Macaroni Salad Recipe

Macaroni salad is a family-favorite in most households.  The great thing about macaroni salads are, you can really go with what you have on hand.  Substitutions are easy and almost anything goes.  If you don’t have green peppers, how about celery?  If you’re out of scallions, how about regular onions?  You really can change this up every single time you make it and you’ll still get good results.

A basic recipes follows but remember, whatever you have on hand can probably be used in place of something you’re missing.

Ingredients-

Salad-
4 cups of cooked macaroni
1/2 cup of diced green peppers (Any color peppers work)
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/4 cup of shredded or grated carrots
1/4 cup of chopped black or green olives

Dressing-
2 hard boiled eggs coarsely chopped
1 cup of mayo
1/2 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoon of prepared mustard
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Step one-
In a large bowl stir together macaroni, green pepper, scallions, carrots and olives.  Gently fold in the cheese

Step two-
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the mayo, sour cream, mustard, garlic powder until it’s fully mixed.  Add the chopped hard boiled eggs.  For a creamier dressing, finely chop your eggs.  

Step three-
Fold the dressing into the salad and stir until well mixed.  

Optional Step-
Garnish with parsley or olives or just about anything else that will look nice on top

This salad is great for barbecues, as it goes well with almost any grilled meat.  You can also easily double this or half it to serve more or less.  And again, don’t be afraid to change it up and add different ingredients to either the dressing or the salad.  You really can’t go wrong with this one.

Reference:
1. Classic Macaroni Salad Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Macaroni Salad Recipe – Food.com

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Articles | Comments Off on Macaroni Salad Recipe

Avocado edamame Beans iceberg Lettuce vegetarian Vegan gluten Free

It is very important to include green salads in ones diet. This ensures that a certain amount of raw vegetables are eaten by the individual, thus keeping the nutrients intact. A salad adds a certain amount of freshness to any meal. It is filling,and when eaten before we start the meals helps us control our portion of oily or carbohydrate laden foods. Here is a simple recipe for a green salad that also includes avocado for added taste and texture.

Avocado Green Salad:

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado
1 red onion
1/2 bell pepper (red or yellow)
1/2 cup red kidney beans or edamame beans (cooked)
1 tomato  fully ripe and firm

1 head  iceberg lettuce
a few sprigs of coriander leaves

Dressing :
1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon (for rind and juice)
1/2 fresh red chili
salt and pepper as per individual taste

Make the dressing as follows:

1. De-seed the red chili and chop it finely.

2. In a bowl grate the rind of the lemon and squeeze out the juice.

3. Add the chopped chili, olive oil, honey and the seasonings.

4. Mix well and refrigerate.

For the Salad:

Scoop out the pup from the avocado and roughly chop it. Similarly chop the onion, bell pepper and tomato. Mix it in a bowl, add in the beans. Mix well and toss in the chilled dressing. Refrigerate again. Just before serving add the lettuce leaves torn with hands and the coriander leaves. Lightly mix again and serve chilled.

Eat within half an hour of preparing for maximum flavor. This salad is extremely healthy as well as filling. This is a recipe for 2-3 servings. A cooling summer that goes great with barbecues. The salad uses olive oil so it is heart healthy too. A good and tasty gluten free salad option for vegetarians as well as vegans.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Diets Foods | Comments Off on Avocado edamame Beans iceberg Lettuce vegetarian Vegan gluten Free

The Hot Quincey Made with Apple Cider Herbal Tea

The Hot Quincey

What could be more soothing for a thirsty (perhaps dehydrated) cold- or flu-sufferer than a nice hot toddy? Not a lot! However, not everyone drinks alcohol, which at any rate is dehydrating and therefore can be dangerous for sick folks, and even those who like alcohol and are properly hydrated shouldn’t imbibe while taking medications, be they acquired by prescription or over the counter. Despair not! Here is a virgin hot toddy (you do not need to be a virgin to prepare or enjoy it) designed to quench your thirst, soothe your throat and congested chest, stifle your cough and satisfy your sweet tooth!

*  Ingredients  *

One quince

Enough honey to cover quince bits in a small jar

One half cup orange juice

One half cup pineapple juice

One cinnamon stick

One cup still apple cider

Two Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea bags

One lemon

One tablespoon ginger root

Two cups still (not sparkling) water plus enough to thin mixture to taste

Four to six sprinkles of nutmeg, depending on whether you get four or six servings from this recipe

*  Directions  *

Rinse (but do not peel) and finely dice the quince (excluding any seeds). Put the pieces into a jar in which they JUST fit. Cover them completely with honey (pour slowly, allow to seep down, pour more – otherwise the honey will just spill out the top of the jar and not immerse the quince bits). Cover and set aside for an hour.

