Banana Chips

banana chips

banana chips

So, several of my family members got dehydrators for Christmas. They’re having a great time figuring out what to dry. I thought I’d show how I dry banana chips, the easy way. So many of the recipes out there call for the banana slices to be soaked in lemon juice or some kind of citric acid solution before drying. I’m going to tell you that it’s not needed. Really, it’s not necessary. They dry just fine without that extra step.

This is a super easy way to make some healthy snacks for your family. So many of the supermarket brands of banana chips are covered in oil and sugar. We don’t need that. Naturally dried banana chips are sweet enough without all that extra stuff. This is also a great way to use up those spotted bananas. They’re just fully ripe and oh, so good!

What you’ll need – The dehydrator! I have the Nesco Snackmaster. It’s a great little machine. You’ll need some bananas, too.

making chips

Ready to go!

Additional equipment – See that metal thingy to the right of the banana? That’s my Grandma’s butter slicer. Let me tell you – this thing is the greatest thing for slicing bananas, since sliced bread! If you have one, use it instead of a mandoline or knife. If you don’t have one, get one!

Here come the complicated instructions. Peel banana.

peeled nanna

Peel the banana.

Since bananas are usually curved and a bit longer than the butter slicer – cut that sucker in half!

Banana halves

Cut it in half

(you can just break in in half with your hands. I won’t tell) Then, you slice it up!

banana slices

sliced banana

Here comes the complicated part. If there’s a bruise on your banana, just break that part off and stick in in a baggie and keep in the freezer for banana bread or this awesome smoothie.

bruised banana

Save this for bread or smoothies!

Now, get out your dehydrator trays and place the slices of banana on them.

drying bananas

Arrange the slices on the trays

Keep adding trays as you need them, until all the banana slices are gone.

bananas on drying trays

ready to dry

Set the dehydrator to the fruit setting, recommended for your model of dehydrator. Mine is 135 degrees for fruit.

drying bananas

Fruit 135 degrees

Then follow the recommended times for you machine. Check them and decide if you like them chewy or crunchy. Mine took 16 hours to get to the slightly crunchy stage that I like.

banana chips

All dried!

Let them cool a bit, then pop the chips off the trays.

banana chips

Chips anyone?

Store them in an air tight container or baggie. They will get a bit soft after about 10 days, but they shouldn’t last that long!

Banana Chips

Banana Chip

What I did – I took 4,  6 to 7 inch bananas, peeled them and sliced them about a quarter inch thick. I spread them out on my dehydrators trays and dried them for about 16 hours. I rotated the trays after 8 hours. You can use more or fewer bananas.  My 4 bananas made about 2 cups of chips. Give it a try. With a dehydrator, you can control what goes into and onto the things that you dry. Less sugar, less salt, fewer additives, better flavor, the benefits are endless. Store in an airtight container. Refrigeration is not needed. Now, you need to know, that these are not the same as the store bought banana chips. Those are sweetened, fried, sugar bombs. Dehydrated banana chips will not be as crunchy as those. However, they will be so much healthier for you!

Loaded Potaffles

potato waffles

Loaded Potaffles

A couple of Sunday’s ago, I was flipping through the relish booklet that comes in my Sunday newspaper. In the recipes section, this word popped out at me. Potaffle. What the heck is a potaffle? It’s an ingenious way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, without it being obvious, that they’re leftovers. And, they’re waffles! That automatically makes them a fun food! Since Thanksgiving was just a few days away, I knew I’d have some leftover mashed potatoes. I was going to make potaffles!

Ingredient list!

making potaffles

ingredients

You’ll need leftover, cold, mashed potatoes, of course! Some flour, an egg, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives (they are loaded after all) will make these awesome!

Get out your waffle iron and get it ready.

waffle iron

potaffle station

Get a large bowl out. Crack the egg into it and whisk it up.

beaten egg

beaten egg

Whisk in the sour cream, too.

sour cream

add sour cream

Add the shredded cheddar cheese and minced chives.

cheese & chives

add the cheese and chives

Fold in the flour. I used whole wheat.

add flour

fold in the flour

And finally, fold in the mashed potatoes.

adding the mash potatoes

add the mashed potatoes

Mix until it’s well combined.

mashed mix

mix i t up

Spray your waffle iron with some nonstick cooking spray and drop a pile of potato mix in the center of each waffle space.

makin potaffles

1/4 cup full

Close it up and let the waffle iron work it’s magic!

magic happens here

magic happens here

My iron took a couple of minutes for each batch. They were cooked through when the little green light came on. Look – magic!

loaded potaffles

cooked potaffles

Tip: To keep them all nice, crisp and warm while you cook the rest. Heat your oven to 250º, then, put the cooked potaffles on a sheet pan and keep them in the oven till dinner (or lunch) is ready!

ready to keep warmed in the oven

ready to keep warmed in the oven

Isn’t this an easy recipe? If you don’t have a waffle iron, just cook them in a skillet. Spray the pan with oil and fry the patties over a medium heat, flipping when one side is golden brown.

