Healthy Diets

Zuccini Casserole

Zucchini is a popular variety of summer squash that is known for its versatility and easy cultivation.  In addition, zucchini is rich in the nutrient department providing a wide array of vitamins such as the B vitamins and vitamin C, and important minerals like zinc and manganese.

History of Zucchini

From evidence found in Mexican caves, it is believed that zucchini was first cultivated by Central American natives about 10,000 years ago.  The cultivation of zucchini then spread to North America and South America.  The further spread of zucchini and other summer squash seed was accomplished by Columbus and other Spanish and Portuguese explorers, who brought the valuable seeds back to their home countries and took them with them on their travels abroad. Today, the largest producers of zucchini are the United States, China, and India.

The edible skin of the zucchini ranges in color from yellow to various shades of green to nearly black and can be speckled or striped. 

Whether it is baked, steamed, fried, or eaten raw, zucchini is widely used in a culinary capacity as a stand-alone side dish, as an ingredient in casseroles, or it can even be grated and used to make sweet bread.

Here is my favorite casserole using zucchini.  This recipe is not only very easy requiring only a few ingredients, but it is a rich, creamy crowd-pleaser that is always a hit.

Ingredients:

1 can store-bought crescent rolls

½ pound gruyere cheese ( alternatively Swiss cheese can be substituted)

2 to 3 medium zucchini, sliced in rings or diced

½ medium onion, diced

1 egg, beaten

Bread or cracker crumbs

1 to 2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a wok or frying pan, sauté diced onion and zucchini together in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until soft – about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Open can of crescent rolls and press into lightly greased casserole dish making sure the perforations are pressed out.  Spread dough all along the bottom and side of casserole dish.  Take zucchini and onion off of heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.  Grate cheese and mix with beaten egg.  Add to zucchini and onions.  Pour into casserole dish.  Mix bread or cracker crumbs with a little oil and sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for about 30 minutes.

16 Apr 2016

Recipe for Making Apple Cider

What’s better than buying a can of apple cider? Making one at home! With this recipe, the apple cider you will be making will turn out to be more delicious than the ones sold at the market, and healthier too, since you know what ingredients were used. 

The history of cider dates back to around 55 BC. When the Romans arrived to England, they have found the local villagers drinking a delicious cider-like beverage made from apples. Cider is defined as “a fermented beverage made from apple juice”. It is famous in many parts of the world such as the United Kingdom, the United States, France and other countries. However, in some countries it is hard to find apple cider in the market. 

Here’s how to make a fresh gallon of apple cider at home: 

Ingredients: 

* 36 Apples

Note: Choosing your apples: 

You need to choose the apples very carefully since they are the main ingredient and will affect the outcome. Choose the sweetest apples you can find to avoid adding sugar later on, such as Fuji apples or Red Delicious. It is advised that you use a mixture of apples of different kind and of different color. Do not add a lot of green apples since they are not very sweet. When choosing apples, avoid the ones that are bruised, and use fresh apples.

Things you’ll need: 

*An apple corer (or a knife) 

*A blender or a food processor

*A cheesecloth

*A container to place your apple cider in

Directions: 

*Wash all apples thoroughly with cold running water for a minute or so and dry them

*Peel all the apples to remove the skin

*Use an apple corer to core the apples. If you do not have an apple corer, you can do this manually by cutting the apples in half and then carving them with a knife to remove the center of each half. 

*Cute the apples in quarters

*Puree the apples, using a food processor or a blender until the apples are finely ground. You will get more juice from the apples if they are more finely ground.

*This is a rather messy step: Put a cheesecloth over the container in which you will be storing your apples. If you do not have a cheesecloth, you can purchase it from any store

*Pure the pureed apples into the cheesecloth. Squeeze the pureed apple through the cheesecloth so its juice is in the container below. You need to spend some time on this and use steady pressure to make sure you extract most or all the juice you can from the apples.

