not something to avoid. For starters, it’s essential for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients. Even better, it helps the body burn fat, says nutritionist and owner of Nutritious Life meal system, Keri Glassman, RD, who recommends that about a third of any weight-loss plan’s calories come from dietary fat. 

Before you grab a deep-fried hot dog, consider this: not all fatty foods are created equal. The foods you choose can mean the difference between a trim body and one plagued with obesity and disease, Glassman says. While a diet of stereotypically fatty foods like pizza, French fries, and hamburgers can contribute to weight gain and deterioration of health, the dietetic community is learning that the overall nutritional content of these foods—not their saturated fat—is what’s to blame. Sure, research from 50 years ago found that saturated fatty acids, a type of fat that’s “saturated” with hydrogen and typically solid at room temperature, raised LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. 

But a reevaluation of that research has shown that they raise HDL (good) cholesterol just as much, if not more, protecting the body from unhealthy cholesterol levels and heart disease, says nutritionist and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association Tara Gidus, RD. “Instead of making any one thing in the diet a villain, we need to look at total caloric content as well as quality of food, what are we eating that is ‘good’ and helping our body’s immune system and cells to stay healthy.” Most of the fat that you eat—especially if you want to lose weight—should come from unsaturated sources, both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA), Glassman says. Why? These good-for-you foods (like fish, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, olive oil, and, of course, avocados) pack tons of nutrients. Besides removing LDL cholesterol from arteries and promoting a healthier heart, unsaturated fat can help you burn fat big time without cutting calories.

 I posted about this a few months ago. The fat that most Americans get is not in the form that it should be eaten. They are eating fried foods, fast foods too often. The fat in those foods is not good fat. There is good fat out there and such fat burns fat. The body needs three macronutrients for energy: Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. A gram of fat packs more than twice the energy of a gram of the other two. “When you don’t have any fat in your diet its like you don’t have fuel to burn calories,” Glassman says. The body requires energy to keep its metabolism properly functioning, and a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming fatty acids can boost metabolic health. 

What’s more, “old” fat stored in the body’s peripheral tissues—around the belly, thighs, or butt (also called subcutaneous fat)—can’t be burned efficiently without “new” fat to help the process, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dietary fat helps break down existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways through the liver. Think of mealtime like baseball spring training: young, hungry players (new fat) hit the field and show the general manger (the liver) that it’s time to send the old, worn-out players (subcutaneous fat) home. And away they go.


 * source article: http://www.livestrong.com/article/557726-eat-fat-to-burn-fat/

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Preparing Memorable, Fast and Easy Meals with your Family

Food is about Sharing and Celebration!

"They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts" Acts 2:46

If you work all day, it is not easy to come home and think about doing more work. Some people do think of cooking as work. It does not have to be. Cooking can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is a great way to get the family in the kitchen, around the table and enjoy being together. When you involve the whole family, you don't have all the 'work' of cooking to do by yourself.

Have a simple dish in mind that requires a few ingredients and only needs a few pots and pans. When you think about it, what actually takes a lot of time when cooking is the prep work, cooking is the last thing and often does not take a lot of time to do. So, the best way to get your family (immediate and extended) in the kitchen and on board is to have them participate by doing some prep work; for instance, chopping, slicing, or cutting  vegetables; if they are old enough to handle a small vegetable knife or grater. If not, maybe they can just press the on button on the Cuisinart. Kids like to be the ones to add the spices, at least in my experiences.... "Can I pour the that or sprinkle that"? They also like to stir and sift and mash and knead and pour and chop and cut and slice, and more.... if you don't mind the mess; which, can sometimes be taken up by the family dog. Making a mess in the kitchen is part of the fun. Cleaning up teaches hindsight as we learn from cleaning up. We learn not to make those mistakes in measuring, we learn to watch the high flame on the skillet and we learn to not let things boil over, we learn that it is wise to take care of what we have, it teaches us to be frugal and not to waste and this generates better kitchen organization as in better cooking practices and even eating habits. We learn about ingredients, their nutritional value and beneficial combinations. This kind of activity makes good cooking and eating practices that are fast, easy and memorable.



*if you are a morning family, then let breakfast be the meal where everybody joins in

What's for Dinner ~ Its all in the Presentation

Guest Blogger ~ My Mom

When my husband says "What are we having for dinner"? 

I answer...


We are having a Vienna hotdog served on an artisan Wonder Bun with Dijon mustard that was stoned ground in the south of France. It will be presented with a Vidalia onion sliced diagonally and an organically grown heirloom tomato fresh from the farm. I will also be serving Idaho potatoes, thinly sliced and fried to perfection  in virgin olive oil from the boot of Italy. For desert, we will be having Twinkies (shelf life 45 days) sliced and served with free-stone peaches from my very own tree. I will be serving Aldi coffee in a Styrofoam cup, with powdered creamer and a hand made sugar cube on deck. We will relax watching the bug zapper in the cool of the evening. Remember, its all in the presentation.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Savory Sauce Can Turn Any Meat or Left Overs Into Gourmet

Price per serving for two: $1.34

You will need to buy or take from your freezer, two pork loin cube steaks. I have a package that I paid $2.68 for. I will combine that with left over meatloaf and as a side have some potatoes and baked apples.

Take from your pantry:
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Potatoes
Sea Salt
Heavy Cream
Dijon Mustard
Egg Mayonnaise
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper Flakes
Black Peppercorn
Dried Herb Seasoning
Potatoes and a few applies

In a shallow covered  skillet, melt on low flame 2 tbs of coconut oil, and the same of olive oil. As it melts, add garlic powder, red pepper flakes, a few black peppercorn and dried herb seasoning. Once that starts to spit at you, lay in your pork loin cubed steaks and fry on both sides. Meanwhile, in a glass dish put a few petite yellow gold potatoes (skin on) and quarter sliced apples (skin on), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt and put to the oven on F400. You can add a few dried plums to that if you like and I love it. As the pork cooks quickly, you can now add 1/4 cup of heavy cream, a dollop of mayonnaise and 1 tsp of mustard, stir and swish to cover the pork. What I like to do instead of microwaving left over meatloaf is to lay them onto of the now simmer pork and cover for 12 min on low flame. Check your potatoes and apples in the oven, and stir . Since the pork will likely be ready before the potatoes/apples, you can take them from the oven, mash together and then finish them in microwave, adding plums at this time on top.
Blessings and Enjoy!