Quick Easy Fit » Food and Cooking http://www.quickeasyfit.com Care of your Health And Life Start Here Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:40:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Best Desserts From Around the Worldhttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/best-desserts-from-around-the-world/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/best-desserts-from-around-the-world/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 14:09:59 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=4532 Forget your mom’s apple pie. How about whipping up some Indian galub jamun or castle pudding for your next get together? These international delights are an exotic treat for your palate and many are easy to create.

Tiramisu – Italy

It’s no secret that Italy is renowned for its amazing food and tiramisu is among the top on the list of Italian favorites. However, did you know that tiramisu is surprisingly easy to create? In a few brief steps, you can prepare an amazing dessert right at home that will fool your guests into thinking you worked all day on the creation.

  • 2 tablespoons amaretto
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 2 cups espresso or strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon high quality cocoa powder

Beat the amaretto, sugar, vanilla extract and mascarpone cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Set aside.

In a clean stand mixer bowl, whisk the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and set aside.

Quickly submerge half of the ladyfingers, one by one, in the coffee and then transfer each to the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the layer of ladyfingers. Top the mascarpone mixture with the remaining ladyfingers dipped in coffee and spread the remaining mascarpone mixture on top. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve.

Castle Pudding – England

Looking for the perfect finisher to a hearty comfort meal? Serve your dinner guests helpings of homemade castle pudding. The delicately sweet pudding blends magically with a topping of jam for a dessert that begs to be savored. Accompany the pudding with a spot of tea or coffee.

Adapted from forkd.com

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup strawberry or raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 6 pudding molds and set aside.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla pod seeds with a stand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and then slowly add to the stand mixer. Mix until combined. Divide the pudding between the molds, filling each about 3/4-full. Bake the puddings for 25-30 minutes or until risen and lightly browned.

Remove the puddings from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each pudding and invert the puddings into serving bowls. Accompany each pudding with a large dollop of strawberry or raspberry jam.

Galub Jamun – India

Take the evening’s dessert to the exotic side with galub jamun, a sweet Indian delicacy. These spongy, milky balls are fried in oil and are lightly scented with rose water to create a delightful after-dinner treat. The dessert balls may look exotically intricate but they are surprisingly easy to prepare.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 1 cup dry milk powder
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 quart canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces water
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and milk and stir until smooth. Cover the bowl and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Combine the sugar, water, rose water and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom in a large sauté pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and then remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Knead the dough and divide into 20 small balls. Transfer the balls to the oil and reduce heat to low. When the balls begin floating to the top, return the heat to medium. Cook until golden brown, turning frequently.

Transfer the cooked balls to a paper-towel lined plate and allow to rest until cool. Transfer the cooled balls to the sauté pan containing the rose water and simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes, pressing them down with a spatula to soak up the rose fragrance. Serve immediately.

Don’t get stuck in a dessert rut. Instead, experiment with the best desserts from around the world. These exotic beauties are sure to delight your palate and impress the evening’s dinner guests. Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out these no-churn ice cream recipes.

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Five Foods that Will Ruin Your Diethttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/five-foods-that-will-ruin-your-diet/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/five-foods-that-will-ruin-your-diet/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 02:17:32 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=5556 Sticking to a diet can be hard. There are many foods you can’t touch, while other foods can only be eaten in moderation. There are many foods that are labeled as healthy, but they actually can ruin your diet. There are also other foods that can cause you to overeat. To stick to your diet properly, avoid these five foods.

Ramen Noodles
Don’t ever try to eat ramen noodles. There are several semi-healthy, non-fried versions of ramen out there, but all of them can ruin your diet because they can make you overeat. Ramen has ingredients in it that will cause you to be hungrier when you eat it. Instead of making you full and helping you to stop eating when you’ve had enough, you’ll overeat.

Granola
This food is generally believed to be very healthy and nutritious. Granola actually can cause you to gain weight because it has a high amount of carbohydrates in it. A lot of granola has excess sugar and fat added to it to make it even worse. Granola also makes you hungry, causing you to overeat.

Hummus
This food is made from chick peas. Chick peas are relatively healthy on their own, but hummus tends to have a lot of fat in it. This extra fat will quickly add on the pounds if you don’t eat hummus in very small amounts. Many supermarket hummus brands also contain extra calorie-rich ingredients, too.

