Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chipotle Spiced Pecans

We all aware that the BIG GAME is being played this coming Sunday.  People will be watching from the stands, at bars or home with family and friends.

We've come to expect a lot from this game.  Not only do we expect to see a fantastic game played between two rival teams, we expect to be munching on good foods while we're watching.

This is an easy munching  recipe for nuts that will go over well with your crowd.  Though I'm posting the ingredients here, in the amount I used, feel free to adjust them to your taste.  You may prefer more sweetness or more "kick", so add more or less to your taste.  This is so easy you cannot mess up this recipe.

Chipotle Spiced Pecans
4 cups raw pecans
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon Joe and Son's Chipotle Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Spread the pecans out in one layer on a large baking sheet with sides. Roast the pecans for about 10 minutes, stirring at about 5 minutes of roasting.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl,  combine the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the Chipotle Oil and salt.
Remove the pecans from the oven and place them in a large bowl. Add the sugar and spice mixture and stir to coat.  Now drizzle the Chipotle Oil over the pecans, stir to coat well and add salt to taste.  Stir once more.
Place the pecans on the baking sheet once again and roast  at 250 degrees for another 5 minutes.  Stir midway through and be careful they don't burn.
Cool and serve at room temperature.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicken Sliders With Fig Balsamic BBQ Sauce

I know you probably think that fixing a tray of sandwiches has to be time consuming, but this recipe proves  that is not true.  We're going to start off with the ultimate time-saver...rotisserie chicken. We're going to combine a few tasty ingredients in a sauce pan and after a few minutes we'll add the chicken and assemble the slider sandwiches. Folks, it just doesn't get any easier than this.
Again, good tasting food does not require a great deal of time to prepare, especially if you have top quality ingredients.
This is a great party food for the Gasparilla weekend and thinking would be perfect for a Super Bowl Party as well.

1 cup Joe and Son’s Fig Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 whole skinless rotisserie chicken, shredded (approx. 2 cups)
12 sliders mini buns
bread-and-butter pickle chips (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except chicken and pickles in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken to balsamic mixture; stir to combine. Cook 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.

Spoon 3 tablespoons chicken mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 1 pickle chip and top half of bun.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chipotle Hummus

Again, this is one of those recipes that is so simple to make that I hesitate to call it "cooking" when I prepare this. Even if you claim not to be able to even boil water, if you can slice garlic, open a can, and pour Evoo's and Balsamic Vinegar into a food processor, then you can master the preparation of this dip.


                    Chipotle Hummus
3 15.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup Joe and Son’s Olive Oils Chipotle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Joe and Son’s Oils Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic
1/4 cup Joe and Son’s Olive Oils Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
2 Large cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Serve with pita chips or veggies.

Gasparilla Party Foods

For those of you in the Tampa, Florida area, this weekend is a time for celebrating the yearly Pirate Invasion of our city.  It's also a time for sharing good food.  You may either be having guests at your home or will be invited to a friend's home. There is no reason to stress out over what to prepare.  We're here to help.
Joe and Son's is closed this Saturday, 130/16, for the Gasparilla events.  If you need any of our EVOO's and Balsamic Vinegars for your food preparations, be sure to come in on Thursday or Friday to do your shopping.
The first recipe is for an easy salad that takes just minutes to put together.
Edamame and Brocolli Slaw with Honey Ginger Balsamic
1 14 oz. bag of frozen shelled edamame, (thawed)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 scallions, sliced on an angle
1 12 oz. bag of brocolli slaw
1/4 cup Joe and Son’s Chipotle Olive Oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Joe and Son’s Honey Ginger White Balsamic
2 tablespoons Joe and Son’s Dark Toasted Sesame Oil
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

In a large bowl, toss together edamame, red bell pepper, scallions and brocolli slaw. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, pour Chipotle Olive Oil, Honey Ginger Balsamic, Sesame Oil and Soy Sauce. Replace lid and shake well until the dressing is well blended. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat.

