Cheese Soup with Broccoli


1 onion, chopped
6 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups milk
3 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound processed cheese food (eg. Velveeta), cubed


1. In a large saucepan on medium high heat, saute the onions in the butter or margarine until tender. Add the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until smooth. Add the milk slowly, until mixture is thick and bubbling.

2. In a smaller saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the carrot, celery, and broccoli. Cook about 5 minutes, or until tender. Combine the broth mixture with the milk mixture and stir until fully blended.

3. Add the cheese. Allow soup to heat over medium heat until cheese is melted. Important: DO NOT let the soup boil because the cheese will separate and curdle the soup. Serve hot and enjoy!

California Roll Salad


1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup water
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch strips
2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and cubed
2 cups shredded imitation crabmeat
2 teaspoons wasabi powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil


1. Place rice and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the lettuce, cucumber, avocado and imitation crabmeat. Stir in cooled rice. In a small bowl, stir together the wasabi powder, mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Toss salad with dressing (recommended), or serve with dressing on the side.



For the peanut nougat:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)

For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate coating:
2 pounds milk chocolate couverture or coarsely chopped milk chocolate


For the peanut nougat:
1. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with a 16-by-13-inch piece of parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Set aside.

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves. Place egg white in the base of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

3. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and set aside.

4. Once sugar mixture is at 270°F, add salt to egg white and beat at high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.

5. Once sugar mixture reaches 275°F, remove from heat. Keeping the mixer on high speed, very slowly pour 1 tablespoon of the hot syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoiding the whisk) and let it completely incorporate before adding more. Repeat until you’ve added all the syrup; it should take about 2 minutes. Continue to mix until nougat pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute more. Turn off the mixer and, using the oiled spatula, stir in peanut butter; mixture should be thick and spongy.

6. Immediately turn nougat into the prepared pan and, using the oiled spatula or your hands, spread mixture evenly. Let sit uncovered while you make the caramel, at least 5 minutes.


For the caramel:
1. Combine all ingredients except peanuts and vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Wash down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Boil mixture, swirling pan occasionally (but not stirring), until syrup is at 248°F, about 8 minutes.

2. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat, stir in peanuts and vanilla extract, and mix until peanuts are evenly distributed. Pour caramel mixture over nougat and, using an oiled rubber spatula, spread evenly in the pan. Let cool until caramel is no longer warm to the touch and is opaque, about 70 minutes. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the pan, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator until caramel is cool and gives slightly when pressed.

3. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the refrigerator and place on a cutting board, caramel side down. Cut into 4-by-1-inch rectangles (you need at least 24). Return to the parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden while you temper the chocolate, at least 20 minutes.


For the chocolate coating:

1. To temper chocolate, fill a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, and set aside.

2. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 1 1/2 pounds of the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is completely melted and reaches 118°F. (Make sure chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate is no longer usable.)

3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add remaining 1/2 pound chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and cools to 80°F. To speed the cooling process, after all chocolate has melted place the bowl over the reserved cold-water bath.

4. Return the bowl to the saucepan and stir until chocolate reaches 86°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 85°F and 87°F. (Chocolate must remain in this temperature range while dipping or it will not set up properly.) Keep the saucepan over low heat and use it to reheat chocolate as necessary.

5. To test if chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, you need to repeat the process.)

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove undipped candy bars from the refrigerator and drop them one at a time, nougat side down, into tempered chocolate.

7. Cover caramel side with more chocolate, then remove candy bar. To do so, use a poultry lifter or hold two dinner forks in one hand, crossing the ends of the handles to form a V, with the tines pointed outward. As you remove each candy bar, tap the fork(s) several times against the edge of the bowl and scrape the bottom of the fork(s) across the edge to wipe away any excess chocolate.

8. Place Snickles on the baking sheet by tilting the fork(s) so the edge of each candy bar touches the parchment-lined pan, then smoothly pull the fork(s) out. Repeat until all candy bars have been dipped. Let sit at room temperature until completely set, at least 20 minutes.

9. Trim any excess chocolate from edges of candy bars and place Snickles in an airtight container. Snickles will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before serving.



Fijis Recipe


For the cookie base:
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled and cut into small pieces

For the caramel topping:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For tempering the chocolate and assembling the cookies:
1 1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate couverture, separated into 1 (18-ounce) portion and 1 (6-ounce) portion
1 1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted



For the cookie base:
1. In a small bowl, beat together egg and vanilla extract until the yolk is broken up and evenly combined; set aside.