Fruit Smoothies
Smoothies are an especially bad food that can ruin your diet. They usually draw people in by claiming they are completely healthy since they have real fruit and a lot of antioxidants. In spite of this, most smoothies also contain a large amount of calories and sugar. Some smoothies have ridiculous amounts of sugar, and this is very unhealthy. A lot of smoothies come in large sizes, so they can make you gain weight very quickly.

Bagels (Plain)
Plain bagels may seem healthy enough as a snack or a light breakfast, but they contain white flour. This can cause you to become hungrier after you eat it, and bagels may prompt you to overeat. Bagels also have a high amount of carbohydrates and calories. To avoid ruining your diet, it’s best to avoid bagels, or only eat them infrequently.

When you’re trying to stick to a diet such as those suggested by http://www.idealshape.com/meal-replacement-shakes, it’s best to avoid these foods to keep yourself from gaining weight and overeating.

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8 Foods You Should Be Eating in 2013http://www.quickeasyfit.com/8-foods-you-should-be-eating-in-2013/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/8-foods-you-should-be-eating-in-2013/#comments Sun, 28 Apr 2013 03:44:07 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=4485 Each New Year brings a wave of resolutions to eat healthier and lose the holiday pounds. With those resolutions comse a new round of healthy food trends designed to aid in weight loss and promote healthy eating habits. Here’s a look at the up-and-coming health foods likely to line every grocery store shelf in 2013.

Meatless Proteins

Vegetarians and vegans delight – meatless protein purchases are slated to rise in the coming year. Unfortunately for non-meat eaters, the reasons for an increase in meatless protein consumption are due more to the economic situation than opposition to animal cruelty.

From droughts plaguing many states to the increase in animal feed costs, meat prices in supermarkets are steadily rising, causing many consumers to turn elsewhere for their proteins. Nut butters, tofu, beans and other protein-rich foods may all serve as suitable replacements until meat prices return to normal.

Kefir

What the heck is kefir? If you’re asking this question, you’ll soon find out as kefir takes the dairy scene by storm. Filled with friendly probiotics, protein and calcium, this fermented, low-fat dairy product is sold in drink form, making it more convenient than yogurt for consumers on-the-go.

Coconut Oil

Much controversy still surrounds the coconut oil industry but, despite those controversies, coconut oil sales are likely to increase in 2013. While coconut oil isn’t a preferable replacement for healthier options such as extra virgin olive oil, it is being praised as a replacement for shortening and other high trans-fat options. As consumers continue to separate fact from myth regarding this oil, they will likely begin reaching more for virgin coconut oil that has been minimally processed.

Beans

The magical (and musical) fruit does more than help you toot. It also reduces cholesterol, lowers blood sugar levels and promotes heart health, among other benefits. A half-cup of mixed beans is the target daily amount to consume although experts advise new bean eaters to slowly build up to that amount. Begin including beans in soups, salads and more as a supplement meal ingredient.

Goji Berries

Goji berries largely entered the health food scene in 2012 but are likely to explode in popularity in the New Year. From improved well-being to slowing down the aging process, these little berries are claimed to offer several health benefits. While additional research is needed to bring proof to those claims, Goji berries don’t appear to be fading out as a fad any time soon. Watch for Goji berries to start appearing in energy bars, health shakes and granola blends.

Gluten-Free Grains

The grain world is on the cusp of a gluten-free revolution. While gluten-intolerance became mainstream in 2012, awareness of the issue will likely explode in the coming year. The result? Gluten-free options such as quinoa, millet, oats and others will replace gluten-rich grains as household staples.

While gluten-free recipes were once thought to lack taste and texture, experimentation with new and tastier gluten-free recipes is debunking those myths. More restaurants will also begin catering to the grain revolution by offering gluten-free menu options.

Coconut Nectar

The search for the ultimate natural sweetener continues. This year’s super sweetener may very well be coconut nectar. After the recent controversies surrounding agave nectar, coconut nectar is shaping up to prove beneficial where agave fell flat. From a low glycemic index to a slew of nutrients, coconut nectar may have its mainstream debut in the coming months. This sweetener is largely used in drinks, although it is also suitable as a baking sugar replacement in many recipes.

