Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

It's How To Tuesday, and today, it's an Americanized beef taco recipe made the easy way with your slow cooker. Once you make the beef for your taco filling this way, you won't be able to eat it any other way. It's so good.

What I like about this mostly meat taco recipe is that it has a rich flavor. It's different that the "frying pan" hamburger version. The meat slow cooks in all that delicious flavoring.

Of course, my father's original recipe is made with shredded beef, not ground beef. Ole! I'm partial to real shredded beef rather than ground round. 

Slow Cooker Beef Taco Recipe
Serves 6

Get out your measuring spoons, small bowls and cups.
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium Sweet Roasted Peppers, chopped fine
2 (16 ounce) jars medium salsa
21 (16 ounce) can pinto beans, drained

Garnish with:
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 small tomato, chopped
Cilantro leaves
Shredded longhorn cheese
Shredded lettuce, optional
12 corn tortilla taco shells
Tortilla chips

In an extra-large skillet, brown ground beef until brown. Drain off fat. Place beef in 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in onions, sweet peppers, salsa and pinto beans. Cover, cook on low-heat setting in slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours.

Spoon beef mixture into taco shells. Sprinkle with green onions, chopped tomato, and shredded lettuce, if desired, top with longhorn cheese. Approximately 360 calories per taco.

Serve tacos with sides of refried beans and Spanish rice.

Posted by Alexandria Marx, home kitchen cook, foodie, WAHM, writer and all around YUM expert on what tastes good to me and what doesn't. Click here to get Being Grand posts in your inbox. Do you like this recipe's ingredients? Would you serve it to family and friends?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meatless Monday: Miracle Lasagna with Garlic Toast

It's Meatless Monday. Traditional, full-flavored lasagna from Cambell's Kitchen is layered together in just minutes with pasta sauce, noodles and three cheeses. It's paired with the most crunchy munchy garlic toast from McCormick.

Go Meatless Monday is recognized by cities and countries all around the world. It's a day people unite around food.

Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep (or cow, goat, or Italian water buffalo) milk whey left over from the production of cheese.

The production of ricotta in the Italian peninsula is old, dating back to the Bronze Age. In the second millennium BC ceramic vessels called milk boilers started to appear frequently and were apparently unique to the peninsula. These were designed to boil milk at high temperatures and prevent the milk from boiling over.

Like mascarpone, a Northern-Italian cheese, ricotta is a favorite compliment to many Italian desserts, such as cheesecakes and cannoli. There are also a variety of different cookies that include ricotta as an ingredient.

Ricotta can be beaten smooth and mixed with condiments, such as sugar, cinnamon, orange flower water, strawberries, and occasionally chocolate shavings, and served as a dessert.

Miracle Lasagna
Serves 10

1 jar (24 ounces) Prego® Traditional Italian Sauce
or Prego® Tomato Basil & Garlic Italian Sauce

6 uncooked lasagna noodles
15 ounces (1 container) ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spread about 1 cup of the sauce in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with 3 uncooked noodles, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup sauce. Top with the remaining 3 uncooked noodles and the remaining sauce. Cover the dish.

Bake at 375°F. for 1 hour. Uncover the dish and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Garlic Bread Recipe
Serves 12

1 loaf (16 ounces) Italian bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Lawry's® Garlic Powder with Parsley

Preheat broiler. Split bread in half horizontally and place, cut sides up, on work surface. Mix butter, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder; spread on bread. Place on broiler pan. Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until golden.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Calories 173; Carbohydrates 19g; Cholesterol 21mg; Fiber 1g; Sodium 288mg; Fat 9g; Protein 4g

Garlic Nutrition: Garlic can be used in the treatment of heart and blood related diseases. Extracts of garlic were mixed with antimony and butter and were applied to the scalp in order to encourage the growth of new hair and strengthen the existing ones. Garlic oils were used in the treatment of infectious diseases.

Garlic can be used to inhibit microbial growth due to the compound called Allicin. The compound is sulfur based and is not inherently present in garlic but when it is chopped. This is the liquid that oozes out from garlic and has a pungent smell. It has been studied that this compound can be used to inhibit the growth of bacteria as well as fungal growth.

According to studies, garlic can boost immune function by stimulating white blood cells.
Garlic has been popularly known to have compounds that serve as blood thinners. These agents can be used to minimize the risks of heart ailments as well as strokes. However, this is only applicable to patients or individuals with the tendency to develop blood clots along the arterial lining, causing clogging and possible blockage.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about half your calories should come from carbohydrates, typically about 250 grams (g). For example, a person who eats approximately 2,000 calories per day should take in about 250 grams of carbohydrates (2,000 divided by half equals 1,000 -- and 1,000 calories divided by 4 grams = 250 grams). A teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams.

