Savoring Today LLC Sharing recipes and tips for nourishing meals to inspire healthy connection around the table. Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:15:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 29241885 Tomato-Basil Salmon and the 5 Best Fish Grilling Tips Wed, 14 Sep 2016 21:32:45 +0000

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June Steak & Chicken Class

What a fun summer it’s been launching a series of grilling classes! My poor husband endured the recipe testing in stride—let me just say, even awesome grilled fish five times in one week starts to push it. It has been such a delight to gather friends and grilling enthusiasts around picnic tables on warm summer days to talk good food and grilling.

Through this new adventure, I have realized how much teaching stirs my passion for bringing healthy, whole food cooking and people together. The face-to-face time is such a treat and there is no better compliment than hearing someone say, “I can do this” when they leave the class. Knowing they feel new confidence warms me all the way to my toes. My plan is to secure a commercial kitchen in the near future so I can teach classes year-round.

It’s been a busy time with little time for posting recipes, so I have some catching up to do with you.

Grilled Salmon with Tomato-Basil Butter Sauce is a combination of two of our grill class recipes. I created the Grilled Tomato-Basil Compound Butter for Grilled Herb-Buttermilk Chicken (posting recipe soon), and with a splash of dry white wine, it finishes this salmon just as beautifully. Versatility is one of the things I love about having compound butter in my freezer for any flavorful whim (or wild hair, as my mom would say). It is a staple in my kitchen and is easy to make ahead to quickly dress up any roasted, pan seared, grilled meat or fish.

Need an instant sauce? Add a splash of wine, lemon juice or red wine vinegar to thin and balance the richness of the butter, creating a sauce instead. Include homemade chicken stock along with any of these acids (use a combination of chicken stock and lemon juice as a sub for wine) to stretch it to cover more servings. How much you’ll need will be determined by your own taste.

Grilling Salmon skin-side down until it reaches 125°F

5 Best Tips for Grilling Fish: 

Fish is a delicate protein and prone to overcooking quickly. Following these tips will provide greater success when cooking fish with fire.

  1. Start with a clean, oiled grill grates. The best way to clean grill grates is high heat for at least 15 minutes to burn off any residue and follow up with a good grill brush. Turn down the heat and oil the grates using the bottom of a sliced onion dipped in oil—trim 1/2-inch off the bottom of an onion, stab with a fork to create a handle, dip the sliced side in oil and use it to spread the oil over the grates. Fish is easier to turn and keep intact if it doesn’t stick.
  2. Brine the fish before it hits the grill. Brining the salmon enhances its natural flavor, helps keep it moist, and diminishes the white albumin film that forms as it cooks (remember, the first bite is with our eyes). I like to use a simple salt brine as indicated in the recipe because I’m finishing the salmon with compound butter or a sauce, but herbs and other seasonings can be added too. Just be careful with adding acids like lemon juice so it doesn’t “cook” the fish before it gets to the grill.
  3. Protect the fish with a barrier between it and the fire with wood planks, sliced citrus, or skin-on cuts. Leaving the skin on fillets protects it from direct heat, as does cooking it directly on wood planks or sliced citrus. If you have skinless fillets, placing cedar planks or sliced lemons on the grill grates to form a bed for the fish provides protection and adds flavor as it cooks. Don’t worry, you can still slide the almost-done fish directly onto the grill grates the last minute or so of cooking to get those pretty grill marks. The plank or the grilled lemon slices can be used for an enhanced presentation as well.
  4. Watch it closely (don’t leave the grill). I know sticking close to the grill might seem obvious to point out, but it is so easy to get distracted or try to do too much at once. One of the advantages of fish is how fast dinner can be done on a busy night. But it’s also a drawback if you’re not paying close attention as it goes from perfectly tender and moist to dry and overcooked in less than a minute. It’s best to get side dishes or sauces ready before it meets the heat.
  5. Use a timer and an instant read thermometer for accurate doneness. A rule of thumb is 10 minutes of cooking time for every inch of thickness, but that is a loose guideline since thickness and density vary widely. The best way to make sure it’s done is to test the thickest part of the fish with an instant read thermometer. You can pierce the flesh with a sharp knife to peek inside to check for flakiness and to make sure it’s barely translucent, but I find the thermometer to be faster and more reliable. Here’s the one I use:

What else you’ll need for easy grilling:

Fancy fish baskets might make it slightly easier to turn the fish, but they don’t prevent sticking and are a mess to clean. A wide spatula with a thin, tapered edge like a fish turner is the only special equipment you will need to make grilling fish a breeze. For more delicate fish, it is handy to have two of these spatulas or you can use nitrile gloves like I do. I use the spatula to lift the fish off the grill grate, while using my gloved, left hand to gently turn the fish over. The gloves help protect my hands from the heat of the grill (or chile peppers), giving me better hands-on control. I use them almost every day for various tasks in the kitchen.

Looking for a little more smoky flavor? This summer, I discovered Mo’s Smoking Pouch Kit with Natural Wood Chips and it’s been worth every penny. I’m not big on cooking or grilling gadgets, but this has proved to be the real deal.Mo's Smoking Pouch Kit with Natural Wood Chips

It’s a stainless steel pouch you can throw on any charcoal or gas grill for added smoke without risking flare-ups like you can get with bare wood chips. The pouch is small, producing smoke for 15-20 minutes, so it’s ideal for quick-cooking foods like steak, chops, fish, burgers, and vegetables. This is the actual kit I ordered and have loved using it:

Now you’re ready to make this Grilled Salmon with Tomato-Basil Butter Sauce Recipe!Grilled Wild Salmon served with Tomato-Basil Butter Sauce, made from compound butter and white wine.

