Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

 

Chunks of juicy chicken and broccoli florets are lathered in a creamy Alfredo sauce in this mouth-watering pasta dish.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Ingredients                      Makes: 4 to 5 servings                Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
8 to 10 ounces pasta, your choice
3 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets
2 chicken breasts
sea salt and black pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock ~or~ vegetable broth ~see recipe links below!
1 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaf, chopped

Instructions
Prepare pasta. Prepare the pasta of your choice al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta using a colander and run under cold water until it has cooled to stop the pasta from cooking further. Shake out any access water from the pasta and then pour a one or two tablespoons of olive oil over it. Gently stir the pasta to coat with the olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself, then set aside.

Steam broccoli. Clean a head of broccoli, then cut off the top and into florets. Fill a medium-large soup pot with 1/2 cup of water and a steaming basket. Add the broccoli florets to the basket and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Steam the broccoli for about 8 minutes or until the thicker stems can be pierced by a fork. When broccoli is finished cooking, turn off the heat and remove the basket and place somewhere to cool.

Cook chicken. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the pan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from pan, cool for 5 minutes then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Prepare Alfredo Sauce. Mince 5 to 6 cloves of garlic and set aside. Set the flour aside in a small bowl. Using the same pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant, stir frequently with a wooden spatula to prevent burning.

Add another tablespoon of butter and upon melting whisk in the flour until mixed and lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually start whisking in the chicken stock or vegetable broth and the milk, 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture is incorporated and begins to thicken. Repeat this process until all the broth and milk is incorporated and thickened. Turn off heat and then stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Combine Ingredients. Add the cooked pasta, steamed broccoli and chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to coat.

Serve. Serve hot top with more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and/or fresh parsley, as desired.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Recipe Links

~Try my Chicken Bone Broth recipe here!

~Try my Vegetable Herb Broth recipe here!

Nutritional Information

~Broccoli is an excellent source for the essential nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate; Milk is an excellent source for the essential nutrient Calcium; and Chicken is an excellent source for the essential nutrient Protein.

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Black Bean Quesadillas

Black Bean QuesadillasQuesadillas are relatively quick and easy to make, as well produce a tasty meal that is packed full of flavour. This recipe produces a vegetarian version of quesadilla made with black beans, but there are many variations depending on what ingredients one chooses to use.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients                Makes: 4 quesadillas               Time: 45 minutes
4 large whole-grain flour tortilla (8-inch diameter)
3/4 cup black beans, prepared
1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated ~or~ mozzarella cheese
1 large bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
8 cherry tomatoes
12 green olives, finely chopped
1/2 cup salsa (mild, medium or hot) *see recipe below
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions
Prepare ingredients. Drain the liquid from a can of black beans, rinse well and then set aside. Shred 1 cup of white cheddar cheese. Dice a bell pepper and red onion, then set aside separately. Halve the cherry tomatoes and put aside on their own. Finely chop the olives and also set aside.

Prepare tortillas. In a large skillet or frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place one tortilla in the pan and move it around to cover one side of it in the olive oil, then transfer the tortilla to a large plate. Add another tortilla to the pan and repeat covering one side with the olive oil then also transfer to the plate. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and coat the other two tortillas in the same way. Leave the last tortilla in the pan, olive oil side down.

Add the ingredients. Black Bean QuesadillasSpread 2 tablespoons of salsa unto the tortilla in the pan. Next layer on 3 tablespoons of the black beans unto just one half of the tortilla, followed by 1/4 of the diced bell pepper, 1 tablespoon of the diced red onion, 2 of the halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 of the finely chopped olives and then spread over that 1/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Fold the tortilla in half so that it covers one half of the pan.

Place another tortilla into the pan with the oil side down and repeat with spreading 2 tablespoons of salsa all over the top of it. Next, continue to layer on all the ingredients just like the other tortilla, but on the half that occupies the other side of the pan. When all the ingredients are added, fold over the top of the tortilla. The skillet/frying pan should now have two tortillas on either side of the pan loaded with beans, vegetables and cheese and both folded over.

Cook the tortillas. Turn the burner on to a medium-heat and cook the tortillas for a few minutes or until the underpart begins to turn a light golden colour and becomes crispy. Flip the tortillas over carefully with a large spatula and continue cooking the other side for a couple more minutes, or until it is also golden in colour and crispy. When the tortillas are finished cooking, transfer them to a wooden cutting board to cool slightly for a few minutes. In the meantime, dress the other two tortillas and cook in the same way. When the tortillas are finished cooking and have been allowed to cool for a couple minutes they are ready to serve. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

~Try my Banana Pepper Salsa recipe here!

