Friday, October 1, 2010

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

I have always been one of those people who loves the dark meat on a chicken or turkey.  This recipe for sweet and spicy chicken thighs was a delicious tid bit I found in the September issue of Cooking Light.


2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 tablespoons Honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Cooking Instructions

1.  Preheat Broiler
2.  Combine garlic powder, chili powder, salt, cumin, paprika and red pepper in a large bowl.
3.  Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat. 
4.  Broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side.
5.  Combine honey and cider vinegar in a small bowl and mix well. 
6.  Remove chicken from broiler and brush with 1/4 cup honey mixture.  Broil chicken one additional minute.
7.  Remove chicken from broiler again, turn over and brush with remaining honey mixture.
8.  Broil chicken for one minute then remove from broiler and serve.


Calories 321
Fat 11g
Protein 28g
Carb 279g
sodium 676mg

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are Today's Fruits and Vegetables Less Nutritious?

Are today's broccoli, carrots and peppers the same as the broccoli, carrots and peppers people ate 50 years ago?  Quite simply the answer is no.  Most of the vegetables you see in the market today have significantly lower amounts of nutrients than produce grown 30 to 40 years ago.  The average amount of nutrients in some fruits and vegetables have been reduced by 50% or more.

Some studies have suggested that the reduction in nutrients has been caused by the farming industry trying to grow larger produce at faster rates.  The increased use of selective breeding to produce larger, hardier breeds of plants along with the use of synthetic fertilizers has reduced the plants abilities to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.  While they have succeeded in making large beautiful produce they unfortunately have also made less nutritious produce.

Get More Nutrients For Your Dollar

There are ways that you can fight this trend and get produce that has more nutritional value. 

Go for Organic.  By avoiding synthetic fertilizers organic farmers put more stress on their plants causing them to protect themselves by producing larger amounts of phytochemicals which render them more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts. 

Look for bold color.  A vegetable that has a richly colored skin is an indication of a higher level of phytochemicals.  For example, a dark orange color in a carrot will indicate higher amounts of beta carotene than in lighter, paler carrots. 

Less can be more.  When shopping don't go for the biggest vegetable in the bin.  It may look healthy but could have fewer nutrients per bite than its smaller counterparts.  Plants have a limited amount of nutrients that they are able to pass on to their produce so the nutrients in a larger piece of produce may be more diluted.  The nutrients in a smaller piece of produce will tend to be more concentrated so you will get more nutrients per bite.

Eat within a week.  Fruits and vegetables start to lose nutrients the second they are separated from the plant so the sooner fresh produce is consumed the better.  Always try to consume fresh fruits and vegetable within a week of buying them. 

Buy from Old McDonald.  Since produce starts losing nutrients immediately after harvest, get your fruits and vegetables from a farmers market whenever possible.  They will be much fresher and more nutritious.

Keep it whole.  Pre-cut and chopped produce is a huge time savor but peeling and chopping causes produce to lose nutrients quickly.  Buy fresh produce and prepare immediately before cooking or eating. 

Eat the ones Grandma ate.  Look for heirloom varieties.  Plants bred prior to WWII, before the development of synthetic fertilizers, will be naturally hardier and more nutritious.

Cook it right.  Pay attention to how you are cooking your vegetables.  The best way to cook vegetables to maintain nutrients is to steam them.  Also cooked vegetables may be more nutritious than raw vegetables.  The gentle heat of steaming softens cell walls to make the nutrients more accessible.

While this trend in growing less nutritious produce is distressing, you can still get healthy fruits and vegetables if you just pay attention and look for the signs of nutrients.  See you at the farmers market.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops With Two Melon Salsa

Here's a quick and simple summer recipe that you can make in the winter when you need that little reminder of summer to get you through those cold dreary days.  From the July 2010 issue of Cooking Light I bring you Grilled Pork Chops with Two Melon Salsa.

Melon Salsa

1  cup chopped watermelon
1  cup chopped honeydew melon
3  Tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
1  Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1  Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1  Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pork Chops

2  teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4  4-ounce boneless center cut pork chops


1. Combine all salsa ingredients and set aside.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.
3. combine canola oil, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
4. Rub oil mixture on both sides of pork chops.
5. Cook pork chops in grill pan for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
6. Serve each pork chop with 1/2 cup of melon salsa.

To keep it interesting you can also substitute your favorite soft fruit such as peaches or mangos.

