Tag Archives: party food

Sriracha Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs

Got hard boiled eggs? Make Sriracha Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Wasabi Deviled Eggs

Got hard boiled eggs? Make Wasabi Deviled Eggs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Beet Pickled Quail Eggs for Easter

Beet Pickled Quail Eggs for Easter at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I’m in the middle of remodeling h-e-l-l. Actually, I shouldn’t complain, because it hasn’t been too bad, since we started with a small project first – the kids’ bathroom. Yet it seemed as soon as my husband and his friend, Guy, started working on one thing, they would break another. Like cutting into a pipe and flooding the bathroom, which meant that the living room ceiling had to be repaired and repainted. Then they, along with the plumber and electrician, used my two vacuums like shop vacs, and broke them both. Then the bathroom lighting had to be done twice. The toilet that wasn’t supposed to be installed by the plumber, was indeed installed, and was broken in the process. I’m not even going to tell you about the fight with the painter regarding his quote and the trim.

Then the kitchen remodeling started with a reminder call. But I didn’t even know we were on the schedule to get our counter tops done that day! First, I had to reschedule my daughter’s hearing test appointment. No biggie. Then I had to camp out with my dog, Nellie in our bedroom, because as soon as the workmen left to get something from their truck and came back into the house, she'd growl at them like they were breaking in. Such a silly dog!

It also meant no cooking for a few days, since we had to wait for the plumber to come and hookup the sink and the electrician to hook up the stovetop. Luckily, I have another wonderful recipe from the April 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living to fill in while my kitchen is closed for a few days. This one is perfect for Easter, parties, and picnic season – Beet Picked Quail Eggs with an amazing picture by Jennifer Causey.

Beet Pickled Quail Eggs picnic at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Just because it’s Easter doesn’t mean you have to stick with chicken eggs. Any sort of eggs will do. Martha Stewart Living suggests getting quail eggs at dartagnan.com, but I’ve had good luck finding fresh and canned quail eggs at Asian markets. (My mom puts quail eggs in salads and quail eggs in pho soup are amazing.) Canned quail eggs are pretty affordable, too.

Martha Stewart Living April 2014 recipes at This Mama Cooks! On a DIet - thismamacooks.com

I love the idea of dying the egg whites with the beets. Some people use beets or other foods to dye eggs shells. Or they gently crack the hard boiled egg before dyeing to form a cracked pattern on the egg white. They use foods such as:

  • Blueberries or red cabbage for blue
  • Skins of red onions or yellow apples for green
  • Skins of yellow onions or paprika for orange
  • Carrots, turmeric, chamomile, green tea or orange peel for yellow
  • Coffee or black tea for brown
  • Grape juice for purple

If you’re interested in using foods or plants as natural food dyes, About.com has instructions on how to do so.

Ingredients

  • 1 small red beet, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries 1 dried bay leaf
  • 24 quail eggs
  • Hot sauce, celery leaves, and flaky sea salt, for serving

Directions

  1. Bring beet, 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, coarse salt, juniper berries, and bay leaf to a boil in a small pot, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool completely. Pass through a fine sieve; discard solids.
  2. Cover eggs with 1 inch of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let sit 3 minutes. Transfer to an ice-water bath until chilled. Drain and peel eggs.
  3. Place eggs in a container. Top with beet vinegar. Cover; chill 4 to 5 days. Slice in half and serve with accompaniments.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 120 Hours
Total Time: 120 Hours 45 Minutes
Servings: Serves 8
  • Serving size: 3 quail eggs

Recipe and photography used with permission.

Heart healthy Citrus Hummus

Heart healthy Citrus Hummus at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comAre you having a party to watch the Oscars this weekend? Or maybe you’re just on the lookout for some healthy appetizer recipes so you can watch and munch without feeling too guilty. Either way, I have a terrific heart healthy appetizer recipe for you – Citrus Hummus! That’s right, hummus made with 100% orange juice that’s also good for your heart.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to inhale hummus. That’s why it’s important that I use veggies like peapods, baby carrots, and broccoli spears as dippers instead of crackers or pretzels, even gluten free ones! Hummus is also a great way to get your kids to eat vegetables – what kid doesn’t love to dip?!