Garnish them with more sour cream and chives! Delicious!

Loaded Potaffles

Loaded Potaffles

Loaded Potaffles
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14 - 16
 
An ingenious and delicious way to use leftover mashed potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 Tablespoons chives, minced
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 cups cold mashed potatoes
Instructions
  1. Heat your waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250º.
  2. Combine the beaten egg, sour cream, cheddar cheese and minced chives in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in the flour. Fold in the cold mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  4. Coat heated waffle maker with nonstick spray oil. Place ¼ cup scoop of potato mixture onto the center of the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
  5. Repeat with remaining potaffle mixture.
  6. Remove cooked waffles to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the heated heated oven.
  7. Serve with additional sour cream and chives, if desired.
  8. Recipe adapted from: realfoodbydad.com/potaffle

 

loaded potaffle

Loaded Potaffle

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Braid

Breakfast braid

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Braid

Company is coming. It’s the holidays, company is always coming. Friends, family and loved ones from afar will pass through your doors. Some will stay just the day, some will stay awhile. You’ll stay up late talking, sharing memories and just, well, catching up! Then, morning comes all too early and you drag out of bed, head to the kitchen to get a pot of coffee going. After the first cup clears your cobwebs, you suddenly realize – you have to make breakfast for a dozen people! 12 hungry mouths to feed. OK, maybe you have more or maybe you have less, you still need to feed them! The thought of all those dirty pots and pans makes you want to crawl back into bed. Never fear, friends! The breakfast braid is here to rescue you. You can impress your family and still maintain a relatively clean kitchen.

breakfast sammy

Yummy!

The breakfast bunch –

ingredients

the ingredients

You’ll need a 13 x 18 baking sheet, which is NOT the one you see pictured. That pan is too small. I got out the right pan, later. The rest of the ingredients are eggs, chopped fresh spinach, chopped mushrooms, roasted red peppers, cheese, a refrigerated tube of pizza dough and some sesame seeds to make it pretty. You’ll need some butter to cook the eggs, too.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the baking sheet. This makes moving the breakfast braid much, much easier.

Preheat the oven to 425º.

Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl.

eggs

Get crackin’!

If it’s your normal practice to add milk or water to your scrambled eggs, go ahead and do it. Sometimes I do, this time I didn’t. Give them a whisk.

eggs beaten

beaten eggs

Get out a skillet and melt some butter in it.

melt butter

melting butter

When it’s melted, swirl it around to cover. Then, pour in the eggs.

eggs

Add the eggs

As the eggs cook, push the solids towards the center, so they don’t cook all the way through.

push to the middle

push to the middle

You don’t want to cook the eggs all the way. You want them soft set. Runny. Yes, runny. They’ll continue to cook and they have to go into the oven.

soft set scrambled eggs

soft scrambled eggs

While the eggs are cooking, time to get the dough ready. Get your half sheet pan with the parchment paper on it. ( I got out the right pan) Pop the roll of pizza dough and spread it out onto the pan.

dough spread on pan

spread out the dough

Gently stretch it to fit the pan. Pinch together any tears that happen. Get a knife and carefully make diagonal cuts about 2 inches apart, along both sides of the dough, leaving about 4 inches solid in the middle.

cut the dough

cut diagonally towards the center

Time to build the layers. Start with the chopped fresh spinach. Evenly spread the spinach down the center of the dough.

spinach layer

start with the spinach

Add a layer of mushrooms, keeping it all in the center.

layer of mushrooms

mushroom layer

Pile the eggs on next.

egg layer

Add the egg layer

Let me share my latest find with you, a vegetarian cheese. A great tasting, vegetarian cheese.

Red Apple kosher cheese

vegetarian cheese!

 This is Red Apple Naturally Good Kosher Cheese.  It looks like all the cheeses in their Naturally Good Kosher and Screaming Dutchman line are vegetarian. And, look at that easy to read label! Check your markets for this cheese. If they don’t carry it, ask them to!

Back to the recipe. Get your vegetarian cheese out and grate a cup’s worth.

grated gouda

Grate cheese!

Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs.

layer of cheese

cheese layer

Get a couple of red peppers out of the jar, pat dry and dice up.

roasted red pepper

diced roasted red pepper

Spread them over the top of the breakfast braid.