2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse a few times to aerate and break up any lumps. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like sand, about 25 1-second pulses. Add egg mixture and pulse until the dough just forms into a ball, about 25 1-second pulses.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and form into a circle, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly flour a 14-inch piece of parchment paper and place the chilled dough disk on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough disk.

5. Peel the parchment paper off the dough and then lightly press it back down onto the surface of the dough (this will prevent the dough from sticking to the parchment as the cookies are cut out). Flip the dough over and remove the other piece of parchment paper.

6. Using a small round cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter, stamp out as many cookies as possible. Then, using a smaller round cookie cutter about 1 inch in diameter, stamp out the center of each cookie. Reserve the dough centers.

7. While the cookies are baking, gather the scraps of dough and reserved centers, form them into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Place the disk in the freezer for 5 minutes, then repeat the process until all the cookie dough has been used.

For the caramel topping:
1. Combine sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil, swirling the pan occasionally (but not stirring), until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, carefully pour in cream and vanilla (the mixture will bubble up and steam), and stir until evenly combined. Transfer to a heatproof bowl; set aside.

To temper the chocolate:
1. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water and adding 3 to 4 ice cubes; set aside.

2. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 18 ounces of the chocolate couverture in a dry, heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and has reached 118°F. (Make sure the chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate will no longer be usable.)

3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add the remaining 6 ounces chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the temperature has cooled to 80°F. To speed up the cooling process—but only after all of the chocolate has melted—place the bowl over the reserved ice water bath.

4. Return the bowl of chocolate to the saucepan and stir until the chocolate reaches 88°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 87°F and 89°F. (The chocolate must remain in this temperature range while dipping the cookies or it will not set properly.) Keep the saucepan of water over low heat and, when needed, set the bowl of chocolate over it to reheat.

5. To test if the chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If the chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, let the melted chocolate harden and start the tempering process over again: Bring the chocolate up to 118°F, then down to 80°F, then up again to 88°F.)

To assemble the cookies:
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Pick up a cookie by the outer edge. Dip only the flat bottom into the chocolate, then scrape the bottom against the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate.

Slim Mints


For the cookies:
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

For the coating:
2 pounds semisweet chocolate couverture, separated into 1 (24-ounce) portion and 1 (8-ounce) portion


1. Place egg yolk, peppermint oil, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk to break up the yolk.

2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse a few times to aerate and break up any lumps. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like sand, about 25 (1-second) pulses. Add yolk mixture and pulse just until the dough forms into a ball, about 15 (1-second) pulses.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and roll into 2 logs, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

4. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until just firm but still pliable, about 1 hour. (The logs will flatten slightly while chilling. If you have a paper towel tube available, cut it in half lengthwise and nestle the cookie dough in there; this will help the dough keep its cylindrical shape while it chills.) Reshape the logs so they are perfectly round and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour more.

5. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

6. Remove a dough log from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and slice the dough into 1/8-inch coins. Place the cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. (About 30 cookies will fit on 1 sheet.) Rewrap the extra cookie dough in plastic and refrigerate until ready to bake the second batch.

Goldfish Crackers

Yield: Makes 120 crackers



1 cup rice flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. guar gum
3/Tbsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. safflower oil
8 oz. vegan cheddar

Ingredient Info: Rice flour is available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and natural foods stores. Smoked paprika is available in most supermarkets.



1. Pulse 1 cup rice flour, guar gum, salt, and paprika in a food processor; drizzle in oil and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Pulse in cheese in three additions; add 3 Tbsp. cold water and process until dough comes together. Pinch dough; if it feels too dry, add 1 more Tbsp. water. Transfer dough to a baking sheet. Divide into 2 portions, flatten each into a disk, and cover with parchment paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a rolling pin and work surface with rice flour. Roll out 1 dough disk until 1/8″ thick.

3. Cut out fish shapes and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough disk. Bake until crackers are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool.

Fancy Caramel Toffee Shortbread Bars


Shortbread Layer
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
½ cup toffee chip

Caramel Layer
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
4 tablespoon butter
¼ c heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, for salted caramel sauce)

Chocolate Layer
6oz chocolate
1 teaspoon corn syrup
5 tablespoon butter



To make chocolate chip cookie layer
1. Melt butter and let cool to warm. Add in brown sugar and mix to combine.

2. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add in flour and food to combine. Fold in toffee bits and combine.