Grilled Salmon with Tomato-Basil Butter Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Grilled, Main Dish, Fish
Serves / Yields: 4
For the Grilled Tomato-Basil Compound Butter Sauce:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- plus 1 tablespoon for grilling
  • 6 ounces grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Pinch Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
For the Salmon:
  • 4 salmon fillets or steaks
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- plus 1 teaspoon for grilling
For the Compound Butter Sauce:
  1. Heat the grill to 400°F. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil to coat and place on skewers, or use a vegetable grill pan. If using a grill pan, place on the grill while preheating so it is hot when the tomatoes go on it. Grill the tomatoes until blistered and charred in places, about 8 minutes. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and coarsely chop (careful, they can squirt a little). Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Combine with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, basil, and softened butter until well mixed. Spoon compound butter onto a piece of wax paper in a long, narrow shape, about 2 inches wide by 9 inches long. Carefully fold the wax paper over the butter to create a somewhat rounded cylinder shape--this will make it easy to cut slices off of when ready. Gently place the butter on a flat surface in the freezer. The butter can also be made well in advance and kept in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. Once the butter is firm, it can be sliced and used to top the salmon, or added to a skillet with wine or chicken broth to create a sauce.
  2. To make the sauce, place approximately 4 tablespoons of the compound butter in a small, non-reactive skillet over medium heat. Once the butter starts to bubble, whisk in the wine to create a simple sauce. Taste, and add more wine or compound butter, as desired. Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the salmon.
For the Salmon:
  1. Heat the grill to 400°F. While the grill is heating, mix 4 cups of water with 4 tablespoons sea salt and stir to dissolve salt. Place salmon in the brine in a container just big enough to allow the brine to cover the salmon in a single layer (don't stack the salmon)--brine for 10 minutes. (If not using the brine, salmon with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil.)
  2. When the grill is ready, remove the salmon from the brine and dry with paper towels. Brush with olive oil on both sides. Place the salmon on the grill over med-high heat, skin-side up. Cook for 4 minutes and gently turn over to finish cooking skin-side down, about 6 more minutes. At 4 minutes, check the temperature and remove from the grill when the thickest part of the salmon is between 120-125 degrees. Tent the salmon with foil and return the sauce to the stove to reheat. Spoon sauce over the salmon to serve.

A simple grilled salmon recipe with 5 of the best tips for grilling moist and delicious fish.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Fresh Basil Pesto Sauce Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:50:12 +0000 Unsurpassed in Italy, but if you’re not traveling there soon, this Pesto is the next best thing.

Cinque Terre

There is no better place to enjoy the deeply traditional and distinct flavors of pesto, than sitting at a seaside restaurant in the Liguria region of Italy. Years ago, we traveled to Italy to celebrate our 20th anniversary, which included a tour of Cinque Terre. Named for the “five lands” or five towns lining the shore of the Italian Riviera, this part of the Liguria region is famous for its beauty and its pesto. Anytime you get the pleasure of enjoying food where it originated, it enhances the experience and provides an understanding for the regional connection to the food.

A neighboring table at the seaside cafe.

The Italian coastline was a beautiful highlight of our trip—the remarkable flavor of the pesto and sea bass we had for lunch that day still anchors the memory. Like all good memories, we attempt to replicate and relive the finer points. Upon our return from Italy, I gathered fresh pesto ingredients to do just that. The authentic pesto recipes I found were hard to duplicate since I do not routinely measure in handfuls (my grandma measured in handfuls, but most folks appreciate more precise directions). I suppose, that is the beauty of a recipe that has been perfected or made a thousand times over—the measurements become instinctive.

The Terraced Vineyards of Cinque Terre

With a fresh bundle of basil in hand, I aspired to translate measurement and technique into a pesto recipe that could transport me once again to the salty sea air and piquant sauce as green as the terraced landscape. This particular recipe comes very close, though I understand it could be even closer if I were willing to forgo using the processor for the traditional mortar and pestle.  Pesto derives its name from this traditional method as the word pesto means, to pound, or to crush. I appreciate authenticity as much as anyone does, but by using the processor, pesto can be prepared in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a quicker trip down memory lane!

Basil from the Farmers Market


The basil pictured is the approximate amount required for this pesto recipe, which yields 2 cups and serves eight if tossed with pasta. Check local farmers markets for the larger quantities and best price. Pesto is a versatile sauce that can be tossed with pasta as a side dish, or used as a garnish on quiche, pizza, grilled chicken, or fish.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of cream to this recipe for a creamy pesto to serve with steamed or grilled vegetables.

This is a traditional basil pesto sauce; however, there are numerous variations by substituting other ingredients, including: walnuts, fresh parsley, cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, or other hard cheeses. Fresh ingredients produce the best results, so look for lavish bunches of basil for a superb sauce.

Basil Pesto is an easy summer sauce delicious on pasta, vegetables, or pizza.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Fresh Basil Pesto Sauce
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Sauces
Serves / Yields: Serves 6
  1. Toast pine nuts in a skillet, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. Transfer to a platter to cool. In a food processor, puree basil leaves and garlic together. Add cheeses, pine nuts, salt and pepper, blend until well incorporated and a smooth paste is produced. With the processor still running, add oil in a steady, thin stream until all the oil is added. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste.
Notes & Suggestions
Store any remaining sauce in a small jar and top with a small amount of olive oil to cover and keep basil from turning dark. Enjoy within one week, or freeze in ice cube trays to add to other sauces, as needed. (Ice cube tray slots are about a tablespoon in each slot making it easy to use small amounts, as needed. Once frozen, remove from the ice cube tray and store in a freezer bag until ready to use.)

Basil Pesto over Sprialized Zucchini Noodles is a fresh, light, summery dish.
5.0 from 2 reviews
Spiralized Zucchini Noodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegetable, Side Dish
Serves / Yields: 4
  • 6 medium zucchini -- about 1½ zucchini per person
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Spiral slice the zucchini according to manufacturer's instructions of the spiralizer you're using. Place two layers of paper towels on a platter or plate and lay the zucchini noodles out on the paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes or so until zucchini releases moisture, which the paper towel should absorb.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil until hot. Dry the top of the zucchini with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible and then transfer to the hot skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and dry, about 5 minutes. Pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday

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Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo with Pistachios & Balsamic Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:18:11 +0000

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Grilled dessert to bring some chill to summer

Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo is creamier than ice cream and no machine is needed.

Grilled strawberries. Really.

Like strawberries and cream? Then you’ll think this Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo is a gift straight from heaven.

Necessity has always been the mother of invention. A few weeks ago, I was in need of a WOW dessert for my grilling class and was leaning hard toward something cold. After all, it would be outside, midday, by a hot grill, with temps close to breaking records.

