Tag Archives: cooking

InCity Yum Yums: Get creative with those leftovers!

CAM00454 Chef Joey can make mundane leftovers  … yummy!

By Chef Joey

Here’s that awkward period between holidays – kids home, shorter work week, lingering merriment, tighter waistbands … . But the show must go on! We are conditioned to have a good time regardless. Many people have “left overs” from holiday feasts … why not try something new with all that extra food?

I call this recipe: “Empty the Fridge Burritos”!

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 red or white onion

4 spring onions, chopped

1 pound mixed vegetables of your choice (we used carrots, red pepper and sweetcorn)

½ pound leftover chicken, ham, beef or pork, chopped into small chunks

1 pound cooked rice

1 can red kidney beans in chili sauce

1 avocado, chopped

6 large wraps

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

Sour cream, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan.

Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft, then add your chosen veggies and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until tender.

Add the leftover meat, the rice and beans, along with the sauce from the can.

Stir everything together and cook for 5 minutes until piping hot.

Heat another frying pan or a griddle pan, until hot, and heat oven to 350

2. Now assemble the burritos.

Warm a wrap for 10 seconds on the hot pan (keep the pan hot, you’ll need to use it again).

Pile roughly a sixth of the rice mixture onto the center of the wrap.

Top with a little avocado and some cheese, then brush beaten egg around the edge.

Fold the ends over the filling, then fold in the sides, like an envelope.

Flatten a little to a parcel, then place, seam-side down, in the hot pan.

Cook for 2 minutes until the underside has sealed shut and is toasted a golden brown. Flip over and cook for a few minutes more.

Keep the burrito warm in the oven while you continue assembling and cooking the remaining burritos.

Serve with sour cream.

Here is another quickie!  It takes 10 minutes to prep and an hour to cook – “Turkey Cacciatore!”

2 small or 1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning

3 x cans chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp sugar

little splash of vinegar

about 500 g leftover turkey, shredded into chunks

1 x 125 g balls mozzarella cheese

2 good handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until softened.

Add the tomatoes and sugar, a little splash of vinegar and oregano, then simmer for 20 minutes until really thick.

Stir in the turkey and transfer to a baking dish.

Heat oven to 375.

Tear over the mozzarella in chunks, then scatter over the breadcrumbs with a bit more ground pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes until turkey is piping hot through and the top is golden and bubbling.

Serve with pasta, mashed or baked potato, or even rice.

Moral of this holiday story: Anything can be turned into a delicious dinner with a little creativity!

And whatever you decide to do with your leftovers, be thankful that you have them! And, finally – every experiment this holiday season can turn into next year’s family tradition!

InCity Yum Yums: Christmas cookin’!

CAM00454Chef Joey: a self-taught chef, with years in the culinary biz, wants to get us all cooking healthy and tasty  – for not a lot of “dough”!

By Chef Joey

Holiday! Celebrate! Madonna had us singing that tune, but let’s face it: holidays can be stressful! Who came up with the idea that we had to buy gifts for everyone AND entertain, making a dent in our savings?

When I was a kid, my mother used to tell us: “When Christmas came we got an orange.” Well, it was World War II, and they did move all the way from Europe … . But I was a kid and the neighbors had virtual Egyptian pyramids of gifts!!  So the point was not coming across!  My cousins and I would discuss the various items we received that were all going to be items we would use during the year: pajamas, stationery, pens – you get the point.

However, my mother did take us out shopping after Christmas and bought us things that were on sale.  She was all about the spirit of the holiday season, NOT the commercialization that starts in October with decorated pine trees in mega superstores.  

As I got older, I realized she was a forerunner for my frugal view of the holidays, so I stopped buying gifts for adults.  Instead, I started making donations to food banks, homeless shelters, and I requested letters for the donations and I handed them out as gifts.  It helps the community and eliminated the need to re-gift or become a closet hoarder!

Little kids, on the other hand, are the exception. And college-bound youths get the necessary items that I received, and those with a driver’s license get gas cards.

