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Dec 5, 2009

CHIPPED BEEF DIP IN A SOURDOUGH BREAD BOWL

CHIPPED BEEF DIP IN A SOURDOUGH BREAD BOWL

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 ounce) package chipped beef, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers
1 (8-inch) round loaf sour dough bread

Mix the ingredients well except bread.

Slice top off bread round and hollow out, carefully, making sure
there are no weak places in bread shell. Reserve removed bread. Fill
bread shell with chipped beef mixture and put top back on. Wrap in
foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours.

Use soft bread from interior of the loaf to dip into hot mixture.

Bread can be toasted. Crackers can also used for dipping.

Serves 12.

DOUBLE-CHIP TASSIES

DOUBLE-CHIP TASSIES

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softned
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups peanut butter and milk chocolate chips, divided
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening (not butter, margarine, spread or oil)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 3/4 cup butter and cream cheese in
medium bowl. Add flour and 1/4 cup sugar, beating until blended well.
Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until dough is firm.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and press each ball onto bottom and up
sides of about 36 small muffin cups, 1 3/4 inches in diameter.

Combine egg, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, lemon juice and
vanilla in small bowl; stir until smooth.

Set aside 1/3 cup chips and add remainder to egg mixture. Evenly fill
muffin cups with chip mixture.

Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes or until filling is set and
browned lightly. Cool completely, then remove from pan to wire rack.

Combine reserved 1/3 cup chips and shortening in small microwave-safe
bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. If necessary, microwave
additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until
chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle over
tops of tassies.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

SOUTHERN AMBROSIA

SOUTHERN AMBROSIA

2 cups orange sections, with juice
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 large bananas, sliced
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
Maraschino cherries, with stems

Combine orange sections, pineapple, banana slices and liqueur. Chill
1 hour. Just before serving, mix in 1 cup coconut.

Spoon into pretty individual serving dishes or large traditional
footed glass serving bowl. Top with remaining coconut. Garnish with
maraschino cherries.

Makes about 4 cups or 8 servings. Recipe may be doubled.

Holiday Pinwheels

Holiday Pinwheels

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese; softened
1 dry packet ranch style salad dressing mix
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced celery
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions, green
1/4 cup sliced green or black olives
4 10-inch tortillas

1. Combine cream cheese and dressing mix in a bowl and beat with mixer until
smooth. Add red pepper, celery, onions and olives, and mix well.

2. Spread about 3/4 cup of mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly; wrap
in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Makes about 15 servings.

Fat Loss with Hot Herbs and Special Spices

Including delicious spices and herbs in your daily nutrition not only makes fat loss easy and realistic - but it also gives you life enhancing benefits that can keep you alive and strong for years to come.

Potent plant compounds in herbs like nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and rosemary have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that scientists suggest might help do everything from stabilize blood sugar levels and protect your heart to improve mood and enhance brain function ... and even fight cancer cells.

Although most of the 'official' research is preliminary, and in rodents, it expands our thinking of what most see as 'flavoring foods' can do.

Chili Powder — Though it seems odd that capsaicin, the substance that gives chili peppers and chili powder their fiery heat, would act as a pain reliever, it has indeed been used for years as a topical cream to help people with arthritis, shingles and psoriasis. Experts suspect capsaicin works by first stimulating pain receptors via the skin and then shutting them down.

Now, scientists think this principle can help inside the body too. By combining the local anesthesia lidocaine (Xylocaine) with capsaicin, Harvard scientists were able to block pain receptors, yet leave touch and motor sensors intact, causing controlled numbness. Though tested only on rats so far, researchers are confident the finding could eventually transform the way surgery is performed.

In lab studies, capsaicin has also been shown to kill prostate cancer cells. One BIG reason for men to keep chili powder on hand at all times... in the kitchen, that is.

Cinnamon — One of my daily favorites... In addition to antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, cinnamon is now hailed for its power to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood glucose levels. It's also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels.

