Category Archives: Healthful Eating

Quarantine Cuisine Day #30 -Benedictine Cheese

But for the COVID19 pandemic, this would be Kentucky Derby week in my hometown of Louisville. In its honor, I made a staple of Derby parties, Benedictine Cheese.

As a child, I had no idea what this stuff was, yet I loved it. To me, it was green cheese. Yummy stuff to spread on crackers, I now enjoy it on sliced zucchini, carrot sticks, and celery.

Here’s how I make Kentucky Benedictine Cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • (Optional) Fresh herbs for garnish
  • (Optional) green food coloring

Directions:

  • Add chopped cucumber and onion to food processor (I used my Vitamix) and purée.
  • Strain to remove excess liquid. (Cheesecloth works well)
  • Add seasonings and lemon juice. Blend.
  • Blend mixture with cream cheese until creamy.
  • Refrigerate until serving.
View inside the Vitamix

As April draws to a close, so does the quarantine (to a certain extent. Re-opening will vary from location). The Kentucky Derby may be postponed, but I can pretend I’m Derby-ing by enjoying the traditional Derby foods like Benedictine Cheese. Maybe I’ll bake a Derby Pie next, who knows?

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #28 – Jambalaya

Another day of “improv in the kitchen,” I wanted jambalaya yet had no andouille sausage. But I have plenty of Jimmy Dean’s fully cooked turkey sausage patties. I chopped the sausage and substituted it in my jambalaya recipe. It worked!

I scaled down my original recipe for today.

Pressure cooker jambalaya

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #27 – Oatmeal

Today we’re out of milk. The skim milk is gone, the unsweetened almond milk is gone, the evaporated milk is gone … we’ve even used the shelf-stable cartons of milk we typically stock for hurricane preparedness. No cold cereal today for breakfast.

Oatmeal to the rescue! Grocery stores frequently have oatmeal on sale as a BOGO (buy-one-get-one free), so we had two boxes of Quaker Old Fashion Oatmeal in the pantry. With a pressure cooker, perfect oatmeal is easy. Here’s how I cook it.

RECIPE

Oatmeal for two

Ingredients: 2/3 cups oats, 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste), 1 1/2 tsp butter, and 1 cup water for the pressure cooker.

Directions: Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Add trivet. In a separate bowl or pot (any vessel that fits inside the cooker for pot-in-pot cooking), combine all other ingredients. Seal pressure cooker, set for 10 minutes, cook, and allow pressure to drop on its own. Do not vent manually. Carefully open the pressure cooker, remove the inner pot or bowl using potholders or mittens, and stir oatmeal vigorously. Serve immediately.

My husband eats his oatmeal with a Tablespoon of honey stirred in. I like to add cinnamon and stevia. There are endless possibilities to flavor oatmeal.

If you want larger servings (Ours are approximately 100 calories per serving , not including toppings), simply increase the amounts of oatmeal and water while maintaining the 1/3 cup oats/1 cup liquid ratio.

We will enjoy oatmeal again soon. It’s a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #26 – Taco Soup

Social media abound with recipes for taco soup, also known as 5-can soup. It’s a good pantry recipe that requires few fresh items. The 5 cans refer to two different cans of beans, a can of hominy, a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, and a can of whole kernel corn. (The ingredients vary, but it’s basically a soup with similar elements)

Ingredients for taco soup

Taco seasoning mix, a can or cup of chicken broth, a pound of ground meat, and an onion round out the recipe. Some versions include a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, but mine doesn’t. My version includes a bit of garlic powder instead. I also add a cup of tomato sauce.

Today I wanted to cook taco soup but had no canned beans. Fortunately, I use pressure cookers. There’s no need for canned beans when I have a pressure cooker and dried beans. Cooking a pound of dried beans takes less than an hour. I mixed a cup of pinto beans and a cup of black beans, cooked them under pressure 40 minutes, and allowed pressure to drop on its own.

Meanwhile, I browned a pound of ground turkey and chopped the onion. I added all the cans (corn, Rotel, hominy, and tomato sauce), broth, seasonings, and browned ground turkey and onions to the beans to slow-cook until mealtime.

Taco soup can be served with a variety of toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips. It’s an inexpensive soup that yields 6-8 servings.

Taco soup

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