Monterey Jack is a semi-hard, cheese make from cow’s milk. It has a mild flavor and is gooey-when-melted.
It is an excellent match for a deli or meat sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, melted over casseroles and chili, and any Latin American dish that calls for cheese, like quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas.
Peppers are even added during the fermentation process with the end results being a Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese.
There is even a Colby Jack Cheese. A mix of orange cheddar and Monterey Jake Cheese.
Swiss cheese originated in Switzerland and cow’s milk is used just about 99% of the time.
There are 450 different kinds of Swiss cheeses, and are put into five categories, which are extra-hard, hard, semi-hard, semi-soft and soft.
The Swiss cheese you may be familiar with has holes, known as eyes. But not all Swiss cheese contains holes.
According to The Nibble, three types of bacteria are used in producing the types of Swiss that contain holes. The bacteria includes, Streptococcus thermophilis, Lactobacillus, and Propionibacter shermani.
In the later stages of cheese production, the bacteria will excrete the lactic acid called P. shermaniconsumes, which releases the gas, known as carbon dioxide, and in turn forms the bubbles that make the “holes” or “eyes.”
The cheese industry refers to Swiss cheese without holes or eyes as “blind.”
Just because the weather is cold shouldn’t keep you from enjoying in season fresh produce. Nature gives us a collection of its best winter vegetables that have proven to be flavorful. Winter root vegetables can contribute an interdependent, sweet flavor to a hearty winter soup recipe, like carrots, or sweet potatoes.
Roasting most winter vegetables brings out their best flavors. Even using complementary herbs and spices helps add some extra exceptional tastes.
Available In Season Winter Vegetables
Although Brussels sprouts are available year-round, their peak season is from September to February.
When looking to purchase them, remember to look for small firm sprouts with compact bright-green heads, and the smaller the head the sweeter the taste. Roasting Brussels sprouts lightly caramelizes their edges but keeps them tender inside.
To view a few recipes using Brussels sprouts one of the following links:
At All Recipes (allrecipes.com) they call Broccoli the star vegetable in stir-fries, soups, salads, and casseroles.
Broccoli can be purchased year round. But when in season, as a winter vegetable when roasted retains its entire flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when.
When asked the question – How Do You Describe Broccoli? – to a community of online people at answers.com, one member answered saying, “Broccoli is good chopped into small pieces or cut into larger piece and cooked until tender.
It’s delicious to eat as it is when cooked naturally and also in recipes.
The popular dish, broccoli and cheese is made with cooked, tender broccoli before draining and stirring in cheese until it melts and mixes in with the broccoli.
You can also make cheese sauces, which you serve, poured over the broccoli on a plate.
Either way it is cooked or served, broccoli is a favorite among vegetables and nutritionally powerful” (Answers).
The Sweet Potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family.
This species of plants are known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, which has more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.
The sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root. There are about 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, with some varieties sold at market for food, while others are not for consumption, as they are poisonous.
The sweet potato is only distantly related to the common potato, though it is not part the nightshade family.
The website – “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” – has this to say about sweet potatoes when preparing to eat them, “It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable.
Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.
In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat (whfoods).
To view a few recipes using sweet potatoes click one of the following links:
Leeks are winter root vegetable that looks much similar to onions, and to which they are also related. Their flavor is onion-like but much milder, mellower, and not overpowering, as onions sometimes can be.
The darker green parts have plenty of flavor. They can either be cooked longer then the root parts to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock, like chicken broth base soup along with potatoes, carrots, and herbs.
They can also be eaten raw or joined with a salad of leafy greens to divulge a wonderful crisp crunchy flavor.
Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each). Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.
Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.
Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops With Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 cup butter, milted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1 pound pork loin chops, thin cut
8 slices smoked bacon
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound carrots, sliced down the middle and cut into 2 inch slices
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Spread some cream cheese on one side of chops. Sprinkle on some sugar-spice mix. Roll chops and wrap with one slice of bacon. Use a tooth pick or two to hold in place.
Arrange prepared chops into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish.
Next add melted butter to sugar-spice mix, and incorporate. Add cut carrots to a 13 X 9 glass baking dish and mix in sugar-spice.
