Cooking Simple With Your Family

Collage of adults cooking with their children - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyWe have been interviewing Keisha T. Prosser – The Mobile Cooking Teacher on Using Your Cooking Skills To Teach Others About Good Nutrition (March. 15, 2016) and  The Mobile Cooking Teacher – Inspiring A New Generation Of Cooks (March. 19, 2019). To see the interviews again just click and follow the above links.

Keisha T. ProsserSplendid Recipes: Today we are going to let Keisha explain the right time to start teaching your children cooking skills. Okay Keisha, we pass the platform over to you.

Keisha: Thanks Randy. Do you have children? Have you ever thought when would be a good time to start teaching my child how to cook? But not only cook, but cook healthy meals.

It is true we are all busy, but our children will not always be with us, and they need to know the importance of COOKING. And it doesn’t matter if they are a girl or boy, we all should have some basic cooking skills.

Okay, so when is a good time to start teaching your children? Let’s talk about age groups and what are some skills they can learn during those ages.

Teaching Children Age Appropriate Cooking Skills

Here are the age appropriate cooking skills to teach your children.

Preschoolers – 6 years old

young boy learning to cut with a knife - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyThis age group can help preparing fruit and pasta salads, help with setting the table, and for those who can read, they can read the recipe ingredients and directions with you. Doing so will help them learn to follow recipe directions.

They can measure ingredients, learn how to use a food timer, including a meat thermometer. They can help with making smoothies by allowing the child to place the ingredients into the blender.

This is also a wonderful age group to let help with young girl helping to make cookies - Cooking Simple With Your Familybaking cookies, as they can learn the effort that goes into making one of their favorite snacks.

Explain to them how herbs and spices flavor a recipe. You might think teaching this to a preschooler to 6 year old would be something they wouldn’t understand, which may be true at first. But repetition is key to teaching children the skills of cooking.

Other things this age group can help with in food preparation is preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, helping with menu planning, as well as helping to clean up the kitchen after eating.

This age group is the right time to start and teach them the importance of eating healthy.

Ages 7-12

young boy learning to cook - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyContinue with what they have learned up to age six, that is measuring ingredients, making smoothies, menu planning, and help with cleaning the kitchen.

Ages 7 to 12 is a good age group to start teaching kitchen prep work, that is cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and cheeses that will go into the recipe you are preparing.

Continue with teaching them the importance of healthy eating, flavoring foods with herbs and spices, including following and reading recipe directions.

 

Ages 13-18 

 teen boy preparing a recipe - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyThis age group can start learning to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner by themselves.

They even make their favorite cookies on their own, including learning how to cook different cuisines, like a simple Asian stir-fry or Mexican food, like tacos.

They still should be encouraged to read and follow recipe directions. At this age let them sit with a paper and pencil and plan out the weeks menu.

Letting them do this will help them learn appreciation for planning ahead to eat, instead of waiting to the last minute when you are really hungry, and may go for some junk food.

Cooking Simple

We all would like meals to be done in 20 minutes or less, at least I do.

young girl cooking - - Cooking Simple With Your FamilyHere are some simple ingredients you can teach your child to mix together to form different recipes in the kitchen.

You can do 3 easy things with these ingredients: Lemon, Garlic, Salt, Sugar, Olive Oil, and Onion.

Salad Dressing: Lemon, Olive Oil, Garlic, Onion, Salt and Lemon Zest.

Marinade: Lemon, Garlic, Onion and Olive Oil

The ideas are endless with these simple ingredients.

Having your family helping in the kitchen more is one way to make sure everyone is eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Preparing meals together brings you closer as a family. You are teaching your family how to cook healthier and smarter.

Remember, the heart of the home is in the kitchen, and a healthy kitchen, is a healthy heart.

Splendid Recipes: Thanks so much Keisha, for taking the time out to share all that you have with us on teaching good nutrition through cooking, inspiring future cooks, and cooking together as a family.

