Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chicken Marsala with Spinach & Zucchini over Pasta

Wow. This just warmed my heart...soo yummy!

1-1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into bit sized pieces
2 slices bacon/pancetta, thinly chopped (i used 2 small italian sausage links)
2 cups cooked pasta (i used brown rice spirals)
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 cups marsala cooking wine
3 cups spinach, rinsed
1-2 small zucchini, chopped

1. In a large sauce pan, cook bacon/pancetta, drain any fat.

2. Add olive oil, garlic, and chicken and saute (4-6 minutes).

3. Cover and simmer with butter and then add the marsala, lemon, and thyme. Simmer another 8 minutes until wine sauce has thickened, covered. Add zucchini and parsley, cover for 2 minutes.

4. Serve over pasta and spinach leaves. Salt to taste. Serves 4.

Depending on how soft you like your spinach, you could place the spinach in your sauce pan and cover for a minute to wilt...without heat. It was delicious!

Country Bean Stew

This is an excellent stew to make with your Easter Dinner lamb left-overs...
The original recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens, of course i changed it up a bit:
3 cups
3/4 cup red cooking wine
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbs olive oil
2 cups dry Great Northern
beans (i used a cooked, tri-bean version with kidney, pinto and white)
3 large
carrots, coarsely chopped
12 ounces lean boneless
lamb, cut into cubes
8 ounces bulk Italian
sausage (i used a portabello mushroom, chicken & turkey sausage)
3 medium
onions, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 cloves
garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried
thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried
oregano, crushed
1/4 cup snipped fresh
parsley ( i used dried parsley)
1-2 avocados, diced

1. In a large pot, cook lamb, garlic, onions, and sausage in olive oil on medium low heat 6-8 minutes.

2. Add red wine, celery and carrots, and saute 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, water, and remaining spices. Simmer for another 25 minutes covered. Serve topped with avocado and your favorite homemade biscuits. Makes 6 servings.
You can also do this in the crockpot with soaked, rinsed, uncooked beans, and uncooked meat. It takes 7-8 hours on low and about 4 on high.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pumpkin Seed-Fried Trout with Grapefruit and Fried Sage

This looks delightful...i'm going to try it this next week...i'll let you know. Pumpkin seeds are packed with immune boosters and help with the flu, and grapefruit: oh the vitamin C!


1 large red grapefruit
1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
Four 6-ounce skinless trout fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
8 large sage leaves
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup water


1. Using a sharp knife, remove the peel and bitter white pith from the grapefruit. Working over a medium bowl, carefully cut in between the membranes to release the sections into the bowl. Squeeze the remaining grapefruit juice into a separate bowl.

2. In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds until coarsely ground. Put the flour, egg and ground pumpkin seeds in 3 shallow bowls. Season the trout fillets with salt and pepper and lightly dust them with flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the fillets in the beaten egg, then dredge them in the pumpkin seeds.

3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the sage leaves and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the sage leaves to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add 1/4 inch of the vegetable oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Carefully add the trout fillets and fry over moderately high heat until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Divide the fillets among 4 plates.

4. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add the fresh grapefruit juice and water to the skillet and bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the grapefruit sections and simmer the sauce for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper and spoon the sauce and grapefruit sections over the trout. Garnish each fillet with 2 sage leaves and serve immediately.

Tropical Rice Pudding

Another enticing coconut milk recipe from Valine :

1 Can Japanese or other short-grain white rice
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 ounce can unsweetened light coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
large mango, sliced

In 3 quart saucepan, heat rice, sugar, salt, and 3 cups of water to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium; stir in coconut milk and cook uncovered until rice is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasional.
Transfer rice pudding to serving bowls; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight to serve cold. Top with mango slices and toasted coconut before serving.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thai-Style Chicken Soup

Brought by Camille Simon's mother, Valine Quinn, (our homemade bread specialist), this soup is said to taste just like the delicious Coconut Soups in Thai restaurants...

serves 4

1 tsp vegetable oil (coconut oil would work gr8 here)
3 lemongrass stalks, touch outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced
thin crosswise
3 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbs fish sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk, well shaken
1 tbs sugar
1/2 lb white mushrooms, cut into 1/4" slices
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
3 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tsp Thai red curry paste


1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 serrano cilies, slices thin
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Add the lemongrass, shallots, cilantry, and 1 tbs of the fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2-5 minutes (the vegetables should not brown). Stir in the broth and 1 can of coconut milk; bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover, reuce the heat to low, and simmer until the flavors have blended, 10 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids in the strainer. Rinse the saucepan and return the broth mixture to the pan.

2. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Stir the remaining can of coconut milk and sugar into the broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1-3 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat.

3. Combine the lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tbs fish sauce in a small bowl; stir into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cilantro, shiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Sauce

Claudia Gertsch found this delightful dessert on Veria, and healthy living tv show that has a great healthy cooking show called Naturally Delicious. Here's the recipe she found and has used a couple times already:

This has got to be one of the most popular desserts we make each day. It is a tofu-based pie, but you’d never know it since the texture is so creamy. The sweetness from the coconut is very appealing, too. Be sure to make a high-standing rim of crust to hold the generous amount of filling for this pie. Although the filling will move slightly in the center when done, as the pie cools the filling will become firm and creamy.