This recipe is so easy that you can make a batch of hummus in about 15 minutes in your food processor or Blendtec Blender [affiliate link].

Heart healthy orange juice

Did you know that 100% orange juice is good for your heart health? Orange juice delivers nutrients that have been associated with heart health indicators including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, as well as the phytonutrients hesperidin.3 Research reports that orange juice consumption has been associated with favorable effects on serum cholesterol,1,2 blood pressure and blood vessel function,3 as well as inflammatory and oxidative stress markers that may contribute to the development and progression of cardiovascular disease.4-6 Some of these benefits are believed to be at least partially attributable to the flavonoid hesperidin, found in oranges and orange juice.3

You can find more healthy recipes like Citrus Hummus at Florida Citrus.

Heart healthy Citrus Hummus at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Citrus Hummus

Recipe from Florida Citrus

Ingredients

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup 100% Florida orange juice
  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, optional

Directions

  1. In food processor bowl, combine all ingredients except parsley.
  2. Process until smooth, stopping and scraping sides of bowl several times.
  3. Place in serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
  4. Serve Citrus Hummus with pita chips and assorted fresh vegetables such as pea pods, baby carrots and miniature bell peppers.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: Yield: About 3 cups, approximately 10 servings
  • Serving size: 1/10 of recipe
  • Calories: 120
  • Calories from Fat: 35
  • Total Fat: 4g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated fat: 4g
  • Sodium: 390mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 0g

Recipe and picture used with permission.

References
1. Cesar TB et al. Nutr Res. 2010;30:689-694.
2. Aptekmann NP et al. Maturitas. 2010;67:343-347.
3. Morand C et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80.
4. Ghanim H et al. Diabetes Care. 2007;30:1406-1411.
5. Deopurkar R et al. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:991-997.
6. Ghanim H et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:940-949d.

Brie and Chive Fondue

Enjoying Brie and Chive Fondue at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I’ve been a reader of Bon Appetit magazine since the early ‘90s. One recipe I’ve kept in my repertoire from those early days is their Brie and Chive Fondue. It’s such an old recipe that you can’t even find it on their website! Luckily, I had it tucked away in an old post here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet (now deleted). Since search engines had a tough time finding the post, and I could only find the recipe at one other source on the web, I thought I’d repost it with a  few gluten free changes.

I recently made Brie and Chive Fondue for New Year’s Eve. It was such a hit with the kids, that my son has asked that I make it for his upcoming birthday party! At first I was reluctant to do so, since I thought his friends would think that brie’s a little weird. But I’m reconsidering since the brie you buy at Sam’s Club isn’t all that strong. Additionally, the choice of grapefruit juice instead of wine – which is traditionally used in a Gruyere fondue – makes this recipe very child friendly.

This Mama’s tips

  • If you have trouble finding 100% pink grapefruit juice, use 100% grapefruit juice or a pink grapefruit and other 100% juice blend. Don’t use grapefruit juice cocktail, which is full of added sugar and other nasty stuff.
  • I’ve substituted gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour. If you’re making this for a party, use gluten free bread instead of regular bread. Or keep one pot completely gluten free, so there’s no cross-contamination between guests who may be dipping regular crusty bread into the pot.
  • Tail on shrimp as a dipper is amazing. But save it for the adults!
  • Fondue pots! I have an old one green one from the ‘70s that I found at a thrift store. I also have a Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Fondue Pot [affiliate link] that’s wonderful. (The picture above is the green fondue pot resting on the Le Creuset base – we were using both fondue pots that night.) Everyone from Target to Pier One to Crate & Barrel sell fondue pots, so you now have an excuse to go out and buy one!
Enjoying Brie and Chive Fondue at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Brie and Chive Fondue

From the September 1991 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

Ingredients

For fondue:

  • 2 pounds chilled slightly firm Brie cheese
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon buttery spread
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) 100% pink grapefruit juice
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced grapefruit peel

For dipping:

  • gluten free bread cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • apple and pear slices
  • cooked shrimp (you don’t need fondue skewers if you used the tail-on variety)