*Discard the cheesecloth or put it away. Cover the container with the apple juice with an air-tight lid and place in the refrigerator. If stored in the refrigerator, it should stay fresh up to a week. Otherwise you can pasteurize your apple cider by heating it to around 70 degrees Celsius (Around 160 degrees Fahrenheit) that will kill any bacteria present on the apple cider and it could last for up to 3 or 4 weeks (this is recommended)

Note:  If you won’t be consuming your apple cider anytime soon or would like to keep it fresh for a long time, you can freeze your apple cider and it will be fresh and tastes good for a year! 

Enjoy your fresh homemade apple cider! 

16 Apr 2016

Recipes Quick Fruity Breakfast Ideas Breakfast Ideas Breakfast Fruit Smoothie Fruit Salad

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who tend to skip breakfast or just have a cup of coffee every morning do not get the ingredients they need and cannot function properly during the day. Breakfast recipes with fruits  are highly recommended, as they are both delicious and healthy. The following article will present some ideas in that direction.

Recipes: Quick fruity breakfast ideas

Fruity omelette

Omelettes are loved by almost everyone, but few are the ones who think of adding fruits to them. Adding seasonal fruits  and/or  some vanilla yogurt to a regular omelette recipe can make breakfast more nutritious and more tasty at the same time. If fresh seasonal fruits cannot be found, dry fruits are good alternatives.

Fruit smoothie

A fruit smoothie is another excellent breakfast idea. Ideal for those who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and want to follow a healthier diet without sacrificing anything, fruit smoothies all full of minerals, vitamins and nutrients, taste great and are super easy to prepare. With a  blender, seasonal  or frozen fruits and some yogurt, a great fruit smoothie can be made in less than 5 minutes.

Fruit bread

Fruit breads are not very common, but are very healthy, taste great and will be appreciated by all family members, equally. Fruits. either fresh or dry can be added while bread will be prepared in the usual way. For better results, it is best to add only 1 or 2 fruits at a time, otherwise the taste will be kind of strange.

Fruit salad

A fruit salad is another great breakfast choice, which only takes a few minutes to prepare. With a huge list of fresh seasonal fruits to choose from, it is certain that there is something for everyone. Some lemon or orange juice and a little honey or sugar can be added for more intense flavor.

With so many options to choose from, the results can only be good!

15 Apr 2016

Pepper Recipe Roast Techniques Kitchen

It is quite well-known for every kitchen fan that the little tastes and even the forbidden pleasures of life can make a meal look like one of a superstar. Actually you don’t have to be a chef in order to get the best out of every vegetable that you encounter on your kitchen working space. One of the vegetables that are often ignored is definitely the pepper. It comes in various sizes and in bright red, yellow, green colours and most of us tends to us it to decorate festive plate not to treat it as a royal veggie.

There are various ways of preparing a pepper. You can stuff it with meat and rice, you can use it in your omelet or just simple throw it on your favorite sandwich. Yet still we are missing here the true taste of simplicity and of the way we can squeeze out all the flavour from the ordinary pepper. It sounds crazy but why don’t we just roast it? It is easy and fun and even your cat can do it.

But first is first. You have to go to that supermarket and buy it. I would recommend an open-air market for buying veggies, but if you can’t find one nearby you, a supermarket would do. The first test for the pepper is your sight. Just look at it. If you see any imperfection, drop it. You want to have a healthy pepper roasting. After that feel it. Some peppers might look excellent, but they turn out to be soft. Look for the hard ones with no soft or spoiled parts. After that you must choose the shape which is very important. Try not to buy the most distorted ones. Look for long and healthy peppers. Another type could be the fat ones which go just right. And the colour…well don’t worry about the colour. You can pick whatever colour you like, but remember that the red and yellow ones are tastier roasted. However on the first time, you can try them all and see which one you love.

At last, you are home and ready to do it. Wash carefully the peppers and then let them dry. If you have a barbecue grill outside you can use it, if not your cooking machine will do. If you use the cooking machine, you can either buy a grill for the cooking machine. It is normally black with a hole in the middle, you have to add water and put the top on it until it is finished. If you don’t have such a miraculous gadget, you can just use the oven and its additional plates to roast the pepper.