Keisha: No thank you Randy for this opportunity. And I appreciate any one who would like to follow me on any one of the social net works I am on.

Splendid Recipes: Yes follow Keisha on any one of the following social net works and keep up with the latest adventures of – The Mobile Cooking Teacher.

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Cooking Great Meals In A Small Kitchen

Small simple kitchen - Cooking Great Meals In A Small KitchenIt can be a little perplexing to bake or cook in a small kitchen with limited space. Whether you’re in an apartment, condo, or just a house with a kitchen that isn’t quite as big as you’d like, cooking fantastic meals in a small kitchen is altogether possible.

How nice it would be, but you don’t need a big kitchen to make a big meal, no rather all you need is a little knowledge and creativity for working in a small kitchen with limited space.

Organizing Your Kitchen Space

The key to having a small kitchen with limited space, is organization. Keeping your limited space organized can actually give you more space to work with when preparing to cook or bake.

Organization can also save you money and a trip to the store. How so? Consider this. Say you’re making an “Apple Spiced Cake,” how many occasions have you opened the pantry to see if you have a certain spice, and it is no were to be found.

small kitchens

Image credit: Decoralia

As you need the spice, you end up going to the store to buy some more, only to find a week later the spice you we’re looking for hidden in the back of the pantry.

Cooking and baking in a limited space kitchen with organization can save you money.

Before you start cooking, pull out all the ingredients you’ll need for the meal, and keep them all on the counter in one place. Spreading out all over a small kitchen isn’t an option, so watch how much room you’re using for your ingredients. What ever you are done with, put it back right away.

Being organized before you start preparing food to eat, as well as while you are cooking will save you from becoming frustrated, because not knowing were items required for the meal preparation are could quit well discourage you from preparing meals.

Keep ion mind that small spaces and frustration are not a good combination.

Keeping your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer, and any space where food is stored, is essential to cooking in a small kitchen.

Keeping Your Small Space Clean

To start, a clean kitchen means prepared meals without food-born infections. Since you have a small kitchen, why not make recipes that only require the use of one mixing bowl or one pot recipes.

The less cooking and baking utensils you can use, the more counter space available and less clean up.

washing dishes

Image credit: Food52

Instead of grabbing a new bowl, pot, or mixing utensil, try to use the ones that are already dirty.

While you’re waiting for something in the oven or on the stove, wash the cooking utensils, and the ones that you don’t need anymore, put them away, and the ones you will keep using, leave them on the counter out of the way.

Also while you are waiting, put away ingredients you are done using at that time, as well.

This will help free up space and create less work in cleaning up after the meal has been enjoyed.

One Cook Kitchens

Kitchens that are small, and don’t have enough elbow room, as they say, is really a one cook kitchen. The best idea in a small kitchen is to kick everyone out while you’re cooking.

If you barely have enough room to turn around while you’re cooking, you’ll need as much space as you can get. Don’t let anyone in your kitchen while you’re preparing the meal, unless you want someones help to chop vegetables or round up and put away no longer needed ingredients.

There’s never anything wrong with asking for a little help, but if someone just wants to chat while you’re cooking, they’ll probably just get in the way.

A Small Kitchen – Buffet Style Or Plate and Serve

plate and serve - small kitchenWith limited counter space, it’s probably not the best idea to have a buffet style meal.

If you don’t have room to chat with people while you’re cooking, you probably don’t have enough room for guests to line up and get their food.

If you have the counter space to plate the meal yourself for each guest, that’s probably your best bet.

Otherwise, you can always pass serving dishes at the table and store them on the counter for people to get second helpings if they want.

Wouldn’t you agree these are great suggestions to follow in every kitchen, small or big?

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Leafy Green Salads With Homemade Cheese

Leafy Green Salads With Homemade CheeseThrowing some leafy greens with other vegetables together on a plate and topping it with some nuts, seeds and your favorite dressing or vinaigrette is a great way to get your daily servings of vegetables.

