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Recipe: Beet Brownies

Beet Brownies

Beet Brownies

I can’t say I’m a big fan of beets, but I usually try to make best of the ingredients I have on hand. So rather than centering a dish around the beets, I chose to integrate them in to Beet Brownies.

The chocolate masks the earthiness of the beets really well — so well, you don’t really taste them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup beets, peeled and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beet Brownie Batter

    Beet Brownie Batter

  3. In a small pot or saucepan, cover beets with water and cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Drain, puree and set aside.
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 TBSP butter.
  5. In a medium pot or saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugars and stir until dissolved.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1-2 minutes. Add cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate.
  7. Add pureed beats and butter-sugar mixture and mix all ingredients together. Add whole wheat flour and chocolate chips and stir until all ingredients are blended.
  8. Grease a 9×13 baking sheet and pour in batter. Bake 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick pulls out relatively clean. Enjoy warm or let cool in the pan.

This recipe should yield at least a dozen medium-sized brownies. You can cut them into larger or smaller pieces based on how long you want them to last.

I recommend serving them with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Cookin', Desserts, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Perfect Guacamole

Perfect Guacamole

Perfect Guacamole

Guacamole is one of my all-time favorite things to make. It’s simple, fresh and nutritious. Over time, I’ve perfected my recipe, that’s why I feel confident in calling it Perfect Guacamole.

I think it goes best with tortilla chips, but it also makes a great sandwich spread or topping for most dishes. The only way to eat guacamole is fresh, I don’t know how people do the bagged stuff. Be sure and save the pits and put them in the bowl with the guacamole — it helps the avocados maintain their color.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe Hass avocados; peeled, halved and cored (save the pits)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeño; cored, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP sea salt
  • 1 TBSP cracked black pepper

Avocados

Avocados


Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, season the avocados with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, lime juice and olive oil.
  2. Using a potato masher or large fork, mash the avocado and seasonings.
  3. Add in onion, jalapeño and cilantro then stir to mix well.
  4. Serve or store. If storing, place the pits in the guacamole (to preserve color) and cover with plastic wrap.

This is virtually a fail-proof recipe — no cooking, not much measuring and not much hassle. So if you mess it up, I feel kind of sorry for you.

Beware: the bowl probably won’t last long so you may want to make more. Just multiply the ingredients appropriately. This recipe should be about right for four people.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Rainbow Frittata

Rainbow Frittata

Rainbow Frittata

So which came first? The Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken or the Rainbow-Stuffed Egg (Rainbow Frittata)? This isn’t a mind bender. The answer is the Rainbow-Stuffed Chicken.

I had leftover rainbow mix so I recycled it to make this equally delicious frittata in my handy dandy cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you need to rush out and buy one ASAP.

Ingredients:

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
  • Bell Pepper Blend

    Multicolored Bell Peppers, Mushrooms and Red Onions

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place butter in skillet and place in oven.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with milk, salt and pepper. The add remaining ingredients to the bowl and lightly whisk to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Once butter has melted in skillet, remove from the oven and move around melted butter to coat the skillet.
  4. Pour in egg mixture and place back in oven.
  5. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until center of the frittata is set.
  6. Let cool in skillet then invert onto serving plate. Slice and serve.

This is just another use for the rainbow mix that is so versatile and works well in many dishes.

The best part of this recipe is that it’s packed with nutrients from the veggies and protein from the eggs. So it make nearly the perfect breakfast and/or brunch dish, but it’s good during any meal time.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Breakfast, Cookin', Recipes

 

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Recipe: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes for Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes for Tomato Sauce

Mark the day and time because this will probably one of the only tomato-centric recipes I ever post. I don’t like tomatoes. But, oddly enough, I like ketchup, tomato sauce and most form of tomatoes that have been pummeled, pureed or simmered. Maybe tomatoes just taste better after they’re destroyed.

Tomato sauce is on my approved tomato dish list and is one of those simple sauces that can be used in thousands of ways. I enjoy making my own rather than buying it from a can, jar, bottle, etc. The ingredient list is short, but the cook time is high. You really only need tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and patience.

