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Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

 

Recipe: Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Nothing beats the flavor of homemade salad dressing. Making your own salad dressing gives you control of what ingredients go into it. Serve this with a wedge of iceberg lettuce, as a dip for skinny buffalo wings or one of my favorite ways to enjoy this is on a roast beef sandwich on a good whole wheat crusty bread with arugula.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 oz fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mash blue cheese and yogurt together with a fork. Stir in mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 cup.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Inspired By: Low Fat Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
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Classic Bechamel White Sauce

Bechamel White SauceRecipe: Classic Bechamel White Sauce

If you can’t make the perfect sauce with this you are not following the directions.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch salt and white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and 1 bay leaf to a gentle simmer, stirring so it doesn’t scorch the bottom of the pan. Keep the milk on low heat.
  2. Make a white roux by melting butter over low-medium heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Just as the foam subsides, add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Do not allow to brown. Remove from heat, then gradually add a bit of the warm milk to the roux and whisk vigorously. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring up to a low simmer, continuing to add more milk and whisk. Cook for 5 minutes until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Check seasoning; add salt, white pepper, garlic and the remaining bay leaf.
  3. To prevent a skin from forming as the sauce cools, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface.

Personal Notes

Serve with fish, shellfish, vegetables or egg dishes.

Cooking time (duration):25 min

Number of servings (yield): 2 cups

Inspired By: Classic Bechamel: White Sauce

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto

This year we received garlic scapes from our farm share and we had no idea what to do with them. They make a great pesto which is good on pasta or as a bread dip, but my favorite is as a pizza sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cups pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the the scapes, parmesan, oil, salt, pepper and nuts into a blender.
  2. Pulse to chop and mix ingredients. Stop slightly before desired consistency.
  3. Sample and adjust ingredients to your tastes. Extra oil can be added to create a thinner pesto.
  4. Store pesto in refrigerator with plastic wrap touching pesto to slow down oxidation. Pesto will last for a couple days in the refrigerator or may be frozen for a couple months.

Personal Notes

A food processor may also be used, but I find a blender easier and less likely to leak and create a mess.

Cooking time (duration): 15 min

Inspired By: Garlic Scape Pesto

Mango Salsa

Talapia with Mango Salsa

Recipe: Mango Salsa

The tropical flavors of this quick mango salsa complement chicken, pork or mild white fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Combine mango, onion, lime juice, vinegar and cilantro in a medium bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes; stir before serving.

Personal Notes

Tip: To cut a mango:

  1. Slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife.
  2. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces.
  3. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side.
  4. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.

Cooking time (duration): 25 min

Number of servings (yield): 4

Inspired By: Mango Salsa
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Baked Meatballs

Baked Meatballs

Recipe: Baked Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground round
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated.
  3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5 ounce portions. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through (Do not overcook).

Personal Notes

  • Next time, try fresh bread crumbs in meatball to improve moisture retention.
  • Next time, cook 15 minutes and check temperature. Might be overcooking them at 20 minutes.

Cooking time (duration): 40

Number of servings (yield): 10

Inspired By: Baked Meatballs

Roasted Garlic

Recipe: Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut head of garlic in half crosswise
  3. Place both halves on foil, cut side up
  4. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Wrap garlic in the foil
  6. Bake for 60 minutes
  7. Remove roasted cloves

Personal Notes

The roasted garlic can be spread on bread, mixed in mashed potatoes, or mixed in hummus.

Cooking time (duration): 65

Hummus

Hummus

Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 Cans of Garbanzo Beans
  • 3 Tbsp Tahini
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Optional Flavoring Components (See variations below the main recipe)

Instructions

  1. Empty one can of garbanzo beans with juice into a blender
  2. Drain the 2nd can of garbanzos into the empty first can to reserve the juice
  3. Empty the drained 2nd can into the blender
  4. Stir the tahini aggressively to blend any oil that may have separated
  5. Add 3 Tbsp tahini to the blender
  6. Add a few grinds of black pepper
  7. Add a reasonable dash of sea salt
  8. Add “Flavoring Components” (see variations below)
  9. Blend on Medium, stopping occasionally to scoop up any garbanzos that get trapped under the blades
  10. Blend until reasonably smooth (based on your preferences)
  11. If the hummus appears too thick, add in some of the earlier reserved garbanzo juice (a little at a time), leaving it a bit thicker than you prefer since you can add more later
  12. Taste it!
  13. Add more salt, pepper, tahini, and flavoring components to taste.
  14. Stir in any additions to get them somewhat mixed into the hummus
  15. Blend again
  16. Taste it and adjust flavors as necessary by adding more of what you think it needs.
  17. Once you have the flavors where you want them, give a final adjustment to the consistency by adding any more reserved juice that you think it needs (or not)
  18. Give it a final blend if needed
  19. Empty hummus into a serving dish and refrigerate
  20. Before serving, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and optionally sprinkle with a bit of paprika, chipotle, parsley, or fresh ground black pepper

Variations

Lemon Pepper Hummus: Lemon Juice to taste (around ½ cup – add somewhere around step 5 above – BE CAREFUL OF YOUR CONSISTENCY – this will thin the hummus). Add copious amounts of fresh ground black pepper at step 6 above.
Garlic Hummus: Add two heads of Roasted Garlic.
Spicy Hummus: Chipotle to taste. Cayenne to taste. Copious amounts of black pepper.

Feel free to mix and match! (Garlic & Lemon, Cumin Chipotle, etc)

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard Boiled Egg

Recipe: Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

This simple method of hard boiling an egg makes it very difficult to overcook the egg and end up with a dark grey/green yolk.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (more or less is okay)

Instructions

  1. Place a single layer of eggs in pan and fill pan with cold water making sure that the water extends one inch above the eggs.
  2. Cover pan and bring water to a boils.
  3. When the water boils, turn off the heat and keep covered for 12 minutes. If you have an electric burned, move the pan to a cold burner.
  4. After 18 minutes, cool eggs under cold water. Peel eggs and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or store for up to 5 days in the shell.

Personal Notes

Fresh eggs are very difficult to peel. Its best to use eggs that have been sitting in your refrigerator for a week.

I place the probe of an oven thermeter in the water and set the alarm for 210F so that I know when the water boils. Make sure that the tip is in the water and not touching the side or bottom of the pan.

When I started cooking these eggs, I kept them in for 18 minutes. I’ve slowly lowered the cooking time to my current 12 minutes. The yolk is a lot less dry and creamer. I may try 11 minutes, but right around 11 or 12 is the sweet spot.

Cooking time (duration): 20 min

Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger

Recipe: Candied Ginger

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 pound fresh ginger root
  • 5 cups water
  • Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.
  2. Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
  3. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.

Cooking time (duration): 1 hr 15 min

Inspired By: Candied Ginger

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