Roast red pepper layer

Roast red pepper layer

Now, fold one end of the dough up and over the filling. The end piece first, then the first piece on either side. Press the dough edges to seal it.

starting the braid

fold one end up and over the filling

Then, fold the next strip up and over the filling. Left, then right. Or right, then left. Just do one side, then the other. Leave gaps for the filling to show through.

braiding the bread

Braiding the bread

When you get to the middle of the breakfast braid, turn it around and start at the other end.

the other end

Fold up the other end

Continue folding one side, then the other until you reach the middle. then seal the dough edges down.

finished dough braid

Finished braiding

We need an egg wash, so separate out an egg white to use, or pour some liquid egg whites into a small dish. Whisk it with a fork. Brush the breakfast braid with the beaten egg wash, then sprinkle the entire top with sesame seeds.

sesame seeds

Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Bake the breakfast braid at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Baked Breakfast Braid

All done

Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve. This makes 6 good sized servings.

Breakfast Braid

Breakfast is ready

This is so easy and so versatile. You can change up the fillings, even make them for lunch or dinner. If there’s a crown at your house, it’s no more trouble to make 2 or 3 at the same time. So, relax, enjoy your coffee. You’ve got this breakfast thing under control!

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Braid

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Braid

Spinach Mushroom Breakfast Braid
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A refreshing change to ordinary breakfast sandwiches.
Ingredients
  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped spinach
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup diced roast red peppers – jarred or fresh made
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten.
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a large baking tray. Unroll dough onto the parchment paper and pat into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts about 2 inches apart along both long sides of the dough, leaving about a 4 inch solid center.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beaten eggs and cook until soft scrambled, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Arrange the chopped spinach down the center of the dough. Add a layer of sliced mushrooms next. Spoon the soft set scrambled eggs evenly over the dough center for the next layer. Top with the shredded cheese. Sprinkle the roasted red peppers down the center, as the last layer.
  5. Bring the end piece of dough, up and over the filling end and bring the top strip of dough over the filling. Press the edges to seal. Braid dough over top of filling by alternating strips from each side. Fold the bottom edge up and over the end, sealing it with the last two edge strips.
  6. Brush the breakfast braid with a beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve.

 

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

tofu cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

I’m always looking for cool, delicious new salads to try. I like to experiment with things I’ve eaten or seen on restaurant menus. That’s what happened here. I picked this off a menu. We were in North Little Rock, visiting our son. He said that a local restaurant, the Casa Mexicana, had some good vegetarian options. So, we went there. On the menu was something called Mexican Cocktail. It was boiled shrimp served in a mixture of spicy tomato sauce, cilantro, avocado and pico de gallo. By the time we left, I was already thinking of a way to make it better. That’s how this recipe came about. Mix some up and have it for your July 4th celebrations. It’s cool and refreshing. And yummy. Oh so, yummy.

The ingredients –

ingredients

the ingredients

You’ll need firm tofu, an onion, 2 tomatoes, 2 avocados, a jalapeno, lime, cilantro, tamari sauce and ketchup. Yes, ketchup. The secret to a great salsa!

Open the tofu and drain out the water. Sandwich the tofu between 2, paper towel lined plates and put a weight on top. Press it for at least 30 minutes. You gotta get that excess water out.

press tofu

tofu press

Get out a big bowl. This makes 8 cups of cocktail, so go large. Core and chop the tomatoes.

chop tomatoes

chop tomatoes

You want at least 2 cups. 3 cups is better. If you love tomatoes, that is. We love tomatoes!

tomatoes

3 cups!

Dump them into the bowl. Dice up 1/2 cup of onion and add it to the bowl.

diced onion

half an onion

Chop up 1/4 cup of cilantro and dump it into the bowl.

cilantro

1/4 cup of cilantro

Now, about the jalapeno, if you like it hot, just dice up the whole thing. If you like flavor without the burning tongue, seed and devein the jalapeno. Dice it up and add to the bowl.

jalapeno dice

diced jalapeno

Measure out a tablespoon of tamari sauce (or Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce) and dump it in, too.

tamari sauce

tablespoon of tamari

Squeeze out 1 cup of ketchup and, guess what? Right, dump it in the bowl. We’re all about the excitement here.

ketchup

1 cup of ketchup

This is where we’re at so far.

salsa mix

Almost done

Now, because avocados are tricky – they like to turn brown on you – we waited to add them. So, dice up that avocado!

diced avocado

it’s avocado time!

And toss it in the bowl!

cocktail mix

add the avocado

Add in some salt and pepper, too. We haven’t stirred the mess up yet, because now, were going to squeeze the lime juice over the avocado, to keep it from browning. It’s lime time.

lime juice

Squeeze the juice over the avocado

Now, now, you can mix it up.

salsa cocktail

Mix it up!

Time for the block of tofu.

tofu

block of tofu

I know, I know, it doesn’t look like much, does it. But you just wait! It’s going to be amazing. OK, cut it in half, width-wise.

tofu halves

2 halves

Then, cut each half into 1 inch cubes.

tofu cubes

cube the tofu

And, add it to the bowl.

tofu cocktail

Here’s the tofu!

