I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We did, and it was great having a day off. Today we're going to focus on fresh made foods.
If you follow us on the radio, you know how much we rail against processed foods. If you plan ahead you may find it is even easier to prepare a home cooked meal from scratch than it is to heat up a frozen entree. Check some of my previous blogs to find the ones that tell you how to plan your menu, prepare a shopping list, and then execute a food prep session that will have you eating better and saving money right away.
Today, we're going to concentrate on appetizers.
These recipes can also be made gluten-free.
Ham Pate en croute
1 tbls grated onion
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 tbls chopped parsley
2 tbls chopped chives
2 cups ground cooked ham
1/4 lb butter, softened
3 tbls heavy cream
1 loaf French bread, gluten-free available in our bakery (about 8 inches long and 3 inches in diameter)
2 tsp strong prepared mustard
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
Beat butter in the bowl of an electic mixer at high speed until the butter is light and fluffy. Lower mixer speed to medium, and gradually add the ground ham, beating thoroughly after each addition. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed.
When the butter and ham are thoroughly combined, add the rest of the ingredients (not the bread). Beat again, until mixture is almost smooth.
Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm enough to spread. This may be done up to 1 day in advance.
Using a large bread knife, cut off the ends of the loaf (save the ends).
Using a long slender knife, cut out and remove the soft insides of the bread, leaving a shell that is about 1/4 inch thick. Don't throw the insides away, dry them and grind them for bread crumbs.
Stand the bread upright. With a spoon gently push the ham mixture into the follow crust, packing it in firmly. Fill the shell completely. Replace the ends and wrap well. Refrigerate for several hours or until bread is cold and can be easily sliced. This may be done up to 24 hours before seving.
Cut the bread into 1/4 inch slices.
Mexican Cheese dip
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 to 2 cans (4 0z size) whole green chiles, remember, the more chiles the hotter the dip
1 (1 lb) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Large corn chips
Drain the chilies. Slit each chile lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Cut the chiles into 1/4 inch dice. Finely chop the onion to make at least 1/2 cup.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over moderately high heat until melted and hot. Add onions and cook until the onion is tender, but not brown. You want to constantly stir the onion while it is cooking to prevent burning.
Add the tomatoes, along with the liquid, the diced green chiles and salt to the skillet. Stir with a wooden spoon, pressing and breaking up the tomates.
Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the tomato mixture for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add the cubed cheese and heat, stirring constantly, untilcheese is melted and ingredients are thouroughly combined.
Stir in heavy cram, a little at a time, and cook, stirring constantly until the miture is very hot.
Remove the dip from the heat, and allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Ladle into a small casserole dish and keep warm over a candle warmer. Or, use a double boiler, with a bottom that has about 2 inches of boiling water in it.
Serve the dip with the dippers
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope you and your familiy have a great Holiday.
I also hope you also do not fear the food. To help you alliviate some of the fear that goes with a bountiful dinner, I'm going to give you some web connections that you can use to make you life easier. If it's too late for Turkey day, you may find these tips useful for Christmas.
Most people eat turkey, so let's addresss that first.
One of the problems people face is defrosting/thawing the bird. It just never seems to thaw as fast as the directions say, and then you're faced with a still frozen bird on the day you need to cook it.
I found directions on cooking a frozen bird that I passed on last year in this blog. But, instead of you having to search for it, I'm going to give you a link to one of several pages on the web that have the directions. Go to
This method is also approved by the FDA.
Now, maybe you have purchased a fresh turkey. Here is a way to cook the turkey a day ahead.
