Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spinach Salad, Pineapple Pork Chops, Sweet Red Cabbage, Baked Yellow Squash & Bread Pudding in Bourbon Sauce

Yum Yum for this meal, I must say! I love trying new recipes and this one did not disappoint me.

Of course, I live with a man who will eat just about anything, and kids who eat just about nothing. Ha ha, so maybe that's not entirely true. The kids eat some things, but experimenting is out when they are around. My daughter might have eaten a good portion of this meal, so maybe we will try again at anoth
er time with the kids around.

I love salads made of spinach. Fresh spinach makes such wonderful salads, particularly baby spinach. Spinach is also very, very good for us too. It is high in calcium. It is also high in Vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium and folic acid. The flavonoids i
n spinach help protect our memory, and the luteins in spinach are believed to guard against cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration and a world of other ailments. Yes, spinach is certainly good for us!

Pineapple is a natural complement to pork, and adds a bit of sweetness. It also aids you in getting in a fruit serving! Red cabbage, too, has many health benefits. It's high in Vitamin A, C, E and B. Cabbage has actually been shown to boost the immune system's ability t0 produce more antibodies. It also contains compounds shown to stave off certain cancers. And recently, studies have shown that red vegetables, like red cabbage and beets, have the ability to treat ulcers with quite a bit of success. There was a good reason why Mother said to eat your vegetables!!!

Everything in this post is gluten free, with the exception of the Bread Pudding, obviously!!!

Be healthy!

Dinner is

Wilted Spinach Salad
Pineapple Pork Chops
Sweet Red Cabbage
Baked Yellow Squash
Bread Pudding in Bourbon Sauce

Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 1 lbs baby spinach (washed, dried, crisped)
  • 2 hard cooked eggs (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (walmart brand is gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked peppercorns

Cook olive oil and garlic over medium heat in saucepan for 2 minutes
Add soy sauces, water chestnuts and peppercorns. Cook for 1 minute, tossing lightly. Blend in lemon juice. Add spinach and toss.

Transfer to salad bowl and garnish with chopped egg.

Pineapple Pork Chops

  • 4 center cut pork chops
  • 2 tablespoon acceptable vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small can pineapple slices (save the juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Trim fat from chops. Heat oil in skillet then brown the chops on both sides. Season with kosher salt (optional) and pepper.

Add enough water to the pineapple juice to make 1 cup. Add this and cloves to pan with chops. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to simmer.

Simmer covered for one hour.

Add pineapple, and simmer until heated thoroughly. Remove from skillet and place on serving platter.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with a little water then add to skillet. Whisk until thickened, making gravy. Pour gravy over chops and serve.

Sweet Red Cabbage

  • 1 lb cooked red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small apple, grated
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peach juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon raw white potato, finely grated

Fry the chopped bacon until slightly browned. Add onion and apple. Cook 5 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Baked Yellow Squash

  • 4 yellow squash
  • 1 stick of butter, or butter substitute
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (use a food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Boil whole, un-peeled squash for about 15 minutes.

Drain, cut off stem and cut in half lengthwise. Place in baking dish cut side up. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle over top of squash. Sprinkle with onion, parsley and Parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes.

Bread Pudding in Bourbon Sauce

This is NOT kid friendly. Definitely a grown up treat. However, I will include an alternate sauce for your bread pudding if you wanna treat your kids to some as well.

Grown Up Bourbon Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bourbon whisky

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf french bread, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 qt milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (soaked in 1/4 cup bourbon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle.) Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made. Makes 8-10 servings.

Kid Bread Pudding Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cook over medium heat in saucepan until thickened. Can be served hot or cold.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gluten Free: Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon, Baby Carrotswith Dill Maple Syrup, and Sherried Green Beans with Mushrooms

This is another one of those "sans kids" recipes. I love family dinners, I do. Despite some of the activity and chaos that children sometimes bring to the table, it has such a wholesome feel to it that I like. But quite dinners alone are also nice and allow us a bit of "adult time".

This is also gluten free, if that interests you.

If you are going to make the salmon in this recipe, it needs to refrigerate for at least 8 hours before cooking. Keep that in mind.

