Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kids' Favourites - Healthy Style

Make a big difference by making small changes. By simply switching one ingredient for another, you can reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar. Here’s how to makeover your kids favourite foods so they can become heart healthier.
Mac ‘n’ cheese
Try our recipe for homemade macaroni ‘n’ cheese. When using boxed kinds, add frozen peas and carrots while boiling the noodles and use low-fat milk. You can also skip the addition of margarine or butter.  
Hot dogs
Choose chicken or turkey varieties. Limit serving sizes. Serve hot dogs with a colourful veggie platter. Limit salty condiments like ketchup and mustard. Serve with whole-wheat buns.
Chicken fingers
Make homemade ones using whole-wheat bread crumbs and bake them. Try our recipe for baked chicken nuggets.
French fries
Bake your own using sweet potatoes, which contain loads of vitamin C. Slice thinly, drizzle with olive oil and bake them for 30 minutes at 200º C (400º F) or until crispy. Add seasonings such as paprika, rosemary or garlic.
Hamburgers
Make with ground chicken or turkey or extra-lean beef. Or look for pre-made varieties that contain 10% or less fat. Try meat alternatives like soy burgers. Serve with whole-wheat buns.
Pizza
Make your own - go easy on the cheese and load up on the vegetables: sweet red pepper, fresh tomatoes, broccoli. Try vegetarian pepperoni made from soy. When consuming frozen varieties or ordering fast-food types, go vegetarian to avoid high-fat meat toppings. Choose whole-grain crusts.
Ice cream
Use plain low-fat frozen yogurt and load up on the fresh fruit toppings instead of sugary ones. Keep portion sizes small (125 mL or 1/2 cup) and serve with sliced, frozen red and green grapes. 
Cookies and cupcakes
Make a big batch of whole-grain cookies and freeze. Watch portion sizes and set guidelines for when they are to be eaten.  Serve with fresh fruit, such as slices of apples. Try our recipe for chocolate carrot cupcakes with yogurt icing.

By Alyssa Rolnick RD., MHSC.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baked Chicken with Ginger root (Hawaiian Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Hawaiian style chicken.
A recipe that just screams "Let's eat outdoors."
Perfect for late April.

Ginger root can be found fresh in the produce section.
Slice and use, just like fresh garlic.
But, if you want to use up some of your ground ginger, 
One teaspoon ground ginger equals two tablespoons chopped fresh ginger.

Some substitution math:
Four tablespoons equal one quarter cup.
So, according to that...
Two teaspoons ground ginger equal one quarter cup chopped fresh ginger.
More or less.
In a pinch.

Check out different parts of the produce section, too.

                         
                        Chicken with Ginger root

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper

In a large ovenproof pot 
Brown chicken in butter and oil.  Remove.

Drain, reserving the juice
1 Can (20 oz) pineapple chunks

Combine
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
the drained pineapple juice
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth 
4 Tablespoon plum jam
4 Tablespoon soy sauce                 
water to equal 3 Cups
Add to same ovenproof pot, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened.

Stir into the sauce
drained pineapple chunks
1/4 Cup fresh ginger root, diced
3/4 Cup slivered almonds
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered, in 350º oven 1 hour. 

Serve with rice and salad.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baked Chicken with Curried Fruit (Middle Eastern Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Hold it!
Don't put the curry powder away just yet.

This is a nice, simple Middle Eastern recipe with a fair bit of fruit.
Both in solid and juice form.
The leftover dates can be cut up and put on your oatmeal.
They're handy to have in the kitchen.
They don't get mushy like bananas.
Dates - the perfect breakfast fruit.

Don't have cornstarch?
Three tablespoons flour equals one and a half tablespoons cornstarch.


Lentils are like rice.
If you don't have lentils, use rice.
But, really, you should expand your starch horizons.
Put a different food section on your 'Bucket List' NOW.
Please.

                              
                        Chicken with Curried Fruit

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper

Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
1/2 medium onion, chopped 

Combine
1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 Cup orange juice 
1 Cup chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
Stir into pot, cook, stirring until sauce thickens.
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce  (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered, in 350º oven 45 minutes.

Garnish chicken with
12 dates, cut lengthwise 
1/2 green pepper, chopped 
Bake, covered, in 350º oven 15 minutes.

