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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Individual Pinto and Black Bean Tamale Pies

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 Tbs. canola oil
1 bundle scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. ground lean beef, browned and fats drained, may substitute ground turkey or ground pork, if preferred
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup broth
16 oz. tube prrepared plain polenta, sliced into 8 equal rounds, patted dry
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp. chipotle sauce
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
salsa and plain Green yogurt, for garnishing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat; add white parts of scallions and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook until scallions are softened, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile, using a potato masher, mash about 1/3 of black and pinto beans in a flat dish with sides, such as a pie plate.  Add ground beef, black beans, pinto beans and smashed beans to the sauce pan with scallion mixture, along with diced tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until mixture has thickened, 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, coat eight-ten  10-12 oz. ramekins (or sub custard cups) with non-stick spray; place a polenta round in each prepared ramekin.  Add reserved green parts of scallions, cilantro and chipotle sauce into bean mixture and stir to combine; spoon mixture into prepared ramekins, then top with cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with salsa and yogurt (or sour cream) and additional cilantro if desired.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Monday, April 22, 2013

Slow-Cooked Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

Recipe from

2 lbs. boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup Asian sweet chili sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup scallions, chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Coat the slow cooker with non-stick spray; add pork, chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic in the cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the pork is fork-tender and shreds easily.  Remove pork from the slow cooker and dice or shred.  Add the peanut butter to sauce in the slow cooker and stir to combine.  Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and toss to coat evenly in prepared sauce.  Serve in shallow bowls over warm rice, topped with scallions and peanuts.  

Serves 8

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

How to Make Greek Yogurt at Home in 5 Easy Steps

Greek yogurt is all the rage but it sure is pricey, UNLESS you jump on board and learn how easy and inexpensive it is to create at home.  How does about $.20 per serving sound? I'm in love with the simplistic process as well as the quality of yogurt you end up with:  super creamy and delicious.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Saucepan with Lid
  • Bath Towel
  • Instant-Read Thermometer
  • Milk and 2 Tbs. plain Yogurt that has active, live cultures (Almost all yogurt states this on the container, be sure to check.  Once you've made your own homemade yogurt, you can use it as your 2 Tbs. of starter yogurt.) 
  • Large Bowl, Colander and 4-5 Paper Coffee Filters
  • Oven with a light

Here's the process:

1.  In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, heat 8 cups milk (I use skim), temping the milk often with the instant-read thermometer until it reaches 180 degrees F.  

2.  Remove milk from heat and cool to 105-110 degrees F; add 2 Tbs. plain yogurt and stir until combined. 

3.  Place lid onto saucepan, wrap in bath towel and place the entire bundle into an unheated oven, with oven light on. Let milk mixture rest in oven for 7-8 hours.
My Oven Bundle:  Homemade Greek Yogurt in the Making
4.  Line colander with coffee filters and place over large bowl. Remove yogurt from oven and pour into the lined colander.  Cover bowl and place into the fridge for 3-4 hours to allow yogurt to drain. (If yogurt becomes too thick, you can easily add back in a portion of the whey liquid that drains into bowl.  Also, keep in mind that if you add sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar, yogurt won't be quite as thick.) 

Not the best in the picture in the world, but you get the idea.
5.  Pick up yogurt with coffee filters and turn over into a bowl, peeling filters off the top and sides of yogurt. Store yogurt in fridge for up to a week.  

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Parsnip Fries, As Seen on WIBW 13 News at 4, April 2013

Serves 4

3 medium-sized parsnips
1/2 tsp. paprika
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbs. cornstarch
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a large baking sheet with sides in the oven as it preheats.  Wash parsnips and peel away wax coating; pat dry.  Slice the parsnips into thick fry-like matchsticks, trying to keep them all the same size so they cook evenly.  Place the parsnip fries into a re-seal-able gallon bag and toss with paprika and cornstarch, making sure all fries are evenly coated.  Place parsnips onto the preheated baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip fries over and bake for another 15 minutes.  Fries are ready when they are fork-tender and nicely browned on all sides and crispy.  Serve with desired dipping sauce. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving without dipping sauce):  85 calories, 0 g fat, 20 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 1 g protein 