So, on the menu is:

Slow Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon
Baby Carrots with Dill Maple Syrup

Sherried Green Beans and Mushrooms

Candied Clementines


Slow Roasted Brown Sugar and Dill Cured Salmon
*slow roasting the cured fish gives it a velvety, silken texture

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped, fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1 (3-lb) salmon fillet
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard (Heinz is gluten free)

Combine 1st 3 ingredients in bowl. Place fish, skin side down, in a 13x9 inch baking dish. Rub sugar mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Wipe remaining sugar mixture from fish with a paper towel. Coat a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Place fish, skin side down, in pan. Bake at 175 for one hour and 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.

Combine mayo and mustard; stir well. Serve mayo mixture with fish.

Serves 8.

Baby Carrots with Dill-Maple Syrup

  • 2-lb baby carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed (or 4 teaspoons of dried)
  • Dash of white pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine baby carrots and salt with enough water to cover over high heat. Bring to boil and simmer, covered for 8-10 minutes or until carrots are barely tender. Drain.

Toss carrots with maple syrup, dill weed, and white pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

Sherried Green Beans with Mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 lbs of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 3/4 lbs fresh mushroom blend, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme (3/4 teaspoon, dried thyme)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steam green beans 5 minutes or until crisp tender; remove from heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan and saute 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, saute 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sherry; bring to boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and green beans; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated, tossing to coat. Remove from heat. Add parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Makes 8 servings.

Candied Clementines

  • 8 whole clementines, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as triple sec or orange juice
  • fresh mint for garnish

Arrange clementines in 13x9 baking dish (preferably glass), pulling the tops of each clementine slightly apart without detaching the bottoms (like opening petals on a flower)

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, water and lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly until mixture is clear. Remove from heat and stir in orange liqueur. Cool 15 minutes, or until syrup is lukewarm.

Pour syrup over clementines, making sure they are well coated. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving. Place in a small bowl or goblet and drizzle syrup over it.

12 servings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rubbed Pork, Mashed Turnips, Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic-Curry Dip, Fennel Green Beans with Feta Cheese

This dinner was kinda different, but very good. You don't hear a lot about turnips, and I don't know why that is. I have to admit, the prospect of turnips never really sounded appetizing to me. I had nothing to go on, really, having never tried them. Perhaps it's the name. Turnip. As in, turnip your nose to them.

A few weeks ago, we visited D's daughter. She has celiac disease, and has an array of foods that are naturally gluten free that she gets creative with. She made mashed turnips for us that night with dinner. I have to admit I was a tad apprehensive about them. I mean, who eats turnips? But I was willing to try them, and am glad I did! She passed along a dish that I will (and have!) use again.

I like green beans, but usually cook them in a more traditional way: with diced onions and a bit of bacon or ham. They're good that way. But I wanted to try something a bit different with them and went searching for a recipe. The one I used, I was unsure of at the beginning. I'd never used fennel to cook, and feta cheese didn't sound like something that would go well with green beans. Lemme tell ya, I was wrong! (and you won't hear me say that often!!)

On the menu was
Rubbed Pork
Mashed Turnips

Sweet Potato Fries with homemade dip

Fennel Green Beans with Feta Cheese

Rubbed Pork

  • 4 boneless loin chops

Ingredients for the Rub:

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Rub Pork and place in oven at 350 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

Mashed Turnips (also called Bashed Neeps by our Scottish friends)


  • 4 medium turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed bread crumbs (or 1 cup if you use toasted bread)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Boil turnips until tender. Whip turnips with electric beater until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and whip with blender until well blended. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 1 hour at 350.

Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Garlic-Curry Dip


  • 4 large sweet potatoes, sliced into "fries"
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder

Mix all ingredients in large bowl and toss. Place on cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray, and bake at 350 until tender (about 30 minutes)

Garlic-Curry Dip:
  • 1/4 cup miracle whip
  • 2 small garlic cloves, mashed to paste with salt (or garlic powder)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Mix it all together. :)

Fennel Green Beans with Feta
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into think slices
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Fill saucepan 1/2 full of water and bring to boil. Add green beans and fennel; cook until crisp-tender (about 4 minutes). Drain in colander and run cold water over it.

return pan to stove and lower heat to medium. Pour in olive oil and let it heat for a minute. Return green beans and fennel to pan. Season with basil, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until coated and warm. Transfer to serving dish and toss with feta cheese.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crock Pot Chili

So many chili recipes. This is a different one from the other I have posted, altho I must say I think the other one is best. But this recipe is easy, and can be simmering all day in a crock pot while everyone is at work for the day. How nice to come home to a meal that cooks itself!! My kids will eat this too. Yum.

