Watermelon Lime Smoothie

Watermelon Lime Smoothie

 

 

“Put the lime in the watermelon, shake it all up…”

 

 

 

Sip on this refreshing, easy-peasy smoothie while soaking up the rays. The lime juice balances out the sweetness of the melon. Serve it over ice or crush the ice to make a smoothie.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound cubed seedless watermelonIMG_9477
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, I used Splenda
  • Lime slices f and mint sprigs for garnish
  • Ice

HOW TO

Place 10-12 ice cubes in blender, add lime juice, sugar and watermelon pieces. If you want to serve over ice, omit the ice cubes and add 1/2 cup water or kefer instead. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass and garnish as desired.IMG_9468

Make two (1 cup) servings. Calories per serving are in the neighborhood of 66 calories per serving.

Crock Pot Pork Chops & Barley

Crock Pot Pork Chops & BarleyWith the cooler weather today in Michigan I had the urge to get out my crock-pot and cook comfort food. Maybe it was a nesting impulse in preparation for the fall season. All I know is the aroma throughout the house was intoxicating as pork chops simmered in the crock.

Potatoes were eliminated as a starch dish due to the over-abundance of potato soup I made last week (enough for an army). Instead, I opted for barley and I’m glad it did. It was Brown chops in olive oila perfect pairing with the au jus used for the pork.

You don’t necessarily need to cook these chops in a crock-pot; you could simmer covered on a stove top. I was working outdoors and didn’t want to concern myself with stove top cooking.

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 thin sliced boneless pork loin chops (you can use 4 thick cut boneless pork chops, but you will need to bump up the cooking time to 4 hours on low or 6 hours on high)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used organic). You can also use chicken broth.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Original blend (found in the spice section)Whick together oil, broth & oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Quick cook barley

HOW TO

In a large skillet, brown chops in olive oil. Remove from heat and transfer to crock-pot. If you are using thick cut chops, be sure to cut a couple of thin slits in each chop with a knife. This will help them cook evenly throughout. Set aside.

Pork chops cooking in au jus

Pork chops cooking in au jus

In a large whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over chops in the slow cooker. Cover and slow cook on medium for one hour (thin cut).

Once chops are done, turn off slow cooker. Drain off the au jus into the pan used to brown pork chops. Thicken with a roux to a medium consistency.

Prepare barley per package directions. Use an ice cream scoop to plate the barley. Arrange chops and barley on plate. Drizzle both with the roux mixture. Garnish with sprigs of basil or parsley.

Optional: serve a side of au jus for dipping

Two thin cut chops with two scoops of barley and 1/3 cup au jus is in the neighborhood of 345 calories. Serve with a mixed green salad.

Mango-Kiwi Smoothie

Mango-Kiwi SmoothieNothing like starting the day off with a vitamin and iron packed smoothie. Mango’s are known for their anti-oxidant properties and 1 cup of mango contains the following percentages that apply to daily value.*

  • 76 percent vitamin C (antioxidant and immune booster)
  • 25 percent vitamin A (antioxidant and vision)
  • 11 percent vitamin B6 plus other B vitamins (hormone production in brain and heart disease prevention)
  • 9 percent healthy probiotic fibre
  • 9 percent copper (copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes plus production of red blood cells)
  • 7 percent potassium (to balance out our high sodium intake)
  • 4 percent magnesium

A kiwi is packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange and a good Peel mango and coarsely cubesource of dietary fiber. This recipe is easy and makes three 1-cup servings.

Here’s what you need:

2 kiwi, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup cold water
8-10 ice cubes

How To

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour off a serving and savor the flavor!Peel and coarsely cube two kiwi

*Reference- http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/17-reasons-why-you-need-a-mango-every-day/

Potato-Broccoli-Bacon Soup

This is a thick, hearty soup that can fill up in no time; especially, when you serve it with hard crusted bread. Personally, I like to let is sit in the fridge covered overnight. It makes for a creamier thick soup when you reheat  the next day.

Prep & Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: An army, just kidding. It will generously serve 8 people.

Potato-Broccoli-Bacon SoupHere’s what you need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes (you can use baby reds if you like), sliced into bit size pieces. No need to peel them.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped broccoli heads
  • 1/2 regular package uncooked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cups milk
  • 3 cups water, 1 cup of water used to cook potatoes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolve in the one cup potato water then return to the pot.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup salted butterCubed potatoes
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 bunch freshly chopped parsley
  • Chopped green onions for garnish

HOW TO:

Boil potatoes and broccoli in a large pot of water for 10-12 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of potato water. Return potatoes and broccoli to pan and set aside.

Dissolve chicken bouillon in reserved potato water and return to pan.

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Drain fat from the pan. Add onion and Broccoli added to soup mixturecelery to the bacon pan and cook over medium-high heat until celery is tender, about 5 minutes.

To the potato pan, add milk, 3 cups water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is very hot, but not boiling. About 8 minutes, stirring often.

While the potato mixture is cooking, prepare the roux. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and mix well. Heat until the mixture bubbles, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add roux to potato mixture until soup is

Making the roux

Making the roux

thick and cream. (Optional) I used a handheld potato masher to break down the potatoes so the soup was not so chunky. It’s just a personal preference.

Crumble the cooked bacon and add to soup along 3/4 cup of cheese. Stir soup until cheese has melted. Add parsley. Serve hot and garnish onions.

Don’t ask for a calorie count on this one. With all that butter, cheese and bacon just know it’s vein-thickening and packed with calories. But, yummy ones!

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Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous SaladI prepared this summer salad for a high school class reunion picnic. It was a bit of a challenge to quadruple-plus the recipe, but I think the end result was a success. It’s a an easy salad that can be prepared in less than an hour; unless you over toast the couscous, like I did, and have to meticulously remove the burnt pieces. Lesson learned!

I opted to use Israeli couscous because of it’s pearl-like shape and included a couple of containers that were colored. It made a nice contrast.

This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, one of my Italian favorites on the TV cooking network. I have provided the recipe for a serving of six. My upgraded recipe served 100 people; hence, the large disposable aluminum pan you see pictured.Cook the couscous as directed in the recipe.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:

  • 3 TBLS, plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound box Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 zested lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt  & 1/2 tsp. pepper (season to taste)IMG_9005
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cranraisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted is optional

 

HOW TO:

IMG_9006

1)   In a medium saucepan, heat 3 TBLS olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous, cook for 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Stir often prevent scorching.

2)   Add chicken stock and juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes. You want the couscous tender, but still firm to the bite. Stir

IMG_9016

occasionally while cooking.

3)   Drain cooked couscous and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and seasonings. Cool couscous to room temperature. This is VERY important. You don’t want the fresh herbs to wilt when they are added to the couscous.


4)
   Once cooled, add fresh herbs, dried cranberries and almonds. Combine and toss to evenly distribute ingredients.

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Serves 6

TIP: If making larger quantities, toss all ingredients in an unused kitchen trash bag. Once mixed, empty contents of bag into the serving container.