GABBY COOKS – mac & cheese

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

What’s more comforting than home-made macaroni and cheese?  And even better is this stove-top recipe which eliminates a baking dish and a 45 minute wait while it bakes in the oven.  This dish is table ready in 12 minutes.

These are the ingredients

 

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  1. (2) cups dry elbow macaroni
  2. (4) quarts water salted like the sea and brought to a rapid boil
  3. (4) tbsp. unsalted butter
  4. (2) tbsp. flour
  5. up to 3 cups milk
  6. (2) cups sharp cheddar cheese shreds
  7. salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot bring the 4 quarts salted water to a boil
  2. Cook the macaroni as directed on the package
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter over a low heat
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir for several minutes
  5. When it turns golden, add about 1 cup milk and stir again
  6. Stir until the sauce turns creamy and increase the heat to a medium low
  7. Add more milk until it is creamy and smooth
  8. Add the cheese and stir again until it is thoroughly blended
  9. Salt and pepper as desired
  10. When macaroni is done ladle it out into the cheese sauce with a slotted spoon
  11. Blend until the pasta is evenly coated.
  12. If the macaroni and cheese is too thick and gooey add a spoonful at a time of the pasta water until it is deliciously creamy and smooth

GABBY COOKS – 3 can quickie

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

Dangit!!  I need a meeting tonight and I’ve got just 1/2 hour to fix supper and eat.  I have only $2 in my wallet so I can’t do Mickey D’s.  Let me see what’s in the pantry.

These are the ingredients

  1. (1) 15 oz can seasoned mixed greens
  2. (1) 15 oz can seasoned black-eyed peas
  3. (1) 8 3/4 oz can yellow sweet corn
  4. (4)  5″ corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Empty the cans into a sauce pot and heat
  2. While that’s heating, quarter the tortillas and fry in a fry pan in about 1/4 cup of oil
  3. Serve the corn chips atop or with the soup
  4. Eat and get to that meeting!

GABBY COOKS – squash soup

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

C’mon now, don’t wrinkle your nose until you’ve tried it.  It is velvety smooth and delicious.  I use the acorn squash, scientific name is Cucurbita pepo – turbinate.  Originating in North and Central America. historically this squash was used by the Native Americans.  It is a fruit of which the seeds were taken by European explorers and spread throughout the world.

Acorn squash is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and other B-family vitamins.  It has  a wealth of minerals including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium.  The raw fruit is difficult to peel and I find it easiest to slice it and then steam the slices until tender, cool, and then peel.

The other nutrient-laden ingredient in this soup is the sweet potato.  This tuber is rich  in flavonoid phenolic compounds, powerful natural antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin A.  Also in sweet potatoes are vitamin B-5, B-6, B-1, niacin, and riboflavin in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

Not only is this soup good eating, it is a powerhouse of nutrients.

Here are the ingredients

 

  1. 1/2 medium size acorn squash, deep green in color, sliced and steamed until tender.
  2. 1/2 medium size sweet potato peeled and diced
  3. 1 clove garlic smashed
  4. 1/2 tsp chopped jalapeno
  5. 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  6. 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth or combination of both
  7. 4 TBSP butter
  8. salt to taste
  9. grated fresh nutmeg
directions
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add the diced sweet potato
  3. Peel the cooled acorn squash and add to the saucepan
  4. Stir, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno
  5. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes
  6. Add 2 cups of the broth
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the ingredients are fork tender
  8. Carefully pour the hot soup into a blender and puree
  9. Return the mixture to the cook pot, add the rest of the broth
  10. Blend well and again simmer to a smooth, velvety texture
  11. Serve in soup bowls and grate fresh nutmeg atop each serving.

If the soup cooks down too much to an overly thick consistency, just add more broth or water.

 

 

 

GABBY COOKS – porcupines & mushroom sauce

There are no quills in this dish about which to be concerned.  It’s just simple, down-home cooking that combines pork, rice, and mushrooms in a one pot, stove top meal.  For many years pork was the bad boy in the health-conscious diet.  Those ribs, chops, sausages, and bacon were attributed with ailments from cardio-vascular disease to bad skin.  Baby, times have changed.

We don’t eat pork 5 nights a week nor do we have BLTs  at every lunch.  But, in moderation, chops, ribs, cutlets, sausages are a wonderful alternative to beef and chicken.  Remember – pork is the other white meat.

