Revised Cornbread Salad – fat reduced & deconstructed

It took us a long time to try Cornbread Salad but when we did we were definitely fans. However, these days we need a fat and cholesterol reduced version! 
The solution -- create a deconstructed salad and get rid of the sour cream, mayonnaise and bacon!
The recipe is flexible -- add as much or as little of any of the following ingredients . . .

Revised Cornbread Salad – fat reduced & deconstructed 
Prepared cornbread 
Romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
Jalapeño or pepperoncini peppers, diced (or whole for garnish)
Diced green or red pepper
Pinto or black beans, drained
Frozen corn, thawed & cooked
1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
Diced onions
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Strips of Smoked Turkey
Reduced fat Ranch dressing
  1. Dice cornbread and toast in oven to make crisp but tender croutons.
  2. Arrange lettuce on plate.
  3. Add as much of any or all ingredients – peppers, beans, corn, onions, tomatoes, turkey.
  4. Drizzle with salad dressing.
  5. Top with cornbread croutons.
Recipe without photos . . .
Revised Cornbread Salad – fat reduced & deconstructed 
Prepared cornbread 
Romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces 
Jalapeño or pepperoncini peppers, diced (or whole for garnish)
Diced green or red pepper
Pinto or black beans, drained
Frozen corn, thawed & cooked
Diced onions
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Strips of Smoked Turkey
Reduced fat Ranch dressing
  1. Dice cornbread and toast in oven to make crisp but tender croutons.
  2. Arrange lettuce on plate.
  3. Add as much of any or all ingredients – peppers, beans, corn, onions, tomatoes, turkey.
  4. Drizzle with salad dressing.
  5. Top with cornbread croutons.

Shakshuka - flavorful Middle Eastern egg dish

Shakshuka! (shack-SHOO-kah) One look at this recipe for a Middle Eastern egg dish and Barry had to give it a try. According to the recipe source, Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2018 issue, this dish originated in North Africa and has caught on with the breakfast and brunch crowd; quite trendy at this time!
It's a relatively easy recipe made by poaching eggs in a spiced tomato sauce.
Food Network suggests serving it with warm pita bread.

Shakshuka  Serves 2 (if allowing 2 eggs per person)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped (Barry used part green pepper)
1/4 small bunch cilantro, leaves & tender stems separated, chopped
2 small cloves garlic, thinly slices
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 (16 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
4 large egg
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the cilantro stems, garlic, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened and the vegetables are coated with the spices, about 1 minute.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  4. Stir the tomatoes with their juices into the skillet. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes bread down and the sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to make 4 wells in the sauce, 1 to 2" apart. Crack an gg into each well. Run the edge of a rubber spatula through the egg whites to break them slightly being careful not to break the yolks (this allow the egg white to cook faster).

  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are just set, 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and top with the cilantro leaves.
    Eggs are baked and dish is ready to be garnished.
Recipe without photos . . .
Shakshuka  Serves 2 (if allowing 2 eggs per person)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped (Barry used part green pepper)
1/4 small bunch cilantro, leaves & tender stems separated, chopped
2 small cloves garlic, thinly slices
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 (16 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
4 large egg
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the cilantro stems, garlic, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened and the vegetables are coated with the spices, about 1 minute.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  4. Stir the tomatoes with their juices into the skillet. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes bread down and the sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to make 4 wells in the sauce, 1 to 2" apart. Crack an gg into each well. Run the edge of a rubber spatula through the egg whites to break them slightly being careful not to break the yolks (this allow the egg white to cook faster).
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are just set, 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and top with the cilantro leaves.

Top-Rated Sweet Cornbread

This cornbread has all the essential elements that I identify with really good cornbread: tender, moist, slightly sweet and popping with flavor. In my book this recipe earns a top-rating!

Top-Rated Sweet Cornbread
1/2  cup cornmeal 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup vegetable oil (canola)
3 tablespoons melted butter 
1 tablespoon honey 
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk.
  4. Pour into a greased 8” square pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Recipe without photos . . .
Top-Rated Sweet Cornbread
1/2  cup cornmeal 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup vegetable oil (canola)
3 tablespoons melted butter 
1 tablespoon honey 
2 eggs, beaten 
1 1/4 cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the oil, melted butter, honey, eggs, and milk.
  4. Pour into a greased 8” square pan.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Basmati Rice & Cranberry-Almond Pilaf

Basmati rice is our new favorite – long-grained and delicate with a light nutty flavor, & it cooks quickly! We flavored this recipe with cranberries and toasted almonds . . . but think it would be yummy with frozen peas and diced carrots. So many possibilities!

Basmati Rice & Cranberry-Almond Pilaf   6 servings
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds  
1/2 onion, finely chopped 
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 cup chicken broth 
1 1/2 cups water or more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley 
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat or heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Add the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and nutty smelling, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter (or heat 2 tablespoons olive oli) in the saucepan and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until well coated, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon of each), and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low.
  6. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 minutes, adding cranberries after about 10 minutes. Also be sure to check liquid level near the end of cooking time; add more water (or broth) if needed.
  7. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in half of the reserved almonds and half of the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining toasted almonds and parsley.
 Recipe without photos . . .
Basmati Rice & Cranberry-Almond Pilaf   6 servings
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds  
1/2 onion, finely chopped 
1 1/2 cups basmati rice  
1 cup chicken broth 
1 1/2 cups water or more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries  
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley 
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat or heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Add the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and nutty smelling, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter (or heat 2 tablespoons olive oli) in the saucepan and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until well coated, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon of each), and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low.
  6. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 minutes, adding cranberries after about 10 minutes. Also be sure to check liquid level near the end of cooking time; add more water (or broth) if needed.
  7. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in half of the reserved almonds and half of the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining toasted almonds and parsley.

Festive Green Beans

Red and green veggies for the holidays — fresh, healthy and festive . . .

Festive Green Beans  4 to 6 servings
1 to 1 ½ lbs. fresh green beans
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ to ⅓ onion, diced
⅓ to ½ red pepper, diced
4 to 5 mushrooms, sliced
  1. Steam green beans until tender but still a little crisp. Drain.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions, pepper and mushrooms.
  3. Add the green beans, toss and heat through.