Category Archives: Cooking

Food on Friday ~ Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Friday, let the long weekend begin.

This Monday is Memorial Day in the USA, and late Spring Bank Holiday in the UK, which means we all get a long weekend.  The weather should be good, so it’s a perfect time for some al-fresco dining.

Enjoy these cool recipes.

From Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb we have a recipe for one pan creamy cilantro lime chicken and rice.  I really like one pan dishes, but it’s coriander here, not cilantro.  Nice by any name.

One pan Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

This is interesting from The Flourishing Foodie, pasta with a tomato vodka cream sauce.  I’ve heard of vodka pasta sauces before, but I’ve never tried one ~ maybe it’s time that I did.

Pasta with a Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

If you like salmon, then try this recipe for honey mustard grilled salmon with avocado basil sauce posted by Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  Perfect for Memorial Day.  Here in England we have a public hiliday on May 27th too, but it’s called Spring Bank Holiday ~ how boring.

Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon with Avocado Basil Sauce

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this wonderful dish; pan seared scallops pasta carbonara.  This would be great to serve to a few friends on any holiday.

Pan Seared Scallops Pasta Carbonara

I like recipe collections, and I’m pretty certain that you do too.  Ergo from Delish we have 40 recipes for the perfect Memorial Day BBQ ~ including this fabulous recipe for grilled ranch potatoes.

Grilled Ranch Potatoes

And finally for this week 65 Memorial Day recipes for your holiday weekend barbecue, from Country Living.  I especially like this sweet-and-smoky cedar-planked salmon ~ and if you shop now you can probably get a suitable plank for Monday.

Sweet and Smoky Cedar Planked Salmon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can buy grilling planks from Amazon

Stress and Being Overweight.

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

Stress can kill you, but in an older women stress is far more likely to drive her to comfort eating and hence pile on the pounds.  For most women less stress, or better stress management, is the key to sustainable weight loss.  Of course, for older women the menopause doesn’t help with controlling your weight at all.  There is evidence that there are changes in the brain chemistry of a menopausal woman that triggers a shift in her metabolism, causing her to overeat.

Looking for comfort food; cakes, chocolate, pizza, bread, burritos, donuts, (or drinking too much), is a common occurrence among woman of a certain age ~ of any age when stressed if it comes right down to it.  These high calorie foods and booze do pile on the pounds ~ particularly unsightly belly fat.  It’s all to do with insulin, and this energy dense stuff spikes your insulin levels, which only makes you want to eat more.

The environment doesn’t help much, there are countless fast food outlets, supermarkets promote more expensive energy dense foods, and there’s a bar on just about every street corner.  Rule #1 is stay away from fast food places, and rule #2 is that a woman on her own should never, ever go into a bar.

Associating unhealthy food and booze with good times is something your brain will program into itself, and rule #3 is that you must work hard to break that programming.  Eating unhealthy food and drinking too much booze doesn’t mean you are cool, in fact quite the opposite ~ you are perhaps pushing being an unattractive lazy person.

The really important thing for women to learn, accept, and practice is how to manage stress.  And usually it comes down to:

  • Delegate More.  Stop letting your family and friends push you into doing everything for everyone.
  • Be Creative.  People with a creative interest are much less stressed that those who don’t have that worry-free time.  Why do you think art therapy is such a big thing in rehab?
  • Take a Walk.  Walking is bloody good for you; physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
  • Talk to People.   And don’t go into a bar to find someone to talk with.

Some say that the change made them overeat.  And, that their happy place is the refrigerator.  All I know is that fat people often get very sick.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

regularly eat healthy and nutritious food

honey salmon in foil

 

Food on Friday ~ Midweek Dinners and Workday Lunches

There is always a great recipe for tonight’s dinner.

This week’s recipes are all about making a good midweek dinner, but just as importantly every dish described here is also going to be great to take to work the following day.  And, you know that it’s always better to take your lunch into work, rather than buy something at a deli or pay a small fortune to eat out at a restaurant.

So, try some of these and enjoy.

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us something interesting and colourful with her weeknight saucy pineapple bbq chicken bowls.  As well as being perfect for any night of the week, this recipe is also perfect to take to work for lunch.

Weeknight Saucy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Bowls

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this really cool recipe for spinach bacon quiche  ~  and this is a hell of a lot easier to make than you might think.  This delicious looking quiche would be great for a midweek dinner with some salad, or to take to work for brunch / lunch.