Ice cream? Hmm. Cold. Grill-able. Wow-able. At least that’s where I started and it was amazingly good with grilled strawberries, but not ideal for recreating the recipes at home if they had no ice cream maker.

Enter the semifreddo. Gloriously creamy, splendidly easy, semifreddo. This special Italian dessert meaning, “half cold” or “half frozen,” is similar to ice cream—creamy, luxurious, and no special equipment required.

And because it makes my heart happy when we enjoy good food together, I’ll let you in my secret ingredient …

Natural Aged Strawberry Balsamic Condimento from Venice Olive Oil Company. However, if you cannot find Strawberry Balsamic, not to worry, you can use traditional 18 year aged balsamic instead. Either balsamic will intensify the strawberry flavor and elevate your Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo to a WOW dessert, though I do think the strawberry makes it extra special. (There was no offer of free products or other compensation to mention this brand, I simply love their product and use it.) 

Everyone loved it at the grilling class, and I think you will too. Happy summer grilling and chilling!

Creamy frozen dessert recipe with grilled strawberries for refreshing summer evenings.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Grilled Strawberry Semifreddo with Pistachios & Balsamic
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert, Fruit
Serves / Yields: 8-10
  • ½ pound fresh strawberries -- large strawberries, halved; small left whole (1½ cups); stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ½ cup honey (divided) -- plus 2 teaspoon for grilling
  • 3 large egg yolks plus 1 large egg
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream -- chilled
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry balsamic -- or traditional 18 year
  • For the Sauce & Serving:
  • 1½ pounds fresh strawberries -- large strawberries, halved; small left whole (4 cups); stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey -- plus 2 teaspoon for grilling
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
  • ½ cup roasted, salted pistachios -- crushed into coarse pieces
  • Strawberry or Traditional 18 year Balsamic -- for serving
  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so the wrap hangs out of the pan by 6 or 8 inches (this will fold over the top). Chill the large mixing bowl and beaters you will use to whip the cream.
  2. Heat a grill on high until it reaches 300°F. While the grill is heating, mix 2 teaspoon of oil with 1-2 teaspoons of honey (it will be thick) and brush it on the ½ pound of strawberries. Grill the berries on high for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the berries soften and grill marks are present. Transfer to a bowl with ¼ cup of the honey and smash berries so the pieces are no larger than a dime. Set aside.
  3. Choose a medium stainless-steel or glass bowl (stainless-steal is best) that can rest just inside a medium saucepan. Pour enough water in the saucepan to measure about an inch from the bottom and bring to a gentle simmer. In a bowl large enough to hold the medium bowl, fill halfway with ice and water; set aside (this will help cool the mixture quickly).
  4. In the medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, and the remaining ¼ cup honey until well combined and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved strawberry mixture and pinch of salt; whisk again to combine. Set the bowl over the saucepan (it shouldn't touch the water) and gently whisk until the mixture is thick 4-6 minutes. Stir in balsamic and set the bowl in the ice water (the rim should be above the water so none splashes in) and stir occasionally until cool, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the cream in the chilled mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed (or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment), to medium peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until just combined and some streaks remain, then pour into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the top and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  6. Just before serving, crush hulled pistachios in a mortar & pestle or on a cutting board with a heavy skillet into coarse pieces. Set aside. (This can be done in advance.)
  7. For the Sauce and Serving:
  8. When ready to serve, heat a grill on high until it reaches at least 300°F. While the grill is heating, mix 2 teaspoon of oil with 2 teaspoons of honey (it will be thick) and brush it on the 1-1/2 pound of strawberries. Grill the berries on high for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the berries soften and grill marks are present. Transfer to a shallow bowl and using a sharp knife, slice through the larger berries to create bite-size pieces.
  9. Toss the grilled strawberries with the 2-3 tablespoons honey and Grand Marnier (if using) to taste. Let sit until the berries release some of their juices, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the semifreddo from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Unfold the plastic wrap over the top and invert onto a cutting board; remove the rest of the plastic, and slice.
  10. Top each slice with strawberries and sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.
Notes & Suggestions
The strawberries will grill directly on the grates so long as they are big enough, so leave small berries whole and only halve larger berries so they don't slip through. Semifreddo requires 6 hours or more in the freezer before serving.


Creamy, frozen, perfect for summer chilling.Easy, no machine required frozen dessert recipe perfect for summer celebrations.

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Cooking & Grilling Classes in Colorado Springs Fri, 10 Jun 2016 16:25:16 +0000

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Are you prepared to do your best grilling this summer?

Grilling Lamb

As much as I love sharing recipes with you on Savoring Today, there is nothing like seeing someone’s response to a recipe, first hand. Or the look of inspiration when they realize, “I can do this!” So I’m launching new cooking and grilling classes in Colorado Springs this summer to share some of my best recipes and cooking techniques. I’ve added a new Events tab in the navigation bar to show a current list of available classes.

The Fired~Up Grilling Class demonstration is first up, just before Father’s Day, highlighting the Grilled Steak with Herb Butter recipe from the Adventure chapter of my cookbook. I’m partnering with Ranch Foods Direct, a business with a passion for small farms and sourcing food locally. We have been enjoying their Callicrate beef and pork (raised without antibiotics or growth hormones) for years, so it’s easy to showcase and recommend their products through these classes. You can read more about their ranch and Peak to Plains distribution center at

Below is the press release and this weekend (June 11) I’ll be a guest on KVOR Table Talk with Teresa Farney from The Gazette to promote the upcoming class. We already have 8 of the 12 spaces filled!

UPDATE: Here’s the link for the radio interview: Judy Purcell KVOR Talbe Talk Interview Podcast  Warning: there is a LOUD commercial at the beginning, so turn your volume down before clicking the link as it will play right away.

Oh, and if you are interested in joining my Cooking Class email list: Cooking with Judy, you’ll be the first to know when new classes are available. Eventually, we’ll develop a video series, but for now, in-home and business hosted demonstrations will be the focus.

I’m pretty stoked about this new venture, seeing people face to face … and breaking bread together. For Colorado Springs locals, I hope you’ll join me!

