Category Archives: Recipes

Tasty Tailgating Treats

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One of my favorite seasons is fall.  That hasn’t always been the case.  However, when my husband and I first started dating, I quickly learned that he enthusiastically waits all year for fall (and Christmas as well), and his passion quickly converted me to a fall-lover.  It might be that first bite into the crisp, tart Granny Smith while navigating between neat rows of an apple orchard set against the backdrop of a valley of auburns and golds, crimsons and ochres.  It might be the steaming mug of hot cocoa embraced by cool fingers, warming the body as much as a loved one sharing a quilt by the fireplace.  It could even be the pleasant tinkling of glasses and laughter ringing through an open window as friends exchange stories and tease each other over apple pie.  Whatever form fall takes each year, I’ve always enjoyed it.  One of life’s great joys is to find mystery and pleasure in even the smallest of things: a friend’s shining smile, the leaves turning colors, a warm touch, a nostalgia-inducing scent.  All of these gifts come at no cost, yet they are indeed gifts, and we must learn to appreciate them.

So, it was with great excitement that I joined my husband in anticipating fall, looking for small ways to appreciate the gifts we were given with the season.  We made apple pie and watched scary movies and went for walks around our village on crisp evenings.  To compliment all of the activities we had planned, I looked up some comfort food recipes, and I would like to share a few here that are perfect for tailgating.  In fact, I made the chili for my husband, my dad, and their friends when they all went to a college football game at West Point.  It got rave reviews and was counted as the “best chili” they ever had.  It’s so easy to make; I just put it in the slow cooker the night before, let it cook all night, and then transport it in a large bowl in a thermal bag to hold in the warmth.  Don’t forget the plastic spoons, styrofoam bowls, and napkins!

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Debdoozie's Blue Ribbon Chili*

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 pound Johnsonville® ground sausage
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1 (14oz) jar tomato sauce
    • 1 (8 ounce) jar chunky medium salsa
    • 4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix*
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    • 1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes w/ diced jalapeños
    • 1 (15oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained
    • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
    • 1 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
    • 1 (8oz) package shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
    • 1 pint sour cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef, sausage, minced garlic, and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired and spoon into slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and sour cream). Mix well and heat on low for 3-10 hours.
  3. Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream and serve with cornbread.

*Adapted from this chili recipe and this chili seasoning recipe. 

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

 

 

 

 

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Tomato, Basil, and Parmesan Pasta

Here’s another simple but tasty pasta dish that I made for a potluck.  With the slight tang of the cherry tomatoes mixing with a subtle basil flavor and a creamy texture of melted parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, any pasta fan would gobble this up.

(To julienne basil leaves quickly, by the way, just stack them on top of each other, roll them tightly together, and cut thin strips across the roll.)

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White Fiber Mini Shells with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 (12 ounce) box Barilla White Fiber Mini Shells
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    • Salt to taste
    • Black pepper to taste
    • 6 leaves basil, julienned
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet, cook onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes until blistered. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook pasta 1 minute less than required cooking time, drain and toss with sauce and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Remove from heat and add basil and cheeses.
  4. Stir to combine and serve.

 

For more recipes from Barilla® check out their collection on Allrecipes.

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Quick & Easy Meal: Lemon & Herb Blackened Chicken w/ Cheesy, Garlic Spaghetti

As you may have noticed, a few of my previous posts reflect my love for quick and easy meals – you know, the ones that are perfect for weeknight dinners when you’ve rushed home from work or the gym and need to cook it up quickly.  Well, yesterday’s dinner was satisfying (so good that I ate too much), but only took me 15 minutes total to make the dishes (not counting the 2hr marinate time for the chicken, since I was away from home when that occurred).

The blackened chicken (which could have been a little darker if I left it in the skillet for a minute or two longer) was moist and tender due to the lemon juice and garlic-infused grape seed oil, and it had a nice lemony flavor too.  (The recipe called for olive oil, but I had used the last on the pasta, so I used the grape seed oil instead, with great results I might add.)

