Garden Fresh Tomatoes and Salsa

Garedn Fresh Tomatoes and Salsa

Fresh produce from the garden. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? SALSA!!

But first a little tomato trivia:

The U.S. Congress passed the Tariff Act of 1883 which levied a ten percent duty on imported vegetables to protect American growers from foreign competition. This same year they declared the tomato a vegetable, so it could be included in the tariff, and from that time on the fruit was converted to a vegetable.

Tomato At Its Best, When Cooked

Tomatoes are at their peak, and now is the time to roast or cook and can them. Roasting or cooking tomatoes make them better for you, as the lycopene is higher after being cooked. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is great for keeping the heart healthy and on beat. Harvard Medical School says that one slice of raw tomato contains approximately 515 micrograms of lycopene, while 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 13,800 micrograms of lycopene.

Here are some info-graphics that the Health News Library has post about tomatoes over the past year (2013-14).

Preventing skin damage with tomatoes

tomatoes and cancer

With the harvest of our latest tomatoes, we remembered a recipe we have for Fresh Mexican Salsa in the form of a video. After viewing the video check out this link for more information on the benefits of tomatoes: Protecting Your Skin From the Sun.

Enjoy the video and we hope you prepare Fresh Mexican Salsa with your garden fresh tomatoes.

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Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade -over-head-

This is a very hot 2014 summer. If you found a refreshing drink to cool you down great. But if your still looking we have an idea, Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Teavana is screaming at the top of their lungs, “Shake up your summer iced tea.” Of course you do that by making fresh lemonade and add one of their green or black tea concoctions. Do not under estimate Teavana, they know how to bring flavor’s together and mix them with tea leaves.

Teavana logo

Did you know green tea has catechins that can trigger adominal fat loss? The antioxidents in green tea can protect against glaucoma and other common eye disease. The catechins in the green tea reduce the harmful oxidative stress in the eye. Green is also said to fight type II diabetes and LDL or bad cholesteral. Green tea also supports healthy skin.

Some of us buy bottled green teas, and energy drinks that contain green tea extracts, but all the above mentioned is really only possible when buy the tea leaves yourself and make the tea at home. Processing doesn’t always hold the integrity of the tea or in other words its full potential of benefits.

Here’s an info-graphic we made and used on our other website –Health News library

Brewed home made green tea more anti oxidents

Now for the featured lemonade: Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Here is what you will need.

ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

12 teaspoons Blackberry Mojito Green Tea

1 cup lemon juice, from 5 lemons

1/2 cup sugar (optional to use Teavana’s rock sugar)

6 cups fresh water, boiled

used ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Bring the fresh water to a boil in a large sauce pot. The boil point should reach 175 degrees. turn off heat and add the tea mixture, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain off tea mixture and add tea to a glass serving container. Stir in sugar, and add lemon juice and stir some more.

blackberry mojito loose leaf green tea

Image credit: Teavana

It is also worthy to note, the ingredients found in this tea are all natural. They have been dried and then re-hydrated by the hot water. As the tea is steeping you can smell the blackberries and raspberries as though they were fresh picked. There is also some dried apple in the tea mix.

Because they start with fresh ingredients and the finest tea leaves, the used tea mixture is still eatable. We did eat some, and it was really tasty.

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Once the tea has cooled some, add ice to a tall glass and pour some Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade freshness, and enjoy!!

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Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

We are really excited to share this breakfast treat with you. It was our first attempt to make Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Keep in mind this is a high protein breakfast, which will give you long term sustained energy. You should not find yourself snacking on junk food before you eat lunch around noon or 1 pm. Your body takes its time to digest protein, using every bit of it to give your muscles energy and making necessary repairs in other parts of the body.

What you will need to make Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce.

prosciutto

Prosciutto (Pork-Ham)

2 slices of 100% whole wheat English Muffin (per person)

2 medium to large eggs (per person)

4 slices of prosciutto (per person)

Warming meat and English Muffen for Eggs Benedict

Open the English muffin into two parts and place two slices of  prosciutto on each half. As you can see the front prepared muffins look nicer, and the back two look messy. I learned on the second attempt that there is a special technique to pulling the meat off the special coated paper between each slice of prosciutto.

Place them in a preheated 200 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes , or until the  meat and muffin are warmed. Here we used our counter top conventional Nu wave oven.

For the sauce to top the Eggs Benedict, this is what you will need.

This recipe is sufficient for 2 plates of Eggs Benedict.

4 egg yolks

1 stick of butter, no salt, melted

1 teaspoon lemon juice

sea salt and pepper to taste

You might have your own way to separate the yolk from the white, but this is our way of doing it.

Also the eggs should be at room temperature. Now that you have separated the yolks here is how you turn them into Hollandaise sauce.

preparing Hollandaise Sauce

In a 6 quart pot add water 1/4 way up. Bring water to a soft boil. Add yolks and lemon juice to either a large glass or metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the pot of soft boiling water and start to whisk the yolks over the simmering water until yolks become thick, about 2 to 3 minutes, removing from heat and putting back on. Do not stop whisking.