How about going a step further and adding some cheese, like Parmesan, grumbled goat cheese, or even some of your own homemade cheese made in an hour? What? Yes you read right, homemade cheese made in one hour.

One Hour Cheese by Claudia LuceroWe were listening to NPR this past week, and the program was All Things Considered, and I was very intrigued at hearing that you could make cheese in one hour.

Listen here to the 3 minute interview with Claudia Lucero who runs Urban Cheesecraft in Portland, Oregon, and authored the book “One Hour Cheese” (CLICK HERE TO HEAR INTERVIEW). 

After listening in the car to the interview with Claudia, the very next day with a gallon of milk from Whole Foods Market, I ventured to make some homemade cheese in my own kitchen for the first time.

Here’s what you need to do to make your own cheese in an hour….

Pour 4 cups milk into a 2-quart saucepan and heat it on medium as you stir.

Look for foam to begin forming around the inside edges of the pot as well as little simmer bubbles coming from the bottom—not a rolling boil. Stir continuously so that a skin doesn’t form on the milk’s surface.

Once you see a soft boiling of the milk, slowly add 1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice. You can also use vinegar. Apple cider or white vinegar will do.

As you are slowly pouring in the lemon juice, stir gently to incorporate it until you see the clear separation of curds, which will be white solids, and whey, a clear liquid.

This separation of curds from the whey is called coagulation.  When you see coagulation and the liquid no longer looks like plain milk, turn the heat to low and stir the curds very, very gently as you cook them for 2 minutes more after the coagulation begins.

Have a cheese cloth placed in a small strainer over a bowl, and using a slotted spoon, carefully spoon out the curds and place them into the cheese cloth, and let any excess whey drain off.

After the whey has drained off, you can add some sea salt or Himalayan salt to the cheese and mix in.

We add some garlic seasoning, which gave it a great flavor. In Claudia Lucero’s book, she even shows you how to make a faux cheddar cheese (which takes days to make) in an hour by just adding turmeric to give it that orange look that you see when purchased at the market.

Here is what we got at our first try making homemade cheese.

making homemade cheese

The cheese is much like a crumbled cheese you would buy at the market. Here are a few leafy green salads we put together using our homemade cheese.

Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

               Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

This salad is a few handfuls of leafy greens (your choice) topped with sliced radishes, pecan pieces, pomegranate vinaigrette, and homemade crumbled cheese.

making a leafy green salad with root vegetables and homemade cheese

Our next salad is a plate of leafy greens, with a fried egg and some root vegetables, consisting of sliced radishes and golden beets. We topped the salad with a olive oil and sweet balsamic vinaigrette, homemade crumbled cheese and fresh thyme.

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

As we mentioned at the on set of the article, this is a great way to get a few servings of your daily need of vegetables, and a added treat you make yourself, Homemade Cheese.

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts in a serving bowl Here is a great dish that we believe you don’t have to wait until the Autumn months to enjoy. Cranberries are harvested September thru November, and are found fresh in the stores in the months of November and December. Cranberries are always associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Cranberries freeze well for up to one year, so why not buy yourself a few extra bags to enjoy them other parts of the year.

Did you know that in January the packaged cranberries that have not sold are reduced in price, which has been from 98 cents to around $1.25 around the past few years. The bags that do not sell, the markets store away in their freezers until next year.

Continued Downfall of the Bee Only Intensifies MalnutritionCranberries are another food crop that depend on bees for pollination. The fruit is a berry, and it is larger than the leaves of the plant.

Once the berry starts to form, it is initially white, turning a deep red when fully ripe. The berry has an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

—Read More About Our Declining Pollinator Population: Continued Downfall of the Bee Only Intensifies Malnutrition —

Cranberries are related to bilberries, blueberries, and huckleberries.

Cranberry Field harvestA common misconception about cranberry production is that the beds remain flooded throughout the year, but rather the beds are irrigated regularly to maintain soil moisture during the growing season.

Beds are flooded in the autumn to facilitate harvest and again during the winter to protect against low temperatures.

