Wednesday, July 29, 2015

National Lasagna Day July 29th 2015

On the Menu

In honor of National Lasagna Day, we offering you 3 great lasagna recipes and a Marinara sauce to die for.  All are Whole Foods Markets recipes.


Marinara Sauce

Yield 1½ gallons
¾ cup olive oil
¾ lb onion, roughly chopped
¼ cup rosemary, dried
4 ounces tomato paste
24 cups diced tomatoes (6 qts.)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ spoons black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar – Optional
¼ cup oregano leaves, dried
¾ cup basil, fresh

Heat olive oil and saute onions, garlic and rosemary until onions are translucent.
Add tomato paste and cook 3 – 5 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes, vinegars, salt, pepper, sugar (Optional) and oregano.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and allow to simmer 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Add the fresh basil then puree with an immersion blender until the desired smoothness is obtained.
Taste and adjust and pepper if needed.
Place excess sauce in zip lock bags and freeze up to 6 months for future use.

 8 - 10 Servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon sea salt
1teaspoon pepper, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 quarts Marinara Sauce- Divided
16 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese
32 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large saute pan, heat oil and saute onion
Add ground beef, salt, pepper granulated onion and garlic.
Once brown, add 1 quart and 3 ½ cups of marinara sauce and allow to simmer 20 – 30 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Combine ricotta, parmesan and ½ of the mozzarella cheese.
In the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan or lasagna pan:
  1. Spoon in enough meat sauce to coat bottom.
  2. Add a layer of lasagna noodles.
  3. Spoon on meat sauce. 
  4. Spoon on the cheese mixture.
  5. Sprinkle on a layer of mozzarella cheese
Repeat the process ending with a layer of lasagna topped with the reserved ½ cup of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. 
Cover with foil and bake 46 minutes. Remember everything is already thoroughly cooked; you just want the cheese to melt and the layers to be heated all the way through. 
Uncover and bake another 16 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

 Turkey Sausage Lasagna
8 - 10 Servings
2 lbs turkey Italian Sausage
1 quart Marinara Sauce
28 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 pound lasagna 
1 ounce olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook lasagna noodles until al dente, toss with olive oil and cool on sheet pans.             
In a large sauce pan brown the turkey sausage until almost done then add marinara sauce and allow it to cook until it’s a thick sauce.                  
Remove from heat and place it to the side.
Set aside enough mozzarella cheese to put over the top of the lasagna.
Mix together the ricotta and remaining mozzarella cheese.                
In the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan or lasagna pan:
  1. Spoon in enough sausage mixture to coat bottom.
  2. Add a layer of lasagna noodles.
  3. Spoon on sausage mixture. 
  4. Spoon on the cheese mixture.
Repeat the process ending with a layer of lasagna topped with mozzarella cheese.        
Cover with foil and bake 46 minutes. Remember everything is already thoroughly cooked; you just want the cheese to melt and the layers to be heated all the way through.
Uncover and bake another 16 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

Wild Mushroom Lasagna
8 Servings
1 pound lasagna noodles
3 ounces dried, wild mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
8 ounces shitake mushrooms
8 ounces crimini mushrooms
1½ teaspoon sea salt - divided
1½ teaspoon black pepper - divided
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
8 ounces fontina cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces parmesan cheese
1 egg
16 ounces mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook lasagna noodles al dente, toss with olive oil to prevent sticking then cool on sheet pan
Rehydrate dried mushrooms in hot water, drain and mash out excess water.
Heat oil in a large sauce pan then saute the onions; garlic and all of the mushrooms sprinkle with ½ teaspoon each sea salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Mix together fontina, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, eggs, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper or S & P to taste and 6 ounces of the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
Spray the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan or lasagna pan with oil:
1.    Layer noodles on the bottom of the pan.
2.    Spread on a layer of the cheese mixture.
3.    Spread on a layer of the mushroom mixture.
Repeat these layers then end with a layer of noodles, topped with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 46 minutes. Remember everything is already thoroughly cooked; you just want the cheese to melt and the layers to be heated all the way through.
Uncover and bake another 16 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sunday Dinner July 19,2015