Now turn the heat on and only when the atmosphere is quite hot just drop the pepper on the gadget that you chose to use. It is a must to turn them round and round. Make sure that the grill or the plate is perfect clean, because it won’t be fun to have your peppers glued on the surface and the only solution is to tear them apart. We have to get intact and beautiful looking peppers. Now while we are waiting for them to roast, we must prepare a special and secret sauce. We just take olive oil, salt and vinegar. Wait until the peppers are finished. They have to be soft. You will know them by the smell and touch. Let them cool down in a bowl and add salt on each one of them. When they are almost cooled, put them o a separate plate. Take the juice they have left and after that mix it with 5 spoons of olive oil, 1 spoon of vinegar and salt to your taste. Dip all the peppers in the lovely sauce.

Here you are! You have the perfect roasted pepper on the planet. And this is not all. You can even preserve them for the winter time. Just roast them let them cool and put them in small plastic bags and off they go in your freezer. In the cold winter days, just take them out, defreeze them in the microwave and prepare the sauce. It is a delicious companion for every meal. You can use it virtually anywhere. Potatoes, rice and meat will be more than happy to have such a dish next to them. Use it for the sandwiches by cutting long slices. Even the hot sandwiches will have the particular flavour of summer.

Enjoy your special pepper dish. It has it all in it. Now, dare, go into your kitchen and prepare this fabulous recipe to the delight of your entire family. Bon appetit.

14 Apr 2016

Baked Potato Chips

These chips alone are reason enough to never eat store bought chips again. They are delicate and melt in your mouth good, but also sturdy enough to hold any dip or toppings you can muster up.

*4 tablespoons olive oil

*1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

* 2 teaspoons kosher salt

* 1 russet potato, scrubbed or peeled depending on personal preference (Each potato yields about 50 chips if cut with adjustable slicer and 30 if sliced by hand)

Put oven racks in the upper and lower thirds and preheat oven to 375°F. Stir lime zest together with salt in small bowl. Brush olive oil over two large baking sheets with sides. Cut potato very thin, preferably with an adjustable blade slicer, and arrange in one layer on baking sheets.

Lightly coat slices with remaining oil and dust with lime salt. Bake for 5 minutes and switch positions of baking sheets and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes total, checking frequently after 10 minutes. Transfer chips to cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes to serve warm or ten minutes to serve cool.

Finally, sit back, relax and enjoy your own perfectly cooked chips with your favorite dip.

14 Apr 2016

Recipes Swiss Corn Bake Swiss Corn Bake

A Swiss corn bake can substitute a meal wonderfully. It doesn’t require a lot of time to prepare and once you try it you will want to do it over and over again.  Ideal for those who do not  like corn in general. This is a great way for them to try corn and actually enjoy it. What are you waiting for?

 Recipes: Swiss corn bake

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

3 cups of fresh-cut corn

1 cup of boiling and salted water

1 6-ounce can of evaporated milk

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup of finely chopped white onion

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 cup of shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1 tablespoon of melted butter

1 tablespoon of rosemary

Preparation

Cook the 3 cups of the fresh-cut onion in the boiling water for about 4 minutes, until they become slightly tender. Slowly add the evaporated milk, the beaten eggs, the finely chopped white onion, the salt, the black pepper and the shredded Swiss cheese. Put the mixture in a large baking dish. In a big bowl, add  the bread crumbs, the melted butter, the rosemary and the Swiss cheese and stir well. Sprinkle all over the previous mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees F.  Let it cool for about 20 minutes and serve.

Notes

For better results, you can serve this dish with a glass of dry white or red wine, a glass of black beer or even a fruit smoothie with pineapple and coconut. You can use white pepper instead of black, for less intense flavor. It is very important not to use any other cheese except a Swiss cheese, otherwise you will have prepared something else.  keep in mind, the Swiss cheese is supposed to be the star here.

