Water/Melon/Thyme

April 27, 2011

No, no, no. . . no watermelon here. Just some naturally flavored water to keep ya cool as this week heats up! Lemon water is yummy…but oh so boring. You can try cucumber water as well, which is amazingly refreshing. This is a unique way to flavor water that is delicious. Try it!

Ingredients:

  • Pretty Pitcher
  • Fresh Chunks of Cantaloupe
  • 3-5 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • Drinking Water, or Fizzy Water for FUN!
  • Ice
Combine and store in refrigerator.
Enjoy and keep cool!
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Make-Ahead Pasta Salad

April 25, 2011

This is a very easy pasta salad recipe that works great as a make-ahead lunch/dinner for a busy week. I prepare the ingredients and combine them straight into tupperware containers to store in the fridge. This pasta salad is great COLD, which is nice for us AZ peeps as the weather heats up.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Fusilli Pasta, or ANY kind of pasta you wish.
  • Rotisserie Chicken, breasts and dark meat chopped
  • Artichokes, 1 can drained
  • Baby Spinach, 1 large package
  • Garlic, 3 heads crushed
  • Italian Dressing, 3 tablespoons

Method:

  • Cook pasta as directed by package. Strain and place in tupperware and let cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, sauté crushed garlic with a little bit of olive oil in a pan. Add spinach until wilted down. Let cool.
  • Chop artichokes and chicken.
  • Combine all ingredients into tupperware and add italian dressing, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Eat and/or store.

Just like my Ahi Tuna recipe, my Chicken Packets are blank canvases just waiting for a creator! This recipe was created because of the amazing Spring-like weather that hit Arizona these past few weeks. My herbs that previously fell victim to freeze, burst back to life and I am in over my green thumb. I know it is just a matter of time til they all combust from the AZ heat, so its best to use them up!

After a weekend of fun and FOOD, I really wanted to create a clean and healthy dish . . . thus, I present you with

KF’s Torn Tarragon Chicken Packets

Ingredients:

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (preferably organic, free range)
  • Fresh Tarragon, 1 large handful
  • EVOO for drizzling
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 Large, square sheets of aluminum foil

Method:

  • Heat grill (or oven) to medium-high
  • Drizzle EVOO on aluminum foil square
  • Place chicken breast on top of EVOO
  • Drizzle EVOO on top of chicken
  • Dash with salt and pepper
  • Tear one full sprig of tarragon and place atop chicken breast
  • Finish with the zest of 1/4 of the lemon
  • Close up and form a packet
  • Grill for 18-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through

Serve with organic polenta and green side salad.

Today is Monday. . . ARRGGGG….

If you are trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight- you know what Monday means. . . The chance to start fresh!

In honor of ARRRRG, Monday- Here is a light recipe that will give you the fresh start you need for the week.

You can do it!

KF’s Light & Tasty Tuna

  • Ingredients:

2 Ahi Tuna Steaks (or as many as you are cooking for) (**Note: Extra tuna can be used the following day for lunch in a salad!)

1 Large Sealable Freezer Bag

  • Marinade:

1 Tablespoon Lemon Curd

Zest of 1/2 Lemon

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove, Crushed

Salt & Pepper

  • Method:

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together by whisking, in a small bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste. I do about a teaspoon of each.

After marinade is complete, add the Ahi Tuna and the marinade into the freezer bag. You can let stand in the fridge for as long as you would like. For this particular dinner, I did 24 hours- Making it on Sunday and eating it Monday night.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove bag from the fridge and empty entire contents of bag into a shallow roasting dish. Once oven is ready, cook on one side for 7 minutes. Flip and bake on other side for an additional 7 minutes.

A NOTE ABOUT COOKING AHI: It cooks quickly, and overcooks even faster! I have tried this a few dozen times and 7 minutes in my oven seems to be the perfect tenderness. Any longer and it is a chewy mess. If you prefer RARE tuna, you can do 5-6 minutes on each side. As always, your oven will differ from mine, so find the best timeframe for your equipment.


Remove from the oven when done and salt to taste. Add a small bed of brown rice and side salad.

Now, pat yourself on the back for preparing a healthy and figure-friendly meal to kick off the week. GOOD JOB!


This is my MOST REQUESTED RECIPE! And I am giving it to you!

Having a good spinach dip recipe is like having an ace in the hole. You always need it, and it comes in handy VERY often. I cannot even tell you how many times I have made this, and I have no clue where the original recipe came from . . . but little by little I have changed things here and there, according to my taste.

Without further ado. . .

Sam’s Super Simple Spin Dip

Ingredients:

1 Bag Frozen Chopped Spinach

*Tip: On the day you are making the dip, throw the bag of spinach in the fridge to thaw. This makes it easier to work with.

1 Tub of WHIPPED Regular Cream Cheese

1 Tub of WHIPPED Chive Cream Cheese

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt

Pepper

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the thawed spinach and the two tubs of cream cheese. If it is hard to mix, put in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt.

Mix until all combined. Add 2 handfuls of Parmesan cheese, mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer mixture into an oven safe casserole dish.  Use Parmesan cheese to create a thin layer of cheese on the top of the caserole dish.

Bake on 400 degrees for 15 minutes or warmed through. Switch to broil for about 10 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Serve with veggies, endive spears, pita or tortilla chips.

