Category: Appetizer

Top 3 Benefits of Healthy Panini Recipes

Are you on a diet? Do you want to have a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing the kind of delicious food you are used to eating every now and then? Do you want to stay fit and avoid sickness brought about by stress and the demands of your work? If you said yes to these questions, then healthy panini recipes are the answer to your prayers.

Panini should be a part of your diet, especially if you are someone who wants to maintain that knockout figure or if you’re planning to shed a few extra pounds. They can surely spice up your regular meals and provide with you the nutrients your body needs. Healthy panini recipes have many benefits and here are some of them:

1. Easy to prepare

You do not need to be an expert in the kitchen in order to prepare panini. It only takes a few minutes to make a nutritious panini and filling. You no longer need to go to every grocery store in town just to look for ingredients since they are available everywhere, even in your own backyard. Healthy panini recipes require vegetables like lettuce, carrots, onions, cucumber and herbs and spices including fruits like pineapple and tomatoes. There are also different kinds of bread to choose from which you can purchase at the local bakery or supermarket.

2. Less calories, more nutrients

Panini are an excellent choice especially if you are on a strict diet or just want to be healthy. Many of them contain fewer calories since most of the ingredients can be fruits and vegetables which supply essential nutrients your body needs without worrying about the fat. Moreover, you can also use bread with less preservatives or opt for a fiber-rich bread to supplement your diet.

3. More affordable

Fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper compared to meat or chicken. In addition, they also stay fresh longer especially if stored in the refrigerator. You can also buy canned or preserved fruits like pineapples, strawberries, and peaches. On the other hand, if you have your own vegetable garden at home you can use your produce in making healthy panini.

There are many healthy panini recipes to choose from. You no longer need to worry about purchasing expensive panini in restaurants since they are all easy to prepare, contain less calories and more nutrients, and are very affordable. The next time you think about dieting or just want a healthy bite, try healthy panini recipes and you won’t be disappointed.

Chowder Soups – What Makes A Chowder, A Chowder?

Chowder Soups have been around for ages. But how did they get started and why are they so popular? Read on for a little chowder soup history… you’ll have a mouth-watering experience, I guarantee it!

Chowder is typically a rich, creamy soup that is chock full of all kinds of ingredients that make it similar to a stew. The ingredients usually include seafood, vegetables and cream. However, over time, the basic seafood chowder has evolved to include all kinds of different flavors and textures.

Traditionally made chowder has a base of bacon and is thickened up with crackers that have been broken into the base. Today, there are all kinds of variations using everything from seafood and poultry, to just using vegetables – a good example is corn chowder.

Famous chowders are found here in the United States. And THE MOST famous one would be Clam Chowder! There are two styles of clam chowder. One is called New England style clam chowder and uses a base of cream. The other popular version of clam chowder is called Manhattan style clam chowder and it uses a base of pureed tomatoes. Both are very delicious and each has a hearty and warm flavor that pleases most palates.

In earlier days, the seafaring communities developed slightly different flavors of chowders. The local fishermen would throw samples of their catches into a large cauldron or pot and boil the chunks of fish with all kinds of vegetables and potatoes. France calls this chowder soup “Chaudiere” – which is the name of the pot it is cooked in. The French also liked to throw in smashed crackers and biscuits to make the soup thicken into a stew-like consistency.

Americans adopted this seafood stew from the French settlers in the Northern colonies. “Chaudiere” eventually became “Chowder” to Americans and the first known and written recipe used that name for it’s header in 1751. History tells us, however, that the recipe was extremely popular long before this so-called first written recipe. A good example is the British. They made their form of the seafood stew for many years before it became popular in the United States.

The early American Chowder soups included onions, bacon, fish, all kinds of spices, crackers or biscuits, claret and water and are often mistaken for bisque soups. But there is a difference between chowders and bisques. But that’s a whole different story. You can find out more about Bisque Soups at the Soup Hoopla website – just follow the link below.

