Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Black Bean & Corn Salsa.

One of my favorite new healthy snacks is black bean and corn salsa.

It makes a wonderful “scoop” with tortilla chips.

It is also great all by itself as a salad or piled on top of a grilled chicken breast or fish.

It is light, healthy, crunchy, tangy, low-calorie, high-fiber, and absolutely DELISH too!

Here is how I make it, but you can surely tweak to your liking.  It would be great with a bit of fresh cilantro, which I didn’t have on hand when I made this batch on Sunday.  You could also switch it up with any other kind of bean you like or other veggies like cherry tomatoes or cucumbers.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 3 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or canned corn*
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste (approx. 2 Tbsp)

Directions:

Combine all  vegetables in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar to taste.

Serve as a salsa for tortilla chips, as a salad, or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

Store well in airtight refrigerator container for several days.

*TIP:  When we buy fresh corn on the cob in the summer, we always buy a full dozen, though we never eat all of that for the two of us.  We cut the leftover off the cob, throw it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and toss it in the freezer for the winter months or times when fresh corn is not available.  It is so much better than canned corn.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Brussels Slaw

Brussels Slaw.

Who is a Brussels Sprouts fan?

Yes?  No?  Not sure?  Maybe not?

I was chatting with a friend at work last week that said she doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts, but said she wondered how they would be raw in a coleslaw like salad.  She commented that she likes cabbage in coleslaw, but not cooked cabbage.

It got me thinking…..  I am a Brussels sprout fan…. adore them roasted….  but I, too, wondered how they would be shredded and served raw in a slaw-type salad.

Then the universe poked me with a nudge, when I saw bags of  Shaved Brussels at my local Whole Foods Market!  

I bought a bag for me and a bag for my friend.

Trying to eat healthier these days, I decided on a vinaigrette slaw.  My friend made a creamy version using Marzetti slaw dressing, and she and her family loved it.


Here is the recipe for how I made mine.  Hope you will give it a try!

Brussels Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz bag Shaved Brussels Sprouts (or you can slice/shave your own)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sugar (or sweetener)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all together and let marinade in refrigerator for at least a half hour before serving.

You can change it up by adding sliced almonds or chopped apples or anything else you like.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips.

I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier and make better food choices.

It’s hard.

While some people crave chocolate and sweets, I am a salty, savory girl.  I will take a crunchy pretzel or chip any day over a Hershey’s Kiss or cookie.

So when I heard about making homemade sweet potato chips, I had to try.

And HOORAY!  They totally satisfied my salty, crunchy chip-loving craving.

These are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and healthy enough to not feel guilty!

The only tricky part is baking them long enough to get crispy without burning them.

This recipe is what works in my oven in my area.  I have an electric convection oven.  Your baking time may vary.  Just keep watching – and tasting – until you achieve your best results.

The batch pictured here is ONE sweet potato!

Here is how I made them:

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder or dry rub or your favorite seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thinly slice sweet potato with a mandoline slicer and layer on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and combine to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.  Re-spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp.  Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

TIP:  Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips?  (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade Apple Fritters.

Last Sunday, Hubby had to get up very early – really the middle of the night – to work during a winter weather event in our area.

Missing Sunday breakfast, I wanted to make him a special treat for when he returned home.

With some wonderful Misfits Market apples in the crisper, I thought I’d try my hand at homemade apple fritters.

Who can resist a fresh apple fritter??!!

A couple tips from a first-time apple fritter maker:

  • Don’t heat the oil too hot.  Be patient and use a medium heat.  Better to fry them a little longer and get a golden brown than to overcook the outside and undercook the inside with high heat.  (Which, by the way, is what I did with the first batch of three, resulting in us only having three total!)
  • Spread them a little flatter than I did so you get more icing in each bite as the dough itself only contains a small amount of sugar. (This was hubby’s suggestion!)
  • Use a sweeter, less firm apple for best results.  I would not recommend Granny Smith.  The recipe calls for 3 medium apples, but you could really add another apple, which I will do next time.

Let me know if you try and/or if you have made and have any of your own tips.  We sure enjoyed these on a cold, snowy, comfort food, stay-in kind of day.

