Go Nuts for Almonds!

Hail the mighty Almond! The crunchy nut that’s packed with flavor and healthy goodness. Available in so many forms – raw, toasted, milk, butter, oil, etc. This nutty ingredient can be used in just about anything – pancakes, smoothies, desserts, or dips.

This superfood is SUPER healthy!  It’s packed with Vitamin E, and rich in dietary fiber and healthy fats. Plus, they are a super protein source and easy to have a little snack baggie around for when you’re feeling HANGRY!

Chopped up and added to salads, grain bowls, or your morning yogurt, they’ll keep you feeling full and keep your body’s metabolism on track.

For a healthy treat check out Skinny Dipped Almonds, they have a very light coating of dark chocolate. I love the raspberry ones that are dipped in berry powder – Yum!

And for a quick, tasty and inexpensive dish check out my recipe for Savory Seeded Noodles with Toasted Almonds.

So go nuts! Nuts for Almonds, that is! –Kathy

Savory Seeded Noodles with Toasted Almonds
Great served warm as a side dish or chilled for lunch.

Makes about 8 – 10 servings as a side dish

1 lb dry spaghetti, broken in half
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
6 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
6 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
2 tsp Asian hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Cook spaghetti per package directions and drain well (do not rinse!)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together sesame oil, seeds, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger and chili paste. Add the warm noodles, cilantro and green onions and toss to coat well. Toss in the almonds.  Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe and Photo © Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy on January 26th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Go Nuts for Almonds! |  Posted in Uncategorized

Easy Protein Snacks

These days, healthy eating has become a top trend across the country – and it’s no surprise why. Incorporating high-protein foods into your diet has so many health benefits.

It can help you maintain weight loss, boost your energy levels, and support strong muscles and bones.

And lucky for us – there are tons of protein packed, d’lish options that not only taste great, but are easy to make and totally portable.

My go-to snack are Energy Nut Balls – chock full of dates, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, and nuts. No baking required! It’s the perfect grab-and-go bite that keeps you feeling full and energized. You can even customize it with your favorite ingredients – nut butter, a drizzle of honey, goji berries or oats. Get creative with it! I love to roll mine in coconut flakes for an added crunch.

Or how about roasted chickpeas – tossed in olive oil, seasonings, and baked until crunchy perfection. These healthy legumes are packed with fiber.

So get snacking! Happy cooking everyone.
-Kathy

Lemon Chia Energy Balls
Be sure to look for moist, soft dates when shopping for this recipe.

Makes: 24 balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
24 large pitted Medjool dates (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed Sunkist® Lemon juice
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 teaspoons Sunkist® Lemon zest
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
———————————————
1/4 cup desiccated coconut, for rolling

Directions:
Tear the dates and put in a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice, press the dates into the liquid with a fork. Let soak for 10 minutes.

Place the date mixture and liquid, oats, coconut oil, lemon zest and chia in a food processor and process until mixture just comes together.

Add the pumpkin seeds and pulse until seeds are broken down and chopped into the mixture.

Portion the mixture into heaping tablespoons and roll into balls, then roll in desiccated coconut to coat.

Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before enjoying.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® for Sunkist®

Posted by Kathy on January 12th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Easy Protein Snacks |  Posted in Uncategorized

Healthy Eating

Now that we’re into the New Year, it’s time to get on track with healthy eating and stick to a New Year’s Resolution!

Sometimes with busy schedules lunch gets skipped or something less than healthy gets ordered in. Well consider taking a few hours on the weekend and building some great meals in jars to pack to work.

Just pick up some pint and 1/2 pint canning jars with screw on lids. Then prepare some good-for-you components like quinoa, brown rice, roasted veggies, roasted chicken breast, and some cut up fresh veggies.

Pack these up in jars, but make sure to plan your layers. For instance layer up some quinoa, roasted veggies, chicken – all deliciously topped with some healthy hummus or low-fat Greek yogurt. These will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and are easy to pack to work.

Try this idea for breakfast-on-the-go, too. Fresh fruits, a little healthy cereal for the crunch factor, and yogurt. Or try cooked oatmeal with diced apples, dried cranberries and some toasted nuts.


Oat Chia Honey Cup
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Check out this great recipe for Make-Ahead Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits from Iowa Girl Eats blog using Chobani yogurt (my fave!), gluten-free oats, chia seeds, and fruits. Her post is really inspiring!

