Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sweet Potato Patties

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Part 4 of our Heart Health and Blood Pressure recipe series. This easy side dish or appetizer is flexible and can be jazzed up with flavors to please your taste buds. Remember:  sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest veggies on the planet, so when they are a part of your regular diet, it's a bonus for your health!

You'll need: 

  • 1 Can of sweet potatoes (15 oz.)
  • 1 Cup Panko bread crumbs 
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil



Directions:

Put the bread crumbs onto a plate and set aside.  Next, place the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl and mash with a fork.  Shape the sweet potatoes into small patties and roll each patty in the bread crumbs.

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Brown each patty on both sides and serve warm.



Play with your food!

Add a pinch of cinnamon.
Add some dried or freshly diced onions.
Use freshly cooked sweet potatoes or yams
Use seasoned bread crumbs. 


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beans and Greens

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Part 3 of our Heart Health and Blood Pressure recipe series, this dish is known as the Italian poor man’s food, yet it is fit to feed a king! It’s such a delicious and nutritious dish that’s so easy to make. The best part: the beans and kale give you a great dose of calcium.

You'll need:

  • 4 Large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Can or 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid)
  • 1 1/2 Pounds chopped kale
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Directions:

In a medium pot, saute the garlic and red pepper in the olive oil on low heat until fragrant. Next, add the take and saute until the kale has completely wilted.

Add the beans and simmer until they are heated trough but still firm.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Play with your food!

Serve this dish topped with parmeseam cheese and/or hot Italian sausage.
If you want to make this more like a soup, add water or more reserved juice from cooking the beans. 






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Monday, February 23, 2015

Olive Tapenade

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Part 1 of our Heart Health and Blood Pressure recipe series. This tapenade works wonderfully as a dip with pita bread or on top of crostini. It also makes a great sandwich spread. Put it on bread and top with sauteed tomato and mushrooms.



You’ll need:


  • 2 Cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil


Directions:

Place the garlic cloves into a blender or food processor; pulse to mince. Add the olives, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend until everything is finely chopped.



Play with your food!


Try this recipe with chives instead of parsley or just add some chives to the tapenade.

Try 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar instead of the lemon juice.




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Friday, February 20, 2015

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

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Some things are so classic that they never go out of style. You cannot lose with this recipe because strawberries dipped in chocolate (a) taste awesome, (b) are beautiful to look at, and (c) make you appear to be a far more heroic cook than you actually need to be to make these! 


You'll Need:
  • 1/2 Cup whole milk
  • 3 1/2 Ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Chambord raspberry liqueur
  • 10 Strawberries


Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk for 5 minutes, or until it starts to steam. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a small bowl.

Once the milk is steaming, pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a minute or so, then stir until it's completely smooth. Stir in the Chambord and voila! - You have your ganache. Let the ganache come to room temperature.

Next, wash the strawberries, leaving the stems intact, and pat completely dry with a paper towel. Place them in a bowl. Common sense tells you that you will eventually dip the strawberries in the ganache. However, you have to let the ganache cool a bit first or it will be too runny.

Dip the strawberries in the chocolate to coat and set them on waxed paper. You can eat them at once - they taste best when the ganache is still warm and the strawberries (just pulled out of the refrigerator) are chilly. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the coated strawberries and then serve them to end any romantic meal. 




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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ricotta Cappuccino

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This classic Italian dessert is a cool treat and totally addicting. And it's simple to throw together. Whip it up for yourself or your guests anytime.



You'll Need:

  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 Teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon







Directions:

Place sugar in a food processor and start the machine. Add the vanilla, ricotta, espresso powder, and cocoa powder. Blend for 1 minute, then stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon. 



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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This combination is so surprisingly wonderful together because you basically have a spice cake that is made moist by the zucchini and sweet by the chocolate, that's a win-win!


Double Chocolate Zucchini BreadYou'll Need:
  • 2 Ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 Cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 Sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups grated zucchini
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 Cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and butter two 9" x 5" loaf pans.

Place the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on low in 30 second increments, until the chocolate has melted and is completely smooth.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix in the zucchini. With a spatula, add the melted chocolate and stir until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips. Fold the flour mixture until it forms a smooth batter. 

Pour the batter into the loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. 




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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Chocolate-Strawberry Shortcakes with Amaretto Cream

If you've ever made a pie crust that was flavored with almond, you know that it can be a total game-changer for your dish. Amaretto is an almond flavored-liqueur that will completely change the whipped cream! You could also use hazelnut or orange liqueur depending on your preferences.



You'll Need:
  • 2 1/2 Pounds strawberries, cored and sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Juice of  1/2 large lemon (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour + additional for rolling
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Cup oil
  • 1/2 Cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup whole milk
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten + 1 egg white lightly beaten
  • 1/4 Cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon amaretto liqueur


Directions: 

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Stir, then refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Note: Bring to room temperature before serving.

Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, milk, whole egg, chocolate chips and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until moistened (the dough will not come together completely).

Using floured hands, transfer the dough to a floured surface and form it into a ball. Pat it into a thin disk and lightly sprinkle it with flour. Roll the dough into a 3/4" thick circle. Cut out as many circles as you can with a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Keep rolling and cutting the dough until you have 10 biscuits. 

Lightly brush the tops with the egg white. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds, pressing lightly so they adhere. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream, confectioners' sugar, and amaretto. Beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Split the biscuits horizontally. Top each bottom half with about 1/2 cup strawberries and 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Cover with the top halves and serve immediately. 


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