Monthly Archives: May 2012

My Favorite Breakfast Drink

Years ago, while vacationing in Mexico, I had a breakfast drink at Sanborn’s called Jugo de Seis Frutas. I can’t remember the six fruits, but I can’t forget how delicious it was! I’ve experimented with juices and smoothies until I’ve recreated the flavors. Mine is a juice of four fruits, with a splash of skim milk for a little protein. This is our regular breakfast drink.
Breakfast Drink



  1. 1 orange, quartered and peeled
  2. 1 apple, quartered and cored
  3. ¼ pineapple, quartered and peeled
  4. ½ banana, peeled
  5. ½ cup milk
  6. 1 cup ice cubes


  • Add all ingredients in the order listed to the Vitamix container.
  • Secure the lid, but leave the plug out for the plunger.
  • Start the Vitamix on Variable Speed 1, increase to 10, then to High Speed.
  • Use the plunger to move the fruit to the blades.
  • Run for approximately 30 seconds or until drink is smooth.
  • Pour into two glasses and serve.

Yield: 2 large or 4 small servings

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Filed under fruit, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Smoothies

Anemic? Be an Iron Chef.

When I say “Iron Chef,” I’m not talking about the competition hosted by Mark Dacascos on Food Network (although that’s an entertaining show). I’m talking about cooking to add iron to your diet.

The common response to the person suffering anemia is “eat more liver.” Unfortunately, liver is high in cholesterol, too. What other strategies can you use in your kitchen to boost the iron in your diet?

First, don’t overlook cast iron cookware. It’s heavy and it isn’t dishwasher-safe, but it imparts iron into the food as it cooks it. Currently, only Lodge brand is made in the USA, so buy Lodge. Foreign-made cast iron isn’t made to USA standards and may contain impurities in the metal. Lodge is available online, at Cracker Barrels, at Wal-mart, and at their factory store in Tennessee. New cast iron cookware comes seasoned, so it’s ready to use.

Second, focus on foods that supply iron to your diet, which include: dried, unsweetened apricots; raisins; lima beans; spinach; broccoli; whole wheat breads; brown rice; cooked dried beans such as black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney, or white beans; pumpkin seeds; nuts (black walnuts, almonds, cashews); pine nuts (pignolias); clams; shrimp; trout; mackerel; fortified cereals;  lean beef.

Next, try to avoid iron blockers, like carbonated sodas or any foods containing oxylates and phosphates. Do eat food rich in vitamin C, as they help you absorb iron. Sneak wheat germ or brewer’s yeast in your smoothies.

Finally, remember some anemia isn’t caused by inadequate iron consumption. If your attempts as an iron chef don’t increase your blood iron levels, talk to your doctor.


Minestra (Beans & Greens)

Here’s a southern twist on an Italian favorite.


1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas
1 14½ oz. can spinach or greens, any kind
1 packet beef bouillon (Herb Ox brand is sodium free)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse and drain black-eyed peas.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir.

Immediately add the canned black-eyed peas and the canned greens. Stir to combine.

Sprinkle the beef bouillon over the greens/peas, cover, and simmer for ten minutes.

Taste test and add salt and pepper as needed.


Yield: 4 servings

Variation: Grate nutmeg over the dish before serving.

From Recipes for Recovery ©2011 Cheryl Norman

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Have You Lost That Oven Feelin’?

I live in Florida and rarely light my oven. It heats up my kitchen and makes the air-conditioning work harder. I’ve made it my mission to adapt favorite baked dishes to stovetop cooking, such as the electric skillet pizza. Here is a hasty tasty recipe (and I can’t take credit for it–this comes from the Americraft Cookware kitchens in Westbend, WI.) for a pineapple upside down cake made in a skillet. I lightened it up a bit.


Pineapple Upside Down Skillet Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 20-oz. can sliced pineapples, drained (reserve the pineapple juice)
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 10 Marachino cherries


  1. Combine pineapple juice (from canned pineapple) with water to make 1 cup liquid.
  2. Mix liquid with the cake mix.
  3. Preheat a 10″ skillet over medium heat.
  4. Melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Arrange pineapple slices in the brown sugar and decorate with Maraschino cherries.
  6. Pour cake mix batter over the pineapple slices. Cover skillet.
  7. Time for 7 minutes then reduce heat to low. Do not lift cover!
  8. Cook over low heat for 15 additional minutes (for a total of 22 minutes) before lifting lid to check for doneness.
  9. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If necessary, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  10. When cake is done, remove skillet from heat and run a knife around the cake’s edges to loosen.
  11. Place a plate or cake tray over the skillet and invert to remove the cake.

Variation: For more pineapple flavor, use Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix instead of yellow cake mix.


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Cinco de Mayo Casserole

Today is Cinco de Mayo and also Kentucky Derby day. I created a special recipe honoring both events. I hope you’ll try it at your next fiesta.


Cinco de Mayo Casserole


  • 1 beer (any kind, including non-alcoholic)
  • 1.3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 package Bloemer’s* chili seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15½ oz. can chili beans
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 8″ diameter whole-wheat tortillas
  • 8 slices Boar’s Head 3-Pepper Jack cheese
  • 8 oz. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Coat the inside of a 9″ X 13″ casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add beer, ground turkey, and chili seasoning mix. Stir.
  4. Cover and cook the turkey, lifting lid occasionally to break apart the meat. The turkey should poach in the beer and become fine.
  5. Cook turkey mixture for ten minutes, covered, then simmer uncovered for five minutes.
  6. Add chopped onion, canned tomato sauce, and canned chili beans. Stir to combine.
  7. Cover and remove from heat.
  8. In the casserole dish, place 2 tortillas in the bottom. They will overlap some, and that’s all right.
  9. Spoon half the turkey chili (about 4 cups) over the tortillas.
  10. Cover the chili with the 8 slices of cheese.
  11. Place 2 tortillas over the cheese.
  12. Spoon remaining turkey chili over the tortillas.
  13. Cover turkey chili with 2 more tortillas.
  14. Spread tortillas with 8 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese until completely covered.
  15. Place aluminum foil over the casserole dish.
  16. Bake casserole covered for 30 minutes, then remove the foil for 5 minutes.
  17. Garnish with the chopped cilantro.
  18. Allow casserole to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

This casserole can be assembled a day ahead then baked the day you want to serve it.

Yields: 6–8 servings

*Bloemer Food Products are available in Louisville and online at

Cinco de Mayo casserole

Cinco de Mayo Casserole

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Filed under casseroles, Chili and Stew, Cilantro, cooking, Healthful Eating, Recipes, turkey, Turkey Recipes