I was skeptical about the spaghetti side dish, because we normally don’t eat pasta without a thicker sauce, but it actually exceeded my expectations.  The flavors of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper blended well, and the cheese added a light creaminess to the pasta.  (By the way, Barilla® makes a gluten-free pasta which is comparable in taste to its regular ones.  If you are gluten-sensitive or intolerant, you can check out my previously posted recipe for gluten-free rotini cooked with charred green onion pesto, cranberries, and toasted cashews.)

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Easy Lemon & Herb Blackened Chicken*

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 cup lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons garlic-infused grape seed oil
    • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk 1 cup lemon juice, olive oil, and marjoram together in a glass or bowl. Add chicken and toss to evenly coat. Place in freezer bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Cook chicken in hot oil until almost burned on each side and no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 4 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

My Review: The flavors were good – lemon was prominent but not overpowering, and the seasoning tasted good with the lemon. These came out moist and tender. The only changes I made were to marinate it in a freezer ziplock bag, because I feel that coats the chicken better and to use garlic-infused grape seed oil in the marinade, because I ran out of olive oil. This is a simple recipe, perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. I threw the chicken in the marinade before the gym and cooked chicken for 10 minutes after the gym. I could have maybe cooked it another minute on each side for an even darker color, but it was still very tasty! I will definitely make this chicken again soon! 

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Thin Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper, and Olive Oil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 (16 ounce) box Barilla PLUS(R) Thin Spaghetti
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes; saute 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Cook Plus(R) Thin Spaghetti according to package directions.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Immediately add hot pasta to skillet. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water. Mix well. Add cheese and toss lightly.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl.

My Review: I was skeptical about this dish, as we don’t normally eat pasta without tomato sauce so I was hoping it wouldn’t be too bland, but this exceeded my expectations. The flavors of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper blended well together, and the cheese added a light creaminess to the pasta. In fact, I ate way too much in one sitting! I didn’t change a thing. It only takes 10-15 minutes including prep time, so this was perfect for our weeknight dinner.  

For more recipes from Barilla® check out their collection on Allrecipes.  There’s a lot of good ones there!

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Slow Cooked Chipotle Chicken

I just had to share this chicken recipe, because it was Chipotle Chickengood enough to become a new favorite in our house.  Tender chicken breast pieces are slowly cooked in a flavorful, creamy sauce with a mild kick of spice and served with warm flour tortillas.  I saved the leftover sauce to dip bread in for a quick midday snack.  I am already looking forward to making this again.  Here’s the recipe…

Slow Cooked Chipotle Chicken*

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
    • 3 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 1 tablespoon chicken-flavored bouillon powder
    • 1 cup sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pat chicken dry using paper towels. Cut chicken breasts into 2 to 3 ounce portions; add to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until tender and beginning to brown.
  3. Reduce heat and add garlic; cook for 1 minute.
  4. Transfer onion mixture to electric blender or food processor.  Add chipotle chilies, water and bouillon powder.  Puree until smooth. Pour over chicken in slow cooker; cover.
  5. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on HIGH, stirring once, cooking until chicken is tender and at least 170 degrees F.
  6. Whisk together sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Stir into chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes on LOW or until heated through.
  7. Delicious served with rice, black beans, vegetables and warm corn tortillas. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

*Recipe found at Allrecipes.

My Review: We eat a lot of chicken, but this is in our top 5 favorite main dish chicken recipes! The flavors in the sauce were perfect (creamy with a little kick…). The recipe involves little prep work, so it’s great for a yummy weeknight dinner. I served this with warm flour tortillas, but it would also be great over mashed potatoes or rice. 