Mix it up, so that all the tofu is coated with the salsa cocktail mixture.

tofu salsa cocktail

fold in the tofu

Cover it up and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. Longer is just fine. Remember, you squeezed that lime juice over the avocado, so it won’t turn brown. When you’re ready to serve, put 1 1/2 cups into a pretty glass, top with a cilantro leaf and eat! I used these margarita glasses. So cute! And there you have it. Tofu Salsa Cocktail. Created from a listing in a restaurant menu. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Enjoy!

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktails

Tofu Salsa Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A refreshing blend of spicy salsa and tofu for a perfect appetizer.
Ingredients
  • 1 – 16 ounce package of firm tofu
  • 2 – tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 – jalapeno, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari sauce
  • 2 – avocado, pitted, then cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu and press between two plates for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
  2. Core the tomatoes and chop them. You want at least two cups. Place in a large bowl.
  3. To the bowl, add the diced onion, chopped cilantro, diced jalapeno, ketchup, tamari sauce, cubed avocado, and lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, combine well.
  4. Cut the tofu block into 1 inch cubes. Add to the bowl. Fold the tofu into the tomato mixture until all the tofu is coated and it is well blended. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Makes 8 cups.
  5. Spoon cocktail mixture into pretty glasses, garnish with additional cilantro and serve.
Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Tofu Salsa Cocktail

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Gnocchi, Greens and Beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Last year, I was in the hardware store and decided to pick up some plants for the garden. It’s Florida, we garden year around. On a whim, I grabbed 2 kale plants. This, I thought would give me a head start, while I waited to plant seeds. It gave me such a head start, that I never planted those seeds! Eight months later, those two plants still produce a boat load of leaves. I bought Lacinato or Dinosaur kale.

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Get your kids into gardening. Go buy some fun Dinosaur kale! Your kids may be more open to trying new things, if they are active in choosing and growing their own food. So anyways, the kale grew. And grew! We have all kinds of kale to eat and the plants show no signs of slowing down!  That means it’s time to dig out all the kale recipes, because sauteed kale got old after the first 16 times we had it. Of course, we had scalloped potatoes and kale, all kinds of soups, kale chips and this dish with gnocchi. I’ve based my recipe on one I found at eatingwell.com.

What you’ll need –

ingredients

The ingredients

You’ll need a 16 ounce package of gnocchi, a can of cannellini beans,  a can of diced tomatoes, some dry Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, bell pepper, mozzarella cheese, and a bunch of kale. Enough to yield 8 cups of chopped leaves. I used about 20 leaves. The plant grew that many again, before I got to my front door.

Start by cleaning the kale. Pull off the stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

cleaning kale

Get the kale ready

Time to cut up the veggies.

diced bell pepper

Chop chop

Cut the bell pepper into about 1 inch square pieces.

diced onion

chop chop, sniff sniff

Dice the onion into about 1/4 inch pieces.

minced garlic

mince mince

Mince the heck out of the garlic. Tiny, tiny pieces. Now, time to cook.

This is a simple one pot dish, so get out a big skillet! A covered one, please. Over medium heat, put a tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the gnocchi.

gnocchi

gnocchi

Let them cook, stirring them around.

saute gnocchi

Get some color going

When they’re all nice and toasty, remove them to a platter and set aside. (just between us – I wiped that plate off and used it for dinner. who needs more dirty dishes?)

cooked gnocchi

Toasty gnocchi

Pour some more oil in the pan and dump in the bell pepper and onion.

cooking Bell pepper and onion

Bell pepper and onion

Cook these for a couple of minutes, just until they start to soften. Add in the minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

saute garlic

the garlic is surrounded

Push the pepper mix to the side of the pan and pile the kale in.

cooking kale

add the kale

Cover it and cook for 2 minutes.

pot lid

Cover it up

Open it up, give it a stir

wilted kale

it’s getting there

and then, cover it up and cook for 2 more minutes. While all the opening and covering is going on, drain and rinse the cannellini beans.

drained white beans

rinse the beans

Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour them into the skillet. Add in the white beans and the dry Italian seasoning. Sprinkle on some salt & pepper, too.

add the beans and tomatoes

add the beans and tomatoes

Give it a good mixing. Cover it and bring to a simmer, about 2 to 4 minutes.

combine the dish

mix it up

Time to grab the plate of sauteed gnocchi and add it to the mix.

gnocchi

little pillows of pasta goodness

gnocchi in the skillet

Almost dinner!

Combine all the skillet ingredients and return to simmering. After another couple of minutes, turn off the stove. Sprinkle the gnocchi mix with the shredded mozzarella.

topped with cheese

top with cheese

Cover and let the cheesy goodness melt all over. That’s it! All done. Pretty it up with some chopped parsley and serve it right from the skillet.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Grab a spoon, it’s dinner!

