Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals; and low in calories and sodium. It’s a versatile vegetable that can be used as a side dish, appetizer, or as a main course ingredient, think stir-fry!
Here’s one of my favorite asparagus recipes. These Asparagus Pockets are tasty, easy, and look impressive. They’ll make a great appetizer at a party, specially during the holidays. They’re so easy to make, you can whip them out in less than an hour. Guests will think you spent hours preparing them!
Here’s my recipe, hope you love them as much as we do!
– 24 Asparagus tips – washed and trimmed to about 8” long
– 2 cans refrigerated crescent dough
– 1/2 shredded Parmesan cheese
– 1 Egg – beaten
- Pre-heat over to 375 degrees
- Prepare asparagus
- Unroll crescent dough – dough is pre-cut into 8 triangles and unroll as 4 sets of triangles together forming a rectangular piece
- Separate rectangles – Do not separate it into triangles – you should have 8 rectangles with a diagonal line scored from one corner to the other
- Press the scored line together to form a smooth rectangle
- Place 3 asparagus tips diagonally across the dough – from corner to corner
- Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of cheese over asparagus
- Fold free corners over each other to form the pocket. Top and bottom of asparagus should peek out. Check picture above.
- Place each pocket on a parchment covered baking sheet.
- Brush each pocket with beaten egg.
- Bake in oven about 20 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve hot or warm.
- Makes 8 pockets.
Some of the cooks at the restaurant where I work were talking about stuffed pepper soup. We decided to stir up similar ingredients for a stuffed pepper soup recipe. Customer response was overwhelming!
2 pounds ground beef
6 cups water
1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cooked long grain rice
Chopped fresh parsley, optional
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in next 8 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Add cooked rice; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
Test Kitchen Tips
- Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light or golden brown sugar. The types are generally interchangeable in recipes. But if you prefer a bolder flavor, choose dark brown sugar.
- Green peppers are unripened versions of red, yellow or orange peppers. They are less expensive because they’re quicker to get to market. Use colored peppers in recipes for more sweetness.
- Check out 31 stuffed pepper recipes.
1 cup: 337 calories, 14g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 1466mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 4g fiber), 24g protein.
This fantastic one-pan dinner is ideal for a Sunday supper or casual fall get-together with friends; the sauce is delicious, so serve with bread or mashed potatoes to soak up every delicious bite.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
- 2 medium tart red apples, cored and cut into wedges
- 1 12 – ounce bottle hard cider
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large (2 cups)
- In a very large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan, reserving drippings in skillet. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook 10 minutes or until browned, turning once; remove from skillet. Add apples to the skillet and cook 4 minutes or until browned on both sides; remove from skillet. Drain and discard drippings from skillet.
- Add cider, thyme, mustard, and salt to skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Add apples and cook, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes more or until chicken is done (at least 175 degrees F).
- To serve, divide chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, and apples among shallow bowls or plates. Spoon cider mixture over top. Sprinkle each serving with bacon.
(Cider-Braised Chicken, Brussels Sprouts and Apples)
Servings Per Recipe 4, sodium (mg) 840, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 1, cal. (kcal) 860, Folate (µg) 35, pro. (g) 52, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 1, Potassium (mg) 804, iron (mg) 3, Monounsaturated fat (g) 25, vit. A (IU) 614, carb. (g) 23, calcium (mg) 49, sat. fat (g) 17, chol. (mg) 295, sugar (g) 13, Niacin (mg) 12, fiber (g) 4, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, Thiamin (mg) 0, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 12, vit. C (mg) 44, Fat, total (g) 59
Cider-Braised Chicken, Brussels Sprouts and Apples
Infused Water, sounds fancy right? I know it sounds like some expensive water found only at spas and trendy cafés. But seriously it’s not!
Infused water is simply put plain old water flavored with fruit, veggies, herbs, or a combination of the three. It’s also so easy to make at home, all you need is water, your flavoring, and a container.
We’ve been making and serving infused water at many of our events for years. They’re so pretty to look at and adds a flavor twist to water. Now when I say flavor I don’t mean your water will taste like the fruit or veggie you infused it with, it’s more of a hint of flavor, just enough to give it that special refreshing yum!
Recently I had a condition called Rhabdomyolysis, a rare syndrome that basically causes muscles to breakdown and release their contents into the blood stream. Though rare it can be very serious and in my case required a four day hospital stay.
There are several things which can cause Rhabdomyolysis, in my case it was the statin medication I was prescribed for my cholesterol. There are also several signs that cause doctors to suspect the syndrome. In my case my muscles were weak, I was dehydrated, and I had a potassium deficiency. Blood tests confirmed that I did indeed have Rhabdomyolysis.
Although there are a variety of causes and symptoms there is one general treatment for the syndrome and that’s hydration to flush the myglobin (chemical released when muscles breakdown) out of the blood stream and kidneys. Of course more severe cases may need other treatment measures. But in my case IV fluids for 4 days and a few potassium pills were all I needed to flush my system and get my blood tests back to normal. I was sent home with strict instructions to stay hydrated, meaning drink lots and lots of liquid, specially water.
This is where infused water comes in. Don’t get me wrong I drink lots of water, in fact I fill up my 40 oz. hydroflask with ice water 3-4 times a day. But sometimes I’m looking for a bit of a change and infused water really hits the spot.