While waiting for the quince, rinse and slice (but do not peel) the lemon, remove seeds (but not peel) and set aside. Grate ginger root equal to about a tablespoon and place in blender or food processor. When the hour is up, spoon the quince bits in, leaving the now-thin honey in the jar (some honey will get spooned in; that’s fine).

Put the lemon slices into the jar with the quince honey, make sure they’re all immersed, cover and set aside another hour. Then add the lemon and honey to the blender, along with the juice, cider and water. Liquify. If the resulting mixture is thicker than you would like to drink, add more water.

Pour the contents of the blender into a saucepan along with the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep tea bags for 15 minutes, right in the saucepan. Remove tea bags and cinnamon, reheat the liquid if necessary, and serve in teacups of coffee mugs with a sprinkle of nutmeg as garnish.

NOTE: You may save an hour and end up with some flavorful cough syrup which will last at least a year in the refrigerator by making the lemon honey and quince honey at once, using the lemon honey in the recipe and storing the quince honey for use by the spoonful to relieve coughs.   You may also experiment with other Celestial Seasonings tea flavors, such as Lemon Zinger, but Red Zinger’s hibiscus flavoring provides good balance for all the sweet ingredients.

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> About Eating | Comments Off on The Hot Quincey Made with Apple Cider Herbal Tea

Make Ahead Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

For many families, food is an integral part of holiday celebrations and festivities that bring families and friends together. But for those who have time constraints, cooking for the holidays can be problematic. Afterall, food preparation can be time consuming. What’s the solution? Prepare food in advance to reduce the pressure and spread the work load. The freezer—an appliance that’s found in all modern kitchens—can  be your best friend and help you prepare holiday side dishes in advance. These popular side dishes, which can all be prepared in advance, are healthy additions to any holiday meal.

Stuffing and Sauces

Regardless of the type of meat you are serving and whether you’ll be serving it hot or cold, stuffing and sauces are a fantastic and popular accompaniment. The majority can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer until they are needed.  Saving take-away cartons to store these in is ideal.  The plastic variety usually come with lids, but the metal trays are equally as useful as they can be covered with tinfoil.  

Rice and Pasta Salads

Another option is to make cold side dishes such as rice and pasta salads. They’re a fantastic choice if you are planning a cold buffet as a part of your celebration. Adding foods such as peppers, peas and onions to the rice or pasta means that they will freeze easily and defrost quickly at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight. Use whole-wheat pasta and rice to make each of these dishes even more healthy.

Vegetables

Vegetables are a tasty addition to any meal and are also a healthy option, but the preparation of vegetables is one of the most time consuming tasks when cooking a meal. Washing, peeling, chopping and cooking all take time. By preparing some vegetable side dishes in advance you can reduce your workload on the day of the meal and free yourself up to enjoy the festivities along with the rest of your friends and family.  Roast parsnips, cauliflower cheese, mashed potatoes and many other vegetable side dishes can be easily cooked and prepared as much as several weeks in advance of the holidays.

Stock and Gravy

It is not necessary to wait until you cook the meat for the holidays to make the stock and gravy. It is simpler to use the stock from meals made earlier than this. It will save time on cooling the stock and removing the fat from the juices. Removing fat is important in making the gravy and stock healthier and it also makes it tastier and less greasy. Both stock and gravy can be stored in the freezer. However, it is important that they are stored in a sturdy container to avoid spillage and it is best to allow them to cool before adding them to the freezer.

Reference:
1. Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dish Recipes – EatingWell
2. Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes – EatingWell

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Articles | Comments Off on Make Ahead Healthy Holiday Side Dishes

Low Carb Greek Salad Ideas

Traditional Greek salads are great ways to get your vegetables, while minimizing your carbohydrate intake.  Many of the grocery store salad dressings are full of sugars that make dieting or a low-carb diet difficult.  Below are low-carb recipes for salads and dressings, all inspired by traditional Greek recipes and ingredients.  None of them call for adding sugar, and all of them can be made gluten free.

Please note, all vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consuming.