We had ours with a simple salad featuring some green zebra tomatoes, fresh from the garden. Life’s simple pleasures.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A simple, delicious, one pot meal that uses ready made gnocchi, canned white beans and fresh kale in a chunky tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided.
  • 1 – 16 oz package of ready made gnocchi
  • 1 – bunch of fresh kale, stems removed and chopped, about 8 cups of leaves.
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – can diced tomatoes, 14 to 16oz.
  • 1 – can of cannellini beans, 14 to 16oz. Drained and rinsed.
  • 1 Tablespoon dried italian seasoning mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • shredded parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the gnocchi. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. When the gnocchi have browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to skillet. Add in the red bell pepper and white onion. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Move the garlic, onions and pepper mix to one side of the pan and add the kale, packing it in. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove lid and stir kale. Return lid and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove lid and add the canned tomatoes, rinsed and drained white beans, the dry Italian seasoning mix and salt & pepper. Combine well. Cover and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove lid, stir in the cooked gnocchi, return to simmer and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and let melt. Garnish with shredded parsley. Serve directly from the skillet, family style.
Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Yum!

Tomato and White Bean Salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Spring has sprung. Although most of the country is still covered up with snow, the calender says that Spring is here. I know it has sprung here in Florida. Everything has a golden layer of pollen on it. Allergy season is here. Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, I’m sniffling and sneezing. Yup, it’s Spring.

To welcome the change in seasons, I made this light and refreshing salad. It’s been a particularly hot past couple of days and I wanted something easy. Something I could whip up and let chill in the fridge while I was out mowing the grass. That, is this bean and tomato salad. So, while I’m waiting for my allergy pills to kick in, I’ll teach you how to make it for yourselves.

White bean and tomato salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Here’s the fixings.

white bean and tomato salad

Let’s get started!

You’ll need 2 cans of cannellini beans, a pint of cherry type tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, agave sweetener (or honey or any sweetener), some salt and pepper, and some white balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have any white balsamic vinegar, got ahead and get some. This stuff is so good. Sprinkle a little bit in with the yolk mix, the next time you make deviled eggs! You’ll be amazed at how good this stuff makes them. If you’re sure you don’t want to go out and buy the white balsamic vinegar, use a white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar. Stick with something clear. Regular balsamic vinegar will make the salad an unpleasant dark color. We don’t want that.

Start off by draining the cannellini beans. Rinse them off, if they have a lot of bean starch in the can.

drain beans

Drain the beans

While they drip dry, get out your cutting board. Time to cut the tomatoes in half.

halving the tomatoes

Slice the tomatoes in half

Get out a large bowl and dump the drained beans into it.

Bowl of beans

Put the beans into a bowl

Dump the tomato halves in there, too.

add the maters

Add the tomatoes

Measure out a half cup of feta cheese and dump it in also!

adding feta

Add in the feta

Stack up about 20 basil leaves, roll them up and slice them thinly. That’s called a chiffonade.  I learned this from the television cooking shows. They love to chiffonade things!

Chiffonade the basil

Chiffonade the basil

You know what’s next, don’t you? That’s right, add them to the bowl.

salad

Pretty colors!

Now, to make the dressing. You’ll need a small jar. I just reuse an old salad dressing jar. Measure out the white balsamic vinegar.

making dressing

White balsamic vinegar

Then, pour it into the jar. Measure out the extra virgin olive oil. Oh, do yourself a favor. Find one of these tiny measuring cups. They make measuring multiple table/teaspoons so much easier. They’re easy to find. I found this one at my grocery store.

evoo

EVOO!

Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the agave sweetener.

agave

agave syrup

Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the salt and pepper. I’m into Pink Himalayan salt right now. Why? It’s pretty to look at. That’s why. It’s supposed to have more minerals and be better for you than regular table salt, but, salt is salt, use it sparingly. Too much salt is a bad thing. I also use a four color peppercorn blend. It’s pretty, too.

salt and pepper

pretend this picture is in focus

Add it to the dressing jar. It makes a cool glop in the bottom. Hey, I’m easily amused!

dressing mix

See the salt & pepper glop?

Close it up and shake it up!

Dressing mix

Dressing mix

Pour the dressing over the tomato & bean mix.

dressing the salad

Mix in the dressing

Pour the salad into a pretty serving bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

put into serving bowl

Put into a serving bowl.

This mix travels well, if you have a covered dish dinner to go to. To serve, place a few lettuce leaves on a plate and add about a cup of tomato bean salad mix over it.

tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and White Bean Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A light and fresh salad. Perfect for lunch, brunch or a light dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 -15 ounce or 19 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves. Place halves in a bowl. Add in the drained cannellini beans, basil and crumbled feta cheese.
  2. Pour vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a small jar. Add in the salt and pepper. Cover and shake vigorously. Pour over bean and tomato mixture. Combine well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on a plate. Top with ¾ cup of the tomato and white bean salad.

