Tag Archives: quick and easy dinner

One of my favorite snacks

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Posted by Elise on Apr 16, 2007

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

METHOD

How to Cook an Artichoke

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

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2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

artichoke-3.jpg6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

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2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

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Continue until all of the petals are removed.

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3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

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Swiss Tomato Tilapia and Maple Carrots

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It has definitely been the busiest week I have had in a long time! Between school work, workouts, grocery shopping, and housework I have been nonstop on the go! I have managed to get out and walk a mile everyday this week, except yesterday. Yesterday we had to go to town to do some shopping and by the time we were done it was way too hot to walk.

This dish is a blend of light spring fish flavor and sweet glazed carrots and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes are kind of a heavier fall type meal, but they just sounded so good, I made them anyway. It was, like so many meals, just a process of starting with a taste for carrots and then next thing you know I decided I needed to sweeten them. So the addition of sweet potato, maple syrup, honey and cumin to the saute and this was the result. They turned out so yummy I wish I had made a larger skillet!!

For the Tilapia, I seasoned it with Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil and Garlic Blend, splashed it with a touch of malt vinegar and topped each filet with halves of grape tomatoes. Place the Tilapia fillets in a  pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 15 -20 min depending on the size of the fillets. Top the fillets with swiss cheese and continue to cook for 3-5 min to melt cheese.

NO Salt Tacos!

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As I have told you all before, I located a great place to shop for low and no sodium products, Healthy Heart Market I ordered a few things from them and have had fun trying them out. One thing I have been craving was tacos. Back in my old lifestyle, we used to get the basic packet of McCormick taco seasoning to mix with the ground beef. A 2 tbsp serving of McCormick Taco Seasoning contains 430mg of sodium!! That is 1/4 of the recommended daily intake of sodium for a normal adult diet, in just 2 tbsp of mix. The seasoning packet contains 6 servings. This means you are adding 2580mg of sodium to one pound of ground beef.

Healthy Heart Market offers a great solution in their taco/chili seasoning. 

 

This packet of mix is enough to do 2 pounds of ground beef. For our purpose at home, with just the 2 of us, we used half the packet. All you need is 1 pound of ground beef and 1 cup of water….and any other taco dressings you might want. We used chopped tomato, onion, lettuce, and swiss cheese. My hubby also pan fried corn tortilla taco shells, and dried the extra oil off them completely before serving.

Preparation of taco meat-

You will need 1 lb of ground beef and 1 cup of water.  Saute ground beef until the red is gone.  Add 1/2 packet to water, stir well. Add to meat, simmer 30 minutes.  You’re gonna love it!  If you like your tacos a bit on the spicy side, feel free to add red chili powder or chili flakes as you like.

Such a lovely dinner of tacos there is no need for any additional side dish! Jsut a crunchy plate of low sodium flavorful goodness!!

 

Hickory Chipotle New York

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Sometimes all you you crave is a good old steak!! This was one of those times. Now just like any other dish from this kitchen, my steak is never “just” a steak. Tonight was no different. 

I have a great new obsession with Hickory Liquid Smoke. Some people don’t like Liquid Smoke at all, but I on the other hand would use it on every red meat I cook! even more so now that I am living salt fee. Liquid Smoke adds such a great amount of flavor to your meat, without adding any sodium or calories. 

For this New York Steak we started with a marinade mix of Hickory Liquid Smoke,  Southwest Chipotle Mrs. Dash, Worcestershire, Creamy Horseradish and Louisiana Crystal Hot Sauce. This mix gives a little hickory sweetness with added spice from the Chipotle and horseradish.  

I like to use my indoor stove top grill to grill steaks, gives it a nice grill taste without the need to fire up the outdoor grill. I got my Smokeless indoor grill off amazon.com for $10 and have got great use out of it. 

Grilling red meat always depends on your own preference. I personally like my steak rare to slightly medium rare sometimes. I like the flavor that comes from the moisture in a good rare steak. Just enough heat to warm it through. For my taste I grill the steak for about 4 min on each side. If you enjoy your steak more medium or even well done then of course you would grill longer. The key is to grill an equal amount on each side to make it nice and evenly grilled.

Since I was doing a nice 8oz steak for dinner, I paired it with a simple spring mix and vegetables salad with pomegranate balsamic vinegar dressing. Perfect simple dinner, lots of flavor, anyone will love the flavor of this steak and no one will miss the salt!

Swiss Salsa Chicken and Stir Fry

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Today’s adventure combines my love of Salsa and swiss cheese! A lot of the time I don’t plan I just go into the kitchen and stare into the fridge and start tossing things together. Voila…sometimes it is good and sometimes it isn’t so good. Lucky for you, today we have a good one to put on the record.

This is a simple dish, consisting of chicken and a frozen stir fry mix with some added celery for some extra crunch. I generally just use cooking spray for stir fry vegetables and very little seasoning (unless I am using a stir fry sauce for a dish). I have grown to love all the natural flavors that come out when you cook vegetables. It is your choice to season your vegetables with any variety of herbs and spices you like, if needed. or choose a vegetable mix that has great strong flavors that compliment each other. I really love Birds Eye Broccoli Stir Fry Blend. This has a nice mix of broccoli, carrot, mushroom, onion and watercress. I sometimes add extra mushrooms, celery, or carrot depending on the craving I am having at the time.

Ingredients

4 – 2oz. Chicken breast tenders

1 slice aged swiss cheese

3 tbsp Newman’s Own Organic Mild Chunky Salsa

1 tbsp Mrs Dash Chicken seasoning mix

2 cups Broccoli Stir Fry Mix Birds Eye

2 stalks of Celery Chopped

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375

Coat the chicken breast in chicken seasoning blend. Place on baking sheet and top each piece with 1/2 tbsp of salsa. Bake for 15-20 min depending on size of tenders. Place a strip of swiss cheese on top of each tender and bake for additional 5 min, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

While the chicken is baking, cook stir fry mix. spray skillet with butter flavor cooking spray and stir fry the frozen vegetables until warm but not totally cooked. At that point add the celery. This way the celery will not get over cooked and soggy, and will add a crunch to the dish.