•Real Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)•
About 6 servings

4 red medium sized tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large cucumber, cut into thick slices
1 medium sized, red onion, peeled and cut into rings
1 medium sized green pepper, seeded, and cut into thin rings
6 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled (preferably made from sheep or goat milk)
Olives and capers to taste
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
red wine vinegar for drizzling (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a serving bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.  Toss tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, and onion in the oil mixture.  Top with feta cheese, capers and olives.  Drizzle with a little red wine vinegar before serving if desired. For an Americanized version, serve the above salad on a bed of romaine lettuce, which will add 1.3 grams of carbohydrates for each cup of lettuce.  

Amount per serving (dressed as mentioned in recipe): 258 calories, 9 carbohydrates (2 grams fiber), 24 grams fat

•Cabbage and Carrot Salad (Salata me Lahano kai Karota)•
About 8 servings

1 small head of cabbage (preferably compact/flathead variety), red or green
1 tbsp salt
2-3 large carrots
Lemon Dressing (recipe below, omitting the salt)

Shred cabbage, place in a bowl and toss with salt.  Place salted cabbage in a colander and allow to drain for about an hour.  

Rinse the cabbage well, and place into serving bowl.  Peel and grate carrots, toss with cabbage.  

Dress the salad with lemon dressing just before serving.

Amount per serving (before dressing): 31 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber), 0.16 grams fat
Amount per serving (with dressing): 153 calories, 7.6 grams carbohydrates (3.6 grams fiber), 16.16 grams fat

•Wild Greens Salad (Horta Vounou Salata)•
about 6 to 8 servings

about 2 pounds of wild greens (about 12 cups)
use any combination of: chicory, dandelion, amaranth/lamb’s squarters, grape leaves, red clover, sorrel, wild mustard, watercress*
salt
water
lemon dressing (see below)

Rinse well, de stem, and remove any undersirable parts from the greens.

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about a half hour, or until tender.  The greens will cook down quite a bit.  Drain well.  Serve warm with the lemon dressing.

Amount per serving (without dressing): 67 calories, 13 grams carbohydrates (3grams fiber), 1 gram fat
Amount per serving (with dressing): 189 calories, 13.6 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber), 15 grams fat

*This salad is traditionally made with wild greens.  If you do not have wild greens available, or are unsure which ones are safe to eat, you can substitute kale, collards, turnip greens, beet greens, chard, spinach, mustard greens, and/or one of the above greens from the grocery store.  Doing so will change the nutrition content slightly.  

•Lemon Dressing•
About about 8, 1 tablespoon servings

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon or 1 tbsp lemon juice concentrate
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 tsp ground yellow mustard seed
1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt

Make the dressing by whisking together the ingredients in a bowl.  Alternatively, you can place all of the ingredients in a lidded jar, and shake to combine.  Refrigerate any unused portion for later use.  Makes an excellent marinade for chicken as well.

Amount per serving: 122 calories, 0.6 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat

•Greek Style Red Wine Vinegar Dressing•
About 24, 1 tbsp servings

1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tsps dried, crushed oregano
1/2 tsp dried, crushed mint
11/2  tsps dried dill
1/4 tsp ground yellow mustard
1 to 2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or crushed red pepper
2 cloves crushed garlic

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl, or combine in a jar and shake.  Refrigerate unused portions for later use.

Amount per serving: 121 calories, 1 gram carbohydrates, 14 grams fat

Nutrition calculation’s done using Fit Watch’s recipe calculator.

Reference:
1. Ernie's Greek Salad Recipe : Food Network
2. 15 minute greek cucumber salad – Healthy Seasonal Recipes

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Articles | Comments Off on Low Carb Greek Salad Ideas

Is it really Worth it to Buy Organic

Organic food really is a fantastic idea, with only one drawback as far as I know.

Firstly the good points – organic produce is better for you, containing more vitamins and minerals and less harmful chemicals. A growing body of research suggests that organic foods contain more vitamin C, magnesium and iron, as well as anitoxidants. Furthermore there are no unpleasant leftover chemicals on the produce. Organic produce also tends to be more ethical – The Soil Association ensures that farmers use good practice as well as not using chemicals on their crops. This includes promoting wildlife around their farms, and treating animals they might have on the farm better – organic in this sense also means free range, high animal welfare and no routine use of anitbiotics amongst animals which has been linked to later human resistance to the drugs, and is only necessary if the animals are kept in cramped and dirty conditions.

The fertilisers from non-organic farming also get into drinking water sources. This leads to a process of eutrophication with rapidly accelerated algae growth reducing the oxygen content of water and killing fish. Councils in the UK have to pay GBP120m every year to deal with this problem. Using pesticides to kill insects also drives away anything that eats insects – so organic farms will always have more butterflies, birds, beetles and also wild flowers that need the insects for pollination.