Nutritional Information

~Black Beans are an excellent source for the essential nutrients: Vitamin B1, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and protein.

~Tomatoes are an excellent source for the essential nutrients Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

~Bell Peppers are an excellent source for the essential nutrients Vitamin C and Vitamin A.

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Like little pumpkin cakes, these cookies are round and plump like a pumpkin. Made with pumpkin puree, seasonal spices and pumpkin seeds for decoration.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ingredients                   Makes: approx. 24 cookies                  Time: 1hour 30minutes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground all-spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup organic sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup pumpkin purée
72 (approx.) pumpkin seeds (3 for top of each cookie)
~cinnamon sugar topping~
1 Tbsp organic sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
Preheat oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Add parchment paper to two baking trays.

Combine dry ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice, ground cloves and salt; then set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Next, add the pumpkin puree and mix until well combined.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the mixed dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Prepare cinnamon sugar. In a small bowl combine the sugar and the cinnamon then set aside with the pumpkin seeds to decorate the cookies with afterwards.

Make the cookies. Drop round walnut-sized balls of cookie dough onto the lined cookie sheets using an ice cream scoop or by using a couple of spoons. Place three pumpkin seeds on top of each cookie in the shape of a flower, then sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a pinch of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack for about 10 minutes to cool. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

~Pumpkin is an excellent source for the essential nutrient Vitamin A.
~Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source for the essential nutrients: phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron and protein.

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Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Loaded with fresh vegetables and rice noodles, these Vietnamese spring rolls are a refreshing healthy appetizer for an Asian-inspired meal or great for just a light lunch-time snack.

 

Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients          Makes: 12 spring rolls          Time: 1 hour  30 minutes
~Spring Rolls~
2 ounces rice vermicelli
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup lettuce leaf, ribs removed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or julienne
1 cucumber, thinly sliced or julienne
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced or julienne
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced or julienne
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, de-stemmed ~or~ fresh parsley leaf
1/4 cup fresh mint leaf
12 sheets rice paper (spring roll wrappers)
~Peanut Sauce~
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp rice vinegar ~or~ white vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup ~or~ liquid honey
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 Tbsp purified water, as needed

Instructions
Prepare vermicelli noodles. Add a few cups of purified water to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles just until al dente, according to package directions; should only take a few minutes. While cooking the noodles, stir and separate them with a fork for even cooking.

When ready immediately drain the hot water and rinse the noodles using a fine mesh sieve under cool water until they are cool to stop the cooking process. Add a teaspoon of sesame seed oil and a shake of sea salt to the noodles and gently toss to prevent them from sticking together; set aside.

Prepare peanut sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the creamy peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil and garlic. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water as needed to make a creamy but dip-able sauce.

Prepare spring roll vegetable ingredients. Clean the lettuce leaf and remove the ribs. Peel the carrots and then julienne or cut into matchsticks about 2-inches long. Peel the cucumber and then cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pump with a spoon and discard. Julienne the cucumber into 2-inch lengths. Remove the seeds and pulp from a bell pepper and also cut into 2-inch thin strips. Remove the seeds and pulp from the jalapeño peppers and cut into very thin 1-inch strips. De-stem the cilantro and/or parsley herbs; as well the mint. When all the ingredients are ready it is time to prepare the wraps.

Prepare rice paper wraps and make the spring rolls. Fill a shallow pan (a pie pan or 9-inch round cake pan works good) with an inch of purified water. Organize a work area to place a wet rice wrapper and make the spring rolls; a wooden serving board works well.

Place one rice paper in the water and let it rest for about 20 seconds or until the sheet is pliable but not super floppy. Carefully lay it flat on the board or work-area.

Leaving about 1-inch of open rice paper around the edges, cover the lower third of the paper with a piece of lettuce, followed by a small handful of rice noodles, a few strips of carrot, cucumber, bell pepper and jalapeño; then lastly top it with the fresh herbs. It is optional to also dribble a little bit of the peanut sauce over the ingredients before the wrap is rolled up.

Fold the lower edge up over the fillings carefully so not to rip the wrapper, rolling upward just until the filling is compactly enclosed. Fold over up to 1-inch of the sides over towards the center of the wrap. Then lastly, roll up the wrap tight. Repeat with the remaining wraps and ingredients.