3. Pour mixture into pan and flatten top to a smooth finish. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To make caramel layer:
1. Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.

2. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high.

3. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so.

4. After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from light amber to medium amber. Add the butter and heavy cream and stir to combine. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

To make chocolate layer:
Place all ingredients in a heat proof bowl set over simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour mixture on top of cooled bar, using an offset spatula evenly spread chocolate layer.

1. Pour cooled caramel on shortbread. Pour chocolate on top of caramel, using an offset spatula evenly spread chocolate layer to a smooth finish.

2. Transfer fully assembled bars to refrigerator to chill until chocolate has set.

3. Cut to desired size and serve.

Twice-Baked Potatoes in a Dish and Potato Skins

Yield: Makes about 9-10 servings.



9 medium russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (if potatoes are too thick)
1 jar bacon bits, or a half pound of bacon, fried and cut into bits, or cut into bits and fried
2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
canola oil to fry in
sour cream, if desired
3 green onions, sliced



1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Scrub and pierce potatoes several times with a sharp knife.

2. Bake potatoes at 350° for about an hour, or until potatoes give when squeezed gently with an oven-mitted hand.

3. When potatoes are done, cut in half and carefully scoop out insides, leaving about a 1/4-inch layer of potato inside. Set skins aside.

For the Twice Baked Potatoes in a Dish:

1. Place potato insides in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer.

2. Mix briefly to break potatoes down a little. Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, chopped garlic, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon or so of pepper.

3. Beat until thoroughly mixed, but don’t mix to the point of gumminess. If the mixture seems really thick, add up to 1/2 cup milk to smooth it out to the consistency of mashed potatoes.

4. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread potato mixture into the prepared pan.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 325°.

6. Immediately after removing from oven, cover the top with 1 cup of cheese. Then sprinkle with about 2/3 of the bacon. Allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving. The heat from the potatoes will melt the cheese perfectly.

For the Potato Skins:

1. After scooping out potato insides, you should have 18 half skins. Cut each of those in half, so you have quarter skins.

2. Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a pan (about 325°). Fry potato skins in batches, careful not to crowd the pan. Once skins are a deep golden brown, remove to a paper towel-lined cooking rack to drain.

3. Place fried skins, open side up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with cheese and a little bacon. Place in 325° oven for about 5- 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and green onions, if desired.


The Mojito Party


1 cup of sugar
1 large sprig of Mojito mint*
1 cup fresh lime juice
a bunch of mojito mint
1 bottle (750 ml) 3-year-old rum


1. Beat the sugar, lime juice and mojito mint with the stems until you get a greenish liquid and the mint is completely chopped. Add the rum and beat for one more minute. This can be kept in the fridge for a week.

2. To prepare the mojito, fill a tall glass 1/4 full with the base liquid, add 3 ice cubes and then fill the glass with sparkling water. Add a sprig of mint, stir and serve.

Forget fast food, slow down for better well-being

Lauren Williams, Griffith University and John Germov, University of Newcastle

There’s an old saying, you are what you eat. If you look at the average Australian diet, we’re in trouble.

The rise of the 24/7 society, unsocial work hours and an accelerating pace of life have led the consumption of fast food to soar. Nearly one in four of the meals we eat are prepared outside the home and they tend to contain more fat, salt and sugar than the homemade equivalent.

Alongside the negative health outcomes of fast food are the environmental impacts of industrialised food production and packaging, and management of food waste.

Time to slow down

A slow food movement has arisen to counteract fast food and fast life, by encouraging us to revalue the time we spend on preparing, sharing, and consuming food. It aims to enhance the personal connection between food producers and consumers, and reduce our reliance on mass-produced foods purchased from supermarket monopolies.

Slow Food is a global alternative food network, founded in 1989 in Italy by left-wing food activist Carlo Petrini (though its origins can be traced back to 1986), which has grown to over 100,000 members across 153 countries, including 31 local branches within Australia. These branches, known as convivia, are run by volunteers who coordinate activities in their area: shared meals and tastings, visits to local producers and farms, and educational events about the source of food, farming methods and sustainability.

Local convivia have also become involved in school kitchen garden projects and supported the growth of farmers’ markets.

More broadly, Slow Food promotes the purchase of local produce with a reduction in food miles and a celebration of regional cuisines and local food traditions.

Fair trade is a central concern, with the aim to reduce worker/farmer exploitation and facilitate equitable trading relationships between developing and developed nations.