Serve, garnished with oranges, sliced paper-thin, with rice or french bread,
and cooked lentils marinated in French dressing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baked Chicken with Curry Powder (East Indian Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Okay... if you're East Indian, this is 'same old, same old'.
You were probably weaned on it.
Time to go out and get a bucket of KFC.

But, if you're not East Indian, this will make the family sit up and take notice.

And you can use your home-made curry powder.
As mild or strong as you want.

Don't have chick-peas?
No problem.
Peas work well, too.
Frozen or canned.

                           
                        Chicken with Curry Powder

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
1 medium onion, chopped 

Combine and add to onion in pot
1 1/2 Tablespoon flour 
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons honey
Cook, stirring until thickened.

Add
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth
1 Can (20 oz) chick-peas, drained 
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered in 350º oven 1 hour. 
Serve with green salad.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baked Chicken with Cardamom (Middle Eastern Style) - Margaret Ullrich


As you learned last December, cardamom is a member of the ginger family.
The rich branch of the ginger family.

Okay, cardamom is a little expensive.
But, it's sweet.
A no-calorie sweet.
And cardamom adds a nice touch to Middle East recipes.

And other recipes, too.

This recipe also use some of the coriander and cumin.
And the bulgur, which will get a fried-rice texture.
Handy, eh?
                        
                         
                        Chicken with Cardamom

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
2 medium onions, chopped

Add, stirring to glaze well
1 clove garlic, chopped 
3/4 Cups bulgur 

Add, stirring to mix well
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin 
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
                     
Replace chicken, cover with bulgur (can be stored in the fridge).

Pour over chicken and bulgur
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth 
Bake, covered in 350º oven 1 hour. 
Serve with mixed green salad.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baked Chicken with Coriander (East Indian Style) - Margaret Ullrich


By now coriander should be an old friend.
Especially if you've been making your own Curry Blend.
As mild or as strong as you like.

You're free from being a slave to what's on the grocery spice shelf!!
Okay, it's not exactly Freedom 55, but its nice.

And so is this recipe for chicken.

Rice is nice, and easy.
But, if your grocery store has an East Indian section, check out the starch choices.
Excitement you can afford!!
Really, a different food section should be on your 'Bucket List'.


                        Chicken with Coriander

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper

In a large ovenproof pot 
Brown chicken in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
2 medium onions, chopped 

Add and cook gently, stirring, 5 minutes
1 1/2 Tablespoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 clove garlic, chopped 
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1/2 Cup plain yogurt
                  
Replace chicken, cover with sauce (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered, in 350º oven 1 hour. 

Serve with rice, and spinach salad with mushrooms. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

St. Gregory and Malta

On the Wednesday after Easter, the country of Malta celebrates the feast 
of St. Gregory.

Since the late 17th century, the Maltese people have marked this national feast 
with a religious procession, led by the Bishop of Malta.  The procession starts at 
the chapel of St. Clement (outside the town of Zejtun) to St. Catherine Church, 
today called St. Gregory Church, in Zejtun.  After Mass people celebrate with picnics 
and often the first swim of the season.

The tradition began as an act of thanksgiving for God's intervention when the bubonic 
plague hit the island between 1675-76.  About 11,000 Maltese died from the plague.

At one time the feast was considered so important that among the promises a 
new husband had to make on his wedding day was to take his bride to Zejtun for 
the feast of St. Gregory.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baked Chicken with Cinnamon (Greek Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Surprise, surprise!  The kids liked the bulgur.
And it's not hard to prepare.
And you still have over half a container of the stuff.

You also have about half a head of garlic.
And assorted bags of spices you bought a few months ago.

Don't panic.
Here's a nice Greek recipe that uses some of those ingredients.
And some of the currants from the hot cross buns.
Waste not, want not.

About the fenugreek...
It smells like celery but has a more bitter flavor.
It's a main ingredient in curries.
So, if you want to substitute celery seed or curry powder, I won't tell.
Or add some more cumin or cinnamon.
You know what the family likes.

Oh... fenugreek is considered an aphrodisiac.
Just sayin'....


                        Chicken with Cinnamon

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, place
9 small onions
Glaze in remaining fat, stirring to coat. 
Replace chicken.

Combine
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
4 whole cloves
1/4 Cup currants
1/2 Cup red wine 
1 Tablespoon wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 Can (6 oz.) tomato paste
Pour over chicken (can be stored in the fridge).

Bake, covered, in 350º oven 1 hour.
  
