Monthly Archives: June 2012

Shrimp Salad with Homemade Mayonnaise

I’ve been studying food labels carefully and don’t like many of the additives, so I’ve embarked on a journey to eat more natural foods. I make my own juices, granola, bread, and BBQ sauce. Now I’ve conquered mayonnaise.

With the Vitamix, it’s easy and takes mere minutes. Here’s how:

Mayonnaise

 

Ingredients:

¾ cup egg substitute
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 cups safflower or canola oil
 

Directions:

Add first four ingredients to the Vitamix container. Secure lid but remove plug.
Turn Vitamix to Variable Speed 1, gradually increasing to 10 then high.
Pour the oil in a steady stream through the opening in the lid.
Run Vitamix just until mixture thickens.
Turn off Vitamix, pour the mayonnaise into a quart jar, and put a tight-fitting lid (or canning ring and lid) on the jar. Refrigerate. Keeps up to 10 days.

 
Yield: 1 quart

I use 1/2 cup of my mayonnaise to make shrimp salad.

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad for Two

RECIPE

Shrimp Salad for Two

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salad-size shrimp
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss together.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to develop flavors.
  3. Serve on whole-wheat rolls for sandwiches or stuff in a large, ripe tomato. 

Yield: 2 servings

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Filed under condiments, Healthful Eating, Recipes, Salads, Shrimp

Fiesta Salad

This dish has many names from Nacho Salad or Taco Salad to Frito® Pie. I call mine Fiesta Salad and have made it many times. It’s a crowd pleaser, and my version is a bit healthier than the original.

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RECIPE

Fiesta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp. chili seasoning or taco seasoning mix
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • (optional) 1 jalepeño pepper, thinly sliced and/or diced
  • 1½ cups skim milk
  • 1 cup shredded Colby cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bag Tostitos baked tortilla corn chips

Directions:

  1. Brown ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat, separating often to avoid clumping.
  2. While turkey cooks, heat the milk in a second skillet or 2-quart pan over medium-low heat.
  3. Sprinkle chili seasonings over the ground turkey, stir, then cover to keep warm.
  4. In the bottom of each of four large soup bowls, crumble a serving (approx. 24 chips) tortilla chips.
  5. Top each bowl of chips with approximately 1/2 pound (or 1/4) the cooked ground turkey.
  6. Cover the ground turkey with 1/4 the shredded lettuce.
  7. Top lettuce with 1/4 the chopped onions, tomatoes, and sliced (optional) jalapeño pepper.
  8. To the heated milk, stir in each of the shredded cheeses until blended.
  9. Pour a fourth (about 1/2 cup) of the cheese sauce over each fiesta salad.
  10. Serve immediately. Makes four servings

Variation: Make the cheese sauce in the Vitamix. Heat milk and add to the container. Secure lid. Begin on Variable Speed 1 and slowly increase speed to 10 then High. Remove the plug from the Vitamix lid and gradually add the grated cheeses. When cheese sauce is ready, turn off the Vitamix and pour sauce over the Fiesta Salads directly from the container.

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Filed under Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, Salads, tomatoes, Turkey Recipes

Cheri’s Granola

Recently I’ve been obsessed with making my own cereals. I like the total control over ingredients. I searched for granola recipes and quickly learned there are as many variations for granola as there are for chili. I want a granola I can eat in a bowl with milk or dry as a snack or yogurt topping. I want high fiber, natural ingredients, and my choice of nuts. I don’t want raisins!

Here is what I created, a recipe I call Cheri’s Granola. I encourage you to make your own version. It’s easy.

Cheri's Granola

Cheri’s Granola

RECIPE

Cheri’s Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 box old fashion oatmeal
  • 8 oz. shredded coconut
  • 8 oz. pecan pieces or halves
  • 8 oz. slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • (optional) 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. Spread oats to cover the bottom of a bar pan (approximately 10″ X 14″)
    3. Add nuts, coconut, and cinnamon. Using your fingers or a large spoon, toss to mix evenly with the oats.
    4. Drizzle the honey and oil over the mixture. Lightly toss.
    5. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and turn the granola, then bake for another 15-20 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Wait till it cools to add optional chocolate chips!) Store in a sealed container¹ in a cool, dry cabinet.

¹I use a Tupperware cereal keeper, and this recipe fills it almost full.