This tomato and white bean salad also pairs will with fresh cooked orzo pasta. That makes a tasty dinner.

 

 

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Portobello Caps stuffed

Stuffed Portobello Caps

We like mushrooms. They have a wonderful, earthy flavor and they give you something that you can bite into. Their versatility is neverending. Just think of how many different dishes you’ve made, that start out with a can of cream of mushroom soup! By they way, you can make your own, much more flavorful, mushroom soup. But, that’s a post for another time. One of my favorite breakfasts is a simple sauteed mushroom and egg white omelette. Yum! These stuffed caps are made with easy to find ingredients and are a snap to make. The ingredient list –

ingredients

The fixin’s

portobello mushroom caps, spinach, onion, roma tomato, goat cheese (for creamy yumminess), panko crumbs, red pepper flakes (for a little kick) and some herbes de provence. I like using herbs de provence. It makes me feel swanky. Next thing you know, I’ll be putting truffle oil on everything. If you don’t have herbes de provence, plain old italian seasoning mix will work just fine. You can still feel swanky, too. First thing to do, is to scrape the gills off the mushrooms. You don’t have to, but you can pile in more stuffing if they’re gone, so get them out of there.

removing stems and gills

Snap off the stems and scrape out the gills.

Snap the stems off, too. I don’t use them in the stuffing. Save them for making a vegetable stock. After the caps are clean, set them aside.

cleaned mushrooms

Clean mushrooms.

Now, dice up half an onion. You want about 1/2 a cup.

diced onion

choppity chop chop

Swirl about a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saute pan. Using a medium low heat, cook the onions til tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.

sauteed onion

cooking the onion

Add in the chopped spinach so it can wilt down.

satuee spinach

add the spinach to the pan

It will just take a couple of minutes for it to wilt.

wilted spinach

wilted spinach

Turn the heat off and set the pan to the side. Now, preheat your oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it by the mushroom caps. Time to make the stuffing. Give a roma tomato a rough dice.

roma tomato diced

diced roma tomato

I used a roma, because they are a meatier, less juicy, tomato. If you have to use a regular tomato, dice it, then, blot excess moisture up with a paper towel. Crumble the goat cheese into a medium sized bowl.

goat cheese

crumble with a fork

Combine with the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and the herbes de provence. Add salt and pepper.

stuffing mix

Stuffing mix

Add in the spinach onion mixture.

stuffing mix

add the spinach onion mix

Mix it well.

mix it up

Combine well

Divide the mixture among the portobello caps.

stuffed caps

Stuff the caps.

Drizzle the caps with a little olive oil. This adds an extra layer of flavor!

oil drizzled caps

Drizzle caps with olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes. I roasted some carrots alongside of the mushrooms and served them both with a nice, creamy risotto. A delicious, easy dinner!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Dinner is served!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Flavorful portobello caps, stuffed with a savory blend of spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese.
Ingredients
  • 4 portobello caps, stems and gills removed
  • 4 cups raw spinach, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 TBL olive oil - divided
  • 1 diced roma tomato
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Saute the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach to wilt, another 2 minutes. Place the goat cheese in a medium bowl. To it, add in the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and herbes de provence. Pour the spinach and onion mix over the tomato cheese mixture and combine. Divide mixture among 4 portobello caps. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Place caps on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Sesame Ginger Slaw

Sesame Ginger Slaw

Sesame Ginger Slaw

Cole slaw. I love it. When we go out for dinner and I’m offered the choice of a side salad or slaw? I’m going with the slaw. Maybe, I just love cabbage. What I don’t love, is a mayonnaise based dressing, all-the-time! Change it up. Give me something different. Something that will make me go – wow! I like wow. Wow is good. This sesame ginger slaw is wow. Try it, you’ll be hooked. I needed something to serve to my vegan friends, and that left mayonnaise out of the question. I know there are vegan options available. But, the store was so far away, and I’m kinda lazy, so I went with what I had on hand. The result was a light, refreshing, simple to make slaw, that will make you go wow!

The ingredients:

sesame slaw ingred

The line up

You’ll need 8 cups of shredded cabbage. There’s also 4 scallions, a knob of ginger for grating, some dijon, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, black sesame seeds and agave syrup. There’s no need to haul out the heavy food processor. All you need is a cutting board and a knife. Turn the cabbage upside down, cut through the cabbage on each side of the core. Next, cut the core out of the center silce and toss it (the core) away. Lay one half, face down and slice it into thin strips.

shredding cabbage

Shredding the cabbage

Then, cut in half in the opposite direction.

shredded cabbage

cut,cut,cut it up

Cut up the rest of the cabbage in the same manner. Dump it all in a large bowl. Take your scallions and slice them on the diagonal, very thinly.

slice scallions

slice, slice, slice it up.

