No matter where you live or what your food budget, you’ve been affected by the sweeping rise in costs at the grocery stores. In the U.S., the basic increase is at about 10% over the last year — somewhat less for produce and somewhat more for meat. To make it through the check-out line without crying, folks have resorted to all sorts of strategies, many of which include reducing meat purchases much of the time. (I’m a constant store cart snooper and am both amazed and saddened by by what shoppers have resorted to in order to feed their families.) While I’ve got the cash to feed our small family of two plus doggies, I, too, have been forced to cut back or at least look at the best buys to keep us fed. Chicken is always a hugely popular dinner yet the ubiquitous boneless breasts many people (not me) have lived on are now sometimes simply out of sight. I did just hear their prices seem to be beginning to drop; thank goodness. What’s available for a song (Why is a song cheap?), however, are the drumstick portions of chicken legs and how wonderful, how easy, and how delectable they are. Chicken legs are not just for kids any longer!! I’ve got a few ways to show you to cook and serve them, including the simplest way, which is to only brown them stove top and finish them in the oven. Sure there are sauces or rubs and great sides like grilled corn or a filling vegetable salad (see above) and only you know exactly how YOU’d want to eat them.Continue reading
Being known as a cook within your varied social circles has its distinct advantages. You get to bring what you like ( or make best) to the neighborhood potluck, the family birthday, or the church funeral lunch. Not terribly long before Covid (Are we saying that now?), I catered a funeral meal. The family involved was generous about letting me know their much-loved patriarch LOVED things like ham salad, chicken salad, etc. To keep the buffet interesting, I included CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES. One lady — someone I’d trust — approached me to allow that my CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD was better than a top-shelf local restaurant’s version. I didn’t forget that. Who would, huh?Continue reading
I’ll admit that when I grabbed a bunch of organic golden beets at our local grocery, King Soopers, the other day, I hadn’t a clue what I’d do with them except my main squeeze loves beets and I was bringing them home no matter. They looked all gorgeous, fresh and brightly colored with crisp whole greens attached, despite the healthy dirt around the edges. So whatever happened in that kitchen with those beets, it was going to make him happy. When folks say, “Food is love,” there’s something to it. More on that at the end. Because I regularly make goat cheese spread for our summer appetizers or even lunches while our herbs are plentiful, I always have a big log or two of chèvre (the plain white fresh goat cheese sold in nearly any grocery store) in the fridge. I had no problem considering a riff on the quintessential beet and goat cheese salad made by lots of cooks and in many restaurants worldwide. (Is that something you make or order if it’s on the menu?) What I didn’t like the idea of was turning on the oven for the hour it takes to roast those beets. Boiling them sounded worse, messy, and way too steamy for July. Why couldn’t I grill them in a grill pan on the stove? I thought about grilling them whole or in quarters, but that would take just way too long. Do people grill sliced beets? It seems they do according to google and I thought I’d just do it, too. A quick look-see into the fridge showed a bunch of fresh greens; radishes, scallions, red bell peppers and a single, lonely leftover roasted chicken breast I soon shredded within an inch of its life (always tastier than chopped — try it and see). Soon we were about to feast on one more whole meal salad outdoors. Thank you, summer!Continue reading
While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???Continue reading
If you’re not trying to get healthy this month, you might still want to read this week’s post featuring main dish salads. Even if all you managed to accomplish was to clear out your entire cellar’s store of Pinot Noir but skipped every red, green, and silver Hershey’s kiss you encountered (and so didn’t gain an ounce in December), you could drum up interest in hefty, heart-warming and filling whole meal salads–if nothing else but to figure out what to do with leftover steak (leftover steak?!), those couple of lonely pork chops, an oh-so-sad single portion of salmon, one languishing chicken breast with wing attached, or perhaps only a drawer full of vegetables and cheese with little else to recommend them but a poached egg or two and maybe a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Watch for upcoming kids’ recipes!
Earlier in the spring, my Facebook friend, cooking student, and More Time supporter/follower Emily Nolan and I talked a little about a summertime cooking class for her daughter Addie (below), who’s a girl very interested in food, nutrition, caring hospitality, and the cooking process itself.
In fact, Addie had attended one of my Healthy Living Cooking Classes at First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs, last year–something I hadn’t remembered! (By the way: Emily’s a an Online Health and Fitness Coach should you need one– pic below.)
Chicken-Guacamole Salad with a Big Squeeze of Fresh Lime…
chicken-guacamole salad 3-4 servings
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped roughly, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh green pepper, chopped in 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 cup red sweet pepper, chopped in 1/2 ” pieces
- 1/2 jalapeño, minus seeds and veins, very finely minced (for more heat, use the whole pepper)
- 1/4 cup red onion, minced
- 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup cooked rice seasoned with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 Lime, cut in half (Cut one of the halves into slices)
- 2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar grated
Mix cilantro through tomatoes in a large bowl, reserving 2 T cilantro. Stir in avocados. Mix the reserved 2 T cilantro into the cooked rice and add the rice to the guacamole salad. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Squeeze half of the lime over the salad. Add chopped chicken breasts and spinach and stir gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve mounded, with a piece of lime on each plate to use at table.
Cook’s Notes: Don’t even have the energy to chop, stir, or cook? Buy a roasted deli chicken and pre-made guac for an even easier meal. Many shops now sell freshly-made pico de gallo or salsa. The packages of microwave rice would work well for this dinner and would cut both time and kitchen heat.
Wine? Not. It’s time for a margarita or a beer. (Ok, Sangria, Riesling or an Oregon Pinot Blanc if you have to have wine.)
Dessert? Lemon sorbet.
about avocados from the California avocado commission
|courtesy ca avocado commission|
Calories, yes. Cholesterol, no.
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
Avocados and Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but a healthy diet and exercise plan may help reduce your risk of developing the life-threatening illness.
The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium while being rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.
If you liked this, you might like other avocado recipes like Shrimp Cobb from More Time at the Table
Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine.
38 Power Foods is a group effort! Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved. If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
first three taken with my iphone
|Sweet Peas next door in front yard|
|My hydrangeas from the west garden|
|South garden hostas in bloom|
|All the toys are mine, you see. Right?|
Sing a new song,