Directions

  1. Remove rind from cheese. (I admit my family and I like to eat the rind pieces. So why throw it away?)
  2. Tear cheese into pieces and place in a large bowl. Add gluten free flour and toss to coat.
  3. Melt buttery spread in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add minced shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add 1 1/2 cups grapefruit juice. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Add 1 handful of brie to the saucepan and stir constantly until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
  7. Repeat with remaining cheese, 1 handful at a time.
  8. Season to taste with white pepper. You can make this one day ahead, which is perfect if you’re making this for a party. Just cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat, stirring frequently. Thin with more juice if necessary.
  9. Stir in chives and grapefruit peel.
  10. Pour cheese mixture into a fondue pot and set over candle or canned heat. Serve with the dippers of your choice.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: Makes about 4 cups. Serves 4 to 6 for a hearty meal.
  • Serving size: 3/4 to 1 cup per person

Gluten Free Asian Ginger Meatballs

Gluten Free Asian Ginger Meatballs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I was recently introduced to a wonderful product – Massel bouillon cubes and seasoning granules. If you’re gluten free or have food sensitivities, you know how impossible it is to find bouillon and stock making ingredients that don’t have flour, MSG, or lactose in them. Massel also makes concentrated liquid stock and gravy mixes that are also gluten free and made with premium vegetables, herbs, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil. In fact, their factory is entirely gluten free to prevent cross contamination. Their factory is animal product free and kosher certified, as well.

Massel is an Australian company company and their wonderful products are finally becoming available here in the US. (You can find out where Massel products are sold by using their store locator. Or you can order Masel products on Amazon.) If you’re trying to eat more healthily, Massel bouillons and gravies are fat free, cholesterol free, and lower in sodium than other instant bouillons. They also make salt-reduced bouillon cubes and granules for those of us who are watching our salt intake.

Asian Ginger Meatball Appetizers at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Healthy gluten free appetizers for the Big Game

Massel sent me some of their products and asked me to recreate a recipe from their website, so I chose to make their Asian Style Meatballs. With the upcoming Big Game, I’m sure you’re on the lookout for something easy and fun to make. Massel’s recipe fits the bill – delicious and gluten free.

I suggest serving this with San-J’s Orange Sauce, which is also gluten free and ORANGE for those of us rooting for the Denver Broncos, which I hope you are! Other sauce options that would go well include sweet chili, sriracha, or a spicy peanut sauce. I’ve quadrupled the original recipe to make a party sized portion. (I think the original recipe was a bit off in that 8 ounces of ground pork would make 24 meatballs.) The original recipe used pork (I used reduced fat ground pork), but this would work just as well with ground turkey, too.

You can halve the recipe and serve the Asian Ginger Meatballs with vegetable stir fry or over brown rice with a spicy Asian sauce. (Or make a full batch, and freeze half the meatballs in a Ziploc baggie for another night’s dinner.) Either way, your kids will love them!

To find out more about Massel, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Gluten Free Asian Ginger Meatballs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Asian Ginger Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 8 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Massel Vegetable Ultracubes or 4 teaspoons Better Bouillon granules
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds ground pork

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine shallots, ginger, garlic, and Massel bouillon granules or Ultracubes. (Mash Ultracubes with the back of a spoon. Mix them into the other ingredients before mixing into the meat). Add ground pepper.
  3. Add ground pork to seasonings and mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
  4. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  5. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie dough scoop, scoop ground meat on to baking sheet until sheet is covered.
  6. Since ground meat will be too sticky to shape into meatballs, place baking sheet in freezer for 10-15 minutes until meatballs are slightly firmed up.
  7. Remove baking sheet from freezer. Shape meatballs using the palms of your hands, and place back on to baking sheet.
  8. Bake meatballs for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  9. Serve meatballs with toothpicks and sauce of choice.
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: Makes 74 appetizer sized meatballs
  • Serving size: 2 meatballs

Healthy Baked Plantain Chips Four Ways

Healthy Baked Plantain Chips Four Ways at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

While we were in Florida last month, we dined at the Columbia Restaurant, a classic Cuban style restaurant in the Ybor City section of Tampa. Cuban cuisine is wonderful and much of it is naturally gluten free like the Black Bean Soup and their famous 1905 Salad. Luckily, the restaurant has a gluten free menu on their website, so I was able to research what I could eat ahead of time. If you’re ever in Tampa, I highly recommend stopping by for lunch or dinner!