Raw Foods

As increased, startling research is released on the negative effects of highly processed foods, more consumers will likely come to rely on raw alternatives in the coming year. Fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and other foods in their natural state are likely to rise to mainstream stardom in the months ahead. If you are concerned about the negative effects of processed food, check out these refined foods that you should probably stay away from.

From raw foods to new sweeteners, 2013 is shaping up to be another year filled with new super foods. While many of this year’s health foods may, in fact, offer great health benefits, those benefits vary based on each individual’s circumstances. Make conscious eating decisions with every food placed in your shopping cart and always live by a motto of moderation.

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Southern Cooking for Yankeeshttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/southern-cooking-for-yankees/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/southern-cooking-for-yankees/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 14:22:38 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=4512 If you’re not from the South, or at least didn’t learn to cook there, it’s surprisingly easy to whip up some authentic grits, collard greens and other classic southern dishes. Check out these easy and tasty recipes for a little home cookin’ like no other.

Red Beans and Rice (Slow Cooker)

Enjoy a little southern comfort, without all the work, with these slow cooker red beans and rice. Assemble the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and arrive home from work in the evening to a home filled with delicious southern aromas.

Adapted from myrecipes.com

  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons creole seasoning
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped

Combine the red beans, celery, bell peppers, onion, garlic, creole seasoning and vegetable stock in a large slow cooker. Slow cook the mixture on high for 6-8 hours or until the beans are soft.

During the final hour of slow cooking time, begin preparing the rice according to the packaging instructions.

Serve the beans over the prepared rice and garnish with the green onions and red onions.

Fried Catfish

Gather the family and grab your napkins because you’re about to enjoy an easy and delicious southern fish recipe. Catfish is served in restaurants and households throughout the South and, after preparing this recipe, you’ll understand why. A blend of seasonings offers a hint of heat while a cornmeal batter brings a delightful crunchy texture.

  • 4 large catfish fillets
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Place the cornmeal in a large bowl. Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper and garlic powder in another large bowl. Whisk the egg and milk in a third bowl.

Heat the canola oil on medium in a large frying pan.

Dredge each catfish fillet first in the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the cornmeal, fully coating the fillets in each mixture. Fry the fillets in the oil for about 4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Authentic Cheese Grits

Few recipes are more authentically southern than grits. Don’t bother with the instant grits from a box. Real grits are surprisingly easy to prepare and there is simply no comparison to their creamy texture and authentic taste.

Adapted from leitesculinaria.com

  • 2 cups water
  • 4.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 3/4 pound white Cheddar cheese, grated

Combine the water, milk, salt, white pepper and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, whisking occasionally, until the grits are cooked and creamy. If the grits become too clumpy, add a little additional milk.

Whisk in the remaining butter and cheese until smooth. Serve immediately.

Collard Greens

If you’re looking for the ultimate southern side dish, the buck stops here. Collard greens are filling and oh-so-delicious. This quick and easy recipe calls for a pre-cut collard variety, getting it in the pan quickly to feed your family sooner. Bacon adds meaty flavor while chicken stock simmers the collards to tender perfection.

  • 2 bags pre-cut collards
  • 3 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cut the bacon into small chunks and add to the oil. Cook the bacon until browned. Add the collard greens and toss to coat with the bacon fat and oil. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add additional stock as needed. The greens are ready when tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

You needn’t live in the South to enjoy some good home cookin’. Southern delicacies are simple to prepare, so set the table and gather the family to enjoy a homemade meal with a little flair. Is your kitchen a disaster after experimenting with new Southern recipes? What you need is the magic wand for your kitchen.

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Poaching Fruits: Juicy Peacheshttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/poaching-fruits-juicy-peaches/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/poaching-fruits-juicy-peaches/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 03:57:25 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=5350 Ripened juicy peaches are probably the best kind of fruits to consume during summer. Peaches and plums belong in the family of stone fruits, and poaching makes them ideal for usage in desserts and savory dishes. Poaching also makes them soft and intensifies their essence and flavor.

Poached fruits can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be used for making meat and poultry sauces along with salsa and ice cream. You could also use them as a topping for pancakes or simply flambé. Making excellent toppings for desserts, these poached fruits can provide you with a new flavor and color.