Spinach Bacon Quiche

Another quiche, (they are so great to take to work for lunch), this time an easy quiche Lorraine from Heidi at Foodie Crush.  This recipe will be great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even a midweek dinner.  Also from Heidi 14 days of healthy breakfast recipe ideas.

Easy Quiche Lorraine

Believe it or not, this grilled Thai pork tenderloin with soba noodle salad, is also an easy midweek meal.  At least Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats says it is.  The leftovers would be utterly brilliant to take to work for lunch, eaten cold, (or reserve the tenderloin and heat that in the microwave).

Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Soba Noodle Salad

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this super recipe for one pan Spanish chicken and rice, a bold and zesty dish you can make in a half-an-hour.  Tiffany calls one of her ingredients coriander, which you may know better as cilantro.

One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice

Our collection this week is from Carrie Havranek at Simply recipes who has 6 easy Vietnamese recipes you can totally make at home.  My favourite for a midweek dinner and something great to take to work for lunch is this Char Siu Chicken, which would be perfect with rice and /or salad.

Char Siu Chicken

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

how to make the best grilled salmon

a post from Foodie Crush

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Summertime

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine, it’s summertime.

Now that the weather is much better for most of you guys ~ warmer, sunnier, bluer skies ~ it’s perhaps time to think of lighter and healthier summertime dishes, rather than all of those warming soups you were cooking just a few weeks ago.

This week’s dishes all have a seafood angle to them.

First this week we have Chungah at Damn Delicious with these very clean and healthy looking garlic butter shrimp zucchini noodles.  I have to admit that I don’t actually make zucchini noodles, but looking at this recipe I’m beginning to think that I should.

Garlic Butter Shrimp Zucchini Noodles

Now, from Heidi at Foodie Crush we have this very useful post entitled how to make the best grilled salmon.  This isn’t so much a recipe as a method, but I think it’s damn good.

How to Make the Best Grilled Salmon

Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has a great summertime dish; spicy garlic shrimp with coconut rice.  And, Elise is right, any shrimp dish is best eaten fresh.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has an absolutely delicious-looking crab avocado salad on buttered garlic toast.  So mouth-watering.  So great to serve with drinks.

Crab Avocado Salad on Buttered Garlic Toast

This is interesting from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb; garlic lime shrimp marinade.  And this is a fast marinade that will be ready for the grill in just 15 minutes.  Lots of cilantro.

Garlic Lime Shrimp Marinade

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

and to drink, not wine

Heather Christo gives us a

vodka fruit punch

 

Good Friday

Happy Easter to Everyone

As it’s Good Friday, and according to tradition, I’m having fish for dinner.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday ~ Main Courses

A sirloin, medium-rare, is not only an entrée, it is a philosophy.

I supposed I could have called this post Entrées, but for me that conjures up an image of something served in a high-end restaurant, preferably in Florence, or some other magical city.  In that kind of place, choosing the correct wine is just as important as making an inspired choice of food.

However, if you’re lucky enough to find a really good restaurant, them you can probably rely on the sommelier to give you some appropriate advice.  For wines to drink with a sirloin steak try a cabernet or merlot, unless you’re in Italy, in which case you want a really good Tuscan red or maybe a quality Barolo ~ the King of Wines.  (But beware, a great Barolo can be hideously expensive.)

If you want to know how to cook the perfect sirloin steak, look no further than this link.

Our first entrée this week is by Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb, and she has the BEST ultra tender instant pot pork tenderloin, with a balsamic glaze.  This cut of pork is an excellent source of Protien and lots of vitamins and minerals, and it isn’t at all fatty.  You know what?  I love a good pork tenderloin.

Instant Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Next, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, there’s this delicious looking honey butter blackened scallops with herby polenta.  I think scallops are fabulous, and I love the way Tieghan cooks them here ~ I’m still willing to be convinced as far as polenta is concerned.

Honey Butter Blackened Scallops with Herby Polenta

Another shellfish recipe, this time from Sheryl Julian via Simply Recipes ~ spring scampi with peas and mint, served on a bed of pasta.  Looks great for a midweek dinner, or if you have guests at a weekend.  This is a pretty easy dish, and would be fabulous if you have a lemon tree and mint in your own garden.

