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Cooking Concoctions

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Cooking Concoctions published in 2016

January 2016

Here is a tortilla like soup that is guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out!
Borderline Soup

2 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 small onion, sliced
4 small zucchini, sliced
2 medium carrots, cut into strips
2 medium tomatos, chopped
4 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
Oil for frying
1 cup cubed Jack cheese

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken and beef broth. Bring to a boil.
Add the onion, zucchini, carrot and tomato.
Cover. Simmer until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Season if needed.
During this time, fry the tortillas in a little hot oil in a pan until crisp.
Drain. Place tortilla wedges in 4 soup bowls.
Add Jack cheese, and ladle soup over all.
Serve steaming hot.

*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves can be added to broth while cooking vegetables.
*If using canned broth, no extra salt is usually needed.
*1 cup of canned garbanzo beans can also be added if a hearty soup is desired.
*Shake a few drops, or more of hot sauce for more added flavor.
*Commercial tortilla chips can be used rather than homemade chips.

Microwave Directions:
Same as above

In a 3 quart microsafe casserole, place the onion, zucchini, carrots and tomato.
Add 1/2 cup broth.
Cover. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Add remaining chicken and beef broth.
Cover. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
During this time, fry the tortillas in a little hot oil in a pan on the stove.
Drain. Place tortilla wedges in individual soup bowls.
Add Jack cheese to bowls, and ladle soup over all.
Serve steaming hot.

*If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon oregano and hot sauce to the vegetables before microwaving. The flavor will have more time to meld.
Makes 4 servings.

February 2016

If you made a New Year’s resolution last month to watch what you eat, this may not be the recipe for you. That is, unless you eat only one and distribute the rest to your loved ones. This is a very rich chocolate cupcake recipe that you can decorate with a secret, or not so secret message.

I made these cupcakes for my daughter’s Valentine’s Day party at school. Surprise, there were no leftovers!

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
(Pronounced gaanash)

¼ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
16 fluid ounces Hershey chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

For the Ganache:
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mix well.
Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla.
Add the flour and coffee granules until just combined.
Note: do not overbeat or the cupcakes will be tough
Scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle.
Let cool in the muffin pan

For the ganache:
Cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and coffee granules in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.
Stirring occasionally until smooth and warm.
Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the ganache.

You can use red hot cinnamon candies to braille a short message to your loved ones. Why not try one of these messages, or create your own: love, kiss me, be mine, hugs, etc.
Do not refrigerate
Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

March 2016

Here is a nice hearty Sunday dinner to cook up for the entire family.
Pork And Apple Supper

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cubed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
10 to 12 small red potatoes (about 2 pounds), quartered
4 medium tart apples, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

In a Dutch oven, brown pork in oil.
Add water, bouillon, thyme, pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until pork is almost tender.

When a half hour is left for the pork to be done, preheat the oven to 375
Place the quartered red potatoes in a shallow baking dish
Brush with olive oil
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes

Finishing the pork:
With 15 minutes left for the pork to be done;
Add apples; cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp tender.
Discard bay leaf.
Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into pork mixture.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Serve with your favorite vegetables; steamd broccoli, aspearagus, or carrots

April 2016

Here is a hearty, ethnic, healthy, and delicious rice dish.
Spanish Rice & Beans

2Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/3 cups Chopped Cilantro
3/4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 medium Green Pepper, diced
1 medium Red Onion, diced
1 small can Tomato Paste
1teaspoon oregano
2teaspoon Adobo (find in the Spanish food section, it’s a spice)
1 package Sazon Azafran (find in same aisle as Adobo)
1 Boulion Cube (chicken)
1 can Beans (I use Pink Beans)
Spanish Olives, as many or as little as you prefer (I like alot!)
4 cups Long grain white rice
6-7 cups water
Hot sauce(optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat
2. Sauté cilantro, garlic, green pepper, red onion, till tender
3. Add the tomato paste and water, bring to a boil
4 Add spices, bouillon cube, and beans. Stir
5 Add as many or as few olives as you desire
6 Add 1-6 drops of hot sauce, depending on the amount of heat you prefer. Turn heat down to medium-low
. 7 Add rice and stir constantly, always moving the rice toward the center of the pot
8 Continue doing this till all the water is absorbed
9 Turn off heat, cover pot with foil, and loosely place the lid back on the pot
10 Check rice after 5-8 minutes for tenderness and doneness
Makes about 8 to 9 cups, and the smell while cooking is incredible!