The following recipes can be used for poaching fruits like cherries, nectarines and plums etc. along with peaches. If you’re watching out for calories, you could also use sweeteners like Truvia and Splenda instead of actual sugar.

Salsa and Poached Peaches
Gently poach some peaches and dice them after draining well. Next, add a single can of black beans weighing fifteen ounces. The beans should be carefully clean and drained. Add half a cup of chopped cilantro, half a cup of fresh corn, half a cup of chopped up red onion, half a cup of chopped tomato along and a seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper. Also, add a single teaspoon of both chili powder and cumin, each along with lime juice extracted from a single lime.

Simple Poached Peaches
You’ll need two cups of water, a vanilla bean, a cup of sugar and four peaches that have been freshly rinsed and cut into quarters after being pitted. Using a medium sized saucepan, stir the sugar in some orange juice and vanilla bean (split and scraped) and let the mixture simmer for at least ten minutes so that the juice can condense.

Lower the heat and put in the peaches, poaching them for five to six minutes. When the peaches have softened, serve with some whipped cream or as an ice
cream topping.

Pork Chops and Poached Peaches
With the simple poaching recipe discussed above, dice half a cup of red onion and chop a quarter cup of parsley. Add them together with the poached peaches finely chopped and ready to be brushed on chicken and pork chops etc.

Peach Melba
In 1892, a French chef by the name of August Escoffier had created a poached peaches recipe. He named it after a famous singer of their time known as Nellie Melba.  Initially the recipe featured with poached peaches used in a pound cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream being used as a topping. The presentation is still deemed exceptional. Although today, this classic recipe is being used in angel food cakes, pecans and chocolate etc. setting an example for culinary evolution.

Variants

  • You could also use brandy, pineapple juice, orange juice and white wine as a poaching liquid as an alternative of water.
  • Use cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg to make an extra spicy variant.
  • You could always pour some chocolate sauce or place dark chocolate shavings on top of the peaches.
  • Powder with ground sugar after you’ve folded over the poached fruits within a crepe.
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Tasting a New Version of Grilled Foodshttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/tasting-a-new-version-of-grilled-foods/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/tasting-a-new-version-of-grilled-foods/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:45:23 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=5293 Grilled chicken or grilled beef may sound common to anyone who owns a grill or has a liking for grilled foods. But when it comes to foods that do not include meat, you can certainly imagine that there is nothing else left to grill.

Grilling foods like the avocados or cheese slices may seem like a crazy idea but it’s definitely something worth trying. Here’s a look at an unusual version of grilled foods that will certainly bring a zestful change to your diet.

Herbs – Grilling herbs like thyme and the fragrant rosemary will help make their floral aroma more prominent and tasteful than you can imagine. Woody herbs can be grilled on a heat from medium to high and can be used in a plenitude of refreshment drinks. For example, whole sprigs can be used to spruce up the taste of cocktails and marinades.

Bacon – Grilled chunks of bacon can be used in salads or various kinds of soups. Simply cut the pancetta or bacon into small chunks, placing them on skewers. Next, place them on the grill with the heat set to a medium and your grilled chunks are ready to serve.

Aged Cheese – When grilled to perfection, slices of aged cheese make good appetizers. Cheeses like provolone and halloumi are placed on skewers in the form of thick slices. These aged cheeses become soft and quite a bit chewy, but they don’t melt. For making your aged cheese worthwhile, simply glaze them with some light oil and place them on a grill that’s set to a heat from medium to high.

Cake – Take slices of your average pound cake and glaze them using melted butter. Place your grill on a medium heat and toast the cake slice ready with caramelized the edges. Use this grilled cake piece with a topping of your favorite fruit or a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

Avocados – You may be used to eating silky-smooth avocados for a long time, but giving them a touch of misty char can really give a delightful kick to those taste buds. Cut the fruit in half and after pitting it and use a light brush for coating this marvelous fruit with oil before grilling it on medium heat. Use the grilled avocado for enhancing the taste of your regular burger or guacamole recipe.

Nuts – A lot of people don’t like consuming nuts because they’re allergic or simply because the taste is just too plain. Grilling your preferred nuts can add a new kind of roasted chary flavor, making them crunchier and tastier than ever before.

