Archive for March 29, 2014

The Benefits of Lemons

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Benefits of Lemons

Are you mindful of the benefits of lemons? Hopefully this will help you use them in more ways.

The lemon is a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree’s ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, though … Wikipedia

It is the citric acid in lemons that give it its sour taste. It is often the key ingredient used in food and drink.

Lemons can be used as an anti-bacterial agent. Quite often I will use the juice of a lemon to soak fruit and vegetables before scrubbing and consuming them/using them in a dish I am preparing.

Lemons for your health

Lemons have anti-biotic properties that help the immune system. We are exposed to free radicals daily; they are in the atmosphere all around us. A variety of pollutions, such as car exhaust emissions, cigarettes, smog and fumes from factories to name a few. All of these things trigger cell damage in our bodies.

This is where the lemon can come to the rescue for us. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C which is an excellent source of Ascorbic Acid. This helps the body to fight off / resist infections. Ascorbic acid is a source of bioflavonoids that give the body great anti-inflammatory benefits.

  • Eating or drinking the juice of Lemons can aid in healing the lining of body cavities.
  • Lemons contain Vitamin A which is another essential nutrient that contains health benefits:
    • acute respiratory issues
    • bloodstream
    • eye health
    • sinuses
    • skin care
  • Vitamin B is also found in Lemons and once again, eating or drinking the juice can help in reducing stress.
  • The rind (or peel) of the Lemon is equally beneficial to our health especially if the lemon is organic.

Hesperidin, which is the major flavonoid and by-product of citrus cultivation, is found in the peel and the meat of the lemon. This is a natural ingredient which helps to reduce aching, leg pain and swelling due to fluid buildup. It also helps prevent bruising and will help to lighten darkness under the eyes.
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More about Lemons

The lemon is a hybrid between sour orange and citron. Lemons were introduced to America around 1493, by Christopher Columbus by way of his travels and voyages.  At that time lemons were mainly used for decoration and as a medicine.

There are about eleven different types of Lemons. For example:

  • The Eureka or sometimes referred to as Four Seasons is most commonly found in your local supermarkets. This lemon produces fruit and flowers together throughout the year. Because of its beautiful delicate bloom, it makes for a lovely plant.
  • The Lisbon lemon is very similar to the Eureka/Four seasons. It has a high level of acid but contains more juice than the Eureka.
  • Then there is the Meyer lemon, which is a cross between a lemon and maybe an orange or mandarin.  This lemon compliments drinks and salads very well. It also has a thinner rind than the one mentioned above. It is easy to recognize when it is mature because it is yellow-orange in color.

♦ Chef Ann’s quick note: Lemons left outside of the refrigerated for long periods of time are likely to mold.

Sources:

Be sure to take advantage of the benefits of lemons, your body will thank you! Please feel free to share the ways you use lemons. Have you tried my lemon pepper chicken recipe?

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Lemon Pepper Chicken

picture for lemon pepper chicken

picture for lemon pepper chicken

Description

This mouthwatering delight, Lemon Pepper Chicken, will keep you coming back for more. You will dazzle your mouth with this savory citrus flavored dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 medium size yellow crook neck squash chopped small
  • 1 small bell pepper (sliced julienne style)
  • 1 small red bell pepper sliced thin (julienne style)
  • 1 small white onion chopped small
  • ½ cup of chicken stock or broth
  • 1 small lemon – use the zest and juice (seeds removed)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Directions

♦ Chef Ann’s Notes for lemon pepper chicken:
  • Rinse chicken breast in cold running water and pat dry on paper towel.
  • Wash and scrub squash and peppers very well.
Preparation before cooking
  • Slice both chicken breast in half. Now take a fork and poke through all 4 breast on both sides.
  • With a sharp knife cut chicken into medium small chunks, place in a medium size bowl and squeeze the juice and zest of 1 lemon over all pieces of chicken.
  • Add garlic powder and lemon pepper seasoning making sure to cover every part of the chicken chunks.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Chop both yellow squash ½ inch thickness and then chop in half. Set them aside.
  • Chop and dice onion in small pieces.
  • Chop peppers in half and discard seeds. Continue to slice in thin strips (julienne style) then chop strips one more time. Set aside until ready to cook.
Preparation while cooking
Cooking
  • In a large skillet at medium high temperature add chicken broth, onion and marinated chicken. Make sure to use enough broth to cover chicken while cooking. Cook for 20 minutes with lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove lid and add squash, peppers and garlic powder.
  • Lower heat and cover with lid for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • You may add salt and pepper to taste.