While we were there, my children (who aren’t gluten free) both had Cuban Sandwiches with a side order of plantain chips. I liked that they were offered a healthier alternative to French fries and thought I’d try making some plantain chips at home. The ones at the restaurant were probably fried, not baked, and were only flavored with salt. I wanted to try baking them and flavoring plantain chips several ways. Not only would baked plantain chips be a healthy alternative to potato chips for a party, but creating sweet as well as savory flavors would surely be a crowd pleaser!

Baked Plantain Chips at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Buying, peeling and cutting plantains

Plantains are sold at most supermarkets nowadays, and can be found near the bananas. For chips making, you want to buy unripe plantains – the greener the better. Don’t worry about back spots on the peel as it doesn’t affect the flesh.

If you have a mandolin slicer, you can cut your chip into even, thin slices. (I have a mandolin and hate using it, go figure.) Otherwise, use a sharp paring knife and make the slices as thin and uniform as possible. The thinner the chip, the crunchier it’ll be!

Baked Plantain Chips at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Making your plantain chips

I find that cooking the chips on parchment paper works best as the paper absorbs any extra oil. However, if you don’t have any in your pantry, using aluminum foil on a baking sheet is fine and cuts down cleanup time. Also, remember to watch your chips closely when cooking as they tend to burn quickly.

I’ve included four flavor mixes in my recipe. Feel free to experiment on your own. Some ideas could include using premade taco seasoning, barbecue rubs, seasoning salts and/or infused oils. Get out the herbs and spices and go nuts!

For more gluten free snack recipes and ideas, check out the Udi’s Gluten Free Community.

Healthy Baked Plantain Chips Four Ways at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Healthy Baked Plantain Chips Four Ways

Ingredients

For Sweet & Spicy Baked Plantain Chips:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or no calorie sugar substitute (granular not liquid)

For Salt & Pepper Baked Plantain Chips:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

For Garlic & Onion Baked Plantain Chips:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

For Cinnamon Sugar Baked Plantain Chips:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or no calorie sugar substitute (granular not liquid)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel the plantain with a sharp knife. Then slice the plantains as thinly as possible with a mandolin or knife.
  3. In a bowl, combine plantain slices, olive oil, and seasonings. Stir gently to coat the plantain chips.
  4. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place a single layer of plantains on the parchment paper.
  5. Place cookie sheet in oven for 16 to 20 minutes. Turn plantains after 8 minutes.
  6. Plantain chips are done when they start to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and serve.
  7. Chips are best served warm. You can also cool the plantain chips on a baking rack lined with paper towels to soak up any extra oil, and serve them at room temperature, too. Plantain chips keep for about one day.
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Servings: Yields 2 to 3 cups
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine

Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

For parties and holiday entertaining we think of cocktails and champagne, but how about something warm like mulled wine? It’s super simple to make and keep warm if you use your slow cooker. You can bring it to a boil using the hot setting, which will have the advantage of burning off a lot of the alcohol so your guests won’t get too toasty warm, if you know what I mean. And once you get it up to temperature, most slow cookers have a warm setting that should keep it at a perfect temperature for the rest of the night. Make a single or double batch depending on the size of your slow cooker.

Also, keep the glasses small! Mulled wine gets cold quickly, and isn’t as good at room temperature as it is warm.

Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Making mulled wine with balsamic vinegar

I decided to put a special spin on my mulled wine using a variety of non-traditional spices like star anise and allspice along with cinnamon and cloves, mostly because I had a bunch in my cupboards! I also thought sorghum syrup as a sweetener would be fun. (Don’t have sorghum in your neck of the woods? Feel free to substitute maple syrup or honey.)

Finally, I had come across several recipes using balsamic vinegar in mulled wine and thought using Holland House Balsamic Vinegar would be perfect. It added a lot of depth but some acidity to the recipe, so it required a little more sweetening to balance it. If the sorghum isn’t quite enough for your tastes, add a little brown sugar to the recipe if you wish.

