Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti CarbonaraAs with many recipes, the origins of the dish Spaghetti Carbonara and its name are uncertain or ambiguous. There are countless speculations as to the origin of the name, which some have concluded the name Spaghetti Carbonara may be more recent than the dish itself.

The name is derived from carbonaro, Italian for charcoal burner. Some believe the dish was first made as a pasta meal for Italian charcoal workers. Another theory is American soldiers who combined bacon and eggs with pasta, after they had occupied Italy in the post-war era.

Yet another theory is Ippolito Cavalcanti a highly influential chef of nineteenth-century and Neapolitan cook book author, “Cucina Teorico-Pratica” (1839) which included a recipe for pasta with eggs and cheese.

The third edition book “On Cooking” (2003) written by  Sarah Labensky, writes about techniques from expert chefs., and included are the variations of Spaghetti Carbonara. She says outside of Italy may chefs include the addition of other ingredients with Spaghetti Carbonara, such as peas, broccoli, mushrooms, or other vegetables.

Here at Splendid Recipes and More we tried to stick to the original recipe, though we did not include any black pepper. Here is what you will need.

1 lb. spaghetti

12 slices thick bacon, cut into 1 inch slices

4 large eggs

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste (optional)

boiling water to cook pastaCook the spaghetti according package instructions. In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combined the eggs, cream, and cheese, then set aside.

cutting bacan for Spaghetti CarbonaraNext, prepare bacon, and in a large skillet, cook cut bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, and set aside.

cooked pastaDrain pasta, leaving some water clinging to it. Do not rinse pasta, but quickly add hot pasta back to a heated skillet and add the egg mixture along with the bacon, and toss to combine. The heat from the hot pasta will cook the eggs, though you don’t want the eggs to have a scrambled look.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Plate Spaghetti Carbonara on to a platter and serve immediately. You can sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, if you desire.

 

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Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and PecansThis rice pilaf is delectably wonderful as a side dish with just about any main dish roasted chicken or turkey.

There is about 7 grams of fiber per serving (8 ounces) in sweet potatoes. They have large amounts of potassium, beta-carotene, and are a good source of manganese.

Sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, and can also improve the regulation of your blood sugar levels. The vegetable root is also antibacterial and anti-fungal.  It promotes a healthy digestion, and contains a small amount of vitamin-D, which is good for strong bones, and helps with brain function.

Getting plenty of vitamin-D can stave off heart problems, dementia, some forms of cancer too just name a few health concerns, as one ages.

Now for our featured recipe: Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans, and here is what you will need.

ingredients-for-Sweet-potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-Pecans

1 cup brown rice, cooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
5  tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 to 1 tsp. pie spice

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour broth into a medium sauce pot over high heat. Pour in rice and bring to a boil; lower heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is done and tender.

While the rice is cooking, peel and dice sweet potato. Place into a large bowl with 2 tbsp. oil, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Line a baking pan with a piece of tin foil.

Spread coated vegetable evenly over foil. Place baking pan into heated oven and roast 20 to 25 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Remove and set aside.

saute garlic and onion In a non-stick skillet, heat 3 tbsp. oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring, until soft and lightly colored, 10 to 12 minutes.

step-by-step-to-mix-ingredients-for-Sweet-Potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-PecansNext add dried cranberries and pecan, stir another 3 minutes. Spoon in cooked rice and mix well. Turn off heat and add sweet potato and incorporate well. Sprinkle with pie spice and gently mix in to combine flavor with other ingredients. Let stand covered, 5 minutes.

Sweet-Potato-Pilaf-with-Cranberries-and-Pecans.jpg

Spoon rice mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with Italian parsley (optional).

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Plate the Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans as a side with your main dish meat. Here we served it with roasted seasoned chicken breast.

Check out another great recipe of ours using sweet potatoes: Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips .

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Techniques for Cooking in the Kitchen

Techniques for Cooking in the KitchenMany that prepare food are orthodox cooks, or rather what we mean is they stick to the letter of the recipe, they follow it word for word, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes following a recipe without knowing why it calls for a certain ingredient including the amount, would leave out the possibilities of being able to enter change ingredients, either to improve on the recipe, or make it more to our liking.

eggs contain percentage of moistureOne such example would be the number of eggs, and the size. How so? A recipe that is for a cake as an example, needs a certain amount of moister, and egg yolks make up about 34 percent of the liquid weight of the egg, as well as the albumen or the egg white makes up about 66 percent of the liquid weight of the egg. The moister content depends on their size.

Therefore if the recipe calls for 3 small eggs, and you add large eggs, you will be adding more moisture to the recipe, offsetting the liquid content. If you did use large eggs, then you would have to add less milk or any other ingredient that would be considered a liquid.

