Another IHF Cooking Class In The Books

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Once again this evening I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with some new friends from Independent Health teaching a Healthy Options Cooking Class at D’Avolio Kitchen in Williamsville. It was great fun and I’m so glad folks laughed along with me as I over toasted the bread.

A special shout out to Dan and Karen from D’Avolio who made sure everything went smoothly and to my sister who unexpectedly popped in from out of town to assist me, photograph the event and made me an original JudeTheFoodie.com apron.

Here are the links to our evenings menu.

Balsamic Fig Bruschetta With Goat Cheese

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Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwich

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Sautéed Sea Scallops over Arugula, Baby Spinach and Parsley

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Fusilli With Tuna Tomato Sauce

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Sautéed Bananas With Toasted Pecans and Grilled Angel Food Cake
Camera shy!

Have a yummy day!!

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Ground Beef Skillet: It’s Chili / Mac & Cheese!

This post originally appeared May 3, 2012. Since then it has gotten more hits than any other cooking post I have put up.

The beauty of this recipe/non-recipe is that when you make it you realize you can change it any way you like. Cook with me and you will learn how to rely less on the written recipe and more on your taste and the taste of the folks who share your food.

 

Please let me know if you make this and how it came out. Feel free to post pictures on my Facebook page.

May 3, 2012

Unnamed but good. Silly name, but that’s what it’s called in our house. The original recipe was on a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. By the way, its macaroni and cheese not pasta and cheese, right? So why do we call it pasta? I dunno!

Anyway…

I cannot find the original recipe cut from the box but if I recall, you brown ground beef, add onion and canned tomatoes. Meanwhile you cook the macaroni. Add the cheese packet and cooked macaroni, canned corn and voila, dinner! My husband “named” it and the “unnamed” stuck.

Well, I haven’t purchased macaroni and cheese boxes since my son was in 9th grade and decided to dedicate himself to swimming and fitness. It paid off for him but denied me some good quick junk food. Ah…the perils of parenthood!

I avoid as much food with ingredients not in their natural state as possible (dried cheese powder?) so I decided to make my own version of this ground beef skillet.

Sauté a chopped onion with a little olive oil in a large skillet and add a few cloves of garlic (I use more than a few but that’s just me) coarsely chopped and stir.

Add 1-2 pounds of ground anything. I like beef but you can use any ground meat. If you do not want to use meat, sauté mixed mushrooms and add more beans. Yum!

While this is browning, put a large pot of water on to boil. Cook 8 ounces of any kind of macaroni being sure to add the longest cooking first. I like to use leftover macaroni and really like the look of the different sizes in the pot.

Once the meat is cooked through add a jar of salsa (we like medium heat), a can of corn, a can of beans (any kind you like) and a small can of tomato paste. Cook through until it has a smooth almost creamy texture. If it is too thick ladle a scoop of the water from the macaroni to get the consistency you like.

Add a bag of cheese to the mixture. I like the cheddar three cheese blend with cream cheese.

Drain macaroni and stir into the meat mixture. Enjoy!

Have a yummy week!

** Ingredient List

1 – Onion, chopped

2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1-2 Lbs Ground Anything (Beef, Turkey, Lamb etc) or a mixed variety of mushrooms.

8 oz (1/2 Lb) macaroni

1 – Jar Salsa, small

1 – Canned Corn

1 – Can beans

1 – Tomato Paste, small

2 – Cups Shredded Cheese Blend (preferably with Cream Cheese)

Turkey Noodle Casserole

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Put together this morning…just bake and serve tonight! Recipe to follow. Have a yummy day!!

Turkey Noodle Casserole

Servings: 6
Categories: Dinner, Main Dish, Simple
Source: JudeTheFoodie.com

Ingredients

• 12 oz Wide Egg Noodles
• 1 tsp Salt
• Large Pot Boiling Water

• 2 Tbsp Butter
• 2 Tbsp Flour
• 1 c Milk
• Pinch Salt
• 8 oz Mascarpone Cheese
• ⅓ c Shredded Mild Cheese like Cheddar and Colby

• 2-3 c cubed Turkey
• 1 c Frozen Peas
• 1 c Milk

• 2 Tbsp Butter, Melted
• ½ c Graham Cracker Crumbs (Panko would also be very good)
• ¼ c Parmesan, Grated

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook egg noodles one minute less than package directions. Drain then put back into pan. Add a little butter or oil to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, make white sauce.

In medium saucepan, over medium melt 2 tablespoons of butter. With a whisk, add flour and whisk for a minute or two until butter and flour mixture is cooked. Add 1 cup milk and whisk until thick, about 3-5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Turn heat to low. With a heavy spoon soften mascarpone cheese in the container then add to the white sauce and whisk until blended. Add cheese and whisk until blended.

Add the sauce to the egg noodles in the pot. Add turkey, frozen peas and 1 cup milk. Stir gently.

Topping: melt 2 tablespoon butter. With a fork, stir in crumbs and cheese.

