Articles about Food

It’s all about the juice…

ready to juice with the Hurom Slow JuicerThis is my juicer.  There are many like it but this one is mine.  My juicer is my best friend, it is my life.  I must master it as I must master my own life…

I’ve been talking about getting a good juicer for years.  Now that things are settling down a bit for me I can focus on my health and nutrition a little more and part of that process is juicing.  I’ve talked with a handful of friends and family about their experiences and none of them had anything but good to say about juicing.  They feel better, have more energy and, in some cases, have lost weight.

Over last few years I’ve transitioned to a more whole food, plant-based diet.  I still eat meat occasionally, but that is happening less and less.  These days, I have a hard time eating meat from big-box grocery stores.  Luckily, we have several very nice farmer’s markets and local growers and ranchers who provide quality food here in Phoenix.  This makes it much easier to have a well stocked kitchen with fresh food while supporting local growers.  We have almost completely pulled away from processed foods and I feel so much better about the food I put in my body.

I know there is a strong community of juicers out there who all have their favorite recipes and are always experimenting and developing new ones.  Hopefully, I will be able to share some of my favorites as I get more experience with my juicer.  I am very excited about finding recipes to use the pulp as well as the juice so less get’s tossed out.  Any of the pulp ends up in compost for the garden, so I’m not too worried about the scraps.

Anyway, I wanted to post about this because I’d like to hear about some of your favorite recipes!  If you’ve got a favorite juice recipe (or other recipe using the juicer) please share it with me below, I’d love to try it!

Mean Green JuiceMy First Juice:

This was a recipe I found over at MyJuiceCleanse.com

Mean Green Juice

6 Kale Leaves
1 Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 piece of ginger

FYI – The Juicer I bought is the Hurom Slow Juicer.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Garlic Rosemary Mac-and-Cheese…

I do love me some Mac and Cheese!  Most of you, I’m sure, have seen the recipe I posted a while back for the Manly Mac and Cheese that my buddies and I make for Steak Night.  Well, with the bacon and grilled chicken it’s not vegetarian friendly for my fiance.  So I played with a variation of a recipe I had found with sweet potatoes mixed into Mac and Cheese (we LOVE sweet potatoes!).  One night we picked up everything we needed from the store and got to work in the kitchen.

The smell of the garlic and rosemary while it’s cooking is enough to get you drooling.  This one came together beautifully and is a great vegetarian Mac.  This recipe has even become popular with my meat-eating buddies…

Sweet Potato Garlic Rosemary Mac and Cheese

The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 large (or 2 small) orange sweet potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices or thicker
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces pasta (your choice)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 2-4 medium jalapenos (chopped, diced or sliced…cook’s preference)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or rub with butter.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add garlic and sweet potatoes and cook until the sweet potatoes are just starting to soften (about 5 minutes); remove cloves and sweet potatoes and let cool. When cloves have cooled, use a garlic press to press blanched cloves; set aside.
  3. While the water is still hot, add salt to the boiling water and toss in the pasta.  Cook until al dente (do not overcook).  When done, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; Dice sweet potatoes and cook in skillet, flipping occasionally, until they develop a caramelized crust (about 5 minutes). Set aside with the pasta.
  5. Pour yourself another glass of Sauvignon Blanc (per Russ Beebe). <<– Important step
  6. In the large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add in salt and pepper, and, with a wire whisk, gradually add half-and-half. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring. It should start to thicken up.  Reduce heat, and then simmer 1 minute (too long and it will get too thick making it hard to incorporate the cheese).
  7. Stir 1 3/4 cup Italian Blend Shredded Cheese and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese until melted and smooth. Add blanched pressed garlic, diced sweet potatoes, rosemary, minced garlic, jalapeno and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Pour into greased casserole dish.
  8. To make topping, combine a tablespoon olive oil, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Italian Blend Cheese, and 1/4 cup Asiago cheese in a small mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle on top of pasta.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and topping golden brown. Serve.

