Tag Archives: cook it quick

Versatile Coleslaw

slaw-final

This recipe will help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Cabbage can be steamed, baked, or stuffed, as well as eaten raw.
Makes: 6 servings (approximately 1 cup, each)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 carrot (cleaned, peeled, and shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (or dry mustard seed)
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed (if you like)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Place the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt. If using celery seed, add that too.
  3. Mix the cabbage and carrots well with the dressing.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Source: Available at www.usda.gov/whatscooking and adapted from food.com

Alice’s Notes: This is a very basic coleslaw recipe that can be made from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, especially the dressing ingredients. Possible alternative purchased salad dressings include: classic coleslaw dressing, ranch dressing and poppy seed dressing. Other ingredients you could add include:

  • Sliced or diced apples
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Diced green pepper
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Green onions
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Pineapple

 

Secrets of Success when Cooking with 5 Ingredients

5-Ingredient Waldorf Salad (link to download the recipe)

5-Ingredient Waldorf Salad (link to download the recipe)

Five seems to be the magic number for the number of ingredients we want in a recipe. This excludes such common ingredients as salt, pepper and water. While researching recipes for a workshop on 5-ingredient cooking, I found the recipes I chose had at least one of the following qualities. See if these criteria help you find quick, easy, tasty recipes too!

  1. Use the best-tasting ingredients whenever possible. It’s hard to hide a poor quality ingredient when there are only five of them. For example, freshly ground black pepper tastes much better than pre-ground.
  2. Try to include at least one high intense flavor ingredient. Examples include:
    • Mustard (consider Dijon)
    • “Sharp” cheeses (you can use less because the flavor is more potent)
    • Lemon juice or lemon zest
    • Onions, garlic, celery
    • Olives
    • Capers
    • Vinegar
    • Nuts
    • Pickle relish
  3. Use some pre-prepared foods that can take the place of several ingredients. Compare the labels on the various brands and varieties as the sodium level can vary significantly. Examples include:
    • Salsa
    • Sauces: spaghetti, pizza, marinara, enchilada
    • Commercial salad dressings (flavorful, lower-fat varieties)
    • Low-fat granola
    • Pie dough, graham cracker crust, pizza dough
  4. Consider seasoning blends. Examples include:
    • Italian seasoning
    • Salt-free blends – sample in the smallest container-size the first time.
  5. Keep on hand ingredients that can be used several ways. Some of my favorites are:
    • Vanilla and plain Greek Yogurt
    • Diced tomatoes (no-added-salt)
    • Canned beans (no-added salt)
  6. Refrigerate some mixed foods (like dips) at least an hour, to allow flavors to blend.
  7. Roast meats and vegetables until “caramelized” or browned. This brings out the flavor.
  8. Thickening a soup without making a white sauce:
    • Remove some of the soup solids and liquid and puree in a blender. Cooking Light magazine (March 2003) warns when blending hot liquids to use caution because steam can increase the pressure inside the blender and blow the lid off. They advise filling the blender no more than half full and blending in batches, if necessary. And, while blending, hold a potholder or towel over the lid.
    • Sprinkle on some instant mashed potato flakes at the end and stir. Add more until you get the consistency you want.

Crushed Red Potatoes

smashed-potatoes-final

The first thing that attracted me to this recipe was the name and the fact I didn’t  have to peel the potatoes! Plus, while the potatoes were boiling, I could gather the other ingredients and clean up my preparation dishes and utensils.

Potatoes have gotten a bad rep as being “fattening” – however as you
can see from the nutritional information, potatoes can make a delicious side dish that is reasonable in calories, low in cholesterol and high in potassium.

Recipe courtesy of United States Potato Board at http://www.potatogoodness.com

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Ready Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

The combination of reduced-fat sour cream and olive oil might seem unusual but it yields a delicious taste and texture in these crushed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (see my note at end)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, shallots, parsley, milk, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until smooth and set aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes and crush — but do not completely mash — potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon. Stir in the sour-cream mixture. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 122 Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 54mg Vitamin C: 19.8% Fiber: 2g Protein: 3g Potassium: 562mg

Alice’s Notes:

  • If you want slightly creamier potatoes, slowly stir in extra milk at the end until desired consistency.
  • I substituted 2 tablespoons of chopped sweet onion for the shallots.

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Microwave Omelets and Scrambled Eggs

Omelet Mmade in a Microwave

Omelet Made in a Microwave

My omelets end up looking like scrambled eggs. So … I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried this recipe for “Microwave Mexican Omelet” from the American Egg Board. It takes 1 minute to prepare and 2-1/2 minutes to cook.You cook it in a pie plate.

Definitely a keeper! Check the American Egg Board website for the recipe.

I’ve always liked eggs — they’re an inexpensive source of high quality protein and a source of Vitamin D and choline. Plus, they weigh in at only 70 calories per egg.