Don’t forget Holland House cooking wines and vinegars for your holiday cooking needs! Check out their website for money saving coupons and recipes. Follow Holland House on Facebook for holiday cooking tips and recipes, too!

Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine

Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 bottle red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel
  • 1/4 cup Holland House Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup
  • 1 (2 inch) piece ginger root, peeled
  • 4 clementine oranges, zested and juiced
  • 3 anise stars
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker set on high.
  2. Cook for approximately 2-4 hours (depending on your slow cooker) until mulled wine is boiling.
  3. Lower temperature to warm.
  4. Serve in small mugs or glasses.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 4 Hours
Total Time: 4 Hours
Servings: Makes 7 1/2 cups
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup

Goat Cheese in Infused Olive Oil

Goat Cheese in Infused Olive Oil at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

During the holidays, I find that most of us tend to focus on sweet flavors like baked goodies at our parties. While I love a sweet treat now and then, since my brain surgery, I really go for the savory. I love a slice of fancy cheese, some olives, or a schmear of hummus on a cracker.

In my opinion, one of the really elegant appetizers is one of the most simple – dipping a chunk of nice bread in quality olive oil. I first experienced this at one of my favorite Italian eateries in Colorado. The waiter would come by and pour a high quality olive oil into a couple of small dishes. He’d add some  grated cheese and possibly some salt and pepper to the olive oil, if you wished. Then you’d take pieces of their lovely freshly made bread and dip it into the olive oil while you waited for your food to be cooked up. They even had gluten free bread, so no one was left out of this lovely ritual.

Goat Cheese in Infused Olive Oil at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Inspired by this memory and Carbonell Olive Oil’s “Dare to Carbonell” campaign, I’ve recreated this appetizer with a bold new twist. First, I’ve infused Carbonell Olive Oil with herbs and fermented Japanese Aamori Black Garlic. The fermented garlic, which is available at Trader Joe’s, has a sweet taste and is amazing. I then used the infused oil (you can use either one) and added it to goat cheese for another bold appetizer. Both are wonderful ways to enjoy the Spanish flavors of Carbonell!

Infused oils also make terrific homemade gifts for the foodies on your holiday list. Put the oils into small glass bottles with a decorative ribbon and tag.

Goat Cheese in Infused Olive Oil at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Goat Cheese in Infused Olive Oil

To avoid cross contamination between guests dipping regular and gluten free breads into oil and cheese, make a special goat cheese round just for your gluten free guests. Mark it clearly with a sign.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) log soft mild goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup Infused Carbonell Virgin Olive Oil (see recipes below)
  • Liberal pinch or two table salt or finishing salt
  • Rosemary or thyme sprigs and leaves for garish
  • Sliced baguette, ciabatta, or gluten free breads – toasted if you wish

Directions

  1. Place cheese on plate and loosely drape with plastic wrap. Using your hands, shape the goat cheese into a round shape.
  2. Pour infused olive oil over cheese round.
  3. Sprinkle cheese round with salt.
  4. Garnish plate with rosemary and thyme sprigs.
  5. Serve with bread.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: Makes 8 appetizer servings
  • Serving size: 2 baguette slices with cheese

Herb and Fermented Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients:

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 head fermented Japanese Aamori Black Garlic (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 teaspoons black whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups Carbonell Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until a cooking thermometer reads 175 degrees F.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Pour into a bottle and cork.
  5. Keep cool and out of direct sunlight for up to 1 month.

Rosemary and Chive Infused Olive Oil

Ingredients:

  • 3 large fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • 3 teaspoons black whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups Carbonell Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until a cooking thermometer reads 175 degrees F.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Pour into a bottle and cork.
  5. Keep cool and out of direct sunlight for up to 1 month.

Dare to Carbonell!