The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

For the Pasta Lovers…

This past week, I tried two pasta recipes from Barilla®.  The first, was Elbows Mac and Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce, and was so good that I can’t wait to make it again!  With the parmesan and fontina cheeses, it gives it a unique flavor that I hadn’t tried before, and the Barilla® elbows pasta is budget-friendly, so it makes a nice main dish.  The second recipe was a light side dish made with gluten free rotini mixed with a charred green onion pesto, toasted cashews, and cranberries.  It’s a perfect summer side dish and very easy to make.  Check out both recipes below:

Mac & Cheese 2 Mac & Cheese

Elbows Mac & Cheese with Tuscan Herb Sauce*

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 (16 ounce) box Barilla® Elbows
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • 1 (24 ounce) jar Barilla® Tuscan Herb Sauce
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of water and cook the pasta 1/2 of the cooking time. Drain and toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet saute garlic in remaining olive oil for 1-2 minutes or until slightly yellow in color. Add the Barilla® Tuscan Herb sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a 13×9 casserole combine the pasta with the sauce and fold in the Parmigiano cheese. Top with fontina and bake in a 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

My Review: We truly enjoyed this recipe.  It has a unique, tasty flavor.  We particularly enjoyed the mixes of the freshly shredded cheese fontina cheese, grated parmesan cheese and the creamy Tuscan sauce.  Unlike other reviewers of this recipe, I did not have a problem with the cheese melting.  It is important to note that the pasta and sauce must still be hot when mixed with the cheese.  It would probably even help to add a bit extra parmesan cheese.  Can’t wait to make this again! 

Rotini

Gluten Free Rotini with a Charred Green Onion Pesto, Toasted Cashews and Cranberries

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 (12 ounce) box Barilla® Gluten Free Rotini
    • 1 bunch green onions
    • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • salt and black pepper to taste
    • 1/4 cup cashews
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
    • ice cubes
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup hot water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place cranberries in bowl of hot water to soak.
  3. Toss the green onions with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet tray and roast in the oven until lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the oven and let them cool down.
  4. In a blender combine the onions, cashews and Parmigiano cheese, pulse for 5 seconds.
  5. Slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ice cubes and puree. Remove the pesto from the blender and place in a large bowl.
  6. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Drain cranberries.
  7. Add the cooking liquid, pasta and drained cranberries to the pesto, then stir to combine.

My Review: This is an easy to make side pasta salad for a light summer dinner.  (But don’t forget to warn people that there are cashews in case they are allergic!)  I was happy to learn that Barilla® now has gluten free pasta, because I have hosted friends who have gluten intolerance in the past, and it is difficult to find recipes that don’t include gluten.  

For more recipes from Barilla® check out their collection on Allrecipes.  There’s a lot of good ones there!

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Another Look at Easy Meals…

This past month, I decided to take on Johnsonville’s challenge to substitute their sausage for any recipe that has six ingredients or less.  The recipe I found was so spectacular, I can’t believe it hasn’t been reviewed yet.  My husband said it was one of the best dinners he’s ever had, and I just had to agree!  Here it is:

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Apple and Sausage Grilled Cheese

Apple & Sausage Grilled Cheese*

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 slices rustic whole wheat bread
    • 2 thin slices aged Cheddar cheese
    • 2 thin slices Honeycrisp apple, or more to taste
    • 1/2 cup Johnsonville ground sausage, crumbled & cooked

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat a sandwich/panini press according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Set one slice of bread on a work surface. Top bread with 1 slice cheese, apple slices, sausage, and remaining 1 slice cheese. Place remaining bread slice on top.
  3. Cook sandwich in the preheated panini press until bread is lightly toasted and cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes.

My Review: We loved this! I used this recipe for Johnsonville’s “6 Ingredients or Less” challenge. I used a rustic boule of whole wheat bread and replaced the bacon with crumbled, cooked sausage meat. I also served it with a honey mustard dipping sauce. So good! The flavors are perfect! If you don’t have a panini press, just heat a skillet on medium and when it’s hot, put your sandwich down with another, smaller pan on top of it to press it down. Then, just put a heavy can on it to hold it. Flip the sandwich after 2-3 minutes (after it’s toasted nicely).

*Adapted from this recipe

If you can’t find the ground sausage in stores, you can easily make it from regular sausage links.  Just slice the sausage link lengthwise and remove the skin.  Then, crumble the meat.  Easy peasy.  See the picture below for a visual…

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Another great recipe is the sausage muffin cups which I’ve listed below.  It’s tasty and simple.  We enjoyed them for dinner, but they obviously can be eaten for breakfast too.