In the 1800’s American cooks started to make the transition to using clams in their recipes – mostly because of the abundance of shell fish found in the New Colonies. Cooks began experimenting and adding cream to the chowders. They then began to differentiate different and unique types of chowder based on the ingredients used. Thus, other types of chowders appeared such as the above mentioned Corn Chowder or Sausage Bean Chowder or Beef Chowder.

Therefore, Chowder doesn’t always have to include seafood. It’s believed that all kinds of vegetable or meat chowders came into existence because the cook was just using up whatever ingredients he or she had lying around the kitchen.

By now you know that chowder comes in many flavors and is generally loved by all. You can try some of the recipes I have listed at my Soup Hoopla Web site and in addition to that, I have great instructions for making a basic chowder.

When you eat chowder, you are partaking in a little bit history too. Enjoy it and reflect on the abundance this country has to offer us.

All about Brie Cheese

Brie appetizers are not only mouthwatering, but they are so versatile. It’s amazing

what you can do with a Brie cheese. How did “real” Brie cheese come about in the

first place? Well, according to cheese experts, producing Brie cheese started in the

French province called, not surprisingly, Brie – a town 60 miles from Paris!

The oldest recorded evidence of its existence was found in the chronicles of

Charlemagne. The Emperor at the time, tasted the cheese in the city of Brie around

the year 774 BC. And here’s another interesting tidbit about Brie cheese… Louis

XVI’s last and dying wish was supposedly to have a final taste of Brie.

It is sometimes called Brie de Meaux and is considered one of the most popular of

the 400+ cheeses from France. Brie de Meaux’s popularity can be attributed to a

competition that took place around 1814. During a Vienna Congress, an argument

broke out regarding which country made the best and finest cheese.

As a result, a Frenchman by the name of Talleyrand, suggested a competition

between the different countries and their national cheeses, as he was convinced that

France would win. And of course, they did! Brie de Meaux was the winner and

became known as the “King of Cheeses” and as you can imagine, instantly became

an overnight success that swept Europe and has retained that distinction ever since.

As a matter of fact, Brie Cheese from France won a gold medal from the Brie

National Contest in both 2000 and 2001.

What makes it so darn good? Brie is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and has

an appealing combination of flavors including hazelnut, fruit and herbs. And it takes

approximately 6.6 gallons of milk to make one round of brie cheese!

The process of making it consists of heating the milk to no more than 37 degrees C

– but only during the renneting stage. Therefore, the cheese is never cooked. After

being put into a mold with a special, perforated shovel called “pelle à Brie”, it is

salted with a dry salt. This salting process is used to balance the sweetness that

occurs because of the high quality of milk used.

Maturation takes place in a cool cellar. The cheese develops a white mold around it

and the creamy part turns to a light straw color. The whole process takes at least 4

weeks and sometimes more.

In France, there are only 5 or 6 real Brie de Meaux producers left. Apparently it’s an

economically-challenged industry to get into. Brie has a very fragile curd that is

easily broken and requires a special room built only for the use of making Brie and

Triple Crème. It has to maintain just the right temperature or the maturation

process will not work. This, in itself, makes Brie hard to make and evidently requires

quite an investment. Therefore, farmers are not as inclined to invest their time and

money on such a delicate, not always reliable process.

To serve Brie cheese properly, it’s best to allow it to come to room temperature.

Some good suggestions of wine to serve with any kind of Brie appetizer is a red

Côte-du-Rhône, a red Bordeaux or Burgundy and it always goes well with a good

quality Champagne.

In the United States, we don’t sell “real Brie” because of the pasteurization laws that

have been installed in this country. US FDA regulations say that you can only make

cheese with our pasteurized milk. Our “Brie” is not true Brie, but it’s as close as we

can get to make it taste like Brie de Meaux from France. If you were to put true

French Brie next to Brie made in the United States, the difference would be highly

noticeable. You would get hooked on the French Brie and have to make yearly trips

to France to feed your new craving!