May 2016

Since many of us are in the full swing of spring, I thought we make some Spring Rolls. What is great about this recipe is that you do not deep fry them, but bake them; the healthier alternative.
Asian Baked Spring Rolls

3 medium carrots, grated
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
1 bunch bok choy, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, fresh or canned
1 large red onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tbs dark soy sauce
2tbs corn starch
2 tsp vegetable oil
25 spring roll wrappers

1. Blanch cabbage and bok choy in boiling water for a few minutes and drain to remove excess moisture
2. Cut mushrooms thinly and sauté if you want them precooked
3. Combine carrots, cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, red onion, green onions, & shredded chicken in a large bowl
4. Season filling with salt and pepper according to taste. Drizzle with soy sauce and oil and stir in cornstarch to bind ingredients together
5. Separate spring roll wrappers from stack on a dry plate

Filling wrappers:
1. Keep wrapper on a flat dry work surface with any one of its corners facing you
2. Place a tablespoon of filling about 1 inch from that corner (do not be tempted to overfill as it may ooze out during baking)
3. Fold corner facing you over filling and roll over once
4. Now fold right and left corners so that they overlap
5. Finish by rolling wrapper to opposite corner so that filling is completely enclosed (you will get the hang of it after you have completed a few)
*Note: You can freeze your spring rolls at this point if you wish to store them for later use) spore in a ziplock bag, label and date; use within 1 week

Preheat oven to 350
1. Line baking tray with parchment paper, and place rolls seam side down on tray and brush surface lightly with oil (you can use sesame oil for a bit of added flavor)
2. Place in oven for 20-30 minutes until rolls are golden and crisp
3. Serve right away with sweet and sour sauce or hot chili sauce

June 2016

The weather is warming up in some areas, and beginning to cool off in others. But whatever your climate is, here is a tasty and healthy grilling recipe. And, if it is too cold where you live, I have added the microwave directions just for you!

Barbecued Turkey Burgers

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons cold water
Pineapple slices, optional
Tomato slices
Bell pepper rings
Any roll or bun to your liking, such as Kaiser or Sesame Rolls

Grill Preparation:
Charcoal grill; the coals should have an even layer of gray ashes

In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg yolk, salt, pepper, cloves and chopped onion.
Add soy sauce and water. Stir to combine well.
Shape mixture into 4 even patties.
Grill patties over prepared coals 3 to 4 minutes on each side until cooked to your liking.
If you are using pineapple slices, put them on the grill at the same time, turning them over after 2 minutes.
Place burgers on preheated buns.
Dress It Up:
Place a tomato slice, a pepper ring and/or a pineapple slice on each burger.
Serve immediately

Ground turkey is now available in most supermarkets. Choose the turkey that is not that finely ground, that gives you a juicier burger.
You may grill the burgers with a slice of Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Microwave Directions:
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pineapple slices, optional
Tomato slices
Bell pepper rings
Kaiser or Sesame rolls, or Hamburger buns

If you have a browning dish, preheat it in the microwave oven.
In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg yolk, salt, pepper and cloves. Add the onion and water.
Combine well and form four patties.
Brush the burgers with soy sauce on 1 side.
Place burgers on micro-safe rack or preheated browning dish.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Let rest for 1 minute.
Turn burgers over. Brush with remaining soy sauce.
Microwave again on high for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked to your liking.
Microwave the pineapple slices, if using, at the same time.
Place burgers on preheated buns.
Garnish with tomato and/or tomato slices and a pepper ring.
Serve immediately with chips and carrot sticks, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.

July 2016

Cool yourself off with one of these healthy smoothie recipes!

