Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

There has been a lot of new information on processed foods, seed oils high in omega-6, refined sugar, as being the cause of bodily inflammation. We have also read about lowering our carbohydrate intake, as too much carb’s over works the pancreas and heightens insulin levels. Refined grains is the big culprit to weight gain. Refined grains digest fast and causing rapid use of glucose or a spike of sugar levels in the blood stream, causing the body to store the excess sugar not used, as fat.

But what about whole wheat pasta? Or better yet 100% whole wheat pasta? When consumed, can it be to blame for weight gain as well? No!!

When the fiber is not taken away from the grain, but processed together, is actually better for the body. Fiber causes food to digest slower and at the same time move faster through the digestive tract.  As  the whole grain pasta is digested, it releases a stead flow of glucose (not all at once as does white pasta without the fiber) giving sustained energy. The fiber then pushes the digested food out, not being stored as fat.

A 1-cup serving of cooked whole-grain pasta contains 3.9 total grams of fiber, while the same amount of white pasta contains 2.3 grams.

It is also worthy of noting, that whole grains lower blood pressure, were as grains with the fiber removed can cause blood pressure to raise.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta. Here is what you will need:

12 0z. 100% whole wheat Penne pasta, cooked

1 package Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce

3/4 cup bell pepper strips, mixed colors

1/2 cup french stringed beans

For the vegetables, I just buy them fresh frozen from the Whole Foods Market. You can use a jar of Alfredo Sauce, but I make my own.

1/4 cup butter

1 cup Heavy cream

1/2 to 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated fresh

Heat a small sauce pan, medium-high. Add butter and melt, not allowing to scorch, next add cream and stir while pouring. After the two are well incorporated, add grated cheese and mix in as it melts. Bring to a small rapid bowl, remove from heat and set aside.

Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken SausageSome Al Fresco brand sausages you can buy already cooked and at some markets they package it fresh, uncooked. Al Fresco is my preferred brand, as it is minimally processed and no preservatives added.  Click on image to go to their web-site to receive a $1.00 coupon off. I have been buying the package at about $3.50 to 3.99.

I prefer to buy the fresh uncooked sausage.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat. Let sausage crumble to small bits. Add Alfredo sauce, cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir until all are mixed well together.

Plate and serve.

Apple Chicken Sausage with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta  with Italian Rustic Bread and melted Provolone

We had an Italian Rustic Bread loaf and melted provolone cheese on slices of the bread. Wow what a great addition to the plated pasta.

 

What Others are Saying About Penne Pasta:

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Orange Cranberry Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

The orange peel and the pith both contain a unique flavonoid called hesperidin which has shown to reduce bad LDL cholesterol as well as helps to lower triglycerides or fat in the blood.

Hesperidin also helps improve blood vessel function, lowers blood pressure and helps to reduce inflammation in the body.

This Orange Cranberry Muffin recipe is a wonderful bread recipe that uses the whole orange, not just the zest or orange extract.

Here is what you will need:

Orange Cranberry Bread Ingredients

2 small oranges

1 cup orange juice

2 eggs, large

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

3 cups flour

1 cup cranberries, chopped fresh

The ingredients are for baking the batter in a 9 X 9 inch baking pan. To make muffins or cupcakes cut each ingredient in half (makes 12 muffins).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

whole oranges and orange jucie in processor

 Wash oranges and cut into pieces. Remove seeds.  Place orange pieces and orange juice into food processor.

oranges processed

Process until oranges are finely chopped. Add eggs and butter; process for 3 seconds until combined. You could replace the butter with 1 cup coconut oil.

Orange Cranberry Bread ingredients in bowl ready to mix

Sift the remaining 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Next pour processed orange and juice into the center of the dry ingredients, add cranberries; stir until moistened. Do not over mix.

Orange Cranberry Bread batter in a lined 9 x 9 inch pan

As was stated at the on set, you can make muffins by cutting the ingredients in half or use the recipe as is and pour the batter into a parchment lined 9 x 9 baking pan.

Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (for bread) or 15 to 20 minutes (for muffins)  until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan 10 minutes remove to wire rack to cool completely.

nside view of fresh Orange Craberry Bread

Here’s a look of how a fresh whole Orange Cranberry Bread looks like on the inside. This cake is packed with 100% of your daily need for vitamin-C.