Even small amounts of cinnamon may be effective. One study showed that the equivalent of just one-half teaspoon of cinnamon powder twice daily before meals lowered glucose and cholesterol levels. Another found that the equivalent of a teaspoon a day lowered fasting glucose in people with diabetes. HINT: put it in your oatmeal with a tablespoon of ground organic flax seeds.

Curry Powder — The excitement behind curry centers on its primary ingredient, turmeric, which contains curcumin, a powerful polyphenol with antioxidant properties. Curcumin gives this amazing spice its distinctive flavor and vivid yellow color.

In a study in Endocrinology in July, Columbia University researchers reported that curcumin reduced inflammation and lessened the chances that obese mice would develop type 2 diabetes. Additionally, in the mice that did contract the disease, curcumin still decreased insulin resistance, enhanced blood sugar level profiles, decreased body-fat and increased lean muscle mass.

More exciting studies target heart disease and cancer. Canadian scientists gave curcumin to mice with enlarged hearts. Not only did it lower the incidence of heart failure (a common outcome of an enlarged heart), but it reversed the condition, restoring heart function. Curcumin also has the ability to stop tumor growth and promote tumor cell breakdown, particularly in colorectal cancer cells.

Earlier animal research suggests curcumin may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn's disease. Its extract blocks bone breakdown, reducing the risk for osteoporosis.

Now, scientists are analyzing curcumin and how it may affect Alzheimer's disease. In India — where people eat two to four grams (about one teaspoon) of turmeric daily—Alzheimer rates are one-quarter what they are in the U.S. All of these little tidbits of evidence are why you may want to add a some curry powder to your sauteed veggies or your stir fried chicken or fish.

It may be a stretch going from mice to men, of course, but it makes all the sense in the world - when you realize that most medications are created from various plants around the world. Currently, ten studies are underway in humans.

Rosemary — Rosemary is a robust herb that adds oomph to dishes, but may also smother cancer? Scientists think it does... at least a concentrated extract of the herb might. Some researchers believe rosemary can block dangerous carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCA) from forming during cooking.

A Kansas State University food scientist, motivated by a study showing that marinades made with rosemary, thyme and other spices could cut HCA in grilled steak by 87%, tried rosemary extract alone... And what would you know? The rosemary cleared out any trace of HCA in the grilled hamburgers, and without imparting an overpowering rosemary taste.

Researchers credit phenols with protective antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects. Add this 'pine-needle looking' herb to dressings and meat marinades.

Saffron — This spice is what turns rice yellow in the Spanish dish, 'paella'. Both the petal and sought-after stamen of saffron have shown potent antidepressant effects in several studies. In fact, a few studies found that 30 milligrams of saffron was just as effective as commonly prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and imipramine (Tofranil) for treating mild-to-moderate depression. Other research suggests saffron has anticarcinogenic properties. You can even add this to stir fried vegetables and various meats.

Ancient societies have been using herbs and spices to prevent and treat ailments for thousands of years, but only recently have Western scientists begun to test, validate and substantiate some of these claims, as well as discover new benefits, uses and applications.

Although much of the research has been in animals so far, and many studies use extracts, concentrates and supplements in amounts which may be challenging to consume, fresh or dried - researchers feel the need to study these herbs and spices in humans in everyday amounts before 'formal' recommendations can be made regarding the prevention or treatment of various conditions and illnesses.

With that being stated... There's no good reason to wait for a bureaucratic, 'official statement' of proof or approval.

Just let your logic and common sense tell you there are unquestionable benefits to be gained by enjoying healthful and flavorful doses of powerful herbs and spices in your daily nutrition.

This is just another health promoting, life enhancing gift from 'the universe' - it's your choice to use it or not.

Homemade Salsa for Parties

A good homemade salsa can spice up a meal and add a little life to your party and as well as your party trays. Although you can find salsa at any grocery store, it's just not the same as one which you make yourself. If you have never made salsa from scratch, is actually easier than you think. With the right salsa recipe and just a little time to prepare, you can create a good homemade salsa that will have people coming back for more.