Many of us that are regular chefs in our own kitchen have techniques for preparing recipes that we use regularly. If you are reading this article and are not a frequent cook in the kitchen, maybe you can share these tips with the person in your life who is the cook.

salted or unsalted butterSalted Butter vs. Unsalted Butter

Butter is available both with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. The problem is that sometimes the salt in butter can be more than a recipe needs.

Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.

Kitchen Scissors

 

Use Kitchen Scissors

Right now you probably only use your kitchen scissors for opening packaging and bags of milk. But next time you’re trimming fat from a roast, opening pitas or cutting chicken into strips, consider using your scissors!

Chefs use them all the time for cutting meats and other food items. It’s probably best to have pair that is designated as food scissors only. Be sure you clean them very well after each use because they do have crevices where bacteria can hide.

Stop Foods from Sticking to the Pan

To keep food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, and this applies if your using butter or oil in the pan, avoid putting cold foods into a hot pan.

Reduce Grease Splatters

Few things are messier than splattering grease. And if it gets on your skin it can be painful. Reduce grease splatters by sprinkling hot grease with salt prior to adding the food to be fried. If this is not completely effective, you can buy grease splatter shields at kitchen stores.

Peel Garlic Easily

Peeling garlic can be frustrating unless you know this little tip that the pros use. Lay a clove flat on a hard surface and then pressing down hard on it with the flat side of a large knife. Once you’ve pressed hard enough you’ll hear a “pop” that tells you the peel has separated. Even with this trick your fingers will undoubtedly smell like garlic. Get rid of that odor by washing them well with salt.

Keep Your Recipes Organized

Nothing is more frustrating when you’re ready to start cooking then not being able to find your recipe. Keep things organized by finding a system for filing your recipes that you can keep close at hand in the kitchen.

Smart Phone and dropboxWhat we do at “Splendid Recipes and More” is use our –Smart Phone– and -Drop Box-.

We have a free account with Drop Box and load all of our recipes to the Box.

When we shopping for ingredients for a certain recipe, we just open the Box with our Smart Phone (internet access needed, you can also use your Tablet, Laptop, and PC) and look up the recipe.

The same is done in the kitchen to follow the instructions or procedures of the recipe, either for preheating the oven or how many eggs to use etc. Here is the link to Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/ .

Stop Cheesecake from Cracking

Cheesecakes often crack on the top because they lose moisture while they cook. If you’re adding a topping it doesn’t matter, but if you’re serving the cake without anything on top it’s nice to have it looking perfect. Avoid cracking by putting a small dish of water on the rack beside your cake while it is cooking. This will keep it moist and crack-free!

These are just some techniques we use in our kitchen. What tips or techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments section. Thank You.

 

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Chicken Curry Soup

Chicken Curry Soup

This dish was really painless, effortless,  and simple to prepare. First for the painless part, it was cooked in a slow cooker. Just effortlessly add your ingredients to the slow cooker, and leave on low for 6 hours. How simple is that?

Chicken legs, thighs, and quarters are a low cost, versatile source of protein, chicken has long been a staple of diets around the globe. In fact, it is the world’s leading source of animal protein and has been a healthy alternative to red meat.

Thigh meat though by many who frown on fat, prefer not to consume it. Keep in mind that thigh meat is also high in protein as breast meat is, and the fat in the meat is needed by your cells for their protection from oxidation.

Also power builders will eat thigh meat over chicken breast because of the fat and protein content that help to build muscle and actually loss fat.

You can also remove the skin of the chicken before cooking it to reduce the fat content.

Nutritional Content of Chicken Quarters

100 grams or roughly ¼ pound of chicken quarters with skin has:

Calcium    880 mg

Phosphorus   500 mg

Potassium    210 mg

Sodium    8.0 mg

Zinc       0.2 mg

Here is what you will need:

3 pound of chicken leg quarters, skinless, if desired

2 ounces leek and potato soup mix

1 tablespoon curry powder

zest of 1/2 a lemon, grated

8 ounces green beans, trimmed and blanched

chicken-leg-quarters-added-to-slow-cooker-for-chicken-curry-soupTrim chicken of any fat, and remove skin (optional), and place into a 4 quart or bigger slow cooker.

Dried potoate leek soup mix and prepared organic Creamy Potato Leek soupNext the recipe calls for combining the curry and soup mix and sprinkling it over and around the meat, and adding water until chicken is barely covered. We found a dried soup mix at Albertson’s for $7.00, we felt it was expensive, but did buy it.