Throw them in the bowl with the cabbage.

cabbage

Use a big bowl!

Time to make the dressing. Get out a nonstick fry pan. Use at least a 10 inch pan. Heat it over medium for a bit, then, add the black sesame seeds. I used black because the color contrasts against the cabbage nicely.

toasted sesame seeds

Toasting the black sesame seeds.

Don’t walk off! This only takes 2 to 3 minutes. Stir them around and when you smell the toasty goodness, they’re done. Pull them off the stove. Save a teaspoon for garnish, just before you serve the salad. Time to grate the ginger.

grated ginger

grate ginger

I don’t waste time peeling it. I keep the ginger in the freezer and just pull out a chunk when I need it. I just run it across the grater and the brown peel just stays on the top. Nothing but great, grated ginger on the other side!

Get out a small bowl. To it, add the dijon, toasted sesame oil, grated ginger, agave syrup and rice vinegar.

sesame slaw dressing

sesame slaw dressing

Add in the toasted sesame seeds and whisk it all together.

sesame slaw dressing

Dressing is done

Now, if you’re not going to serve the slaw right away or you’re going to take it somewhere, cover up the dressing and stuff it in the fridge. You don’t want to dress the slaw until you’re ready to serve it. Cabbage does funky stuff to dressings. It makes them all watery and yucky. So, wait to dress. The slaw, not yourself. Unless, that’s how you roll. When you’re ready to serve the slaw, pour the dressing over the cabbage scallion mix and toss to coat. Sprinkle those reserved toasted sesame seeds over the top to purty it up.

Sesame Ginger Slaw 2

It’s right purty!

You can eat this by itself, like I did, right after I took it’s picture or serve it as a side for sandwiches, grilled tofu, dinner omelettes, or whatever! It’s a wow slaw, so wow somebody with it!

Sesame Ginger Slaw
Author: 
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A simple, refreshing vegan slaw that's easy to make.
Ingredients
  • 8 cups of chopped cabbage
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds – divided.
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon agave syrup
Instructions
  1. Place chopped cabbage in a large bowl.
  2. Slice the scallions on the diagonal. Add to the cabbage and toss to combine.
  3. Using a dry, nonstick fry pan over medium heat, toast the black sesame seeds. Stir occasionally 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, grated fresh ginger, toasted sesame oil and the agave syrup. Add in the toasted black sesame seeds, reserving 1 teaspoon for garnish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, whisk dressing and pour over cabbage mix, tossing to coat. Sprinkle top with reserved sesame seeds and serve.
  5. NOTE: If you are not serving to vegans, honey may be substituted for the agave syrup.

 

Avocado and Tofu Salad Wraps

Avocado and Tofu Salad Wraps

Avocado and Tofu Salad Wraps

This recipe is for a quick and easy lunch. These wraps pack so easy, that you’ll be able to take one anywhere. We just took ours on a road trip from Florida to Arkansas. They travel well and are far better for you than standard roadside fare.

Since I live in a sub-tropical climate, we have access to avocados year round. I take full advantage of that fact and eat them all up, as often as possible! They are a good source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber! Get your avocados out and let’s get started.

The ingredients.

avocado wrap ingred

Oh look, tofu!

Hmm, did I forget to mention that the wrap also has tofu in it? Well, it does. Did you know that tofu is an excellent source of calcium and iron? Now you do! The tofu ups the protein of the avocado salad mix. More protein means you stay fuller, longer. I chose the sun dried tomato wraps this time, but any tortilla will do.

Step one – open and drain the tofu. Pat it dry with paper towels and set it aside.

tofu

dry the tofu

Step two – cut 2 avocados in half and remove the pits.

half avocados

halve the avocados

Step 3 – Scoop out the innards and dump them into a medium sized bowl.

avocados

the green stuff

Step 493 – Cut your lime in half.

limes

limes

Using one half of the lime, (save the other half for a margarita) squeeze the juice over the avocados and mash lightly.

mashed avocado

mash it up

Grab that tofu. You only need 8 ounces, so cut it in half and save the other half for something else.

tofu

8 ounces

Slice it into about 6 slices.

tofu slices

tofu slices

Then, crumble the slices over the avocado in the bowl.

crumbled tofu

Crumbled tofu

Mash it all up, again.

tofu avocado mash

mash it again

Now, get out the red onion and cut off a chunk. Then, dice up about 1/4 cups worth.

diced red onion

diced red onion

Add the onion, 1/4 cup of mayo, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon of pepper into the bowl.

add remaining ingredients

dump in the rest

Mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined. Nobody wants a big wad of onions in the middle of their wrap.

mixed up

mix it all up

Take out 6 tortillas and heat them according to the package instructions. Lay one flat and spread 1/2 cup of salad mix along the bottom edge.

wrap 1

Keep the sides empty

Fold the edges in, like this –

wrap 2

fold in the sides

then, roll it up.

wrap 3

roll it up

All done! Plate it up with a nice, kosher, dill pickle and some yummy, veggie chips and ring the dinner bell. Lunch is served.

