Kitchen Shortcuts: For The Working Parent!

As a full-time working mother I know the stress associated with getting dinner on the table every night. Although fast food is quick and easy it’s also full of fat, sugar, and sodium. So that means fast food and many ready to eat foods you find at the grocery store are out. Don’t fret, Your Resident Gourmet is to your rescue! This week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter has great practical and easy Kitchen Shortcuts For The Working Parent and I’ve even included 2 tried and true time-saving recipes!

 

Happy Cooking!

Chef Jennifer

 

Kitchen Shortcuts For The Working Parent 

 

  

     

 

As a full-time working mother I know the stress associated with getting dinner on the table every night. Although fast food is quick and easy it’s also full of fat, sugar, and sodium. So that means fast food and many ready to eat foods you find at the grocery store are out. With all of our hectic schedules, coming home after a busy day and cooking a meal from scratch is out too-unless you’ve done your homework. By homework I mean prepping as many ingredients ahead of time as possible.

For example, when roasting a chicken for dinner, I always roast two so that I can use the second in stir-fry, Chicken Noodle Soup, or even Chicken and White Bean Chili. I will often boil double the amount of whole wheat pasta I need for that night’s dinner; rinse it, toss it with a bit of olive oil, and use it as in add in for salads, soups, or served with our favorite pasta sauce.

Don’t forget your freezer-one of your most important time saving tools. Most cooks know that stews, casseroles, and sauces all freeze beautifully. But what about soups, cooked greens, and beans? They do too! So when you’re cooking a pot of collard greens or kale; pinto beans or black bean soup remember to put half in a freezer safe container, allow it to cool, and then place in your freezer. All you have to do before you head to work is, pull it out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to defrost. Dinner is half way done when you get home!

Another great time saving tip is to grill or roast fall and winter vegetables like zucchini, squash, kale, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli whenever I have to roast and grill other items. I feel like I’m getting double the ingredients cooked in half the time and using half the fuel. Try some of these roasted vegetables as a side dish or puree with a little olive and sesame oils for a tasty and nutritious alternative to fatty sandwich spreads. I also like to pre-chop my ‘everyday vegetables’ like onions, bell pepper, and celery. That way I have them on hand to add to recipes requiring chopped veggies without having to spend time after work chopping them up!

Here are two great time saving recipes that will cut down on your after work prep and allow you to serve your family a tasty and nutritious meal every night of the week; Roasted Vegetable Spread and Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup.

 

 

 

Roasted Vegetable Spread

This Roasted Vegetable Spread has an intense smoky flavor and is a great on hot or cold sandwiches.

 

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Yields about 4 cups

 

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, peeled

2 small crook necked squash

2 small zucchini

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 red onion, peeled

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large jalapeno or Serrano pepper, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400* F.

 

Cut the eggplant, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes.

In a large bowl, toss with the garlic, Serrano pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread them on a baking sheet.

Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft; stirring once during cooking.

Cool slightly and place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the lemon juice and tahini, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.

Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley.

Store the Roasted Vegetable Spread in an air tight container, for up to 1 week, under refrigeration.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

This healthy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup is a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken.

 

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Yields 6-8 servings

 

Ingredients:

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 cups cubed peeled potatoes

1 teaspoon Sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cubed roasted chicken breast

2 cups uncooked egg noodles

1 cup evaporated milk

 

Garnish:

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped

 

Directions:

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and sweat the onion, carrots and celery for 10

minutes or until tender.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the flour, oregano, thyme and rosemary until blended.

Gradually whisk in the broth until smooth.

Add the diced potatoes, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Add diced chicken and noodles and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Stir in milk, reduce heat and bring to a simmer but do not boil.

Garnish with chopped Italian parsley right before service.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of recipe.com and mamanns.com

 

 

 

Must Have Kitchen Gadgets of 2013!

Are you looking to do more cooking in the New Year? I know that it can be a bit frustrating when it comes to picking out the right tools for your kitchen. Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter is here to help with a list of the Must Have Kitchen Gadgets of 2013. So take a look at the list below and add a few new ‘must haves’ to your kitchen arsenal for a year of effortless cooking!

 

Happy Cooking!

Chef Jennifer

 

Must Have Kitchen Gadgets of 2013

 

  

    

 

Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker

This is not your mother’s pressure cooker! Whether you’re cooking potatoes for gnocchi, preparing short ribs or simmering chili, this foolproof electric pressure cooker will accomplish the task up to 70% faster than stovetop cooking methods. It has reprogrammed settings for high- or low-pressure cooking, browning, simmering and sautéing, and the removable pan cleans up with ease.

 

Corn Zipper

This Corn Zipper “unzips” kernels from the cobb! Safer and more efficient than using a knife, this inventive tool neatly strips multiple rows of corn

at once, right into a bowl. Think of all the fresh soups and salads you’ll enjoy this summer.