Wrap the nuts in a foil before placing them on your grill that’s set to medium heat along with your choice of seasoning i.e. sugar or mixed spices etc. Once the nuts are crisp and ready to eat, you can use them for garnishing savory dishes or granolas and almost all kinds of baked goods.

Grilling food can be delightfully easy and timesaving. You can use your favorite fruit, vegetable or even food leftover from your last meal.

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Top Foods That You Should be Wary ofhttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/top-foods-that-you-should-be-wary-of/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/top-foods-that-you-should-be-wary-of/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2013 04:15:47 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=5263 Food poison isn’t the only disease that food causes. We pay attention to contaminated food, but do we really pay attention to what is naturally present inside the food we eat?

For a fact, there are many foods out there that contain toxins, which can harm your body in a very negative way. Some of these foods are very popular and are eaten regularly. They are discussed below in detail:

Puffer Fish

If you haven’t heard about this fish, then it is a good thing. It’s one fish that you should stay away from. It is widely used in Japan to make ‘fugu sushi’.

Considered to be the second most poisonous vertebrate, it has a neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin, present in its body that can lead to serious health issues such as paralysis, numbness, and even death.

Special training is required to cook this fish, so that the toxic parts are eliminated; however, due to neglect and other reasons some toxic materials are left that result in several deaths every year. It is better to totally avoid this fish than to risk health.

Bivalve Molluses

Domoic acid, an exotoxin, is present in huge amounts in this food. Almost all shell fish such as clams, oysters and mussels have this exotoxin present that leads to paralysis and even death in certain cases. The biggest problem with this exotoxin is that is soluble in water and does not go away even after boiling it.

Mushrooms

If you haven’t heard of poisonous mushrooms, then you need to pay a little more attention to your reading habits. Various toxins are found in mushrooms, such as ibotenic acid and muscimol. Mushrooms may be rich in protein, but the fact that they are unsafe cannot be neglected. Wild mushrooms shouldn’t be consumed at any cost as it can cause severe lung damage and gastrointestinal problems.

Castor

Castor oil is indeed very beneficial, however, at the same time it is very dangerous to consume a single seed due to the presence of the toxin, ricin. Castor oil is filtered to remove the toxins that are naturally present and can cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, kidney failure and even death.

Cassava

Cyanide, an extremely poisonous toxin, is present in the cassava plant. Much attention should be paid to remove the toxins from the plan as failure to do so can cause serious health problems such as paralysis. Normally, the leaves are left in the shade for the cyanide to break down. Always, buy cassava products from good manufacturers.

Apple

So you wonder what this fruit is doing here? Apple, no doubt, is one of the most beneficial fruits. It is rich in vital nutrients; however, one more thing that it is rich in is the toxin, cyanogenic glycoside that can cause anxiety, dizziness, confusion and depression. However, apple lovers need not worry as it is only present in the pip. One should keep this in mind when consuming apples to eliminate the risk of any ill effect.

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Favorite Childhood Treats Reimaginedhttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/favorite-childhood-treats-reimagined/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/favorite-childhood-treats-reimagined/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 03:53:58 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=4522 Grilled Cheese SandwichEveryone loves a PB&J sandwich or grilled cheese. However, it doesn’t take much to turn these childhood delights into sophisticated meals fit for royalty (or at least grownups). Try making these changes for a rich, nostalgic treat.

Grown-up Grilled Cheese

Few childhood memories accompany cold winter days better than grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. While the tomato soup of days gone by may have come from a can and the cheese for your sandwich from a plastic wrapper, your adult comfort meals needn’t follow tradition. With ripe tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and plenty of flavor, this grown-up grilled cheese is just the rainy day meal your evolved palate desires.

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 round of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs blend
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Divide the ciabatta bread into sandwich-size portions and then slice each portion to create equal sandwich halves.

Brush the inside of each bread slice with the olive oil. Divide the tomato and mozzarella slices between the bottom sandwich bread halves. Sprinkle the dried herbs and fresh basil over the cheese and tomatoes. Position the top sandwich bread halves on top.