Then we made a trek over to the Whole Foods Market, and found a prepared organic Creamy Potato Leek soup for only $3.99 and on sale for $3.69. We went with the prepared soup from Whole Foods.

adding curry powder to Chicken Curry SoupAfter placing the chicken leg quarters in the slow cooker, add the soup, and 1 tablespoon of curry powder, and mix in thoroughly.  Turn your slow cooker to high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours, and place the lid over the slow cooker.

blanched green beans for Chicken Curry SoupThe beans are added to the slow cooker 1 hour before the meat is cooked. Trim the fresh green beans and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes only. Remove from water and drop beans into some ice cold water for 3 minutes, to stop them from continuing to cook. Remove from cold water, and add to slow cooker, and mix in well.

Chicken Curry Soup in slow cooker ready to plateNext add zest from 1/2 a lemon, and mix in well. Cover slow cooker with lid, and continue cooking one hour more.

Chicken Curry Soup with a side of white ricePlate and serve the Chicken Curry Soup with a side of rice. You can also top with more lemon zest. Enjoy!!

If you have any questions about the use of a slow cooker, such as are they safe to cook with, view our article: Slow Cooking, is it Safe?

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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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What We Do When We’er Not In The Kitchen

Cooking on the Stove

On our About page of Splendid Recipes and More it explains saying, “We offer recipes with regards to taste, your health, and feeling good while eating. The “More” in our web-site title is all about what we offer besides delectable recipes.”

If you are a regular reading of our site, you know all about the extras we have posted about besides food recipes. We’ve even had a few blog guests.

We who love and enjoy to cook and bake in the kitchen do so because we want to make others happy, and it is a stress reliever, oh and not to forget, eating is a lot of fun.

But do we have other interests besides cooking and baking? Some of you who read this blog are writers, you collect and write about news topics or short stories and the such. Some of you even write poems, or just take photo shots and post about them.

But I guess I can say that we all have other interests. Those of us here at Splendid Recipes and More have several interests, including a hobby outside the kitchen, and as a matter of fact, outside in my back yard.

View the video to find out. Let us know as well as others, what your interests are outside the kitchen, by leaving your comments below!! Please enjoy the video!!

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Splendid Recipes and More Was Awarded

award

I love food… I love cooking… I find baking therapeutic. That’s what Mrs. Choux at Box of Recipes has to say about cooking and baking. Don’t we all, those of us who enjoy being in the kitchen find cooking a stress reliever or therapeutic as Mrs. Choux puts it?

She goes on to say, “For me, food is more than substance vital for survival. It can be uplifting, sensual, comforting, celebratory and quite often pivotal in bringing people together. It doesn’t matter where in the world you come from, because everyone understands the language of food.”

Wow, well said, cooking and sharing our prepared food creations with others is such a joy. Who doesn’t want to feel good, and make others happy in the process?

I even like her logo, Mrs. Choux has great recipes in that little box.

Mrs. Choux recipe box

She describes that box as a collection of recipes she spent more than half her life collecting, and says watch as it jumps out (the recipe) of my recipe box and into this blog (her blog) for everyone to use. Read the rest of her story here:  About The Recipe Box

Now I wish to thank Mrs. Choux of the Box of Recipes for book marking and following our blog and leaving her comments as she visits. Thank you Mrs. Choux!!

Dragon's Loyalty AwardI am told I have to add this logo to our blog. So you should find it off to the left side column.

Now I must nominate 10 bloggers that I appreciate, and they are as follows (they are not all food blogs)

Jovina Coughlin at Jovina Cooks Italian

Jueseppi Baker at The Obamacrat

Honey at Slice of Heaven in Sweden

Jackie Saulmon Ramirez at Parent Rap – Soup to Nuts

Krystyna  at Mirror of Your Health

RoSy at Sharing Me Myself and I

Chef Ceaser at Chef Ceaser

Arlene at Arl’s World

Renata at Perma Cooking

Adrian Lupsa at Adrian Lupsa

Now for 7 things about me:

  1. I speak fluent Spanish, as I lived 5 years in Mexico and married a Mexican native.
  2. Favorite Food is Mexican food. I wonder why?
  3. Enjoy gardening
  4. Certified in Human Health and Nutrition
  5. Have two boys, now 22 and 18
  6. I have a bucket list which includes places I would love to visit: Amsterdam, Greece, and Tahiti.
  7. Love Italian desserts  B. 4 thumbs up for Coffee and C. Love Spring Time for all of the Flowers and D. They said I am out of here because I couldn’t make #7 into three parts.

Thanks again to Mrs. Choux. Please don’t forget to visit her Recipe Box.

 

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