Bon Appetite

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4-6

♥ Chef Ann’s ‘Lemon Pepper Chicken’ Tips:
  • You can marinate the chicken breast up to 24 hours for a more intense flavor.
  • If you want thicker slices of meat, do not divide the two breasts. Use only enough chicken broth /stock to cover meat in skillet.
  • If you are wanting more of a sauce with this dish you may add more stock or broth while cooking.
  • Purchase fresh boneless skinless chicken breast if possible.

  • Frozen chicken breast will work but there is nothing better than fresh when preparing this dish!
Helpful information

Source: ‘Lemon pepper‘ – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hope you enjoy your ‘Lemon Pepper Chicken’ as much as we do!


Poll

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Turkey Meat Sauce Spaghetti – Simply Delicious

picture of sd turkey meat sauce spaghetti

Description

Turkey meat sauce spaghetti is prepared with fresh herbs and spices that will delight your taste buds. Normally I would cook my sauce for about 2 hours, however my better judgment tells me to speed up the process just for you.

The spaghetti I have chosen for this recipe is rather fun to use. It cooks very fast which means, you will be eating sooner. There might be a few ingredients in this recipe that may be unfamiliar to you.

So for that reason alone I say why not try something new?

Ingredients

  • 15 large Roma tomatoes chopped small (5 – 6 cups)
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced small
  • 1 large green bell pepper diced small
  • 1 large yellow onion diced small
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced small
  • 6 Scallions chopped diced small
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1 cup of fresh chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 pound of ground turkey meat or turkey sausage with casing removed
  • 4 cups of Tom Yum soup base starter (organic)
  • 4½ cups of water
  • 1½ cup of fine sweet marsala wine
  • 1 teaspoon of dry basil
  • 6 or 8 Tagliolini nests (pasta)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

♦ Chef Ann’s ‘Turkey meat sauce spaghetti’ Notes:
  1. Purchase juicy ripe Roma tomatoes with no blemishes.
  2. Make sure that peppers are large and firm to the touch; no soggy spots.
Preparation before cooking
  • Scrub and wash in cold water all of your tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and scallions before chopping and dicing. Peel and rinse onion in cold water before dicing.
  • Rinse spinach very well and place in colander to drain.
  • Make sure spinach is dry before chopping into thin strips then set aside on a small dish.
  • Combine crushed fennel seed, marjoram, crushed rosemary and oregano in a small bowl. These herbs will be incorporated into the diced tomatoes while cooking. Chop and dice tomatoes in quarter pieces and pour into a tall stock pot (5¾ quart).

picture of ingredients

Preparation while cooking
  • In a large sauté pan (3½ quart) add 4½ cups of water and 3 cups of soup base stock. Note: Start this process after you add ground turkey to the fresh tomato sauce.
  • Bring to a rapid boil add a pinch of salt and Tagliolini nests (pasta).
  • Add a tablespoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of dry basil. Gently stir so that pasta does not stick. Follow directions on the back of the package.
  • This should cook in only 5 minutes but sooner if you like al dente.
Cooking
  • In a tall stock pot approximately (5¾ quart) add fresh diced tomatoes, soup base and sweet Masala wine. Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes, then lower heat and cook at medium high heat for 15 minutes.
  • Now combine fresh herbs, fennel seed, marjoram, crushed rosemary, oregano, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and scallions.
  • Reduce heat to medium low for the remainder of time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Allow sauce to cook for a total of 45 minutes.
  • Place ground turkey in skillet on medium high heat. With a fork or wooden spoon, crumble the meat. Now stir until turkey is almost done then add onion, celery seed, diced peppers and Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook until meat is thoroughly done, about 15 minutes. Remove from skillet and add turkey mixture along with your spinach to the tomato sauce.
  • Stir for a few minutes incorporating all the ingredients.
  • Cover with lid and allow the turkey to kiss the tomatoes and say I do, as they become one in holy matrimony…I mean, meat sauce.
  • You know…like, spaghetti and meat sauce.

Reach for your plates, a platter or bowls place your pasta and pour on that Simply Delicious Turkey Meat Sauce! Your guests are really in for a treat!

