Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great Grandma Schultz's Chili Sauce

This recipe is a memory for me. My grandpa (Clyde) Schultz must have made this chili sauce occasionally because I remember loving it with pot roast and meat loaf at his house. I just can't visualize my grandma (Isabelle) canning. I lost the recipe for a while but just found it - so it's now part of Robison Yum for the generations.

1 peck ripe tomatoes (about 17 baseball sized)
10 medium onions
2 cups celery or 2 TBS celery seed
4 red peppers
3 green peppers
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mustard seed
1/2 cup salt (this sounds like a lot so do it to taste)

Scald, peel, and chop tomatoes and drain. Do not use the juice.
Chop or grind remaining vegetables.
Add the following spices

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cloves
2 cups apple cider vinegar

When tomatoes are drained, put all together in a large pot and cook 2 hours or until fairly thick. Stir frequently to keep from sticking.

Put in hot sterilized jars and process in canner for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

crockpot beef & broccoli

I'm always looking for new slow cooker recipes.  We have some crazy weeknight schedules and it's always nice to get the cooking done in the morning when I have time and be able to come home to a warm home cooked meal.

I doubled this recipe and it fed our family nicely with leftovers.


1 lb. boneless, beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consumme or beef broth
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. sauce (from the crockpot after dish is cooked)
Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 2 cups)
White rice, cooked


  1. In the insert of the crockpot, whisk together beef consume, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
  2. Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
  3. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 6 hours.
  4. When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid to create a slurry, pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
  5. Toss in your broccoli florets then serve hot over white rice.
*Note about cooking time: Your crockpot may differ in temperature than mine, I suggest cooking this for 4 hours on your first go-round of this dish. 6 hours in the crockpot seems to be giving a lot of people "shredded" beef instead of slices, so decrease cooking time by 2 hours and go from there. Mine turned out fine with 6 hours.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beef stew in a pumpkin

A perfect fall dinner....

We made it tonight and it was yummy

This recipe is from

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, sliced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled
tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 sugar pumpkin
1.Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Place beef in the saucepan and cook until evenly brown. Mix in the water, potatoes, carrots, green bell pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer approximately 2 hours.
2.Dissolve the bouillon into the beef mixture. Stir in the tomatoes.
3.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
4.Cut top off the pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp. Place the pumpkin in a heavy baking pan. Fill the pumpkin with the beef mixture. Brush outside of the pumpkin with remaining oil.
5.Bake in the preheated oven 2 hours, or until tender. Serve the stew from the pumpkin, scraping out some of the pumpkin meat with each serving.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin pie smoothie

It's fall. I love it!

And one of my favorite fall traditions is pumpkin pie. So why not bring that flavor into a healthy breakfast treat?

Here's a recipe I tried out this morning:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
one serving

1/2 banana (frozen, if possible - a great way to keep overripe bananas)
1/2 cup milk or milk plus yogurt (or maybe a little  more to make it blendable, I used some plain Greek for the protein)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp honey
scoop of vanilla protein powder, if you want
pinch of cinnamon
tiny pinch of nutmeg
blend with a handful of ice

top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Thursday, October 11, 2012

best baked manicotti

A tried an true favorite.  This is one go to recipe when i need to take a meal over to someone.  From mel's kitchen cafe.

Tomato Sauce:
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
Cheese Filling and Pasta:
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 2 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use the Barilla brand – apparently they are supposed to be the most similar to homemade pasta and I love them, both in this and in lasagna)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan chese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.
Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish). Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.
Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Recipe Source: adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Easy Meat Lasagna with Hearty Tomato-Meat Sauce

This is my favorite lasagna recipe.  Always turns out great!
(Cook's Illustrated)

Meat Sauce

In a dutch oven (I use a 5 qt. one for a single batch, or a 7 qt. one for a double), heat up:
     1 TB olive oil

Add and stir until softened (about 2 minutes):
     1 finely chopped medium onion

Add and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds):
     6 minced medium garlic cloves

Add, stir, and cook about 4 minutes:
     1 pound mixture of ground beef, pork, or veal (I used 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 pound     ground pork)
     1/2 tsp salt
     1/2 tsp pepper

Add, stir,  and bring to a simmer:
     1/4 C heavy cream
Cook until the liquid evaporates and just the fat is left (about 4 minutes).

