Friday, November 20, 2009

Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa

I’m not sure if anything says "Holiday" more than the smell of warm cinnamon and fresh apples. Especially when it is cold outside, the warm smell of cinnamon is one of the most comforting things I know. It magically brings memories of family to mind and somehow makes you feel like everything is right with the world.

There is always an abundance of apples this time of year and one of my favorite things is the spiced apple rings. I love those vivid red cinnamon spiced rings. They can turn any meal into a work of art.

We eat them on almost everything this time of year. We cut them up and stir them into warm oatmeal, or pour them over pancakes and waffles in the morning. Sometimes we eat them cold with cottage cheese for lunch. My favorite is this Pomegranate hot spiced apple salsa with a crispy pork chop. Just delicious!!!!

You are probably used to seeing applesauce served along side pork, but have you ever thought of trying some spiced apple salsa?

Not only are apples plentiful but so are POM Wonderful pomegranates. If you have never had fresh pomegranates, don’t be intimidated. There is a lot of good information on the POM Wonderful sight. It really takes no time to make, and brings a bit of the unexpected to a familiar dish.

Pomegranate Hot Spiced Apple Salsa

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 oz. fresh POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Fresh Pomegranate arils

In a small saucepan over medium heat add stir together the all ingredients. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and apples are tender. Stir in pomegranate arils and serve hot with chicken, lamb or pork. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

This week the people from POM wonderful contacted me and sent me a case of delicious 100% POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. When I was a child we had a pomegranate tree in our neighborhood and would spend a lot of time opening and eating the ruby red averils hidden inside the fruit. We called them Chinese Apples. If any of you know why we called them Chinese Apples I’d love to know.

What we didn’t know then was we were eating one of the earliest cultivated fruits and that some believed that it was the pomegranate, not the apple, that Eve tempted Adam with in the Garden of Eden.
I am so happy that we have pomegranate juice now, saves a lot of red stained fingers. And, did you know, arterial plaque is decreased by up to 30% if you drink just 8 oz. of the tangy juice a day?

I’ve been experimenting with the juice and the whole fruit last week and I will be posting some of those dishes in the weeks to come.

For now, go out and get yourself some POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice………it’s good for you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cuban Holiday Ham

Summer is hanging on here in Florida. Feels like temperature today is going to be something like 90 degrees. There is a small cold front moving in this weekend and I'm really looking forward to cooling off, even if it is just for a day or two.

I often make a ham when the weather is hot just so I can use the leftovers during the week. No heating up the kitchen for me, especially when I am patiently waiting for Fall to arrive.

Before we know it the Holiday's will be here and I thought I would share with you my recipe for this Cuban Holiday Ham. It combines some of my favorite Florida flavors oranges, limes and cola. Not only does it taste good, it looks great too!


1 6-8 Low Sodium Ham
2 Florida Oranges
2-3 Limes
Several Cinnamon sticks
Salt and Fresh ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 12 ounce can cola
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Remove ham from package, rinse and pat dry. Slice oranges and limes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Stack a lime slice on top of each orange slice. Place the fruit stacks onto the ham and secure each with a cinnamon stick.

In a small bowl mix together the cumin, apple pie spice, cola and rum. Pour half of the mixture over the ham, season with salt and pepper.

Place the ham in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, basting every 2o minutes. Remove from the oven and let set 15 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade and raisins to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently until thick and bubbly. Transfer the sauce to a small bowl and serve with the ham for passing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Squash Casserole

When people talk about comfort foods I usually think about cold weather food like mac and cheese or chicken soup. Who says we have to wait for fall to have some good old fashioned comforting food?

This squash casserole is one of my favorite summer time dishes and it makes good use of the yellow crook neck squash that is so abundant. I like to add zucchini when I have it, just to add a little color but it is equally as good with out it.

There is nothing particularly creative or new about this casserole recipe, it's just plain delicious. It is a great side dish that goes with any main course. It' s a crowd pleaser and I have yet to find a kid that doesn't ask for seconds.

Summer Squash Casserole

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick 1/2 moons
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 (10 ounce) can creamy chicken mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 eggs
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups fresh bread crumbs

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and onions. Cook 5 to 6 miutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, combine the soup, mayonnaise, mustard, eggs and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked squash and gently mix until well combined.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake 15 minutes.

While casserole is baking, combine the remaining cheese and bread crumbs. After casserole has baked 15 minutes, spread the bread crumb mixture evenly on top and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and casserole is hot and bubbly. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Smokey Spanish Turkey and White Bean Flatbread Melt

When I was grocery shopping this week I stumbled upon this great managers sale on fresh Turkey Breast, only $1.79 per pound. What a deal!!!

A lot of times you can get a great deal on whole breasts in the summer because most people think of turkey only around the holidays. I love to get a whole turkey breast in the summer and roast it off. Then I can keep the leftovers in the fridge and have some quick week night meals ready to go.

And the best part is that you only have to heat the kitchen up once. Quick, easy and cool just my kind of summer meal.

