Have you ever tried pesto? I saw it for the first time about a year ago….Standing there in the noodle aisle, doing what I always do; trying to get some inspiration from the food in front of me. I saw this little jar that struck my fancy. Skip forward, the pesto is still here. The stores version. Not so much.
So anytime I try something new, I immediately start thinking of ways I can make it different; make it my own. I love cooking. I love making food taste gooooooood! I LOVE seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they are trying a new food and the moment it hits their system, when the flavors come together and it all reaches their brain…THAT moment, is the moment that I cook for.
Pesto, it has many purposes, each one good in their own right. It can be an appetizer dip, spread on a bread or used with noodles; the possibilities are endless! And lucky for us, it’s easy to make. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Dips/Dressings’ Category
If your family loves chips and dip, they will enjoy Firecracker Corn Dip. Making a spicy corn dip is easy and delicious. With a few ingredients from the Firecracker Bountiful Basket add on, you can have a tasty dip perfect for a party! Using the onions, garlic, and peppers, with corn and bell peppers makes a hearty and spicy dip. Corn dip can be served with tortilla chips or as a relish on any dish. This is mouth wateringly good! (more…)
I love guacamole! Guacamole is a dip made traditionally from avocados, with additions of tomato, onion, lime juice, and seasonings. It ranges in texture from a thick sauce to a chunky dip. Health tip–Avocados are packed with more than twenty vitamins, contain “good fats” that reduce cholesterol, can help fight cancer, and can be used as a substitute for butter or shortening in baking! (more…)
If your kids (especially the teen set) are anything like mine, they have one thought when they walk through the door after school…food. They cannot be compelled to share tales of their day, prepare for evening activities, or certainly start on homework until the growling stomachs that have been functioning on the brink of starvation since lunch are satisfied. Led by their empty guts and parched throats the newly returned scholars begin a systematic search of the kitchen cupboards, fridge, and freezer pulling out just about anything crunchy, sugary, salty, or wet.
The Juice pack was introduced in January to provide those participants that wanted to do a juice fast an easy and affordable option; for many it was a chance to add some extra fruits and veggies to their dinner table. I tried juicing and actually liked some of the concoctions that I came up with, but I tend to use it to add some extra produce to the table. I decided to try some “Retro” dishes and a couple you might not have thought of…ready? Here we go!
Beautiful Ataulfo mangoes from Bountiful Baskets paired with red peppers 3 for $1 at one of my favorite stores, what does that mean? Well, in my kitchen it means “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. I don’t know that this could technically fall under the “chutney” category as it has no nuts, no raisons, and none of the curry flavors I associate with chutney. It’s probably more like a salsa but since that is the name it came with, and I do not think it’s polite to rename someone else’s baby…chutney it is.
This recipe is beautifully simple to create and has a wide range of uses. I start by dicing mangoes, red bell peppers, and yellow onion. That all simmers in a mixture of brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and lime juice. I add in finely chopped garlic and finely chopped ginger along with a happy helping of crushed red peppers. When that is smelling good and looking pretty I pack it all into my warm pint or half-pint jars and water-bath the heck out of it (15 mins in my neck of the woods).
The shelf- life is supposed to be 1 year but with it’s delicious taste and versatility, mine has never lasted that long. What do I do with it you wonder? Thanks for asking because I really want to tell you. One of my favorite ways to use it up is for a Sunday slow cooker meal that has become a family favorite. I pop in a lightly seasoned pork roast, add a touch of water and let it go low and slow until it’s literally falling apart. I shred that sucker up and mix in a pint of “Sweet and Spicy Mango Chutney”. This “Sweet and Spicy Mango Pork” is then served over rice or in cabbage leaves and topped with macadamia nuts for a delicious Asian dinner.
We have discovered that this recipe is great on the grill. I open a jar, pour some into a ziplock bag and pop in a few chicken legs or thighs, whatever I have on hand. I let that marinade for an hour or so (don’t go much longer or the vinegar will break down the chicken too much) and then put the chicken on the grill. I serve extra sauce (NOT any that was used as marinade) right at the table.
I have also found success making it into a salad dressing. I take a half-pint jar of the “chutney” and whisk that up with a combination of olive and sesame oil and use it to dress a chopped green salad or an Asian-style cabbage salad.
Last , but certainly not least, this sauce makes a great dip for my favorite wonton recipe. I add a touch of sesame oil and some soy sauce to the chutney and then let my guests dunk away. (I’m including the wonton recipe here just for fun.)
Chutney, Salsa, Sauce or just YUM! Whatever you decide to call it I hope you enjoy this delicious way to use up those mangoes.
It will be 22 years this Spring that I have been married to my Darling Husband, and for 22 years I have tried to get him to eat fresh peppers. He will eat them roasted or hidden in soups, stews and casseroles but raw, not a chance. So here I sit with these cute little sweet colorful chili peppers, I don’t want to cook them…what to do…what to do… then i hear a cooking show on the television…pimento cheese spread. Hmmmm…I have red peppers from the Italian pack sitting on the counter…I could make that!
A quick charring under the broiler peel and dice, whip together the cheese spread and slice the little peppers in half, fill with pimento cheese spread and onto my deviled egg tray (love when I find another use for a specialty platter.) and I now have an appetizer!
I took them in and sat then down near my husband and before I knew it half the tray was gone! YES!!! I got my husband to eat sweet chili peppers!!!
Here is an elegant and simple dessert that can be pulled together rather quickly. This is what I served for our Valentines Day dessert, I peeled a couple blood oranges (amazing dipped in chocolate) from my “Citrus Pack”, strawberries and fresh coconut from the “Fondue Pack” and some homemade marshmallows a friend gave us. Fondue and fruit in under 10 minutes! Enjoy!
One of the (many) drawbacks of being a gluten-free and nut-free household is that PB&J sandwiches are few and far between. This is hard for me because not only do I love that lunchbox staple, particularly when accompanied by a tall glass of milk (another no-no in our house), but I also really love making jams and jellies. Unfortunately these goodies just don’t get used up as quickly in our home as they used to so I have had to make a decision- stop making them OR get creative with them. I have learned that one of the (many) advantages to being a gluten-free, nut-free household is that I have the opportunity to get creative with the products I have on hand so that is the choice I have made. Recently, I have taken my love of jam making to new levels. I have been trying to find unusual ingredients and flavor combinations and then use them in ways that I have not tried before. Pineapple-Lime Jam is now one of my favorite cake filling flavors. (and thanks to BB I have a frequent supply of pineapple). Apricot-Rosemary Jam has become a go-to for an elegant Sunday meal of glazed Roast Chicken. One of my most requested flavors is Strawberry-Chipotle. As strawberries pop up in the basket and the offerings page I try to keep some out of the view of the kiddos in order to make a batch of this delectable delicacy.
The fresh, sweet strawberries pair beautifully with the spicy smokiness of chipotle peppers. The result of this pairing is a rich, red-hued jam that is versatile and delicious. The deep red of this jam and the resulting sexiness (yes, I’m weird and totally think food can be sexy) of the dishes it creates make this a perfect part of a Romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m giving you here the basic jam recipe and three of my favorite ways to use it up. I will warn you that these are not all the healthiest of recipes. (I’m a sucker for cream cheese) But for a special occasion they are fabulous!