Serve and enjoy. Serve the spring rolls with the peanut sauce on the side. They can be served whole or sliced in half. The wraps are sticky and will stick to each other and other surfaces so keep the outside of them moist or even lightly rubbed with olive oil. The wraps are best made to be eaten right away but if you are making them ahead of time, cover them with a clean damp towel to keep them moist. If the wraps begin to harden, you can re-soften them with a little water. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

~This recipes is an excellent source for the essential nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate.

Visit the:

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Tabbouleh Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

A  variation of the lemony Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad made with quinoa grain instead of bulgur wheat. Quinoa is mixed with diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, fresh parsley leaf and mint; then lightly dressed in a lemon-olive oil dressing.

Tabbouleh Quinoa Salad

Ingredients                   Makes: 5 servings                   Time: 1 hour
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup fresh parsley, de-stemmed and finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh mint, de-stemmed and separated
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
pinch of black pepper, or more to taste

Instructions
Prepare quinoa. Using a mesh metal strainer, rinse the quinoa grains until the water runs clear. Transfer the quinoa to a small sauce-pot along with 1 cup of water and 1/5 teaspoon of sea salt. Heat the water up over medium-high heat until it reaches a light boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water and the grain is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

There may be a little water left in the pot which is fine, remove the cooked quinoa from the heat source and cover with a lid and let stand for about 5 minutes. This will guarantee all the grains are evenly cooked through. After 5 minutes, drain any remaining liquid from the quinoa using a mesh strainer and set aside to cool.

Prepare vegetable and herb ingredients. Clean and shake dry the parsley, then remove the stems. Roughly chop up the parsley leaf then transfer it to a large bowl. De-stem the mint leaf and then separate the individual leaves. Large mint leaves can be further split in half; then transfer the mint leaf to the large bowl.

Quarter the tomatoes and then remove the seeds by pushing them out with your thumb or a finger. Finely chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer the bowl. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and also remove the seeds using a small spoon. Finely chop the cucumber into 1/2-inch pieces and then transfer to the bowl. Finely chop the red onion and mince the garlic clove and also transfer to the bowl.

Quinoa Tabbouleh SaladStir quinoa into prepared vegetable mixture. The quinoa should have cooled, fluff it up with a fork and then add it to the large bowl of vegetables and herb. Gently toss the ingredients until they are evenly combined.

Stir dressing into combined salad ingredients. Pour over the salad mixture the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper then gently toss the salad until it is well mixed. Chill the salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. The salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy!

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

~This recipe is an excellent source for the essential nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus and magnesium.

Visit the:

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Pickled Carrots (Refrigerator)

Refrigerator Pickled Carrots

 

Refrigerator-ready pickled carrots skip the canning process, making this a quick and easy recipe to make. Dill pickled carrots only require 1 day to marinate for a tasty and gut-healthy snack food.

 Pickled Carrots (Refrigerator)

Ingredients               Makes: 1 pint jar              Time: 40 minutes
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick sticks, 3.5-inch long
1 cloves garlic peeled, ‘X’ cut into top
1 tsp fresh dill weed
1/4 tsp dill seed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar ~or~ white vinegar
1/2 cup purified water
1/2 Tbsp organic sugar (optional)
1/2 Tbsp pickling salt ~or~ sea salt (do not use table salt)

Instructions
Sterilize jar. Clean a single pint jar and lid in hot soapy water to ensure it is sterile. If jar has been used for other canning projects, a hot-water bath in boiling water for 1 minute will guarantee it is clean.

Cut and blanch carrots. Peel the carrots sticks and then cut into 1/4-inch thick sticks between 3 to 4-inches long. Stuff the carrot sticks into the jar snuggly lengthwise to make sure there is enough carrots to fill the jar.

Add a couple cups of water to a small sauce-pot and bring to a boil. Blanch the carrot sticks in the boiling water for about 3 to 4 minutes or until tender but still crisp. Then immediately strain the water out using a colander and transfer the carrots to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

Prepare seasoning ingredients. Peel a garlic clove and cut an “x” into the top of it about half-way through, but not all the way so it holds together. Transfer the garlic clove along with the fresh dill leaf and dill seeds to the bottom of the cleaned pint jar.

Make vinegar brine. In a sauce-pot add the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Stir the solution constantly to dissolve the salt and sugar. Bring the brine to a low boil then immediately remove from heat.

