Monday, December 28, 2015

Tabbouleh 4 College Cooking

Surviving holiday weight gain can be tough with Christmas and New Year's celebrations in a row--so much for resolutions and willpower challenge, right! But, your life and health do not need to be enslaved during those two weeks of frenzy feedings. With a few simple recipes you can counter the onslaught!

Tabbouleh is an awesome option especially the day you start your New Year's resolutions--to lose weight, to cook more at home, to eat healthier and cleaner, to save money, to be less constipated--any one will do as a reason to make more foods with bulgur and other grains!

Keep a few good salad recipes with you to minimize the sugar-laden desserts and heavy Hors d'Oeuvres. Some great ideas in addition to today's post include:

Happy Holidays Everyone!! 

Simple Tabbouleh 4 College Cooking

Large mixing bowl
Cutting Board 
Chopping Knife

1 cup dry bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup green onions
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
Fresh ground pepper

1. Wash your hands.
2. Cover bulgur and salt with boiling water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand x 20-25 minutes. Drain.

3. Add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and parsley to the drained bulgur.

4. Add veggies.

5. Season to taste with any additional lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
6. Feta is typically not included in your traditional Middle Eastern restaurant tabbouleh, but I had some left over and added it anyhow!
7. Left nothing go to waste!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cracker Snacks 4 College Cooking

Simple makes the Holidays better--food, gifts, parties, gatherings--keep it simple, please! 

If your family throws a shin-dig for the neighborhood lend a helping hand by prepping these flavorbombs for the celebrations. Don't worry about the clean-up...because there won't be any! 

As a side, your parents will think you are "all grown up"; or, that "the aliens abducted you"--take your pick! Either way, your contribution will make whatever event tastier!

For the Triscuit Caprese, you can certainly use fresh tomatoes if you are pressed for time, but making these little appetizers with the Roasted Tomatoes from Ina Garten makes these bites exceptional!!

Cracker Snacks 4 College Cooking

Large Platter or Plate
Chopping Knives
Smaller Knives


Part 1: Roasted Tomato Caprese
Triscuits crackers
Fresh mozzarrella, sliced to size; or, Ricotta Salata cheese for tangy version
Roasted Tomatoes
Basil, thinly chopped
Maldon Salt (optional)

Part 2: Fig Crisps
Rainforest Specialty Crackers
(Have seeds, nuts, berries in them)
Goat Cheese or Cream Cheese
Fig Preserve or Honey

Instructions: (for both crackers)
1. Wash your hands.
2. Assemble in order outlined above.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Crazy Chocolate Muffins

Crazy Chocolate Muffins 4 College are just that--crazy good and easy to make over Christmas break! This recipe is a fantastic way to help out with the cooking and make your family and friends wish you were around more often!!  

It's interesting that I got this recipe a year ago for Christmas as a gift, but barely had time to crack the cookbook open or give it the time of day--what an oversight to say the least. Once you taste these awesome chocolate muffins, not cupcakes as Geoffrey Zakarian points out in his book, you will wonder what other recipes should I have been posting!

(Adapted from My Perfect Pantry by Food Network Celebrity and Top Chef Geoffrey Zakarian)

Crazy Good Chocolate Muffins

Muffin Tins
Muffin Cups
Large Mixing Bowl
Small saucepan (or use microwave to slowly melt chocolate and butter together)

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and prep your muffin tin.
3. Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over mild heat and set aside.

4. Sift four, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

5. Whisk eggs and dark brown sugar together until creamy.

6. Add buttermilk and vanilla.
7. Add slightly cooled chocolate sauce mixture.

8. Slowly stir in the sifted flour mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined.

9. Add your chocolate chips.

10. Fill muffin cups with mixture and bake at 35OF degrees x 18 minutes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bulgur Salad 4 College Cooking

Resourcefulness--a skill you must have if you are limited on funds and income, ie college students or low-income families dependent on SNAP dollars or other government supplementation or just a small paycheck!

Finding foods that are nourishing and filling while easy to store (and/or easy to make) can be a HUGE challenge!! What do you do if all you have is a room...not even a hot plate or other basic cooking utensils? How do you even begin to think of eating well? Eating healthy? 

A fantastic ingredient that can fulfill many of these functions is...BULGUR WHEAT! It is cheap, made in 15-20 minutes, provides volume and nutrition; and finally, has endless variations limited only by the creativity of your mind! 

This recipe functions as a meal or an awesome side dish. Make it sweet or savory! Whatever you do, make this a regular during the week, and experiment! If you lack some of the ingredients for the salad (dried fruits and nuts can be expensive) or dressing...that is optional as well, and the salad can be eaten with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice...but if possible, try this with the apple vinaigrette!

(Adapted from Healthy Lives Healthy Kitchens Conference by combining a couple of recipes into a merger of my own)

Bulgur Salad 4 College Cooking

Large Mixing Bowl
Chopping Board

2 cups bulgur wheat, light colored
1 tsp of kosher salt
Boiling water to cover bulgur wheat approximately 1/4"

Dressing / Vinaigrette:
1 medium apple (honey crisp, red delicious), finely diced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbls orange juice
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 Tbls olive oil
3 Tbls vegetable / canola oil
3 Tbls honey
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp mint, finely chopped (optional)

Add-Ons / Flavor Bombs:
1/2 cup dried cherries and/or cranberries and/or currants (or fresh seasonal fruits)
1/2 cup dried apricots and/or dates and/or golden raisins
1/2 cup green onions, sliced to greens
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
(make sure you seed them yourself by cutting in half and pounding the peel with a knife to loosen seeds into a bowl)
1 cup feta, diced
1 cup toasted nuts (cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios)

1. Wash your hands.
2. Combine bulgur wheat, salt, and boiling water into a large bowl.
3. Set aside x 20 minutes until tender and almost all of water is absorbed. Drain.

4. Combine apples, juices, vinegar, oils, salt, honey, and mint in a shaker or whisk in a medium bowl.
5. Add in flavor bombs, i.e. chopped dried fruits, green onions, feta.

6. Toss with dressing before serving.

7. Finish off with toasted nuts and another sprinkle of mint.