To make the process of creating a salsa recipe as quick and effortless as possible there are some things you can do. For example a food processor or a food chopper can cut down on the time it takes and is much less messy when you have to clean up.

You can also add your own 'branding' to your salsa. You can take it and make slight tweaks here and there to suit your taste. You can add more tomatoes or reduce the peppers to create a more mild version of your salsa. Or you can put in other kinds of peppers such as jalapenos to put that extra zing into your salsa.

To make a thicker and full bodied salsa, extract the seeds and the juice of the tomatoes before preparing. Also any extra liquid can be extracted when boiling for an extra measure of thickness. You will have to experiment a little bit to get the consistency of your unique salsa recipe just right.

You can start to creatively come up with new ways to use your homemade salsa - you don't have to use it only with chips. For example you can add some salsa to your nachos or bean dips. You can also take your fried or grilled meat and serve that with your salsa as well. Don't limit yourself.

You can take your salsa and use it to make quite a healthy snack. To make tortilla chips you can bake tortillas for a low fat snack to serve your salsa with it.

You will be pleasantly surprised to keep getting asked to make it again and again. If that is the case you may want to make larger batches - maybe twice or three times the amount the recipe calls for. The extra salsa can be put into containers for freezing. You will always be prepared for those guests who just seem to pop in.

A few tweaks here and there to your homemade salsa recipe and you will hit on just the right combination to give it that perfect taste for you and your guests. And the people will keep coming back for more!

Tips For Sugar-free Baking

There are so many good reasons to reduce the amount of sugar in the foods that we eat. Processed sugar, especially in the amounts that we eat it here in the United States, is a major contributor to obesity, and provides very little substantive nutrition for the number of calories that it delivers. While it is easy to reduce sugar in some aspects of your diet, there are some sticking points. If you love to bake, for instance, you’ll find that just cutting out the sugar in many recipes will result in a failed recipe. In many recipes, sugar is more than just a sweetener. It provides texture, contributes to browning and may serve to help other chemical processes happen.

That does not mean you have to give up on baking if you want to cut out sugar. There are a number of tips that can help you reduce sugar in your favorite cakes, cookies and other sweet baked goods and still enjoy them. These tips are helpful for cooking with sweeteners such as Splenda Granular.

Amount
In some recipes, sugar is important for the structure and texture. This is especially true in candies and confections like nougat, and in frostings and sweets. For best results, you really can’t replace the entire amount of sugar with a sugar substitute. You can generally replace about 25% of the sugar called for in the recipe. If you must cook completely sugar free, then try recipes that use other natural sweeteners for flavor and sweetness.

Volume/Height
If your cakes, breads and muffins don’t rise as high when using a granulated sugar substitute, try adding ½ cup of nonfat dry milk powder and half a teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of sweetener that you use.

Bake your cakes and muffins in smaller pans. Instead of 9 inch round cake pans, use 8 inch pans with two inch high sides.

Texture
Cookies and cookie bars often need brown sugar for their texture. If you want to keep that chewy-crunchy bite, you’ll probably need to keep the brown sugar, and only replace the white sugar with a sweetener.

Experiment with your favorite recipes. You can get excellent results by replacing the sugar and much of the fat with applesauce or fruit purees. The best choice for fruit purees? All natural baby food, with no sugar, salt or preservatives added. Bananas, peaches, prunes, carrots and sweet potatoes are all great choices for dense cakes, cookie bars and muffins.

Cookies made with artificial sweeteners often don’t spread well when they bake. To help them bake better, use a fork sprayed with cooking spray to flatten each cookie slightly before placing them into the oven.

Jams and jellies often rely on sugar to help activate pectin in recipes. You may need to use some extra fruit pectin to help your fruits set up properly if you are using an artificial sweetener, or going au natural.

If your sugar free baked goods are coming out a bit too dry, try adding a bit of thinly sliced or grated zucchini to the recipe. The flavor is neutral, but it will add moisture to your breads, muffins and cakes.