 

 

All Clad Electric Grill

Its two cooking surfaces are controlled separately so you can simultaneously grill foods like steaks and seafood that require different heat levels, from gentle warming to a sizzling sear. It includes a detachable stainless-steel splatter guard and drips and spills are channeled into a removable dishwasher-safe drawer for a quick and easy clean up.

 

Immersion Blender

Handheld immersion blenders are perfect for pureeing soups, sauces, smoothies, milk shakes, and dips. Because of the slim design, you can easily mix ingredients while still in their pots or bowls and skip the step of transferring ingredients into blenders and food processors.

 

Citrus Reamer

Need fresh lime juice for your salsa or fresh orange juice for a cocktail? Then you need a citrus reamer. A classic kitchen tool, this handheld twist reamer is ideal for quickly juicing a single lemon or lime. or other citrus fruit like grapefruits, tangerines, and blood oranges.

 

Muddler

Not just for bars anymore. A great addition to your kitchen, this muddler can be used like a pestle to mash or muddle fruits, herbs and spices in the bottom of a glass or cocktail in order to release their flavor.

 

Spice & Nut Grinder

Spices are an easy way to cut back on salt and sugar use, but depending on the quality, a good mix can cost a fortune. Invest in a Spice & Nut grinder and start making your own. It can also be used to grind nuts, which come in handy if you’re fond of baking or making your own cereal or trail mix.

 

Blender Bottle

These are the perfect way to take a homemade smoothie to go. Each bottle comes with a wire blender ball that you gently swirl to stir contents or shake fast to whip them up – this comes in handy when you don’t have access to a blender. All Blender Bottles are dishwasher-safe and BPA-free.

 

Microplane Zester

A good microplane zester is a crucial tool in any cook’s collection. Equipped with a long blade of ultra-fine grates, it’s the best way to spruce up any recipes with the zesty taste of citrus peel, cheese, nutmeg, and even chocolate.

 

Peanut Butter Mixer

The problem with those jars of healthy nut butters is the layer of oil sitting at the top, which can make a huge mess when you’re trying to mix it yourself. This Peanut Butter Mixer makes mixing a breeze.

 

Silicone Mat

Silicone baking mats will protect your baking sheets from wear and tear and keep your baked goods from sticking. They eliminate the need for greasing, making clean-up a snap. Simply place your product on the mat before baking, transfer the mat to a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Silicone mats also can be used as a non-stick surface for rolling pie dough and fondant.

 

Electric Juicer

A juicer is the perfect complement to a healthy lifestyle because it’s an easy way to get a dose of much-needed nutrients. An electric juicer separates juice from its pulp and allows the body to more easily absorbs the nutrition than digesting the solid produce. Use your juicer for getting fresh fruit and vegetable juices for drinks, soups, and sauces.

 

Cast Iron Skillet

No one likes it when food sticks to the pan, but using a lot of oil isn’t good for your heart or waistline. Instead of nonstick pans – which have been shown to release cancer-related toxins – choose cast iron. When seasoned properly, you have a nonstick cooking surface that only gets better with age. You’ll also find that cast iron cooks better since it distributes heat more evenly.

 

 

 

Make 2013 Your Best Year Yet!

Happy New Year 2013!

 

Most of us start the New Year with a list of resolutions on how to eat better, get more exercise, and be kinder to over-worked selves. There are so many reasons why we aren’t already taking better care of ourselves, from fast paced schedules, juggling work and family, to not knowing how to cook a healthy well balanced meal. Juicing may be just what you need for a quick and nutritious way to jump-start your healthier 2013. This week’s Your Resident Gourmet Newsletter talks about the pros and cons of juicing and even shares some really great juicing recipes.

 

Here’s to a Better You in 2013!

Chef Jennifer

 

The Benefits of A Juice Detox



The benefits of A juice detox?

Juicing is a great way to squeeze fruits and vegetables into your diet if you typically don’t like them. Most people juice between 1-3 days in an effort to lose weight, improve their diet and eliminate the unhealthy foods they currently consume.  Clearer skin and relief from chronic health issues such as fatigue, constipation, bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome are also well known benefits of juice detox. *Contact your health professional if you are thinking of juicing for longer than 3 days or are currently taking any medication*

 

The side effects?

While there are definite benefits to doing a juice detox, there are side effects as well.  As with any type of detox the first few days usually present the same common symptoms – headaches nausea, dizziness and sometimes bad breath.  You will be more likely to experience headaches if your diet contains large amounts of caffeine, sugar, or sodium. You’re also likely to have frequent urination, diarrhea, and fatigue experience in the beginning of your juicing but by the end you should have a vast increase in energy. Also remember that juice, no matter where it comes from, is a concentrated source of calories. This is especially true if you use more fruits than vegetables in your juices. So add more leafy green vegetables, like kale, in your juice blends instead of ‘sugary’ vegetables like carrots.

 

What do I need to ‘juice’?