Now that I explained the gifting part – there is the food! In my last column I explained how to make nutritious and delicious meals for a low cost.  Like the guy in poltergeist, “I’m BAAAAACK!” 

Turkey is a staple for the holidays, and it is affordable: usually on sale for $.89 to $1.50 a pound.  To quote Nike “Just do it!”  Pork roasts are also a great way to go and are often less than $2 a pound.

Veggies … Load up on your vegetables and you will have a sure fire holiday.  feeding up to 20 people for less than $50.  Price it out: a 20 pound turkey at $.99 is $10.  Butternut squash unpeeled is $.99 a pound. Roughly you’ll need 5 pounds so we are at $15 now. A 10 pound bag of potatoes is $3.99 so we are at $19. Add another veggie – and go frozen here – lots of nutrition – and it is already clean. Store brands are packaged by major companies and usually the store brand is $2 a bag so let’s get 4.  Now we hit the $27 mark and we have $23 to go.

Dessert comes to mind … I am going to give you a cake recipe that costs under $2 that you will pass down for generations to your family.  You will never buy a cake mix again!

The other recipe is a rub you can use on your roasts that seal in the juices and makes your meal perfect.

The cake recipe is so simple:

2 ½ cups sifted flour

2 cups sifted sugar

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

Mix together – it will be kind of like a paste.  Add ½ teaspoon of salt,  2 teaspoons of vanilla and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of baking POWDER on top.

Now add ¼ teaspoon of baking SODA and pour 2 cups of HOT WATER on top,  and the foaming begins.

Whisk together until it all comes to a creamy consistency with no lumps.

Pour into either two 9” cake pans or a rectangle sheet pan that is greased, floured and has a greased and floured wax or parchment paper lining in it.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes –  depending on your oven, test with a toothpick for doneness.

When done, let cool slightly. Take it out of the pan and when it is cool – cover it in whipped cream.

This is your $2.59 cake topping: Get a pint of heavy or whipping cream. Whip it up, add vanilla and a couple tablespoons of sugar … and there you have it!  Fewer calories than frosting and nature’s goodness.

To add dimension to your cake, you can add 6 tablespoons of cocoa to the dry flour when sifting  for chocolate cake … or ¼ cup orange juice and reduce water to 1 ¾ cup and add zested orange to your cake – or add lemon or lime or even coconut – your choices are endless!

Now that rub

¼ -1/2 cup brown sugar or regular sugar

depending on the size of your roast, 1 cup oil

pinch of salt

¼ cup parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Rub your ROOM-TEMPERATURE roast and there you have it!

No matter what your holiday traditions, have a safe, healthy and delicious holiday season!

Paula Deen’s prescription is in the (vegan) kitchen!

By Alisa Mullins

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone when Paula Deen announced recently that she has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After all, this is the lady who took Southern cooking and turned it into an extreme (artery-clogging) sport. Her over-the-top fat- and cholesterol-laden dishes like Paula’s Fried Butter Balls and bacon-wrapped Fried Mac and Cheese have been sent up in a five-part Serious Eats series titled “Paula Deen Is Trying to Kill Us.” Even Anthony Bourdain, who isn’t exactly known as an ascetic, has taken Deen to task for her carotid-clogging fare, calling her “the worst, most dangerous person to America.”

But Deen now has the opportunity to do herself and her fans a great service by following in the footsteps of fellow southerner Bill Clinton and embracing healthy vegan meals.

In her defense, Deen claims that she has “always encouraged moderation” and “portion control.” But obviously, that approach hasn’t worked. And if one looks at her recipes, one sees that Deen’s idea of “moderation” is pretty lethal.

Take, for example, her Baked French Toast Casserole recipe, which calls for 2 cups of half-and-half and a half-pound of butter. Tellingly, no calorie or fat-gram counts are provided on the Food Network site, but if do your own calculations, you are in for a rude “portion control” awakening. The casserole is supposed to serve six to eight people. Say you are being stingy and spread this dish out among eight brunch guests: You’ll each ingest about 745 calories and 45 grams of fat per serving—and that’s before you add the suggested maple syrup garnish.

