Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grilled Ham, Pepperoni and Italian Cheese Sandwich

Have you ever used turkey pepperoni before? If not, give it a try. I like it quite a bit. It’s just as good and far less greasy than the regular type.

Grilled Ham, Pepperoni and Italian Cheese Sandwich
For even more flavor, tuck a few peppercinis or a couple thin slices of tomato into your sandwich before grilling. Print Recipe

Sliced buttermilk bread
Black Forrest Deli Ham
Turkey Pepperoni
Shredded Italian cheese

Heat up a skillet or sandwich press to medium high. Butter outsides of bread. Make sandwiches with ham, pepperoni and cheese to preference. Grill until golden brown.

By Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Cream” of Broccoli Soup

It feels like it’s been while since I shared a healthful pure vegetarian recipe.

Or maybe I need a break from all the Halloween treat stuff I've been working on. Either way, I'm ready for soup season.

Instead of a typical cream base, I used rice for thickness and body. It’s still good, but you can eat a whole lot more without any guilt whatsoever

“Cream” of Broccoli Soup
You’ll need a blender or food processor for this one. Cooked and pureed rice is the cream base for this healthy vegetable soup. Print Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 pound bag broccoli florets
2 (14.5 ounce) cans vegetable broth
6 cups water
2/3 cups uncooked white rice
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne

1. Heat oil over medium-high in an extra large pot. Add onions and cook until tender and start to brown. Deglaze the pan with wine.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover. Cook until rice and broccoli are tender, about 30-35 minutes.

3. Puree soup with a blender in batches. Return to pan, add more salt and pepper if needed and serve.

By Laura Flowers.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Real Chiles Rellenos

A cell phone picture with my half eaten plate doesn’t do this dish justice, but I’m a lazy photographer and didn’t take my camera to my parents’ house this weekend. I had other plans, like golf and more golf. Not shooting and styling pictures of truly amazing Mexican breakfasts.

My Dad spent two early morning hours making these chiles rellenos with freshly picked poblanos from the garden. Who does that? For crying out loud I had toast and tea for breakfast this morning.

I think I might be pouting a little and need a Sunday morning do-over. Starting with breakfast and ending with lots of golf. I’d even settle just for another fresh-fried chile relleno.

Real Chiles Rellenos
"Chiles rellenos, that classic Mexican dish of cheese-stuffed fried peppers, is made from scratch in this recipe. Make the stuffed peppers ahead of time and freeze; then take out and fry another day to make your dinner preparation easier." Print Recipe

4 large poblano peppers
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dredging

1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Cholula®)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 egg whites at room temperature
1 egg yolk, beaten

1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
1 cup oil for frying, or as needed
Sour cream for garnish

1. Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack at about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place the peppers onto the prepared baking sheet.

2. Cook under the preheated broiler until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, 8 to 10 minutes per side. When the peppers are about 80 percent blackened, place them a plastic bag, seal, and allow the peppers to steam as they cool, about 20 minutes. Once cool, remove the skins and discard. Cut a slit lengthwise into the side of each pepper, and remove seeds and veins. To reduce spiciness, rinse out any remaining seeds with water. Pat the peppers dry with paper towels.

3. Mix together the shredded mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Cheddar cheese in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Divide the cheese into 4 portions, and squeeze each portion lightly in your hands to make a cone shape. Insert a cone into the slit in each pepper, and pin the openings closed with toothpicks. Dredge each pepper in flour, dust off the excess, and place on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Place the peppers in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

4. To make sauce, blend the stewed tomatoes in a blender until pureed, and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook and stir for about 30 seconds, and pour in the pureed tomatoes, chicken broth, vinegar, oregano, cumin, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, and cinnamon. Reduce to medium-low, and simmer the sauce until reduced by half and thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring often.

5. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C), and warm a platter in the oven.

6. To make batter and finish the chiles rellenos, mix 1/3 cup flour with salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until the whites form stiff peaks. Lightly mix the egg yolk and flour-salt mixture into the egg whites to make a fluffy batter. Remove peppers from freezer and coat them in flour again; shake off excess flour, and dip each pepper into the egg batter, using a spoon to gently but completely coat each pepper with batter.

