I created a potato recipe that could make in the microwave as I didn’t want to heat up my stove. The really convenient thing about new potatoes is you don’t need to peel them. This recipe for “Tasty Microwave Potato Chunks” is quick to make and microwaves in about 10 minutes. I think you’ll also like my quick method for making “Toasty Potato Chunks” from any leftovers.
Sipping a refreshing kale banana smoothie on my back porch
I just received a third box of food from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce. Here’s a photo of what I got this week.
I’ll be sharing throughout the week what I’m making. My first recipe is a refreshing Kale Banana Smoothie. My husband and I liked it so well I plan to make all the rest of my kale into smoothie cubes for quick smoothies in the future. Following is my recipe for Kale Banana Smoothie.
1 large kale leaf, torn into pieces and without thick pieces of the rib (about 1/2 cup)
1 ripe banana
Approximately 4 to 6 cubes (smaller ice cubes work better)
Add milk, then yogurt to blender.
Next, toss in the kale.
Break banana into chunks and add to mixture.
Place the ice cubes on top. NOTE: If you’ve never made a smoothie with ice in your blender, check your blender instruction book or look for your manual online on the manufacturer’s website to determine if there are specific guidelines for adding ice to your blender. Some blenders may not be strong enough to break down ice cubes.
Begin blending, starting out on a lower speed and then increasing speed. Puree until smooth.
Place liquids in a blender first. It makes it easier to start the blending process.
To facilitate the mixing process, start at a lower speed and work your way to a higher speed as the bigger pieces get broken up.
Source: Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN,University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit cookitquick.org
It’s that time of year again when fresh-from-the-farm foods are available at Farmers’ Markets and through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares.*
For most of the weeks from now until the end of September, I’ll share with you tips and recipes for preparing fresh, locally grown foods. Also, I’ll help you avoid wasting fresh fruits and vegetables through storage and freezing tips, plus give recipe suggestions that help you use every last leaf, stalk, ear, etc.! I’ll be using foods currently in season in Nebraska and provided in a CSA share courtesy of Pekarek’s Produce.
Here’s how I’m using some of the produce from this week (shown in the top photo) in a salad. I will post more ideas and tips as I continue to enjoy my CSA share.
Last night, as an accompaniment to a pasta meal, I prepared a quick salad, using a technique learned on a recent trip to Spain. Here’s what I did:
I washed and dried the lettuce in a salad spinner (helps remove the water and make salad dressing stick better, plus you can use less dressing AND add fewer calories). Also, I sliced a few of the red radishes.
Each person at the table (last night, it was my husband and me) got a salad bowl with the lettuce and radishes.
Next, each of us added a splash of vinegar followed by a couple of splashes of extra virgin olive oil. Use a ratio of about 1 part vinegar (such as balsamic, sherry, red wine or a fruit-flavored vinegar) to 3 parts olive oil. Eyeball it at about 1 teaspoon vinegar to 3 teaspoons olive oil per about 2 cups of salad. (NOTE: If desired, add a dash of salt at the beginning).
Toss and enjoy!
The benefit of this easy recipe is you control the amount of ingredients plus you don’t have any of those aging bottles of salad dressing in your refrigerator that eventually get tossed! And … you don’t have to mix up a salad dressing in advance. Pretty cool!
If you’d like to take just a little more time and include a few more ingredients, prepare a salad dressing for the total salad using these steps for making an olive oil salad dressing.
*Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Source: USDA National Agricultural Library
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:
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!
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.
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
• Pickle relish
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:
• Sauces: spaghetti, pizza, marinara, enchilada
• Commercial salad dressings (flavorful, lower-fat varieties)
• Low-fat granola
• Pie dough, graham cracker crust, pizza dough
Consider seasoning blends. Examples include:
• Italian seasoning
• Salt-free blends – sample in the smallest container-size the first time.
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)
Refrigerate some mixed foods (like dips) at least an hour, to allow flavors to blend.
Roast meats and vegetables until “caramelized” or browned. This brings out the flavor.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever looked in your fridge and found a little bit of this and a little bit of that? And … it should all be used … SOON!
When that happens, I often make potato salad! (Note: Potatoes should be stored in a cool dry place in your house for best quality … not in the refrigerator.)
Follow these quick “1 … 2 … 3” steps!
After my cooked* potatoes had cooled slightly, I cubed them and sprinkled them with a bit of apple cider vinegar — for added flavor — while they were still warm. (Tip: You can leave the skins on young, tender potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes).
While the potatoes were cooking, I cleaned and prepared the following ingredients from my fridge. Use your own preference as to amounts of ingredients.
Onions (part of an already cut onion in the fridge)
The last step was combining the potatoes and veggies with mayonnaise. Or, use your favorite homemade or purchased potato salad dressing. Then, chill your potato salad for about an hour before serving, to let the flavors meld.
Some other foods you can add to potato salads include:
My purchases at my local Farmers’ Market this week
August 3 – 9 is National Farmers Market Week! If you’ve never visited a Farmers Market, this is a great week to check one out! A variety of fruits and veggies are in season.
This is one of my favorite recipes that I look forward to making every summer.
Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Tomato Basil Bruschetta
8 ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, Spanish onion or sweet onion, chopped
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 loaf Italian or French bread, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices
Combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Arrange bread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes until it begins to brown slightly.
Remove bread from oven and transfer to a serving platter.
Serve the tomato mixture in a bowl with a serving spoon and let everyone help themselves. Or place some on each slice of bread before serving. If adding the tomato mixture yourself, add it at the last minute or the bread may become soggy.
If you’re short on time, the tomato topping (minus the basil) can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated. Wait until you’re ready to turn on the oven for the bread before chopping and adding the basil. Set mixture aside at room temperature while the bread is toasting.
My husband and I enjoy eating healthy foods, but they must taste good and be quick to prepare.
My goal with Cook It Quick is: Making you hungry for healthy food!
Follow along as I share recipes and kitchen tricks that help you enjoy the same types of foods. And though I am a registered dietitian and University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension educator, all my recipes must pass inspection by my toughest critic … my husband!