*Note: You can add a can of artichokes or a can of sliced water chestnuts to the recipe for variation. Just as yummy!

We love bananas in our house, so I began making Banana Foster about six years ago. When I began making it, I really had no idea that it had any connection to New Orleans. . . BUT IT DOES!

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History of Banana Foster:

In the 1950’s, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. In 1951, Owen Edward Brennan challenged his talented chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new culinary creation. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who, as chairman, served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission, a civic effort to clean up the French Quarter. Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, was a frequent customer of Brennan’s and a very good friend of Owen. Little did anyone realize that Bananas Foster would become an international favorite and is the most requested item on the restaurant’s menu. Thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at Brennan’s in the preparation of its world-famous dessert.             – Information from Whats Cooking America

I wanted to share my simple Banana Foster recipe with you. If you don’t have time to whip up a whole Cajun meal tonight, at least celebrate with a DELICIOUS dessert!

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Sam’s Super Simple Banana Foster

Serving Size for 2:

1 Banana: Cut length-wise and then in half. This should give you 4 pieces from 1 banana.

1 pat of butter (about a tablespoon)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 shot of dark rum

1/4 cup of whipping cream

Pinch of cinnamon

Your choice of amazing of AMAZING Vanilla Bean or Banana Ice Cream

Instruction:

On low-medium heat, melt the butter in a skillet and add the brown sugar once the butter is melted. Wisk or stir until the brown sugar is melted down. Add your 4 pieces of banana, cut side down in the pan. Cook the bananas (on both side) until they become soft and look caramel-y brown.

Add the shot of dark rum, quickly swirl this around the pan. CAREFULLY, light the rum on fire and flambe. Let the flame burn off the alcohol. Remove from the heat.

Scoop ice cream into a bowl. Use a fork to pull out the bananas and place them atop the ice cream. Return the pan to the heat and slowly wisk in the whipping cream with the brown sugar/rum mixture. Wisk until a thick sauce begins to form. You don’t have to use all the whipping cream – just enough to make a creamier sauce.

Pour the sauce onto the bananas and ice cream, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon to the top. Serve immediately.

I wish I had a picture to share with you. . . but let’s face it. . . it doesn’t last long enough for me to snap one!

ENJOY!


Creating a Roasted Green Been Recipe is like painting a picture. . . the concept is a blank canvas. . . a template. You can make a fazillion different variations and I am sure they will all be delicious. It’s kinda fun to just throw whatever you would like on there and see how it comes out.

I’ll share one of my MANY favorites here. . . It’s VERY simple.

  • Picking Your Beans

If you are chosing from a large bin of beans at a market or store. . . look for the firm beans with no abrasions or rotting parts. EW! To figure out a serving, I grab a bunch of beans in one hand, and count that as a serving. Having extra is just a bonus for left overs! Yum!

  • Cleaning Your Beans

Your Bean will look like this. One end will have a pretty little point. . . and the other end will be where the bean connected to the stalk. See…


I simply snap that end off where it naturally breaks, while rinsing the bean under cold water to make sure I get any grit off. After you break them, just toss them in your roasting dish. . . ( a cookie sheet can be a good roaster too!)

  • Creating Your Deliciousness

Now, throw in whatever you want. . .

Here is my recipe for this particular roast:

1 Package Blue Lake Green Beans from Trader Joe’s

2 Large Crushed Garlic Cloves

1 Handfull of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Rainbow Peppercorns


  • Roast Your Beans

Roast the beans on 400 degrees in your oven. Depending on how crisp you would like them. 15 minutes for a lot of crunch. . . and so on until much more tender. We love crunchy, crispy beans here. . . so its a quick roast for us.

ENJOY!


This sale is fantastic and is running through March 13th.


1/2 OFF ALL USDA PRIME & CHOICE BEEF

Typically, AJ’s beef is priced much higher than your standard grocer, but their beef becomes much more affordable during this sale. Although you will still pay a little more than sale beef at your standard grocer, this USDA Prime & Choice Beef is well worth the few extra dollars.

Like my Dad says. . . “You HAVE to buy good beef and good jelly!” Ok, Dad!

I grabbed the following:

(1) USDA Choice Cowboy Cut Ribeye (Bone-In) – $11 , This cut was about 2.5 inches thick, so I had the butcher cut it to make 2 steaks.

(1) USDA Prime Ribeye (Boneless)- $8

(1) USDA Choice Flank Steak- $6

Last night we fixed the two Cowboy Ribeyes with the following simple recipe:

**Note: When dealing with such amazing beef quality, keep the recipe simple, only accenting flavors- not hiding the depth of the taste.

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Garlic & Pepper Ribeye:

Wash steak if it was cut for you, as there may be bone fragments remaining.

1 crushed clove (per steak), rubbed all around the meat

Fresh ground rainbow peppercorns, rubbed into the meat

EVOO, drizzled all over the meat, including the bone

Sea Salt, lightly dashing the meat

Method:

Throw on the grill, 15 minutes total (or less depending on preference)- flipping once

Let rest a few minutes to lock in the juices, before serving.

We paired the Ribeye with this refreshingly mild Tempranillo-Malbec blend. My two favorite reds.

$9.99 at Whole Foods (sale price)

* Thank you, Suzanne Victor, for the AJ’s Sale tip!