Here’s some of our past grilling favorites:
Grilled Beets with Asparagus and Fried Goat Cheese
Grilled Vegetable Medley
Hoisin-Sesame Asparagus
Blue Cheese Burgers and Grilled Corn on the Cob
Skirt Steak Tacos
Easy Korean BBQ Skirt Steak
Grilled Thai Chili Sesame Shrimp
Roasted Green Chile Burgers


For Immediate Release June 9, 2016

Media Relations Specialist contact: Donna Lorrig 719-337-4343

Fired-Up Grilling Class with Local Author Judy Purcell at Ranch Foods Direct

Ranch Foods Logo

Just in time for Father’s Day, popular local food blogger, Judy Purcell, is teaching a grilling class at Ranch Foods Direct on Saturday, June 18, 2016, 11am-12:30pm. Cost is $35 per participant.

“This will be perfect for anyone wanting to hone their current grilling skills or begin grilling for the first time with confidence,” says Purcell. “Because nothing adds to the joy of cooking in Colorado quite like being able to experience the outdoors while successfully getting the job done.”


She goes on to say, “Grilling is a unique and sometimes unpredictable cooking method because you’re cooking with open flame. Learning to harness the nuances of charcoal or gas grills is key to having a better grilling experience and better tasting food.” Purcell will be covering those aspects of grilling in her class with the desire for imparting confidence to participants about serving delicious meals from their grill.

Inspiration for this class originated from the frustration of friends and readers over the years. “The most common grilling concern I hear about is the uncertainty of how to tell if something is done. After all the effort is put into buying quality meat and proper marinating, sometimes they are still disappointed with dry or under-cooked food,” she says. “Or the friend who confesses they don’t really want to grill, but their spouse burns everything.” With a chuckle, Purcell suggests giving the class as a gift could help them both.

Sharing her heart and the practical knowledge of serving healthy, delicious meals gained through her more than 25 years of practical experience is Purcell’s motivation. She is an author and recipe developer at Savoring Today, a food blog dedicated to making dinnertime relational as well as nourishing. Her first cookbook Serve and Savor was released this past December and signed copies will be available for purchase at the cooking class for an additional cost of $22 (special class price).

“People I know personally avoid whole food cooking because it seems intimidating,” says Purcell. “And they are afraid their results won’t be worth the effort. But I’m here to encourage them to avoid processed food and find joy in cooking through better nutrition with whole foods.”

Class size is limited. Registration for the Grilling Class is available online at: Serve and Savor cookbook is also available online via or at: 

Online resources for Savoring Today include:

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Who:            Local Author and Food Blogger, Judy Purcell

What:           Fired Up Grilling ClassExperience the simplicity and joy of grilling with Judy Purcell. Get fired-up over Ranch Foods Direct premium rib eye steak and Colorado Red Bird chicken, grilled with homemade Smoked Chile Steak Rub and Buttermilk-Herb Marinade (with plenty of generous samples). Topics include: Choosing the right cut of meat, tips for juicy chicken, marinades and rubs, peak season vegetables and finishing secrets to make you look like a pro.  Are you prepared to do your best grilling this summer? It’s time to get your grill on!

Where:         Ranch Foods Direct, 1228 East Fillmore; C/S, CO 80907

When:          Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm

Grilled bone-in rib eye steak from Serve and Savor Cookbook recipe Grilled Chicken for Fired-Up Grilling Class Menu

Chipotle Buttermilk Chicken grilled and topped with Tomato-Radish Salsa

Chipotle Buttermilk Chicken grilled and topped with Tomato-Radish Salsa

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Pad Thai with Shrimp ~ Quick & Easy Weeknight Recipe Fri, 13 May 2016 17:45:47 +0000

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Pad Thai with Shrimp is an easy weeknight dinner in about 30 minutes.

This Pad Thai with Shrimp recipe has been UPDATED to include Bonita flakes. Dried Bonito flakes, known as katsuo-bushi or katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine, are thin flakes of dried, smoked bonito fish. Like dried shrimp or shrimp paste (often used in Pad Thai), Bonito flakes add a savory flavor to any dish. Bonito is sliced so thinly it melts into soups, sauces, or stews for a umami flavor boost. It makes a difference in this recipe, adding that extra something you can’t quite describe but is pleasant and beyond tasty.

Bonito flakes is available at Whole Foods, which was logistically easier than going to an Asian market for harder to find dried shrimp or paste. I was so pleased with how it improved this Pad Thai I’m inspired to add it to even more recipes!

Who loves Pad Thai?

We do!

Every sauce-soaked noodle, crunchy peanut, fresh cilantro and lime part of it!


Yes, but not scorched-earth spicy (a.k.a. Thai hot), I prefer just-gets-your-attention spicy, somewhere around medium, please. I’m not looking for a bead of sweat to form on my brow, so there’s Sriracha on the table to adjust the spice to your liking.

Good, glad we got that cleared up.

Years ago when we lived in California my husband developed a love for Pad Thai while working in L.A. His affinity and discriminating taste for what he remembers from his time there has made it difficult to find a comparable favorite here in Colorado. We did find one restaurant that comes pretty close, but driving across town isn’t convenient. What do you do when you want great Pad Thai? You make it at home!

If you’ve never tried making Pad Thai at home it might seem intimidating, but the ingredients are easier to find than you might imagine. Stores like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and even King Soopers carry items like tamarind paste, Bonito flakes, and fish sauce, though King Soopers stopped carrying bean sprouts. Don’t worry about buying something you’ll only use for one recipe, once you have these items on-hand you’ll be prepared to try even more Thai recipes. And you’ll definitely want to make this again …

Pad Thai with Shrimp is a quick and easy weeknight meal—once all the ingredients are prepped it is on the table in just minutes.

When I posted a Pad Thai with Beef recipe a couple of years ago, a reader reminded me that shrimp or pork are more commonly used  for Pad Thai—at the time I was simply trying to be a little different. Whether you choose beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, or some combination, cook the meat separately and toss-in at the end to avoid overcooking. For this recipe I recommend buying larger shrimp and cutting them in half lengthwise rather than buying a smaller variety. In my experience, larger shrimp have a better taste and texture; cutting them in half allows for more bites of shrimp throughout.