Carbs and diabetes: People with diabetes must always focus on carbohydrates. Depending on individual health challenges, reliable sources indicate that most people with diabetes should not consume more than about 130 grams of carbohydrate each day.

* Sources: Campbell's Kitchen, McCormick, Garlic Benefits

Campbell offers 90 soups across our soup portfolio that have been reduced in sodium, including many varieties of Campbell’s® Condensed soups, and in our lines of Campbell’s® Chunky™ and Select Harvest® soups. Our complete line of Campbell’s® Healthy Request® soups meet all criteria for healthy foods, such as being controlled for fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and containing a positive nutrient, such as vitamin A.

McCormick & Company makes Lawry's Garlic Powder with Parsley and is devoted to making food better through research on the health benefits of herbs and spices as well as searching for new ways to give people healthy eating choices.

Coming this month: Warm up with easy-to-make beef stew this month. Something about cabbage, the fabulous slicer and English muffins, Chili Verde and creme brulee. Don't miss any of these tasty sensations. Subscribe to Being Grand by email now.

Alexandria, the Yum Expert, brings you good food, meatless and decadent recipes, and kitchen basics from top chefs around the web, all in one place, for busy home kitchen cooks, empty nesters, diabetics and lovers of Mexican cuisine. ¡Olé!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Go Texan Dinner Recipe: Roasted Chicken with Pecan Serrano Pesto and Angel Hair Pasta

Feast on Dinner recipes from Top Texas Chefs who are part of the GO TEXAN program that represents Texas agri-business on a state, national and international level.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is proud to play a role in the continuing success of Texas growers, merchants and restauranteurs.

Whether it's grown, sewn or served up on a plate, more than 26 million Texans shop, travel and dine out in support of Texas agriculture.

Support Texas. Show your Texas pride. Look for the GO TEXAN icon at your local merchant shops.

Make this Texas Chef's Roasted Chicken with Pecan Serrano Pesto and Angel Hair Pasta dinner recipe today.

Roasted Chicken with Pecan Serrano Pesto and Angel Hair Pasta
Serves 4

2 Whole chickens
4 T. Texas olive oil
1 T. Chili powder
1/2 pound Angel hair pasta
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Ingredients for Pecan Serrano Pesto:
3/4 cup Extra virgin Texas olive oil
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
1 to 2 Serrano peppers stemmed and seeded (for mild use 1 serrano)
1/2 T. Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese1/2 cup Texas pecan pieces, roasted

To prepare the chicken: Preheat oven to 350° F. Rinse chickens in warm water and pat dry with paper towels. Coat chickens with Texas olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Place chickens in a baking pan and cook for 25 minutes. Cover with foil and cook the chickens for another 35 minutes or until done. Set aside.

To prepare the pecan serrano pesto: In a food processor, combine extra virgin Texas olive oil, parsley, serrano peppers, garlic, Parmesan cheese and purée until smooth. Fold in pecan pieces. Season with salt to taste.

To prepare the pasta: In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook, following instructions on the package. When the pasta is ready, transfer to a bowl and toss with enough pesto to coat.

To serve: Divide pasta onto 4 plates. Cut chickens in quarters, removing the backbone. Place 1/2 chicken on top of each plate with pasta and garnish with a little extra pesto on top.

Serrano is small in size, but it's one hot pepper. Wear gloves when handling serrano peppers. It's a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. Serranos are typically eaten raw and have a bright and biting flavor that is notably hotter than the jalapeño pepper.

GO TEXAN celebrates, promotes and supports the dedication and plainspoken grit of Texas agriculture, known for excellence throughout the world. 

You want to save this Texas recipe.

Alexandria Marx, wife, mother, homemaker, home kitchen cook, diabetic, Super Food Critic and Yum Expert on recipes from top chefs around the web world.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Eat Fruit Friday: Blueberries

It's Eat Fruit Friday. Blueberries are in season. In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank second to strawberries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in U.S. diets as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.

Serve blueberries as is, in a bread or dessert recipe and with yogurt or in a smoothie. Store fresh blueberries in the refrigerator.

Blueberries are a Superfood. You're gonna wanna make Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis's Blueberry-Banana Bread.

Eating fruit provides health benefits. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories.

None have cholesterol, and are a source of essential nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

People who eat fruits are likely to reduce risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, certain types of cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, bone loss to name a few of the health benefits.

Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.

Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. Fiber helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-rich fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fiber. (Fruit juices contain little or no fiber.)

Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.

