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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

We all love to eat delicious summer foods when the weather takes a turn for the warmer. Picnics become more frequent, drinking cold fruity drinks on a daily basis becomes normal, and we’re always looking for some new food to spice up our lives. Well folks, I think I’ve found it.

Forget your store-bought salsas. Although Santa Barbara brand salsa is quite good (and my favorite store-bought brand), it can’t live up to the recipe I’ve just stumbled upon. Here’s the best home-made recipe for mango salsa I’ve ever tasted…

Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or however more you want to add to make it more spicy)

Add it all together, and you’ve got mango salsa! It is very important that you use fresh ingredients in this. It makes for a much better taste. While I admit that I did use a can of pineapple tidbits, everything else was fresh and the cilantro was from my garden. This salsa is great because it offers so many flavors…you bite into it and at first get the mango, then pineapple, then a burst of ginger, onion, and cilantro, and it leaves you with a spicy taste in your mouth.

Here’s a bit of what I was just munching on. It tastes great on a blue tortilla chip!

Oh, but one more thing…if you think you need to double the recipe to get enough to last you, you don’t! That’s what I did and now I have enough to feed a small army. Who wants some??

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

How about some good old-fashioned chocolate chips? And bananas, of course.

Today is a celebration of two of the best paired foods. To give you a taste, I will give you the sweet, scrumptious recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Squares.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 6 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)

Step one: Grease a square or rectangular baking pan and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter or margarine, along with the sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined.

Step two: Add egg, bananas, and vanilla until combined. Then add the flour. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. You can do all this with an electric mixer or by hand. Either one will work.

Step three: Spread in baking pan. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (or until golden brown) at 350 degrees. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into squares. Makes 36 squares.

The last time I made these little bite sized wonders, everyone had them eaten in about 10 minutes! They’re a huge hit for small get-togethers and family gatherings. And it’s a sweet treat to cure any chocolate craving.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I have a little something for you today that your taste buds might enjoy…

With the warm weather finally showing us a glimpse of spring, barbecuing comes to my mind. I can’t wait to get my hands on that grill! Cold summer salads are also a favorite for the season, too. Especially healthy ones. That’s where today’s recipe for black bean, corn, and wheat berry salad comes into play.

If you recall, I introduced you to the wheat berry some time last year, giving you a recipe for my perfect protein salad. This is another opportunity for you to experiment with the healthy, full-of-fiber wheat berry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried black beans (or 1 cup canned will do the trick)
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 2 cups cooked corn niblets
  • 2 sweet roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro OR 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Step one: If you’re using dry black beans, you will need to soak them in cold water for a few hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and drain them well. Then cook until tender (about 1 1/2 hours).

Step two: Place wheat berries in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 4 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender. Drain well. They should be chewy, but still tender — never soft.

Step three: Combine with beans. Add corn, peppers, jalapeno, cilantro, basil, mint and chives to salad ( or whichever herbs you’ve chosen to use).

Step four: Make the dressing. Whisk together vinegar, pepper, garlic, salt and oil. Toss dressing with salad. If you need to, you can adjust the seasonings to fit your liking.

For my salad, I used cilantro and scallions. The original recipe for this salad suggests the addition of arugula or watercress.  You can add whatever makes you happy! Enjoy!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Now that warmer weather is finally starting to show itself, you may be thinking that you might want to spend more time outside. Perhaps the spring season invites you to go for a jog or a walk, all around good exercise techniques.

With your mind on exercising, you should also be thinking about healthier foods to start eating, if you haven’t been doing so already. Chicken can provide an excellent source of healthy vitamins and minerals for your body, as well as vegetables that you may way to cook with it. For my next recipe, I give you spicy mexican skillet chicken.

This recipe is simple and it fills you up without letting your exercise and healthy eating go by the wayside.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on your spicy preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (if you don’t have corn, don’t sweat it. I used bell peppers in mine.)
  • 1/3 cup thick and chunky salsa
  • chopped fresh cilantro, if desired (HIGHLY recommended)
  • red chile slices, if desired (once again, depending on your spicy preference)

Step 1: Remove fat from chicken. Mix chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken breast halves.