Orange Cranberry Muffins

 To top the muffins, combine one 8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature) with a few drops of orange food coloring and 1 teaspoon of orange extract.

Using a pastry pipe, pipe orange cream cheese over each muffin.

Next chop 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries and spoon over cream cheese on each muffin. Enjoy!!

 

What Others are Saying About Orange Cranberry Muffins:

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Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Preparation for the muffins:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat bran

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

2/3 cup mashed pumpkin

1 cup whole milk

2 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

Preparation for the topping:

8 pecan halves, finely chopped

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar and baking powder, mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the pecan halves, butter, and remaining brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Mash with fork until crumbly.

Grease muffin pan or line with 12 paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle topping evenly on muffins. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also bake this as a coffee cake, by lining 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

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How to Make Really Moist Banana Bread

Moist Banan Bread

Original Post February 1, 2014 – Updated October 3, 2021

There many questions about making a really good banana bread. But we will answer the following four, which are –

1. Mash or puree the bananas?

2. What type of dairy product should you use?

3. How should you incorporate your ingredients?

4. How ripe should the bananas get? 

These are a few good questions in regards to making really good moist banana bread.

Really Ripe Bananas

The bananas need to be extra ripe. See how black they are here in this image?

They have been cut open to show you that the fruit inside is still good.

The banana is no longer firm but more pliable to mash and there is more sugar at this stage of the fruits life.

With bananas this soft, just place peeled fruit in a bowl and mash up with a fork.

extra ripe bananas

Banana Bread and Dairy Products

All oils function in the same way when it comes to baking, as they are all 100% fat.

It’s better to avoid olive oil when baking though and instead go for something with a more neutral flavour, such as vegetable oil, or avocado oil.

The main role of oil in baking is to add a richness and tenderness, with tenderness being greater in bakes that use butter.

This is due to how liquid fats, like seed or vegetable oils, don’t solidify when they cool.

As for the dairy product, there are several choices:

Buttermilk

Sour Cream

Mascarpone

Greek Yogurt

And you should use the products with full fat. Dairy fat improves both the flavor and texture or moisture of the loaf.

Keep in mind that each dairy product noted above does have their own flavor to add to the recipe. So experiment and see which flavor you like the best.

In our breads, we use Greek Yogurt.

Pecan Buttermilk Banana Bread

Pecan Buttermilk Banana Bread

Incorporating Ingredients The Right Way

Make sure your eggs are room temperature. Why?

At room temperature, egg yolks break more easily, allowing them to mix more evenly with the egg whites and other ingredients.

Room-temperature eggs are especially important for recipes like cheesecake, where the high fat content is a factor.

Cold eggs could re-harden the fat, resulting in curdled batter that might affect the final texture.

How To Bring Refrigerated Eggs To Room Temperature In Minutes

Place whole eggs in a bowl and cover them with warm, not hot.

Allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes until no longer chilled.

Measure Your Flour Properly

To measure your flour properly for baking cakes and breads, it is best to spoon the flour into the measuring cup. 

Gently pile it in until it forms a heap above the rim of the measuring cup. Don’t pack the flour down though.

Next, scrape a knife across the top of the measuring cup to level the flour. Doing so helps to remove excess flour from off the top without packing down the flour.

By not spooning your flour into a measuring cup and then leveling it off with a knife can result in as much as 25% more flour than called for in a recipe.

You should always sift the flour, which can help in stopping large air pockets from forming.

Large air pockets do not allow for moist bread.

Do not over beat your wet ingredients, especially the eggs.

Always mix wet ingredients in one bowl and all dry ingredients in another.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients just before pouring batter into baking dish.

Once the baking powder and soda hits something wet it starts to react.

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

You want this reaction to happen as you put it into the oven and not before.

And lastly, if you need to open the oven door, than wait at least 3/4 of the baking time to pass before even thinking about opening the oven door.

If you find your cake isn’t cooked, don’t keep opening the door every minute to check.

As doing so makes the oven lose heat and lengthens the cooking time with each occurrence.

Wait at least 10 minutes or so, depending on how close you believe it is to being done.

Follow these no fail tips and you will always have moist banana bread.