Healthy, handmade meals on the go – Yum! –Kathy

Posted by Kathy on January 5th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Healthy Eating |  Posted in Uncategorized

BFD: Breakfast for Dinner!

Eggs are the classic breakfast food, but these days eggs are showing up in every meal.

Stratas are a great dish to get ready the night before so weeknight dinners won’t feel like such a hassle. Bread, eggs and cheese are mixed with other goodies. Let it soak overnight then bake it up when you get home. Poof! Dinner will be ready in no time! I developed a Sweet Pepper & Sausage Breakfast Strata using Sunset Peppers – it’s a great base recipe to get creative with. Want to spice it up a bit? Try subbing chorizo for the sausage and pepper jack for the Italian cheese blend – Yum!


Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios.

Have you ever had eggs on a pizza – it’s so good! Just break a raw egg in the center of your pizza right before you bake it and be amazed. I love it with roasted peppers, Italian sausage and spinach. If you like that idea and burgers, put an egg on it! Top your fave burger with a sunnyside up egg for a richer taste.

How about trying ‘shirred’ eggs? Bake a whole raw egg over tomato sauce, veggies and topped with cheese. Serve it with crusty bread for an easy and d’lish dinner.

And of course I can’t forget Deviled Eggs because I wrote a whole book on them – D’Lish Deviled Eggs! I could just eat them for dinner!

What an ‘egg-celent’ way to start and end the day. It’s the perfect time to try out a new egg dish because January is National Egg Month! -Kathy

Sweet Pepper & Sausage Breakfast Strata
Strata makes for a lovely mid-day dinner, brunch or breakfast dish for a crowd. You can prep it the day or evening before your party and then just pop the strata in the oven 45 minutes before your guests arrive.

Makes about 6 – 8 servings

3 Sunset Red, Yellow or Orange Sweet Bell Peppers, or a combination
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
8 eggs
3 cups half-and-half
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 cups 1-inch-diced French or Italian rustic bread, such as a baguette
2 cups (8 oz) grated Italian cheese blend
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Seed the peppers, dice them into 1/2″ pieces and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add sausage and cook until half done, about 3 minutes. Add onion and reserved peppers, and sauté for about 8 –10 minutes or until peppers are tender-crisp. Stir in garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper until well combined. Add bread, Italian cheese blend, half the Parmesan cheese and the cooked sausage-pepper mixture.

Transfer mixture to an 11×13″ baking pan and lightly press into pan to fill evenly. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and let sit, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, so that bread soaks up egg mixture.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350°F and bake strata for about 45 – 50 minutes or until puffy and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chef’s Notes: 1 baguette averages about 8 cups diced bread. Be sure to use a somewhat hearty bread for making this dish. Strata is also excellent as a simple supper dish.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunset Produce.

Posted by Kathy Casey on December 29th, 2020  |  Comments Off on BFD: Breakfast for Dinner! |  Posted in Uncategorized

Warm Up with HOT Drinks!

Brrrr…it’s the perfect time to warm up with some HOT drinks. Spiced cider, Irish coffee, spiked cocoa – yes please!

But here’s a new one for you – Winter Spiced White Wine. This steamy white wine infusion is flavored with pears, apples, oranges, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. For an extra kick, add some Grand Marnier or your favorite fruit liquor. It’s sure to be a hit!

For fun entertaining, I like to do a Hot Buttered “DIY Drink Station”. Set out some of hot buttered mix, a kettle of water, a selection of rums, whisky and brandies. Stack up some mugs and have some fresh nutmeg on hand for grating over the top. The interactive experience is so much fun for guests- and d’lish!

So now that I’ve given you a few ideas, go enjoy the chilly weather with your favorite winter warmer.
-Kathy

Warm Spiced White Wine
For large parties, this recipe can easily be increased, made in advance, and then gently reheated before serving. Keep it warm in a slow-cooker on low heat or in a deep, pretty chaffing dish. If you are a die-hard fan of spiced red wine, you can substitute it here.