The bold tastes of Spain and Carbonell Olive Oil

Since 1866, Carbonell Olive Oil has embodied the spirit of art, culture, food, family, and friends with their high quality olive oil. Today, Carbonell is the world’s leading Spanish olive oil brand, and has three distinct varieties each suited to a different cooking need:

  • Daringly Expressive Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a rich taste and smooth flavor that will make any dish pop with Spanish personality. Use Carbonell Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salads, dips, marinades and drizzling over finished dishes.
  • Fantastically Light Extra Light Olive Oil has a light taste that’s perfect for high-heat cooking such as frying, sautéing, and baking.
  • Distinctly Classic Olive Oil has a traditional flavor that serves as an all-purpose cooking oil, adding a mild flavor to soups, sauces and grilled meats and vegetables.

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Carbonell blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

Easy Chocolate Truffles Dipped in White Chocolate

Easy Chocolate Truffles Dipped in White Chocolate from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Turkey Orange Meatballs

Turkey Orange Meatballs from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Here’s a healthy holiday party appetizer recipe from the folks at Florida Citrus. To keep this gluten free, make sure to use certified gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill is a good choice).

Don’t you love the elegant way they presented the meatballs with the twisted bamboo skewers and the tiny pieces of herbs? Well, if you want to stick the meatballs in a bowl and let your guests spoon them on to their plates along with a few plain toothpicks, I’m sure no one will mind!

And don't forget this recipe during football playoff and bowl game parties, too!

Turkey Orange Meatballs from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Turkey Orange Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 Florida orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 cups 100% Florida orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In large bowl, combine turkey, oats, orange, egg, Italian seasoning, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
  2. Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, making approximately 28 meatballs.
  3. Place meatballs in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, turning occasionally until browned on all sides. Meatballs should be cooked through with no pink remaining in the center.
  4. Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, tomato paste, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Add orange juice mixture to cooked meatballs in skillet. continue cooking and stir gently until sauce becomes clear and coats meatballs, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve meatballs on toothpicks garnished with fresh herbs, if desired.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: Makes 7 servings
  • Serving size: 4 meatballs
  • Calories: 210
  • Calories from Fat: 50
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Unsaturated fat: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 60mg

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Healthing up holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Maybe I’m just a little out of it due to my recent follow up brain surgery. Or maybe because it barely feels like fall here in Georgia since the leaves in our backyard have just started to turn red, gold, orange and brown. Yet, it’s holiday party and entertaining time!

I’m always on the lookout for healthy and easy to make appetizers and this one from the folks at Prosciutto di Parma fits the bill. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of bacon wrapped anything when it comes to appetizers – dates, mushrooms, scallops, and so on. But not very healthy, right? Well, you can still get that wonderful salty pork flavor, avoid the grease, and make a much more sophisticated and elegant appetizer with prosciutto. Best of all Prosciutto di Parma is 100% all-natural and gluten free – perfect since so many people have issues with gluten these days.

You can take slices of prosciutto and wrap them around asparagus spears or melon. Or try them in this recipe for Prosciutto di Parma Caramele. The prosciutto is wrapped around a simple-yet-delicious filling of fresh ricotta cheese and herbs to look just like little Italian candies, or carameles. Make this even healthier by using a low fat ricotta.

If you have dairy free guests, substitute extra firm tofu for the ricotta. Use a blender to make the tofu smooth and then add the parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper to it. If you find the mixture is too dry or maybe missing a little flavor, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to the tofu mixture.

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Prosciutto di Parma Caramele

Recipe courtesy of Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces ricotta, strained overnight
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces Prosciutto di Parma (approximately 16 slices)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine strained ricotta, parsley, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper; mix until herbs are evenly distributed; set aside.
  2. On a cutting board, cut each slice of Prosciutto di Parma into 2 to 3 squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of ricotta mixture onto the center of each square; roll prosciutto around ricotta mixture so that the seam faces down. Gently pinch the two ends of the roll to achieve the shape of a caramel.
  3. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and ricotta mixture. Drizzle caramele with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of chives.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Makes 16 servings
  • Serving size: 1 appetizer

Recipe and photo used with permission

Wordless Wednesday: S’mores Strawberries on Sticks

S’mores Strawberries on a Stick | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

When my husband travels for business, he sends me pictures of the crazy food he eats. This one was especially fun – S’mores Strawberries on Sticks served with crushed graham crackers and chocolate. You could easily replicate this dessert at home. Put a strawberry on a bamboo stick, dip in marshmallow cream, and place over a grill until brown if you don’t have a culinary torch [affiliate link] or a plumbers torch [affiliate link].