What Other’s are Saying about Banana Bread

Capirotada – Mexican Bread Pudding

Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding close up

Most Mexican desserts are not extremely sweet. Capirotada is a traditional and popular Latin dessert, but it can be served any time, especially when you have some nice crusty bread that needs to be used.

The following recipe is my wife’s way of making Capirotada, and yes she was born and raised in Mexico. So this is an authentic recipe. I don’t have any step by step images to show, as I was not at home when she made this. So all I have is the finished product or food creation.

Capirotada

1 quart whole milk
3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 whole clove
3 or 4 large piloncillos *
1 loaf french bread, hard/stale, torn or cut  into 1-inch cubes**
3 bananas, sliced***
1 cup cranberries^
1/2 cup chopped dates

1 cup whole dried prunes, preferable small prunes
1 cup mixed or your choice: peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, chopped almonds
1/2 pound cubed or shredded cheese, Monterrey Jack

* Piloncillos are cone shaped pieces of raw cane sugar. You can find them at your local market in the produce section or Latin foods section

** In Mexico the traditional bread to use is called bolillo rolls, which can be found at your local Latin market or in your local bakeries

*** optional to use 3 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) in place of bananas. The preferred apples to use are ones you bake with. Reference our post In the Kitchen 101 to see which apples are used for baking.

^ option to use raisins

Instructions for preparing the Capirotada

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a medium-size baking dish.

Boil the milk, cinnamon sticks, clove, and piloncillo together until a syrup forms; set aside.

In the prepared baking dish, place a layer of cubed bread pieces. Cover with a layer of the banana and prunes. Sprinkle some of the cranberries, chopped dates, nuts, and some shredded cheese over the top. Repeat layers until all the ingredients (except the syrup) are used.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and clove from syrup and pour the syrup over the top of the dry ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes; remove from oven.

Cool slightly, then spoon onto plates and serve warm. Some people also like it cold. Store left overs, if any in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Enjoy!!

Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding in baking dish

Capirotada – Mexican Bread Pudding 

Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding served

Try our other bread pudding from Splendid Recipes: Blueberry Pear and White Chocolate Bread Pudding

How Other are Preparing Bread Pudding

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Banana Almond Chocolate Bread

Banana Almond Chocolate bread

How to make a Really Moist Banana Bread

The bananas need to be extra ripe. See how black they are here in this image? They have been cut open to show you that the fruit in side is still good. The banana is no longer firm but more pliable to mash and there is more sugar at this stage of the fruits life. These bananas were bought at market with a little green in them and left in the fruit bowl for 5 weeks to get them this black and prepared for baking banana bread.

Also using less vegetable oil, only ½ cup and adding ½ cup of Greek yogurt will give you the moist bread that you want. Make sure your eggs are room temperature. This allows for the protein that is in the egg to separate better with the other cake ingredients, also making for moist bread. Always sift the dry ingredients allowing for no large air pockets. Large air pockets do not allow for moist bread. Do not over beat your wet ingredients.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients just before pouring batter into baking dish. Once the baking powder and soda hits something wet it starts to react. You want this reaction to happen as you put it into the oven and not before.

 

For more information on how food correlates to a healthy you, visit: Savor the Food and Your Health.

 

 

Artichoke Goat Cheese Garlic Bread -includes a video-

Ingredients for Artichock GoatCheese Garlic Bread

½ cups parsley, chopped*
¼ cups dill, chopped
8 basil leaves, chopped
¼ cups chives, chopped
6 whole marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
6 cloves garlic
¼ cups Goat cheese, crumbled~
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 loaf Italian bread

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Chop the first 4 ingredients and place them in a food processor and blend. Add artichoke hearts and blend. Next add the garlic, cheese, softened butter, salt and pepper to the food processor and mix until smooth.

Slice the bread in 1-inch slices, stopping before the base of the bread. Stuff the bread with the mixture. Wrap the bread in foil and bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

*can use cilantro

~can use Feta cheese

 

View our video of Artichoke Goat Cheese Garlic Bread. The video is principle to demonstrate how to make the Artichoke/Goat cheese bread. But a main dish “Rosemary Chicken and Sundried Tomatoes with Linguini” is shown. Click here to view the recipe.

For information about how food correlates to a healthy you view: Savor the food and Your Health