Saturday, May 16, 2015

Festival of Flavor – Corn & Black-bean Salad

Fragrant, fresh, and full of flavor – here’s a salad that’s high on health and great taste!  Served in a wonderful baked tortilla shell bowl; the result not only looks good but has such an array of fresh ingredients and it’s sure to please everyone.   This salad is also a powerhouse of vitamins and fiber, which play important roles in keeping your heart strong.  Enjoy


  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen (thawed and drained)
  • 1 can 14.5 oz. black beans – low sodium (rinsed and drained)
  • ½ large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ red pepper (diced)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (seeded & diced)
  • 1 medium tomato (seeded & pulp removed, diced)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ¼  cup fresh lime juice ( about 1 lime)
  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar (seasoned)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Fajita seasonings
  • 2 cups of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 4 baked tortilla shells for serving

In a large bowl, add corn, black beans, onions, garlic, peppers, tomato, cilantro, lime juice and vinegar.  Combine well, and then add cumin, fajita seasoning, lime zest, salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for about 10 minutes before serving.  Bake tortilla shells according to the directions on the mini tortilla shell molds. Or you may serve in regular bowls.

Layer salad as follows – put a serving of shredded lettuce in your tortilla bowl and then a serving of corn and black bean salad.  Serve with your favorite grill chicken, steak or fish.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pinto Beans & Short Grain Brown Rice

Yes, you can make Pinto Beans & Rice without all the fat, but yet keep the flavor and taste for a healthy heart. This bountiful dish is brimming with fiber and many important nutrients essential to good health.  Nutty flavor of the steam brown rice enhances the flavor of the pinto beans. This recipe is quick and easy side dish that will accent any protein or vegetable.

Prep Essentials

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 - 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Recipe Essential Tools 

Aroma Rice Cooker is my choice.
Cook rice according to rice cooker instructions.
For Stove top – depending on servings Combine rice, water, and olive oil in a pot, and bring to a boil.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

·       1 cup short or long grain brown rice
·       2 cups chicken broth
·       1 can Pinto Beans, with liquid
·       1 teaspoon olive oil
·       1 teaspoon ground smoke paprika
·       1 teaspoon ground cumin
·       1 teaspoon ground coriander
·       2 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Amino’s or low-sodium soy sauce
·      Fresh Chopped Parsley for garnish
·       Salt to taste; optional  

Recipe Directions

1.  Place rice in cooker and add chicken broth, close the lid and press brown rice button.  “And that is it”.  If using stovetop method see instruction above.

2.  Heat Pinto beans in medium saucepan over medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes.  Add oil, paprika, cumin, coriander, and Bragg’s liquid.  Add salt if desired; mix well.

3.  Once rice is done, take a fork and fluff rice to separate the grains, then add beans to rice and gently fold.   Place beans and rice in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh chop parsley.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

When it’s cool outside in South Florida, nothing’s more warming inside than a bowlful of chowder.  This one is as good as it gets; thick, rich, chunks of tender chicken breast, plenty of fresh corn, chunks of potatoes and smoky bites of bacon floating throughout.  An ear full of goodness in every bowl, my special ingredient is saltine crackers to help thicken the chowder.

Prep Time: 25 minutes            Cook Time: 45 – 50 minutes     Serves: 6


  • 2 boneless chicken breast, cut in ½” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • ½ onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cut in cubes
  • 2 ½  cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 packages, frozen corn about 10 ounces each
  • 2 ½ cups of half & half cream or 2% Milk
  • 1 cup crumbled saltine crackers ( about 18 squares)
  • Salt & pepper to season chicken- about ½ teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
Recipe Directions

  1. Place chicken cubes in a Ziploc bag and add cornstarch salt and pepper, seal bag and toss until all chicken is coated with cornstarch.  Once coated, remove and place chicken on a plate.

  1. In large skillet over medium – high heat add olive oil, and then add chicken cubes to sauté until brown on each side.  Do not overcook chicken; it will be added to the chowder at the end to finish cooking. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

  1. Cut bacon into strips with kitchen shears.  Then add bacon strips to 4 – 5 quart saucepan or soup pot.  Cook bacon until nice and crisp, then remove and place on a paper towel to drain.

  1. In the same pan sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 2 – 3 minutes. Then add chicken broth and potatoes; bring to boil then reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.

  1. Take frozen corn and put in colander and rinse with warm water; then drain.  Put cracker crumbs into medium bowl; stir in half & half cream. Let stand until crackers are soft, about 5 minutes.

  1. Remove about a cup of the cooked potatoes from the saucepan and transfer to a blender, then add crackers/cream mixture and nutmeg and blend until smooth.
  1. Add potato/cracker mixture back to saucepan; add corn and chicken, season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the chowder simmer for about 10 minutes.  Then serve chowder in your favorite soup bowls.  Top with fresh parsley and bacon.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cooking Smart for a Healthy Heart - Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Flavorful Cornish Hens; all in one small meaty, tender bird.  With this recipe, the hens are glazed as they roast with a delicious orange-tea marmalade.  Plus a wealth of heart-healthy vitamins and minerals come in each little hen.

Prep Time: 20 min.    Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes plus resting time  Serves 4

1 tea bag - Earl Grey
2 medium oranges
1 cup orange marmalade
2 Cornish Hens, about 1 pound each
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, slice
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare roasting pan with rack.  Steep tea bag in 1/4 cup boiling water for 5 minutes in a small saucepan.  Discard tea bag, then squeeze juice from 1 orange into tea, and then stir in marmalade until melted.
While keeping marmalade warm, cut remaining orange into quarters (do not peel).

2. Remove and discard giblets from hens.  Wash hens and dry thoroughly, and then sprinkle cavities with pepper and salt.  Loosen breast skin slightly.  Stuff each hen with 2 orange quarters, slice onions, rosemary, and thyme.  Tie legs together with kitchen string.  Place hens, breast-side up, on rack in roasting pan.  Brush hens with orange glaze.  Then pour just a little water; just enough to cover the bottom of the roasting pan.

3. Roast hens on middle oven rack, basting the hens every 20 minutes with remaining glaze, until browned and juices run clear, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Then remove hens from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. Garnish with rosemary and thyme.

To round out this meal, you can serve your hens with roasted beets/carrots and coconut collard greens.

See recipe for Coconut Collards