This would be a fun party dessert that you could make a little bit less unhealthy by providing gluten free crushed graham crackers and melted dark chocolate – and skip the churros (I think that’s what those are), caramel sauce, and brownie!

Balsamic & Sorghum Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Sweet Potatoes

Balsamic & Sorghum Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Sweet Potatoes at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Just because it’s fall, it doesn’t mean you have to give up summer time grilling favorites like pork ribs. No, that doesn’t mean putting on boots and a wool jacket just to get the smoker going. Instead, how about cooking up some pork loin back ribs in the slow cooker? Not only does this mean that you don’t have to check the grill or smoker all day long, but you can make this weekend favorite during the week while you’re at work! Just make sure you have a six quart slow cooker before attempting this recipe.

Sure making pork ribs in the slow cooker takes a little preparation the night before, but you’ll come home to a house that smells amazing. Plus, you’ll have a meal on the table less than 30 minutes after arriving home – much faster (let along cheaper and healthier) than hitting your favorite barbecue joint on the way home from work, too. You don’t have to worry about missing the smoky flavor either as the smoked paprika in combination with the balsamic vinegar does the trick.

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Balsamic & Sorghum Drizzling Sauce at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This pork ribs recipe uses two of my favorite Holland House products, Balsamic Vinegar and Marsala Cooking Wine, which are both gluten free. I’ve also cooked the ribs up with some healthy sweet potatoes, which you can turn into Marsala Sweet Potato Mash if you’re in the mood. Or you can serve with a little smear of a buttery spread and a dash of sea salt. However, my favorite way is to slice up the sweet potatoes and pour on some of the Balsamic and Sorghum Drizzling Sauce, since it’s not just for the ribs. The Balsamic & Sorghum Slow Cooker Ribs goes great with a side salad and some Wine and Rosemary Quinoa, too!

This dish would also make a terrific party appetizer. Since you can fit two three pound slabs of pork loin ribs in a six quart slow cooker, just double the recipe and omit the sweet potatoes. After about five to six hours, check to see if the ribs are cooked through, but not falling apart done. Cut the ribs apart, and place the ribs back in the slow cooker for an hour or two before the party. Serve the drizzling sauce as a dipping sauce. Your guests will love ‘em!

Balsamic & Sorghum Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Sweet Potatoes at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Balsamic & Sorghum Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Sweet Potatoes

If you’re unable to find sorghum, use maple syrup, honey or agave nectar instead. Inspired by this recipe at Epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 pound) rack pork loin back ribs

For the rub

  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Holland House Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

In the slow cooker

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 8 small sweet potatoes, wrapped in aluminum foil

For the drizzling sauce

  • 1/2 cup “drippings” from slow cooker with fat skimmed off
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Holland House Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup

Directions

For the pork ribs

  1. To make the rub, combine minced garlic, thyme, sorghum, balsamic vinegar, chile pepper, paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. Rub evenly over the rack of pork ribs.
  3. Place the rack of ribs inside the stoneware crock so the meat side is touching the inside of the crock. Place lid on crock and place in refrigerator to marinate overnight.
  4. In the morning, add water, marsala cooking wine, and wrapped sweet potatoes to crock. Place stoneware crock into slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.

For the balsamic and sorghum drizzle sauce

  1. Combine drippings, water, balsamic vinegar and sorghum in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a broil over medium high heat.
  3. Lower heat to medium low. Simmer until reduced to about 1 cup – 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Serve the Balsamic and Sorghum Drizzle Sauce on the ribs, the sweet potatoes, and anything else that may end up on your plate!
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 8 Hours
Total Time: 9 Hours
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 3 to 4 ribs and 2 sweet potatoes per person

Holland House Dutch Oven Giveaway!

As a Mizkan Blogger, I’m giving away a Lodge Enamel 4-Quart Dutch Oven (in blue) and three bottles of Holland House product (approximate retail value $100). Enter below!

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Slow Cooker Pork Ribs at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com