There are endless variations for granola. You can add flaxseeds, or pumpkin seeds. Or after your granola cools, mix in some of your favorite dried fruits, chopped. You can switch out the coconut for shredded wheat or crisped rice cereal.  You can increase the amount of honey or add real maple syrup or molasses. You can mix granola with a little peanut butter and make your own granola bars.

Make it your own and name it after you!

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Filed under cereal, granola, oatmeal, Recipes

Fajitas

Healthy Mexican: Fajitas

You can use frozen veggies to make this dish, but it’s summer. Take advantage of the colorful bell peppers and Vidalia onions to make fajitas. Bonus: Cook this dish in a cast iron skillet and add iron to an already healthy meal. A slideshow follows the recipe.

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil (or canola oil)
  • 8 ounces chicken, pork, steak, or shrimp
  • 4 large or 6 small whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups julienne-cut bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • 2 cups julienne-cut onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or chili seasoning mix)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) fresh cilantro sprigs

Directions:

  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add oil.
  3. Cut meat into bite-size pieces and add to the skillet. (If using shrimp, wait to add until vegetables are cooked)
  4. Cook meat for 5 minutes. Stir.
  5. Add onions and peppers in batches to keep the skillet hot. Toss frequently with cooking tongs to cook evenly. (The vegetables will cook down and make room for more)
  6. Cook for 10 minutes or until peppers and onions are cooked yet firm.
  7. Add jalapeño pepper, garlic, seasoning, salt, pepper (and shrimp, if making shrimp fajitas). Toss with the peppers and onions for one minute.
  8. Meanwhile, warm the fajitas in a damp towel in the oven or microwave oven.
  9. Remove skillet from heat and serve directly from the skillet. Make each fajita by spooning salsa on a tortilla, adding chopped fresh cilantro (optional), filling from the skillet, and folding burrito style.

Yield: Makes 2 servings

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Filed under Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, salsa

Thinking Outside the Box

Serving busy families nutritious, healthy meals can be a challenge. Cooking for one is a challenge, too. Often we throw up our hands in defeat then head for the drive-thru. Or we pick up boxes of one-dish “Just add meat” meals, like “helpers” or skillet dinners. Tempting, aren’t they? All the work has been done for you except for browning the meat.

Not so fast.

When I was a college student, I often had Betty Crocker’s Noodles Almandine for dinner. I added some water, cooked the contents of the box for about 15 minutes, melted a pat of butter with the noodles, then sprinkled the few packaged almonds that were included as a garnish. I loved that dinner! It was cheap and easy. One night I was hungry and hadn’t had time to grocery shop, so I decided to create the dish on my own. I had noodles and slivered almonds, and there was butter in the refrigerator. How difficult could it be?

Even as an inexperienced, young cook, I quickly figured out the answer. Not difficult at all. I dissolved a chicken bouillon cube in the boiled noodles. Then I melted a pat of butter, tossed the noodles, then sprinkled with the almonds. I had noodles almandine! It tasted just like Betty Crocker’s. As I ate my dinner, I came to two realizations: A chicken bouillon cube, some noodles, and a few almonds cost a lot less than my box; it took no longer to make the dish on my own than with the boxed ingredients. From then on (sorry, Betty Crocker) I made my own noodles almandine. These days I make it with whole wheat pasta to bump up the nutrition.

Noodles Almandine

Whole Wheat Rotini Almandine

Save your money and your health by making your own skillet dinners or casseroles. They’re easy, less expensive, and tastier. Here’s my healthier version of a family favorite.

RECIPE

Turk-a-Roni
Ingredients:
• 1 pound lean ground turkey
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1 10 oz. package frozen seasoning blend*
• 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
• ½ cup water
• 1 cup dry whole-wheat elbow macaroni
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 clove garlic, pressed
• 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. Spray the inside of a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Over medium heat, brown the ground turkey. Break meat apart using a fork or potato masher.
3. Add the frozen seasoning blend. Cook for two minutes with the meat.
4. When meat is fully cooked, add the remaining ingredients except the cheese. Be sure all the macaroni pieces are covered in liquid.
5. Cover the skillet and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Check macaroni for doneness (do not overcook) and add cooking time as needed.
6. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and cover to melt the cheese.
7. Serve turk-a-roni from the skillet.

*Frozen seasoning blend is a convenience item containing chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley. If you don’t have seasoning blend, use 1 cup chopped onion.

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Filed under casseroles, cooking, Healthful Eating, macaroni and cheese, pasta, Turkey Recipes