Shrimp, chopped peanuts, and fresh cilantro twirled into a bed of rice noodles with a savory sauce is just the kind of dish to infuse a little adventure into your weeknight menu. The finishing squeeze of fresh lime is like the exclamation point declaring, “Of course you can make this at home!”

Inspired by Emeril’s Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Shrimp Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: main dish, seafood, noodles, gluten-free
Cuisine: Thai
Serves / Yields: 4
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • ¼ cup fish sauce, like Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1¼ pound shrimp 16-20 count; peeled and deveined, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups green onions (2-3 bunches), white and green parts separate, chopped
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts (about 2 cups), rinsed and dry
  • 1½ tablespoons Bonito flakes, chopped
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
  1. In a large bowl, combine the noodles with enough warm water to cover. Soak until just tender, about 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice, tamarind paste, crushed red pepper, and sugar; stir until the tamarind paste and sugar dissolves and is well blended. Set aside.
  3. In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds or fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp becomes pink in color and mostly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
  4. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, about a minute. Add the white part of the onions and cook for 2 minutes to soften (add more oil if needed). Add the sprouts, Bonito flakes, green part of the onions, fish sauce mixture, and most of the noodles; cook over medium heat until mixed well and warmed through, stirring frequently. Note: I add most of the noodles at first, then add more based on how well the sauce is covering everything in the skillet. Sometimes the noodles soak up more sauce depending on the brand and type.
  5. Add the reserved shrimp and peanuts, and cook for 30 seconds to incorporate into the noodles. Finally, toss with the cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side.
Notes & Suggestions
Dried Bonito flakes, known as katsuo-bushi or katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine, are thin flakes of dried, smoked bonito fish. Like dried shrimp or shrimp paste (often used in Pad Thai), bonito flakes add a savory flavor to any dish. I buy Bonito flakes at our local Whole Foods, which is easier than going to an Asian market for harder to find dried shrimp or paste. Bonito is sliced so thinly it melts into soups, sauces, or stews for a umami flavor boost.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4

Pad Thai with Shrimp is served with fresh lime -- restaurant quality at home.Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Hearth & Soul Hop
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
Tuesday’s Table
Tasty Tuesday

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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New York-Style Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping Tue, 03 May 2016 16:40:09 +0000

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Rich and dense cheesecake recipe with blueberry topping for very special occasions.

New York-Style Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping has become the standard for my husband’s birthday cake. He’s married to a food blogger and knows he could pick any dessert, from anywhere, and I’d make it for him. But he also knows if he picks something else, there won’t be cheesecake … and he loves cheesecake. New York-style, to be precise.

I discovered this recipe back in 2011 during a Test Kitchen Tuesday series comparing three different cheesecake recipes. This version adapted from Cooks Illustrated has been refined enough over the years to be worthy of it’s own post, making it easier to print and charge ahead, instead of having to piece together my notes from the Test Kitchen post. (The photos needed a serious update too!)

Plain, baked cheesecake styles differ in texture, nuanced by ratios of eggs, cream cheese, sour cream and such. While some recipes will emphasize a creamy appeal, this style of recipe is for those longing for dense, soul satisfying, unbutton-your-jeans kind of cheesecake.

It’s a full 7 pounds of eye-rolling yum.

A few notes about this New York-Style Cheesecake recipe:

  • Great cheesecake does not need any topping, however, when topping is a birthday request, you make it. Fresh fruit is also nice.
  • In my book, a measly tablespoon of lemon juice is not enough to balance the richness of the filling. There must be zest.
  • Graham cracker crust is better with coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar … and real butter.
  • If you don’t really know your oven, get an oven thermometer to be sure the temp is right.
  • Temperature matter inside the cheesecake too. An instant-read thermometer is the best way to gauge when it’s ready to pull from the oven. You’ll spend time and treasure making cheesecake, you don’t want to guess when it’s done … or over bake. (Trust me, I know.)
  • A fabulous cheesecake is worth the small investment in a springform pan. You don’t want to have to dig your treasure out of a lesser vessel.
  • Let it set out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving for optimum flavor.
  • When the celebrating is done, freeze the remaining cheesecake in slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Once frozen, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer. To thaw, unwrap while frozen and defrost in a container in the refrigerator.

About refined ingredients, like white sugar: Most of the recipes you’ll find on Savoring Today encourage unrefined, whole food ingredients. We make an exception for birthdays and holidays. 🙂

A slice of New York-Style Cheesecake. This recipe is deliciously dense and rich with a hint of lemon to balance the sweet blueberry topping.

New York-Style Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert, Cheesecake
Serves / Yields: 12
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs -- 11-12 (2¼ x 4¾-inch) crackers, processed until uniformly fine
  • 2½ tablespoons brown sugar -- packed
  • 6 tablespoons butter -- melted, plus extra for greasing pan
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 2½ pounds cream cheese -- softened at room temperature (45 min-1 hour)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 medium lemons -- zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 large eggs
Blueberry Topping:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups blueberries -- fresh
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice -- freshly squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Special equipment: 10½-inch springform pan
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350° degrees.
For the crust:
  1. Process graham cracker crumbs until fine, add brown sugar and process to incorporate well. In medium bowl; add processed crumbs with 6 tablespoons melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened. Brush bottom of 10½-inch springform pan with additional melted butter. Pour crumbs into springform pan and press evenly into pan bottom. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, 6-8 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
  2. While preparing the filling, increase oven temperature to 500°F degrees and bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a kettle or pan on the stove. Once boiling, pour the water into a 9x13 pan and carefully place the pan on the lowest rack of the oven, just under the rack for the cheesecake. (This is optional, however it will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking while baking. It will not affect the quality of the cheesecake, only the appearance.)
For the cheesecake filling:
  1. In a mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and sides of bowl well after each add-in to be sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Mix-in salt and sugar; beat at medium-low speed until combined. Add sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, all the zest, and vanilla; beat at low speed until well mixed. Add egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until combined, then add remaining whole eggs two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined and smooth, scraping bowl and beaters between additions.
  2. Just above the crust edges, brush sides of springform pan with melted butter. Set springform pan on rimmed baking sheet to catch any pan leaks. Pour filling into pan and bake 10 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of cheesecake registers 150 degrees, about 11/2 hours (check at 1 hour, 15 minutes).
  3. Remove from the oven and run a paring knife around inside of pan to make sure the cake releases from the sides (this will help prevent it from cracking as it cools). Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, 2½ to 3 hours. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.
For the topping:
  1. Reserve ½ cup of blueberries for garnish. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat stir together the sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in blueberries and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the berries break down, 5-8 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool before serving with the cheesecake. Yields 3 cups. (Taste can be adjusted by adding more lemon if too sweet.)
  2. To unmold cheesecake, run paring knife around inside of pan and remove sides of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving plate. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.
  3. When cutting the cake into wedges, wipe the knife clean after each cut to make neat slices. To serve, dress each piece with Blueberry Topping and fresh blueberries.
Notes & Suggestions
To make this dessert gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers for the crust.
Make-ahead: Cheesecake can be made several days in advance and leftovers can be frozen with good results.

