Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons are a culinary favorite of mine …with their deep yellow hue and fragrant flavor they taste as good as they smell. Rumored to be a cross between a lemon and an orange, this zesty citrus is typically available December through April.

So what makes these different from a standard lemon? Well,  Meyer’s have “thin skin,” are highly aromatic, and have a sweeter taste than standard lemons. Their delicate flavor works great in cocktails, desserts, and savory dishes, too!

I like to thinly slice them and roast alongside chicken or pork. The slices become tender and caramelized and are so tasty.

The zest of their peel is fragrant and delicious too, especially when tossed with orzo pasta, a little olive oil and some fresh herbs or in dressings, such as in my recipe for Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette.

So wake up your taste buds with this citrusy delight. Get squeezing before the seasons over! –Kathy

Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Meyer Lemon–Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter or entrée. I also love it topped with crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 6 servings as a starter salad

6 cups baby spinach
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion

Vinaigrette
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist meyer lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
———————————————
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

Place spinach, apple and onion in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt  and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, but do not brown garlic. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.

Toss until salad is well coated with dressing, and serve immediately.

Recipe and Photo © Kathy Casey Food Studios.

Posted by Kathy on February 23rd, 2021  |  Comments Off on Meyer Lemons |  Posted in Uncategorized

Cauliflower

Have you ever heard the phrase, “my little chou-chou?” It’s a French term of endearment meaning “my little cauliflower.” How cute is that!

Cauliflower hasn’t always had a beloved reputation, but these past couple of years it’s become the IT veggie – and that’s just fine by me!

Cauliflower is rich with anti-inflammatory nutrients and vitamin K. It’s also an excellent source of Vitamin C and very low in calories. Gotta love that!

Traditionally white in color, you might be surprised to know that it can be found in brilliant lime green, orange, and purple, too! And it’s so versatile. It can be boiled, steamed, roasted, pickled, or simply eaten raw. I love it shaved into salads, and roasted then tossed with pesto or fresh herbs and lemon zest, and if you have any zatar hanging around that is super tasty sprinkled on it.

Cauliflower has also found its way into the convenience sector. You can now get it “riced” at the store, which is d’lish to turn into carb-free fried rice, or Cumin Scented Cauliflower Rice. Speaking of side dishes it’s also so great to make into a keto whipped cauliflower, as a potato alternative. 

So grab some cauliflower and see for yourself – eating healthy really can be delicious!  –Kathy

Cumin Scented Cauliflower Rice
I love this recipe as a carb-free side dish served hot or cold. Try sprinkling it over a green salad for big added flavor and texture.

Makes about 3 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
Pinch red chili flakes
1/2 cup minced onion
1 (14-16 oz) package fresh riced cauliflower
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (or substitute with chopped parsley or cilantro)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seed, chili flakes and onion; then cook, stirring until the onion is slightly tender, about 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and garlic, cook stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is just tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the reserved lemon juice, zest, salt and green onions.

Recipe and Photo © Kathy Casey Food Studios.

Posted by Kathy on February 16th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Cauliflower |  Posted in Uncategorized

Slow Cooker Comfort

After a busy winter day there is nothing better than coming home to a delicious, ready-to-eat meal.

When gloomy weather has you feeling a little down, a warm and hearty meal can be so comforting. You can do all the prep in the morning – simply “Set it and forget it!”

Slow cookers are wonderful way to utilize tougher cuts of big-flavored meat. Think juicy brisket, flavorful chili, spicy chicken thighs, or a delicious lamb curry.

And crock pots aren’t just for entrees either. I also love to slow cook up a batch of overnight oats with brown sugar, orange zest, and dried fruits. Top it with some Greek yogurt, or coconut milk. Perfect to start off a lazy Sunday morning slipper day!

And the best part about these cozy meals? They make incredible leftovers!  So turn on your crock pot and let deliciousness simmer away! –Kathy

Slow-Cooker Citrus Maple Oatmeal
Be sure to use steel cut oats for this preparation. Serve with some fun toppings, like fresh blueberries or sliced bananas—and brown sugar for those who like their oats a touch sweeter.

Makes enough for 6 servings

3 Sunkist® Cara Cara Oranges, juiced
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together orange juice, water, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Generously spray inside of a 3-4 quart slow-cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add oats and then pour in liquid mixture; stir. Set cooker to low heat and cook for 7-8 hours.

Recipe and Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios for Sunkist.

Posted by Kathy on February 9th, 2021  |  Comments Off on Slow Cooker Comfort |  Posted in Uncategorized

Juicing for Joy

As you walk the isle of the grocery store these days, there are rows and rows of juices. So, what is the big deal about all this juicy juice? Well it is an easy and d’lish way to get your recommended fruits and vegetables, and not to mention all the vitamins.

So what to do? Got the bucks to buy a bottle? Ok, great.  Or should you buy a home juicer? If you love juice and juicing then yes, go for it; it’s worth the splurge.

What you juice can have a lot of amazing health benefits. Here’s a favorite blend of mine:

We’ll start with beets. In addition to being sweet and oh-so-pretty, they are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Next, I add a little celery for its touch of natural salt, bright flavor, and it’s a natural diuretic.

Then we bring it home with a slice of fresh ginger, apple and a touch of lemon juice. Yum!

Oh and did I mention that this is fantastic as a mixer for a cocktail too! Yes that’s right, the juicing trend is moving into Happy Hour. I have included one of my favorite juice blends below that incorporates hydrating coconut water – excellent as a little juice shot! –Kathy

Beet It
Makes about  2 1/2 cups juice – depending on the juiciness of your produce (about 4 servings)

1 – 2 medium beets
1 large green apple
1 pear
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
3 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1-inch chunk fresh ginger
1/2 cup coconut water

Juice the beet, apple pear and strawberries. Then add the lemon juice and coconut water.

Chill and enjoy!

Recipe and Photo © Kathy Casey Food Studios.

Posted by Kathy on February 2nd, 2021  |  Comments Off on Juicing for Joy |  Posted in Uncategorized

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
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