Fill jar. Stuff the jar with the carrot sticks on top of the seasonings. Pour the hot vinegar solution over the carrots leaving about 1/4 to 1/2-inch headspace at the top.

Storage. Allow the jar to cool for 30 minutes before transferring to a fridge. Allow the carrots to marinate for 1 full day up to a week for best pickling results. Carrots will keep good for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Since this is not a canning recipe, the carrots do need to stay refrigerated.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

~Carrots are an excellent source for the essential nutrient Vitamin A.

Visit the:

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Herbed Tomato Sauce

Herbed Tomato Sauce

A tomato-canning recipe for those who like preserving foods or have an abundance of tomatoes coming in from the garden. This tomato sauce is seasoned with an Italian-style variety of fresh and dried herbs and spices and can be used in most tomato-based pasta recipes.

Herbed Tomato Sauce (Canning Recipe)

Ingredients                Makes: 5 pints                 Time: 5 hours
20 lbs. tomatoes (making approx.10 cups cooked-down tomato – about 45 medium-sized tomatoes, preferably paste)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, de-stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves (remove before canning)
1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp honey ~or~ 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cane sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt, or more to taste
approx. 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 Tbsp per quart jar ~or~ 1 Tbsp per pint jar)

Instructions
Sterilize jars and prepare canning equipment. Sterilize jars by boiling them with the lids removed in a large stockpot for a couple of minutes; only necessary if jars have been used for other canning purposes. If the jars are relatively clean, a soap and water bath is good enough. Ensure that the seal on the lids are not damaged in any way, otherwise replace. Take out the stockpot or canner, the canning wrack, jar lifter and any other tools you will require when getting ready to can.

Prepare the tomatoes for blanching. Blanching is a cooking process wherein a food, in this case the tomato, is scalded in boiling water then plunged into an ice-water bath to halt the cooking process. Begin by preparing an ice-water bath for the tomatoes by filling a large bowl 3/4 full with ice-cold water and some ice-cubes.

Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut out the top of the tomatoes and any wounds, then cut a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each one. Gently squeeze out any seeds, then transfer tomatoes to a large bowl.

Blanch the tomatoes. In a large sauce pot, fill half-way with clean or purified water and then bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water in batches, full but not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. then using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to cool.

When the tomatoes have cooled for a couple of minutes in the ice-bath, the skins should slide right off. Remove the skins and then gently squeeze each tomato to discard the seeds and extra water; then transfer the skinned and gently squeezed tomatoes to a large clean bowl. When finished, drain the excess water out of the tomatoes using a large fine mesh strainer.

Cook the tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes to a large sauce-pot over medium heat and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until much of the clear liquid is cooked off and a thick saucy/chunky tomato mixture begins to form; then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally with wooden spatula to prevent burning. Chop the larger tomatoes into smaller pieces using the spatula while cooking.

Prepare the other ingredients. Dice the onion and set aside, then mince the garlic and set aside. In a skillet over medium-low heat add the olive oil and the diced onion and cook until transparent and tender; stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Transfer the onions and garlic to the sauce-pot of tomatoes.

Chop the fresh basil leaf and then also transfer to the tomato mixture. Stir in the remaining seasonings which include the dried oregano herb, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, honey and pickling salt.

Simmer the sauce. Allow the seasoned tomato sauce to simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes to allow flavours to blend. Remove the bay leaves when ready to can.

Fill the jars. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each single pint jar or 2 tablespoons to each quart jar. Using a large ladle, fill the jars with the tomato mixture to about 1/2-inch from the top; then give the contents a gentle stir to remove any bubbles or air-pockets and then refill if necessary again to 1/2-inch from the top. Wipe the rims and tighten the lids on until finger tight; not loose but not too tight.

Process the jars. Fill the canner or stockpot to about 2/3 full of luke-warm water. Transfer the filled jars to the canner into the rack using the jar lifter. Ensure the jars are covered by 1 to 2-inches of water, then bring the water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium to a gentle boil.

Process the jars in the water bath for 40 minutes for elevations up to 1000 Ft (for elevations 1,001 to 3,000 feet process for an additional 5 minutes; add 10 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet; add 15 minutes for 6,001 feet to 8,000 feet). After the jars have finished processing, turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water bath for at least ten minutes before removing.

Transfer jars to counter to cool. Line some clean dish towels on a counter to transfer the jars when they are done processing in the water-bath. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter without tilting or shaking to the towel to be left undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not re-tighten the lids if they have become loose. As the jars cool you should hear a “popping sound” telling you that your jars are sealing.