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
4 (1½- to 1¾-pound) turkey leg quarters, trimmed
1 (6- to 7-pound) whole bone-in turkey breast, trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Adjust oven racks to middle and lowest positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme in large roasting pan. Set V-rack inside pan. Pat turkey legs and breast dry with paper towels. Arrange 2 legs and breast, skin side up, in V-rack. Brush turkey with butter and season with salt and pepper. Place remaining 2 legs in 13 by 9-inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Place roasting pan on middle rack and baking dish on lower rack. Roast until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 2 to 2½ hours. Transfer 2 legs and breast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
Transfer vegetables in roasting pan and remaining 2 legs to large pot, scraping up any browned bits. Add broth, water, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to boil. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 5 cups, 1¼ to 1½ hours. Pour through fine-mesh strainer into large container, discarding solids. Let cool for 1 hour, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days. Wrap cooled legs and breast tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Scrape fat from top of chilled stock and reserve 5 tablespoons. Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Set aside ¼ cup stock. Heat reserved fat in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in remaining 4¾ cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to 4 cups, 12 to 14 -minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Transfer legs and breast to carving board. Separate legs into thighs and drumsticks and arrange on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Cut breast meat from bone into 2 single breasts. Working one at a time, remove skin from breast in 1 piece; reserve. Slice breast crosswise into ¼-inch slices and place on 18 by 12-inch sheet of aluminum foil, keeping slices together. Pour 2 tablespoons reserved stock over each breast and top with reserved skin. Wrap tightly and place on rack with legs.
Roast until turkey is heated through and thighs and drumsticks are crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard breast skin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with gravy.
You want to discard the legs that you use for the gravy.
I picked up the above recipe from Cooks Country Oct/Nov 2011.
Now, let's address some side dishes, starting with the green bean casserole. Make the traditional casserole, using the cream of mushroom soup, French fried onions, etc. Assemble it per directions, but don't sprinkle the additional onions on top. Cover the dish and refrigerate for up to 2 day. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake the casserole for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved French fried onions on top, and continue baking another 5 mintues. Enjoy.
Remember, you may use fresh green beans or frozen green beans in place of the canned. 1 1/2 pounds fresh, or 18 ounces frozen.
DO-AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
Printed from COOKS.COM
10 med. or 8-9 lg. potatoes
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. sour cream or plain yogurt (or half each)
2 tsp. onion or plain salt
1 tbsp. minced chives
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp. butter
Grated cheese or paprika
After potatoes are peeled and boiled 20-25 minutes, drain well. Mash until very smooth. Mix cream cheese with sour cream or yogurt, salt, chives and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Place in 2-quart casserole. Cool and cover. Tastes best if refrigerated 12-24 hours before baking. This will keep up to 2 weeks.
At serving time, dot with butter and sprinkle with cheese or paprika. Bake uncovered 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. They are delicious and do not taste like do-ahead mashed potatoes.
I use recipes from this web site all the time, so even if I haven't made these, I trust it.
If you really want to throw caution to the wind, google up Goody Girls Championship potatoes. This isn't a make ahead recipe, but OMG, these are to die for. We only eat these once per year.
If you do the above recipes, you should have a fairly stress free Thanksgiving, and more time with your loved ones.
If you are serving ham for dinner, I don't recommend baking it in advance. It's better to roast it in a low oven (325) for the recommended time, and don't forget to let it rest before serving.
With the holidays coming, I decided to share some recipes to put into your freezer and have ready for you when you need them. I'm going to share some breakfast and egg dishes.
Artichoke and Bacon Frittata
7 large eggs
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
3 to 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan. With wire whisk, beat eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper until well mixed.
Sprinkle artichoke hearts and crumbled bacon on bottom of pan, then top with the monterrey jack cheese. Pour egg mixture over the artichoke and bacon. Sprinkle cheddar cheese evenly over top.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown.
I had to tweak - I added about 1/2 cup chopped red and yellow bell peppers, 1/4 cup sliced green onion, about 1/3 cup cubed up Canadian bacon.
After this cools, you may wrap it in plastic wrap, and then place it in a gallon size freezer bag.
Thaw in the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 and bake about 25 minutes or till hot. You may also eat this at room temperature.
Here is a recipe for some breakfast sandwiches
12 gluten-free English muffins
12 slices ham, bacon, pork sausage, or Canadian bacon
12 slices cheddar cheese
Cook the meat and set aside. Drain the pan as necessary and scramble the eggs in the skillet as you would an omelet. I hope you know how to do this. In case you don't I'll try to explain at the end of this recipe.
Toast and butter the English muffins
Assemble the sandwich with a portion of egg, meat and cheese. Wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap, then freese and place in freezer zip lock bags.
Pull out of the freezer and unwrap. Wrap in a paper towel and zap in a micro wave (I know you'll do this even if I won't) for about 30 seconds. Check for hotness and rezap as needed. I don't have micro wave experience myself, so if anyone has a better time frame, let me know. Thanks.
