Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Recipes of 2014

And so yet another year draws to a close, all year I found myself writing or doing the math on "2004" – then feeling puzzled why it didn't look quite right. Oops.

It's the week when many of us reach out to say thanks to those who bring meaning to our lives and I've been grateful to hear from so many of you in the last while. So please, let ME say thanks. I'm grateful for your time, your consideration, your comments, your emails, your likes, your shares, your PINs – and most of all that you invite me into your kitchen, trusting me to inspire the meals you prepare for those you most love, the shared curiosity for seasonal ingredients and healthy techniques, the ideas and pleasures that make the kitchen table the gathering place in so many homes.

Kitchen Parade is fast approaching 500 columns, a body of work that gives me immense pride. But it would be mere pixels careening about the internet without all of you. I thank you, I thank you.

Kitchen Parade's Best Recipes of 2014, all made with 'real food' not processed food. Fresh, easy, healthy, flavor-forward and seasonal. Nutrition information and Weight Watchers points too!

Your Favorite Recipes!

First, your favorite recipes, the ones that most attracted your attention! Each of your favorites is pictured in the collage above.

Starting in the center, Kitchen Parade's top new recipe for 2014, one I'm so excited that you love as much as I do! It's my latest "master recipe" – this time just eggs, hash browns, salsa and cheese, then adapt! You couldn't get enough of Easy Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole!

Now, clockwise from the upper lefthand corner. Another breakfast recipe! I shared the recipe for Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal way back in May, usually that means it's time to move onto something else (even if I do make it again off and on). But not this time, not this oatmeal! I still make it once or twice or even three times a month, I even carry the oats along to cook on visits to my dad and my sister. That's how good it is. Next up is the surprising Savory Cauliflower Cake, a moist, sturdy savory cake, strewn with bits of soft cauliflower with a touch of parmesan, a bit of a fuss to make but worth the time. And then again, no fuss at all? Bun-free Skillet Burgers with Tomato Gravy are on the table in an hour with no more than pantry ingredients, low carb and Weight Watchers friendly, it's perfect for weeknight suppers.

Now starting in the upper righthand corner. Okay, so you guys really do have a sweet tooth, don't you?! First up, chocolate! You don't need a mixer of any kind for Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake. It turns out dark, moist and chocolate-y, even two or three days after baking. Besides, aren't the sprinkles just fun?! There's no not-loving Snickerdoodle Bars, they are firm and chewy like blondies. On the lighter side, are bright and lemony Lemon Crinkle Cookies with Poppy Seeds, they're charged with lemon flavor. And last but definitely not least is a rustic country pie, Rhubarb Custard Pie. This was my very first rhubarb pie recipe, bites of tart red rhubarb with a delicate custard. Oh my, how long until rhubarb comes back in season?!

Continuing clockwise along the bottom row, starting at the bottom right corner, you'll love the Greek-style baked vegetables called Tourlou Tourlou, a rainbow of vegetables slow cooked in the oven. It's great for parties, served either hot or at room temperature. What, more veggies? Of course! To detox after the holidays, try this Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable Stew, it's warm with spices and your choice of vegetables. It's vegan, paleo and very Weight Watchers friendly. Another Quick Supper recipe (you love these!), Mexican Chicken Salad starts off with rotisserie chicken, it's tossed with lime-yogurt vinaigrette, black beans, jicama, corn and tomato. Yep, that easy! Finally, if you got a spiralizer or a "vegetti" for Christmas, start with this recipe, Zucchini Spiral "Noodle" Salad, a sexy, seductive zucchini-noodle salad.

Take a second look? We share many of the same favorite recipes from 2014 but honestly, I think that readers missed some good ones, especially the Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries. We're talking warm corn bread studded with fresh blueberries, people, I thought you'd be as crazy for it as I am. So I hope you'll take a second look at my favorite recipes from 2014, they're ones I make again and again, solid basics, nothing fancy, just good food prepared well. Without further ado, enjoy!

Pinterest For easy re-pinning, I am pinning Kitchen Parade's best recipes of 2014 on a special board on Pinterest. A Veggie Venture's best vegetable recipes of 2014 are pinned too but if you'd like the source, here are Best Vegetable Recipes of 2014 from A Veggie Venture.


My Favorite Recipes from 2014
SAVORY

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
January - Slow Cooker Curried Vegetable Stew February - Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette, Fresh Fruit & Glazed Pecans March - Lazy Man's Ciopinno, Shrimp & Fish Stew
April - Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal May - Tourlou Tourlou (Greek Baked Vegetables) June - Estonian Deviled Eggs
July - Summer Corn Bread with Fresh Blueberries August - Green Bean Garden Salad September - Easy Beef Kabobs
October - Skillet Burgers with Tomato Gravy November - Chicken with Shallots December - Smoked Salmon Spread

My Favorite Recipes from 2014
SWEETS

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Snickerdoodle Bars Pumpkin Cheesecake Rhubarb Custard Pie
No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake

More 'Best of the Year' Favorite Recipes from Kitchen Parade




Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Smoked Salmon Spread

The Recipe: Looking for a healthy appetizer for New Year’s? Think smoked salmon spread on crackers, low-carb and just 1 Weight Watchers point for two tablespoons. It’s good for you but tastes rich and indulgent.