Organic does not just cover crops either – you can now get organic clothing (made from organically grown cotton or wool), and meat that is reared on organic feed.

The only drawback is that organic farming is much more difficult, especially in developing countries. This means that firstly, crops are more prone to disease, pests, etc. which can leave poor farmers without their source of food and income. The other problem is that without the artificial fertiliser/pesticides it is not possible to farm nearly as intensively, and this means that to grow the same amount of produce a larger farm is needed. How do you get a larger farm? Well, often you simply don’t, so the organic farmer would have to put up with reduced yields, and potentially with no increase in income if the developing country has no organic schemes set up, which will often be the case. Another common way of getting more land sadly is often achieved by deforestation, which leads also to the destruction of animals’ natural habitats, desertification and many other associated problems.

So as good as organic seems, and is, just take what people say with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, the higher price tag really is more than worth it, so if you possibly can I would strongly recommend buying organic.

For more, visit http://www.soilassociation.org/

Reference:
1. Organic Food – Is 'Natural' Worth the Extra Cost? – WebMD
2. Is Buying Organic Worth It? – Columbia University Medical Center

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Articles | Comments Off on Is it really Worth it to Buy Organic

Ideas and Variations for Pancakes

Be it brunch or breakfast, pancakes are a great way to please everyone. Maybe it is the high demand for this particular dish that made it so versatile, or maybe it is the other way around, but this is pretty much a chicken or the egg discussion. The important thing is that there are many ways one can enjoy their pancakes, so here are some alternatives to spice breakfasts up.

Fruits can be used with pancakes  very well. Be it different sort of berries that people often sweeten with icing sugar, or bigger fruits such as apples, bananas, pears cut up in small pieces, they will not only make pancakes more tasty but also more healthy. If one is not really superstitious about  the calories, whipped cream is also a great addition to this – or any other – combination.

Carrying this thought further some people add a bit of wine to the pancake batter and coat the fruits themselves in it before frying them. When frying, use plenty of oil as if it would be deep fried. If the oil as approximately double of the mass of the fruit it will cool down less when we put in the coated goodies and thus the batter will drain in less oil.

Dried or candied fruits are great to accompany the pancakes, whether mixed in the batter or used as a topping. Adding spices to the batter will not only give the pancakes extra taste, but it will also give it a scent that will get the family out of bed and shuffle around the kitchen wondering what is the delicious smell that accompanies the breakfast. Lemon zest is a good addition, but if the aim is a really heavenly smell a bit of cinnamon is the right choice. The sugar can also be substituted by honey or vanilla sugar to give a quirky taste to the batter.

Although there is nothing wrong about maple syrup, one does not have to be afraid to try out other kind of extract that seems right. Mint, fruit based syrups – such as raspberry, cherry, black currant – or chocolate syrups – or when kids are not around some sweet liquor – will give a huge flavour boost. Jams are also good used as a topping.

Are you nuts about pancakes? It might be time to try some actual nuts with them. Walnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts (especially with mint syrup) or pistachios  chopped rough  can sit on the top of the dish adding essential oils, vitamins and great flavour to the dish. Of course the option to use some ready nut product such as Nutella or peanut butter is always open as well.

Strange it may sound, one can find the same old pancakes blend after a while. In this case crepes are a great thing to try. They are nearly the same recipe and much easier to make than one would expect.

The main difference when compared with pancakes is  that they are much thinner and of larger diameter, and commonly used to wrap a filling inside. And only imagination can set limit to what this filling might be.

Unsalted cottage cheese  mixed with vanilla sugar and raisins, complimented with a bit of lemon zest is one of the most popular fillings in East Europe. If it has any competition, probably it is ground nuts with a bit of sugar and raisins soaked in rum, but most wouldn’t turn down a crepe filled with chestnut pure either.

Probably nobody developed as many variations for pancakes as the Russians. Their “blini” is not only using the common sweet version but they offer a huge choice of salty toppings and toppings as well. Different kinds of meat – usually minced or chopped fine -, grated cheese and even caviar (called “ikra”) are popular choices, but some places offer fried mushrooms or any kind of vegetable raw or steamed. Important to note that “blini” is traditionally eaten in Russia with sour cream.

There are very few amongst Latvians and Lithuanians who don’t go crazy about potato pancakes. This is similar to the normal pancake in looks and has raw potato shredded in the batter. It is not strictly for breakfast, it can be enjoyed in itself or as a side dish as well.