Butter a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish. Pour noodle mixture in pan. Lightly top with crumb mixture.

Bake in oven, covered for about 25 minutes. Uncover and cook another 10-15 minutes until bubbly and brown.

from http://therecipeboxapp.com

Things I Learned at My First Cooking Class

I Learned a Lot at MY First Ever Cooking Class And when I say first ever I mean first ever class I taught…and first ever I attended. Most of us never take one class and are fine cooks. This was a new experience for me.

Most people know more than they think they do and just need more confidence in the kitchen.

Many hands really do make light work. 2 1/2 hours of cooking goes by in a flash.

Apples and Fontina cheese make an amazing Quesadilla. Confession: I have only eaten quesadillas and never made one until two days ago. The recipes for all of the dishes prepared are included in the menu below. Our friend Jack shred the cheeseFontina is relatively soft cheese that crumbles as it shreds. Katie, a pharmacy student loves to cook but doesn’t have time jumped at the opportunity to make the quesadillas. She did a great job.

There is a reason why ingredients are already prepped. Doing the fine dice on the apples on a surface a few inches higher than I was accustomed with a cutting board which was sliding around and an unfamiliar knife spooked me at first. Chef Paul gave me a cloth (to replace the one I put over my shoulder – my moppina ) to stabilize the board and we got back on track.

Our Menu:

20121011-082906.jpgQuesadillas.

Wheat tortillas filled with apples and red onions flavored with D’Avolio Black Current Balsamic Vinegar, black beans and Fontina cheese. These are served with a seasoned Greek yogurt dipping sauce.

Roasted Chicken Snack Strips

20121011-082715.jpgBoneless, skinless chicken breasts rubbed with D’Avolio Milanese Gremolata Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned with Basik’s Hunter Blend seasoning available at D’Avolio.

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Tiny rice shaped pasta with roasted grape tomatoes and garlic seasoned with Olio Fresca Herb Mix, available at D’Avolio’s and D’Avolio Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

20121011-082551.jpg Peaches

Ordinary canned peaches made extraordinary with seasoned mascarpone cheese and a drizzle of D’Avolio 18 Year Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. For an extra kick we sprinkle just a pinch of Vanilla Bean salt.

Even the best plan can get mixed up. And, the result will be great…just different than the plan. I made up the above menu and Independent Health included it in a nice handout at D’Avolio Kitchen.

A very astute participant noticed I switched the oil in a few of the dishes. Oops! This totally unintentional action just proved the point D’Avolio has been making since they opened their first store a little more than a year ago:

Be fearless.

Cooking, preparing healthy delicious food should not be stressful. Experiment with flavor…try the unexpected (like spontaneously adding D’Avolio Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar to mascarpone cheese) and be sure to write down what you love. Write it down because when you go back to the store you will be smacked by the volume of selections.

Have fun with your food. If you add one dish new to you each week…heck, even just one flavor combination (write down what you like…you will notice a pattern) then you will have learned to make over 50 new things.

So, when is our next cooking class? What would you like to learn? We are only limited by our imagination! Let’s learn together!

Have a yummy day!

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King of Cheese, part one

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The Foodie:

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The obsession began on April 4, 2007, back in Parma, Italy.

20120613-081137.jpgParma’s in Emilia Romagna, the region south of Milan and north of Florence where Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma are made. One of the things that makes Prosciutto di Parma so buttery is they feed the whey left from the production of Parmigiano to the pigs.

On a visit to a dairy, we watched the production, viewed the aging vault (photo above)— which held an estimated $1.7 million dollars — and tasted the most incredible cheese I’ve ever experienced. Just as Chianti wine can only be produced in Tuscany and sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France can only be called Champagne, Parmesan can only be called Parmigiano-Reggiano if it’s produced with a specific recipe and in the Emilia Romagna region.

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Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged a minimum of 12 months. Twelve-month cheese is the most common at the local grocer. Occasionally, you can find 24 month aged cheese and you will pay a premium for it because each wheel of cheese is dusted and flipped every seven days. There are approximately 26,000 wheels of cheese in the vault shown in this picture from our 2007 visit. That is very labor intensive.

By 36 months, the cheese develops crystals that give the cheese a slight crunch often mistaken for salt. The buttery flavor deepens and the color becomes a rich light caramel.

The density makes it difficult to grate so simply chipping a wedge and enjoying it alone is the best way to eat it. Don’t waste this cheese on other food. Eat it alone with a sip of chilled Prosecco.

I loved this cheese so much I purchased three kilos (sounds illegal, doesn’t it?) for €11/kilo and had them vacuum packed to bring back to the U.S. My calculations put it at $7.50 a pound.

The cheese was quickly gone and my search began in earnest. I checked high and low, city and state and found some in an Italian market in Boston. It wasn’t cheap but I didn’t care. I think I paid $21 a pound. Then, the trail went cold for three long Parmigiano-less years until I walked into Mario Batali’s Eataly.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two parts. The second part will come later today.)

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