Our feature recipe is an example of how you can enjoy those cranberries throughout the year, and here is what you will need to enjoy the flavors of – Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts.

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

2 large cooking apples, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup brown sugar, can use coconut sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon 5-star Chinese spice

1/2 cup candied walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

three images of diced fruitsIn a large bowl mix in prepared fruits (yes butternut squash is actually a fruit). Next mix in spice mix and butter, mix in until well coated.

sweet spice mix for Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied WalnutsIn a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and spice.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts ready to roastSpoon coated fruit mix into a 13 X 9 inch baking glass pan.

Roast 50-60 minutes for a tender dish, and for or a lighter crunchy bit, roast for 30 minutes. Test the squash to feel its crunchiness by forking the squash and eating it, and if the squash has a slight firm texture but not mushy, then it’s done roasting.candied walnutsWe found these candied walnuts in the Whole Foods Market. The are walnut halves, which we broke up into pieces.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts in a serving bowlSpoon the roasted fruit into a serving bowl and top with candied walnuts. Before serving, mix walnuts in. You also have the option to serve the side dish with the walnuts on the side, allowing your family and guests to spoon on the walnuts if they wish.

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What To Do With Your Turkey Dinner Leftovers

What To Do With Your Turkey Dinner Leftovers What to do with all of that turkey meat leftover from your Thanksgiving Dinner. When you were preparing a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving the day before and the day of, you no doubt were anticipating what you would do with the leftovers, especially the turkey meat itself.

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most highly anticipated meals of the year, and you can make the most of the turkey leftovers by transforming them into soups, sandwiches, and salads with these satisfying recipes from Splendid Recipes and More.

What To Do With Leftovers

Culinary dishes made from leftovers are common in many American households. Recipe ideas for leftovers were created in the days before refrigeration and reliable airtight containers existed. Besides capturing nutrition from otherwise inedible bones, stocks and broths make an excellent base for adding leftover morsels too small to be a meal themselves.

Casseroles, paella, fried rice, Shepherd pies, and pizza can also be used for this purpose, and may even have been invented as a means of reusing leftovers (Leftovers – Wikapedia).

Culinary Ideas For Your Leftover Turkey

In the following recipes, the leftover turkey can replace the chicken. Turkey also makes a great addition to our chicken soups and casseroles. Here are a few ideas to use your leftover turkey in our chicken recipes.

close up of Mango Guacamole Chicken SaladMango Guacamole Chicken Salad 

1 large cooked chicken breast, without bone or skin

3 tablespoons mango puree

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (Link Here For Homemade Recipe)

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Shred the cooked chicken breast into a medium bowl and mix with mango puree, mayonnaise, and sugar. Set the mixture aside.

For the Guacamole

1 avocado, seeded and peel removed

1 small tomato, without seeds

2 garlic gloves

2 teaspoons powder coriander

3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

5 to 6 whole pepper corns

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend together for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

Read more here about plating the Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

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Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet PotatoesEnchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is made without meat, but you can add some left over shredded turkey meat (2 to 3 cups).

1 large sweet potato, grated (making about 2 cups)

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

1 bag Fresh Baby Kale Mix

1 – 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 – 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added

1/4 cup chipotle salsa

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (for a vegan dish use tofu or nutritional yeast)

4 corn tortillas cut into strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Coat a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil (for a vegan or vegetarian dish)

Evenly spread the grated sweet potato in the baking dish, then layer the onion. Next sprinkle with the cumin seed, then layer on the kale and black beans (you can opt for adding 3/4th pound of cooked ground beef or chicken at this point).

Pour the tomato sauce over the dish, along with the chipotle salsa. Sprinkle with cheese, then spread the tortilla strips on top.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes. Plate and serve.