Heat the sandwiches in a Panini press until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Rich and Delish Mac n’ Cheese

When you mention macaroni and cheese, most children instantly associate the treat as coming from a blue box. While the prepackaged meal may have suited your taste buds just fine as a child, your grown-up tastes deserve a richer and more delicious side dish. With freshly grated cheddar, whole milk and a hint of ground mustard, this mac n’ cheese is sure to delight everyone in the family, young and old alike.

  • 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions and drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until blended with the butter. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses and mustard and continue cooking until the cheese is melted and the sauce thickens. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Not so Innocent Popsicles

Childhood summer days are best spent under a shade tree with a melting popsicle in hand. While popsicles are delicious treats, even for grownups, they can also be remade into fun party indulgences. This not-so-innocent popsicle recipe calls for a little alcohol in the frozen blend to shake up your next get together.

  • 3 cups strawberry/banana juice blend (or your preferred variety)
  • 2 ounces flavored rum
  • 5 diced strawberries

Combine all ingredients and then divide the mixture between popsicle molds. Freeze for 4 hours. Gently stir the slushy liquid inside the molds to redistribute the fruit pieces. Continue freezing for an additional 4 hours or until solid.

The Adult Pizza

You hear kids squeal with delight when they know it’s pizza night. While pepperoni or cheese may have been your preferred childhood pizza toppings, bring a refined side to adult pizza nights with this remade pizza recipe. Olive oil, goat cheese and roasted peppers blend for a slice of pizza pie that is best accompanied by a chilled glass of white wine.

  • 1 freshly-made pizza dough round
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the red, yellow and green bell pepper slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Remove from oven and leave oven heat at 400 degrees.

Place the pizza dough on a baking stone. Drizzle the top of the crust with olive oil. Arrange the roasted peppers on the dough and sprinkle the goat cheese on top.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Reshaped Milkshake

You needn’t visit the local diner to enjoy this delicious milkshake recipe. Put the kids to bed and enjoy the mixture of chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream and a swig of coffee liqueur in this reshaped childhood milkshake.

  • 3 heaping scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 4 tablespoons coffee liqueur

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large glass and, if desired, garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Update your childhood treats to match your evolved adult palate. From spiked popsicles to sophisticated pizzas, you’ll soon be viewing childhood delights in a new and exciting way. Still stuck with your limited childhood taste for food? Expand your palate with these 4 foods you only think you do not like.

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The Classic Combination: Hosting a Cheese and Wine Party from Start to Finishhttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/the-classic-combination-hosting-a-cheese-and-wine-party-from-start-to-finish/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/the-classic-combination-hosting-a-cheese-and-wine-party-from-start-to-finish/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2013 07:41:46 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=5127 By – AJ

Bruschetta Appetizer With Red Wine On Wooden TableCheese and red wine is one of the all-time classic flavour combinations. The silky notes of the wine can combine with the robustness of the cheese to create fireworks in the mouth: flavours that bring each other out for a fuller enjoyment than if they were consumed separately.

A cheese and wine party is a wonderful way to enjoy both – and the perfect solution to a winter’s evening too. You only have to picture the scene – the fire crackling, the table filled with cheeseboards, grapes and crackers – to begin feeling comfy and warm.

There are wines and there are wines of course; and there are cheeses that go with some and not with others. So how do you host a decent wine party without picking the wrong drinks?

 Start with the Cheese

Cheese is harder to find than wine. Not that it’s  difficult to get a good cheese form a supermarket: but in that it’s hard to find unusual cheeses from the places a person would ordinarily shop. So in order to combine the right wines with the available cheese, the first thing to do is to go out and buy the cheese board.

You can do this in two ways – either by selecting random cheeses according to personal preference, or by choosing a cheese board selection put together by a wine merchant or supermarket. In the latter case, you will tend to find a selection split fairly evenly between strong and mild cheeses: ideal for a tasting party.

Match the Wine

The next step is to match the wine varieties to the cheese types. This is where books and the internet come in handy. Rather than relying on the tasting notes on the back of bottles, the reading of which could take you all day, seek out a wine book where a trusted expert has indexed different cheeses for quick reference to wine types. Then you can make a shortlist of the bottles thought to go best with each cheese, or with the variety of cheeses on offer.

