Poinsettia Punch with Sugared Cranberries

poinsettiaBITNB

One of the best things about the holiday season? Holiday parties. Even better? Holiday drinks. The Poinsettia made an appearance at my holiday party this year and it was a hit. You may have had a Poinsettia before that was just Champagne and cranberry juice - but the orange liqueur is really what makes it a complete drink. Add some frozen sugared cranberries for added flare.

Poinsettia Punch

2 - 750ml bottles Champagne, Cava, Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
3 cups chilled cranberry juice cocktail
3/4 cup chilled Cointreau orange liqueur
1 large orange, sliced thinly into rounds

Sugared Cranberries

1 - 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

While all your liquids are chilling, cut the orange into slices. Arrange the slices on a plate or platter and put into the freezer until they are completely frozen (these will keep the punch chilled after you make it). Then make the sugared cranberries.

Now, you could just throw the cranberries in the freezer and then throw them in the punch plain with the orange slices but that's no fun. We're going to blanch them, roll them in sugar THEN freeze them so they actually become edible - and adorable.

In a medium saucepan heat 1 cup of the sugar and the water over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved - about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cranberries and stir until they are all coated in the sugar water. 

cranberriesBITNB

Remove the cranberries with a slotted spoon to a wire rack and dry for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, spread the remaining sugar on a sheet pan or plate covered with parchment and add the cooled cranberries. Roll them around until they are covered in sugar. Transfer to a bowl loose - or skewer 3-4 on fancy toothpicks - and put into the freezer to freeze for at least one hour.  

Once all your fruit is frozen, make your punch. Add all the liquids to the punch bowl or decanter and stir well. Add the frozen orange slices and some loose cranberries on top. Serve the punch with your cranberry skewers.

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

 

Huevos Benedictos

Have you ever been looking for recipes on Pinterest and you find one you like but have to scroll through an endless story about how much the person likes this food and why they wrote the recipe?

Me too. So I'm not going to do that to you.

All you really need to know is that this recipe was inspired by the "Eggs Manny" I had recently at The Donut Hole in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

Huevos Benedictos (my version of Mexican Eggs Benedict)
Serves 2

Ingredients

4 eggs, cracked into teacups or small ramekins
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 English muffins
1 avocado
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 scallion
Salt & pepper
Chili powder or paprika for garnish (optional)

Directions

Fill a large sauce pan with water and heat over medium to med high heat. Add white vinegar and salt.

While you wait for the water to heat up, slice the avocado in half and then slice the long way with a paring knife into 1/4" slices (you want to end up with 6 slices per half). Chop your scallion (white and green parts). Toast the English muffin. Add 1/2 sour cream and lime juice/zest into a small bowl and mix well (this is now sort of like a Mexican crema).

Once water comes to a consistent simmer, slowly and gently pour the eggs into the simmering water and swirl around in one direction until the egg whites wrap around each egg. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes without touching.

Add the English muffins to your plates. Top each muffin with 1/4 of the avocado slices.

After 5 minutes, remove each egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Add the eggs on top of the muffins with avocado. Season with salt and pepper. Top each egg with salsa then with the lime crema. Sprinkle with scallions and chili powder.

Note: You're right - there's no meat on this Benedict! A great addition to this would be some crumbled Chorizo, grilled steak or Spanish ham (jamón Iberico). Or you can keep it simple and stick with just the avocado. Tu decides! 

¡Buen Provecho!

My Favorite Frittata Recipe

This baby is loaded up with spinach, leeks, bacon and Gruyere.

This baby is loaded up with spinach, leeks, bacon and Gruyere.

I love a frittata. It's essentially an omelet you don't have to fuss around with. Or a rustic quiche without the carbs. You can eat a frittata for breakfast, lunch or dinner and of course, brunch. It's the perfect food!

This recipe is great because other than the basics (eggs, milk, cheese, potatoes) you can customize it with whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. I'll give you basic measurements and suggestions of what you could use in each spot. 86 the meat if you're a vegetarian, or the milk and cheese if you're lactose intolerant. Frittatas are flexible.

Potato Frittata with Cheese, Veggies and Meat

Ingredients
8 eggs
1 lb red or Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1/2 cup chopped meat, cooked and drained (or turkey bacon, ham, pancetta, sausage, turkey sausage)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Gruyere, cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, Monterrey Jack, goat)
1 cup veggies (chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, chopped red peppers, 2 thinly sliced leeks)
2 cups baby spinach leaves (I would recommend adding spinach to your frittata no matter what other veg you're adding; it's good for you and it makes it pretty)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a non-stick, ovenproof saute pan or skillet (at least 10"; big enough to hold your frittata), cook your meat (if using bacon or sausage saute until cooked through then drain on paper towels; if using ham, saute until warm and slightly browned, then transfer to paper towels to drain off the extra fat). Discard extra fat from the pan.

In same pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and spread out in a single layer. Add 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper. Saute for 3 minutes, turning potatoes occasionally; then cook covered for about 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

In another saute pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add your veggies (onions, peppers and leeks need about 7 minutes to cook and soften; spinach and mushrooms a little less than that).