Without a micro wave you can thaw the sandwich overnight in the refrigerator, wrap in aluminum foil and then reheat in a toaster oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.
If you were lucky enough to catch our show today "Natural health and you" you found out how to try to avoid many aging eye problems. We covered macular degeneration (wet and dry) glaucoma, detached retina, and cataracts. One common theme of prevention in all the eye ailments is a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
If you have problems incorporating fruits into your diet, try my recipe for a fruit smoothie.
This is for 2 servings
3/4 to 1 cup real fruit juice
1/2 banana (freeze the other 1/2)
1/2 apple or 1/2 orange or 1/2 cup grapes
2 scoops whey protein
4 tbls lecithin
2 scoops profibe
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
or sub any fruits you want
Blend well, scraping down the blender as needed. Enjoy.
We make the smoothie every other day, just to shake up our day. On the other mornings I make eggs scrambled with assorted cut up vegetables. These are vegetables that I prepared on my food prep day. Ususally I use green onions, assorted colored peppers, and/or potatoes. I will use some meat such as ham, bacon, or sausage. I may or may not use cheese. I find that using the veggies and meats lets me cut the eggs to 2 for the meal.
It incorporate more vegetables into your diet, I recommend the salads in a jar concept.
Be sure you are using a sharp knife to cut your vegetables, and please tear your lettuce, don't cut it. I use Romaine in my jars because it seems to hold up wel
As I mentioned on the radio, here's how to make nut flour. I borrowed this from living paleo.com
Nut flour is a great way to stay paleo and also enjoy certain baked goods. You can purchase nut flour from stores, but you run the risk of it containing wheat byproducts because it is often made in the same factories as wheat flour. It can also be pricey to rely on store bought nut flour, so making your own is generally more economical.
Almonds tend to be the best nut to make flour with, in terms of flavor and texture, nut flour can be made with a variety of nuts, including hazelnuts and almonds.
To make your own nut flour, first begin by washing raw nuts (with their skins, but without their shells) to remove any dirt and debris. After washing, fill a pan to the halfway point with cold water, and then bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the nuts once the water has begun boiling, boil for 10 seconds, and drain. Pour the drained nuts onto a towel and rub them with the towel to remove the skins. After rubbing them with the towel, inspect to ensure all the skins are fully removed.
Place the peeled nuts into a nut grinder, but be sure not to overfill the grinder. A good rule of thumb when determining how much nuts to use, is to remember that 1 cup of uncooked nuts generally equals ¼ cut of nut flour. If you don’t have a nut grinder, you can also use a blender or food processor for this step. Pulse the nuts in the grinder or blender until they start to break apart, and continue grinding them until they are coarsely ground. Do not over-grind the nuts, because this will turn them to butter. If you’re worried about turning your nuts into butter, a good tip is to freeze the nuts before putting them into the grinder or blender.
Add the coarsely ground nuts to a sifter, and sift the flour out. Put the remaining pieces from the sifter back into the grinder or blender and continue until all the nuts have been sifted and ground. Nut flour should be stored in an airtight container, or in a zippered bag in the freezer. Nut flour can go rancid fairly quickly, so when making it, be sure not to make too much.
Hello again. I want to talk to you about the salad in a jar again. I've been fixing thise for about 5 weeks now, and I want you to know that (in my opinion) this is the best prepare your food ahead idea I've come across.
I use the quart wide mouth canning jars. Either make your own salad dressing (refer to my previous blogs for salad dressing recipes) or buy a good quality salad dressing if you need to save some time.
Prep your vegetables using a sharp knife.
Use a variety of peppers, green, yellow, orange, or red. Stand the pepper on it's end and cut down on the side from the top to the bottom. That will help remove the membranes and seeds. Cut the sections of pepper in strips, and then cut across the strips to make smaller pieces. I mix all my colors together, but you can keep them seperate if you wish.
Cucumbers. I peel if they are waxed. Cut the cuke in half, then in half lenthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and watery membrane. Then cut into strips, and then pieces. Set aside.
Radishes. I prefer using the radishes that come with the tops. Cut off the tops and bottoms, then slice across. I dice these too, but you may leave them in slices. Set aside.