So next time someone asks for pancakes it is good to keep in mind that there is a huge variety to choose from. What is even better, the different fillings and toppings can be mixed to personal taste, and if somebody has the time it can be made into a “build your own pancake” breakfast offering all the different choices at the same time.

Reference:
1. 50 Pancakes and Waffles : Recipes and Cooking : Food Network
2. 50 Amazing Pancake Recipes – Kids Activities Blog

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Articles | Comments Off on Ideas and Variations for Pancakes

Origin and History of the Menu

In 1922, while excavating the Egyptian tomb of Setnakhte, the archaeologist Sir William Cristal found some unusual hieroglyphics which explained in detail the meal that was to be presented to celebrate the birth of the prince’s twin sons. The celebratory meal had several courses, from an opening barley soup to a main course of roast pig to a dessert of honey cakes and fresh dates. This list, dating back to the 2nd century BC, is the earliest known written menu.

Menus as guides for the kitchens of aristocratic households have been a fixture ever since, especially because many of these meals could have over a dozen courses, many of which would include many different items from which to sample. These menus were originally intended as a cooking guide for the kitchen staff.  After literacy became widespread, some of these menus would be given to the head of the house and his guests prior to a meal.

Bartolomeo Sacchi, a 15th century Florentine humanist philosopher, found the subject of how menus should be constructed to be an appropriate one for a philosopher to examine. His treatise is the first time that a distinction is made between light appetizers, soups, a main course and dessert.

These kinds of menus were not designed to give the diner any choice in what was served. For thousands of years, the only choice the diner had in his food was in choosing the food establishment. Once the hungry traveler or lodger had made his choice, each inn or tavern would serve him whatever they were serving that day.

After all, most meals were prepared at home. When travel was necessary, most people tried to stay at the houses of friends. This was literally a table d’hote, or table of the host. When this was not possible the wealthy often brought along their own servants and supplies. Others could obtain meals on the road at public eating houses, but those meals did not require menus, because all who ate there would receive the same basic meal and it was usually nothing to be anticipated eagerly.

Meals produced to order

The earliest paper restaurant menus can be found in city centers during the Chinese Song Dynasty, which lasted between 960 and 1279 AD. Because a limited local offering would not find favor among merchants who might have originated from any part of China, each of which had its own unique cuisine, local restaurants developed paper menus to show which non-local foods they served. The development and use of paper at this time was so prevalent that the Song Dynasty had also established the first paper banknotes in the world.

In the 18th century the chefs of a few prestigious French restaurants placed large posters outside the restaurant doors which showed the names and descriptions of the dishes which that restaurant could produce to order. These early menus were known as “escriteau.” Over time, they became artistic and very elaborate.

British tourists brought the custom back with them to London, where pubs soon started to use chalkboards for the same purpose. It was cheaper and easier to write up the day’s offerings on a chalkboard than to write it out on a large poster, and an offering could be crossed off after the pub had run out.

Individual menus

Individual menus were handed out for the first time in 19th century France, when European aristocracy started to dine out in French restaurants. By the 1920s, it had became a universal practice. This menu was called the “carte,” or map.

The earliest modern individual menus were printed out on single pages in the same style as newspaper pages, with densely spaced type. However, by the mid-1800s, the escriteau style had moved to individual menus, with several pages of selections printed onto multiple pages and bound together. Smaller food establishments retained a single sheet which was folded into halves or thirds, some with an extra interior sheet.

The most prestigious French restaurants soon started competing to make their menus as beautiful as possible. Some restaurants, such as Laperousse, embossed their menus with gold and silver. Others hired artists, such as Gauguin, Matisse, Renoir, or Toulouse-Lautrec, to illustrate their menus, usually in exchange for meals. The best artists never again paid for a restaurant meal.

The menus for most basic eateries were written in English. However, in upscale restaurants, French was the language of choice until well into the 20th century. Prices were not standard on menus until after the 1920s.

By the 1940s and 1950s, American restaurants were outsourcing their menu printing to specialized niche printers who could produce the wanted size of menu in full color and laminated. This was very expensive to print in short runs. However, only the prices of the meals usually varied, while the selections stayed the same. A cheap solution was to make a large menu printing run, consisting of everything but the prices. Those would be printed separately later in a black-only process, just before lamination. Each time the restaurant reordered, the printing company could pull out some of its menu shells, add the new prices, and laminate the small order.