Add, stir, and cook for about 3 more minutes:
     1 28 oz can tomato puree
     1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

Set sauce aside.


Get out 1 small bowl, 1 medium bowl, and 1 large bowl.

Fill the small bowl with:
     1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Fill the medium bowl with:
     1 lb. shredded Mozzarella cheese

Fill the large bowl with:
     1 C grated Parmesan cheese
     15 oz whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese (I used part-skim) 
     1 slightly beaten egg
     1/2 C chopped fresh basil
     1/2 tsp salt
     1/2 tsp pepper
Mix together until creamy.  

Have on hand:
     12 no-boil lasagna noodles from an 8 or 9 oz pack (I used Ronzoni brand)

Assemble Lasagna

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread 1/4 C of the meat sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish.

Place 3 of the noodles on top of the sauce for the first layer.  Spread  blobs of ricotta cheese mixture across the noodles (about 3-4 TB per noodle).  Sprinkle some mozzarella on top of the ricotta (about 1 1/3 C per layer).    Spoon 1 1/2 C of the meat sauce over the cheeses, spreading evenly.

Repeat the layering process.  On top of the last three noodles, spread any remaining sauce, sprinkle with 1 1/3 C mozzarella, and then top with the 1/4 C of Parmesan in the small bowl.

Lightly spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover.

Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove foil, and continue cooking for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is a spotty brown and the sauce is bubbling. 

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Freezing:  This freezes well.   Line your baking dish with foil, and prepare the lasagna.  Freeze the baking dish until the lasagna is frozen solid (overnight is great).  Remove the foil "package" from the dish, and wrap in heavy duty foil or vacuum pack with a FoodSaver.    To re-heat, remove the lasagna from the extra foil or the FoodSaver bag.  Place it back in the 9 x 13" pan and allow to defrost.    Follow the cooking directions above.

chocolate-glazed pumpkin cookies

This is a recipe from Martha Stewart.  I made these yesterday and we loved them.  I ate 4 for dinner then another 2 for breakfast this morning.  The have a nice cakelike texture.  For the chocolate on top I used the microwavable dark melting chocolate and drizzled it with an icing bag with the corner snipped off.  Enjoy!!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture in two parts and pumpkin puree in one, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overmix).
  3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto two baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets once during baking. Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely.
  4. When cookies have cooled, set them (still on rack) over a baking sheet or waxed paper. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water; stir until almost melted. Remove from heat; stir until completely melted. Pour chocolate into a resealable plastic bag. Snip off a corner with scissors or a knife to make an 1/8-inch hole; pipe chocolate over cookies. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 20 minutes

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Heart healthy granola

Warning - this is addictive

It's not low calorie but it's full of goodness

heart healthy granola
3 c rolled oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 c large seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, or whatever
you'd like. Raid the bird feeder)
1/3 c small seeds (sesame, flax, etc)
1/3 c chopped almonds
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 c canola oil
1/4 c honey
1 t vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats
through salt). Combine oil, honey and vanilla, then
pour over dry stuff. Mix well. Spread on cooking
sheet and bake in 350 degree oven until golden
(about 15 minutes) stirring occasionally.

Burgers and burger sauce

These are the best!

Recipes are from Cooks Illustrated

Well-Done Grilled Hamburgers
makes 6 patties
1/2 cup chopped or torn white bread (remove crusts)
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons steak sauce (I use Aldi’s brand)
1 1/2 pounds 80% lean ground chuck
(before you start, turn your grill on so that it has 15 minutes to heat)
1. Place bread pieces in a bowl, and pour the milk over the bread. Using a fork, mash the bread and milk together to make a smooth paste. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and steak sauce, and mix until smooth.
2. Add ground beef to the bread/milk mixture, and gently combine, using a fork.
3. Shape the beef into patties.
4. Using tongs, dip a wad of paper towels into a small amount of vegetable oil, and run them over the grill grate.
5. Place burgers on grill. Cook for 2-4 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until burgers reach desired doneness.

Burger Sauce
makes about 1/4 cup

2 TBS mayonnaise
1 TBS ketchup
1/2 tsp sweet pickle relish
1/3 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

mix together

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Almond milk

Almond milk is a great alternative to regular cow's milk.  It tastes great in drinks like my Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie.