7. Heat frying oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Gently lay the coated peppers into the hot oil, and fry on both sides until the batter is golden brown and the cheese filling is hot, about 5 minutes per side. Remove peppers to warmed platter while you finish frying. To serve, ladle a generous spoonful of sauce onto plate, and place pepper on sauce. Serve peppers hot with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Prep Time: 45 Minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Ready In: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

Nutrition Information
Calories: 418; Total Fat 22.9g; cholesterol 89mg; Sodium 880mg; Total Carbs 33.9g; Fiber 4.9g; Protein 21g

Recipe submitted by *Fat~Dog~Lane* to

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings. Weekend comfort food.

Ahh. Hear that? Silence. Or almost.

Actually, there’s Wii Pet Sports “music” droning repeatedly in the background, a barking begging dancing dog hoping I’ll drop anything semi edible, the sizzling of potatoes and bacon and the rolling boil of a tea kettle. Other than that it’s a pretty peaceful Saturday.

Which is the kind of day that’s nice for taking two hours for boiling chicken on a stove. It doesn’t take much work, but the waiting time is long. Prep work is minimal if you can purchase a cut up chicken. If not, the instructional video below from the sadly defunct Gourmet Magazine is fantastic if you need a little help.

So please don’t let cutting up a chicken stop you from making this comforting classic.

Chicken & Dumplings
If you prefer a thicker broth, mix together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir it into the soup before adding the shredded chicken. Print Recipe

1 large broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
3 celery ribs, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onions, diced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk or chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Stir the celery, carrots, onion, chicken broth, parsley, chicken bouillon granules, salt and pepper in a large pot or Dutch oven; top with chicken skin side up. Add enough water to cover chicken.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.
Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Remove skin from chicken and tear meat away from bones. Shred chicken into bite size pieces. (Add cornstarch here if using.) Return meat to soup; discard skin and bones. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Return soup to a simmer.

In a mixing bowl, combine dumpling ingredients and mix well to form a stiff dough. Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 5 to 6 servings.

Adapted from Steph's Country Kitchen Goodness and Picture by Laura Flowers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pork Noodle Bowls

Thursday after school is art day around here. A surprisingly good-natured college student attempts to teach a room full of noisy messy chatty silly 9-year-old girls how to draw.

Which is fun for all of us, but most of my time is spent trying to quiet them down enough for the young woman to teach, sweeping up crumbs and popcorn, telling the dog to stop barking and wiping down walls where mysterious smears appear from charcoal coated hands.

So this was a simple and inexpensive alternative to going out to eat last night. I think the prep took about ten minutes and the cooking time was about the same.

Pork Noodle Bowls
Once you start cooking everything is going to go too fast for prep work, so have your ingredients ready before you begin. Print Recipe

3 packages ramen noodles, any flavor
2 teaspoons chili oil
.75 pounds thinly sliced boneless pork chops or other pork cuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, Cut the pork into bite size strips. In an extra-large skillet heat the chili oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Carefully add the chicken broth and soy sauce. Scrape the bottom of the pan while you stir.

3. Bring the broth to a boil. Add the spinach and carrot. Cook until spinach is wilted and carrot is cooked, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat.

4. Place the ramen noodles in the boiling water (throw away the flavor packets). Cook for exactly two minutes and strain. Place noodles and cilantro in with the pork mixture. Toss well and let the broth soak into the noodles for a couple of minutes.

Serves 4.

By Laura Flowers.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

I won a battle. Clara walked up to the skillet and said, “Mom that looks good!” She didn’t even notice the vegetables right away. Until she started eating, but she finished her dinner for a change anyway.

This isn’t anything fancy obviously, and maybe that’s the key. If the school lunch humans would mix vegetables into their meals instead of leaving them as a side, maybe more would be eaten instead of tossed untouched into garbage cans.

Too bad there are all those stupid rules that prevent any creativity from the school lunch staff. Maybe someday, and someday soon. Things are starting to change for the better I hear. Clara came home last week and bragged about the slices of fresh cantaloupe on her tray.

It’s a good start.

Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner
Print Recipe
A fast, fun and slightly adapted Taste of Home recipe.