Spring Scampi with Peas and Mint

Broccoli is really good for you, if you want to be healthier, then eat more broccoli.  Chungah at Damn Delicious offers us this easy sheet pan recipe for beef and broccoli.  Allegedly this is the easiest beef and broccoli dish of your life; Chungah says it doesn’t get any easier or quicker than this.

Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli

Your collection this week is from Great British Chefs, who offer us some great beef sirloin recipes; including this fantastic roast sirloin of beef with mushrooms, brandy, and roasted potatoes from Marcus Wareing.  Admittedly this dish takes two-and-a-half-hours, but doesn’t it looks fabulous.  Allegedly, it was King Henry VIII who named this cut of beef Sir Loin.

~

As an accompliment to your entrée Heather Christo has this utterly brilliant spring cobb salad, which looks absolutely fabulous.

Spring Cobb Salad

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Barolo, the Italian King of Wines

a guide to the wines of Barolo

Food on Friday ~ Broccoli and Cauliflower

If you want to live a healthy life, eat more broccoli.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are very good for your health, being nutritious, full of fibre, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals.  However, broccoli is better for you as it has much more vitamins B, K and C, as well as containing vitamin A which isn’t in cauliflower at all. Broccoli also contains a lot of sulforophane, which is said to have anti-cancer properties.

The main thing with cooking any vegetable is not to boil them to death, because boiling will leach out up to 90% of the good stuff you’re eating the vegetables for in the first place.  Anyhow, boiled broccoli and boiled cauliflower are tasteless, and more akin to bad prison / school food than anything you’d want to have at home.

There are some great recipes for these two cruciferous vegetables;

First for this week we have broccoli pesto pasta with whipped ricotta from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  This is a 30 minute dish that you can also take to work the following day ~ perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Whipped Ricotta

From Joy Wilson at Joy the Baker, there’s a cool recipe for roasted cauliflower and plantain tacos.  I firmly believe that roasting cauliflower florets is the best way to cook this vegetable.  However, I’m not certain about making tortillas from scratch.

Roasted Cauliflower and Plantain Tacos

In Diane’s Kitchen there’s a recipe for chicken stir-fry and ramen noodles, which includes lots of nutritious broccoli.  This easy dish should only take you 30 minutes to prepare.

Chicken Stir-Fry and Ramen Noodles

From the Good Houskeeping test kitchen I found this kale and roasted cauliflower salad.  Now that the weather is warming up a little, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about salads again ~ and you don’t get much healthier than this.

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Well now, this is different from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats broccoli cheddar tots ~ part of her Side Dish Sunday.  I guess you can call these very healthy nibbles / appetisers ~ and very interesting.

Broccoli Cheddar Tots

Your collection this week comes from Olive Magazine with their 32 best ever broccoli recipes, including this broccoli and crispy chilli beef stir fry.  I just love stir-fry it’s such a quick way to cook food, sealing in all the flavours and all of the goodness.

Broccoli and Crispy Chilli Beef Stir-Fry

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

there are dozens of cool ways to cook a cauliflower

click the link to check some out

Food on Friday ~ Cooking in Foil

Cooking is fun, eating is fine, clearing up afterwards is a drag.

If, like me, you like cooking but don’t like clearing up afterwards, then cooking in foil packets is one way to cut down on the mess.  And, don’t believe the urban myth that aluminium foil is bad for your health ~ you can wrap food in it, and you can cook in it, and it won’t hurt you one little bit.

You can use foil packets to cook on the grill, in a fire-pit, in the oven, (and I’ve even baked potatoes wrapped in foil in the engine bay of a sports car).  Using a packet like this helps to seal in the flavours, and keeps your food moist and tender.

Add your herbs, spices, and other seasonings to the foil packet, but it’s also a good idea to use a flavouring that will add moisture to the meat, fish, or vegetables you’re cooking ~ for example; lemon, orange, honey, butter, olive oil…..

Chungah Rhee at Damn Delicious has a fantastic recipe for Asian salmon cooked in foil ~ and trust me, this is a brilliant way to cook salmon.  This dish uses fresh ginger and lots or garlic, as well as honey ~ all on the superfoods list.

Asian Salmon Cooked in Foil

Another salmon dish from from Chungah, and we have this seriously easy and seriously good recipe for lemon dill salmon in foil.  Really this great looking dish is a 30 minute effort, tops.  And, I’m pretty certain anyone can make a great job of cooking this damn delicious dish.