After my successful experience making an omelet in the microwave, I decided to try a recipe for scrambled eggs. As the photo shows, these turn out great, also. Plus, they take just a few minutes to make. This is now my go-to method for scrambling eggs for myself. Use this American Egg Board recipe for Basic Microwave Scrambled Eggs.

Scrambled Eggs Made in the Microwave

Scrambled Eggs Made in the Microwave

The Skinny on Potatoes

assorted potatoes

“My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.” ~Oprah Winfrey

I’m not sure if I would share MY potato! There are just 110 calories in one medium-size potato. Potatoes are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free. They’re also a good source of potassium.

It’s not potatoes that pack on the calories, but rather the topping on the potato. An an example,  my colleagues at North Dakota State University Extension Service state, “…  a 100-calorie potato with no fat becomes a ‘stuffed potato’ with 463 calories and 35 grams fat when you add 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons of bacon bits.”

One of my favorite low-calorie — but packed with nutrition and taste — ways to top potatoes is with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh parsley or chives.

baked potato with and without chives

Topping baked potatoes with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley, adds nutrition, a pop of color and flavor, and few calories.

Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions

Here’s my adaptation of one of our favorite potato recipes for “Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions.” My husband and I enjoyed this while traveling in Sicily. It’s so easy to make! And tastes delicious.

"Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions" are so easy to prepare and taste delicious.

“Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions” are so easy to prepare and taste delicious.

Use amounts of the following ingredients according to personal preference. Limit to an amount that will fit in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides.

■ Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half
■ Potatoes, peeled and cut in about 1/2 to 1-inch similar-sized pieces
■ Onions, sliced
■ Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl and coat with a small amount of olive oil.
  3.  Roast about 35 to 45 minutes in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides, until potatoes are slightly browned and fork tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes

Another favorite is this recipe for “Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes” from the US Potato Board. The only fat in the recipe is in the cheese. No additional fat is used in making the sauce.

The only fat in "Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes" is from the cheese. No additional fat is used in making the cheese sauce.

The only fat in “Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes” is from the cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cooked small broccoli florets
  • Salt & cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook at 50% power, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or, use the “potato setting” on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.)
  2. Heat 3/4 cup of the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir together flour and the remaining 1/4 cup milk in a cup until smooth. Add to the hot milk, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Season with salt and cayenne.
  4. Distribute broccoli over the baked potatoes, top with the cheese sauce and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 269; Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 19mg; Sodium: 218mg; Fiber: 4g; Protein: 11g; Potassium: 989mg

Source: Recipe courtesy of US Potato Board. For more potato recipes, visit: http://www.potatogoodness.com

Whether you say PO-TAY-TO or PO-TAH-TO, potatoes taste great on your plate!

Delight in the Refreshing Taste of Tabbouleh!

Cool off with Tabbouleh, made with cucumbers, mint, parsley, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, olive oil and whole wheat bulgur.

According to Wikipedia, tabbouleh is a salad of Arab origin and is “traditionally made of bulgur, tomato, and finely chopped parsley and mint, often including onion and garlic, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.”

Tabbouleh stores well and tastes as good or better the second day. Exact amounts of ingredients aren’t necessary … so don’t worry if you have slightly too much parsley, not enough cucumbers, an extra tablespoon or so of lemon juice and so on.

If you’ve never eaten bulgur, a form of dried cooked wheat made from whole wheat kernels that have been cracked into small pieces, tabbouleh is a delicious way to start. Bulgur is easy to prepare and can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. For more bulgur recipes, visit the Wheat Foods Council website at wheatfoods.org.

(For a printer-friendly copy of the following recipe, use the “Print & PDF”  button in the “Share this” section below the recipe.)

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup uncooked bulgur
  •  3/4 cup chopped cucumber
  •  3/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions or 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Prepare bulgur according to package directions for starting with one cup of uncooked bulgur and the recommended amount of water for reconstituting this dry volume. The directions will tell you how long to let the bulgur set to absorb the water and become softer.
  2. After the bulgur is ready, mix together bulgur, cucumber, tomato, parsley, mint, onions, and garlic.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Combine with the other ingredients, mixing well.
  4. Refrigerate and let chill for 2 hours before serving for the flavors to meld.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, before serving.

Makes 6 servings

Alice’s tips:

  1. Before chopping parsley and mint, wash in a colander held under running water. Spin dry in a salad spinner or roll in paper towels to dry.
  2. Get more juice from the lemon by rolling it gently on a flat surface to loosen the membranes.

Enjoy the Flavor and Ease of Eating Fresh, Local Foods


First tomato of the season from my tomato plant. Delicious!

One of the fastest ways to “cook it quick” is to eat fresh, local foods in season. Flavor is at its peak and little or no additional “cooking” is needed. Often, all you need to do is: Slice! Eat! Enjoy!

Whether it comes from your garden, grocery store, or farmers market, it will be “simple”- ly good!

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