Blueberry & Peach Layered Smoothie
1 cup fresh Blueberries
1 cup milk (any type), divided
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons honey, divided
4-6 ice cubes
1 cup peeled and sliced peaches, frozen or fresh
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

To make the Blueberry layer;
Blend the Blueberries, ½ cup milk, oats, yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, 2 teaspoons honey, and ice together in a blender until smooth.
Divide it equally between two glasses.
To make the peach layer;
Blend the peaches, ½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon honey and the lemon juice together in a blender until smooth.
If using frozen peaches, you may need to add a little additional milk or water to get the blender going.
Carefully pour equal amounts into the glasses on top of the Blueberry layer, creating a second layer with the peaches.
*Garnish the smoothie with Blueberries, oats, and cinnamon.

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
½ cup milk
, 2 teaspoons honey
A pinch of cinnamon
1 cup ice
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth
* Garnish with a sliced strawberry

Pineapple & Mango Smoothie
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped mango
1 cup coconut water
A dash of ground allspice
1 cup ice
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth, and sprinkle with toasted coconut

Healthy Veggie Smoothie
1 1/4 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup carrot juice
1/2 peeled cucumber
1/2 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup parsley
¼ cup spinach
1/2 cup ice
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth
*Garnish with whole celery stalk

Note: Try adding some superfoods to your smoothies; Maca, cacao, goji berries, aloe vera, coconut oil, hemp seeds/protein, spirulina, and acai are great to start with.

August 2016

Here is a dip that is delicious and easy to make. It is so cheesy and fragrant, you and your guest won’t be able to stop dipping!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
*Lightly grease a small baking dish
*In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
*Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach
*Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish
*Top with mozzarella cheese
*Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned

*Dip with pita chips, French bread, Melba toast, or your favorite crackers
*Buy a whole round loaf of pumpernickel bread and slice off a thin slice from the top. Gently scoop out the inside and cut into dipping pieces. Once the dip is not so hot, pour it into the bread bowl you just created. Dip and enjoy!

September 2016

Whether you will soon be harvesting or growing some bell peppers, here is a great recipe for stuffed peppers.
Stuffed Green Peppers

4 large even shaped green peppers
For Filling:
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 egg
3 tablespoons half and half
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper

1. Wash peppers. Cut off tops, and remove seeds and membrane; discard.
2. Combine ground meat, rice, onion, celery and egg. Blend well.
3. Add half and half, parsley, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and peppers. Mix to blend well.
4. Place green peppers in an oven proof dish, large enough to hold peppers upright.
5. Fill green peppers with meat mixture, mounding a little on top of each. The filling will shrink while baking.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until filling is set and cooked through and peppers are tender.
Serve immediately.

*Red peppers can be stuffed the same way.
*Bread crumbs can be substituted for the cooked rice. Add 2 tablespoons half and half to filling.
*Leftover chicken, finely chopped, can be used in place of ground meat.

Microwave Directions
Same as above
1. Wash peppers. Cut off tops, and remove seeds and membrane; discard.
2. Prepare filling. Place onion, ground meat and chopped celery in a microwavable safe baking dish. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and stir well. Return to microwave oven and microwave for another 3 minutes on high.
4. Add remaining ingredients to beef mixture. Stir to blend.
5. Place peppers in a microwavable safe baking dish. Fill peppers with mixture. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap.
6. Microwave on medium-high for about 8 minutes, turning dish once if oven is not a self-rotating one.
7. Cook on high for about 2 minutes until peppers are tender and filling is done. Glaze tops with a little tomato sauce, if desired.
Serve hot with crusty French bread.

Sprinkle some grated Cheddar or Swiss cheese on top of each pepper. Return to microwave oven and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high until cheese is melted.
Makes 4 servings.

October 2016

Next to my Cranberry Bread recipe, this Pumpkin Bread recipe is a second favorite of mine! Although I make it with fresh pumpkin, those of you who do not have access to fresh pumpkin or it is not the correct season, you can substitute fresh for can. However, preparing fresh pumpkin for this recipe is half the fun, and your kids can help! In addition, your house will be filled with the delicious scent of pumpkin.
Fresh pumpkin preparation:
Carve out a large opening at the top of the pumpkin
Scrape and scoop out the seeds and pulp (stringy substance)
*Note; you can wash and air dry the pumpkin seed on a paper towel to later roast in the oven for a great healthy snack
Cut the pumpkin into pieces that are manageable and can fit onto a baking sheet, you may need two sheets
Lay the pumpkin skin side down and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork tender
When cooled, peel the skin away from the pumpkin “meat”
You can use a food processor or blender to puree the pumpkin, put in a few pieces at a time, and add a bit of water if needed to get going
*I actually use my potato masher, and it does a fine job as well
I measure out 2 cups of pumpkin and store in zip lock freezer bags, (being sure to let out all the air before sealing) and they will last for nearly a year in the freezer
So that way when you are in the mood for pumpkin bread just grab a bag out of the freezer and make