Here are some pork facts:

  • pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)
  • it is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide
  • pig husbandry dates back to 5000 B.C.
  • pork is the most popular meat in Eastern and Southeastern Asia
  • Asia cuisines prize it for its fat content and texture
  • it is forbidden by Jewish, Muslim, and Rastafarian dietary law for religious reasons

A three and one-half ounce serving of lean pork contains the following nutritional value:

  • 13.92 grams fat
  • 27.32 grams protein
  • 36% DV of Vitamin B-6
  • 29% DV of Vitamin B-12
  • 35% DV phosphorous
  • 25% DV zinc

Add this meat to the wholesome goodness of mushrooms and rice – voila – heaven in a Dutch cooker.

here are the ingredients

 

 

  1. 1 cup cooked white rice
  2. 1 LB ground pork
  3. 2 cloves chopped garlic
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tsp dried basil or 1 TBS chopped fresh basil
  6. 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  9. 1 cup chicken broth
  10. 2 TBS flour
  11. 2 TBS butter
  12. 2 TBS oil, olive or canola

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the rice according to directions
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the pork, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper, egg and mix well
  3. Reserve a small portion of the herbs to add to the mushroom sauce
  4. Add the cooked rice which has cooled and mix well
  5. Shape in balls just like meatballs, place on plate and chill for an hour
  6. After an hour’s chill, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid
  7. Brown the porcupines in the oil
  8. Remove them from the pot
  9. Add the butter to the pot and another TBS oil
  10. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat evenly with melted butter and oil
  11. After about 3 minutes sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms
  12. Cook the flour to a light brown, don’t burn it, stirring as it cooks
  13. Add the chicken broth and stir to mix with the mushrooms
  14. Stir constantly until the broth thickens into a creamy sauce
  15. Add the reserved pinch of basil and parsley
  16. Return the porcupines, cover and simmer about 1/2 hour

This dish is complete in itself, but sometimes I like to serve it in a bowl over hot noodles.

GABBY COOKS – chicken & corn soup

I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life eating Grandma’s chicken and corn soup and be a completely satisfied man.  She always used dark meat chicken for more flavor, but it is equally delicious using chicken breast.  This main course soup is a budget stretcher which complements any shopping list.  Add some chopped escarole and you’ve created a health dynamo.  If escarole is not available at your grocery, curly endive, a cousin of escarole, will work just as well.

Escarole has no fat.  One and one-half cups of chopped escarole has only 15 calories, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates.  It adds 5.2% to 8% of your recommended daily consumption of fiber which is a critical component of bowel health decreasing risk of constipation, diarrhea and diverticulitis.  We all know that adequate fiber will satisfy hunger with fewer calories, but to avoid bloating and gas work up slowly to an amount of 25 to 38 grams daily.

But wait, there’s more.  This one serving of 1 1/2 cups of escarole supplies 30% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 4% of your DRV of iron and calcium.  A shortage of iron may cause you to feel tired, dizzy and headachy.  We all know the importance of calcium, don’t we?  Yeah, strong teeth and bones.  healthfully.com

here are the ingredients
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 chicken legs and thighs or 2 breasts ( or a combination of dark and white meat, it’s up to you whether to use the skin in cooking, I believe it adds additional flavor, but also calories and fat)
  • about 4 cups chopped escarole (Grandma never used greens other than fresh parsley and it was just as delicious)
  • 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cob or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
directions
  1. heat the olive oil in a stew pot or Dutch oven
  2. add the onions and garlic
  3. cook until translucent being careful not to scorch the garlic
  4. remove from the pot and reserve for later
  5. add the chicken legs, thighs, breast
  6. saute in the oil until lightly golden
  7. add enough broth to cover the chicken pieces and bring to boil
  8. immediately reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover the pot
  9. cook on low heat about 30-45 minutes adding more broth if needed
  10. remove chicken from pot, set in bowl to cool
  11. add the greens, herbs, corn, and rest of the broth
  12. bring to a boil
  13. reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot
  14. cook about 15 minutes
  15. while that is cooking, skin and debone the chicken pieces
  16. tear meat into bite-sized pieces
  17. add the chicken and reserved onions and garlic to the soup
  18. add more broth or hot water if necessary to keep it soup
  19. season with salt and pepper
  20. ladle into bowls and top with the sliced hard-boiled eggs