Pick the Right Sweetener
Some sweeteners react badly to heat. Aspartame, for instance, loses most of its sweetness during baking, so sweeteners that use aspartame should be confined to recipes where you can add the sugar at the end of the cooking – puddings, frostings and the like.

Flavor
Use flavor enhancers to emphasize sweetness in recipes. For instance, an extra teaspoon of vanilla per cup of sugar substitute will bring out the sweetness. Hone or molasses in quick breads and muffins will add a bit of a flavor boost. Other possibilities for enhancing flavors include lemon and orange zest, almond flavoring, and butter flavoring.

Appearance
Sugar free baked goods often look pasty and uncooked because sugar caramelizes during baking to give everything a golden brown color. You can simulate the browning by spraying the surface of the batter or dough with a bit of cooking spray before putting it in the oven.

Other ways to simulate browning include adding cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter.

Most granular sweeteners do not appear to get as creamy and smooth, when mixed with butter, margarine and shortening and it may even separate when you add eggs. It won’t affect the final product; just continue on with the recipe.

Cooking with Yeast
Sugar substitutes won’t activate yeast, so if you’re making yeast breads with a sugar substitute, you’ll need to retain at least two teaspoons of sugar in the recipe, or replace the sugar with another natural sweetener like molasses or honey.

Adjust Bake Times
Baked goods cooked with granulated sweeteners may bake more quickly than the recipe dictates. Check cakes 7-10 minutes before the recipe’s bake time, and brownies, quick breads and cookies 3-5 minutes before the recipe says it will be done. Remember that sugar free recipes may not brown during baking and rely on other indicators.

How to Get the Best Results from Baked Fish Recipes

How to Get the Best Results from Baked Fish Recipes

Fish contains natural fish oils so you do not need to add fat or oil before baking if you do not want to. There are plenty of baked tilapia recipes, for example, which call for thinly sliced vegetables or seasoned breadcrumbs on top of the fish, to keep it juicy throughout cooking. Another tip is to brush a small amount of butter or oil on top of the fish before baking it.

The general rule with fish baking is to bake the fish for 10 minutes for every inch of its thickness. 450F is a suitable temperature for most baked fish recipes. Unless the fish is an inch or less thick, you should turn it half way through the cooking time.

Cooking times also vary depending on the density of the fish. While cooking fish, tuck any thin ends underneath so it cooks evenly. The fish is done when it is opaque all the way through, when it is 145F in the center, or when you can easily flake the flesh at its thickest point with a fork.

To stop fish sticking to the baking dish, you can place it on a bed of onions, celery, or both. This makes the fish stay in one piece when removing it from the baking dish and gives it some extra flavor.

How To Enjoy Goat Cheese

One of the sought after sources for the cheese is the goat milk. When it comes to well-loved cheeses, the goat cheese always manage to be in the fore.

One cannot deny how much people are seeking this product considering that there are many brands popping out with their own goat cheese.

Goat cheese is, as the name would indicate, a kind of cheese that is taken from the milk of the goat. This is also known as the chevre cheese. Chevre is the French term for the goat.

This name came about because it was produced in regions where a considerable number of goats are domesticated and kept. This makes cheese production from the milk of the goat a very convenient endeavor.

More of the cheese lovers actually favor the goat cheese because of its more favorable contents compared to the other kinds.

Basically, the milk of the goat has the same fat contents as that the milk coming from the cow. However, there are distinct characteristics in the goat cheese that makes it very tasty.

The milk of a goat contains higher contents of medium-chain fatty acids like the caprylic, capric and caproic acids. These help in providing a tart zest.

It is worthy to note also that these acids take their name from the word capra which is the Latin term in turn for the goat.

Since its conception, France has been the largest source for goat milk production, more specifically in the areas of Poitou and Loire Valley.

These places were claimed as the areas where the Moors first brought the goat as early as the eighth century.

