Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quinoa, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa has pretty much become my new favorite grain.  Quick cooking and versatile, it pairs well with just about everything.  Cook up a big batch of quinoa in the beginning of the week and toss it with whatever you have on hand for quick weekday meals.  I like mixing red and white quinoa in dishes to get a nice contrast in texture.

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked red and/or white quinoa
1 medium avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine lime juice, vegetable oil, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss gently until just combined.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lentil & Cauliflower Soup

Don't let the long ingredient list scare you.  A little bit of chopping and then lots of herbs and spices.  Toss it all into your slow cooker and let it do the rest of the work. Before you know it you'll have a rich, flavorful, hearty Meatless Monday meal.  Perfect to warm up with on a cold winter day.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Makes 6 servings (about 12 cups)

1 small head cauliflower, chopped (about 4 cups)
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups lentils
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
8 cups vegetable broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add lentils, broth and tomatoes and stir until well combined.

Cover and cook on Low 8 to 10 hours or High 4 to 5 hours or until lentils are tender.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice.  Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt if desired.

recipe developed for Weight Watchers

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken

This recipe is literally as easy as 1-2-3.
3 ingredients, add them to your slow cooker and walk away! That's it.  Come back hours later to delicious, melt in your mouth chicken that the whole family will love!
  photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs
1/2 cup FRENCH'S® Classic Yellow® Mustard
½ cup honey

Arrange chicken in slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Combine Mustard and honey and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on Low 6 to 7 hours or High 3 to 4 hours or until chicken is very tender and sauce is thickened.

Note: I prefer to use thighs when slow cooking chicken, but you can use whatever you like. 
This is also great if you shred the chicken and toss with the sauce; serve on rolls topped with shredded lettuce or cabbage.
 food stylist - Diane Vezza
prop stylist - Heather Bean

recipe developed for French's Foods

Glazed Asparagus and Carrots  makes a nice accompaniment for this dish.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crispy Banana & Cream Stuffed French Toast

With creamy peanut butter goodness inside and crisp banana flavor outside, this is not your ordinary French toast.  Great for breakfast and brunch or pack in lunchboxes for a special treat!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

4 slices whole wheat bread
6 tablespoons peanut butter, divided
2/3 cup sliced strawberries
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 packets Cream of Wheat Banana’s & Cream Instant Hot Cereal (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons butter, divided

Spread peanut butter evenly on 4 slices bread.  Arrange strawberries over peanut butter on 2 slices. Place remaining bread slices over strawberries to make 2 sandwiches.

Beat egg and milk in shallow bowl until well blended. Dip sandwiches, one at a time, into egg mixture, allowing egg to soak into sandwich.  Then dip into cereal, turning to evenly coat both sides.

Melt butter in large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once.  Serve with maple syrup, if desired.

Recipe developed for Cream of Wheat 

 More Breakfast recipes

Thursday, February 13, 2014

His & Hers Sparkling Cocktails

There are certain days when you're expected to break out the bubbly.  Valentine's Day is one of those days.  Typical champagne cocktails tend to be a bit, well, girlie.  So if you're celebrating with your man or if your just a girl who doesn't like girlie drinks (like me!) here are a pair of his and hers cocktails sure to please.

Bright floral notes from St. Germaine, subtle sweetness of Pomengranate, champagne bubbles and a vodka kick.  It's like drinking a love potion!

1 ounce St. Germain liquor
1 ounce vodka
splash of pomegranate or raspberry liquor
2 ounces Proseco or Champagne

Add St. Germain, vodka and  pomegranate liquor to champagne glass.  Pour in proseco.

Black Velvet
A classic cocktail that combines stout and Champagne.

2 ounces Proseco  or Champagne
2 ounces Guinness

Pour proseco into champagne glass, then slowly pour in Guinness.

Serve both immediately with lots of candlelight!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Portobello Pizzas

A unique and elegant first course or double the serving size for a delicious meatless main course.
And with only 6 ingredients and 30 minutes total time you'll want to make these again and again!
photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ pounds broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 large (5 to 6-inch diameter) Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 cup Violet Pizza Sauce
6 ounces smoked or regular fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook broccoli rabe 5 minutes or until almost tender.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes or until broccoli rabe is tender.

Arrange mushrooms on a large, lightly oiled baking sheet.  Evenly spoon about 3 tablespoons Pizza Sauce onto each mushroom. Top with broccoli rabe, then cheese.  Bake 12 minutes or cheese is melted.


Quinoa, Avocado and Black Bean Salad

 is another easy and delicous meatless option!

food stylist - Catherine Paukner
food stylist assistant - Lauren Dellabella
prop stylist - Heather Bean
recipe developed for Don Pepino 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting

This iconic Southern favorite gets a tropical twist with coconut frosting.  A luscious treat for special occasions, but easy enough for everyday.

photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Makes: 24 cupcakes

1 can Baker's Joy® non-stick spray with flour
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened, divided
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 (8-oz. each) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup coconut flavored  rum
4 cups confectioners' sugar
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 12-cup muffin pans with Baker's Joy spray.  Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.  Beat ¾ cup butter in large bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in food coloring and vanilla.

Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Combine vinegar and baking soda in small bowl  (mixture will bubble).  Stir into batter and beat for 10 seconds. 

Evenly fill prepared muffin cups with batter.  Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.

To make frosting, beat remaining 1 cup butter and cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in rum; gradually add  confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add  3 cups coconut and beat until just combined. 

Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle remaining coconut over cupcakes.

food stylist - Catherine Paukner
food stylist assistant - Lauren Dellabella
prop stylist - Heather Bean

recipe developed for Baker's Joy

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Meringue Cookie Kisses

Nothing says I love you like homemade...well anything!
These delicious, melt-in-your meringue cookies are the perfect sweet treat to show that special someone just how much you care this Valentine's Day.
Oh, and an added bonus - they are naturally fat free!

3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract (you can use any flavor you like)
12 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed about 1 minute or until foamy. With mixer running, slowly add sugar in 3 additions beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat about 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
Add confectioners' sugar and peppermint extract; beat about 1 minute or just until blended.

Dot food coloring over surface of meringue; DO NOT STIR (the coloring will form swirls when piped).

Gently spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" star tip; twist top closed.

 Pipe 1" rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1" apart.

Bake meringues about about 2 1/2 hours, until dry.

Cool completely on wire racks, about 1 hour.  Meringues will crisp as they cool.

Can be made up 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.