This luxurious cheesecake recipe has a rich, dense texture ~ perfect for special occasions. It’s a full 7 pounds of eye-rolling yum. Leftovers freeze well too!

More cheesecake recipes:

Cheesecake Strawberries with Chocolate Accents
No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
Three Blueberry Cheesecakes — Test Kitchen Tuesday


This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:30:22 +0000

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Southwest Cauliflower Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas Recipe

Our local Whole Foods invited me to do a live cooking demo of my Skillet Steak Fajitas affording me the opportunity to promote my cookbook, Serve and Savor, at a group event on the topic of casual entertaining. It was a fun, intimate gathering to debut this Southwest Cauliflower Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas recipe.

Rarely can I leave well enough alone and this recipe is a prime example. Mainly because basic Mexican or Spanish rice has never held my interest after a bite or two. Especially when there’s guacamole on the table, which is a must, or authentic refried beans, the rice becomes filler. An afterthought.

Those days are over.

I mishmash-ed a handful of recipes, tossed in lime zest and toasted pepitas, and I had a rice side dish that could hold its own … with more vegetables and a lot less carbs. Ancho chile, cumin, coriander, and oregano is accented with lime and fresh cilantro to bring this dish to life. We enjoyed the warming spices and toasty pepitas with Missouri-Style BBQ Ribs, Skillet Beef Fajitas, and Roasted Chicken (recipe in cookbook)—it’s a tasty complement to roasted or grilled meats.

Let’s talk about cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower has become the darling of vegetables for its subtle taste and versatility as a substitute for starches and grains. I’ve even used it to replace most of the cream in Alfredo with great results. Swapping starches for vegetables in rice dishes like this is an easy way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet … and get kids to eat more too. Use a food processor or a large-hole cheese grater to “rice” the cauliflower, keeping in mind it will shrink by about 25% once cooked, so you don’t want tiny pieces. The pieces won’t be perfectly consistent as some will be slightly smaller or larger, but that’s okay and isn’t noticeable in the finished dish. In my opinion, grated cauliflower resembles the texture of rice so long as it is cooked quickly and remains slightly underdone.

So why add brown rice at all?

Cauliflower rice is best when served fresh—it suffers when reheated, becoming soft or mushy—and it’s hard to gauge if we’ll eat it all in one sitting. Since I routinely plan to have leftovers for lunches or freeze for later, I find adding a small amount of cooked rice helps maintain a consistent, satisfying texture. We use a similar ratio to the one in this recipe when preparing rice for Chicken Broccoli Casserole, Red Beans & Rice, or Chicken Curry. Even after being frozen in the casserole, the cauliflower-rice combo tastes great. Of course, you can substitute the brown rice with quinoa, farro (not gluten-free), buckwheat, or any favorite cooked whole grain.

A healthy side dish easily turns into a quick main dish.

Proofing this recipe for the Whole Foods event, I ended up with a ton of leftovers for just the two of us. I quickly discovered how easy it was to lay a few slices of grilled chicken or steak over a bowl of this Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, turning it into a complete, satisfying main dish. One bowl, fast and delicious. It could just as easily become soup by adding broth—so many healthy possibilities from one recipe.

Cauliflower subs for the majority of rice in this low-carb, healthy pilaf recipe with flavors of the Southwest.

Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves / Yields: 8
  • 15 ounces diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup long-grain brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, cooked with salt and drained
  • 4 cups grated cauliflower (1 small head)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1½ cups corn
  • ⅓ cup raw pepitas, toasted
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Strain the juices from the tomatoes into a 1-cup measuring cup, pressing on the tomatoes to release as much as possible without smashing the tomatoes (this will produce about ⅓ cup). Add the juice of the lime and then fill the remaining amount with water to make 1 cup of liquid to cook the rice. Add this to the rice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes (or according to rice package directions). Meanwhile, simmer beans in their liquid with ½ teaspoon salt for 5 minutes, then drain beans.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion until softened and beginning to lightly brown at the edges. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and oregano; stir until fragrant. Add the stock, tomato paste, tomatoes, and ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring to loosen any bits and spices from the pan. Simmer 2 minutes to allow liquid to evaporate. When the rice is done, stir the tomato mixture into the rice, cover, and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and season with ancho chile powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost soft, about 3 minutes. It's okay if it browns in spots, but important that it doesn't overcook in order to retain a firmer texture. Add corn and beans to the skillet with the cauliflower to warm through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with lime zest, rice mixture, and cilantro.
  4. Toast the pepitas over med-high heat in a dry skillet until browned and popping, about 2 minutes (this can be done in advance). Stir into rice just before serving.
Notes & Suggestions
Roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) can be substituted for the raw pepitas, just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by ¼ teaspoon and skip the step of toasting in the skillet.