I’ve made cantalope, watermelon, and pineapple infused water, as well as citrus infused water. I also like to use mint, it’s very refreshing. I’ve been toying with different possible combinations, they do seem endless. But here’s the basics for making your own infused water.
1 cup of sliced fruit, vegetables, or fresh herbs
1 quart water – you can use tap or bottled water. I prefer Aqua Panna or San Pellegrino Sparkling water if I want a bit of fizz.
Place cut fruit in a pitcher or drink dispenser
Add one quart of water
Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours
Strain fruit out of water
Serve infused water garnished with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs if desired
Infused water will be drinkable for 2 days if stored in the fridge. Toss out any left overs after 2 days.
When we serve infused water at an event or party I usually strain the old fruit out then place the water in a pretty glass drink dispenser. I garnish it by floating fresh fruit in the water. This adds flavor and makes it look pretty too!
Here are more suggestions for homemade infused water:
Citrus – Lemon, Lime, Orange
Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
Do you have a favorite infused water recipe? Please share it with us!
Source: Deposit Photos
Mushrooms are delicious, nutritious, and versatile veggies people love to have around and toss in a myriad of dishes for surprising taste and texture. The only problem with mushrooms is that you have to use them while they are still fresh. Spoiled mushrooms may lead to health problems or ruin your perfect recipes. Today, we will focus on the telltale signs of mushrooms gone bad and offer you some quick tips on how to make the best out of your beloved fungi.
Understanding Mushroom Shelf-life
In our case, we will talk mostly about mushroom’s shelf life in the fridge, as we hope nobody keeps mushrooms lying around in the kitchen. If you want to find out how long do mushrooms last and tips for increasing their shelf life at home check out the linked article about the topic.
As for mushrooms’ longevity, here are some things you should consider:
- Not all vegetables come with an expiry date on the label; therefore, you need to assume they are fresh in the store and calculate their shelf life in the fridge starting from that point on. Fresh and healthy mushrooms look neat, have no wrinkles or dark spots, and are not squishy when you hold them;
- Once you brought the ‘shrooms home, put them in the fridge, but do not forget about them!
Here are some guidelines on how long you can keep the mushrooms safe until you get to cook them:
- Fresh whole mushrooms (fridge): 7 to 10 days; some experts claim that you can keep mushrooms for up to two weeks, but we recommend that you do not pass the 10-days threshold;
- Freshly sliced mushrooms (fridge): up to 7 days; since they have their inside exposed, it is better to cook them as soon as you get the chance;
- Roasted mushrooms: up to 10 days in the fridge, but up to a few weeks in the freezer;Frozen mushrooms (freezer): check the label for expiration date.
How to Tell if Mushrooms Went Bad
It would be a real shame to buy mushrooms and forget about them in the fridge. Being one of the few veggies that contain vitamin D and packing a potent punch of minerals and protein, mushrooms can provide us with tremendous nutritional value and can turn any recipe into a work of art. For this reason, you should cook them while they are still fresh. However, if you do not know how to assess their freshness, here are the main signs that your fungi have joined the dark side:
- You can remember when you bought them and realize you are past the 10-days deadline; you can still cook them,but you should be careful.
- The heads are slimy: touch the mushroom heads and see if they got a muddy, sticky surface; while they are not a health danger at this point, it is good practice to toss them; if you want to salvage them somehow, peel them off thoroughly, wash them with care, and fry them at high temperatures;
- They have wrinkles: look at the ‘shrooms and search for lines; some mushrooms do not get a slimy cover but dry up and become wrinkly. Do not consume them if they look shriveled and give you a bad feeling; if there’s too much month at the end of your money, you can eat them if you hydrate them in some water and cook them at high temperatures, but otherwise you should better not;
- They went to the dark side or are training to become Sith lords: dark colored mushrooms are a big no-no; dark spots and dark surfaces are a sign they are not safe to eat anymore;
- They have a funky odor: mushrooms smell like mushrooms, but if you open the bag or the container and have to turn your head away– you should toss them.
How to Keep Your Mushrooms Safe and Fresh Until You Cook Them
One of the best advantages of cooking with mushrooms is that they need little to no preparation: a thorough wash and you can turn them into anything you want. Moreover, a mushroom-based dish – such as the Mushroom & cheese stuffed chicken breasts in a creamy sauce–looks and feels fancy, like you have worked half a day in the kitchen to make art. So, having mushrooms nearby is always a good idea. But how do we keep them in the best conditions? Here are some tips:
- Keep them in a paper bag in a clean and disinfected fridge; they need some fresh air, a safe environment, and a container that does not retain moistureor allow mold to grow;
- If you want to store them in plastic bags, line the bags with paper towels to remove excess moisture;
- Keep them in their original sealed wrap, but no longer than two weeks – supermarket containers are plastic and prolonged plastic storage can lead to moldy spoiling;
- Freeze them in parchment paper and store them in airtight or vacuumed bags/containers; the best way to freeze mushrooms is to cook them first and seal them in airtight containers or bags – whichever has less air inside.
Enjoy your mushrooms and keep them fresh for as long as you can as these delicious ingredients can turn any recipe into a gourmet work of art!