In lieu of going to France, try this savory Brie appetizer. You’ll be glad you did!

Amaretto Brie Appetizer

There’s nothing like serving this yummy Amaretto Brie appetizer. Especially when

you watch everyone diving into it without leaving a trace behind. Your friends and

guests will beg you for this recipe. It’s simple to make and the creamy almond flavor

is fantastic with a baguette or gourmet-type crackers.

What you’ll need:

– 1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)

– 1/2 cup butter

– 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 oz. of amaretto liqueur

– 1 round of Brie cheese

– 1/4 cup sliced almonds (chopped walnuts will work also)

– Toast points, sliced apples, baguette or crackers

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then melt the butter and add the brown

sugar in a heavy sauce pan. Stir until heated through and consistency is smooth and

thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and add cinnamon, nutmeg and the Amaretto. Mix

ingredients well.

Next, place the Brie round (remove Brie from packaging) in an oven-safe dish. Take

the sauce you just created and pour over the Brie. Then, top the sauce with the

sliced almonds.

All you need to do is bake it for 10 or 15 minutes until the cheese is soft. You could

also microwave it if you are in a big hurry. But only put it in the microwave for 30

second intervals until it is soft and warm. If you microwave it for too long you will

end up with Amaretto Brie appetizer soup, and that is not what we want here!

You can serve the melted Brie on a pretty plate surrounded by apple slices, sliced

baguette and crackers. It will fast disappear!

If you are interested in other Brie appetizers and other easy to make appetizer

recipes, please visit Easy Appetizer Recipes found at the URL below where

you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the variety of choices.

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A Simple Syrup Recipe – Homemade Tangerine Syrup

Simple Syrup- Tangerine

I did not know that simple syrup was so, well… simple. On a recent March morning, as my two boys sat at the breakfast bar watching me prepare French Toast, my oldest announced, “Mom, we should make our own syrup. Healthy syrup like apple syrup.” This got my wheels turning and so I went off in search of simple syrup recipes.

It didn’t take long to find a really simple recipe for blueberry syrup, and as I thought about my own back yard. I have a mature fruit tree that I thought was a loquat tree. I went outside to check out the fruit, and discovered that they were tiny tangerines. I couldn’t wait to try out the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Of Tangerines
  • 1 Cup Of Sugar

Equipment: 5qt pot, flat bottom coffee cup, stirring spoon, strainer, creamer jar…

For the record, we just moved in to this house, so some ‘improvisation’ was necessary. The coffee cup replaces a food processor, potato masher or blender, and the creamer jar replaces the Ball jars used for canning. * My lack of canning supplies is also the reason I only made 1 cup of syrup.

First, the kids picked the tangerines right from our tree, and then peeled them. We wound up with a total of 4 cups of tangerines, but we only used 1 cup to make our syrup. The rest got ‘munched.’

Now, I made a few ‘mistakes’, (I didn’t quite read the directions on the blueberry syrup recipe all the way through,) and I started to ‘mush’ the tangerines down in a strainer with the bottom of a coffee cup (my blender, potato masher and food processor were not yet unpacked), and into a bowl. I didn’t really care for that, so I started to try juicing them by hand… I didn’t particularly enjoy that either, so then I went back and read the directions on the blueberry recipe.

This is when I put a fresh cup of tangerines in the 5qt pot, and ‘mooshed’ them again with the coffee cup.

I then brought the fruit to a rapid boil

Next I strained the remnants into a bowl and mixed in the sugar- (another mistake: I was supposed to put it back in the pot, and stir the sugar in, bringing it to a rapid boil again.)

Finally… I poured the contents into the creamer jar…

We all tried a tiny taste on our fingers and it was good. I poured a little bit into a Ramakan (sp?) and dipped a Saltine cracker in it… also good. Then I made some French Toast and put it on that… it was a bit tart.

Next time, I plan to use a Agave sugar, and possibly a little brown sugar, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or a little lemon juice, and maybe persimmons, to cut down on the tartness.