Celery. Cut off the end. I usually cut about 2 inches or so of the end. I cut the top sections with the leaves off and place these in a saucepan. I then dice the remaining celery and set aside. I usually buy 2 stalks of celery, using one for the salads and any cooked dishes, and the other is cut for snacking.
Carrots. I like to shred some to add a nice crunch to the salads.
Tomatoes - I like to use grape or cherry tomotoes and leave them whole I usually put the whole tomotoes in right after adding the salad dressings
You can use any variety of vegetables such as zucchini, cabbage, broccolli, cauliflower.
Lettuce - I use green or red leaf lettuce, or romaine. Wash, tear into bite size pieces and then spin dry or put the lettuce in a pillowcase and roll and squeeze dry.
Avocado - I usually try to have these available during the week that I make the cobb or taco salad, slicing them and adding them right before serving my salads.
Before I start cutting up my veggies, I cook whatever meat I will be using in the salads for that week. I like to bake my chicken breasts that are on the bone because I believe that gives the meat a better flavor. It is very easy to debone the chicken after it has cooled.
When I am making a taco salad, I brown the ground beef before draining. While I drain the beef I add the taco seasoning (check previous blog for that recipe) to the hot skillet and toast it slightly before adding the meat and some water back into the skillet. Cook until the water is absorbed, then cool completely.
Taco Salad in a Jar. Layer in this order
Ranch dressing - about 2 to 3 tbls
Salsa - about 1/4 or 1/3 cup
Peppers - 1/4 cup
radishes 1/8 cup
Cucumbers about 1/8 cup I like cucmbers in anything
Taco flavored meat - 1/2 cup
Shredded cheddar cheese - 1/8 cup
Then add the lettuce to about 1 inch from the top.
Put the lid on and place in the refridgerator.
Dressing of your choice, about 1/8 cup or so
Assorted veggies, about 1/8 to 1/4 cup each
Assorted meat about 1/2 cup
Shredded cheese, about 1/8 cup
Finish with lettuce, cover, seal and refrigerate
Blue cheese dressing
Gluten-free blue cheeses:
Obtained from surefoodsliving.com
Actually, this is pretty much just like the chef's salad, except for the addition of bacon and blue cheese.
Going gluten free can be daunting, but don't let that stop you. If you can do this, you will be amazed at how much better you will feel.
You can purchase ready made gluten-free products, some taste good and some do not. A lot of this depends on the choices of flours that a baker uses. When I bake in my dedicated bakery, I use flour blends that I make myself. My main flour blend is a brown and white rice flour blend with potato and tapioca starch blended in to lighten the flour. I use sorghum and millet in a blend also. I use coconut and almond flours too.
You can purchase flour blends already made. My recommendation on this would be the blend from Authentic Foods. I don't have any experience with any of the others. You do want one that uses the finest grind of rice, otherwise you will have a gritty product.
Baking bread is one of the hardest products to duplicate. It will not be the type of bread you are used to, but it does have delicious taste. You can purchase premade bread, but please choose wisely. If you try a bread, if it wasn't made by me, and you don't like it, you might want to consider driving up to our bakery and purchasing ours. -Call me first at 727-534-1977 to make sure we have the bread you want.
If you choose to make your own bread, make sure your mixer or bread machine is powerful enough to handle the dough. Gluten-free breads need to have air incorporated into the mixture.
If you are concerned about the carbohydrate count in the rice flour blends, use coconut and/or almond flour. Just remember that your breads will be heavier.
If you find that you can't do without the breads, come on up to the bakery. I try to have a good selection of breads, rice blend, rice/millet/sorghum bread, "rye" flavored bread, cinnamon raisin bread. These are all made with yeast. I also offer yeast free breads. This is a smaller loaf, but it does allow you to have a sandwich.
I make dairy free, egg free also.
I offer bagels such as sun dried tomato, onion, plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, everything, cinn/raisin, and blueberry
I have pizza crusts, both in 12 inch size and personal
I make sandwich rolls, hot dog buns, French or Italian breead. I make foccacia too.
You can order quiche, pot pies, cookies, cakes, donuts, bread crumbs, croutons, or any thing that you can think of.