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Read More Here About Kale… Kale Makes a Heart Healthy Salad

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Coconut Chicken Lettuce WrapsCoconut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

12 leaves of butter lettuce

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 pound chicken breast or chicken thigh strips (option to also use ground meat)

2 medium green onions, chopped

½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and chopped

¼ cup chicken broth

Recipe ideas for Turkry day left overs2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

2 tablespoons filtered water

¼ cup gomasio (sesame seeds and sea salt) – recipe to follow

1/2 cup dried fine flacked unsweetened coconut meat

Link here to prepare the Gomasio for the Coconut Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and the instructions to prepare the recipe. Click here.

We also have…

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna Just shred some turkey meat.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad The turkey is already roasted.

Chicken Tortilla Soup or how about a Turkey Tortilla Soup?

Oriental Chicken Wraps Just use left over turkey.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie You guessed it, Mexican Turkey Tortilla Pie

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Gluten Free Penne with Smoked Bacon and Butternut Squash

Gluten Free Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Butternut squash and also refereed to butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, is a winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin.

Butternut_squash

The value of the nutrient content increases when cooked

According to Specialty Produce the butternut squash was developed in Stow, Massachusetts in 1940 by Charles A. Leggette.

The squash is a member of the gourd family and is the most widely grown winter squash. In the United States, Florida is the largest squash-producer with California ranking second.

Butternut is rich in fiber, and low in calories. It also is a good source of minerals, including magnesium and potassium. Those who have asthma or breathing problems, this squash can help, because of its magnesium, and vitamins A and C content.

Medical studies since 1994 have reported that low magnesium intake is linked to asthma and chronic obstructive airways. Many studies also have noted that drugs used in the treatment of asthma causes loss of magnesium in the body (The Link Between An Asthma Attack and Magnesium).

Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, who authored the book, “The Magnesium Miracle,” states that magnesium has a calming effect on the muscles of the bronchial airways, as well as the whole body (Treating Asthma With Nutrition).

Let’s breath easier, and get that all over calming effect as we present our featured recipe: Gluten Free Penne with Smoked Bacon and Butternut Squash, and here is what you will need.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked in a steamer (optional to roast)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound gluten-free penne pasta

1 large yellow onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper corns

1/2 pound smoked bacon, cooked, but not crispy, your preference in flavor, we used a apple-bourbon smoked bacon

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package instruction. Save one cup of the pasta water before draining pasta. Set aside.

sauteing onions Over medium heat in a large ceramic coated frying pain, add oil and diced onion, red pepper flakes and crushed pepper corns, and saute until onion are slightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes.

adding squash and pastaNext add past, squash, and bacon. Mix until well incorporated. Next add cheese, and slowly add the reserved pasta water. The amount you add determines if you want the dish creamy or not.

Gluten Free Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked BaconPlate and serve.

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Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

All squash varieties are members of the Curcurbita family. They come in varying colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and a range of flavors.

The three main categories of the Curcurbita family are:
Curcurbita pepo– include but not limited too zucchini, summer squashes, acorn, and spaghetti squash
Curcurbita maxima– includes but not limited too: banana squash, and pumpkin
Curcurbita moschata– includes but not limited too: butternut squash, and calabaza

Squash is a low carbohydrate food, including a low glycemic index food, between 0 and 35. The low number indicates no spiking of insulin in the blood stream. Most squash have small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, and including the B-vitamins. They also contain trace minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Squash is great for heart health and every muscle of the body. Magnesium is great to help the muscles relax, preventing what is called charlie-horse or cramping of the muscles.

As for potassium, one half cup serving of Grey Squash as an example has 603 mg, raw zucchini has 459 mg, cooked has 194 mg, and baked Butternut squash has 289 mg.

Mexican Grey SquashThe squash we are using in our featured recipe is a hybrid of the zucchini squash, and is referred to in Mexico as the Mexican squash or the grey squash.

The grey squash has the same texture and flavor as the zucchini. Unlike the zucchini when harvested at a larger size, the grey squash tends to still have a tender skin.

Now for our featured recipe: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce. The recipe is simple and easy, as it contains 3 ingredients as follows…

principle ingredients for Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat SauceYou can use any type of spaghetti sauce, but we chose to use a tomato base with cream and vodka included, 2 cups.