Serve with bulgur, and green salad with white grapes and red onion. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Wishes to Friends and Visitors

May joy fill your day,

Hope light your path,

And the many blessings of Easter 
warm your heart....

Wishing you a Happy Easter!!
Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baked Chicken with Paprika (Austrian Style) - Margaret Ullrich

When I posted about Paprika, I included two Chicken Paprikash recipes.

Well, here's the simplest of all.
Hey, even Austrian Moms love short cuts.

If you want to add some variety in the starch department, 
make some potato pancakes.
Yes, there are mixes for that, too.

It's finally Spring.
Why cook anything the hard way?


                        Chicken with Paprika

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper

In a large ovenproof pot 
Brown chicken in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
2 medium onions, chopped 

Combine and add 
1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon paprika 
1 clove garlic, chopped 
Cook gently, stirring, 3 minutes.

Add, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup dairy sour cream
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered, in 350º oven 1 hour. 

Serve with noodles or potato pancakes, and a mixed green salad.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Baked Chicken with Basil (Middle Eastern Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Ah... Basil.
You've already used it when you made my Ma's meatballs.
Well, now's the time to taste what it does to chicken.


A dinner main course usually has three basic parts.
Meat, vegetables and starch.

And, in North America, the starch is usually rice, potatoes or pasta.
And we wonder why the kids are bored at dinner time.


There's a world of starches out there, folks.
And they're most likely in your regular grocery store.
You just have to look.
Or ask that nice, cute clerk.


In the Middle East bulgur is a staple starch.
There the kids would be surprised by French fries.
Yep, they're bored by bulgur.
So it goes.... 

                       
                        Chicken with Basil

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
1 medium onion, chopped 

Add
1/2 Cup ground almonds
1/4 Cup honey
1/2 Tablespoon basil
1 clove garlic, chopped  
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook, stirring over gentle heat.

Combine
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 Cup chicken broth
Add.  Cook, stirring over high heat.                         

Remove from heat, add
juice of 1/2 lemon 
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce (can be stored in the fridge).
Bake, covered in 350º oven 1 hour. 

Serve with bulgur, and watercress salad with red onion and parsley. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baked Chicken with Garlic (Italian Style) - Margaret Ullrich

I know, garlic doesn't get sold by the clove.
You've got a head - minus one clove - sitting on the counter.
It looks like a seven-year-old's grin.
No, don't lose your head.
The garlic head, I mean.
We'll use more garlic in other recipes.
And let's not forget my Ma's fenek bit tewm.

If there's one thing I learned from writing this blog,
it's that Italian recipes are popular.
Whether they were in Carmela Soprano's cookbook or not.

Here's a nice, simple Italian recipe.
Manga!!

          
                        Chicken with Garlic

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
1/2 medium onion, chopped 
bt
Saute
2 green peppers, seeded & chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Remove vegetables from pot.

Add and cook until liquid is reduced
1/2 Cup dry white wine

Add, stirring to mix
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 
                     
Replace chicken, cover with sauce and peppers (can be stored in the fridge). 
Bake, covered in 350º oven 1 hour. 

Serve with pasta, and a mixed green salad with mushrooms.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Anna Sultana's Baked Chicken with Thyme (Mexican Style) - Margaret Ullrich

Got an e mail from an empty nester-friend asking for some chicken ideas.
She asked if I had some simple recipes that would leave enough for a second meal.
Translation: four pieces of chicken.

No problem.
Found 10 easy recipes.
They can be increased if you have a bigger family.
Or want more leftovers.


Chicken doesn't get any respect.
It's a regular main course in many homes.
Cooked following the same regular recipes.

I know... the family has a few old favorites.
And the cook has a few old standbyes.
So the family gets bored.


Well,  it's time to try something new.
It's also time to use up some more of those spices.
You did buy spices a few months ago, right?
Well, if you didn't, they're still in the stores.
So get some.

A couple of days ago I posted about Thyme.
Well, it's time to use it with chicken.

Sorry about the pun.
But I'm not sorry about this recipe.
It's chicken with a Mexican touch.
And thyme.

About the 'Serve with' line...
They're just suggestions.
Use what you've got.
Or what's on sale.


                        Chicken with Thyme

Season 
2 legs and 2 breasts 
with
salt and pepper 
Dredge in seasoned flour.
Brown in butter and oil.  Remove.

In the same pot, cook until translucent
1 medium onion, chopped 

Stir into onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour

Add
8 ounces canned whole Italian tomatoes
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon thyme  
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Replace chicken (can be stored in the fridge).