Pumpkin Bread
3cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin (1 can 15 ounces pumpkin)
1/3 cups water
2 tsp baking soda
1tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt
3 1/4 cups flour

1. Beat sugar and oil well, add eggs and blend well
2. Add pumpkin and water, beat well
3. Combine all dry ingredients and add to wet mixture, beat until well incorporated and smooth
4. Pour into 2 greased loaves pans
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes

November 2016

I have been getting several emails asking for some diabetic recipes. Ask and you shall receive. Here is a delicious cod dish from The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo.
Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Olives
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 1 cod fillet + 1/2 cup of vegetables
• Calories215
• Carbohydrate12 g
• Protein23 g
• Fat9.0 g
• Saturated Fat1.3 g
• Sugars6 g
• Dietary Fiber3 g
• Cholesterol50 mg
• Sodium155 mg

1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
2 large zucchini, diced
1 yellow onion, sliced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
4 cod fillets (4-6 ounce each)
Juice of 1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Place tomatoes, zucchini and onion in a large baking dish, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, and roast for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Remove from oven, and stir in garlic, olives, and basil. Place cod fillets on top of vegetables, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lime juice.
5. Return to oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
Servings: 4
2 Vegetable, 3 Lean Meat, 1/2 Fat
Add some artichokes as a side dish and make a healthy and complete meal!

December 2016

Here are two delicious diabetic friendly cookie recipes that you can make for a holiday party or just for your family. Enjoy!

Jam Cookies
¼ Cup trans free margarine or butter, softened
1 Tablespoon canola oil
¾ Cup granulated sugar
Grated peel of large lemon (optional)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 Cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup raspberry jam
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

1. BEAT margarine, oil, granulated sugar, and lemon peel, if using, until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
2. COMBINE flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl. Add to sugar mixture, and stir by hand just until dough is soft.
3. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour, or until well chilled.
4. PREHEAT oven to 350°F when ready to bake.
5. ROLL out one disk to ¼" thickness between 2 pieces of wax paper. Cut out cookies using a 1½" to 2" round cookie cutter or glass rim. Using a ½" round or shaped cutter, cut centers out of half the cookies.
6. PLACE cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
7. BAKE 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden around edges. Transfer to rack to cool. Repeat with remaining disk, rerolling scraps to get as many cookies as possible.
8. SPREAD solid cookies with jam, and sprinkle cut out cookies lightly with confectioners' sugar, if using. Top each solid cookie with a cut out cookie.

Tip: Freezing is a good idea for these cookies, since they're so low in fat that they don't keep as long as traditional high fat cookies. Store in airtight containers, or freeze them if they aren't going to be eaten within a day or two.
NUTRITION (per serving) 70 cal, 1 g pro, 12 g carb, .2 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 2 g fat, .2 g sat fat, 50 mg sodium

Sweet 'n' Cool Peanut Bars

½ Cup packed brown sugar
½ Cup creamy peanut butter
½ Cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ Cup rice cereal
1½ Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ Cup chocolate chips

1. COAT generously a 9" x 9" baking pan with cooking spray.
2. COMBINE the sugar, peanut butter, and corn syrup in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes, or until boiling, stirring once.
3. Carefully, and with potholders Remove from the microwave oven and stir in the vanilla extract, cereal, oats, and chocolate chips. Mix well.
4. When cool enough to work with, pour and press firmly and evenly into the prepared baking pan.
5. COOL completely in the pan and cut into bars.

NUTRITION (per serving) 134 cal, 3 g pro, 23 g carb, 1.3 g fiber, 9 g sugars, 4 g fat, .8 g sat fat, 62 mg sodium

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