Monday, May 25, 2015

Good Memorial Day Recipe: Sky-High Brunch Bake

Here's a holiday recipe to honor this important and auspicious day with our gratitude for those who sacrificed everything for America and all we believe.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.  Source

It's an honorable tradition to fly the Flag of the United States of America at half mast from dawn until noon in observance of our fallen veterans.

Sky-High Brunch Bake
Serves 12

1 pkg. (17.3 oz.) frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup Polly-O Original Ricotta Cheese
Dash hot pepper sauce
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
4 slices Oscar Mayer Bacon, cooked, chopped
1-1/2 cups Kraft Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup chopped red peppers

Unfold pastry sheets. Roll out 1 sheet to 11-inch square; set aside. Roll out remaining sheet to 12-inch square; use to line bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Reserve 1 Tbsp. eggs. Mix remaining eggs with ricotta, pepper sauce and spinach. Layer half each of the bacon, cheddar, ricotta mixture and peppers in crust. Repeat layers.

Cover with remaining pastry sheet; fold under edges of pastry, then tuck inside pan. Brush pastry with reserved egg. Cut slits in top crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 55 min or until golden brown. Cool 10 min. Run small knife around edge of pan to loosen crust before removing rim.

Make Ahead: Assemble and bake pie as directed. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 30 to 40 min. or until heated through.

If you don't have a springform pan, this recipe can be baked in a 13x9-inch baking dish instead. Roll out bottom and top pastry to fit dish. For ease in serving, line empty baking dish with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray.

Prepare crust and fill with ingredients as directed. Bake at 350ºF for 35 to 40 min. or until golden brown. Let stand 10 min. Use foil handles to lift pie from dish before cutting to serve.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Calories 300; Carbohydrates 25g; Cholesterol 130mg; Fiber 2g; Sodium: 340mg; Fat 37g; Protein 14g; Sodium 340mg; Sugars 2g

Good source of Vitamins A, C and Calcium and Iron.

Serve with fresh strawberries, a dark leafy green salad and an icy cold beverage.

* Source: Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: KRFT) is an American grocery manufacturing and processing conglomerate headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Northfield, Illinois.

The company was formed in 2012 by a de-merger from Kraft Foods Inc., which in turn was renamed Mondelēz International. The new Kraft Foods Group is focused mainly on grocery products for the North American market, while Mondelēz is an international distributor of Kraft Foods snacks and confectionery brands. Kraft Foods Group is an independent public company; it is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Memorial Day was inspired by the way Southern states who honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action.

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 with me. Click here to get the next menu, meal plan and useful kitchen tips in your inbox. Forward to a friend.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Eat Fruit Friday: Cherries

It's Eat Fruit Friday. Cherries are in season. The cherry is a fruit and peak season is summer. Several species of cherries exist, two popular varieties are wild or sweet-cherry, and sour or tart-cherry.

The West Indian cherry fruit is grown in Mexico and certain Texas regions in North America. It's tropical fruit-bearing shrub or small tree and has seeds.

Store fresh cherries in the refrigerator.

Cherries are a Superfood. You're gonna wanna make Food Network's Cherry Pie.

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 cherries today.

* Source: USDA. Food Network

Food Network ( 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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recipe with Vitamin B1: Southwestern Whole Grain Egg Sandwich

Easy low calorie meal for breakfast, lunch, brunch, even dinner or late night snack. It's sure to be a "keeper" for your recipe box of ideas for healthy meals.

Good Source of Vitamin B1
One of the 13 essential vitamins needed for the body to function. You can find Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) in Dried milk, Egg, Cheese, Enriched bread and flour, Lean meats, Legumes (dried beans), Nuts and seeds, Organ meats, Peas and Whole grains.

Southwestern Whole Grain Egg Sandwich
Serves 2

Nonstick cooking spray
2 Large eggs
2 tbsp Shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
2 tbsp Fresh salsa
2 tbsp Sliced green onions
2 slices Roman Meal bread, toasted
Sliced avocado (optional)

Spray medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add eggs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook for 30 seconds until cheese melts. Remove from pan.