The movement also advocates for sustainable agricultural techniques and encourages the reduction of food additives, irradiation, and genetic modification.

Perhaps most importantly, Slow Food attempts to show how we can revalue the time we spend on food so as to invest in quality food time for our personal (health and pleasure) and collective (social, cultural, and environmental) benefit.

Studying Slow Food

We have explored what motivates or deters people from engaging in ethical (slow) consumption, and their experiences with the Slow Food movement.

Our first study explored the representation of Slow Food within the Australian print media to provide insights into how public opinion may be formed. Slow Food was portrayed in a positive but largely uncritical, apolitical way, despite the left-wing origins of the movement.

In examining the theme of time in our data, we found an emphasis on slowing down the pace of life. Time was both an opportunity to be taken, and a harsh master:

The Slow Food philosophy enjoins us to take
the time to enjoy one of life’s daily pleasures… there’s no doubt that cooking, eating and life in general is a lot more enjoyable when we’re not slaves of time.

Australian Slow Food branches have helped support local farmers’ markets.

Our second study explored the experiences and motivations of consumer and producer participants in a Melbourne-based Slow Food festival. From our interview data, “time” emerged as a key theme underlying people’s interest in Slow Food as a form of virtuous consumption, but also a key challenge in terms of adopting a Slow Food lifestyle.

As one participant said:

I think that is why everybody is in a hurry
because they don’t actually value that that’s the important thing to stop and do.

Another participant put the time challenge this way:

I’m still part of the rush of modern life but… I would want to eventually live that
way. I just have to figure out how to do it… it’s a time issue. It’s a matter of changing my life to go into that time mode.

Why isn’t everyone slowing down?

Our participants acknowledged many barriers to adopting a Slow Food lifestyle, such as cost, time, and inconvenience. Slowing down requires a major investment of time in educating oneself about food and then procuring ethically produced food.

While many of our study participants said they supported the movement and held ethical consumer values, they weren’t necessarily prepared to change their behaviour.

Critics of Slow Food have argued the movement caters to the privileged and wealthy who can afford the time and cost involved. They suggest that its focus on gourmet experiences reflect elitist connotations of “good taste”, luxury goods, and social distinction. One study in the United States reports that Slow Food members tended to favour gastronomic experiences over political action.

What can we learn from Slow Food?

For individuals, the movement reminds us of the need to be aware of the origins of our food, including the implications of food production on personal health and the wider environment.

But individual action can only go so far, and the barriers are likely to be too great for most.

At the societal level, Slow Food highlights the need for changes to our food system. Our continuing studies in this area aim to gain an understanding of what attracts people to Slow Food and how this attraction may be translated into behavioural and wider social change.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

4 slices bacon, diced
2 boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons BBQ sauce, or more, to taste
2 large eggs
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse Crepes


For the mousse:
1 cup milk, 2% or higher
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
3 ounces best quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the crepes:
2 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cake flour
2 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk, 2% or higher
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar, for garnish



1. Begin by preparing the mousse.  In a medium sauce pan combine the milk, cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolk.  Whisk until well mixed.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and comes to a simmer, about ten minutes.

2. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla, butter, and white chocolate. Stir until completely melted then pour the mixture through a strainer into a separate bowl. Cover with plastic and chill for at least four hours, or overnight.

3. In a small bowl combine the gelatin with the water. Let stand for ten minutes to bloom. Once bloomed melt in the microwave for ten seconds. Let cool to room temperature.

4. In a medium bowl combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat until it thickens. Gradually pour in the gelatin while still whisking. Beat until it forms medium peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate base in three additions. Cover and chill for one hour.

5. While the mousse chills prepare the crepes. In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, and the sugar until evenly mixed. Set aside.

6. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla. Add the milk and whisk to mix.

7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until smooth. Cover and chill for thirty minutes.

8. While the batter chills combine the strawberries with the sugar and vanilla. Toss to coat, cover with plastic and chill until ready to use.

9. Once the batter has chilled heat an 8-inch crepe pan, or small non-stick skillet, over medium heat.

10. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the pan. Immediately swirl the pan to evenly distribute the batter in the pan. Cook until the crepe is just turning golden brown on the bottom, about 1 to 2 minutes, then flip the crepe and cook for 30 seconds to one minute more, or until the crepe is lightly golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and layer the cooked crepes between sheets of parchment paper. Cool to room temperature.