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Amazing Muffin Cups*

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 12 links Johnsonville Original breakfast sausage
    • 3 cups frozen country style shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • chopped fresh chives or green onion

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare sausage according to package directions. cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups.
  3. Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups.
  4. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.

My Review: These were delicious and very easy to make. The only change I made was to grate my own potatoes for the hashbrowns. They just need to be rinsed and wrung out once or twice, so that there isn’t too much moisture.

*Adapted from this recipe

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Easy Desserts for the Busy Adult

This post is for the busy parent driving children to ballet practice and soccer games or rushing to clean up a glass of spilled milk and lunch crumbs from the table.  It’s for the working man or woman with just enough time to make a quick meal before bed.  Life can be hectic!  That is why Reynolds Kitchens started the Reynolds Meal Magic Campaign.  It’s all about making real meals (homemade) faster and better by using their products.  There are many tips and timesavers listed on their site that have made cooking/baking easier for me.  Here are my favorite ways to use their parchment paper:

  • Food Storage:
    • Freezing cheeseburgers (place squares of parchment paper between them so that they don’t stick to each other)
    • Transporting cookies (stack them between scraps of parchment paper and put in an airtight container for easy transportation)
  • Food Prep:
    • Roll out pie crust (roll it between two sheets to reduce sticking of the dough to the surface of the rolling pin)
    • Frosting cakes cleanly (place scraps of paper under perimeter of cake to catch excess crumbs/frosting, frost it, and then gently remove paper)
  • Baking:
    • Baking brownies (line pan with paper to easily lift brownies square out of pan…No clean up!)
    • Nonstick cakes (after greasing and flouring a round cake pan, cut a circle to fit in the bottom and just peel it off once it has baked)
    • Chewy cookies (bake cookies on paper and they won’t stick to the pan or get too tough on the bottom)

I’ve found two dessert recipes from Reynolds Kitchens that involve minimum prep and are easy to put together.  Whether you have guests coming in an hour and you need to whip up something tasty to snack on or your kids are looking for an after-dinner treat, you’ll definitely want to try these recipes:

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Ashley and Whitney’s Popcorn and Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix

Ashley & Whitney's Popcorn & Pretzel Sweet Snack Mix*

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • Reynolds® Parchment Paper
    • 1 (2.9 ounce) bag microwave low-fat popcorn
    • 2 cups mini pretzels
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds
    • 1 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
    • 12 oz white chocolate (try 2 of Terry’s white chocolate oranges)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a 15 1/2x10x1-inch baking pan or large tray with a sheet of Reynolds® Parchment Paper; set aside.
  2. Pop popcorn according to package directions; shake bag so that un-popped kernels fall to the bottom.
  3. Pour popcorn, pretzels, almonds and dried cranberries into large bowl. Discard un-popped popcorn kernels.
  4. Melt chocolate according to package directions. Stir in cinnamon; pour over popcorn and pretzels. Toss to evenly coat.
  5. Spread evenly on parchment lined tray. Let set to harden, about 1 hour (if rushed, leave in fridge for half hour). Break apart large pieces. Store in airtight container.

My Review: This is so good!  My husband and I gobbled it down.  The only white chocolate I had was two of Terry’s white chocolate oranges (the ones that are both shaped and flavored like oranges).  When I make this again (and I definitely plan on it), I will use the chocolate oranges again.  The citrus flavor works well with the other flavors.  Also, I was in a bit of a rush, so I put the parchment covered tray of the popcorn mixture into the fridge for an half hour to speed up the hardening process.

*Adapted from this recipe

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Karen's Rolled Sugar Cookies*

  • Servings: 36 (2in) cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • Reynolds® Parchment Paper
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugars with electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and combine.
  3. Wrap dough in parchment paper and place in Hefty® Slider bag; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with Reynolds® Parchment Paper; set aside.
  5. Roll out dough 1/8-inch thick between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper. Cut dough with 2 inch cookie cutters. Place dough on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  6. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on edges. Slide parchment paper with cookies onto cooling rack; cool.
  7. Decorate as desired. Store in airtight containers for up to 5 days.