Makes 7 cups, or enough for about 8 servings

12 whole cloves
1 small red apple, such as Pink Lady or Fuji
1 small ripe pear
5 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 (750 ml) bottles light, dry white wine, such as chenin blanc
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
For garnishing: Orange-zest twists
Poke the cloves into the apple and cut it into 5 slices. Cut the pear into 6 slices. Combine the fruit and remaining ingredients in a stainless steel or heat-proof glass pan and stir well to incorporate the brown sugar. Warm the mixture over low heat. Do not let it boil! Let the flavors steep for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm in mugs, glass coffee cups, or tempered glasses. Garnish each serving with an orange twist.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books

Posted by Kathy on December 22nd, 2020  |  Comments Off on Warm Up with HOT Drinks! |  Posted in Uncategorized

Dip In!

From party staples like gooey, cheese fondue to classic French onion or 7-layer fiesta dip, we all have our favorites.

These days dips are getting lighter and healthier. We’re whipping up our favorites not with full fat sour cream and mayo but with Greek yogurt as well as lite sour creams and mayos. Even this party staple can’t escape the better-for-you revolution!

Hummus is all the rage lately – made with protein-rich garbanzo beans. It’s quick-and-easy to make from scratch, but also available in a wide variety of flavors like roasted pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Cruise the hummus isle these days and you’ll find brilliant beet hummus and emerald green edamame varieties!

Creamy white bean dips are also popular and fall into the better-for-you category, too. It’s tasty paired with bold flavors like in my Tuscan White Bean Dip Layered with Green Olive and Lemon Tapenade.


Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip

For a festive dip, whip up a batch of Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip. Creamy goat cheese mixed with walnuts and cranberries, and sweetened with citrus and honey. Yum!

Now, we all love our dips with potato and tortilla chips but you can also lighten up your dippables. Try something new, like pita chips and rice crackers, OR go the veggie route with endive leaves, slices of crunchy fennel, or colorful bell pepper.

So whatever the occasion, get out of your DIP RUT, lighten up –and try something new! –Kathy

Tuscan White Bean Dip Layered with Green Olive and Lemon Tapenade
I love to make the tapenade with those brilliant green Castelvetrano olives available at olive bars. If you want to take some extra time and pit them rather than buying pitted jarred olives, it is worth it! I like to serve this dip with pita chips or rustic crackers.

Makes 3 cups, or about 8 to 10 servings

Dip
1 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained well
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. very finely minced lemon zest
1 tsp. very finely minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Tapenade
1 1/2 cups pitted manzanilla or other green olives, drained
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. very finely minced lemon zest
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or oil from sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, drained

Garnish: extra-virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary sprig

To make the dip: In a food processor, combine the drained beans, cheese, if using, and garlic, and process for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, rosemary and salt. With the motor running, add the oil through the feed tube in a slow stream. Process until smooth. Taste for salt and adjust if desired. Store the dip, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

To make the tapenade: In a food processor, combine the olives, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and oil, and pulse till the ingredients are thoroughly chopped, but still have some coarseness to them. Add the parsley and sundried tomatoes and pulse until just integrated. The tapenade can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

To serve: Put the dip in a pretty bowl, smooth out the surface, then layer the tapenade on top. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, and garnish with the rosemary.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Cranberry- Orange Holiday Goat Cheese Dip
Serve this dip with leaves of Belgian endive, apple slices, celery, and crostini or rustic crackers.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), softened
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist tangerine or orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries (or dried cherries chopped fine )
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the goat cheese and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the juice, zest and honey, and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated. The dip will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on December 15th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Dip In! |  Posted in Uncategorized

Clementines

When the weather gets chilly and the sky turns grey, juicy winter citrus is just the thing to help brighten the season. Clementine’s to the rescue!

Don’t be fooled by their small appearance- these cute little fruits are packed with flavor and health benefits. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. And get this – they’re also great as an antihistamine. It’s true! Battle those stuffed-up sinuses with clementine’s.

I love to incorporate them into my morning smoothie –or topped on yogurt for a citrusy punch.

For a quick and easy appetizer- try my Clementine Bruschetta! Simply combine diced clementine’s with tomatoes, kalamata olives, minced red onion, and fresh basil. Scoop it over a toasted crostini spread with creamy goat cheese – yum! Great for on-the-fly entertaining!

Try my Mandarin Crunch Bowl with Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce for a quick, savory salad. Layer these into a jars for a d’lish salad on-the-go.