The next recipes are ones I've posted before, but they deserve another look.

Go back and look at the older posts on my Blog.

Raspberry and Chipotle BBQ Sauce   posted 5/13

Chicken Wings  posted 12/12

Balsamic Onion Jam  posted 12/11

Monday, January 20, 2014

Eggplant Marinara Sauce

I'm exploring new ways of eating and cooking.  Normally, our family meals have consisted of large portions of meat with a healthy serving of a vegetable, a starch and a salad. Nowadays, I'm trying very hard to cut down on the meat portions and increasing the vegetables on our plates.

However, my family isn't so sure they want to make the changes I'm telling them they (we) need to make, and since I'm the one in the kitchen it's fallen on me to make these new meals very tasty and filling.

I didn't plan this recipe ahead of time; I just had these vegetables on hand and decided to put them to good use.  My family loved this sauce and it tasted even better the next day.

Eggplant Marinara Sauce

2 Tablespoons Joe And Son’s Olive Oils Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil…I used Organic Coratina

1 small eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 2" pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 medium carrot, sliced into thin rounds

2 small zucchinis, washed, unpeeled and sliced into thin rounds

1 cup diced yellow onions

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 16 ounce can diced  tomatoes and  the liquid

½ cup water

1 tablespoon capers, drained

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste



Pour the EVOO into a large sauté pan and warm to a medium/high temperature. Add the eggplant and carrot slices and lower the temperature to medium.  Stir to evenly coat the pieces and cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables become soft.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add the zucchini slices.  Add a teaspoon of EVOO if the pan is too dry.  Stir and sauté over low heat for about 5  minutes.

Add the onions and garlic to the zucchini in the pan and continue to cook until the onions are transparent….about 12 minutes, or so.

Add the next 7 ingredients, in that order and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the eggplant and carrots and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook over low heat for another 10 minutes.  Serve hot over Penne or Farfalle pasta or long pasta of your choice

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mushroom, Spinach and Roasted Bell Pepper Side Dish

We've been talking about ways to eat healthy without feeling food deprived. If we think about the meals  many of us grew up eating, we'll realize our meat servings were huge and way larger than the portion size recommended today.

It's not practical to think that you can weigh every food you put on your plate. What you can do, however, is learn to recognize what key portion sizes look like, so it will  help you know the right amount to serve yourself.
  • Develop visual cues by matching portion sizes to familiar items.
    • A three-ounce serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards or a bar of soap.
    • A medium potato is about equal to a computer mouse.
    • A half-cup of rice would just about fill a regular-sized cupcake wrapper.
    • One ounce of cheese is about the size of four dice.
Eyeball food portions based on the amount of room they take up on a dinner plate. For example, on an 8- to 10-inch plate, half of the plate should be covered with vegetables, one-quarter with a starch like rice or a potato, and one-quarter with a protein.

Rather than focusing on the fact that we're cutting down on the size of the meat serving on our plate, let's focus on the delicious vegetables we are adding to our plates.

Tonight I did something a bit different  for dinner.  I fixed grilled pork chops, a vegetable side dish and included a tri-colored orzo pasta* as the carbohydrate.  But, I didn't serve myself a pork chop.  Instead my plate was filled with vegetables and orzo pasta.  I chose to combine the two to make a hearty, meatless "casserole" and I have to tell you it was delicious and very filling.  You might want to try doing this if you don't usually include meat in your diet.



Mushroom, Spinach and Roasted Bell Pepper Side Dish

¼ cup robust Joe and Son’s Olive Oils Extra Virgin Olive Oil…I used Organic Picual
2 pounds fresh white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, finely sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup roasted red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips. Use jarred roasted peppers, drained, or roast your own.
3 ounces of fresh baby spinach leaves…washed and dried. (This is about 3 generous handfuls of spinach.)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning blend…I used Cavender’s Greek Seasonings in this recipe.
Salt and pepper
Additional teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling.