11. To assemble spread about 1/2 cup of the mousse into the center of the crepe. Top with the strawberries. Roll the crepes into a tube and then dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Brownie Bites with Berries


1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free brownie mix
Butter and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup apple jelly



1. Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray or shortening.

2. In large bowl, stir brownie mix, butter and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan.

3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean or almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

5. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base. Arrange berries over cream cheese mixture. Stir jelly until smooth; brush over berries. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Cut into wedges. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Mini Cheeseburger Bites

Yield: 36 pieces



3 packages Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 oz)
1 lb ground beef
1 seasoning packet from Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni
1/2 cup milk
rolling pin, 3″ round cookie cutter, dumpling press
flour, for dusting




1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust countertop with flour, and remove the crescent rolls from their packages. Pinch the perforations together gently with your fingers to join. Roll each sheet out to about 10″ x 15″.

2. Cut 12 rounds from each sheet of crescent rolls.

3. Brown the ground beef, and drain off any fat.

4. Add 1/2 cup milk, and the seasoning packet. Stir well. Allow to cook down a bit if filling is too liquid (this will take maybe a minute or two!)

5. Center a crescent round in the dumpling press. Put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle, press and remove. Repeat with remaining rounds and filling.

6. Bake burger bites for about 8 minutes – checking often. Once they begin to brown . . . they brown fast!

7. Serve warm, with ketchup and mustard on the side!

Shrimp Chowder


1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons margarine
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, diced
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
1/2 pound frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt



1. In a large stock pot saute celery and onions in margarine.

2. Add cream cheese and milk; and stir over low heat until cream cheese is completely melted.

3. Add potatoes, shrimp, dry white wine and salt. Heat thorough, stirring occasionally and then serve.

Chicken Marsala


4 (6-8oz) chicken breasts, boneless skinless, tenderloins removed and trimmed
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 oz pancetta, cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide
8 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teas tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine
4 1/2 teas lemon juice
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley



1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Halve chicken horizontally, then cover chicken halves with plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/4 inch thickness with meat pounder. Place flour in a shallow dish or pie plate.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in four mixture, shaking off excess, and transfer to large plate.

3. Heat 2 tbs oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook until golden brown on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip cutlets, reduce heat to medium, and cook until no longer pink and lightly browned on second side, about 2 minutes longer; transfer to large oven safe plate. Wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining 2 tbs oil and remaining cutlets. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and transfer to oven to keep warm while making sauce.

4. Cook pancetta in now-empty skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until crisp, about 5 minutes. remove pancetta with slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel lined plate.

5. Add mushrooms to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and cook stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste, and crisp pancetta and cook until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute.

6. Off heat stir in Marsala, scraping any browned bits. Return to high heat, bring to a vigorous simmer, and cook stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and measures 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.

7. Off heat, stir in lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juices. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time.

8. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Three Berry Pie


Pastry for a Double-Crust Pie:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening, chilled
6 tablespoons cold water
Three-Berry Filling:
1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch


1. Combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture, then gently toss with a fork.

2. Push moistened portion to the side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until all is moistened. Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3. Transfer one piece of dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough from the center to the edges to form a 12-inch circle. Wrap the crust around the rolling pin. Unroll it onto a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the crust into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Trim the bottom crust evenly with the rim of the pie plate, and return the pastry-lined pie plate to the refrigerator.

4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries; gently toss until berries are coated. Allow fruit mixture to stand for about 15 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

6. Roll out the remaining pastry for the top crust. Stir the berry mixture and pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Place the top crust over the pie and trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.

7. Fold the top crust under the bottom crust, pressing lightly to seal. Crimp the edges of the crust and cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape. To prevent over-browning, cover the edge of the pie with foil.

8. Bake in the preheated oven on the baking tray for 25 minutes. Remove the foil.

9. Bake for an additional 20 to 30.

Roasted Tomatillo and Garlic Salsa


1 pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed
1 head garlic cloves, separated and peeled
3 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 cup water, or as needed
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Arrange the whole cloves of garlic, tomatillos, and jalapenos on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and cook for a few minutes. Remove garlic cloves first, as soon as they are toasted, to avoid developing a bitter flavor. Continue to roast jalapenos and tomatillos until evenly charred, turning occasionally. Set aside to cool. Don’t remove the charred parts of the tomatillos or the peppers. They add a really nice flavor.