Top each slice of toasted bread with 1 egg, salsa, green onions and avocado slices.

Nutritional Information
Calories 240; Carbohydrates 28g; Cholesterol 220mg; Fiber 2g; Sodium: 410mg; Fat 9g; Protein 13g; Whole grains 13.5g

* Source: Roman Meal, Medicine Plus, Vitamin Supplements Organization

Roman Meal Company is family-owned and actively involved in ensuring that products maintain the highest standards of quality and nutrition for almost 100 years. Roman Meal has grown to partner with more than 90 bakeries in the United States and internationally. These partners bake and distribute quality Roman Meal breads locally, assuring you that the product you're purchasing is the freshest possible.

Vitamin B1 is a water soluble vitamin that readily enters and exits the body daily so it must be taken internally on a daily basis. Vitamin B1 is essential for the body to be able to use carbohydrate as an energy source as well as for metabolising amino acids. A person's requirements for vitamin B1 are increased when they are relying heavily on carbohydrates for their main source of energy. In humans, thiamin can be synthesized in the large intestine as thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP).

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, May 16, 2015

Sandwich Saturday: Open-Faced Egg Salad with Crab

It's Sandwich Saturday. This week courtesy of Bobby Flay on the Cooking Channel, it's what I call "Eggs Without Crust." This is a savory mouthful on pumpernickel bread with smoked paprika, crab, eggs and radishes.

Pumpernickel is typically a heavy, slightly sweet rye bread, traditionally made with coarsely ground rye.

It's often made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries. At one time it was traditional peasant fare, but in the 20th century, pumpernickel along with rye has become popular in delicatessens, as well as, supermarkets.

A separate pumpernickel tradition has developed in North America, where coloring and flavoring, such as molasses, coffee and cocoa powder are added to approximate the shades and taste of traditional German pumpernickel.

Spanish smoked paprika is a spice from Spain. Pimentón de la Vera adds a key flavor to paellas, fabada and other Spanish dishes. It crosses into regular American cuisine as a seasoning for barbecue pork, kebabs, and the best deviled eggs. The secret to its flavor is long smoking over holm oak logs, lending it an intensity of flavor you can't find in other paprikas.

Open-Faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches with Crab and Poppy Seeds on Pumpernickel Sandwich
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup mayonnaise, plus more if needed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus fronds for garnish
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
6 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
1 teaspoon black poppy seeds
12 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup julienned radish, soaked in ice water
Pumpernickel bread slices, lightly toasted, buttered

Whisk together the mayonnaise, dill, mustard, vinegar and paprika in a large bowl. Add the crab, poppy seeds and eggs to the mixture and toss gently to combine. Add more mayonnaise if the mixture seems dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Pat the julienned radish dry. Mound the egg salad on the bread and garnish with radish and dill fronds.

* Source: Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay says, "Food is the core of everything I do. I want to share that passion with anyone who cares to partake. Food is the epicenter of my life, what inspires me every day. It’s the way I make my living, the way I relax, the way I express myself, and how I keep healthy. I communicate with the world, and experience the world, through food."

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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sweet and Savory Friday: Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie with Prawns

Sweet and savory food sometimes go together, sometimes they don't. Today, it's a sweet peanut butter and chocolate banana cream pie after a savory pan-friend spiced prawn meal.

Shrimp and prawn are types of seafood enjoyed worldwide. They are crustaceans. Shrimp are smaller than prawns. Prawns typically signify freshwater.

As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, iodine and protein but low in food energy.

Shrimp by any name is considered a shellfish and is forbidden by some religious dietary laws.

According to, shrimp was not recommended for heart patients and for people watching cholesterol. A small 3.5 ounce portion of shrimp contains abut 200 mg of cholesterol.

For people at high risk for heart disease 200mg amounts to a full day’s allotment. 300 mg portion of shrimp is the limit for healthy individuals.