Ingredients:

  • 12 fresh tomatoes, halved and clean (squeeze out juice and set aside)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 springs fresh basil
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • Olive oil

*This will make a pot big enough for a lasagna or a spaghetti dish to serve 4-6 people. Multiply the ingredients based on the amount of people you plan on feeding.

Directions:

  1. Prep a large sauce pot by placing it on the stove and adding a thin layer of olive oil.
  2. Tomato Sauce in the Pot

    Tomato Sauce in the Pot

  3. Fill a food processor (or blender) with tomato halves that are cleaned to remove spots. Make sure to save the juice and set aside in another bowl.
  4. Add garlic, salt and basil and blend until the mixture is frothy.
  5. Add the tomato mixture to the sauce pot.
  6. If necessary, repeat step 2-4 with remaining tomatoes. (You may have to blend more than one batch depending on the size of your appliance.)
  7. Simmer (uncovered) over low heat for hours. Yes, hours. You want to reduce the mixture until it was half the size of what it initially was. However, you can keep simmering for even longer if you want. The longer you simmer, the more flavorful the mixture becomes.
  8. Adjust seasoning while the sauce is simmering to your liking.
  9. Once it’s cooked to your satisfaction, serve with pasta or any other ingredient you have in mind.

If you don’t planning on using the sauce right away, you can jar it and refrigerate or freeze the tomato sauce until you’re ready to use it.

I’m not Italian so I’m sure many people have more/better ways of making a basic tomato sauce, but I can attest that this is a good one that will serve you well with your everyday cooking.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Cookin', Recipes, Sauces

 

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Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Walnuts

Sweet Potatoes and Toasted Walnuts

Sweet Potatoes and Toasted Walnuts

Sweet potatoes go very well with the main dishes served at most holiday functions. Rather than mashing the sweet potatoes or giving them the casserole treatment, try this dish of Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Walnuts.

The kicker is the sauce. It’s sweet, tangy and slightly acidic and blends well with the nuttiness of the sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 TBSP cane sugar vinegar (or any other sweet vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Creole mustard (or dijon if you can’t find Creole)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • Sauce for Roasted Sweet Potatoes

    Sauce for Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and back until toasted (about 6-8 minutes). Remove from oven to cool. Increase oven temperature to 400F.
  3. Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into wedges then toss in 1 TBSP of olive oil. Place them in a greased baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Walnuts

    Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Walnuts

  5. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, tossing occasionally, until tender.
  6. When sweet potatoes are done, let cool then transfer to a serving platter or dish.
  7. Whisk together remaining oil with maple syrup, Creole mustard and sugar cane vinegar. Drizzle over sweet potatoes and garnish with walnuts.

Creole mustard and cane sugar vinegar may be hard to find depending on where you’re located. Just use the substitutions mentioned in the ingredients list if you don’t have access to the ingredients I used.

You can even use these wedges as a bed for sliced turkey or ham this holiday season. The sauce alone will ensure you go back for seconds.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Cookin', Recipes, Sides

 

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Recipe: Tofu-touille

Tofu-touille

Tofu-touille

Tofu-touille is a take on the French vegetable dish ratatouille. This is a great way to add some extra protein to ratatouille without sacrificing calories. If you’re wary to try tofu A) you shouldn’t be and B) you can omit without changing up the dish too much.

This makes a great casserole for Fall that’s loaded with nutrients and low on calories.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 block firm tofu, drained and dried
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Sauteeing Eggplant

    Sauteeing Eggplant

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat bottom and sides of a 2 quart Dutch oven with olive oil.
  2. Tofu-touille Finished

    Tofu-touilee Out of the Oven

  3. Saute garlic until lightly browned, mix in parsley and eggplant. Saute until eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread eggplant mixture evenly across bottom of the Dutch oven. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over top. Lightly season and sprinkle with more cheese. Continue layering in the order of your choice with onion, mushrooms and bell pepper. Cover each layer with seasoning and cheese.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes and serve.

This is a delicious one-pot wonder that can serve as an entree or a side dish. You can also add in any vegetables of your choice making this version of ratatouille a truly versatile vegetarian dish.

Photos courtesy of Miguel Solorzano Photography.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Cookin', One-Pot Wonders, Recipes

 

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