There are many varieties today of the French goat cheeses. The Picodon, Pouligny Saint-Pierre, Chabis, Chabichou du Poitou, Pyramide and Rocamadour are some of these varieties.

Crottin de Chavignol is the goat cheese variety produced in most number.

Mató is another kind. This is a Catalan fresh cheese. This can be produced out of goat milk or cow milk. Thus, you must inquire properly to make sure you get the kind that is really the chevre cheese.

Those who love the Greek halloumi and the feta should know that these are traditionally produced using the milk of the goat.

The Castelo Branco on the other hand is the Portuguese version of the chevre cheese while the pantysgawn is the Welsh kind.

Enjoying Chevre Cheese

Chevre cheese today is best enjoyed when served hot. This is more popularly known as the Chevre chaud, the French term for its condition.

This is also a perfect companion to various cooking menus, preparations and recipes. Its creamy taste and unique tang can definitely give a refreshing taste. It can even be used to improve the flavors of vegetables.

Incredible results can also be expected whenever the chevre cheese is used in pasta dishes.

The cheese do not even have to be cooked in the heat of the oven. The heat coming from the cooked pasta will suffice to melt the cheese and release its unique zest.

There are a number of delectable dishes that can be enjoyed with the right cheese at hand. Whenever you feel like enjoying that unique and tangy taste, make sure that you have a goat cheese at hand.

Make Homemade Cheese

To make homemade cheese you will need:

1 gallon of milk (preferably organic)

1 quart of buttermilk (preferably organic)

Heat the milk and buttermilk in a pot on your stove over medium low heat. Keep an eye on the pot as you prepare the other items needed since the only thing you don't want to do here is allow the mixture to come to a boil. You'll know when it's ready because large curds form and separate from the whey in the pot. If you have a thermometer you can check the temperature. Ideally it should be about 180 degrees F.

Meanwhile, find a cheese cloth or cut the leg off of a brand new or very clean pair of tights or stockings.(a very homemade cheese cloth) This works better than cheese cloth because the leg can be fitted over the mouth of a large jar. When the milk mixture is ready simply pour it into the leg and the liquid will collect in the jar. You will have to remove the stocking and dump out the liquid a few times during the process unless you have a super large jar. Not exactly traditional but I have found this method to be easy and super for cleanup time.

Once the entire contents of the pot have been strained through your stocking contraption, allow it to hang there for about 30 min. This will allow more moisture to drip out while cooling it enough so you can handle it. After the 30 minutes passes, it's time to decide what you want to do with your homemade cheese base.

One option to transfer the cheese to a bowl, add salt, and form into a rectangle. Place it on a clean kitchen towel and lay it down on a cookie. Next fill a large pot with water (for weight) and use the pot as a press for the cheese. Simply put the entire setup, tray, cheese and pot, into the refrigerator and allow it to set 6 hours or overnight. The longer you allow the cheese to set the firmer it will become. With this simple homemade cheese you can do almost anything. From that add whatever you want to age it to tasted and texture. ENJOY!

Rib Eye Steak with Mushrooms and Bleu Cheese

Serves 2



2 ea.Rib-eye steaks (each about 1 inch thick)

? tsp.Kosher salt

? tsp.Pepper

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

3 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

1 ea Onion - thinly sliced

1/2 lb Mushrooms - thickly sliced

2 Tbsp.Garlic - chopped

3/4 cup Beef broth

1/4 cup Brandy

1/4 tsp. Fresh rosemary - minced

? cupBleu cheese - crumbled


Place steaks in shallow dish. Drizzle with oil; rub oil all over steaks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Heat a saut? pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks to skillet; fry until cooked to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using tongs, transfer steaks to plates and place in a warm oven.


Add butter and onion to saut? pan then saut? until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; saut? until mushrooms are just tender, about 4 minutes


Add broth, brandy and rosemary and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce until liquid by 2/3, about 5 minutes. Add cheese; stir just until cheese melts, but still has bits of bleu cheese visible, about 1 minute.


Take the steak out of the oven and transfer it to a plate. Top with mushroom sauce.