1 package deluxe macaroni and cheese, the type with the sauce packet (I used Annie’s Creamy Deluxe Shells & Real Aged Cheddar Sauce.)
1-pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
Dash of seasoning salt
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables (without lima beans)
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown beef with the onion and a dash of seasoning salt, drain. Stir in vegetables, ketchup, water, mustard and garlic powder. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Mix in macaroni and cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4-6 servings. Total time 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home. Picture by Laura Flowers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sausage Apple & Red Potato Skillet

This is so stinking easy and tasty that it's going in my arsenal of emergency what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-feed-the-family recipes.

A skillet like this will be especially helpful on those days I sneak away on my bike for several hours. I can see myself telling Jesse, “Oh yeah Honey, I spent the time and made that skillet dinner you really like.”

Who needs Hamburger Helper anyway?

Sausage Apple & Red Potato Skillet
Print Recipe
This super quick skillet dinner will be ready to serve in less than 20 minutes.

3 tablespoons butter
12-ounce package apple chicken sausage
20-ounce package refrigerated rosemary garlic red potato wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 apple, cut into wedges
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar

1. In a very large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Slice the sausage into 3/4-inch pieces and add them to the skillet. Cook until both sides of the sausage brown.

2. Add the potatoes, onions and apple slices. Toss to combine and continue to cook until the potatoes are golden brown.

3. Stir together vinegar and sugar and pour the mixture into the skillet. Stir to coat and cover with a lid. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes and apples are tender and the vinegar is absorbed.

Recipe and photographs by Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shortcut Gnocchi with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

My goal this week is to cook all our dinners because we’ve been eating out way too much this month. We’re busy like everyone else, but I need to get control of this time crunch issue.

Today’s recipe is a combination of an easy gnocchi recipe and my favorite vodka sauce from Cooks Illustrated.

Shortcut Potato Gnocchi

This recipe uses a food processor, but can be made in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment instead. Each batch serves about 3 people, if you need more gnocchi make a second batch.

1 cup water

1 egg

1 teaspoon butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

2 cups instant potato flakes 

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, place the water, egg, butter, salt and garlic powder in the food processor. Process until combined. Add the flour and pulse to mix in. Add the potato flakes and pulse to combine.

3. Move dough to a clean surface and knead for about 20 seconds. Grab chunks of dough and form into snakes. Cut 1/2 inch wide pieces from snakes and roll each piece into a ball with a fork. Pull the fork back toward you for a roll or two to make gnocchi shape.

4. Gently boil gnocchi until they float to the top and then cook for two more minutes. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and serve with your favorite sauce.

Gnocchi with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce
Print Both Recipes
There's enough sauce here for two batches of gnocchi.

1 or 2 recipes Shortcut Gnocchi, above
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup minced onion

1 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


1/3 cup vodka

½ cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil

Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

1. Make gnocchi, set aside on wax paper.

2. Start heating heavily salted water for pasta. Puree half of the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Chop the remaining tomatoes into ½ inch pieces, discarding the cores. Combined the pureed and diced tomatoes in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add reserved liquid to make 2 cups.

3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is light golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium high heat and simmer, stirring often for 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. (Lower heat to medium if simmering is too vigorous.) Stir in the cream and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until hot.

5. Cook the gnocchi according to the above directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a serving dish. Top with sauce, season with a little salt, pepper and handful of Pecorino Romano.

Gnocchi original recipe source from Adapted by Laura Flowers for a one bowl method. Sauce recipe from "The Best of America's Test Kitchen, Best Recipes and Reviews 2008". Picture by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chunka Hunka Chocolove Cookies

Desserts haven’t really been my thing lately, but when my friend Veronica won a blue ribbon at a fair for my chocolate chip version of this cookie I couldn’t resist playing around and making a chunky chocolate variation.

Be forewarned. This isn’t your average chocolate chip cookie preparation. So please don’t swear at me too much when you discover how many dishes stack up in your sink.

Chunka Hunka Chocolove Cookies
Print Recipe
If milk chocolate is more your thing than dark, swap out the 65% cocoa bar for another 33% one.

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cups fresh light brown sugar, packed

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon real vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups good quality all purpose flour

1 cup walnut pieces
3.2 ounce bar Chocolove 65% Cocoa Content
3.2 ounce bar Chocolove 55% Cocoa Content
3.2 ounce bar Chocolove 33% Cocoa Content

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Chop chocolate bars into small chunks. Set aside.

3. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat toast the oatmeal stirring often until fragrant and some of the oatmeal is light golden in color. About 3 minutes. Transfer the oatmeal to a food processer and grind until fine and powdery. Set aside.

4. In the skillet, melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat until foamy and lightly golden brown. Strain out solids and place butter in the refrigerator to cool to about room temperature.

5. Spread the walnuts onto a plate and microwave in 30 second increments 2 or 3 times until toasted, stirring in-between. Let the walnuts cool slightly.

6. Mix in a stand mixer the softened butter, browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and vinegar into the and beat on slow to combine, and then on high speed until fluffy and lighter in color.

7. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Add the oatmeal and baking soda and beat for another minute. Next, add the flour half at a time and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

8. Stir in chocolate pieces with all their crumbs and the walnuts with a wooden spoon.

9. With a size 50 cookie scoop or a generous tablespoon, drop the dough onto parchment paper 3 inches apart.

10. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let set on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Makes about 45 cookies.

By Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lighter Salmon Potato Chowder

I believe you can keep every bit of flavor and still lighten up favorite heavy comfort foods if you allow for part of those rich ingredients to stay. Here I’ve reduced the amount of cheese and butter the original recipe calls for and traded milk for heavy cream. I also added a bit of sherry and dill to enhance the flavor of this creamy chowder.

Lighter Salmon Potato Chowder
Print Recipe
If you’re not a fan of salmon feel free to make this hearty chowder with any firm-fleshed white fish.

3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup finely diced onions
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
14.5 ounce can chicken broth (low sodium preferred)
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes (skin on is fine)
About 1 pound fresh salmon
1 cup frozen petite peas
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Toss 1 teaspoon of flour with the cheddar in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut salmon into bite size pieces removing any bones you find.

2. In a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook until vegetables are tender. About 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes or until the roux is golden.

4. Add the chicken broth, sherry and potatoes. Cover and gently boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 8 minutes. Stir about every 2 minutes so vegetables don’t stick to the bottom.

5. Add the salmon, peas, milk, cheddar mixture, parsley, salt, dill and black pepper. Bring to a simmer until the salmon is cooked through, the cheese is melted and chowder thickens to taste.

8 Servings

Nutrition Per Serving
Calories 277.9 Total Fat 13.1 g Saturated Fat 6.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat 3.6 g Cholesterol 70.5 mg Sodium 7,304.4 mg Potassium 510.2 mg Total Carbohydrate 16.3 g Dietary Fiber 2.2 g Sugars 4.9 g Protein 22.5 g

By Laura Flowers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simple Fresh Salsa

Some years we get ripe tomatoes and others we get frozen green ones. Fortunately, this year we’ve been enjoying an extended hot summer so there are plenty of garden ripe tomatoes to pilfer out of other peoples’ gardens. 

If you do attempt to steal produce don't forget to laugh evilly as you sneak away.

Simple Fresh Salsa

Whether on eggs, grilled chicken, beefy tacos, or crunchy tortilla chips this simple little salsa tastes better when you snag a few tomatoes from your parents’ garden. 

2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon lime juice

3 tablespoons cilantro, diced

2 teaspoons minced jalapenos

Salt to taste

Mix together, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 1 cup.

By Laura Flowers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brown Spanish Rice & Healthy Tostadas

I don’t have many recipes to share this week, mainly sticking to already posted favorites.

Meals have been easy. Things like vegan tostadas, grilled thinly sliced apple and sharp cheddar sandwiches, Slow Cooker Spicy Bison Chili, Coaches Oats Multigrain Pancakes with pan fried apples and toasted walnuts and doctored up jarred pasta sauce over linguini. Dessert was a low sugar banana pudding recipe that needs more testing.

I have a favorite new tea too. Stash Peppermint with an ounce of sugar-free vanilla syrup and a splash of milk. This past month has been a struggle to break my caffeine and sugar habits, but I feel I’m finally over these addictions.

Brown Spanish Rice has been a gem in my staples lately. Here as a base for flavorful tostadas.

To make these healthy tostadas, warm corn tostadas as directed on the package, smear on Spanish Brown Rice, sprinkle with warm pinto beans, shredded lettuce, fresh salsa and black olives.

