Thursday, December 17, 2009

Food News

Some interesting food articles...

Measure for measure, a way to cut calories

Salt Really Does Boost Health Risks


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

I have been wanting to tackle stuffed peppers for a while now. This meal turned out to be a very easy, light, and delicious weeknight meal!

Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • 4 bell peppers in the color of your choice
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 links of chicken sausage (I used sundried tomato)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring 1 cup of broth to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain any remaining broth.

Saute sausage in oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Combine orzo, sausage, parsley, and Parmesan.

Cut tops off of peppers and hollow out to create a bowl. Place in a baking dish and pour remaining broth around peppers.

Fill peppers with orzo mixture and divide mozzarella to top each stuffed pepper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

December is Cookie Month! -- Sugar Cookie Pops --

I've decided to dedicate the majority of my December blogging to cookies. What better goody to write about than cookies?! I'll be posting cookie recipes, trials, and tribulations all month long, so keep checking back for some Suburban Spoon treats!

Safeway has a collection of holiday recipes on their website. Since, as previously mentioned, I am focusing on cookies his month, I decided to try their ADORABLE Sugar Cookie Pops.

I think I've mentioned before that I think of myself as more of a cook versus a baker. The two personas are completely different - one is more uncalculating and haphazard (moi!), while the other is regimented and precise. I thought I'd challenge myself by taking the regimented and precise route. What resulted was not only a cloud of flour in my kitchen... but something really fun and unique, kid-friendly, and a super gift idea!

I began with my shopping list in tow, heading out to the store to buy ingredients. First on my list - lollipop sticks. I thought to myself, "Where on Earth am I going to find these??" It dawned on me - the craft store! I headed to my local arts & crafts superstore, and lo and behold - there they were, in the very first aisle!

Next to Genaurdi's to pick up the rest. I headed to the baking aisle to find what I needed: shortening, sugar, sprinkles, cream of tartar.... Now, not being a baker, I wasn't exactly sure where to find the cream of tartar. I knew I was in the right aisle, but up and down I went. Passing the baking soda, the sugar, the salt, the cake mix. Over and over. Thankfully, as I was absorbed in my search, I heard, "Hey Sara!" I look up and see Andy, my neighbor who happens to be a personal chef. I was in luck! Right in with the spices is where he pointed me, and there it was - Andy saved the day!

After I checked out, came home, and unloaded my groceries, I began making these cute little treats. After setting all of my ingredients on the counter, I measured, mixed, and whipped these yummy cookie pops up with the zest and vigor of an accomplished baker - they were so easy and fun to make! I encourage you to try these unique cookies as a kick-off to Cookie Month!

*You'll want to buy several containers of colored sugars and jimmies so you'll have plenty for coating these cookie balls.

Sugar Cookie Pops (Yield: 4 1/2 dozen)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Colored sugars, sparkling sugars, and multicolored jimmies
  • 4" white craft sticks
Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, blending well. Cover and chill dough 2 hours or overnight.

Shape dough into 11/2" balls. Roll each ball in colored sugar or jimmies in individual bowls, pressing gently, if necessary, to coat balls. Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Insert craft sticks about 1" into each cookie to resemble a lollipop.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes or until set. Let cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove cookie pops to wire racks to cool completely.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chili with a touch of something different...

The cold months make me crave something substantial.. something robust. Tired of the same ol' chili recipe, I was inspired to come up with a twist on the traditional chili. The result of my quest was something so unique and gratifying, I am happy to share this recipe with you. I know this sounds... different.. but please give it a try. It's so delicious I actually entered it in a recipe contest - I'll let you know if I win! ;o)

Be diligent with seasoning with salt and pepper each step of the way. You are building flavor, layer by layer, and adding salt and pepper at the end just won't cut it.

Cooking the chili low and slow will produce tender, sumptuous meat from a tough cut of beef.

Beef and Kahlúa Chili
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 lbs chuck steak, trimmed of excess fat and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 (15-oz) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans black beans
  • 1 (6-oz) can tamato paste
  • 2/3 cup Kahlúa, coffee flavored liqueur
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sour cream, diced shallots and shredded sharp white cheddar for serving
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn heat up to medium-high. Add beef and brown on all sides, approximately 4 more minutes. Add bell pepper and spices. Season again with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, and Kahlúa. Stir in parsley and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 & 1/2 hours.

Serve chili topped with sour cream, shallots and shredded cheese.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Good readin'

Every so often, I will bring you a collection of articles that I find worth reading. Have a wonderful Friday, and enjoy some of these stories...

Can local farming save the Suburbs?

Eat less meat to reduce climate change and save thousands of lives

Arthritis symptoms can be eased with exercise, changes to diet


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beef Stew to Chase Away the Chills

When the weather gets cold, you need something warm and substantial to satisfy your appetite. Try this beef stew recipe to nourish your stomach, as well as your soul...

Add any vegetables you have in your kitchen. When it comes to soups & stews, the rule is - there are no rules!

Sara's Beef Stew
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 &1/2 lbs. stew beef
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 Qt beef stock
  • 1 & 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3-4 large red potatoes
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced in 1/4" slices
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb.s green beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
In a dutch oven (or large pot), heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until brown on each side, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir so beef is coated on all sides and cook for 1 minute longer.

Add beef stock, wine, and tomato paste to pot and season with more salt (1 tsp) and pepper (1/2 tsp).

Add in all vegetables, bay leaf and rosemary. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Cook, covered, for about 1 hour.

Serve with bread or biscuits.

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