Today, with modern technology, restaurant menus are stored as electronic files, which can be easily changed and printed on an as-needed basis. Some restaurants are experimenting with electronic menus and digital displays, some above the kitchen counter, others right at the table. Japanese and Korean restaurants have been using photographs of items successfully for some time.

However, with the current unstable economic conditions, many restaurants have reverted once again to the old chalkboard, which offers both nostaglia and practicality. Only time will tell what the menu will become in the future.

Reference:
1. Menu
2. The Food Timeline: history notes–restaurants, chefs & foodservice

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Diets Foods | Comments Off on Origin and History of the Menu

Orange Honey Duck Breast

HONEY ORANGE GLAZE DUCK BREASTS

This is a quick, easy and AFFORDABLE way to cook duck breasts at home! Make sure to use a skillet that has no rubber on the handles so that you can move it directly from the burner to the oven when needed. Feel free to add more honey to the sauce mixture if you like a strong honey flavor. If you do not have honey, brown sugar or any type of syrup may be substituted. The sauce bakes in the oven with the duck to make a beautiful and delicious glaze to serve with it. This really is a beautiful dish that works great for holidays or special occasions, yet is easy enough for everyday as well.

Ingredients:

4 duck breasts

4 Tablespoons honey

1 can frozen orange juice concentrate

salt & pepper to taste

2 Tablesppons butter

Heat oven to 350. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add the 4 duck breasts, sprinkling each side with salt and pepper to season. While duck is browning, combine the honey and OJ concentrate in a saucepan. Bring just to a simmer, stirring continually. Leave sauce on low heat; flip duck breasts to brown the other side. Pour half of the honey orange sauce onto the duck breasts, and place the skillet directly into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then add the rest of the sauce. Bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Spoon the sauce over the duck to serve. Enjoy!

*If you are not a duck person, or your grocery store does not have any, another variation of this recipe is to substitute whole chicken breasts for the duck. The end product is still delicious and beautiful, and even more affordable! Now pat yourself on the back and have a glass of wine…

Reference:
1. Duck Breasts with Orange, Honey and Tea Sauce – Epicurious
2. Duck with Orange & Honey Sauce | Travel For Taste

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> About Eating | Comments Off on Orange Honey Duck Breast

Meal Ideas Including Butternut Squash

The advantage of butternut squash is quite simple – it can be used for both savoury and sweet dishes! Therefore, when you have some butternut you do not have to restrict yourself to serving it as a vegetable accompaniment to a meal, or as that old favourite, butternut soup.  It can in fact be part of the main meal or a dessert as well. Here are some ideas on how to use butternut in meal.

Snacks

Butternut, beetroot and sweet potato chips have become the new healthy choice instead of potato choice. These can be made either the same way as potato by frying in oil, or for the healthier option, slice it thinly and bake in a hot oven until crisp and dry.

Appetisers or starters

Butternut soup as already mentioned is a big favourite for starters. The usual way is to make the soup with cream, but the alternative is to keep it uncreamed and add spices like cinnamon, chilli, or cumin for a very different taste. Butternut can of course be substituted for pumpkin in pumpkin soups. Try a traditional pumpkin soul with butternut and tomato instead of the quantity of pumpkin, and add a teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato.

Main meal

Butternut stuffed with savoury mince or curried chicken and baked in the skin in the oven is an unusual main that looks interesting and different. You can choose whether you would like to scoop out the skin and mix with the stuffing, or leave the flesh on because in both instances it will still be cooked and ready to eat with the main protein ingredient.

Butternut, brown lentils and tomato cooked together as a one pot meal is easy, quick and nutritious – add bay leaves and turmeric to spice it up.

Make a mince pie the usual way but cover the top with chopped butternut and drizzle with olive oil before baking – quite different than the usual! Sprinkle a bit of fresh chopped parsley over as well.

Dessert

Bake a carrot cake but substitute the carrot with grated butternut and add half a teaspoon of turmeric to the dough to get a lovely golden colour.

Make muffins but add some mashed butternut to the dough. Serve with butter and cream. Sounds inedible, but try it!

Pumpkin fritters made with butternut instead and doused with cinnamon and caramel sauce is a sly way to sneak in a vegetable in the meal – just watch the size of the sauce helping!

There are many more ways to use butternut creatively. Just let your imagination run free!

Reference:
1. 10 Easy Butternut Squash Recipes | Real Simple
2. Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes – Cooking Light

<span class="entry-utility-prep entry-utility-prep-cat-links">Posted in</span> Diets Foods | Comments Off on Meal Ideas Including Butternut Squash