Brown Spanish Rice
Print Recipe
You’ll need a rice cooker for this recipe. Though you can cook this one entirely on the stovetop, I don’t recommend it unless you want to switch out the brown rice for white because it tends to be crunchy. For white rice on the stove, place a tight lid on your sauté pan and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes on a low-simmer, or until the liquid is absorbed.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups veggie, chicken or beef broth
1 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until toasted. Move the rice mixture to a rice cooker.

2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt to the rice cooker. Select the proper setting according to your rice cooker and press start.

Nutrition per half cup of rice: 93.6 calories. 3g fat. 14.6g carbohydrates. 2.8g protein.

SparkPeople recipe adapted for a rice cooker by Laura Flowers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Slow Cooker Green Salsa Chicken

I don’t know about you, but it’s been busy around here this week. Clara’s school started back up, we’ve had golf lessons, gymnastics, cycling group and on and on.

So really, this is just a shortcut version of Pollo en Chile Verde because I needed something quick and flavorful to save me from feeding my family fast food these super packed few days.

We ended up eating (inhaling) this soupy dish by itself with whole-wheat tortillas the first night, the next day for breakfast with black beans and scrambled eggs, and the following day stuffed into quesadillas.

So even though the 2 1/2 pounds of chicken needed for this recipe was expensive, I feel like I more than got my money’s worth in leftovers.

Slow Cooker Green Salsa Chicken
Print Recipe
Serve with tortillas, rice and beans if desired.

2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
16-ounce jar thick and chunky mild green salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Stir the ingredients together in a slow cooker. Set on high for 5 to 7 hours. Stir occasionally if you’re around.

2. To thicken sauce, during the last hour or two of cooking time, carefully remove the lid as not drop the water from it back into the sauce. Shake lid into the sink and wipe it dry. Replace lid and repeat periodically until sauce is thickened to taste.

8 Servings.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 177.9 Total Fat 2.1 g Saturated Fat 0.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g Cholesterol 82.2 mg Sodium 519.8 mg Potassium 515.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 4.6 g Dietary Fiber 1.1 g Sugars 0.0 g Protein 33.7 g

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Roasted and Mashed Honey Yams

This crazy little recipe is so healthy and easy you may never boil your yams or sweet potatoes again.

Roasted and Mashed Honey Yams
Print Recipe
This dish is more dessert-like than savory, almost tempting me to top my portion with whipped cream.

2 1/2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Peel yams with a potato peeler and trim any tough woody edges off. Dice the potatoes into about 1-inch size pieces. Place them in baking dish. Drizzle with honey, salt and water. Cover dish with foil.

3. Baked at 350 for 50 minutes, or until fork tender. Carefully remove foil and mash yams in the dish. Move to a serving bowl.

4. Top with a little vegan butter or butter if desired, but I like to leave mine plain.

Serves 6.

Nutritional info without butter:
• Servings Per Recipe: 6
• Amount Per Serving
• Calories: 179.0
• Total Fat: 0.2 g
• Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
• Sodium: 399.1 mg
• Total Carbs: 43.3 g
• Dietary Fiber: 5.3 g
• Protein: 2.0 g

Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnut & Tomato Panini

My friend Tina tortured us recently when she posted a picture of a similar sandwich to her Facebook. I don’t know where she got it, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

It always amazes me when something so simple can be this flavorful and satisfying.

Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnut & Tomato Panini
Print Recipe
This is the time to enjoy those summer tomatoes, especially delicate and flavorful heirloom varieties.

2 five-inch pieces French bread
4-ounce package herb coated goat cheese
2 ounces walnut pieces
1 cup arugula
Ripe tomato slices
Drizzle of olive oil

1. Preheat Panini press to medium-high. Toast walnut pieces on a plate in the microwave for 45 seconds. Set aside.

2. Cut bread to make two hoagie type sandwiches. Take some of the stuffing out of the center of each slice. Just enough so you have a tunnel to place ingredients.

3. Spray the outside of bread with cooking spray. Spread 2-ounces of goat cheese on each sandwich. Divide and layer on the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sandwich bread together.

4. Grill until cheese is warmed through and bread is toasted.

Serves 2.

Calories 603. Fiber 5g. Fat 36g. Carbohydrates 50. Sodium 733mg. Protein 23g. Chol 26mg.

Recipe inspired by friend Tina. Photo and recipe from Laura Flowers.

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