My Review: The taste of these cookies is amazing with the change I made (using brown sugar AND white sugar rather than just the white).  These were so good, they didn’t even need frosting, though they wouldn’t taste bad with it either.  My cookies were difficult to roll because the dough was sticky, so I just spooned them onto parchment paper like drop cookies.  They spread quite a bit in the oven (I didn’t have enough time to refrigerate them for the full hour), but they were delish.  My husband tried one a few days later and said it was so moist that it tasted as if it had just come out of the oven.

*Adapted from this recipe

For more recipes from Reynolds Kitchens check out their collection on Allrecipes.

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Matters of the Heart: A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

I haven’t always been health-conscious with my food choices – after all, my favorite food is bacon! – but I have become increasingly aware of healthier options.  Losing a few pounds and toning up are some motivations for monitoring what goes into my mouth, but having a heart-healthy lifestyle is just as important.  In fact, my husband’s physician originally told him a few years ago that he would definitely need to start medication for his heart (and take it for the rest of his life), because several of his immediate family members have experienced heart issues.  But, we made several changes to our lifestyle, and the next time he went to the doctor, my husband was informed that he wouldn’t need to take the medication now, because his heart was much healthier.

Here are some ways we try to be heart-healthy in my household:

EXERCISE:  Cardio is incredibly important.  My husband runs outside during the warmer months and exercising inside during winter.  I have been running too.  Recently, my mother and I visited a running apparel store in Ridgefield, CT called Kilometers.  They measured my feet and analyzed my run.  (There’s a treadmill in the store.)  After spending a year with pain in my shins, I learned that my feet have high arches and that the pain is caused by my feet underpronating (feet leaning away from my body when my feet make contact with the ground).  The owner at Kilometers explained several ways to stop the pain in my shins from occurring, including exercises to do at my work desk and how to set my treadmill to the optimum speed/incline when I’m not running outside.  Of course having a good pair of running shoes will balance out my running so that I am not putting too much pressure on the outer edge of my foot.  I honestly cannot recommend Kilometers enough.  They were incredibly helpful and seemed to genuinely care about their customers.  Also, the new sneakers make me feel as though I’m running on air!

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FOOD:  Eating the right foods is just as important as exercise.  Portion control is important.  We need to eat until we are satisfied, not until we are full.  Over time, portion control becomes much easier, because regulating portions consistently trains the body to be satisfied with the right amount of food it needs.  In our home, we made additional changes to our diet.  In our main meals, we swapped junk food/sweets for fruits and vegetables, and we now drink water or seltzer with our meals instead of soda.  When we have grains (pasta, bread, etc…), they’re usually 100% whole wheat, and we are careful about the amount of sodium we consume.  Also, we eat more poultry than red meat.  Side note: chicken is one of the most versatile meats.  It can be cooked many different ways!  Some people also choose to take a fish oil pill with each meal, but eating fish once or twice a week is also beneficial.

So, now that I’ve outlined the ways we try to be heart-healthy, here’s a look at two delicious (and healthy) dinner recipes I tried recently (also, they’re perfect for gluten-free eaters!):

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Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa*

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

Sweet and Spicy Rub:

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1 pound salmon fillet
    • 2 teaspoons Mazola® Corn Oil

Grapefruit Salsa:

    • 2 cups grapefruit sections
    • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine paprika, onion and garlic powder, salt, oregano, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Cut salmon into 4 portions and brush with oil. Distribute the rub over the salmon generously coating all surfaces. Place salmon on a shallow baking pan with sides.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, until fish flakes easily.
  5. Coarsely chop grapefruit into bite size pieces. Combine all salsa ingredients and serve with salmon. Grapefruit salsa can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

My Review: My husband and I loved this dish.  The flavors in the rub were fantastic, and I’ll be trying the rub on other meats because it’s just that good!  The salsa was unique and refreshing; it would be perfect for a summer dinner.  The jalapeño gives it a nice kick.  We’ll definitely be trying this meal again.