Here is the recipe I very slightly adapted from I am Baker‘s blog.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil  for frying
  • Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 tsp. water (or enough for best consistency)

Directions:

In a small bowl, drizzle lemon juice over diced apples.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add milk, and mix until incorporated.  Fold in apples with spatula.

Fill a frying pan halfway full with oil.  Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

Drop three 1/4-1/3 cup portions of batter into the oil.  Let fry for a few minutes until golden brown.  Flip and fry until other side is golden brown.  Test for doneness by inserting a small knife in center.  If uncooked batter remains, fry longer.

Remove fritters from oil with slotted spoon to wire rack layered with paper towels or napkins to drain.  Allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining three portions of batter.

Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Drizzle over cooled fritters on cooling rack.  When glaze has set, turn to coat other side with glaze that dripped through, if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread.

Calling all bread lovers!

Calling all dill pickle lovers!

Calling all lovers of easy recipes that rock!

My cousin, who I affectionately refer to as “Oh Rob,” recently shared this recipe he made for his pickle-loving grandson.  Oh Rob loves to bake bread, and he loves his grandson even more!  This recipe was a match made in heaven for these two.

The idea really intrigued me and sounded so good. I knew I had to try it.

We are a dill pickle lovin’ family too.

And who doesn’t love bread?!

So I ever so slightly adapted the recipe and made it this past Sunday for dinner to serve along with spaghetti.  We loved it!

Give it a try, and let me know what you think.  Here is how I made it.

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice, warmed (105-110°F)
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large dill pickles, sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Directions:

Combine warm water, warm pickle juice, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 10 minutes.

Whisk together flour, dill, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add pickle juice mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir until combined and dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and stretchy.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil in the bowl to coat; add dough, and turn to coat. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Punch down dough. Place on a lightly oiled 18- x 13-inch rimmed baking stone sheet. Press and stretch dough to edges of baking sheet. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place 15 minutes.

Using the end of a wooden spoon, make indentions evenly over dough. Top evenly with cheese and pickles.  Bake until lightly golden and cooked through,  approximately 20 minutes.

Sprinkle top with sea salt flakes, if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  I will be taking a holiday blogging break until after Christmas and the New Year.  Wishing you all the joy of this festive season!

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew.

The weather has turned blustery here, and we are “turkeyed” out from Thanksgiving, so the other day, I made a comforting pot of bubbling, thick, hearty, old-fashioned beef stew.

I finally made a trip to a local pantry I’ve been longing to visit in the quaint town of Zelienople, PA (not far from Mars) – Penn Pantry, where I purchased some local, organic grass-fed beef (amongst many other wonderful treasures) that seemed to be made just for stewing.

I also had an abundance of fresh vegetables from my latest Misfit Market shipment that I knew would work perfectly in a stew – potatoes in sweet, red and white, carrots, parsnips, and onions.

So a stewing I did, and oh how we enjoyed!

Here is how I made ours.  Shake it up with your favorite ingredients, but feel the warmth and comfort in this great classic recipe.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef, trimmed and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or your favorite)
  • 1 tsp. coarsly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh sage, finely minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cups chopped potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or parsnips
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery

Directions:

Combine flour, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Add beef cubes, and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add coated beef cubes and brown on all sides.

Remove beef from pot, and add vinegar and wine to oil and beef drippings in pot.  Stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of pan until all combined and boiling.  Add beef back in, followed by beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and sage.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about a half hour to an hour – until beef is tender.  (Timing will depend on the cut and quality of beef.)

Add onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery, and continue simmering until vegetables are tender and broth thickens – approximately one hour.

Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh, crusty bread to soak up every bit of gravy goodness to comfort your appetite and warm you from the inside out.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce.

This past Sunday, I made a new recipe with chicken that turned out so yummy, I couldn’t wait to share.

With a few simple ingredients, but also the finest you can find or afford, you can create this amazing dish in just a few minutes before putting in the oven for a half hour.

Turn your sound on for just a few seconds, and click the arrow below to experience the glorious sizzling of these little gems as they brown in olive oil and a bit of butter!

These chicken breasts, pounded as flat as possible, are stuffed with thinly sliced salty, high-quality prosciutto,  fresh, creamy mozzarella cheese and a few simple spices before being rolled in flour and browned in olive oil and butter.