The Conversation: The many ways (and places) to discover smoked salmon.

PS For all looking for traditional recipes for New Years, the ones that bring "good fortune" for 2015, check out New Year's recipes! This is my last recipe for 2014, on New Year's Eve, look for one of my favorite things to think about, a look back at the favorite recipes of the year!

Smoked Salmon Spread, just smoked salmon plus a few pantry ingredients. For Weight Watchers, just #PP1. #LowCarb #GlutenFree

Twas was a salmon-lover’s heaven, I tell you. While visiting cities along the Baltic Sea back in June, we ate smoked salmon two or three times a day, never once tiring of the stuff.

At breakfast, Scandinavian hotels put out incredible breakfast buffets. The major appeal? Platters of smoked salmon, more specifically, the Nordic "gravlax", wet, salt-cured salmon quite similar to the "lox" of lox and bagel fame. Me, I ate the buttery orange-fleshed slices of gravlax Finn-style: draped open-face across slices of sturdy bread with good cheese, tomato or cucumber, savoring every nibble.

For lunch one day, we bought “hot-smoked” salmon off a fishing boat moored in the harbor near the Helsinki market. We ate it on the spot, sitting in the sun near the water, picking the filet apart with our fingers, tossing scraps to insistent seagulls. Ooops, only later did we see the signs, “Do not feed the birds.”

Smoke houses are found along the Great Lakes too. In August, we picked up smoked whitefish, trout, herring and salmon on our way out of Bayfield, Wisconsin, hauling several pounds south in a cooler.

Heaven? Find it at home, too.

We're perfecting our own recipe for gravlax and once it's nailed, will share it here. But for this recipe, you'll want to use "hot smoked" salmon that has been cooked with heat. It has a drier texture and the rich smoked flavor that "just works" with minimal embellishment. Look for small pieces wrapped in heavy plastic at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and well-stocked supermarkets. Feeling a little puzzled over all this salmon terminology? Me too! There's a great explanation of the differences here, Smoked Salmon, Lox, Gravlax: Is There A Difference? .

SMOKED SALMON SPREAD

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes but best if refrigerated for an hour or two before serving
Makes 1 cup, easily multiplied
  • 6 ounces (115g) smoked salmon, preferably hot-smoked
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons (17g) mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh chive
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons horseradish
  • Hot sauce
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Salt & pepper

SALMON Remove the salmon skin and pull the flesh off the bone. Carefully break the flesh into small pieces, removing all the bones. You’ll want about four ounces useable salmon. With a small food processor, process until fine.

SAUCE Mix salmon with sour cream, mayonnaise and fresh chive. Stir in horseradish, hot sauce, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to taste.

REFRIGERATE Cover and refrigerate for one or two hours for the flavors to meld.

SERVE with crackers (Caraway Triscuits work especially well) or baguette slices.

MORE SERVING IDEAS Spread Smoked-Salmon Spread atop a cracker or bread slice, top with a thin slice of cucumber, a small chunk of smoked salmon and chopped chive. I also love Smoked Salmon Spread on a diagonal-cut piece of cucumber, extra healthy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Two Tablespoons: 40 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 7mg Cholesterol; 136mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1, WW PointsPlus 1
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy salmon recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

A Most Romantic Lunch


Smoked Salmon from a fishing boat in Heisinki, Finland.

Back in June, this was our favorite lunch in Helsinki, Finland. It was a sunny, breezy day and we found salmon chowder in a small stand in the harbor-side open-air market called the "kauppatori" and and bought smoked salmon straight off a fishing boat. We sat right on the water, and yes, we had to fight off most-insistent seagulls!


More Healthy Appetizers for Gatherings Small and Large

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Bacon-Wrapped Dried Apricots Stuffed Mushrooms with Cauliflower & Smoked Gouda Easy Shrimp Bites

More Easy Salmon Recipes from Kitchen Parade

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon Salmon Chowder Simple Grilled Salmon
~ more salmon recipes ~

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2014 Kitchen Parade



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chocolate-Almond Shortbread Cookies

The Recipe: Another idea for your cookie Christmas plate – or for shipping cross-country to your favorite cookie monster. The crisp little chocolate shortbreads are slice 'n' bake, easy-easy to make and "low sugar" or what I call "almost sugar free". For anyone who avoids wheat? The cookies are also made with almond meal instead of flour, that makes them gluten-free. All this adds up to Low Carb and Weight Watchers friendly too! No need to worry, though, everyone enjoys these bite-size chocolate-almond cookies.