Shrimp is very low in total fat (about 1.5 grams per serving) with almost no saturated fat at all. Saturated fat is known to be particularly harmful to the heart and blood vessels, in part because our bodies can efficiently convert it to LDL (or bad) cholesterol. reports that shrimp can be part of a heart smart diet as long as it is enjoyed in moderation, eaten boiled, baked or grilled, and not served fried or drowning in butter. reports that shellfish is a nutritional powerhouse with its high-quality protein that's low in saturated fat and its wealth of heart-healthy omega-3s.

Here's a list of ingredients that's easier to follow than it looks.

Savory Panfried Spiced Prawns

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
8 ounces medium prawns in the shell, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and julienned
1 large scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime

Combine the salt, pepper, cumin and paprika in a bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sauté the shrimp 1 to 2 minutes. Toss in the jalapeno or bell pepper, scallion and garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and serve. Enjoy as is or with steamed white rice or sliced tomatoes.

Difference between sweet and savory is that one reflects a sugar sensation and the other does not. A salad is savory, but it could include sweet slices of strawberries or a sweet salad dressing, which makes the salad both sweet and savory. For the home kitchen cook, you want to include a little sweet with savory flavors in the meal to satisfy the tastebud senses. That usually means dessert.

Sweet Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Serves 8 to 10

35 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 oz. BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate , divided
1/2 cup PLANTERS Creamy Peanut Butter
2 banana s, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into quarters
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
2 Tbsp. PLANTERS Salted Peanuts, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix wafer crumbs and butter until blended; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 5 to 8 min. or until golden brown. Cool completely. Meanwhile, make chocolate curls from 1/2 oz. chocolate. Refrigerate.

Microwave remaining 1-1/2 oz. chocolate and peanut butter in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min.; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Place bananas in crust; drizzle with melted chocolate.

Beat pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Spread over bananas; top with remaining COOL WHIP. Refrigerate 3 hours. Top with chocolate curls and nuts just before serving.

To Make Chocolate Curls
Warm BAKER'S Chocolate slightly by heating it, unwrapped, in the microwave for a few seconds until you can just smudge the chocolate with your thumb. Hold the chocolate steadily between thumb and fingers of one hand and draw a peeler slowly over flat bottom of chocolate.

Allow a thin layer of chocolate to curl as it is peeled off the bottom. This will make long, delicate curls. Make short curls using the same technique on the narrow sides of the square. To arrange curls on a dessert, use a toothpick to lift them into place.

Sources: Kraft Sweet, US Freshwater Prawn and Shrimp Growers Association Savory

When meal planning choose a portion from each food group. Typically, most adults need 6 to 11 servings of grain products per day; 3 to 5 servings of vegetables; 2 to 4 servings of fruit each day; 3 cups of dairy products every day; and 2 or 3 ounces per day of meat which equals 2 servings.

Sensible portion sizes and limited number of servings keep even the most decadent sweet and yummy desserts part of a balanced diet.

I'm Alexandria Marx, the Yum Expert and everyday home kitchen cook on family friendly food that's easy to make and tastes good. After feeding three kids for more than a couple of decades, living with diabetes and blogging over 500 posts, I evaluate everything food, and write about how to Think Thin. Forward to a friend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kitchen Review: Silicone Pot Holders

Less than $10.00 at Walmart, this "save you from the ouch burn" set is a great addition to any kitchen.  The 3-Piece Silicone Pot Sleeve and Holder Set makes a welcome gift for the cook in your life.

The set has three parts, pot holder, a slide-over pot handle thingie, and a clip and grabber.

All are made of silicone and so are heat resistant.  Much better than the padded cloth versions of pot holders, these silicone buddies help protect your hands from the dreaded hot burn. 

Unlike the cloth pot holders and even the cloth glove holders, the silicone material works well for spills, hot water without soaking in and ghosting through the material to burn your hands.

What is Silicone?  Silicone comes in colors and isn't too thick to be uncomfortable.  I like that it's a safer way to handle hot in the kitchen.