Roast both prepared baking dishes for 30 minutes, or until pork is cook.
When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.
The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.
Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.
Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.
Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.
Over medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.
Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.
To thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.
According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry. As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.
In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).
The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish. Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.
Orechiette is a distinctive Puglian type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, as orecchio in Italian means eat, and Orecchiette means little ears.
The pasta is roughly 3/4 of an inch across, slightly domed, and the centers are thinner than the rim of the pasta. The pastas texture is soft in the middle and more chewy along the rim or outside of the pasta.
The pasta makers “Barilla” says that Orecchiette is the signature pasta of Puglia, describing Puglia as a humble farming land situated along the southeastern coast of Italy.
Here is a video posted to You-Tube of Italian women in Italy making fresh Orechiette pasta.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute, stirring often, until beginning to brown and smell fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chorizo to pan and break up with a spoon, and cook meat until browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
Next add tomato paste and red pepper flakes to meat mixture and mix in. Next add the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened a bit, about 15-20 minutes. Next add the can of chickpeas, and mix in, cooking 2 minutes more to heat the chickpeas through.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packaged instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Next add the pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to meat sauce. Continue to cook until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Add the pasta liquid as needed. You might use the whole cup, and possibly less.
Serve pasta topped with cilantro or parsley (your choice), Parmesan, and lemon zest.
We have had this for left overs a few times, and each time we add cilantro, cheese, and lemon zest. The zest adds great flavor to this dish. Be sure to use it.
The squash is a member of the gourd family and is the most widely grown winter squash. In the United States, Florida is the largest squash-producer with California ranking second.
Butternut is rich in fiber, and low in calories. It also is a good source of minerals, including magnesium and potassium. Those who have asthma or breathing problems, this squash can help, because of its magnesium, and vitamins A and C content.
You have some chicken breasts and are looking for a new idea to prepare them? Well you have arrived to the right place for a quick and easy recipe. It’s our Tomato Basil Chicken entrée. Besides being healthy with all fresh ingredients that include tomato, basil, and garlic, this recipe is reminiscent of warm weather and luscious Mediterranean summers.
According to Spice Pages by Gernot Katzer, basil is native to India, though it is not used as a culinary herb, but rather is considered sacred and use in religious rites. Besides the most common Mediterranean type basil sold in the Western world, there is also varieties from the Asian world, such as Thailand‘s sweet basil with a licorice flavor, and a lemon basil which has a distinct balm-like flavor. Katzer states there are also verities introduced to European gardeners from Africa as well (Spice Pages: Basil).
Now for our featured recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken, and here is what you will need.
1 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2-3 medium sized pieces) with the skin on
Dice the tomatoes, and chop the garlic. Tear the basil apart by hand.
Next, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. You may use the ground salt, but the rock salt lends a more rustic appeal to the dish.
In a preheated ceramic coated pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down.
Next add the garlic and allow the chicken to brown on both sides, turning once.
Once both sides are adequately cooked, add the tomatoes. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and some of it has formed a sauce with the olive oil and garlic. Next add the basil and cook for another minute.
Next add the grated Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.
Plate and serve. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Add a side of cooked Mediterranean vegetables or a Greek salad.
I like going to the Kona Grill here in town. They make the best Apple Walnut Bread Pudding and a wonderful Macadamia Chicken Salad. My favorite though is their Basil Pesto Linguine. I did adventure into the kitchen and used my cooking skills to try and mimic the dish (I posted it here: Basil Pesto Linguine). It came out pretty good, though it still needed something. So back to Kona Grill I went.
This time I was fortunate, as the manger came by my table and asked how our food was. I told her that I had tried my hand at making this dish, but it still needed something. She told me the pesto sauce contained chipotle peppers in adobo sauce as well. Then she said that is all she could say. But for me that was enough.
Play the video to get a glimpse at the finished dish. Though we did forget to put the small cherry tomatoes, we did even miss them, As the recipe had the same flavor as the Kona Grill. This time though I used gluten free fettuccine pasta.
Here is what you will need for the featured recipe.