Let me start off by saying I have an unorthodox way of cooking  fresh mushrooms. I place them in a large saute pan and cook them over low heat until they release their liquid and then I drain the pan. At that point I start my recipe.

In a saute pan, place the sliced mushrooms and cook over low heat for about 8- 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes or so, until the liquids are released. Drain the pan and return to the stove. Pour the Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the mushrooms and stir to coat them evenly. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the spinach, roasted bell pepper strips, red pepper flakes and the Greek seasoning. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about another 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
Drizzle with the remaining Olive Oil before serving.
Serve hot.

*I used 1 cup uncooked orzo and followed the package instructions. I drizzled the orzo with a little of the Hojiblanca EVOO.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chickpea and Kale Soup

Part of the problem with trying to eat healthy is the size of our portions.  It's human nature not to want to feel hungry so we fill our plates with bountiful amounts and add extra calories when we do that.  So what we need to do is find foods that will fill us up and satisfy our appetites and at the same time not add lots of calories.
Soups will do that and especially if we include beans and greens as part of the recipe.
Chickpeas are are good source of protein and come with health benefits.  You really should consider them a must-have on your next grocery list.

 Here are three health benefits of chickpeas:

1. Hunger control:
Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein, and they have a low glycemic index. This powerful combination can help control your weight. Enjoying as little as 1/2 cup (125 mL) of chickpeas daily can keep you feeling full -- and consuming fewer calories.

2. Cholesterol reduction: Including 3/4 cup (175 mL) of chickpeas in your diet each day can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease.

3. Versatility: Chickpeas can be used in salads, soups, curries, chilis and stews
Kale is the new "Queen of Green" and is tasty, nutritious and versatile.  It can be a used as a side vegetable, a salad ingredient or included in soups and stews.
 This soup combines these 2 healthy foods to produce a nutritious and filling soup.

Chickpea and Kale Soup

1/4 cup of Smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil...may be purchased at Joe and Son's Olive Oils Store
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts..seasoned with salt and pepper*
3 medium onions, sliced
26 ounce container of chicken stock..or  similar amount
2 cups water
1 medium sized can diced tomatoes with juice  (about 14.5 ounces)
2 medium cans chickpeas (garbanzos), about 19 ounces each, drained
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste

additional Smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Grated Italian Cheese for topping...... Parmesan or Romano would be fine

In a large soup pot, warm the Smoked Olive Oil to a medium heat and sear the chicken breasts to a golden color.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  In the same pot add the sliced onions and saute until they are soft and transparent.

Add the chicken stock and the water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the drained chickpeas, canned diced tomatoes and smoked paprika. 
Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and add to the broth. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook over medium/low heat for about 45 minutes.  Add the chopped kale and cook for about another 15 minutes.  Taste to see if you need to add extra salt and pepper.Serve hot.

Before serving you might want to drizzle a little bit of the Smoked Olive Oil on each individual serving and also sprinkle some Italian cheese as well.

*You could substitute Kielbasa sausage for the chicken breasts....Or eliminate all meat , substitute vegetable broth and keep it vegan.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Orzo Pasta Salad

In keeping with the theme of making healthier food choices, it's wise to eat a balanced diet.  Carbs, per se, are not the enemy.  Neither are fats.  We can, and should, include healthy grains and healthy fats in our daily meals.  ( I was going to say "daily diet", but we're not on a diet; we're just eating healthier.  Using the term "on a diet" implies that at some time we'll "Get off the diet."   This is simply a new way of dealing with food in a way that we're not afraid to eat.  Remember, everything in moderation."

 It is suggested that Extra Virgin Olive be included in our daily meals and that is so easy to do and  have healthy, delicious meals.