Combine and pour over chicken
1/2 Cup chicken broth
1/4 Cup dry white wine 

Bake, covered, in 350º oven 35 minutes.
Add
12 pitted prunes
Bake, covered 20 minutes.
Add
2 firm bananas, peeled, sliced lengthwise
Bake, covered 15 minutes.

Serve with beans in garlic oil, and corn bread. 

The Great Figolli Fight - part 3 - Margaret Ullrich

continued from part 2

     For my family, Easter was a simple celebration with lots of traditional foods.  There weren't any problems until the year my mother's brother Charlie married an American girl.  Ma invited Charlie and Liz for Easter.  Liz wanted to learn more about Maltese customs.  Aunt Demi, Pop's oldest sister, heard that we had invited Charlie and Liz.  Aunt Demi worried that our branch of the family was becoming too American.  So, Aunt Demi decided that she would come to dinner to make sure that Ma kept everything kosher. 

     Then Aunt Dina, one of my Sicilian Aunts, heard that we were inviting company for Easter.  Aunt Dina always took things personally.  She was insulted.  Why hadn't she been invited, too?  Ma invited Aunt Dina, Uncle George and their children.  We had enough folding tables and chairs to seat everyone in the yard.  As long as it didn't rain, Ma thought it would be a nice family dinner.

     Easter Sunday morning the sun was shining and the lamb was roasting on a spit in our yard.  The tables had been set.  Liz was taking notes and learning recipes.  She had brought cross buns and a jello mold.  The only thing missing was the centerpiece.  Demi had told Ma that she would bring a proper figolli.  

     It was the biggest figolli I'd ever seen.  The icing was three inches thick.  While Aunt Demi was placing the Easter egg on her Queen of the Sea, Aunt Dina marched in and pulled a Colomba di Pasqua out of her tote bag.  The Colomba had a three foot wingspan.  There was barely room enough for one centerpiece.  

     Fish or fowl, which would we use?

     After forty days of fasting and scrubbing, Demi and Dina were lean, clean and mean Easter tradition machines.  They glared at each other.

     "What the hell is that?"  Demi spat.
     "It's a dove, a symbol of peace, you idiot," Dina shot back.  
     "It's Easter.  We don't need a damn dove."
     "Throw that fish back in the sea."  
     "The figolli is part of our tradition."
     "Since when did Jesus swim with the fishes?"
     Waving a knife, Demi lunged.  "Give me that bread.  I'll cut it up for sandwiches."
     "Over my dead body."

     Liz was fascinated by her new in-laws.  She wrote down everything the Aunts said.  Maybe she thought the fight was part of our ethnic holiday tradition.  I stayed close to Liz in case she didn't have sense enough to duck.

     Ma went back to the kitchen.  She knew she couldn't reason with her sisters-in-law.  Her plan was to hide in the kitchen until the smoke cleared.  If they killed each other it would leave more food for the others.

     "Netta, get out here," Demi yelled.
     "I went to all this trouble," Dina whined.
     Ma came out.  The Uncles had wandered away.  Liz was still taking notes.  
     Demi barked, "Tell this idiot we are using the figolli."
     "It took me forever to make this damn bird," Dina whined again.
     Ma tried to be a good hostess.  "They're so big.  We could put them on chairs near the table."
     No luck.  The Aunts wanted her to choose one.
     Demi announced.  "We are having a traditional Maltese Easter.  With a traditional Figolli."
     "Do you think Our Blessed Mother baked a mermaid?" Dina demanded.  

     Ma sighed.  The lamb was ready.  If this dragged on much longer we'd be eating a lump of coal. 

     Ma said, "I don't care if the Blessed Mother made hot dogs and beans.  I'm tired of the whole damn holiday.  I'm tired of cleaning.  I'm tired of baking.  And I'm tired of bread.  A few days ago I gave a figolli to a friend who lives down the street.  Yesterday she came over and gave us a loaf of hallah.  So I have another loaf of traditional holiday bread from Mrs. Cohen... Mrs. Cohen.  That's it!!" 

     Without saying another word Ma turned and went back to the kitchen.  In a few minutes she returned with the glossy braided hallah on the platter.  

     "Our Blessed Mother was a Jew.  She would've made a hallah.  And that's what we're having for Easter.  It's traditional.  Shut up, sit down and eat."

     And so saying, Ma started our traditional Easter Dinner.