And it's lower in calories. Here's a comparison for 1 cup:

Whole milk            150
2%                         130
1%                         110
skim                        80
plain soymilk         100
plain almond milk    40

If you want the lowest calories, be sure to get plain unsweetened. I can find Blue Diamond, SO Delicious and Almond Dream brands in my local stores.

Last week I found a new higher protein version by So Delicious (in the picture above). It has 5 grams of protein vs. 1 gram in the regular version - and no extra calories!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie

This is my favorite quick breakfast - and it feels exactly right inside when I drink it.

Why would anyone ever want a traditional chocolate milkshake when this smoothie tastes so good???

For one serving - combine in blender:

1/2 frozen (or fresh) banana (or a whole small one)
1 Tbs peanut butter
2 heaping tsp good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use sharffenberger)
1/2 to 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk)
enough ice to thicken

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We haven't posted many recipes lately - maybe because our summers have been so busy! We've had little time for experimenting in the kitchen. But school started or is starting soon and we will be back into a routine of family dinners, fun gatherings and hopefully, some new recipes.

Even when I'm too busy to cook I always scan my Dr Weil emails. I was surprised, maybe a little shocked, by todays email rethinking the health benefits of lard - really???

As I read it through, I realized that we need to be careful with our assumptions about health. Ideas shift with time. Science is not exact - it's a bundle of theories that rely on imperfect evidence - and interpretations of that evidence sometimes change.

There's been a clear shifting of ideas concerning health during my lifetime.

As we were raising our children in the 70s and 80s, sugar was the enemy. I remember being counseled to add a little more butter or oil to a baking recipe in order to decrease the sugar.

As our children were entering high school, our assumptions turned upside down and there was a new enemy - fat. We could eat about anything we wanted as long as it was labeled "fat free." Our diets were full of refined carbs and sugar - but we weren't eating any of that bad fat!

The came the Atkins revolution. Fat is OK and Protein is king. Carbs became the big enemy. We could eat bacon, eggs, and steak for breakfast!  I will never forget sitting at breakfast in the South American country of Guyana. The buffet tables were dripping with gorgeous and delicious local fruits. But this couple filled their plates with bacon, eggs, meats and not one bite of fruit! I looked from my fresh colorful plate to theirs dripping in grease and just couldn't understand why someone would choose to eat like that. It didn't feel right.

We are still living under the "protein is king" assumption. Will it last? It seems like our ideas change about every 10 years - so we need to be wise and careful.

This is a long introduction to Dr Weil's article on lard - that might now be a healthy part of our diets!?!

Lard Making a Comeback
Published: 8/22/2012

In the minds of many people, lard is the most unhealthy food imaginable. The conventional wisdom of the last 40 years has been that saturated fats in our diets - that is, fats such as lard that are solid at room temperature - are a principal cause of high cholesterol and rising rates of heart disease.

However, those conclusions now seem to be based on rather shaky science. A more recent scientific analysis of 21 studies determined that there is no significant evidence thatdietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. Instead, the principal culprit in the obesity epidemic, and a major contributor to heart disease, appears to be overconsumption of sugars and carbohydrate-intensive foods.

Nutritionally speaking, lard has more than twice the monounsaturated fat of butter. It is also low in omega-6 fatty acids, known to promote inflammation. According to lard enthusiasts, free-range pigs that eat greens, not grains, have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Lard has always been prized as a cooking fat because it has a higher smoking point than other fats. For that reason, foods fried in lard absorb less grease. It also has the reputation of producing ultra-flaky pastry crust. For all of these reasons, lard has been making a comeback in high-end restaurants.

Avoid hydrogenated lard from supermarkets. The best lard is considered to be minimally processed "leaf lard" from the area around the pig's abdomen and kidneys or fatback lard from the pig's back. You can get this type at high-end specialty markets or online.

Should you eat lard? Consumption of animal foods raises ethical questions for many people. These concerns are an individual matter, and I won't presume to weigh in on this complex issue. However, particularly if the lard comes from free-range, organically raised pigs, I don't believe it is harmful to human health.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yes Chocolate!