2. Place peppers and tomatillos in a blender with the garlic and cilantro. Add a little water to the mixture if necessary to facilitate blending. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

Cajun Chicken Pasta on the Lighter Side


8 ounces uncooked linguine (I used Dreamfields)
1 pound chicken breast strips
1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp light cream cheese
fresh cracked pepper
2 scallions, chopped
salt to taste
Smart Balance cooking spray


1. Prep all your vegetables. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside. Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt.

2. Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.

3. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add half of the chicken. Saute 5 to 6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.

4. Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes.

5. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and saute 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

6. Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring about 2 minutes.

7. Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add linguine; toss well to coat. Top with chopped scallions and enjoy!

Avocado Tomato Salad


2 ripe avocados
2 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste


1. Slice your avocado. To create pretty chunks, cut in a criss-cross design.

2. Cut your tomato in chunks as well. Add lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Stir and taste (to see if you want more salt, pepper, or anything else).

3. Serve!

Italian Pasta Veggie Salad


10 ounces fusilli pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3/4 cup fat free Italian-style dressing


1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.

2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and mushrooms. Pour enough dressing over to coat; toss and refrigerate until chilled.

Health Check: cooking oils to eat and avoid

Lesley MacDonald-Wicks, University of Newcastle and Amanda Patterson, University of Newcastle

Health conscious consumers are increasingly ditching old favourites vegetable and canola oil for trendy alternatives like coconut and peanut oil. But are they any healthier? And how do they compare with other options such as heated olive oil and butter?

The short answer is, it depends. The long version requires a quick lesson in food science.

Fats and oils = lipids

Edible fats and oils are all part of the lipid family. Fats, such as butter, are solid at room temperature and oils are liquid; their solidity depends on their chemical makeup.

Both are comprised of triglycerides, which have a glycerol backbone and three fatty acids attached. The fatty acids are the important part of the molecule and can be of different lengths and have different numbers of double bonds. They are organised into three groups:

  • Saturated fats are mainly derived from animal products such as meat and dairy. They have no double bonds.
  • Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados and macadamia nuts.They have one double bond.
  • Polyunsaturated fats come from corn, seed and nut oils (omega 6) and seafood (omega 3). They have two or more double bonds.

Fats and oils always include a range of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The greater the proportion of saturated fatty acids, the more solid it will be at room temperature.

Why we need fats and oils

Once digested, we use the fatty acids to maintain the function of our body’s cells and cell membranes, in hormones and in neurotransmitters. They’re also important for our skin, hair and nails, and they keep us warm and cushion our internal organs.

Fats and oils are used for energy production and provide the most energy per gram of all the macronutrients (fat 37kJ/g; carbohydrate 16kJ/g; and protein 17kJ/g).

Use sparingly: butter is a saturated fat.
Taryn/Flickr, CC BY-SA

But it’s important to balance the amount of fat we eat and the energy we expend in order to prevent obesity.

Type of fat eaten is also important:

Therefore, the greater the proportion of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in a particular fat or oil, the healthier it is.

Cooking with fats and oils

The longer the fatty acid chain and the fewer the double bonds, the hotter the fat can be heated without it starting to breakdown – or in scientific terms, be oxidised. The temperature at which this oxidation occurs is called the smoke point and it is associated with unpleasant odours and flavours.

To fry food you need a high temperature and therefore a high smoke point, so saturated fats with long chain lengths work best.

Tallow (rendered beef fat) or ghee (rendered butter) are often used for frying, but these are saturated fats, so they’re among the least healthy.

Butter is also a saturated fat, but has other components as well. The dairy proteins, relatively high water content and short chain fatty acids mean butter is great for browning food, but not for frying as it starts to splatter when heated to a high temperature.

Vegetable oil is a term used for any (non animal-based) oil from vegetable or seed origin. Or it can be a blend of these oils. It is mainly polyunsaturated fats of different chain lengths, so it’s one of the healthier options.

Canola oil, which was developed from rapeseed, was specifically developed for frying as it contains predominantly longer chain monounsaturated fatty acids and has a relatively high smoke point.

Canola oil is harvested from rapeseed.
rytc/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Peanut oil (from peanuts) is mainly long chain omega 6 (polyunsaturated) fatty acids. It has a high smoke point and is also good for frying.

Olive oil is predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids, but has the added benefit of polyphenolic compounds which act as antioxidants and contribute to the health qualities of this oil. Olive oil does not have a high smoke point, so should only be used for low-temperature cooking.