Serves 8

2 (12.3-ounce) containers vacuum-packed extra-firm silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
1 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
oat pastry crust
chocolate sauce


Position the rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Blend the tofu, maple sugar, coconut milk, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, oil, arrowroot, vanilla and almond extract in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour the coconut mixture into the baked pie crust.

Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup shredded coconut over the pie. Continue baking for 15 minutes, or until the coconut is golden and the filling is set around the edges but still moves slightly in the center when the pie dish is gently shaken. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely. Cover the pie and refrigerate until cold. Cut the pie into wedges and transfer to plates. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over, and serve.

The pie will keep for one-day, covered and refrigerated.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Eggplant, Zucchini & Portobello Schnitzel

Schnitzel Ingredients:

1 can coconut milk
1 large egg
2 cups breadcrumbs (use your favorite bread)
4-6 portobello mushrooms (sliced)
1 large eggplant (sliced into ½” rounds)

Lemon-Caper Sauce:

3 tbs butter
3 tbs olive oil
3 tsp capers
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease baking sheet (I use coconut oil)

2. To make Schnitzel:

Whisk together milk and egg in wide, shallow bowl. Spread bread crumbs on a large plate. Dip eggplant, zucchini, & Portobello into milk/egg mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs. Set on baking sheet. Bake vegetables 10 minutes. Flip them and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and breadcrumbs are brown. Set aside.

3. To make Lemon-Caper Sauce:

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until butter begins to brown. Stir in oil and capers, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice and parsley.

Serve vegetables immediately with sauce on top.
This can be served as a side or main dish. To make this a complete meal, you can dip cooked chicken or sausage in the schnitzel sauce, and voila!

Curry Chicken with Asparagus

1 can coconut milk
3/4 c almond butter
1 tbs fish oil
1/2 tsb green curry paste (red is also good)
1 tbs soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1-2 tbs curry powder
1 tbs ginger powder1 onion, chopped (or two green onions, chopped)
Other Ingredients:
1 bunch of asperagus chopped into 1 1/2 “ pieces
3 chicken breasts chopped
1. In large sauce pan combine sauce ingredients and stir until smooth at medium heat.
2. cook chicken in sauce on medium heat, covered. (7-10 minutes, depending on chicken piece size)

3. Add asparagus and cook until tender (3-4 min)
Serve over rice.
Serves 4-5.
Asparagus can also be replaced by zucchini, eggplant; almost any of your favorite in-season vegetables.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

In a medium sauce pan, boil 5-6 cups water with 3 breasts of chicken.
Remove chicken and all but 1 ½ cups chicken broth

2-3 tbs raw/turbinado sugar

1/2 - 1 tsp. green curry paste

2 cans coconut milk

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Mix and heat together. Thicken with 2 T. cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup water. Use sparingly until just barely thickened.

In a saucepan sauté:

2 cups chopped celery

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

3 limes, juiced

Stir sautéed vegetables and chopped chicken into coconut milk mix. Simmer 20 min. For a filling meal, serve over brown rice.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beans - Nature's Perfect Food

Cheri's research on Beans...

Bean eaters are associated with smaller waist sizes and a 22% lower risk of obesity. They also take in less “bad” fat and one-third more fiber than those who avoid these nutritional gems.

Beans have such an amazing nutrition track record. One cup of beans provides a whopping 13 g of fiber—which is half of what we need daily—with no saturated fat. Beans are loaded with protein (about 15g per cup) and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most women fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies also tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers. And surprisingly, red, pinto, and kidney beans are the highest antioxidant food, beating out both blueberries and cranberries. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Rd
Prevention – February 2008—pp 85-87


The new U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guideline using the Eating Right Pyramid suggests, that the foods lowest in fats, oils and sugars (fruits, vegetables, dry beans and grains) should make up the largest portion of our daily meals. The benefits of using beans on a daily basis have recently been promoted because studies show beans help to reduce cholesterol while providing excellent nutrition. When combined with nuts, seeds or grains, they form a complete high-fiber vegetable protein. Most beans contain only 2-3% fat. Beans are the perfect food for a fat-restricted diet. You may never have to count calories again. Beans contain no cholesterol, and they can help lower your cholesterol level because they are one of the richest sources of fiber! Most beans contain at least 20% protein and are high in carbohydrates which provides longlasting energy. In addition, beans provide essential B Vitamins and Iron. Adding beans to your daily meals insures total nutrition, and with our wide selection of beans you should be able to find the right flavor for you.

Here’s a great website that will tell you about the nutritional content of all different types of beans and recipes to use them in.

But what about ...Some people hesitate to eat beans because they can produce too much intestinal gas. Gas develops as indigestible carbohydrates in beans pass into the large intestine, where bacteria break down the carbohydrates and produce gas. A product called Beano taken with or just before eating provides a protein that breaks down these carbohydrates, preventing or reducing gas formation.