Look for a manager's sale in your own local market. There are always some great sales going on and with this recipe in your back pocket you'll have no problem using up a whole breast!

Smokey Spanish Turkey and White Bean Flatbread Melt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced roasted turkey breast
6 10 inch flat bread wraps
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded manchego cheese

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, corn, chili powder, and paprika. Saute 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in the white beans and turkey breast, heat through. Remove from pan, wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

Return skillet to medium heat. Place on flat bread in skillet and top with some cheddar cheese, spinach, turkey mixture, manchego cheese and top with a flat bread wrap. Cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn and toast the other side. Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Serve warm and enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittata

You might think that a Heart Healthy lifestyle means giving up some of the things that you really love, like eggs and cheese for example. Well, I am here to tell you that there are so many great tasty products on the market today, that with a little creativity you can still have your eggs and eat them too!

These Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittatas are a perfect example. They are made with packaged salmon, frozen broccoli and egg beaters. And the Creamy Scallion Sauce is something that you can use for a lot of different things.

Make some of these this weekend, keep them in the fridge and you'll have a quick healthy grab and go breakfast all week. Try chopping them up and stuffing them in a whole wheat pita spread with the scallion sauce.

Wild Salmon and Broccoli Mini Frittatas with a Creamy Scallion Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups egg beaters
2 tablespoons 1 % milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (5 oz.) pouch wild salmon, cut into thin strips
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt
3 oz. neufachatel cheese (low fat cream cheese) softened

Pre-heat oven to 400. Heat the oil 10-inch non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until tender.

Combine egg beaters, milk, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk well, stir in the salmon, broccoli and sauted onion. Spray a jumbo muffin pan with cooking spray and divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups. Place in pre heated oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until eggs are firm.
Whisk together the yogurt, cream cheese. Stir in the remaining green onions.
Serve the frittatas with a dolop of the creamy scallion sauce. Or, spread the sauce inside a whole wheat pita, chop the frittatas and serve as a breakfast sandwich.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Black Bean Hash

So, I was out Blog Jogging the other day and found a blog somewhere that had this delicious looking dish displayed. I'm sorry to say that I can't remember where I saw this but the image stuck in my head and was driving me crazy so I just had to attempt it.

I'm not sure how the original recipe was made or if this is even a close reproduction, all I know is that I really liked it. The Fly Rod Gawd however, well lets just say he ate it.

I did this in a single skillet on top of the stove so it was a snap to make. I really like the way the chili seasoning that I used on the sweet potato, flavored the entire dish. It was also a great looking dish. Very colorful and very healthy!

Chili Spiced Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Black Bean Hash

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespooons chili powder
1 (10 oz) box frozen broccoli florets
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each slice into 4 wedges. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chili powder and cook 1 minute, swirling the pan to incorporate the chili powder in the oil. Add the sweet potato and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until. Add the broccoli florets and beans. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until vegetables are tender.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Orzo Salad

The summer is always a challenge to keep my family eating healthy, it's just too easy to stop by the nearest fast food place. As much as we enjoy the occasional burger, I try to keep things like this Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Orzo Salad on hand to stop temptation in her tracks!

It's easy to make up a big batch and keep in the fridge. It just seems to get better the longer it sits. I love the way the tangy dressing soaks into the black beans and orzo. And the crunch from the fresh sweet corn........woooweee! that's some good eatin'

I baked up a batch of boneless skinless chicken thighs for this dish, but you could easily make it with a rotissere chicken from your local deli, or you could use Tyson's Southwestern Chicken Strips. Any way you choose the result is a crispy, tangy refreshing dish perfect for a quick dinner. It is a great dish to take to a cookout, or pack up the leftovers for a refreshing lunch box treat.

Cuban Chicken and Balck Bean Orzo Salad

1 box orzo
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups fresh sweet corn (use frozen if you must)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups fresh spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken thighs with chili powder, place on a baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cut into bite sized cubes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions, drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion, cook 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add oregano, corn and black beans. Heat through, stir in cooked orzo and chicken. Add key lime juice and orange juice, contiue cooking until all liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving fold in spinach leaves.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Just how many ways can you make sweet potatoes? For most people, sweet potatoes are one of those holiday only items. You know what I mean, like green bean casserole, we only have them on special occasions. It's a shame we don't have them more often given their amazing health benefits.

I won't bore you with in depth research on the power of sweet potatoes, some things you'll just have to trust me with. Lets just say that The Fly Rod Gawd and I are going to be eating alot more of these delicious taters!

These oven baked fries are really easy. I think the hardest part of them is cutting them. Sweet potatoes tend to be very hard so be sure to use a really sharp knife and be careful! If your diet can include salt, try using the chili salt recipe in my earlier sweet potato chip post. But, if you are watching your salt try them with my smokey seasoning. Equally delicious and I promise you won't miss the me!

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 fresh lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Carefully slice the sweet potatoes into sticks or wedges and add to a large bowl. Add the oil, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper. Toss to coat.