Set Your Budget

If you’re buying all the bottles yourself, set a red wine budget. Sticking to it will not only protect you from accidentally spending over the odds on the party – it’ll also help you to discover unusual wine varieties. By having to stick to a per bottle price for each cheese or each course, you will be forced to think outside the case, as it were.

Talk to Your Wine Merchant

Many wine merchants provide case exploration services – where a selection of wines are included for you to try, according to the purposes of your evening. Tell most wine merchants you’re having a red wine and cheese evening, and they’ll be only too happy to find you the right number of bottles and bring the lot in under your budget requirements.

Get Your Friends Involved

A wine and cheese party can be more fun if it is made as a communal endeavour rather than as an event you are hosting. Invite each friend with a request to supply one bottle of wine and the cheese to go with it – or vice versa. That way you won’t get wine and cheese only to one person’s tastes – and everyone will feel like they have been made part of the evening. You can even swap tasting notes and impression of each other’s offerings at the end of the night.

Have Fun

All parties are essentially about having fun. Make sure you enjoy yours fully. Don’t get too caught up in whether you have the precise right cheese for each wine, or wine for each cheese. Just open a few bottles of red, get involved with your favourites cheeses and invite your favourite people.

About the Author:
AJ is a food writer. She is researching a book about English cheeses and their wine combinations.

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3 Lowfat Recipes for Hannukahhttp://www.quickeasyfit.com/3-lowfat-recipes-for-hannukah/ http://www.quickeasyfit.com/3-lowfat-recipes-for-hannukah/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 03:56:18 +0000 http://www.quickeasyfit.com/?p=3845 Have your sweets without as much guilt this season.One of the best parts about Hanukkah is the food. But like all holiday food, it’s not easy on the waistline. This year, celebrate without the guilt by preparing these healthier versions of potato latkes, rugelach and sufganiyot. Consider the collection a “lighter” version of the Festival of Lights.

Sweet Potato Latkes

Leave behind the russet potatoes for the healthier alternative of these sweet potato latkes. Cinnamon and cloves blend for a comfortingly spiced flavor that’s sure to have your Hanukkah crowd cheering. They’re baked rather than fried for an additional healthy punch.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the grated sweet potatoes.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture into balls and place each ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls with a spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes, flipping once at the midway baking point. Serve immediately.

Rugelach

Whole wheat flour, non-fat milk and natural sugar bring a healthy update to these classic Hanukkah cookies. With a filling blend of raspberry preserves, chocolate and nuts, you won’t even taste the healthy difference.

Adapted from skinnychef.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar-free raspberry preserves
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ

 

Cream the butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl and slowly add to the butter mixture. Mix until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Remove dough from fridge and divide in four. One piece at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle about 12×18 inches. Spread the raspberry preserves down the center of each rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch gap around the edge. Divide the walnuts, prunes, chocolate and sugar mixture (reserving a little of the sugar mixture for the topping) between the filling on each rectangle. Roll each dough rectangle into a log. Transfer the rolled dough logs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the dough logs with milk and sprinkle each with the remaining sugar mixture and wheat germ. Bake for 30 minutes or until gently browned. Cool for 15 minutes and then cut into 1-inch slices.

 

Sufganiyot

What’s the healthy secret behind this sufganiyot recipe? They’re baked rather than fried to drastically cut back on the calories. A few not-so-healthy ingredients were also swapped for more guilt-free alternatives.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 6 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar-free raspberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon organic powdered sugar

 

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until warm. Remove from heat and stir in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the sugar, butter, zest, vanilla and egg to the mixer bowl. Mix until blended. Add 1 cup of the flour and continue mixing until smooth. Slowly add another 1 1/2 cups flour until a soft dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, working the remaining flour into the dough, if needed.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl, turning once to fully coat the dough in oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until double in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 16 balls. Transfer the dough balls to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees during the final 10 minutes of resting time. Uncover the dough and bake for 15 minutes or until gently browned. Let cool.

Insert the handle of a wooden spoon into each dough ball to create an interior pocket. Fill the pocket in each ball with the raspberry preserves using a piping bag. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

The holidays needn’t be a time of over indulging. Rather, avoid the post-holiday weight gain this year with these healthy (and delicious!) Hanukkah recipes. And if you do end up over-indulging this year, check out these tips to lose 10 pounds in 21 days.

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