Lemon Dill Salmon in Foil

For a mid-week dinner or a weekend lunch here’s a recipe for a hearty potato dish you can prepare ahead ~ sausage, potato, and green bean foil packets.  If you have an oven in the lunch room you could cook these packets at work, or you could cook them ahead and eat them cold, or whatever…  And, you could swap bacon for the sausage…

Sausage Potato and Green Bean Foil Packets

From San Diego’s Averie Sunshine archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon.   This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful tasty, and very healthy dish.

Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon

I know how much you like recipe collections, so from Wide Open Eats here are 20 foil packet recipes making dinner a breeze ~ how cool is that?  Anything that makes mid-week dinners easier is a good idea.  Included in this collection is a great recipe for lemon chicken and asparagus from Creme de la Crumb.

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

From Taste of Home we have a collection of 30 Wrap-and-Cook Foil Packet Recipes, including this delicious-looking crab and shrimp stuffed sole.  If you can get a decent Dover Sole this would make a fabulous dish ~ even for your high-end dinner party for two.

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Sole

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Thai salmon in foil

Food on Friday ~ Spicy

food for the body is not enough ~ there should also be food for the soul

Everyone’s definition of what constitutes spicy food is different.  Some people think a dash of black pepper is sufficient, whereas others like the red hot chili peppers, (and that’s a very overrated band).

Personally I prefer a little subtlety in my spice palette.

First up this week we have a dish with good old-fashioned mustard from Diane’s Kitchen.  I think you should be able to make this Honey Mustard Chicken in about a half-hour, maybe serve it with a baked potato.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Next we have a vegan recipe from Cookie + kate, and this Spicy Black Bean Soup with a Cuban twist should be in your bowl in about 45 minutes.  Obviously this would be great to take to work the following day, and Kate says it freezes well in Mason jars ~ hmmmm, I’d never freeze a glass jar.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this brilliant recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls ~ ginger is the Queen of Spices, it’s good for just about whatever ails you, as well as providing a great pick-me-up.

Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls

Half Baked Harvest is a site for some really pretty dishes, and this 30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl is no exception.  I really like the look of this recipe and it’s on my list to try in the very near future ~ I like 30 minute recipes.

30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl

Next to last for this week, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, there’s this Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon ~ what’s not to like about this dish?

Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon

This week’s collection is from Olive Magazine, with their 25 Best Ever Hot and Spicy Recipes.  I’ve chosen to feature this Sri Lankan Veggie Curry partly because it’s vegetarian, but mostly because I love Sri Lankan food ~ it’s far, far better than Thai.

Sri Lankan Veggie Curry

~

jack collier

jackcollier@talktalk.net

 

Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Ginger Stir Fry

from Vacation Food

Food on Friday ~ Menu Planning

For some people meal planning is like a chess puzzle.

~

Planning what we are going to eat for a whole week is a pretty easy thing to do, but it does mean sitting down and writing a list or two.  It might also mean looking at some recipes, and then checking what one has in the larder, refrigerator, freezer, and garden.  That leads to making a shopping list ~ (and one should never go into a supermarket without a shopping list) ~ and a menu list for the week.

Get one thing straight, a recipe, a menu list, and a shopping list aren’t rules ~ these things are just guidelines to help us get organised without wasting lots and lots of time.

So, before I post some recipe collections, let me feature something about menu planning.  From Hali Bey Ramdene at The Kitchn I can give you The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip.  Remember, when you plan your meals to allow enough quantity so that you have leftovers for another day, or to take to work for lunch.  Also, when you plan your meals try to follow some healthy eating guidelines.

The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

Some more on the basics of meal planning and we have Common Meal-Planning Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid from Greatist, and The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning from the Wellness Mama.

Winter Meal Plan

My own preferred menus lean towards Mediterranean food, and Heidi at Foodie Crush has a great post of 50 Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes, which also includes a Mediterranean diet plan and this recipe for Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade.  I love the fresh herbs in this dish.

Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade

It’s the heart of the apple season here, and I really do prefer eating organic foods in season.  But what to do with apples?  Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest found this post by Katherine Power at Clique Brands ~ 4 apple recipes she’s looking forward to baking this month.  I particularly like the look to this Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy, (what a great name).

Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy

Last up this week, from Alanna Taylor Tobin at The Bojon Gourmet we have Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes. This is all so colourful, but I especially like the look of these gluten-free black sesame kumquat financiers, (except I’d call them tea-cakes).

Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you can buy packet sauces, they make meal planning easy

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