Once browned,  white wine is poured in to blend with the browned bits and juices to create the most amazing gravy!

We enjoyed our Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups with a fresh garden salad.  The only thing we were missing was some crusty bread to sop up every last bit of gravy.

I cannot recommend this winner of a chicken dinner more highly.  I slightly revised a recipe I found at mangiamichelle.com.

Here is how I made it.

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. (3 large) chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally to create 6 pieces
  • 6 paper-thin sliced high-quality proscuitto
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or your favorite i.e. oregano, sage, thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pound the chicken pieces until they are as flat as possible to about 1/3 inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and seasoning.  Lay a slice of prosciutto on top followed by a slice of mozzarella.  Roll up and secure with a toothpick or two to secure.  Dredge each chicken roll-up in flour.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Brown each roll-up on each side for about 4-5 minutes.  Pour wine over all, and stir up browned bits and butter to incorporate.  Baste sauce over chicken.  Place in oven, and bake for 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages.

You totally have to love when your grown sons start sharing recipes with you!  I am so proud of the great cooks they have both become (and so happy for the lucky wives they have because of it!!!).

My younger son shared this recipe recently he found online at slenderkitchen.com.  I tweaked it up a bit by changing garlic salt to fresh garlic, oregano to rosemary, doubling the sausage, and zipping it up with horseradish mustard.  It is a healthy, clean eating meal that is gluten-free and Paleo as well.


But it is also super delish!

Imagine a pan full of crispy roasted potatoes coated in a mustard-garlic glaze, caramelized Brussels sprouts, and hearty sausage that only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.

One-pan meals are so awesome, and I love making something that also serves as an extra lunch or two to take the the office and dinner another night that same week.

I roast it all up in my all-time favorite baking pan, the Pampered Chef Large Stoneware Bar Pan.  It is so worth the investment for how beautifully and evenly it bakes and roasts.  I use this pan at least once a week for roasting veggies or baking.  I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Tweak it up to your tastes and share your ideas!  You could use butternut squash instead of potatoes, cauliflower or carrots or green beans instead of Brussels sprouts.  The ingredients and combinations are pretty limitless.

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (I used a bag of mixed baby potatoes in white, yellow, and purple and cut them in half)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. whole grain or horseradish mustard (I used horseradish – you can use your favorite!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (you might also like to use oregano – dried or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken sausages (I used two packages of Aldi’s Never Any Brand – one Italian Sausage and one Tomato Basil)
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts (cut in half)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used Malton Sea Salt flakes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together 2 Tbsp olive oil, mustard, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss the potatoes with the mixture, and spread out in a large baking pan.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes, tossing once or twice during roasting.

Remove pan from oven and push potatoes to one side.  Spread out Brussels sprouts on other side of pan evenly.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken sausages in the middle of the pan between the potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F, and place the pan back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.  Shake the pan once or twice during the roasting time to ensure even roasting.

To serve, slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and toss all into a bowl.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Krautfest Rhyme

 


A Krautfest Rhyme.

Once upon a time
in a neighborhood by a lake,

a group of friends gathered.
There was saurkraut to make.

500 pounds of cabbage
was cleaned and quartered and chopped.

Then young and old, expert and new,
sliced it down – they couldn’t be stopped.

Once sliced it went
to the station to be weighed.

Salt was added.
It’s how you make homemade.

Into crocks and buckets
it went to be pound.

It starts the fermentation
and keeps it safe and sound.

No krautfest could ever
be quite complete

without hugs and laughs and games
and plenty of treats to eat.

There was a tub of apples
waiting for kids to bob.

While others were pressed into juice,
which many found to be a fun job.

After working and eating and drinking
away the day,

evening arrived,
and instruments were brought out to play.

Singing with friends,
(only some truly in tune)

is surely the best way
to end a krautfest afternoon.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks so much and mostest
to our amazing hosts and hostesses.

Love you Joyce and Rob and Nikole and Michael
for continuing the annual krautfest cycle!

If you would like to see previous years’ Krautfests, feel free to click HERE and HERE and HERE.