Food that's good and healthy for diabetics is good for healthy bodies, too. Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. It's Fruit Friday. Eat blueberries today.

* Source: USDA. Food Network

Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring and empowering through its talent and expertise.

Posted by Alexandria Marx, the Yum Expert. Anyone can cook up a great meal that gets oohs and aahs from family and friends. Make noise about food. Contact me. Follow me. Share your ideas.. Click here now to get the next menu, meal plan and kitchen tips in your inbox. Forward to a friend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sunday Dinner Recipes: Savory Grilled Lobster

It's shop for Sunday Dinner recipes. This Sunday dinner recipe, Lobster stars in a modest 3-course meal with from Red Lobster Kitchen, Boston Salad, Peanut Butter Pie and suggestions for wines. You can certainly add more courses.

Clawed lobsters are large marine crustaceans. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically essential as one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas.

Lobsters follow the "warmth" of the water, so they move from the deeper water to shallower water in the summer months. Because of this it is easier to catch them in the summer, boats don't have to go out as far. Because they are easier to catch the old supply and demand factor kicks in and the price becomes more attractive.

Lobsters shed their shell, usually in the spring, and grow a new one. These new shells are where the soft shells come from.

A hard shell, just before the shed, will be stuffed with meat. A soft shell, while easier to eat, will have less meat inside the shell. Some people think the soft shell has "sweeter" meat.

The negative part of the hard shell lobster is the price, because there is less supply, (in winter) they tend to be more $/lb.

Lobster recipes include Lobster Newberg and Lobster Thermidor. Lobster is used in soup, bisque, lobster rolls and cappon magro. Lobster meat may be dipped in clarified butter, resulting in a sweetened flavor.

Cappon magro or capòn magro is an elaborate and rich Genoese salad of seafood and vegetables over hard tack arranged into a decorative pyramid and dressed with a rich sauce. It doesn't always feature lobster.

Grilled rock lobster is as crisp and snappy as can be. Lightly seasoned but still packed with flavor, this specialty leaves only butter and lemon to be desired.

Savory Grilled Rock Lobster
Serves 2

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 ten-ounce rock lobster tails, thawed

Split rock tails lengthwise with a large knife. Mix seasoning with oil and lemon juice. Brush meat side of tail with marinade. Pre-heat grill and place rock tails meat side down and grill five to six minutes until well scored. Turn over lobster and cook another six minutes, brushing often with remaining marinade. Lobster is done when it is opaque and firm to the touch.

Serve with drawn butter and fresh lemon, or for an interesting twist, roasted garlic can be added to butter.

Salad, Boston salad Dessert, Peanut butter pie

Dinner Wine, White, Chardonnay, Blanc du Bois, Semillon
Dessert Wine, White, Orange Muscat

Dessert wines are typically chilled and served in a lovely wine glass. Keep the serving size at about half the usual pour, two to three ounces.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is proud to play a role in the continuing success of the Texas wine industry. Find these Texas wines at Kroger, HEB, Randall’s, Fiesta, Whole Foods Market and Central Market.

In recent studies, the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) assigns a number of health benefits to regular, moderate wine consumption. The most widely reported benefit is The French Paradox, a theory that credits the drinking of red wine for the low incidence of heart disease in France – despite a famously high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.

Scientists note wine contains antioxidants and resveratrol, elements believed to be helpful in the prevention of certain diseases. Red wine consumption (and to a lesser degree, white wine) is linked to a number of health benefits, including: heart disease prevention; reduced risk of certain cancers; lowering bad cholesterol; weight loss; improved brain function; controlling glucose and insulin levels; and lowering blood pressure.

Most studies cited here recommend consumption of one or two glasses of wine a day with meals, noting the detrimental effects of over-consumption.

Shop for Sunday dinner today.

Recipes selected by Alexandria Marx, wife, mother, homemaker, home kitchen cook, diabetic, Super Food Critic and Yum Expert.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recipe with Biotin: Halibut with Herbs & Capers

Here's a recipe with the non-fish fish known as halibut. It's dressed with a vibrant herb paste that brings the robust flavor of this delicate fish and includes one of my favorite add-ons, capers. Yum.

Good Source of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
One of the 13 essential vitamins needed for the body to function. You can find Biotin in Chocolate, Cereal, Egg yolk, Legumes, Milk, Nuts, Organ meats (liver, kidney), Saltwater Fish, Pork and Yeast.

Halibut is what I call a non-fish fish because I don't think it tastes fishy, and it doesn't flake like fish. It's white meat is well known for its sweet and delicate flavor. It also contains very few bones. It's grilled or fried, but unlike salmon, halibut doesn't smoke well due to its ultra-low fat content. Eaten fresh, the meat has a clean taste and requires little seasoning. Halibut as a dense and firm texture almost like filet mignon.