More from Dr Weil on chocolate:

I have long recommended eating dark chocolate in myAnti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, and with good reason: dark chocolate provides polyphenols with high antioxidant activity, and of all the chocolates, has fewer unhealthy fats and sugars. Recent research is also showing that eating a few pieces of dark chocolate each week (choose 70 percent or higher pure cocoa solids) is a heart-healthy treat too, as it can:

  • Fight free radicals. Plant foods rich in flavonoids and antioxidants are beneficial to humans:  antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which have been linked to heart disease and other health concerns. Dark chocolate comes from the cacao plant, which provides these compounds.
  • Help prevent heart disease. British researchers looked at seven studies that focused on chocolate and cardiac health. Their findings suggest that people who ate more chocolate reduced their risk for heart disease: those who ate dark chocolate weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amounts.
  • Raise good (HDL) cholesterol. The cocoa butter in dark chocolate is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that scientists believe can raise HDL, or good, cholesterol.
Dark chocolate also decreases the risk of stroke - Swedish researchers found that women who ate high amounts of chocolate - the equivalent of about two candy bars per week - had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke; British researchers found the number to be closer to 30 percent. Before you start loading up on candy bars, be aware that more studies are needed to determine what amount and type of chocolate is best.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Made this tonight for father's day and it taste's identical to the cafe rio one!! So tasty! Cafe Rio Key Lime Pie Lindsay Walden 1/2 cup key lime juice 1 can sweetened condensed milk 3 egg yolks 1 9" graham cracker crust Combine the milk, egg, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before refrigerating for at least 3-4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Best Pancake Mix

We've already posted twice on this mix - but I wanted to share my favorite, simplified version.

This is so good! It's delicious, quick, and nutritious - a perfect breakfast.

Mix Recipe:

3 cups rolled oats (or substitute nuts or seeds for part)
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Put oats (and nuts or seeds, if using)  in blender and grid to a powder.
(I've used flax and sesame seeds for part of the 3 cups of oats. I want to try more variations)

Combine all ingredients and store in refrigerator.

Pancake Recipe:

1 cup liquid
1 egg
1 Tbs oil
1 cup mix

The original recipe suggests buttermilk for the liquid but I like to use part Greek yogurt and part milk or water. I like the extra protein. Because this is so think, I add extra water until the batter is the right consistency. You could try juices, soy milk, almond milk, etc.

Cook on a fry pan or griddle and enjoy!

These pancakes are so good you really don't even need syrup. Top with applesauce or other fruit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

10 veggies to stock

This is from Dr Weil
  1. Onions: This classic, pungent vegetable adds depth and richness to any meal. Sulfur compounds found in most varieties of onions may be responsible for its health benefits, including the possible lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure.
  2. Garlic: This fragrant bulb contains many of the same phytonutrients as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral compounds. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal infections.
  3. Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties.
  4. Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
  5. Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts.
  6. Beets: The deep red color of these root vegetables comes from anthocyanins, phytonutrients that protect against damage from carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease. Beets are delicious hot or cold, versatile and inexpensive.
  7. Squash. With a wide variety of types, flavors, shapes, and sizes, squash is readily adaptable to any occasion - it can even be used in pie! It provides beta carotene, potassium, and fiber, nutrients that are necessary for good overall health.
  8. Tomatoes: This red fruit (often considered a vegetable) contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and possibly some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Use tomatoes in everything from salads to sauces, but know that lycopene is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and eaten with a little fat, such as extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Broccoli. This vegetable-platter classic and other cruciferous vegetables offer cancer-protective benefits. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium - both of which help keep bones strong. It is tasty both raw and cooked, and can be a stand out in soups, casseroles, and salads.
  10. Mushrooms. Prized for their tonic effects, mushrooms can help address a host of illnesses. Maitake mushrooms (known as "hen of the woods" for their resemblance to the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen) are particularly valued in Asian cooking, as they have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-boosting qualities, and are easily included in many main courses. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This is very very yummy!  I made it last night and we all loved it.  John even said it was, "good considering there is not much meat in it".  The white sauce base mixes with the marinara sauce and makes it creamy and yummy...

Adapted slightly from Giada De Laurentiis/The Food Network
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 45 minutes    Level: Intermediate   Serves: 6-8
For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 2/3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
For the lasagna:
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (24 oz. size)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the béchamel sauce. The sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
To make the lasagna: Stir the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the béchamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching (not sure why she stipulates this, ours did just fine snug up against one another), atop the béchamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Pour jar of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Citrus salad dressing

Sounds good
from Dr Weil

Citrus Salad Dressing
This tart, sweet salad dressing is wonderful on dark, leafy salad greens like romaine or leaf lettuce tossed with orange segments, black olives and red onion slivers.
Food as Medicine
Oranges and orange juice contain a potent phytonutrient called herperidin, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and total cholesterol in animal studies.
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together or combine in a small jar and shake well. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Get Thinner with chocolate?