There are a lot of steps to this one, with the addition of the caramelized sweet potatoes.  But it is well worth the work.  I’ve made this one a half-dozen times or so now and everyone really seems to enjoy it.  Give it shot!  Let me know what you think…

Sweet potato mac and cheese

Recipe: Dave’s Awesome Chili…

Dave's Awesome Chili
I’ve made a lot of Chili over the years and experimented with a lot of different types of Chili.  Personally, I like to change it up often and have made turkey chili, vegetarian chili, no-bean chili, etc. and have enjoyed them all.  But the Grandaddy of them all is Dave’s Awesome Chili (no, I did not name it myself).  I only make this one on special occasions and, typically, only upon request.  This Chili has graced several Super Bowl parties and one especially thankful Cub Scout Pot Luck Awards Dinner.  This recipe can be expensive, makes a LOT of chili and it is spicy.  There are things you can do to adjust the spiciness of it but….why would you?
Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound chorizo (pork or beef, but I prefer pork)
  • 1 pound chopped mock tender chuck steak (or any stew meat)
  • 1 beef Kilbasa (see below for alternate options)
  • 1 1 lb package bacon
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can spicy chili beans
  • 5 10 oz cans Ro*tel tomatoes (if you want spicy chili pick 2 or 3 of the “extra hot” variety)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-4 green chili peppers (or jalapenos)
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 can beer (your choice)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons hot sauce (your choice, I usually use two different kinds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Dave's Awesome Chili

Process:

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat add roughly chopped, thick-cut bacon and cook until crisp. While bacon is cooking you can chop all the peppers, onions and celery. Remove bacon (leave the grease in the pot) and add chopped onions and celery. Add salt and pepper and cook until transparent and semi-browned then remove to a bowl.

Now add the ground chuck and chorizo to the pot and cook until nearly browned then add chopped chuck steak (chop into pieces small enough to handle in a bite but big enough to know you’re eating steak). I usually start adding the sauces and spices at this point and mix them in as the meat cooks.

Once the meat is browned and the sauces and spices are mixed in, toss in the cooked onions, chopped peppers and bacon.  Stir gently.

Drain the kidney beans and black beans and add those to the chili.  Stir gently.  Add the Chili Beans with spicy sauce.  Stir gently.  Add the Ro*Tel mix.  Stir gently.  Add the beer and chopped Kilbasa.  Stir.

Everything should be in at this point and you should have a nice soupy mix. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Stir every 20 minutes or so for 2 to 3 hours…the longer the better.

Dave's Awesome ChiliServe in small bowls with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions or jalapenos.

optional:

Lately, instead of using the Kilbasa in the chili, I’ve used sweet Italian sausage links.  Brown the sausage in a skillet or on the grill, just enough to get some color to the skin.  Then drop them, whole, into the chili and let them cook with the chili.  In the end, I usually fish them out and cut them in half…serving one piece in each bowl with the chili.  It makes for the most flavorful, tender Italian sausage you’ve ever had.

Also, I like to cook a little extra bacon to chop up and use as a topping.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with the usual toppings: cheese, sour cream, scallions, minced onion, chopped bacon, chopped jalapeno, etc.  I like to serve my chili with fresh tortillas (this IS Arizona).  I also like to serve mine with melon.  There is something really nice about the sweet, cool melon against the savory, spicy, steaming hot chili.  My recent find is Santa Claus Melon.  I can’t get enough of it and it pairs beautifully with the chili.  And don’t forget the beer…Lagers, Ambers and Pale Ales work great!

Chili

Recipe: No-Bake Protein Bars…

This is adapted from a recipe originally posted by Jessica Allen over at BlondPonyTail.com.  For awesome fitness related content check out her site or follow her on Twitter.  To see her original recipe post, click here.

Peanut Butter No-Bake Protein Bars...

The first time I made these No-Bake Protein Bars they were amazing!  I have adjusted and tweaked the recipe every time I’ve made them to experiment with flavors and texture.  I like to have a more solid, slightly drier bar so that they will hold up better on the trail.  The original recipe was very soft (and yummy) and would essentially melt once it started to warm up.

So, here’s what I use:

  • 1 cup organic Almond Butter
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup organic local honey
  • 2 cups of protein powder
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
Protein bar ingredients...

Collect all your ingredients along with a microwave-safe mixing bowl (Pyrex or glass)...

Then start mixing…

mix peanut butter, almond butter and honey...