Now let's talk about including grains in our daily "diet".
Orzo is commonly made from white flour, but it can be made from whole-grain flour as well, making it a healthier pasta option. A two oz. serving of orzo is 200 calories. This small pasta is a good source of carbohydrates; one serving of orzo contains 42 grams of carbohydrates and two grams of fiber. You can get more fiber from this pasta by choosing orzo made from whole grain flour instead of white flour. The protein found in orzo, seven grams per serving, can also help boost your energy levels. You can increase the amount of protein in your diet by eating more of this small pasta and pairing it with other sources of protein such as salmon, shrimp or chicken. Orzo is also a good low-fat pasta option with only one gram of fat per serving.

Orzo looks like rice and tastes like pasta, which is truly the best of both worlds. Add a little olive oil and it becomes slippery and heavenly. It serves as a great sidekick to fish or chicken  or as a side dish of its own. I will often have plain orzo serve as a side dish in itself, or I’ll mix it in with salad ingredients and add a vinaigrette dressing.

This salad recipe is contributed by Joseph Harper, an associate at Joe and Son's Olive Oils.  I know you'll enjoy it.


Harper’s Orzo Pasta Salad 


· 1 cup of Joe and Son’s Robust  Extra Virgin Olive Oil…Barnea or Coratina is suggested

· 1/3 cup Joe and Son’s Aged White Balsamic Vinegar

· 3 tablespoons Palma Ceia Honey ..may be purchased at Joe and Son’s

· 1/2  tablespoon Dijon mustard

· 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
   1/4 teaspoon black pepper

   1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Wisk all dressing ingredients in a small batter bowl and refrigerate. 

Prepare ahead:
· 2 cups uncooked wild rice (not a blend)

· 1 lb box Orzo pasta 

            Cook according to package directions and refrigerate.


       Salad Ingredients: 

· 1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels..may use frozen & thawed or canned & drained..chilled

·  6 Tablespoons of finely chopped red onion  OR  1/2 cup chopped and white parts

· 1/2 cup currants or dried craisins if currants are not available
  1/3 cup finely diced celery

· 3 small mixed sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, green) finely diced…about 1 1/2- 2 cups 

· 1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley


           1. Combine the cold rice and orzo in a large mixing bowl.

           2.  Mix in the cold corn, scallions, currants and bell pepper.

           3.  Gently fold in the dressing; then add the parsley.


Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight) to allow flavors to blend.
Makes about 10 servings.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spinach/Peach/Bacon Salad

Okay, let's talk.  This is the beginning of a New Year and the time we all make resolutions that we're certain we're going to keep.  Generally those resolutions involve changing the way we look by losing weight.  Often we set unreasonable goals as far how much weight we can lose in a very short time.  When that doesn't happen, we give up and then old habits creep into our lifestyles again.

This year, why don't we focus on eating healthier, exercising a little more and finding inner peace?
Let's take it one day at a time and one meal at a time. Just as pennies add up to dollars, small good choices can lead to big differences in the way we look and feel.

  I firmly believe that the way a dish looks really impacts the way we feel about how it tastes.  And if you happen to be fixing this for yourself and you're eating alone then serve yourself as you would serve a special guest.  After all, if you don't think you're special, then why should anyone else think you are?

Let's start off with a versatile salad that's tasty and has eye appeal.  I've given you the basic salad ingredients but you can add or substitute any of the extra items if you want.

Spinach/Peach/Bacon Salad


1/3 cup Joe and Son’s Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

1/3 cup Joe and Son’s Peach Infused Balsamic Vinegar

¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Whisk these ingredients together until well-blended.

Salad ingredients:*

6 slices of cooked bacon, drained and crumbled

5 cups torn romaine leaves

5 cups torn fresh baby spinach leaves

1 cup of canned peach slices, drained

1 cup diced celery

1/3 cup sliced scallions

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix well. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss lightly to coat.  Serve chilled.

Makes about 10 ample servings.

 *You may substitute ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced, for the scallions.
  *You may add slices of grilled chicken to the salad.
 * You may add Asian noodles for a bit of added crunch.
 * You may add about 1/2 cup dried cranberries.