On the Menu

Jim's Valencia Ribs
10 pounds
10 lbs Ribs   
½ cup Brown Sugar           
3 tablespoons Salt  
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper       
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme   
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic      
2 cups barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, thyme, onion powder and garlic.
Rub ribs, on both sides, with the dry rub.
Cover with foil and place in the oven and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until internal temperature of 125 degrees.                   
Remove the foil and brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Bleu Ribbon Potato Salad
6 – 8 Servings
3 pounds red potatoes cut into 1” dice
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
½ bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
6 ounces gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup vegan mayo
¼ cup fat free sour cream

Wash potatoes and scrub with a vegetable brush, cut off any bad spots or blemishes, but do not peel. Cut potatoes into 1” dice.
Place potatoes and bay leaf in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are just fork tender about 13 minutes. 
Thoroughly drain potatoes, discard bay leaf and place potatoes in a bowl. 
While potatoes are still hot, season them with salt and pepper then mix in the white wine vinegar.
Spread potatoes out to cool on a sheet pan [cookie sheet] and let them sit for about 15 minutes on the counter before placing them in the refrigerator. Let potatoes cool in refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes. 
Once potatoes have cooled down, add in all vegetables and mix thoroughly then add the cheese, mayo and cream and mix thoroughly.
Cover, return to the refrigerator until salad is cold.

8 Servings

2 pounds green beans, trimmed, halved
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red peppers
½ teaspoon sea salt

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans and bay leaf, cook for 5 minutes. Plunge beans into ice water; drain and discard bay leaf.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions and chili peppers and sauté 30 seconds.
Add beans; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, tossing frequently.

 Spring Greens with Pears & Walnuts
8 Servings

6 cups mixed salad greens
2 red pears, cored & thinly sliced
1 cup walnut halves
For the Dressing:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
freshly ground black pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar or container with a lid and shake well.
Combine mixed greens, pears and walnuts in a large bowl.
Toss salad with ½ cup of dressing.
Reserve remaining dressing for individual usage. 
Store any remaining dressing in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Age Weight Loss Tip #30


Back in my day, I liked it hot.
In this new age, she likes it even hotter. But not just for taste.
Dr. Oz says one of the quickest ways to speed up your metabolism is to add heat. Chop up some jalapeños on your baked potato.
Sprinkle some cayenne pepper on your eggs. 
But spicy doesn't just mean hot. It also means well-seasoned. Many of us rely way too much on salt. And that causes all kinds of health problems including them swollen feet. 
How important can limited salt be to your eating plan? Part of My 6 Week Body Makeover system was no sugar, no salt, no oil. Following that plan and eating 5 meals a day, I was bound to lose 4 to 5 pounds a week.
Would you be willing to cut the salt if it meant results like that? The bigger question is how do you replace the salt? SPICES. Garlic powder, onion powder, Cajun. Rosemary is great on chicken, rice and potatoes. 
We use curry powder on everything from chicken to our morning home fries. Just make sure  if you buy seasoning blends that they do not contain salt.
Or better yet do what I do. Make your own. 

Ethiopian Berbere Spice

Ethiopian Berbere Spice
Yields ~ 1 cup

Note: Many of these spices are not used in everyday American cooking.  Purchase them from specialty stores that sell them by the ounce. Buy seeds and pods that way you can refrigerate them and they will last for years.  Also all of these spices are used in numerous dishes, so make good use them.

½ whole nutmeg
2 teaspoons whole cardamom pods
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Crack nutmeg and cardamom pods, place them in a coffee grinder or blender and pulse until broken into small pieces.
Add the coriander, fenugreek, peppercorns, allspice, cumin and cloves blend until a powder.
Add the ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and pulse until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Store in a glass airtight jar in a cold dark area up to 6 months.  

I like to sprinkle Berbere spice on roasted veggies like sweet potato, onion and cauliflower it can also be used on Beans, lentils, lamb, chicken, beef, pork, fish, grilled vegetables, potatoes, cabbage and greens and so much more.

Slap Ya Mama Salt Free Cajun Seasoning

Is a 3 ingredient simple seasoning blend, what I love about "Slap Ya Mama" is the potential for it to be hot and spicy. 