While they are cooking crack 8 eggs into a large bowl. Add milk/half and half, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and hot sauce. Whisk well until incorporated. 

When veggies are softened, remove from heat (add pan with potatoes back to hot burner and adjust to medium heat). After cooling for a few minutes, add vegetable mixture, meat and cheese to egg mixture and stir together. 

Poor egg mixture over potatoes in non-stick pan and return to medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until the sides of the frittata just set (lift up the cooked egg from time to time to let the liquid flow down the sides of the pan to firm up). Once sides are slightly set, move pan to oven. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes, check to see if the frittata is done or needs more time. MAKE SURE TO USE AN OVEN MITT (I made that mistake once; don't let it happen to you).  If a toothpick inserted into the middle of the frittata comes out clean, it's done! If it's still a little soft and/or runny, return it the oven for about 5 more minutes and then check again (with your oven mitt of course).

When cooked through, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Spin a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen up the frittata and then slide the whole thing out onto a serving platter or cutting board. Slice like a pie into 8 wedges.

Serve with a green salad and a big glass of wine!

Super-healthy Superfood Granola

I am a little obsessed with granola, I know. This is third granola recipe I've posted here (see the others here and here). But I eat a lot of yogurt and like to add granola to make it a filling breakfast. Unfortunately, most granola you buy at the grocery store has a lot of sugar in it and that defeats the purpose of eating it in the first place.

This granola is fabulous (if I do say so myself) because it is sweetened with honey and contains "superfoods" like nuts, seeds and fruits that are chock full of antioxidants and other great healthy stuff like:

Oats: Lots of fiber that lowers cholesterol and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
Dried cherries: Vitamin A and C, anthocyanins (helps control blood sugar, reduce insulin and lower cholesterol)
Pepitas: Vitamin E, manganese and zinc
Walnuts: Healthy fats, Omega-3s
Almonds: Healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium
Flax seeds: Omega-3s and lignans
Chia seeds: Omega-3s, calcium, high in fiber and protein
Sesame seeds: Copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc
Coconut oil: Lauric acid, vitamin E, vitamin K and minerals such as iron

Superfood Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries
1 tbsp chia seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or coat pan with cooking spray).

In a large bowl add oats, nuts, seeds (except chia seeds) and spices. Stir together well.

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, honey and vanilla over low heat. Stir until completely melted and combined.

Pour liquid over dry ingredients and stir well until everything is coated. Spread evenly on sheet pan.

Bake at 300 for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. After 40 minutes pull out pan and turn off the oven. Add the dried cherries and chia seeds to the granola and add back to the warm oven for 10 minutes.

Set hot pan on wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes. Granola will firm up as it cools. Once completely cool, break up pieces and store in airtight container.

Serve over yogurt, with milk or just plain as a snack!

 

Nutritional information from whfoods.org

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Need a great way to use up roasted chicken or turkey leftovers -- or just looking for a yummy casserole idea for a party or a cozy dinner? Try this Chicken Tortilla Casserole. I adapted this recipe from the traditional "King Ranch Chicken Casserole" that is a Tex-Mex staple in Texas kitchens, but I replaced heavy, preservative-laden canned cream soups and fatty half and half or sour cream with Chobani® Greek Yogurt to keep the dish from breaking our just-made New Year's resolution to eat healthier! Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, potassium and of course, good-for-your-digestive-system probiotics.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Makes 6-12 servings

Ingredients
3 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken (use leftovers from your holiday meal or the meat from one regular sized rotisserie chicken)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose (or gluten free) flour
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup Chobani® Plain Greek Yogurt*
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel Tomatoes with Green Chiles, drained
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, chopped (optional)
3 cups shredded cheese (a combo of Monterey Jack and cheddar)
12 fajita size (6") corn tortillas
Canola oil (for heating tortillas)

*I used regular fat Chobani® Plain Greek Yogurt, not the non-fat version. Since we are replacing sour cream and half and half in this recipe, we do still need to have some fat in there to give the sauce the right consistency.

Directions
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and all three types of peppers. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Add the garlic and saute together for another 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and spices and cook for another minute, until the veggies are coated.

Stir in the chicken broth and canned tomatoes, cover the pot and simmer over low heat until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes.

Uncover the pot, turn off the heat and add the Chobani® Greek Yogurt, lime juice and cilantro (if you're using it), and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

Assembly
Heat teaspoon or two of canola oil in a small saute or frying pan over medium high heat. Add your tortillas individually and heat until the tortilla just starts to brown - about 30 seconds or so per side. Set aside.

Meanwhile prepare a 9x13" baking dish by coating lightly with cooking spray. Ladle about 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and spread it around to cover the bottom. Layer 6 of the tortillas over the sauce in the dish - 2 at the top, 2 in the middle and 2 at the bottom. Add half of your chicken and distribute evenly over the tortillas. Add half of the remaining sauce over the chicken and spread evenly. Spread half the cheese over that.

Repeat the layering (tortillas - chicken - sauce - cheese), so that you are ending with a top layer of cheese.

Cook uncovered in the 350 oven for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with extra Greek Yogurt on the side and my delish Elote Salad.

Enjoy...and of course, HAPPY NEW YEAR!