You will need a juicer that fits your level of use and your budget!  There are a variety of juicers on the market and picking the right only takes a little research.  When out shopping for your juicer feel free to ask lots of questions about its features and check its warranty. Once you have your juicer you’ll want to load up with fresh fruits and vegetables. Spinach, apples, kale, collard greens, beets, blueberries, strawberries and carrots are a great choice.  Bananas don’t juice so you’ll have to mash them separately and then add them to your juice and using too much citrus fruit may irritate your stomach, so limit your lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Remember that the fresh vegetable and fruits you juice at home will NOT be pasteurized, which could be a food-safety hazard. So be sure wash your hands with hot soapy water (for at least 20 seconds) and all produce before preparing your juice. It’s also best to drink your juice within one week, preferably on the same day that you make it. Don’t forget to wash the juicer with hot soapy water after each use, as well.

  

Juicing vs Blending?

Yes, you can still do ‘juicing’ while using your blender, there will just be a bit more work involved.  When you use a juicer to juice your food you are eliminating the fiber from the foods which decreases your digestion to almost zero.  By placing your foods in a blender you are not eliminating any of the fiber and your body will need to digest the ‘juice’ the same way as if you were to eat it raw.  To get around this issue, simply strain the blended juice before drinking any of it.  Use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove all of the pulp from the juice. You can also freeze the pulp and add it to sauces, soups, and smoothies once you’ve finished your juicing detox.

 

Juicing Recipes

Here are a few simple tasty juicing recipes that help alleviate certain symptoms, as well as a basic Cleansing Veggie Broth.

Enjoy!

 

Potassium Juice

3 carrots
3 stalks celery
½ bunch spinach
½ bunch parsley

Ginger Root Boost

1 inch slice ginger root
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
6 carrots with tops
1 seeded apple

High Blood Pressure Reducer

2 garlic cloves
1 handful parsley
1 cucumber
4 carrots with tops
2 stalks celery

Yummy Green Drink

½ bunch spinach
2 big kale leaves
¼ cup OJ
1 small banana
1 kiwi

Homemade V8 (6 glasses)

6-8 tomatoes
3-4 green onions with tops
½ green pepper
2 carrots
2 stalks celery with tops
½ bunch spinach
½ bunch parsley
2 lemons (just the juice)

Cleansing Veggie Broth

BOIL:
3 carrots
3 kale leaves
2 celery
2 beets
1 turnip
½ bunch spinach
½ head cabbage
¼ bunch parsley
½ onion
2 garlic cloves

 

Candy Cane Truffles: Great way to use up those leftover candy canes!

  Candy Cane Truffle Recipe

Ingredients:

.         6 oz semi-sweet chocolate – you can use chips if that is all you
have

.         1/2 cup heavy cream

.         2 tbsp butter, room temperature – unsalted

.         1/2 tsp peppermint extract or oil

.         4 peppermint candy canes or more if you love them like I do

.         1 lb chocolate candy coating – milk, dark or white will work and
you can get more in red/green and do drizzles

Preparation:

1. Finely chop the semi-sweet chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl.
Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse on/off
several times for 5-10 seconds each, until the canes have been crushed into
small pieces. Alternately, place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and
seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll/smash the candy canes until they are
crushed into small pieces.

2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it is almost boiling and bubbles
appear around the edges. Pour the scalded cream over the chopped chocolate
and allow it to sit and warm the chocolate for about a minute.

3. Using a spatula or whisk, stir the chocolate and cream together. Stir
until smooth and incorporated.

4. Add the mint extract and the butter and continue stirring until the
butter melts completely and your ganache is silky smooth. Add most of the
crushed candy canes, reserving several tablespoons to use as decorating.
Stir until the crushed candy is well-distributed in the ganache. Cover the
top of the ganache with cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator until it
is firm enough to scoop, about 2 hours. If it is left longer it may be very
hard to work with, so you might have to let it soften at room temperature if
this is the case.

5. To form the truffles, use a teaspoon or candy scoop to scoop uniform
amounts of ganache, then roll the balls between your palms to get them
round. Place truffles on a foil-lined baking sheet and put the sheet back in
the refrigerator while you prepare the chocolate coating.

6. Place the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until
smooth and melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating.
(You can get candy coating at your local Michaels Craft Store or go the
extra step and try www.chefrubber.com for your specialty items)

7. Once the coating is ready, use a fork or dipping tools to dip the
truffles in the coating one at a time, dragging the bottom against the lip
of the bowl to remove excess coating. Place the truffles back on the
foil-lined sheet, and while the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle the tops
with the reserved crushed candy canes. Repeat with remaining truffles and
coating.

8. Once all of the truffles are dipped, return the tray to the refrigerator
to set the chocolate for 15 minutes. Store Candy Cane Truffles in an
airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Allow them to come
to room temperature before serving for best taste and texture.

submitted by Chef Sandra Mallut

www.theculinarybutler.com