Posts tagged: Onion

Aromatic Essentials

There is something special about walking into someone’s home and relishing the aroma of garlic and onions sauteing in a pan in a kitchen nearby. Garlic and onions as well as bell peppers and celery are commonly used in recipes as a sort of backbone to magically transform food into mouthwatering dishes. It is inconceivable to think you could complete cuisines such as Cajun, Indian, Mexican or African without these essential aromatics!

If you’re one of the very few who don’t cook with these gems, then consider some interesting health facts that you might not have heard of before.

  • Garlic

Nursing mothers will be happy to hear that this marvel will help their babies nurse longer and drink more breast milk. According to researchers, the trick is for mom to consume garlic two hours prior to feeding time when the aroma is strongest in the breast milk which will be much more enticing to baby. (Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I from Midwifery Today).  You can make a great peanut sauce with garlic and enjoy some healthy Vietnamese spring rolls for lunch!

  • Onion

It is well documented in medical science that onions share cancer fighting properties with garlic and bell peppers, as well as various antiseptic properties. Some websites even re-post this unsourceable statement about onions: “Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments.” Whether or not this is a historical exaggeration, there was plenty of evidence left behind by the ancient Egyptians that illustrate how much the onion was highly regarded in their cuisine and health.  Try an enchilada recipe  for a healthy dose of onion goodness!

  • Bell Pepper

According to scientists, a serious depletion of vitamin A occurs in smokers due to a carcinogen found in cigarettes. Foods rich in vitamin A, such as bell peppers and chili peppers, can protect smokers from developing emphysema or lung inflammation. Also, the high vitamin C content in bell peppers have also been seen by researchers to protect people from developing cataracts and from crippling rheumatoid arthritis. (World’s Healthiest Foods)  A good way to enjoy this aromatic is in salads or a sausage wrap this summer!

  • Celery

Celery contains a high amount of a natural steroid called androstenone, which increases pheromone levels in men when they sweat. Co-authors Dr. Judy Garman, Dr. Walter Gaman and Dr. Mark Anderson call celery “vegetable Viagra” in their new book called “Stay Young: Ten Proven Steps to Ultimate Health.”  So, get yourself some stalks of celery and peanut butter (or hummus) as a snack or in stuffing with a nice cut of pork for the ladies.

Without a doubt, there is more to these essential aromatic foods than meets the eye. There are other aromatics that are worth mentioning and exploring such as shallots, ginger, herbs, spices, peppers and others.  All have unique properties to enrich your life and, most especially, your palate.  So, cook more at home and be in control of your health!

Basic Marinara

This is a basic marinara sauce, and is a great starting point for creating your own recipe or just experimenting with new flavors. You can use this sauce in a variety of dishes from basic pasta to a chicken or veal Parmesan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (26 oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (1/2 cup fresh chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden being careful not to burn. Add onions, basil, parsley and pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with liquid. Break up tomatoes with fork. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally. The sauce can keep up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For variations you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of fine ground meat such as Italian sausage, chuck, sirloin, chorizo, chopped pancetta or even chopped pepperoni.

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss

This dish was inspired by a request from a Fackbook fan and my recent article on eggs (I made a reference to Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham“). These are great traditional quiches and a great treat for the kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup chopped or diced ham
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, thickly sliced

Directions:

Prepare 4, 4 inch x 1 inch crust as described in Cheesy Quiche Crust.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Prepare the custard by mixing spinach and onion in a food processor. Add eggs, milk, flour and shortening and mix thoroughly.

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place all 4 crusts on a baking sheet for ease in handling. Bake crust for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with custard. Bake custard for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Top each quiche with a thin to moderate amount of cheese. Finish topping with chopped or diced ham. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Plate with slice of Romano tomato.

Slow Cooked Apple and Onion Stuffed Chicken

Apple and Onion Stuffed Chicken with Bacon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Apple and Onion Stuffed Chicken with Bacon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

When I first conceived this recipe, I was going to fry the chicken in butter for about 4-5 minutes a side. However, I had purchased a new slow cooker and was looking for an interesting way to use it. It was suggested that I do a stuffed chicken recipe. Serendipity at its best. I already had all of the ingredients.  So below you will find the altered recipe. The slow cooker gave me plenty of time to relax and fix a side dish of bacon and garlic mashed potatoes, and Bananas Foster for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Green Apple, diced (Granny Smith recommended)
  • 1 Small Red Onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano
  • 2 Pieces of bread, toasted, (you can substitute 3/4 cup store bought bread crumbs)
  • 8-10 ounces diced Tomato
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon dried Oregano

Directions:

Pounding Chicken Thighs

Pounding Chicken Thighs

Between two pieces of plastic wrap, unroll and pound flat chicken thighs.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and apple and cook 6-8 minutes until onion is translucent and apples are slightly softened. Cut toasted bread in to small chunks and add to onions and apples. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt an pepper. Stir until well mixed then add diced tomatoes. Continue stirring, then remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.

Stuffed Chicken in Slow Cooker

Stuffed Chicken in Slow Cooker

Place a spoon full or more of the onion/apple mixture on each thigh and secure with toothpicks. Place each rolled thigh in a slow cooker. Pour remaining mixture over thighs and add chicken broth and garlic. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste (1-2 teaspoons). Start cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking add oregano.

Finished Product Ready to Slow Cook

Finished Product Ready to Slow Cook

Serve by plating Stuffed Chicken first then topping with remaining mix. The left over cooking juice can be used as a gravy or additional sauce for the chicken.

Cheezie Chicken Enchiladas

Tabasco Salsa

Tabasco Salsa

Facebook fan, Desiree Rempel, recently shared one of her favorite recipes. I whipped it up the other night with one small change — I used diced tomatoes, rather than pimientos. It was a very wonderful dish. I chose to top it with green chili sauce. I had received a jar of Tabasco Salsa a couple of weeks ago and had that on the side along with some vegetable rice.

Serves: 2-4

Depending on the size of the tortillas, the recipe will yield 4-6 enchiladas. I use 8 inch diameter tortillas and am able to make 5 enchiladas with plenty left over for topping.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (red preferred)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 8 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • Flour tortillas, warmed

Directions:

Prepared Enchilads ready for oven

Prepared Enchiladas ready for oven

Cut chicken into small cubes no larger than 1 inch. In boiling water, cook chicken for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Chicken can then be easily chopped into smaller pieces. Set chicken aside.

In a medium pot, over medium/medium-high heat, melt butter being careful not to burn. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add broth and cook until slightly thickened again stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until well mixed. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese, chicken, chilies and diced tomatoes. Mix well, making sure cheese is melted.

Cheezie Enchaladas with Vegetable Rice and Salsa

Cheezie Enchiladas with Vegetable Rice and Salsa

Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mixture onto each tortilla. Roll each up and place side by side, seam side down in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Pour and spread remaining mixture over enchiladas. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve 1 to 2 enchiladas per plate. Suggested toppings, fresh chopped cilantro, green chili sauce, roasted red pepper or salsa.

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