Cultures that traditionally use beans abundantly tend to use herbs and spices said to fight flatulence. These include turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, anise, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, rosemary, lemongrass, garlic and basil.

Bean Basics
If you really want to improve the quality of your diet, think beans. A hearty and satisfying alternative to meat, beans are low in fat, and rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron, zinc, copper, and potassium. As for fiber, no other food surpasses beans. Just a half cup of cooked beans provides 4 to 8 grams of fiber — up to four times the amount found in most other plant foods. Beans also help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. As an added bonus, beans keep you feeling full and satisfied long after the meal is over — a definite benefit if you're watching your weight.

Because beans are a natural product, packages of dried beans sometimes contain shriveled or discolored beans, as well as small twigs and other items. Before cooking, sort through your beans and discard any discolored or blemished legumes. Rinse the beans well, cover them with water, and discard any that float to the top.

There are two methods used to soak beans in preparation for cooking. If you have time — if you intend to cook your dish the next day, for instance — you may want to use the long method, as this technique is best for reducing the gas-producing oligosaccharides. If dinner is just a couple of hours away, though, the quick method is your best bet. Keep in mind that not all beans must be soaked before cooking. Black-eyed peas, brown and red lentils, and split peas do not require soaking.

The Long Method
After cleaning the beans, place them in a large bowl or pot, and cover them with four times as much water. Soak the beans for at least four hours, and for as long as twelve hours. If soaking them for more than four, place the bowl or pot in the refrigerator. After soaking, discard the water and replace with fresh water before cooking.

The Quick Method
After cleaning the beans, place them in a large pot, and cover them with four times as much water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, and continue to boil for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. After soaking, discard the water and replace with fresh water before cooking.

To cook beans for use in salads, casseroles, and other dishes that contain little or no liquid, clean and soak as described above, discard the soaking water, and replace with two cups of water for each cup of dried beans. When beans are to be cooked in soups or stews that include acidic ingredients — lemon juice, vinegar, or tomatoes, for instance — add these ingredients at the end of the cooking time. Acidic foods can toughen the beans' outer layer, slowing the rate at which the beans cook. You'll know that the beans are done when you can mash them easily with a fork. Keep in mind that old beans may take longer to cook. The use of hard water can also lengthen cooking times. During long cooking times, periodically check the pot, and add more liquid if necessary.

Cheri's Party Bean Dip

8 – 1 cup servings

1 can White Beans (S&W Brand), drained and rinsed
1 can Chili Beans, DO NOT drain or rinse
1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Red Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Corn, drained (frozen or canned shoe peg corn)
1 can Rotel, mild diced tomatoes and green chilies, do not drain
1 bunch of cilantro (diced)
1 green pepper, chopped (I like to roast mine first)
8 oz. of Italian Dressing
Optional-1-3 teaspoons of enchilada seasoning or salsa seasoning

Best made ahead of time so flavors can blend.

Nutrition: 1 cup serving

148 calories 3 g. fat (19.3% cal. from fat) 7 g. protein
24 g. carbs 8 g. fiber 2 mg. cholesterol
364 mg. sodium

Cheri's Benito Bean Dip

2 small green onions
1 can (16 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a food processor chop the green onions. Add the cilantro and blend, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serve with Baked Tostitos chips.

1/3 cup with 10 baked corn chips:

Calories . . . . . . . . . 180 Fiber . . . . . . . . . 10 g
Cal. from fat . . . . . 5% Cholesterol . . . . 0 mg
Fat . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 g Sodium . . . . . . . 500mg
Saturated fat . . . . 0 g Total carbs . . . . 37 g
Protein . . . . . . . . . . 7 g Sugars . . . . . . . . . 1 g

** Try using ½ can of Original Rotell instead of Salsa.

**If using freshly cooked beans you might have to add
½ tsp. of salt.

**1 can of beans = 1 heaping cup of freshly cooked beans.

questions? email Cheri at:

homemade risotto

I have anticipated the children putting food into the shopping cart for a while...just didn't know what it would be. Carsten chose some risotto. I thought, "well, it could've been candy or something loaded with msg or corn syrup." I enjoy Lundberg products. We eat their long grain brown rice regularly. Their product, vision, practices are all excellent. So why not try some risotto?

Carl and I enjoyed it very much. But I like to do as much as I can on my own...make sure i feel satisfied about all of the ingredients. So i tried my own version last nite at dinner and this is what I came up with:

zucchini & mushroom cheddar risotto

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 cups water
3/4 cup chicken broth (i bottle my own from chicken i have boiled and store it in an old juice container in the fridge)
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced into small almost grated-like pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white cheddar cheese
2 tbs herb pesto
2 tbs butter

I used the rice cooker and cooked the rice in the water. Meanwhile, i melted the butter and cooked the onion on low in a large saucepan. Added the rice and chicken broth to the pan. Brought the broth to a broil and then turned down the heat to a simmer. As the broth was nearly all soaked up in the rice, i added the mushrooms, cheese, pesto, and zucchini. It only took a couple minutes to get everything stirred in evenly, the vegetables were lightly cooked, and the broth replaced with a creamy sauce. It was delicious!