This week on A Veggie Venture, something special, a beautiful video featuring expert lefse-maker LeAnne Kruger, sharing her recipe, tips and techniques for How to Make Lefse, the soft, tender Scandinavian bread that's traditional at Christmas. It just might add to your Christmas spirit!

Chocolate-Almond Shortbread Cookies, crisp little chocolate shortbreads, made with almond meal so gluten-free, low sugar so #lowcarb, easy to ship too. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at #KitchenParade.

My 88-year old father is a life-long cookie monster. In the years we spend Christmas together, he’s the first at the table for our traditional any-time-of-day “cookie parties”. In the years we’re apart, Fedex exacts a small fortune to ship butter and sugar and flour his way.

Awhile back, Dad became a most-frustrated cookie monster when sugar became off-limits, if only because “just one or two cookies” was hard to accept.

When Kalyn’s Kitchen published a list of Low-Sugar, No-Sugar and Flourless Cookies for the Holidays, I was struck – her cookies just might work. In a single day, I mixed up three of Kalyn’s cookies, adapting each recipe to my own style.

Chocolate-Almond Shortbread was the favorite, a cookie that need not be relegated to the “sugar-free” cookie tray but can stand on its own, enjoyed by all.

The shortbread is barely sweet, crisp but not hard and definitely chocolate-y. Even though the low-carb, high-protein almond meal is substituted for flour, the texture is surprisingly similar to shortbread baked with all-purpose flour.

Now, please know, because almond meal is 100% almonds, it’s more expensive than flour, think $5 a pound. But to keep my cookie-monster father happy and healthy? Priceless.

ALANNA's TIPS When baking with Splenda and Stevia, one or two flavors must really come out, otherwise that metallic artificial sweetener flavor takes over. That’s why I especially recommend a “dark” unsweetened cocoa powder, even if it’s become the only cocoa powder I use anymore, I like it that much. Taste is also the reason Kalyn recommends using 2 tablespoons brown sugar in cookies otherwise sweetened with Splenda or Stevia. Look for almond meal at Trader Joe’s. For anyone who ships cookies across country, this page from King Arthur Flour has so many great tips.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite sugar-free cookie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

CHOCOLATE-ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Slice ‘n ‘ Bake, Wheat-Free, Flourless, Almost Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free and Easy to Ship
Hands-on time: 25 minutes over 1 hour
Rest time: 12 - 24 hours
Makes 3 dozen small cookies
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 114g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (190g) almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Hershey’s Dark
  • 6 tablespoons (13g) Stevia or Splenda
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Almond slivers, toasted

In a large bowl, combine the butter and almond meal with an electric mixer, just enough to combine, you don’t want to add air to shortbread dough. Add remaining ingredients and again, mix just enough to combine.

Collect the dough in your hands, then roll into one or two long rolls about 2 inches across. Wrap in plastic wrap and roll on the counter a bit to make more “round”. Refrigerate until as solid as cold butter, 12 – 24 hours.

Heat oven to 350F175C. Place parchment on a baking sheet. Slice cookies about 1/3 inch thick, that’s about 12 grams. Arrange on the baking sheet, the cookies can be very close together, say less than an inch apart since they don’t spread. Press an almond sliver into the top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cookies are firm but not dry. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet.

PLAYING AROUND I used a small sliver of almond to embellish the top – otherwise Chocolate-Almond Shortbread looks oh-so-plain on a cookie tray. Other ideas? Before slicing, roll the cookie dough in additional almond meal. Or you could use a strong teaspoon of espresso to substitute for vanilla.

CRAZY FOR CHRISTMAS COOKIES? Yeah, me too. You'll appreciate this, Holiday Baking Tips from a Certifiable Cookie-Baking Fiend

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cookie/Two Cookies: 60/121 Calories; 5/10g Tot Fat; 2/4g Sat Fat; 6/13mg Cholesterol; 18/36mg Sodium; 2/4g Carb; 1/2g Fiber; 1/2g Sugar; 1/3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 1.5/3, WW PointsPlus 2/3

Chocolate Fiends, Rejoice

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies Gourmet Mocha Cookies Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans

I ♥♥♥ Cut-Out Cookies!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Frosty Christmas Trees No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies

Kid Favorites!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Perfect M&M Cookies Colored Roll-Out Sugar Cookies Snickerdoodle Bars

Crazy for Cranberry? Me Too!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cranberry-Mac Morsels (Macadamia Nut-Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries & Fresh Nutmeg) Fresh Cranberry Drop Cookies Fresh Cranberry Cake

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