One pound of organic pork chorizo, which we purchased on sale at the Whole Foods Market, and 3 Mexican squash, which will make about 2 to 3 servings. Here we have a larger harvested Mexican squash given to us from a friends organic home garden.

makng squash pasta with a julienne peelerUsing a julienne peeler, run it from top to bottom all around the squash until you arrive to the seeds in the center. Set the squash pasta aside.

Pork ChorizoHeat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of pastured unsalted butter, and when melted add the pork, and cook until done, about 10 minutes. remove from heat, and set aside.

cooking squash pasta in skillet In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the stringed squash and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the oil to cling to the squash strings. If the oil clings then in turn the spaghetti sauce will cling to the squash pasta. Do not over cook the squash, you want a little crunch, and at the same time you want a fork to twirl it, the same as is done with traditional pasta.

sauce and chorizoRemove skillet from heat and transfer squash past to a serving platter. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cooked pork chorizo, and mix together. Allow the heat to warm the meat sauce.

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce - 2

Remove meat sauce from heat and pour it over the squash pasta arranged on a serving platter. Serve with grated Italian cheese, and enjoy.

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Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Fresh sage has high antioxidant abilities, and you don’t want to miss out. Because it can help protect your body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, which most often results in cell death, impaired immunity, and chronic disease (Link here to consider: Helping Your Immune System Function Smarter).

Medical studies using sage extract with Alzheimer suffers, showed an improvement in cognition as well as less agitation compared to the placebo group. Other studies have reported that sage can improve memory in young, healthy adults also.

Another medical study using forty volunteers who had diabetes and high cholesterol. The patients were given sage leaf extract for 3 months, and at the finish of the study, the participants had lower fasting glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol), and the HDL (good cholesterol) had risen.

Sage, as well as many other herbs, has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antimicrobial effects.

Those are just some of the great reasons to enjoy making: Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon, which involves fresh sage. This meal cooks in about 30 to 40 minutes.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups butternut squash (about a 1 3/4 pound squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

gluten free penne rigate12 oz. Penne Rigate, gluten-free pasta (our favorite brand to use is Jovial – bought at Whole Foods Market)

4 to 5 thick sliced Apple Wood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 shallots, thinly sliced

12 fresh sage leaves, torn

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

In a pot of boiling water, cook the gluten free pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Most Jovial pasta instructions do not say to rinse, but we do, so the pasta will not stick, while it sits waiting to be used.

roasting butternut squash on the BBQ

Now you can roast the butternut squash coated with olive oil in a preheated 425 degree oven (that’s great for colder weather) or you can do what we did and roast the diced squash coated with olive oil (1 tablespoon) on a hot BBQ grill using a BBQ basket. Just add the squash to the basket and close the lid for about 15 minutes or until the squash is browned and tender (but not to soft or mushy).

roasted butternut squash

When butternut squash is brown and tender, remove and set aside.

adding fresh sage

Heat on the grill remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ceramic coated skillet (or skillet of your choice), and add the smoked bacon and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Next add the shallots, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of black pepper and mix in. Next add the sage, mix in and cook until the shallots are soft, about 4 minutes.

a large ceramic coated pan on the BBQ  making Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Next add the squash, rigate, and the reserved cooking water and cook over heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

adding Pecorino chesse to Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Next add and mix in the 1/2 cup of Pecorino cheese.

sitting and enjoying Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon - Topped with some more Pecorino cheese

Plate and serve, passing extra Pecorino cheese at the dinner table, or enjoy out on your back patio during a warm summer evening.

 

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The Broccoli – Essence of Real Food

The Broccoli – Essence of Real Food

The Broccoli – Essence of Real FoodWhen you were a youngster you probably didn’t see what was so great about broccoli. What you didn’t know then, but probably know now is that broccoli is the essence of real food, as it has been dubbed one of many, a super food.