So whether you’re whipping up a delicious snack- or fighting off a case of the sniffles– pick up some Clementine’s. They’re sure to brighten up your day! -Kathy

Clementine Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
The flavors of clementine, kalamata olives, fresh basil and the creaminess of goat cheese all play off each other nicely in this easy entertaining appetizer.

Makes 20 pieces

1 artisanal baguette
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
kosher salt as needed
————————-
4 clementines
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped vine-ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
pinch of red pepper flakes
————————-
4 oz. chèvre-style fresh goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut baguette into 1/4-inch slices—you want about 20 nice-sized pieces. Lay out on a baking sheet. Lightly brush or drizzle bread with olive oil then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake for about 5–7 minutes, or until toasty. Let crostini cool.

Meanwhile, peel clementines and dice 1/4 to 1/3-inch. In a medium bowl, toss clementines with 2 tablespoons olive oil, tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, olives, and pepper flakes. Set aside.

To serve: Smear each piece of crostini with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese. Place on a platter and immediately divide the clementine mixture between the crostini (drain off any excess juice).

Note: Top crostini right before serving so they do not get soft.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Mandarin Crunch Bowl with Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce
For lunch on-the-go, layer ingredients into jars and top with Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce. This healthy bowl is also great with the addition of rice noodles.

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes

4 Sunkist® Mandarin Oranges
3 cups cut romaine lettuce
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 – 3 tablespoons coarse chopped, roasted peanuts (or substitute almonds)
Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
1 Sunkist® Lime, cut in half

Peel and segment the oranges and set aside.

Place the romaine in bowls and arrange the cabbage, carrots, cucumber and oranges on top. Scatter with mint, green onions, and peanuts. Serve with Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce for drizzling and lime for squeezing.

Spicy Orange Peanut Sauce
Makes: 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 Sunkist® Orange, zested and juiced
1 Sunkist® Lime, juiced
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or substitute almond butter)
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 teaspoons soy sauce (or substitute gluten free soy or coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons water
2 – 3 teaspoons Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)

Mix together all ingredients until smooth. Store refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on December 8th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Clementines |  Posted in Uncategorized

Cooking with Candy Canes

I just love this time of year. Everything is sparkly, the lights twinkling in the trees, and of course, candy canes!

Those wonderful, seasonal peppermint treats that hang from trees, peak out of stockings and garnish your holiday latte. The holidays just wouldn’t be complete without them. They are also an ingredient in many of my favorite holiday goodies!

Peppermint and chocolate, what a great pair! Try my recipe for individual little Peppermint Chocolate Fudge Cakes – baked in muffin tins then drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. They make a great little something to “take” or gift.

Need a holiday cupcake idea? Whip crushed candy canes into your favorite frosting recipe and crown with a mini candy cane. D’lish and oh so festive!


Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

For a more spirited idea, try making candy cane-infused vodka! Just combine 1 1/2 cup of vodka plus 8 – 10 starlight peppermints or 6 mini candy canes in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake a couple of times a day until dissolved. Enjoy it in your cocoa or frozen as a shot.

Here’s to some holiday cheers with candy cane! -Kathy

Peppermint Chocolate Fudge Cakes
These are the perfect little something for after a big holiday dinner or for a party take-along.

Makes 12 cakes

Cupcakes
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/2 sticks salted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping
2 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 ounces white chocolate chips + 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 peppermint hard candies, crushed

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Pan-spray nonstick standard size cupcake/muffin pan(s) —you will be making 12 cakes. (If any muffin cups are left empty, fill them halfway with water before baking cakes.)

In a bowl over simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter together.

Meanwhile, with a whisk or electric mixer, in a large bowl mix the remaining cupcake ingredients together until glossy. Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture and beat again until glossy and smooth.

Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. (Liners are not needed.)

Bake cakes for 15 to 16 minutes or until slightly puffy. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Run a knife around the sides to release cakes.

To decorate: Lay cakes out on a platter. Place each of the chocolate chips in small glass ramekins or very small microwave safe containers; add the vegetable oil to the white chocolate; and individually microwave for 10 second intervals (stirring in between) until just melted. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate. Immediately drizzle/decorate the tops of the cakes with the chocolates and then sprinkle with the crushed hard candies.

Cakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 to 4 days.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on December 1st, 2020  |  Comments Off on Cooking with Candy Canes |  Posted in Uncategorized
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