Salt Free Slap Ya Mama
Yields approximately 3/4 cup

1/4 cup crushed red chili peppers, ground
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/4 cup granulated garlic

Place the ground chili peppers and black peppercorns in a blender or spice grinder and process to a powder or granular.  Add the granulated garlic and process just long enough to mix thoroughly.  Store in an airtight glass container up to six months. 

Note:  You can also mix equal parts of all ready ground, red pepper (cayenne), black pepper and garlic for the same great taste.

Use on any meat, fish and poultry.  Also good in legumes, soups and stews and vegetables.

Curry Powder

Curry Powder:
Yields  approximately 3/4 cups

½ teaspoon cardamom, ground
3 Tablespoon coriander, ground
2 ½ tablespoons cumin, ground
1 tablespoon mustard powder - from black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons ginger powder

Place all ingredients in a glass container with a lid then shake vigorously until everything is combined.  Store in a cool dry area up to 6 months.  
Use on:  chicken, fish, rice, beans,potatoes, vegetables, eggs, soups and stews and so much more. With curry, the sky is the limit.

Blackening Spice

Whole Spices
Blackening Spice
Yields approximately ¾ cup

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
½ teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients.  Store excess in an airtight glass container refrigerate if you are not going to use within the next 6 months.

Use on any meat, seafood, poultry and grilled vegetables.  Great as a dry rub for grilling.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spinach Avocado Soup

Spinach Avocado Soup
6 Servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
12 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lemon/lime, plus lemon/lime wedges for garnish

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until garlic softens, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
Add spinach, stirring until spinach has wilted then sprinkle the flour over top and mix well.
Pour in milk and broth. Cook, stirring constantly (so mixture doesn't boil), until slightly thickened, about 13 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Puree spinach mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.
Transfer all but 2 cups of the soup to a large bowl.
Add the avocados to blender and puree until smooth. Then thoroughly combine both mixtures.
Cover and refrigerate soup until chilled. Just before serving, stir in the Tabasco and lemon/lime juice. Taste for flavor and adjust seasoning as needed
 Serve cold and garnished with lemon or lime wedges.

Cantaloupe Mint Soup

Cantaloupe Mint Soup
4 Servings
3 pounds cantaloupe (2 medium melons)
¼ cup honey
½ cup orange juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus small sprigs for garnish, optional

Rinse melons thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut melons in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh keeping the rind in tact. Refrigerate rinds until ready to use.
Combine cantaloupe, honey, orange juice, sea salt and cayenne pepper in a blender. Pulse or blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Just before serving, briskly whisk the mint into the chilled soup.
Serve in the clean melon rinds, garnished with sprigs of mint, if desired.

Blueberry Lime Yogurt Soup

Blueberry Lime Yogurt Soup
4 Servings
4 cups blueberries
½ cup water
1 (4) inch cinnamon stick
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (not nonfat)
Juice and zest of 1 medium lime

Set aside a few blueberries for garnish. Place remaining berries in a large saucepan and pour in ½ cup water.
Add the cinnamon stick and stir in the maple syrup. Simmer over medium-low heat until berries start to soften and pop open, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly then remove the cinnamon stick.
Puree blueberry mixture in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Meanwhile combine 2 tablespoons yogurt, lime juice, lime zest in a small bowl. Stir to blend, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve soup.
Just before serving, whisk remaining yogurt into blueberry mixture.
Ladle soup into chilled bowls. Drop 2 teaspoons of lime-yogurt mixture into center of each bowl. Use tip of a sharp knife to make decorative swirls. Garnish with the berries you set aside and serve cold.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Home Fries w/Onions, Peppers & Garlic

Home Fries w/Onions, Peppers & Garlic
4 Servings

3 large Organic russet potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
¼ cup olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced/sliced
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
1- 2 teaspoons crushed red chili peppers

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan pan, cover with cold water and add bay leaf.
Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender. Drain well, remove bay leaf.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the peppers, onion, garlic and seasonings then mix thoroughly. 
Cook until golden brown on the bottom, turn and continue cooking until the other side is  golden brown.