Step 2: Heat oil in 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Step 3: Stir in beans, corn and salsa. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until veggies are hot. Sprinkle with cilantro and chile slices.

It’s worth it to go the extra step and add the cilantro to the top. This herb really makes the dish. Also, consider using a fruit based salsa for this dish. I used chunky mango peach salsa and the flavors really added a little something extra to the overall taste. This makes 4 servings.

Nutrition info (per serving): 290 calories, 8g fat, 70mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 32g protein.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’s the dead of winter. Eating comfort foods is right on this time of year. But comfort food doesn’t have to be bad for you if you know how to make healthy alternatives. Enter the blueberry almond oat muffin.

This little treat makes a delicious snack, on-the-go food, breakfast, dessert, or lunch side. It also pairs very nicely with a hearty winter bean soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries (see my note about blueberries below)*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup milk (or soymilk)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped

Photo by Kate Langenburg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Step 2: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; mix well. Stir in blueberries and lemon zest. Add milk, butter and egg; mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

Step 3: Scoop batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle almonds evenly over batter, pressing down gently (or you can dump the almonds right into the batter while you’re mixing all the ingredients together). Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.

*A quick note about blueberries: it’s hard to find great tasting berries this time of year. Most berries have to be shipped in from far away countries, like Chile or Venezuela, so they are often not fresh and loaded with preservatives to keep them from spoiling on the journey. As a result, a tangier taste ensues. Keep this in mind when you cook with berries during the winter.

Thanks to the Pampered Chef cookbook for this one.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Last night I went searching through my cookbooks to find something scrumptious to eat for dinner. I found exactly what I was looking for in a Pampered Chef cookbook. Since I haven’t posted any delicious recipes in a bit, it’s time to introduce you to the chicken and broccoli ring.

Special note: Pampered Chef cookbooks have a ton of their own ingredients and products in them that you would be required to buy if you followed the recipe exactly as it is published. Because I’m (sadly) not rich and can’t afford to buy those things, I changed the recipe to fit my needs. Here’s my rendition:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls (I used the reduced fat kind)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cooked broccoli
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a little bit more)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise (I used cream cheese instead)
  • 1 small clove garlic, pressed (throw this clove into the mix when you’re cooking the vegetables together)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds

This is the picture from the cookbook. Follow this if you have trouble assembling your ring.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls; separate into eight triangles.

Step 2: Arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, in a circle on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure the wide ends are 3 inches from the edge of the baking sheet. Roll wide ends of dough toward center to create a 3 inch opening. (If this sounds confusing, just look at the picture and follow that.)

Step 3: Combine chicken, broccoli, garlic, bell pepper, cheese, mayo (or cream cheese), and salt. Mix well.

Step 4: Scoop filling evenly over dough in a continuous circle. Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at center for form a ring. (Don’t worry, the filling will show a little bit.)

Step 5: Lightly brush dough with egg white and sprinkle the whole ring with almonds. Bake it for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.

When you eat this, you will not be disappointed! It’s like a cheese, chicken, and broccoli explosion.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I know I just did a post about food, but I just made the most interesting soup I think I have ever tasted. So, to follow up my post about comfort foods, here lies another post about food. (I guess this would fall in the realm of comfort food.)

Today, you will enjoy african style peanut butter soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy style peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (or 2) celery stalk (s), sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can (14.4 oz.) diced tomatoes (with their juice!!)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken

Step 1: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and celery. Saute until vegetables are very tender (about 10 minutes).

Step 2: Stir in the garlic and chili powder. Saute for an extra minute longer.

Step 3: Add tomatoes with their liquid, chicken or vegetable broth, and peanut butter to the saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring often. (It might take a minute for the peanut butter to spread out.)

Step 4: Stir in the rice and the cooked chicken. Cook five minutes longer. You’re done!

This has a very unique flavor to it, but you have to like peanut butter to really enjoy it (of course.) But it’s not an overpowering peanut butter flavor. I had my doubts when I put a whole cup of the stuff into my soup, but it turned out great. After it simmers for a bit, the flavors all come together to create something wonderful.

The consistency is very creamy, and all the vegetables, chicken, and rice are deliciously coated with a nice layer of the peanut butter-broth mix.

Your tastebuds will really like this one. 🙂

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