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Forbidden Rice Salad with Mango and Edamame

As seen on WIBW 13 News at 4 with Ralph Hipp, April 2013, Now You're Cookin' For Real with Chef Alli and Amber Groeling, Hy-Vee Topeka Dietitian.

makes eight 2/3 cup servings

1 3/4 cups water
1 cup black forbidden rice
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup shelled frozen edmame, thawed
1 mango, diced

3 Tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. soy sauce

For the rice:  In a medium saucepan, bring the water, rice, ginger, and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove the pan rom the heat and set aside for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and place into a large serving bowl. Add edamame and mango to rice and stir gently to combine.  Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over rice mixture; toss to coat.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts:  180 calories, 4.5 g fat, 26 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 7 g protein

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Host a Potato Bar Party

In honor of our potato class tonight at Hy-Vee, (Healthy Classic Potato Dishes:  Surprisingly Delicious) I thought you might enjoy some ideas for creating an assortment of topping combinations. If you set each topping combination together as part of your potato bar, your guests (or family) will know how to combine to make their favorite masterpiece.  

For The Potatoes
First, prick your potatoes with a fork or small paring knife - this will keep them from exploding in the oven. (Or at least that's what my Mom always told me.) Next, rub potatoes with a bit of canola oil, then place directly onto the center oven rack in a preheated 350 degree F. oven.  Bake for about an hour or until very soft.  Slit open lengthwise and squeeze together slightly, until flesh is protruding.  Season flresh to taste with salt and pepper, then top as desired.  Depending on which you choose, some are good popped back into the oven for a bit after you top them - such as Pizza Guy, Cheeseburger Classic, etc

Topping Combinations

Greek Goddess:  Plain Greek yogurt, feta crumbles, sliced black olives, chopped cucumber and tomato

Pizza Guy:  Turkey pepperoni, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, a sprinkle of oregano

BLT:  Melted butter (optional), crumbled crispy bacon, chopped tomatoes and lettuce

Garlicky Bleu Cheeser:  Light sour cream, freshly minced rosemary, crushed garlic or a sprinkle of granulated garlic, bleu cheese crumbles

Tex Mex:  Cooked ground beef, pork or chicken seasoned with taco seasoning,adobo sauce, black beans, shredded Colby Jack, pico de gallo, and cilantro

Mediterranean:  Spicy chickpeas, plain Greek yogurt, dash of cumin, turmeric, and garlic

Cheeseburger Classic:  Cooked ground beef, pork or chicken, shredded American cheese, chopped onion, pickle relish, ketchup, and mustard

Little Italy:  Cooked Italian sausage (turkey sausage, if you prefer), sliced, smothered with caramelized onions and bell peppers, shredded Parmesan or Romano

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli

Two-Potato Gratin - Created for WIBW Kansas Live Radio - Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adapted from Cooking Light, Dec. 2012 - Delicious!

2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
broth or water, for cooking potatoes
2 Tbs. canola oil
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups 2% milk
2 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided use
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ cup freshly shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with broth or water.  Bring mixture to a boil; cook for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Carefully remove potatoes from pot using a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid.  Arrange potato slices in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; set aside.  Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. 

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; sprinkle flour over oil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring often.  Combine milk and reserved 1 cup cooking liquid.  Gradually pour milk mixture into flour mixture in pan, whisking constantly.  Add thyme sprigs to pan; bring mixture to a boil; cook 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; strain.  Stir ½ tsp. salt, pepper and Gruyere cheese into sauce.

Spread ½ cup prepared sauce over bottom of a broiler-safe 2 quart ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Alternate baking potato and sweet potato slices in shingle-like fashion across the bottom of the baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with remaining ¼ tsp. salt and chopped thyme; pour remaining sauce over potato mixture.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese; bake at 325 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.  Remove gratin from oven; preheat broiler to high.  Place gratin under broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes or until nicely browned.

Now You're Cookin',
Chef Alli