Cool jars undisturbed. Allow the jars to cool upright completely undisturbed for 24 hours to guarantee success. Check the jars have sealed properly by pressing down on the middle of the lid, if it pops back, it is not sealed. The disc on top should be curved downward and not move when pressed if properly sealed. Label the jars including the date they were made. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar or cold-storage room. Canned tomato sauce keeps well for 1 year.

If the jars did not seal properly, just put the jars in the fridge and use within a week. Any extra left-over tomato sauce that does not fill a jar or if you are not canning, can be stored in a refrigerator, just use within a week.

Recipe shared by J. Marshall

Nutritional Information
~Tomatoes are excellent sources for the essential nutrient Vitamin C.

Visit the:

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Banana Pepper Salsa

Banana Pepper Salsa

 

A canning recipe for a delicious, perfectly balanced medium-heat salsa that can be adjusted to be mild or hot by reducing or increasing the amount of banana peppers used in the recipe.

Banana Pepper Salsa (Canning Recipe)

Ingredients                Time: 4 hours                 Makes: 4 pints +
6 cups tomatoes, cooked down (approximately 20 medium-sized tomatoes)
1 large sweet onion, diced (approximated 1 1/2 cups)
2 large bell peppers, diced (approximately 1 cup)
4 large banana peppers, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 Tbsp pickling salt
3 Tbsp sugar (optional)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Canning Equipment
4 clean or sterile pint jars, rims and lids
stockpot or canner
canning rack (to hold jars in canner)
jar lifter

Instructions
Sterilize jars and prepare canning equipment. Sterilize jars by boiling them with the lids removed in a large stockpot for a couple of minutes; only necessary if jars have been used for other canning purposes. If the jars are relatively clean, a soap and water bath is good enough. Ensure that the seal on the lids are not damaged in any way, otherwise replace. Take out the stockpot or canner, the canning wrack, jar lifter and any other tools you will require when getting ready to can.

Prepare the tomatoes for blanching. Blanching is a cooking process wherein a food, in this case the tomato, is scalded in boiling water then plunged into an ice-water bath to halt the cooking process. Begin by preparing an ice-water bath for the tomatoes by filling a large bowl 3/4 full with ice-cold water and some ice-cubes.

Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut out the top of the tomatoes and any wounds, then cut a small ‘x’ on the bottom of each one. Gently squeeze out any seeds if you can, then transfer tomatoes to a large bowl.

Blanch the tomatoes. In a large sauce pot, fill half-way with clean or purified water and then bring to a boil. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water in batches, full but not enough to over crowd. Cook for about 1 min. or until the skin just starts to wrinkle and peel off. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath to cool.

When the tomatoes have cooled for a couple of minutes in the ice-bath, the skins should slide right off. Remove the skins and then gently squeeze each tomato to discard the seeds and extra water; then transfer the skinned and gently squeezed tomatoes to a large clean bowl. When finished, drain the excess water out of the tomatoes using a large fine mesh strainer.

Cook the tomatoes. Transfer the peeled and drained tomatoes to a large sauce-pot over medium heat and cook gently for about 10 to 15 minutes or until much of the liquid is cooked off and a thick saucy/chunky tomato mixture begins to form. Stir occasionally with wooden spatula to prevent burning. Chop the larger tomatoes into smaller pieces using the spatula while cooking. When the tomatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the other ingredients. Dice a large sweet onion and a couple large green bell peppers and then transfer to a large bowl. Finely dice the banana peppers and finely mince the garlic cloves, then also transfer to the large bowl. Lastly, de-stem the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves, then also add to large bowl.

Prepare salsa. In a dutch oven or large soup pot, add the cooked down tomatoes along with the other prepared vegetable ingredients. Stir in the remaining ingredients which include the cumin, black pepper, pickling salt, sugar and apple cider. Bring the mixture to a light boil over medium heat then reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Fill the jars. Using a large ladle, fill the jars with the salsa mixture to about 1/2-inch from the top; then give the contents a gentle stir to remove any bubbles or air-pockets and then refill if necessary again to 1/2-inch from the top. Wipe the rims and tighten the lids on until finger tight; not lose but not too tight.

Process the jars. Fill the canner or stockpot to about 2/3 full of luke-warm water. Transfer the filled jars to the canner into the rack using the jar lifter. Ensure the jars are covered by 1 to 2-inches of water, then bring the water to a boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium to a gentle boil.