Silicone is a low-taint, non-toxic material and can be used where contact with food is required. Silicone is becoming an important product in the cookware industry, particularly bakeware and kitchen utensils.  Silicone is used as an insulator in heat-resistant potholders and similar items; however, it is more conductive of heat than similar less dense fiber-based products.

Silicone oven mitts are able to withstand temperatures up to 260 °C (500 °F), allowing reaching into boiling water.  Molds for chocolate, ice, cookies, muffins and various other foods.  Non-stick reusable mats used on baking sheets.

Other products such as steamers, egg boilers or poachers, cookware lids, pot holders, trivets, and kitchen mats.

An estimated 400,000 tons of silicone products were produced in 1991.

Here's a list of basic kitchen tools, gadgets and appliances.

Alexandria Marx, food blogger, home kitchen cook and all around food lover. Find recipes from around the web and world from simple to decadent, kitchen tips and reviews for home cooks from forks and spoons to grocers and restaurants. Click here to get Being Grand posts in your inbox.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Make It Monday: Turkey Meatballs with Tomato and Aioli Sauce

It's Make-It-Monday with such a smooth and crunchy bite, you want to hold it in your mouth to savor the Yum. This recipe from Badia Spices uses thyme, an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses.

Thyme is peppery in smell, warm and spicy in taste with undertones of cloves and a minty finish. Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavorful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round. Here is more about spices and herbs.

Thyme is a seasoning often used in dishes with beef, carrots, chicken, figs, fish, goat cheese, lamb, lentils, onions, peas, pork, potatoes, soups, tomatoes, venison.

Aioli is a Provençal sauce made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, usually egg yolks and seasonings.

Provence is located in southeastern France and extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River on the west to the Italian border on the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the south.

For a hearty and nutritious meal with fragrant aroma, these turkey meatballs amaze, especially topped with dreamy, romantic Aioli sauce.

Turkey Meatballs with Tomato and Aioli Sauce
You make the meatballs and a sauce.

Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4

1.4 lb.ground turkey breast
4 tbsp. Badia Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil
2 eggs
Badia Paprika to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2.7 fl. oz. brandy
1/8 red onion finely chopped
4 tomatoes
4 stalks fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups frying oil

Aioli Sauce
1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Badia Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil
1/2 lemon zest and juice
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

For meatballs, lace ground turkey in a bowl. In a skillet, cook the onion and 2 tbsp. Badia Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil. Remove from heat, let it cool for a couple of minutes and add to the ground turkey, together with the brandy, paprika and well beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and divide into medium sized balls.

Cut tomatoes into quarters and cook them in a pan with the remaining 2 tbsp. Badia Chopped Garlic in Olive Oil, sugar, thyme and bay leaf.

While the sauce thickens, fry the turkey meatballs in 2 cups hot frying oil for 1½ minute, drain them, and transfer to the tomato sauce until fully cooked. Serve meatballs and sauce in deep plates and garnish with a splash of aioli sauce.

Meatball Nutritional Information (amount per meatball)
Calories 42; Carbohydrates 2g; Cholesterol 21mg; Fiber 1g; Fat 2g; Sodium 121mg; Sugars 1g; Protein 6g

Aioli Nutritional Information (amount per teaspoon)
Calories 10; Carbohydrates 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Fat 1g; Sodium 55mg; Sugars 1g

Thyme Nutrition: Thyme is packed with minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

* Source: Badia Spices, Nutrition, Wikipedia

Badia Spices for over 30 years, Badia Spices has brought to market the best ingredients from all corners of the world, making it a favorite among every type of cook, from newbies to foodies. Rich in flavor, aroma and color, our products are as appealing in taste as they are in value. Each packaged is perfectly packaged to seal in the pure flavor and freshness of the ingredient, enhancing any meal whether a classic mainstay or culinary novelty.

Cholesterol is an essential substance for the body's normal function, but when cholesterol levels in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent killer that puts the body at risk for heart attack. There are two types of cholesterol. Good (HDL) and Bad (LDL). You want to know your limit before you eat another bite of food.

Good food, meatless, spicy, 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 from Alexandria, the Yum expert. ¡Olé!