*Adapted from this recipe

 photo 5-5

Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce*

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 pound pork shoulder
    • 2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped onions
    • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands® Garlic Powder
    • 1 tablespoon Spice Islands® Chili Powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands® Chipotle Chile Powder
    • 2 tomatillos, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 jalapeño, diced
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 4 corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut pork into 1 inch cubes; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add pork, onions, garlic powder, chili powder and chipotle chile powder; saute 3 to 5 minutes to brown the meat.
  2. Add enough water to barely cover pork. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer an additional 45 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.
  3. Combine chopped tomatillos, jalapeño, tomatoes and cilantro with the lime juice in a small bowl.
  4. Place an equal amount of pork on each tortilla. Top with tomatillo salsa.

My Review: This dish was delicious, though a bit time-consuming if you include the prep work and cooking.  The pork was delicious, and we enjoyed the salsa (which had some heat with the jalapeño).  I served this with Mexican rice, avocado slices, and optional toppings of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.  The pork can also be made in the slow cooker.  Just throw in the pork, spices, and a few cups of beef stock and cook on high for 6 hours.  I made quesadillas with the leftovers (and topped with the salsa, of course.)  Yum!

*Adapted from this recipe

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

Both of these recipes use Mazola® Corn Oil which I received from Mazola®.  Mazola® has started a program, Heart Healthy Mazola®, to inspire women to keep themselves and their families heart healthy with Mazola® cooking oils.  Within their program, they have deemed corn oil the “Cholesterol Lowering Champ,” stating that “corn oil lowered LDL cholesterol by 10.9 percent compared to extra virgin olive oil’s 3.5 percent reduction, making corn oil more effective.”  To learn more about this program, check out their website.

If you like the taste of these recipes (trust me, you will), you can try others in the Mazola®  collection on Allrecipes.

Mazola_AllstarsProgramGuidelines_March2014

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolyn.

Game-Day Munching

October is an exciting month for us for many reasons.  One thing we enjoy is the beginning of the NBA season (go NY Knicks!) and the continuation of NFL games.  Although our teams don’t always do well (let’s not talk about the Giants right now), the fall weather mixed with football and a great game-day spread of snacks and dinners are always fun to share with family/friends.

This month, I used Johnsonville Italian sausage meat and Ore-Ida shoestring fries to make several dishes to accompany our games:

Since I have a busy schedule, I don’t always have a lot of time during the week for dinners.  For this reason, I particularly appreciate dinners that are quick and easy, but also delicious.  The photo below is one that I made with Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links.  Earlier this year was the first time I tried Johnsonville sausage, and I really think it’s tasty.  This recipe is one-pot Italian, which makes it easy to clean up.  Perfect for an after-work meal!

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In addition to the one-pot pasta meal, I made several other dinner recipes using Johnsonville’s sausage this month.  My favorite was the Italian Sliders:Image

I made a few additions to the meat before shaping them – a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 egg, and freshly shredded parmesan cheese.  They turned out moist and flavorful.  My only regret was that I should have made more for extra leftovers!  I topped them with a slice of parmesan cheese, spinach, and tomato and served with crispy Ore-Ida shoestring french fries.  Just writing about this meal is making me hungry!

In addition to these two meals this month, I made this meal today: Image

Not only did it taste good, but it also made my home smell amazing.  Plus I love how colorful it is!  Put it on a kaiser roll, and you have a great sandwich to munch on during games.  This would be a great meal to make if you have guests over to watch a game, because it’s simple to make, even if the servings are doubled or tripled.

For snacks during a NY Giants game, I served more shoestring fries by Ore-Ida and made two different dips to go with them.  The first dip, European Fry Sauce, was so simple to make (only 3 ingredients and literally a 2-minute prep) that I was skeptical of how it would taste.  Well, I had nothing to worry about, because it was really good!  The red wine vinegar gives it a unique flavor.  Next time, I may add a little cracked pepper for extra seasoning, but that’s just personal preference.

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The other fry dip I made, is my creation.  I seasoned the Ore-Ida shoestring french fries and shredded parmesan cheese over them as they baked.  The dip is a mix of dill, garlic, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  It was good with the fries and would probably be great with battered fried fish.Image

It was exciting to make all of this food, and I can’t wait to see what I can serve in November.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Trickle of Consciousness. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Jacolynd.