Only have six sitting down for breakfast? Crank that up to about 990 calories and 60 grams of fat per serving, nearly half the day’s calorie and an entire day’s fat allotment for the average adult.

What about Deen’s signature dish, The Lady’s Brunch Burger, a half-pound of ground beef, two slices of bacon and a fried egg nestled between two glazed doughnuts? At over 1,000 calories and more than 70 grams of fat, you’ve once again socked away nearly half a day’s calories—and nearly a whole day’s fat—before lunchtime.

Deen asserts that her diagnosis won’t change how she cooks, even as she launches an online diabetes-management program in association with Novo Nordisk—the pharmaceutical company for whom she is now a paid spokesperson—that will feature low-calorie recipes. Which leads one to wonder—will she actually be cooking these healthier recipes?

PETA has written to Deen and urged her not only to change the way she cooks but also to trade in her chitlins for chickpeas and go vegan. That’s because a vegan diet has proved in several studies to actually reverse type 2 diabetes. In one study, two-thirds of the patients improved so much that they were able to reduce or even eliminate their diabetes medications altogether. In another study, the patients on a vegan diet controlled their blood sugar three times more effectively than those on the American Diabetes Association diet. As an added bonus, people who go vegan also tend to lose weight and lower their cholesterol and blood pressure.

How does a vegan diet help reverse (and also prevent) diabetes? Research has found that the build-up of fat inside our cells is a leading culprit in interfering with insulin’s ability to do its job. Vegan diets tend to be low in fat, while a high-fat diet leads to the build-up of fat in our cells. Eating high-fat foods even for just a few days can have an impact, as can eating low-fat foods.

So, Paula, why not put down Grandmother Paul’s Fried Chicken and pick up a black bean burrito or dig into a bowl of red lentil soup? Your pancreas—and your fans—will thank you.

Local Families at Risk of Hunger Learn that “Cooking Matters”

Local Families at Risk of Hunger Learn that Cooking Matters

Hands-on Classes Teach Families How to Prepare Healthy and Affordable Meals!

By Jessica Maillet

Fifteen percent of Americans are now living in poverty and nearly nearly one in five children’s families lack the necessary resources to provide the nutritious food they need to thrive. Cooking Matters Massachusetts empowers local families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to make healthy and affordable meals through its six week program, Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters™.

Cooking Matters courses are led by local volunteer culinary and nutrition experts who combine hands-on food preparation with practical nutrition, food budgeting and shopping techniques

Edgar is a Worcester county resident who is currently taking the Cooking Matters program for Kids.

When the students at an elementary school Continue reading Local Families at Risk of Hunger Learn that “Cooking Matters”

Worcester County Food Pantry: feeding Worcester since 1982

By Jean McMurray, executive director, Worcester County Food Bank, with Liz Sheehan Castro, project manager, Hunger-Free & Healthy

As the door opened into the third floor apartment, the woman’s smile along with the warmth of her kitchen greeted me. I introduced myself and handed her a carefully covered meal while wishing her a Happy Thanksgiving. Before I turned to go back down the three flights of stairs I had just climbed, she offered me a Kennedy half-dollar as a tip in gratitude for the Thanksgiving dinner I had brought her. I declined the tip and thanked her explaining that I was a volunteer delivering meals for Catholic Charities. As I started down the back stairs, I felt relief knowing that this elder woman had a warm home, food, and people that cared about her.

She was one of the dozen or so people I would meet throughout the morning as I traveled city streets and neighborhoods delivering meals. Hours later as I sat down to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day dinner with my own family, the experience came with heightened awareness and appreciation for what I had as well as for the people I met who were enjoying their dinners and for those who cooked the wonderful meals and organized the volunteers. Continue reading Worcester County Food Pantry: feeding Worcester since 1982