Bon Appetite

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

♥ Chef Ann’s ‘Turkey meat sauce spaghetti’ Tips:
  1. I use the Tom Yum soup base along with water because it adds great flavor to the pasta.
  2. Look for the (Pacific Brand) name and make sure “organic” is on the front.
  3. Also if your sauce is too thick and you want to thin it out a bit; just add some of the liquid from the pasta and 2 tablespoons of ketchup or more red wine.
  4. You will need to let it cook about 15 more minutes, making sure to stir ingredients well. This should do the trick for you. Also, you may use regular or thin spaghetti in place of the fancy Tagliolini nest pasta.
  5. Please note that the amount of garlic you use in this recipe can be optional.
Helpful information
  1. Vegetable stock or chicken broth may be used in place of the soup base. I like the fact that vegetable stock does not have MSG or additives (that I cannot pronounce).
  2. If you are unable to find this wonderful fancy shape pasta (Tagliolini Nest) try calling 1(888) 265-2848 or go to their website for help Colavita pasta/risotto.picture of pasta package for turkey meat sauce spaghetti

Source: Chef Ann’s original turkey meat sauce spaghetti recipe.


Poll

Rice Bran Oil for Cooking

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite cooking oils, rice bran oil. For those of you who are unaware allow me to give you the 411.

Information about rice bran oil

This oil is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. Rice bran oil is rich in vitamin E and contains a natural antioxidant called gamma-oryzanol, which helps our immune system.

picture of rice bran oil

Brands that I use

Rice bran oil ranks at the top of my list for cooking oils. It has been a standard for me over the years because it can be used in so many ways. I use it often when making salad dressing.  Most people have a tendency to use olive oil, I say give it a shot the next time you have a desire for salad dressing. It has a nice delicate taste that will truly compliment the flavor of your foods. Rice bran oil has fantastic cooking characteristics, due in part to its high flash point and low smoke ability.

This makes it ideal for deep frying, stir frying, sautéing and any other application. I love the fact that the food you cook absorbs less oil, compared to other oils you may use to cook with. This becomes a good thing because it means fewer calories for you to think about.

Another factor to keep in mind, rice bran oil does not have the tendency to leave you with an after taste, like most oils cooked at very high temperatures.

“High flash point, high smoke/low smoke point,” (culinary lingo) rice bran oil is taking the lead in becoming a truly healthy oil in which to cook with.

For your health

This wonderful cooking oil gives us a healthy balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats. Here we are talking about life sustaining properties; our body’s metabolic process depend on essential fatty acids.

Polyunsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fat is essential fatty acids, which lowers (LDL) the bad cholesterol and raises the (HDL) the good cholesterol. It is the LDL that will cause high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease and other health problems.

Sources: ‘What Are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids? / Nutrition / Fats‘ | fitday.com

Can Rice Bran Oil Melt Away Cholesterol?‘ | University of Rochester Medical Center urmc.rochester.edu

Rice bran oil and gamma-oryzanol in the treatm…‘ | PubMed – NCBI ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

It is very important to note, that we actually get carbohydrates, energy, and proteins from rice bran oil. This can lead to weight loss and a decrease of body fat.

Monounsaturated fat

Monounsaturated fat or (MUFA) are liquids at room temperature and solid when refrigerated.  This type of fat is found in avocados, various vegetables oils and nuts. When used properly monounsaturated fats:

  • help reduce LDL
  • help satisfy your desire for food
  • lower blood pressure
  • maintain glucose levels

Sources: ‘Monounsaturated fat‘ | Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia

Monounsaturated Fats‘ | heart.org

Saturated fats

Now we can move on to the discussion of saturated fats. These are fats that can pose a awful risk to our health if eaten in large portions on regular basis.

This will contribute to high cholesterol. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death here in the US.  These are food items that will clog our arteries, cause inflammation and contribute to any number of cancers.

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Sautéed baby bok choy and red onions
(using rice bran oil)

Eating red meat every day is risky. Processed carbohydrates, foods with additives and preservatives that you cannot even pronounce, whole milk, cheese, skin from poultry, and any solid fats such as butter all pose a health risk. If you just can’t resist these foods then at least give some thought to eating them in moderation.

Interesting article: ‘Everyone Was Wrong: Saturated Fat Is Good For You‘ | greatist.com

I say live in balance and eat certain foods in moderation. Are you convinced? Will you try using rice bran oil?