Add the Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Honey to the bowl. Then microwave for 90 seconds...

then…

Mixed butters and honey...

Carefully mix thoroughly until smooth...

 

added dry ingredients...

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the oats, and stir. I find that it's easier to mix the oats in last after all the seeds and powders...

 

chocolaty mixture...

Add the rolled oats and mix everything trying to get the oats evenly integrated.

 

mixture poured in to Pyrex storage containers...

Pour the mixture into Pyrex containers or a glass baking sheet with the lid (you could cover with plastic wrap if you don't have a lid). Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom and place in the refrigerator to let the bars set up. I usually leave mine overnight...then cut the servings I want as I need them.

 

If you are not a big fan of chocolate, you can use plain or vanilla flavored protein powder and skip the cocoa powder.  The natural peanut butter and honey flavor is awesome so the chocolate is just a bonus.  These make a great post-workout snack with a good ratio of natural sugar, carbs, fat and protein.

I tend to do a lot of fasted-state workouts if I run or lift in the mornings so this is a nice snack to have directly following the workout…followed by a real meal about 30-45 minutes after the workout.

Enjoy!

Manly Mac-n-Cheese…

My buddies and I have a long-standing tradition of getting together one night a week specifically to grill up some thick-cut steaks, drink and hang out.  It’s a way for us to break away from our busy schedules, limited budgets or restrictive diets and just have an awesome, perfectly-grilled steak with friends.  Originally, there were only a couple of us and I hosted Steak Night at my house.  Since then the attendance has grown.  Steak Night is now hosted at my friend Ian’s house and we all take turns buying the steaks.  We’ve also started to introduce side-dishes.

Side dishes are tricky when the focus is put so heavily on the steaks.  We started out with simple side dishes that could not compete with the amazing slabs of beef we would serve.  Then things got serious.

Our Steak Night Mac-N-Cheese Recipe has undergone it’s own storied evolution, but the final outcome has become a staple of Steak Night.  We’ve progressed from a simple mac-in-a-box side dish to something truly extraordinary.  Though it started as a joint venture, Ian gets full credit for coaxing this recipe through it’s evolutionary process and perfecting it.  It was adapted from a couple of different recipes we found online and modified to our tastes.  THIS is the kind of Mac-N-Cheese you tell your grand-kids about…

mac-n-cheese

 The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb rotini macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves , rough chopped
  • 5 drops hot sauce (or more depending on preference)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • course, ground pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs , beaten to blend
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (additional cup for topping)
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 medium boneless chicken thighs, marinated and grilled (we marinate them in Italian Dressing)
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (should be enough to let you snack on some while cooking)
  • 2-5 medium jalapenos (chopped, diced or sliced…cook’s preference)

Directions:

  1. Boil macaroni in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, mustard, garlic, hot sauce, eggs and salt.
  5. Pour drained pasta and milk/cream cheese mixture back into pot pasta was cooked in.  Allow to ‘sit’ in pot for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is an important step and must not be left out as it allows the sauce to start thickening and be absorbed by the pasta and not just settle in the bottom of the baking dish. 
  6. After 15 minutes, add various cheeses, jalapenos, grilled chicken, pepper and crumbled bacon and mix well altogether.
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish, cover with foil and place in preheated oven.
  8. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  9. Remove dish from oven, remove foil and add an additional cup of grated cheddar cheese to the top.
  10. Return dish to the oven (without foil) and broil until the top is melted and starting to brown.
  11. Remove from oven, recover with foil and give it about 15 minutes to cool enough to eat.

 

Wet ingredients in a blender

Wet ingredients in the blender...

 

Boiling the pasta

placing a wooden spoon over the pot will keep it from boiling over when cooking pasta...

 

cheeses, jalapenos, bacon and chicken

cheeses, jalapenos, bacon and chicken in mixing bowl...

 

adding pasta to the mixing bowl

pasta added to mixing bowl...

 

pouring mixed ingredients into making pan

Once all ingredients are mixed together, pour in to baking pan...

 

mac-n-cheese in baking pan

level out the mac so it will cook evenly, do not overfill the baking pan...

 

finished mac-n-cheese in baking pan

finished mac-n-cheese should have a crusty, cheesy, golden-brown top...