With the tomato juice, it is hardly a low sodium meal. So, one can easily opt not to use the tomato juice, instead using freshly squeezed tomato juice, or no salt added diced tomatoes from a can pureed in its juices.

Crock Pot Chili

3 lbs lean ground beef (96/4 is best), browned and drained

1/2 diced onion

1 large can of tomato juice

4 tablspns uncooked rice

2 cans no salt added chili beans

1/4 cup sugar

2 tspns chili powder

Mix all ingredients in crock pot. Add water if it is too thick for you. Cook on low in crock pot for 6-8 hours.

This freezes well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gluten Free! : Cream of Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I will be including some gluten free recipes, since I have a new cookbook and am experimenting with some recipes. Also, D has a daughter with Celiac disease and she can not tolerate gluten. Since she has lived her whole life following a gluten free diet, I thought it would be wise to get to learn some recipes as well. After all, a gluten free diet is actually a quite healthy one.

Now, we don't plan to go fully gluten free. But, we do have a child with Autism (with whom we tried gluten free out with briefly a few years ago with no real difference) and also, D has some digestive issues and I wonder sometimes if he may have an intolerance to gluten as well. After all, we already know that for his daughter to have the disease that both parents must be carriers for the gene. So, somewhere in his body is the propensity for it. :)

Keep in mind as well, that other recipes that I have posted are gluten free yet not labeled as such. However, if I label a recipe gluten free, it's because it has come from the gluten free cookbook or from my step daughter or because I checked it out first! I have actually been quite surprised at the number of things we eat that are already naturally gluten free, or can be gluten free with a slight substitution.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese is comfort food for just about everyone. It's kid friendly, and easy to make.

For the soup, you will be using a grain called Quinoa, and you should be able to find it in the health section of your store if it's a decent sized store. If you do not use Bob's Red Mill Quinoa, you will need to rinse the Quinoa grains at least three times in water or they will give a bitter taste due to the grain's natural coating that acts as a repellent. The tomato soup is amazingly flavorful.

Dinner Tonight is

Spinach Salad with Homemade gluten free french dressing
Gluten free Cream of Tomato Soup Soup
Grilled Cheese on Tapioca Bread


Spinach Salad

* 1 pound fresh, washed and dried spinach leaves
* 4 slices cooked, chopped gluten-free bacon
* 3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
* 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
* 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
* 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

Gluten free French Dressing
* 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup sugar (use less if you like a less sweet dressing)
* 1/3 cup gluten-free ketchup
* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon gluten free Worcestershire sauce (French's)

Place all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves and dressing is smooth and glossy. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.

Yield- About 1 pint

Cream of Tomato Soup

* 2 cups of water
* 1 cup of whole grain Quinoa, such as Bob's Red Mill
* 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large sweet onion, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup of diced carrots
* 2 stalks celery, diced (I use a food processer)
* 4 cups of gluten free low sodium vegetable broth (such as Imagine)
* 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
* 2 teaspoons dried basil
* 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 2 cups green onions, chopped
* 1/2 cup milk

In 2 quart saucepan, bring water to boil. Add quinoa and 1/4 tspn of salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes (until liquid is absorbed). This will yield 4 cups of cooked quinoa. Set aside.

In heavy pot with tight fitting lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in carrots and celery. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 10 minutes.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, basil, and vinegar and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt (omit for those with sodium restricted diets), pepper, green onions and milk and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa and cook for 10 minutes more, or until soup reaches desired thickness.

Grilled Cheese, Gluten Free

* Butter, softened
* Cooking spray
* 2 slices of Ener-G Tapicoa Loaf
* 2 slices of American Cheese (use Kraft, it's gluten free) or cheddar

Coat skillet with cooking spray and heat over low-medium heat. Spread softened butter on one side of each slice of bread. When skillet is heated, add one slice of bread (butter side down). While it is browning, add slices of cheese and top with 2nd slice of bread, butter side up.

After about 2 minutes, turn sandwich and grill the other side. YUM!