Spread in a single layer onto the foil lined pan. Place in the oven and bake 25 to 30minutes or unitl done. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lime juice over the hot fries.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Heart Healthy Smoothie

So here I am again, finally finding the time to write about one of my favorite things----FOOD!

I had to take some time away from all things bloggy, The Fly Rod Gawd's mom had open heart surgery and taking care of them took up more time than I had. But, here I am again happily blogging away and with a new found spirit. Through all of the doctors,tests, hospitals and nurses, I realized just what an important part food really plays in our lives.

When I first realized that we were going to have to have some more heart friendly meals I thought we were going to be doomed to unsalted tasteless cardboard with a side of steamed stryfoam. But, what I have realized is that creating heart friendly meals is really not as hard as I thought.

Here is a quick cardio friendly smoothie that is perfect for an on the go breakfast, lunch or snack. Try it and let me know what you think!

Banana Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 very ripe banana
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup 1 % milk
2 teaspoons honey

Place all ingriedients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if you like it thinner and more honey if you like it sweeter!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweet Potato Chips with Chili Salt

Can you think of anything more tasty than a thin, crispy french fried potato? How about thin, crispy french fried sweet potato chips?

A few years ago, The Fly Rod Gawd and I were visiting St. Michaels in Maryland and we stopped at this great restaurant whose name I can't remember. It was one of those great evenings that no matter how hard you try, you just can't recreate.

As we were sitting in the dinning room, looking out over the Chesapeake, our waiter brought us a plate of fresh sweet potato chips. We had never had crispy sweet potato chips before, but as soon as we tried them we wondered where they had been all our lives!

Not only were we lovn' the chips, but just as our dessert was being served a Barbershop quartet that was having dinner at the same time broke out in song!

It was such a wonderful night and one that we will never forget.

You will be surprised at how easy these chips are to make and everyone seems to love them. They can take on a lot of different flavors, but we like them with a spicy chili salt and a lime sour creme.

Sweet Potato Chips with Chile Salt

6 cups Canola oil
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper powder
1 lime
8 ounces sour creme
2 large sweet potato

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees.

Mix the salt and chipotle pepper in a small bowl, set aside. Add the sour creme to a small bowl and mix in the juice and zest of the lime, set aside.

Peel and slice the sweet potato very thin. Fry the sweet potato's in batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Immediately season with the chili salt. Serve with the lime sour creme for dipping.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

This week, I have been trying to decide what to do for Superbowl Sunday. I need something to serve that is easy and basically self serve, but I didn't want to just do buffet food. Of course I'll have the usually line up of snacks and finger foods but for the main event, I wanted to do something fun. What I came up with is a pizza bar. Everyone loves pizza right?

My challenge is to find a way to make it a little bit healthier but still have a great tasting pizza. This week I have been playing around with whole wheat bread dough and I think I have finally come up with a winner. By adding a little more honey and some garlic to the dough, the result was a hearty dough with a lot of flavor. The best part, is that it also made a really good sandwich roll as well.

I'm not sure who will be playing in the big game, but I do know that the pizza bar at The Saucy Bird will be open for business!

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110°F
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and set aside. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, honey, oil and garlic, stir until dough begins to form -- it will be slightly sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth but still tacky -- about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in volume.

Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl, and let dough rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and turn one piece out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into desired shape and size.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Buttermilk Onion Crisps

Whew!!! The holidays are finally over and this year I can't say that I am sorry. The Fly Rod Gawds Mother has had some pretty serious health issues and adding hospital tests and doctor visits to the already hectic season really wore me out.

I have been trying to get these french fried onions posted since New Year's day but haven't been able to get to it. Well, I probably could have but we had to watch the bowl games. And then, I had to get the Christmas lights down, at least from the front porch. (I was beginning to feel a little Gretchen Wilsonish).

So everything, is finally down and boxed, just waiting for The Fly Rod Gawd to stow the boxes in the shed. I am always surprised at how blah the house looks when the decorations come down.

Anywhoo, these crispy onions are the result of my first experiment with the mandolin Santa brought me for Christmas. I have been wanting one for a long time now and it is one of those things that I just wouldn't buy for myself. Well all I have to say is: THANK YOU SANTA! I LOVE IT.

It made these crispy fried onions sooooo easy. Just zip zip zip and they were sliced perfectly. Now I just have to figure out how to keep from eating them so I have enough for everyone else. They made the perfect football snack and I think they would make the perfect topper for mac and cheese.

Buttermilk Onion Crisps

3 large onions
1 cup self rising flour
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups canola oil
Kosher salt or Celery Salt

Peel the onions and slice thin on a mandolin. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Mix together the flour, pepper and sage. Spoon some of the flour mixture over the onions and stir to lightly coat. Beat together the egg and butter milk. Pour some of the egg mixture over the onions. Stir to evenly coat. Spoon the remaining flour mixture over the onions and stir to coat.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees. Place the onions a little at a time in the hot oil, sitr with a fork to break apart and fry 3 to 4 minutes turning occasilnally until golden brown. Season with kosher salt or celery salt and serve warm.

Try not to eat too many!