Cold pressed olive oil is the best choice, as it is not heated or processed by chemicals in the extraction of the oil from the olive. Olive oil is easily oxidised so should be stored in a dark place in a coloured bottle.

Fats and oils are also used in baking, adding taste and texture to cakes, biscuits and pastry. The best fat for this role is saturated fat.

Currently there is no other mono or polyunsaturated fats that can completely replace the role of saturated fats in baking, and this is one of the reasons we suggest eating these foods only occasionally.

New kids on the block

Coconut oil has 85-90% saturated fatty acids. It has traditionally been used in curries, but its recent popularity with health conscious consumers has seen it added to all kinds of foods from muesli to smoothies.

The predominant fatty acid in coconut oil is Lauric acid. Its shorter chain length is thought to be why coconut oil may not have the same effects on LDL (bad) cholesterol as other saturated fatty acids.

But there is little evidence for any health benefits of Lauric acid at this point. To be prudent, it is best to use coconut oil occasionally as part of a healthy eating plan.

Adding coconut oil to everything won’t make it healthier.
Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr, CC BY-ND

Flaxseed oil (also known as linseed oil) is claimed to have similar health benefits to marine omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil contains a high proportion of α-Linolenic acid (ALA), which in theory can be converted to omega-3 fatty acids by the body.

But we are not efficient at doing this and there is little evidence that flaxseed oil has the same protective effects as the omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil.

Flaxseed oil degrades rapidly when heated or exposed to sunlight and should be stored in a dark place in coloured glass. It is mostly used on salads and as an addition to cold dishes and drinks, but should not replace the two fish meals a week suggested by the National Heart Foundation.

Fats and oils are important in our diet, but should be used carefully and as part of a healthy eating plan. Try to avoid too many saturated fatty acids by choosing oils that are liquid at room temperature.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup

1 lb. Italian Sausage, rolled into 1/4 teaspoon size balls
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
2 cups cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Lobster Rolls

1 1/2 pounds cooked, shelled lobster meat (about four 1 1/2-pound lobsters), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives (optional)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or chervil (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
Coarse or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 top-split hot-dog buns
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for rolls

Penne with Chicken Sausage, Tomatoes & Spinach


8 oz whole-wheat penne pasta
Olive oil cooking spray
3 3-oz all-natural, fully cooked low-fat chicken sausages, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (any variety)
Pinch sea salt
2 pinches fresh ground black pepper or to taste, divided
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste (from tube)
1 1/3 cups jarred or boxed chopped tomatoes (TRY: Pomi Chopped Tomatoes)
7 oz baby spinach
1 oz low-sodium Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Cook penne to al dente according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Add oil to skillet and heat on medium-high. Add onion and season with 1 pinch each salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add half of spinach, stirring until beginning to wilt. Stir in remaining spinach and simmer until tender and most liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of black pepper.

4. To pot with pasta, add tomato mixture, stir well to combine and cook on low until heated through. Spoon into serving bowls and top with Parmesan, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.

Pork Butt Roast with Vegetables


salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
6 pounds pork butt roast
2 onion, sliced
20 new potatoes, raw
16 carrots, peeled
2 cups mushrooms, halved


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle pork on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder; rub into meat. Sear the meat on all sides until lightly brown. Transfer to a roasting pan.

3. Place onion slices over meat and in the roasting pan. Fill the pan 2/3 full of water. Cover and place in preheated oven for 3 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots; cover and cook 45 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 15 minutes. Remove and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Shrimp Tempura


1/2 cup rice wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 quarts oil for deep frying
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon shortening
1/2 teaspoon baking powder



1. In a medium bowl, mix rice wine and salt. Place shrimp into the mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes.

2. Heat oil in deep-fryer or large wok to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3. In a medium bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, ice water, cornstarch, egg yolk, salt, white sugar, shortening and baking powder.

4. One at a time, dip shrimp into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully place a few shrimp at a time in the hot oil. Deep fry until golden brown on all sides, about 1 1/2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from oil. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Hawaiian Pork Fajitas with Pineapple Slaw & Coconut Rice

Hula Pork
3 pounds pork shoulder roast (or butt)
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 teaspoons ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup, preferably organic
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons sriracha (depending on your taste, I used 2)
8-12 flour tortillas, warmed
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 avocado, diced

Pineapple Slaw
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh pineapple juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded + chopped

Coconut Rice
1 cup uncooked jasmine or basmati rice
1 cup light, canned coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened, flaked coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil


Oven Roasted Pork
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.