Here's what Dr Weil thinks:

Actress Katherine Hepburn credited her famously slim build to "a lifetime of chocolate," and now a new investigation from California suggests that eating chocolate is "calorie neutral" and doesn't cause weight gain. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego set out to test the hypothesis that eating small amounts of chocolate on a regular basis wouldn't contribute to weight gain. They analyzed information from 1,000 overweight but not obese men and women and found that those who ate chocolate most often tended to consume more calories overall, including saturated fat, but weighed five to seven pounds less than people who didn't eat any chocolate. This held true regardless of age, gender or amount of exercise reported by the chocolate-eaters. The difference seemed to hinge on how often the participants ate chocolate, not how much they ate. The study was published online on March 26, 2012 by the Archives of Internal Medicine.
My take? Chocolate has many health benefits - it is a source of polyphenols (the same type of antioxidants found in red wine), and the fat it contains, stearic acid, doesn't affect cholesterol levels. In addition, research has indicated that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may help reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting. As a result, blood takes longer to clot, reducing the risks of coronary artery blockages. Chocolate's polyphenols also appear to boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and lower LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) at least in the lab. I have long recommended good-quality dark chocolate as a healthy snack, as long as you don't go overboard. An ounce or two a few times a week is good for you, but it's not a strategy to lose weight. I'll be interested to learn what it is about chocolate that explains the findings that people who eat chocolate regularly are thinner than those who don't.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cake

Justin made this for our FHE treat last night and it was delicious!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 1 cup of oats, cooked in 2 cups of water and left to cool
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of honey (or agave nectar for a vegan version)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Cook the oatmeal on the stove, just like for breakfast, and set it aside to cool. Preheat the oven  to 350°. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl, and grease a square cake pan (we like to use coconut oil).
When the oatmeal has cooled (not cold, just cooled from simmering), mix in the honey and peanut butter and add to the other ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips (if you want the chips to stay separate, you’ll have to wait for the oats to cool. Otherwise, you get chocolate swirl cake.)
Pour into the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Serve hot for a treat with ice cream (think hot fudge sundae), or cool it completely and serve as cake.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Broccoli Pasta

Can you tell I get the Dr Weil emails? I've read and enjoyed his books for years.

Simple and healthy - I tried it and it was delicious (and I didn't even have capers).

Broccoli Pasta
The quintessential flavors of Italy - olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, and red wine vinegar - combine to dramatic effect in this simple dish. Experiment with different types of pasta to find the variety your family most enjoys. The secret - avoid overcooking the pasta or the broccoli.
Food as Medicine
Broccoli is a rich source of kaempferol, a flavonoid that may help to reduce the effects of allergy-promoting substances in the body. The immune-modulating effects of kaempferol may help to explain why broccoli has unique anti-inflammatory benefits. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K.
1 lb broccoli or broccolini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 or more large cloves garlic, finely minced or mashed
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes or more to taste
1 lb pasta (penne, rotini, etc.)
2 tablespoons capers and 1 tablespoon of their brine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
dashes of red wine vinegar to taste
  1. Trim ends off broccoli stalks, peel them below outer fibrous layer and cut them in chunks. Cut broccoli heads (or broccolini) into bite-size pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet, add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir-fry for one minute, remove from heat.
  3. Add pasta to a large pot of boiling water. When pasta is approximately two minutes from being done al dente,add broccoli or broccolini, and cook just until the vegetable is crisp-tender.
  4. Drain pasta/broccoli mixture well, toss with capers, brine, salt to taste, and 3/4 cup cheese.
  5. Add vinegar if desired.
  6. Serve with additional cheese and red pepper flakes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The health benefits of Kale

Kale is among the most nutrient-dense of all vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of the DV for vitamin A and 88 percent for vitamin C. The Tuscan Kale Salad is one of the most popular dishes at True Food Kitchen, a line of restaurants based on Dr. Weil's nutrition insights.

I like to add it to soups or saute it in olive oil and garlic - with a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end. It also makes a great salad. You can see Dr Weil make Tuscan Kale Salad here.

So - buy it at the store and grow it in your garden - it's easy and very pretty.