13 Apr 2016

Uses for Roasted Peppers

Most commonly it is the red bell pepper that is roasted, but the green and yellow bell peppers can be roasted as well, and with equally good flavor and results. Roasted peppers have a unique flavor all their own, and are an excellent addition to salads, sandwiches and other dishes as well.

There are three ways in which I have roasted peppers for different food preparations.

1. On the grill – when I am using the grill to barbeque, is the perfect time to roast peppers. With the meat cooking at the same time, it gives an excellent added flavor to the roasted peppers. This works especially well if you are barbequing flank steaks for fajitas. Since roasted peppers are used in fajitas, it’s like killing two birds with one stone.

2. In the oven – preheat the oven with the broiler. Cover your cookie sheet or baking dish with foil. Arrange your peppers on your cookie sheet or dish and roast peppers until the skin start to turn brown and blister. You will need to turn them occasionally, but the whole process usually takes a little less than 30 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, seal them in a Hefty or Ziploc bag until they are cooled to room temperature. This will keep them soft and pliable. When they are cooled to room temperature, you can then peel and seed the peppers, and cut into whatever size pieces you need for your recipe.

3. Over the open flame of burner – use a long handled fork into the pepper and cook above open flame of your burner as if your were roasting marshmallows. When they start to turn brown and blister, seal in your zip bag and when cool clean as above.

Of course, peppers roasted over the grill have the best flavor, but all three of these ways, give flavorful results.

Slice your roasted peppers into strips and add them to your meat sandwiches. I guarantee you’ll never have a better sandwich. If you would like a special sandwich treat try; 4 slices of French bread sliced up and down like regular bread, spread with a little margarine and lightly toast under broiler. Take bread out but leave the broiler on – put some roasted pepper strips on bread, then top with a slice of mozzarella cheese – return to oven just until cheese melts and starts to brown. Take and serve these with tomato wedges. These are a wonderful open – faced sandwich.

Roasted peppers sliced into strips and grilled flank steak cut into strips make an excellent combination for fajitas.

For a tasty Italian salad, take

4 roasted peppers (all different colors if you have them on hand) and cut into strips,

cup pitted kalamata olives sliced,

cup extra virgin olive oil,

1 heaping tablespoon of capers,

4 crushed basil leaves, 3 minced garlic cloves

salt and pepper to taste.

Mix ingredients together. Put in a covered dish and keep in refrigerator. This salad will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator, but in order to get the benefit of its full flavor, it should be served at room temperature. This is great served with crackers.

There are lots of ways to fix roasted peppers. With a little ingenuity, you can come up with many different ways to serve them.

13 Apr 2016

Fall Pumpkin Recipes

I have put together some good pumpkin desserts and snacks that compliment the fall and Thanksgiving perfectly.

Pumpkin Bread (90 minutes bake,
10 minutes cool)

3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon allspice
16 oz pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ½ cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teapoons baking soda
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together the sugar and vegetable oil. Add eggs and pumpkin and mix. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Add in water to the mixture slowly. Mix it all well.

Pour mixture into greased and floured 9 by 5 inch loaf pans. Bake in oven at 350 for 90 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie (55-65
minutes bake, 30 minutes cool)

1 9-inch deep dish pie shell
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ground ginger
16 oz can solid pack pumpkin
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ granulated sugar
1 can undiluted evaporated milk
½ teaspoon salt

Prepare pie shell and preheat oven to 425°F. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, granulated sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and evaporated milk. Pour ingredients into pie shell. Bake shell for 15 minutes at 425°F. Turn the temperature down to 350°F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (or until you insert a knife/toothpick in center and it comes out clean). Let it cool on wire rack. Top it with cool whip.

Pumpkin Dip (15
minutes)

8 oz softened cream cheese
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups sugar
1 tsp orange juice frozen concentrate
15 oz solid pack pumpkin
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Slowly mix in pumpkin. Stir in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice concentrate until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving.

12 Apr 2016