Avocado and Tofu Salad Wraps

Lunch Time!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Avocado and Tofu Salad Wraps
Author: 
Recipe type: Sandwich
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A tasty, wrap sandwich full of nutrient-dense avocado and tofu salad.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz of firm tofu
  • 2 avocados
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package of tortillas
Instructions
  1. Open and drain the tofu. Pat dry. Cut into 6 slices. Set aside.
  2. Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Scoop out middle into a medium size bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over and smash lightly. Take each tofu slice and crumble into the bowl with the avocado. Smash lightly.
  3. Add in the diced red onion, mayonnaise, curry powder, salt & pepper. Combine well.
  4. Remove 6 tortillas and warm according to package instructions. Place a ½ cup of avocado salad along one edge, tuck sides in and fold over, envelope style.
  5. Serve with a hearty pickle and some chips. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Whole cranberry orange sauce

cran orange sauce

Gobble gobble

It’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. The holiday that gets squeezed in between Halloween candy sales and the onslaught of Christmas goods. Thanksgiving! Time for pies, and sweet potato casserole – hold the marshmallows, thank you – smashed taters, vegetable tarts & terrines, bread and my absolute favorite, dressing! I know there’s a big debate about whether it’s called stuffing or dressing. My opinion, for what it’s worth, if you pile it in another ingredient – say a squash, eggplant, zucchini or other  vegetable, then it’s stuffing. If you pile it into a casserole dish and bake, it’s dressing. Anyhow, dressing needs cranberry sauce. It needs it. Or, maybe I just need it. Confession time. I am a cranberry sauce junkie. Growing up, we only had the canned plop. It was okay, I guess. I could never get past the can ridges that were embedded along the sides. They were always there because everyone just slid that baby out of the can and onto a plate. Can imprints. Yuck. Throw away the can! You can make your own whole berry cranberry sauce! It’s the easiest thing to do. You will exert more effort using the can opener. Put it away and buy a bag of cranberries. You’re halfway to the best cranberry sauce you’ve ever tasted.

And, it’s time for another confession. My mother in law loves the stuff. It brings back memories of her childhood, when her mother made it. She used the canned stuff when my husband was growing up. The first time she had Thanksgiving dinner with us and had the fresh made stuff? Yeah, baby, you know who’s the favorite daughter in law now, uh huh! We’ll be out of town this year, so, being the darling that I am, I made her a batch to keep in her fridge, so she won’t do without.

Here we go!

whole cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce ingredients

You’ll need 4 cups of fresh cranberries. My co-op was offering these cranberries. The clamshell reads, Sandhill Cranberry LLC, Wisconsin. This amused me. See, sandhill cranes are a migratory bird. So, it’s feasible that the birds that wade in their cranberry bogs, are the same that pick over my garden in central Florida.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes, sorry. Not much left.

You’ll also need one cup each of orange juice and sugar.

sugar, oj and berries

Measure it all out.

Rinse off the berries. Pour the OJ into a medium sized sauce pan and dump the cup of sugar on top.

OJ AND sugar

If you’re doing what you ought to, you pour the sugar – wait, that’s not how it goes.

Heat until boiling, giving a stir, to help the sugar dissolve.

boiling sugar in oj

Boil the mixture

Then, dump in the cranberries.

cranberries

Add the berries

Return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll hear the berries pop. They’re supposed to.

cranberry sauce with OJ

Foam is ok.

It will get foamy. Don’t worry, it’s all good. That foam will settle back down while it cools. When your 5 minute timer dings, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool off.

cranberry sauce

Too hot!

Once it’s cool, pour it into a pretty dish and serve. That’s it. Super simple, isn’t it. You can make this a week ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. When the day comes, just serve it up in a dish with a couple of cute orange peel strips. I have pictured this with our *official* cranberry sauce utensil. It makes an appearance, tarnish and all, just for homemade cranberry sauce. I have no idea what it’s real purpose it. That’s the fun of it. Get yourself an official cranberry sauce spoonish type thing and enjoy!

Whole Cranberry Orange Sauce

Whole Cranberry Orange Sauce

Whole cranberry orange sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A delicious blend of cranberries and orange juice.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces or 4 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan bring the orange juice and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries and keep at a full boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until needed. Keeps in the fridge for up to a month. Can be frozen, too.