Remove from heat and add butter and whisk in. Next add sea salt and pepper to taste, whisk some more. If the sauce is to thick just add a few drops of water until you get a sauce again.

preparing to pouch eggs

Using the same pot of water add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar. Next crack an egg into a small glass bowl and gently drop egg into boiling water for 2 minutes. Do this with each egg. Remove pouched egg with a slotted spoon and place one egg on each slice of muffin.

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Once the pouched eggs are over the muffins, spoon on some Hollandisie sauce and enjoy!!

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Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

This really isn’t a Mexican dish, but a recipe invention out of New Mexico. New Mexico uses a lot of traditional Mexican ingredients, but they make their own culinary inventions. Review an article that we posted with a blog guest who explained the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex food, the information could also apply to Mexican Food verses New Mexico style Mexican Food…link here.

There are other similar recipes of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie, but they use ground beef and bake it in a cast iron skillet. For more on cooking with cast iron skillets view our articles here.

Now for our featured recipe Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie, and here is what you will need.

ingredients for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 medium yellow or white onion, finely diced

5 mini-sweet peppers, different colors, thinly diced

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

11 ounces frozen whole kernel corn

2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning

2 cups shredded Rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped

3/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

You can also use BBQ chicken breast shredded. I used BBQ seasoning in place of  Taco seasoning as they both use similar herbs.

sauteeing, mixing and simmering vegetable bean mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sweet peppers and saute, stirring until they are tender. Then add the diced tomato, black beans, corn, and seasoning and mix together until well incorporated.

simmering vegetable bean mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Let simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.

cutting cilantro with kitchen shears

We use kitchen shears to cut the cilantro, making it easy and convenient. It is cut up just before use, never before. The oils that flow from the cut leaves start deteriorating after cutting into the leaves. For maximum flavor, prepare the herb just before you need it.

adding shredded chicken and cilantro to vegetable mix for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Now that the mixture has simmered for 10 minutes, add the shredded chicken and cut cilantro, and stir in and cook until hot.

lining sprin form pan and layering tortillas and meat mixture for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Now to prepare the pie, line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan. Position one tortilla on the bottom of the lined pan and spoon on mixture until if spreads even over the surface of the tortilla. Repeat this three more times, using the other three tortillas. After placing the last tortilla on the top, spread the cheese out over it.

Place into the heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned lightly. Remove and let stand 5 minutes.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

Remove the ring from the spring-form panas well as the paper around the pie, and slide pie onto a platter and serve.

slice of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie

It may not be a Mexican original culinary dish, but for the sack of argument, let’s say it is. Enjoy your slice of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie.

What Others are Saying About Mexican Food with Chicken:

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Blueberry Cheesecake in a Jar

Blueberry Cheesecake in a jar

Here’s a fun way to enjoy cheesecake. We used blueberries, though you could use any fruit you like. Enjoy!!

Here is what you will need:

1 ½ cups graham crumbs

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

6 short wide mouthed mason jars

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for a water bath.

Wash mason jars in hot soapy water. Let air dry.

Meantime, crush gram crackers in a plastic bag to equal 1 ½ cups (about 8 to 10 crackers). Fill each jar with ¼ cup of cracker crumbs, set aside.

Cream sugar and cream cheese together, using a food processor. Next add eggs, one at a time mixing in after each addition. Mix in lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add Greek yogurt and mix in till well incorporated.

Divide the cream cheese filling among the jars (about 1 cup per jar) and smooth the tops. Top with 7 to 8 blueberries.

Place the filled jars in a roasting pan and place pan in the oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the jars, taking care not to get any water into the jars.

Bake until the cheesecakes are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes for the taller jars, 40 to 45 minutes for the rounder jars.

Remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and let cool to room temperature. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

What Others are Saying About Cheesecake:

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Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Platter with Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (in the image there is only 3 chicken breasts)

1 cup goat cheese

1 cup chopped blueberries, frozen or fresh, chopped*

1 cup bread crumbs

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ cup olive oil

*use a food processor on chop for a few seconds or other means to chop blueberries. I personally use a Progresso food chopper. Link here for another recipe by Splendid Recipes that shows using the Progresso chopper: Smoked Turkey Black Bean Bell Pepper and Corn Salad

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese and blueberries together. Set aside.

chopped blueberries and goat cheese

Measure out bread crumbs and place into a large bowl. Mix in ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with fowl and set aside.

preparation for Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Trim fat from breasts, and cut a slit in the middle, not cutting through completely, just enough to make a pocket. To stuff with cheese mixture.

Pull back the top side pocket of each chicken breast and stuff with ¼ cup of cheese mixture and cover. Making sure mixture is packed well into pocket.

brushing olive oil over chicken breast

Next brush the tops of the chicken breasts with olive oil. Grab chicken breast with one hand at opening side and lift brushing the underside of breast with olive oil.

Place each breast separately into bowl with crumbs and bread meat on both sides. Place meat, bottom down into prepared baking pan.

Place pan into oven and bake for 29 minutes. Turn oven to broil and place pan 5 to 6 inches from element for 1 minute to toast the crumbs lightly. Chicken should be 165 degrees internal temperature to be done.

Plate and serve.

Baked Blueberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Chicken Recipes by Other Bloggers

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