Nutrition Information

Calories 256
Fat 13.5g
Protein 25g
carb 8.7g
Fiber 0.9g
Sodium 458 mg

Recommended Cookware

Calphalon 13-in. Nonstick CS Nonstick Grill Pan

Calphalon 13-in. Nonstick CS Nonstick Grill Pan

Emerilware from All-Clad 10x10-in. Square Cast Iron Grill Pan

Emerilware from All-Clad 10x10-in. Square Cast Iron Grill Pan

Architec 12x19 Restaurant Gripper

Architec 12x19 Restaurant Gripper "The Gripper" Professional Cutting Board, Red

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Island Mango Chiller Smoothie

Fall is a great season to spend time out doors. While you are kicking back on the patio reading a your favorite magazine enjoy a healthy refreshing smoothie. This one comes from Shape magazine.


1 cup ice cubes
3/4 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup canned pineapple chuncks
2 tablespoons canned pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
Dash cayenne pepper


Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately. If using frozen fruit instead of fresh reduce ice to 3/4 cup.


155 calories
1 g fat
4 g fiber

Recommended Cookware

Cuisinart 40-oz. Duet Blender/Food Processor, Chrome

Cuisinart 40-oz. Duet Blender/Food Processor, Chrome

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Balsamic Steak au Poivre

I love a good steak. Here is a steak recipe that my family loves, but watch out for those peppercorns because they can get a little hot. From the June issue of Cooking Light here is Balsamic Steak au Poivre.


2   8oz. New York Strip Steaks (approx. 1 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2  Tablespoons cracked peppercorns
1  Tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup less sodium beef broth
2  Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1  Tablespoon butter

1.  Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat.
2.  Pat steaks dry with paper towel.
3.  Sprinkle Steaks evenly with salt.
4.  Press peppercorns into both sides of steak.
5.  Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.
6.  Add steaks to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.
7.  Remove steaks from pan and let stand 5 minutes.
8.  Add shallots to pan and cook 1 minute until almost tender.
9.  Stir in broth and vinegar, scraping pan to loosen brown bits.  Bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes until mixture is reduced by half.
10. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
11. Pour sauce over steaks and serve.

Nutrition Information
Calories 236
Fat 12.7g
Protein 25g
Carb   3.6g
Fiber 0.1g
Sodium 246mg

Suggested Cookware

Paula Deen 12-in. Signature Cast Iron Skillet

Paula Deen 12-in. Signature Cast Iron Skillet

Le Creuset 11.75-in. Enameled Enameled Cast Iron Iron Handle Skillet, Cherry

Le Creuset 11.75-in. Enameled Enameled Cast Iron Iron Handle Skillet, Cherry

Wusthof Set of 6 Silverpoint II Steak Knives

Wusthof Set of 6 Silverpoint II Steak Knives

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Exactly Is Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware?

Rachael Ray 10-pc. Nonstick Porcelain Enamel Cookware Set, BlueThere are many types of cookware on the market today. A good friend recently asked if hard anodized aluminum cookware was good cookware and also what exactly it was. So for all of you who read those words and don't really know what they mean, here are some tips to hard anodized aluminum cookware.

What is anodized aluminum?

In simple terms this is a hard protective oxidized layer formed on the surface of the aluminum as the result of a chemical reaction. The aluminum is placed into an acid bath. Like a battery the aluminum becomes the positive anode and the acid the negative anode. When an electric charge is passed through the acid bath the aluminum reacts quickly with oxygen forming aluminum oxide on the surface. The aluminum oxide replaces the aluminum on the surface it forming a hard non porous outer layer. Voila, you have anodized aluminum.

Does it make good cookware?

In one word, Yes.

Porchetta Style Roast Pork

This weeks recipe comes courtesy of the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. I confess I am a huge lover of pork and pork roasts in particular. I found this wonderful recipe while perusing the pages of Bon Appetit last month and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. So here we go...

2 Tablespoons fennel seed
1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 6 lb boneless pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed with thin layer left in tact
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth

This pork dish needs to marinate overnight so you will need to plan ahead and start preparation the day before you plan to serve it.

Day 1
1. Stir fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until slight darker in color and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to spice mill and allow to cool.
2. Add kosher salt, peppercorns and dried crushed red pepper to spice mill and grind to medium-fine consistency. (not powder)
3. Place port into a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.
4. Rub garlic all over pork roast then coat with spice mixture.
5. Loosely cover roast with waxed paper and refrigerate overnight.