Process the jars in the water bath for 15 minutes for elevations up to 1000 ft (for elevations 1,001 to 3,000 feet process for an additional 5 minutes; add 10 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet; add 15 minutes for 6,001 feet to 8,000 feet). After the jars have finished processing, turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water bath for at least ten minutes before removing.

Transfer jars to counter to cool. Line some clean dish towels on a counter to transfer the jars when they are done processing in the water-bath. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter without tilting or shaking to the towel to be left undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not re-tighten the lids if they have become loose. As the jars cool you should hear a “popping sound” telling you that your jars are sealing.

Cool jars undisturbed. Allow the jars to cool upright completely undisturbed for 24 hours to guarantee success. Check the jars have sealed properly by pressing down on the middle of the lid, if it pops back, it is not sealed. The disc on top should be curved downward and not move when pressed if properly sealed. Label the jars including the date they were made. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar or cold-storage room. Canned salsa keeps well for up to 2 years.

If the jars did not seal properly, just put the jars in the fridge and use within three weeks. Any extra left over salsa that does not fill a jar can be stored in a refrigerator without canning, just use within a few weeks. Enjoy!

Recipe shared by J. Marshall

Nutritional Information
Tomatoes and bell peppers are excellent sources for the essential nutrient Vitamin C.

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Mediterranean Cucumber Cups

 

Mediterranean Cucumber Cups

 

Attractive, flavourful and always popular salad appetizers that can compliment many types of dinners and pot-lucks.

 

Mediterranean Cucumber Cups

Ingredients                Makes: 20 to 24 cucumber cups                  Time: 45 minutes
2 large cucumbers
2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
15 cherry tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
12 black olives, pitted and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, de-stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh feta, crumbled
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions
Prepare the cucumbers. Peel the cucumbers fully or with the option of leaving thin strips of skin going down the entire length of the cucumber for a more decorative appearance. Trim the ends of the cucumbers and then cut the cucumbers into 1-inch thick pieces. Scoop out the seedy center of each slice with a small spoon, leaving a thin lining on the bottom in order to form little bowls.

Prepare the Mediterranean stuffing and then combine ingredients. Finely chop the red onion and bell pepper, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. De-seed the tomatoes and also finely chop and add to the same bowl. Finely grate the garlic cloves. Pit the olives, slice and then quarter the pieces. De-stem the parsley and then chop and then transfer all to the bowl. Crumble in some rinsed feta, sprinkle in the oregano, sea salt and pepper; and then add the lemon juice and olive oil. Give the salad stuffing mixture a stir just until it is evenly mixed.

Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the Mediterranean salad mixture into each of the cucumber cups. Garnish with small additional pieces of parsley and feta, for best appearances if desired.

Storage. The Mediterranean cucumber cups keep well and can be made ahead of time and stored in a refrigerator for up to 12 hours, though they are best if eaten within a few days.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

~This recipe is an excellent source for the essential nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Iron and Calcium.

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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

A flavourful pasta salad that serves great at potlucks and compliments many summer menus; made with bell pepper, celery, red onion, pickles and a creamy yogurt-based dressing.

 

Macaroni Salad

Ingredients                    Makes: 6 cups                    Time: 1 hour
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 red onion, diced
1 cup of celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup pickles, diced (sweet or dill)
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup ~or~ liquid honey
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
Prepare pasta. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse the cooked pasta under cold water until completely cool, drain and set aside.Macaroni Salad

Prepare vegetables. Dice the red onion, celery, bell pepper and pickles, then mince the jalapeño and set aside.

Combine sauce ingredients. In a medium to large bowl combine the Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.

Stir in vegetables. Sir the prepared vegetables into the yogurt dressing until well mixed. Taste test the salad and add any additional sea salt or black pepper if required.

Chill. Chill the pasta salad for at least 1 hour. While the salad cools the sauce will thicken, and the flavours will absorb into the pasta. Taste test the salad before serving and add any salt or pepper needed for final seasoning. A tablespoon of yogurt could also be stirred in to give the salad a creamier and fresher appearance, but not necessary. Serve chilled and enjoy. Keeps for up to 5 days.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Nutritional Information

*This recipe is an excellent source for the essential nutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Calcium.

Visit the:

Article Archive – View our health reference articles on how to maintain a well-balanced diet, the nutritional value of essential nutrients, nutrient-rich foods and the beneficial foods that can help in the healing of chronic disease and illness.

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