The broccoli from top to bottom is overflowing with macro-nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that are needed for overall health and well-being. This vegetable has been around for millenniums, and has forever been used and viewed as the ideal go-to food.

It’s healthy, can be eaten in a number of different ways, comes with a variety of benefits, is easy to cook, and offers the body a boost of vitamins and minerals in every serving.

Continue reading to get an overall understanding of this vegetable, the essence of real food.

Understanding the Broccoli from Top to Bottom

Broccoli is an edible plant that closely resembles the cauliflower, and is associated to the cabbage family. It’s a vegetable that originated in Italy, and was first mentioned of about 2,000 years ago.

Due to the broccoli’s rich green color, and its counterpart the purple broccoli, both are high in antioxidants and macro-nutrients for excellent health.

Anatomy of the BroccoliAfter harvesting the broccoli plant and removing the root system, it contains three main parts:

  • Flowery Head
  • Leaves
  • Stalk

The root system of the broccoli plant needs nutrient rich soil in order to grow and support the plant and produce its vital vitamins and minerals.

Broccoli plants need to be watered often in order to keep the plant hydrated and well fed as it approaches maturity.

The leaves and stalk are lesser known parts of the broccoli plant because gardeners and farmers often discard these pieces at harvest. However, they are actually edible and highly nutritious.

Broccoli leaves can be long and thin or short and wide and grow along the stalk. They are often blue-green in color and thicken towards the head of the plant.

The crowning head is the part of the broccoli most familiar to people. Sometimes called the curd or the head, the top of the broccoli is most commonly eaten. This head is made of small, dense edible floral shoots. Usually, the head is harvested long before the shoots, or little florets open.

There are two cultivars of broccoli, purple and green, though the green shoots are most commonly cultivated by gardeners. The best environment for planting and harvesting broccoli,  is in full sun, with plenty of water, and nutrient rich soil.

Broccoli Rates High In Nutrition

broccoli head and leavesBroccoli is a great food to eat as it contains various nutrients that hold anti-cancer properties and support a strong, healthy immune system.

Broccoli is an essential source of energy, healthy complex carbohydrates, protein, and low in fat.

Nutrients: Broccoli contains vitamin-C and many of the B-vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folate. It also has traces of calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorous.

High Fiber: Need more fiber in your diet? Look no further as broccoli is high in fiber. The fiber in broccoli can help support heart health, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and helps support healthy weight management because it is filling and low in calories.

How to Prepare Broccoli

Meat and Broccoli Stir-FryBroccoli can be steamed, boiled, microwaved, stir-fried, or eaten raw.

However, over cooking or boiling broccoli has been proven to reduce levels of anti-carcinogenic compounds present in the food. It is therefore best to steam it until it reaches a bright green color, but no longer.

Adding Broccoli to Your Diet

broccoli at the farmers marketAdding broccoli to your regular daily diet can help increase your overall health.

Have broccoli as a side dish at dinner, add broccoli to a salad for lunch, chopped broccoli with eggs or in an omelet for breakfast, and even eaten raw as a healthy snack is a great way to include this essence of real food to your diet (recommended not to eat raw if you have a low thyroid problem).

All parts of the broccoli can be juiced, as it makes a great addition to any green juice. Juice it along with kale, spinach, green apples, celery, cucumber, ginger and lemon.

You’re not a kid anymore, so enjoy the essence of real food. Enjoy eating broccoli.

Enjoy our recipe using broccoli: Chopped Broccoli Tomato and Bacon Salad (includes a video).

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Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

This recipe brings together flavors for an exciting salad as a main dinner selection. It features the sweet purple potato which roasts up very tasty, along with cashews, tender baby kale, chicken breast, and an all organic balsamic dressing purchased at the Whole Foods Market. It is a non-oil dressing that is gluten free, vegan friendly, and non-dairy. The main dressing ingredients includes blackberries, figs, and aged balsamic vinegar.

Let’s get to cooking and enjoy the video.

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