Capers are the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant which is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back to more than 1200 B.C.E. After the buds are harvested, they are dried in the sun, then pickled in vinegar, brine, wine or salt. The curing brings out their tangy lemony flavor, much the same as green olives.

Halibut with Herbs & Capers
Serves 4

1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice, juice
1 tablespoon chopped pitted green olives
2 teaspoons drained capers, rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1-pound halibut fillet, cut into 4 portions

Place onion, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice, olives, capers, garlic and pepper in a food processor; pulse several times to chop. Add oil and process, scraping down the sides several times, until a pesto-like paste forms. Pat halibut with the herb paste. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Coat 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the halibut in the dish and spoon any extra herb mixture on top. Bake at 450 degrees, uncovered, until the fish is opaque in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately with some sliced beets or one of your favorite vegetables.

Nutritional Information
Calories 199; Carbohydrates 2g; Cholesterol 36mg; Sugars 0g; Fiber 1g; Sodium: 125mg; Fat 10g; Protein 24g

* Source: Medicine Plus, Wikipedia, Eating Well, FitDay, Home Cooking, Health Learning

The EatingWell Media Group is a fast-growing communications company producing an award-winning national consumer magazine, high-quality food- and nutrition-related books, a content-rich website, e-mail newsletters, and serving content to strategic partners with other electronic media. The EatingWell mission is to provide the inspiration and information people need to make healthy eating a way of life.

Vitamin B7 also known as Biotin is water-soluble, which means it is filtered through the bloodstream and eliminated with urine. Biotin has an essential role in helping the body metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Biotin also helps the body process glucose.

These roles in metabolism help the body produce energy more efficiently, which may help reduce feelings of fatigue that are caused by metabolism problems. Biotin is also very beneficial to the health of the hair, skin and nails.

Posted by Alexandria Marx, the Yum Expert. I welcome comments and questions, requests. Make noise about food. Contact me. Follow me. Share with me. Click here to get the next menu, meal plan and useful kitchen tips in your inbox. Forward to a friend.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sandwich Saturday: Apple and Cheese Waldorf

It's Sandwich Saturday. From Pepperidge Farm, it's quick and scrumptious sandwich featuring all the favorite flavors of a crunchy Waldorf salad piled in between satisfying, 12-grain bread.

Waldorf salad is a salad generally made of fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.

Created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (the precursor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which came into being with the merger of the Waldorf with the adjacent Astoria Hotel, opened in 1897).

Oscar Tschirky, maître d'hôtel, created the signature dish of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City between 1893 and 1896. The original making did not have nuts.

All of Pepperidge Farm 100% whole grain breads are low in saturated fat, a good source of fiber, and certified by the American Heart Association.

Choose from either soft or hearty-textured breads. Low fat, great source of fiber, zero trans fat, American Heart Association Certified, 100% whole wheat flour, no high fructose corn syrup.

Apple and Cheese Waldorf Sandwich
Serves 4

1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup reduced fat ranch dressing or your favorite reduced fat salad dressing
8 slices Pepperidge Farm® Farmhouse™ 12 Grain Bread
2 cups sliced apples (about 2 medium apples)
4 romaine lettuce leaves

Stir the celery, cheese, raisins, walnuts and salad dressing in a medium bowl. Spread the celery mixture on 4 bread slices. Top with the apple slices, lettuce and remaining bread slices.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
xxCalories 627; Carbohydrates 10g; Cholesterol 149mg; Fiber 2g; Sodium 620mg; Sugars 5g; Fat 51g; Protein 34g

* Source: Pepperidge Farm Recipe, Whole Grain Bread

Pepperidge Farm began when Margaret Rudkin, a Connecticut housewife and mother of three young children, discovered one of her sons has an allergy to commercial breads that contain preservatives and artificial ingredients.

In 1937, she begins experimenting with baking her own preservative-free bread for her ailing son -- ultimately perfecting a delicious whole-wheat loaf that contained only natural ingredients. Encouraged by her family and her son's doctor, she begins a small business out of her kitchen selling her "Pepperidge Farm" bread to local grocers. Named for her family's farm in Fairfield, Connecticut, consumers recognize her homemade bread's quality and buy every loaf she baked.

Posted by Alexandria Marx, the Yum Expert. Anyone can cook meals that get oohs and aahs from family and friends. Comment questions, requests and recipes. Share your ideas. Click here now to get the next recipe in your inbox. Forward to a friend.