Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crock-Pot Chicken Spaghetti

This recipe has nothing to do with blueberries. It's something I created for supper on Thursday that turned out to be a hit and I just wanted to share it with you. So here goes.

3 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2t. Sea salt
1t. Freshly ground black pepper
1/3C. Frozen corn
1/3C. Frozen carrots
1-15oz. Can Diced tomatoes
1-6oz. Can Tomato sauce
1/2C. Pinot Grigio
3 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 Bay leaf
1/2# Spaghetti, uncooked

Place chicken in bottom of crock pot and season with half the salt and pepper. Place vegetables, garlic, Pinot Grigio, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, and remaining salt and pepper on top of chicken in that order. Cook on low for 4 hours. Break spaghetti in thirds, one handful at a time and add to crockpot, making sure the pasta is all under the liquid (I pushed it down with a wooden spoon). Cook on high for 1 hour. Before serving, stir entire contents of the crock pot together, shredding chicken in the process. Serve with cheese bread and salad.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blueberry Trivia - Just for Fun

The early American colonists made grey paint by boiling blueberries in milk.

The blue paint used to paint woodwork in Shaker houses was made from sage blossoms, indigo and blueberry skins, mixed in milk.

If all the blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread out in a single layer, they would cover a four-lane highway that stretched from New York to Chicago.
(The Great Food Almanac)

Blueberries and huckleberries although related, are not the same. One obvious difference is that the blueberry has many soft, tiny almost unnoticeable seeds, while the huckleberry has ten larger, hard seeds. Blueberries are also more blue, while huckleberries are blackish blue or redish black. This red/black variety is also called southern cranberry.

Blueberries have been commercially cultivated only since the early 20th century.

Blueberries contain significant quantities of both antibacterial and antiviral compounds, and have a reputation in northern Europe of fighting infections. They may also help protect against heart disease.

The blueberry muffin is the official muffin of Minnesota.

The blueberry is the official berry of Nova Scotia.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Most pancake recipes stem from one basic recipe that you can tweak and add different things to. This recipe is an adaptation of my Lemon Cranberry Pancakes. If you prefer to restrict white flour and white sugar from your diet, this recipe is for you.

2 and 1/2C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2t. Kosher Salt
3t. Baking Powder
1t. Baking Soda
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1C. Fresh blueberries
1/4C. Agave Nectar
2C. Buttermilk
1/2C. Canola Oil
3 Eggs

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and the lemon zest. In another bowl, combine the liquid ingredients then add to dry ingredients. Pour batter onto hot griddle coated with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Immediately drop a few blueberries onto each pancake. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is lightly browned. Yield: 24 pancakes

NOTE: There are some really fun flavored Agave nectars on the market. I find mine at Sprouts Farmers Market, and they really add to your recipes. Have fun!

Blueberry-Maple Muffins

This is a muffin recipe I've used for years and it comes out of my "The Essential Eating Well Cookbook". It calls for whole flaxseeds, but I've never used them.

1/3C. Whole flaxseeds
1C. Whole wheat flour
3/4C. plus 2T. Unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2t. Baking powder
1/2t. Baking soda
1/4t. Salt
1t. Ground Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs
1/2C. Pure maple syrup
1C. Buttermilk
1/4C. Canola oil
2t. Freshly grated orange zest
1T. orange juice
1t. Vanilla extract
1 and 1/2C. Fresh blueberries
1T. granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray (or use liners).
2. Grind flaxseeds (if using) in a spice mill or dry blender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to blend.
3. Whisk eggs and maple syrup in a medium bowl until smooth. Add buttermilk, oil, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla; whisk until blended. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in blueberries. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop). Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar.
4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Yield: 1 doz. muffins


NOTE: If you don't have buttermilk, make your own "sour milk"; mix 1T. lemon juice or vinegar to every cup of milk.
Also, flaxseed meal can be used in place of the whole flaxseed. Just add a tablespoon or two.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blueberries are the Bomb!

Another little dietary powerhouse is the blueberry. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals which are unstable molecules linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's. According to the USDA database of the antioxidant activity of selected foods (ORAC values), blueberries rank among the highest on a per serving basis. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically anthocyanins that give blueberries their blue hue, are the major contributors to the antioxidant activity of blueberries. A lot of scientific terminology, but it all means that blueberries are very good for you. Blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. One serving (1cup) of blueberries contains almost 25% of the daily requirement for Vitamin C, and only 80 calories. Blueberries are also an excellent source of manganese. Manganese plays an important role in the development of bones and in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat. In Texas, blueberry harvest happens in June and July. In other parts of the country the season continues into September, although the bushes grow year-round.

Blueberries can also be purchased dried and can be a tasty addition to a lot of the same things you'd use dried cranberries in. While some research has shown dried blueberries to be as much as four times higher in antioxidants, they are also higher in calories and sugar. That is always true of dried versus fresh. However, dried fruit has a few other benefits. It's high in fiber. It's a healthier alternative to sugary snacks and a good source of quick energy. Many dried fruits are also high in iron, potassium, and selenium — all important nutrients for maintaining healthy blood and muscles.

For this week, we'll be focusing on fresh blueberries. I'll bring you some interesting recipes as well as the old favorites. If you've yet to try blueberries or have been hesitant to use them in recipes. Step out and give one of the recipes I provide here a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised.

See What I'm Pinning!

Follow Me on Pinterest