16 ounces of cooked gluten free Fettuccine
1 lb. of chicken breasts, about 2, skinless and boneless
15 cherry tomatoes (about), sliced in half to measure 1 cup (optional)
Cook gluten free fettuccine according to package instructions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Meantime, while chicken is a little frozen, slice chicken breasts horizontally 2 to 3 times, depending on thickness of the breast meat. Cut slices into 1-inch chunks. Place cut chicken onto a baking sheet and place in heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is oblique in color and no longer pink.
Next add pesto to a small bowl and mix in adobo sauce and heavy cream, and set aside.
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Next slice links down the middle and remove meat from casings and place into pan and start moving meat around with a spatula, so meat falls apart into small chunks.
Now add cooked chicken, and mix in with sausage. Next add pesto – chipotle sauce and mix in.
Next add cook gluten free pasta, and mix till well incorporated.
Place pasta onto a serving platter, then plate and serve.
Don’t toss the food scrapes just yet! You can still use them to make or prepare something you may never given any thought too.
Watermelon rind has nutritional benefits. It contain vitamin-C and vitamin B-6, both great for skin, immunity, and the nervous system. Here’s something that maybe a surprise to you the rinds may help your sex life. A 2008 study at Texas A&M University research reported that watermelon rinds have high concentrations of a compound called citrulline, which the body converts into an amino acid that helps improve circulation and relax blood vessels.
After cutting up a watermelon save those rinds and blend them into a fruit smoothie, or try using them in a stir-fry. The rinds when cooked have a zucchini-like texture, with a slightly sweeter flavor.
A 2013 study found that around 40 million tons of banana peels are thrown in the trash and go unused worldwide. Did you know you can use the peels to heal wounds, just rub the pulp side on bruises and scrapes to deliver potassium to heal the wound. Soak the peels in a jar of water, for a few days, then mix five parts water to one part banana-water, and fertilize your potted plants .
The Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2011) wrote that banana peels contain carotenoids and polyphenols, which are thought to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Wash the peel in water then blend into a fruit smoothie. India boasts a dry vegetable curry using chopped banana peels boiled with turmeric powder and salt, then mixed with other ingredients, such as mustard seeds, green chilies, and cabbage.
After peeling a sweet potato, use the peels help lighten those persistent dark circles under the eyes. Even some have used the peels as a remedy to fad away freckles and age spots o the skin. It’s the enzyme called catecholase in the potatoes that give the peelings of the sweet potato this ability.
Stale bread has always been used to make crumbs or croutons But did you can know you can run stale bread through your spice or coffee grinders to remove any leftover odors or residue?
If you have smudges or marks on the walls, including crayon marks, stale bread can help. First remove the crust, then wipe the marks or smudges with a soft cloth, then rub semi-stale bread against it. The sponge like texture will work like a store bought cleaning eraser.
The wrapping around onions is rich in the nutrient quercetin, a plant pigment that helps to prevent your arteries from clogging, and helping with lowering blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.
A 2011 study reported that in the European Union alone, around 500,000 tons of onion skins go to waist each year. Though the onion skin is not palatable, you can reap the health benefits by tossing the onion skins into beef, chicken or vegetable broth while cooking soups and stews. The out come will be a rich, flavorful soup. Don’t for get to remove the skin before serving.
Do you have a bottle of olive oil that has lost its fragrant taste? Will don’t toss it. There are still ways to use it.
Do you have a pair of paints that has a zipper that just won’t budge? Dab some oilve oil on the teeth of the zipper to make it zip again. You can even use it to wipe off eye makeup. Surprised? Just try it and see for yourself.
Other uses include rubbing into the leaves of potted plants to make them shine and look healthier, or even use to polish your leather shoes.
Swiss Chard Stalks
Those of us that use Swiss chard, always toss the stalks, but wait, German researchers reported that the stalks contain glutamine an amino acid , which boosts the immune system, and can also aid the body to recover from surgery and heal wounds.
Cut the stalks into one-inch cubes, roast for about 20 minutes, and season with lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Add a whole Swiss chard (stalks included) to the blender for a powerful boost to your green juice or smoothie.
If none of the for gone ideas sound appealing to you, you can toss those scrapes into a mulch bend to add to the soil in your garden. Even if you don’t garden, give your scrapes off to a friend who does, or to your local community garden.