A delicious and healthy low-carb, gluten-free cauliflower rice pilaf recipe. Serve as a side dish or add grilled chicken or steak for a simple and satisfying meal.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Savor:

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup
Basil, Tomato & Goat Cheese Pizza
Broccoli-Cauliflower Gratin
Roasted Vegetable Medley with Rosemary & Thyme

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Easy, Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream Thu, 07 Apr 2016 22:20:21 +0000

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A simple gluten-free dessert with fresh mixed berries the whole family will love.
This easy Fresh Berry Crumble recipe has been on my mind for a while now. It all started last year when creating the Caramel Apple Crumble for my cookbook and then again last week while trying my hand at chocolate souffle. I’ve forever been a fan of fruit crumbles and crisps. It was the first dessert I made by myself when I was eight or nine, which demonstrates how easy they really are to make. In fact, it is a wonderful way to introduce kids to cooking.

Somewhere in the midst of my souffle adventure came inspiration for the Orange Cream, or creme anglaise (English cream), to accent this mixed berry crumble. The cream was so good with the souffle, we poured it over our waffles the next morning instead of syrup. And in our oatmeal a couple days later. Obviously, I was so smitten I had to share it with you.

Fresh summer berries need little coaxing to be dessert worthy, so we keep the sweetener to a minimum, and the crumb topping gluten-free. Here we use a mix of fresh blueberries and strawberries, but any combination of fruit or berries would be delicious. I haven’t tried the recipe with frozen fruit, but my recommendation would be to add a little more cornstarch to help thicken any extra juices.

The only thing we love more than the aroma of an Easy Fresh Berry Crumble in the oven is a bowl of it sitting in front of us with Orange Cream. The creamy citrus nuance is an exquisite finish, taking this simple dessert over the top.

Easy Fresh Berry Crumble Recipe with Orange Cream is a fabulous way to enjoy summer berries.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert, Fruit
Serves / Yields: 6
For the Orange Cream:
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest -- 1 small orange
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1½ teaspoons Grand Marnier
For the berry filling:
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch -- or sweet rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ heaping teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter -- divided
For the Crumb Topping:
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ heaping cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup butter -- softened, not melted
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
For the Orange Cream:
  1. Zest the orange directly into the half and half in a saucepan and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until bubbles begin to break the surface, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and honey until combined. Whisk in ½ cup of the heated mixture to warm the egg yolks, then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining orange sauce in the pan. Return to medium-low heat and continue to stir until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl set inside a larger bowl with ice to help chill the sauce quickly. Stir occasionally until cooled, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in Grand Marnier. Note: The orange cream can be made up to a week in advance.
For the berry filling:
  1. Prepare 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange the berries in an even layer in the dish and sprinkle evenly with cornstarch, palm sugar, cardamom, and vanilla extract. (It doesn't matter if the berries are layered or mixed with the dry ingredients in a bowl--layering just saves washing an extra dish). Dot with remaining butter.
For the Crumb Topping:
  1. Mix the almond flour, oats, palm sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl until well combined. Press the softened butter into the dry ingredients, mixing with your finger tips until combined and crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle topping over the layered ingredients and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Serve with Orange Cream.
Notes & Suggestions
Cointreau or Tuaca can be substituted for Grand Marnier.
Leftover Orange Cream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen. Serve as a substitute for syrup on waffles or pancakes.

Guests will be wowed by this easy fresh berry crumble recipe served with orange cream.Easy Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream recipe bring the best out of summer berries. You choose the mix of berries, just don't skip the orange cream that gives it that Wow!
More Fresh Fruit desserts …

Cream Cheese Fruit Tart with Almond Crust
Grilled Peach & Vanilla Bean Crisp
Cheesecake Strawberries with Chocolate Accents
Fresh Cherry Turnovers

Follow Judy Purcell ☼ Savoring Today’s board Fruit Tarts on Pinterest.

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Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:05:13 +0000

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Bean soup recipe with smoked turkey, including stove top, slow cooker, and pressure cooker methods.

Updated with Pressure Cooker Instructions! See recipe notes for more details.

Smoky bean soup and sweet cornbread go together like movies and popcorn—I cannot imagine one without the other. A big pot of bean soup with smoked turkey or ham is one of my favorite post-holiday meals because if its simplicity and delicious use of leftovers. This recipe uses smoked turkey, but a leftover ham bone or ham hocks can be substituted.

If you don’t have a smoker to make your own smoked turkey at home, Diestel Smoked Turkey Drums & Thighs make it easy to get the sweet, smoky flavor bean soup demands. We prefer Diestel brand because of their sustainable farming methods and natural, hardwood smoking process. The flavor is pleasantly smoky and lightly seasoned, giving me more control over the amount of salt. Each thigh or drumstick is individually wrapped so it’s easy to customize the amount or combination you want. In this case, two smoked turkey thighs provide plenty of meat for 5 quarts of hearty soup.

Still want to smoke your own turkey? Take a look at Charbroil’s instructions for electric smokers or Traeger’s instructions on their wood smoker.

Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals—one meal that can help you keep those New Year’s resolutions to take better care of yourself. Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini, pinto, black-eyed peas, or the 15 bean concoction sold in stores are all good choices for this recipe, so feel free to use whatever type you like best. Our favorite is Cannellini, which are like a white kidney bean with a soft, creamy texture.

I’ve prepared this soup in a slow cooker or in my stockpot for years, but lately I’ve been using my pressure cooker to make soups faster (see notes in recipe). The beans cook beautifully in the pressure cooker, however, the meat doesn’t quite get to the fall-off-the-bone stage in such a short time, but the flavor is the same. You can use canned beans if you’re in a pinch for time, but we prefer the taste and texture of dried beans along with a cup of lentils to naturally thicken the soup as they break down (no need to soak these). Note: Yellow or red lentils are best so the color brightens the soup; brown or green lentils can make the soup look dingy.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the whole grain cornbread. I start with one piece in my bowl to soak up the broth and crown another one with butter and honey (this also stands in for dessert).

Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe with whole grain corn bread is real comfort food. Make bean soup with smoke turkey instead of ham in the pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stove top.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup, Turkey, Beans
Serves / Yields: About 5 quarts
  • 2 cups dry beans (soaked)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion -- chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery -- chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots -- chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 4-5 quarts of Basic Chicken Stock, or chicken broth
  • 2 Diestel Smoked Turkey Thighs or Drumsticks
  • 1 cup lentils (unsoaked)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 cubes of homemade beef bouillon or ½ cup concentrated beef stock (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Sea salt and pepper -- to taste
  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 quarts water in a large pot. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Heat oil in large soup pot or pressure cooker over medium heat and cook onion, carrot, and celery caramelized. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. (If using a slow cooker, transfer softened vegetables to the cooker at this point and continue with remaining instructions.)
  3. Add soaked and rinsed beans, lentils, turkey thighs or drumsticks, and bay leaf to the pot; cover with broth or stock. Be sure to add enough liquid to cover with 2-3 inches above ingredients to allow beans to absorb liquid. Add water, as needed. *See Note for pressure cooker method.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove or 4-6 hours in a crockpot set on low. Add spices and bouillon the last hour or so, adjust until desired flavor is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.
  6. Serve with cornbread and honey-butter.
Notes & Suggestions
Pressure CookerMethod: Once the onion, celery, carrot and garlic are softened, add all the ingredients to the pot, including spices. Bring soup to pressure based on manufacturer's instructions. Reduce heat enough to keep at pressure for 15 minutes. Beans should be soft and ready for salt and pepper, to taste.
Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.

Optional additions or substitutions: turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, kale, red bell pepper, or hot green chilies

Easy Smoked Turkey Bean Soup served with hearty corn breadSmoked Turkey Bean Soup: simple to make on the stove or in a crockpot

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Mom Trends Friday Food
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Easy Natural Food Sunday Night Soup NightReal Food Wednesdays

More bean recipes to stir your appetite:

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe 
Red Beans & Rice
Beans, Bacon & Chipotle
Black Bean Confetti Salsa
Sausage & Split Pea Stew
Hearty Beef & Bean Chili

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Sprouted Whole Grain Cornbread Fri, 01 Apr 2016 18:55:27 +0000

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Sprouted whole grain flour cornbread. Pure corn flavor and healthy sprouted wheat flour.
This recipe was long overdue for an update. New photos and recipe ingredients include sprouted whole grain sources to easily prepare a more nutritious cornbread.

Many of my recipes I consider tried and true, but I am always open for ideas to improve technique, flavor, or nutritional value. Considering regional differences, add-ins, and baking preferences (some folks swear by cast iron), there are strong opinions about this traditional quick bread. Do you consider cornbread a must beside chili or bean soup? Is it the base for your holiday stuffing? Or do you slather it with butter and honey for dessert like I do? For us, Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup wouldn’t be complete without it. No matter the nuance of musts, I think you’ll appreciate this healthier whole grain version for your family.

Most cornbread recipes call for equal amounts of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Since we choose to eat sprouted whole grains whenever possible, white flour is not a consideration. And to compensate for the stronger flavor of whole wheat, I adjust the ratio to include more corn flour than wheat flour so there isn’t a pronounced wheat-y taste. By changing the corn-to-wheat flour ratio, this hearty, moist cornbread has a delicious sweetcorn flavor.

Sprouted wheat flour is interchangeable with regular whole wheat in this recipe if that’s what you have. If there is any distinguishable difference in the taste of sprouted wheat it would be a less bitter, more mild wheat flavor. Even thought the sprouted corn flour we use in this recipe may be a little harder to find in stores, I still recommend it. It is available on line or you can use (non-GMO) corn meal as a substitute. Due to shipping costs, it is always less expensive to buy flour at a local health food store so when I do purchase on line, I order larger quantities to save on the unit cost of shipping.

Whether you use sprouted flour, add-ins, cast iron—it’s up to you—just be sure you have butter and honey close-by. 

Read more about the benefits of sprouted grain on my Sprouted Wheat French Bread post and check out even more recipes using sprouted wheat flour below. You can even make your own sprouted grain flour at home.

Cornbread recipe with sprouted grain flours and wholesome ingredients.

Sprouted Whole Grain Cornbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Baking, Breads, Quick Breads
Serves / Yields: 9 pieces
  • 1¼ cups sprouted whole-grain corn flour, or cornmeal
  • ¾ cup sprouted whole wheat flour, or regular white whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 whole eggs -- beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter -- melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Mix flours with baking powder and salt until well combined. Add beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and honey to dry ingredients and mix until flour is moistened and incorporated.
  2. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and bread pulls away from the side of the dish. Allow to rest in the pan after baking for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.


Zucchini-Ginger Bread: Sprouted Wheat, More Zucchini, Bits of Ginger
Apple Walnut Bread
Parmesan Sprouted Wheat Bagels
Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes & Caramelized Onion Sprouted Wheat Buns Recipe
Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns
Sprouted Wheat French Bread
“Sprouted” Wheat Banana Spice Bread [Soaked Method]
Sprouted Light Rye Sandwich Buns
Soaked-Wheat Dinner Rolls
BBQ Chicken Pizza: Five Pies in Five Days

Shared on the following Blog Hops:

Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Skillet Beef Fajitas Fri, 25 Mar 2016 03:30:38 +0000

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Seasoned beef, peppers and mushrooms in warm tortillas.Skillet Beef Fajitas is easy enough for weeknights and festively simple to prepare for casual gatherings too. Beef seasoned with flavors of lime, cumin, and smoke fills warm tortillas with mushrooms and peppers for a delicious one-skillet supper. We’ve served these fajitas countless times for parties and the spiced fragrance is always the first to welcome friends and family the moment they arrive.

You’ll love how versatile this dish is too. The meat and vegetables can be prepped up to three days in advance to save even more time on a busy weekday. Want to boost the vegetables? Increase the mushrooms and colorful peppers as a sub for some of the beef, or toss in a cup of cherry tomatoes. You can even use Bibb or romaine lettuce leaves as an alternative to flour tortillas—think beef fajita lettuce wraps.

Sizzling beef in a hot pan appeals to my sense of accomplishment, as though it’s offering applause for the effort. That’s when I scoop up some guacamole in a chip and bask in the satisfaction of ending the day with a great meal.

Easy enough for weeknights and festively simple to prepare for casual gatherings too.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Skillet Beef Fajitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Beef, Main Dish
Serves / Yields: 6
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced, pole to pole
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound tri-tip, skirt steak, or flap steak, cut across the grain into ½ in x 2 in strips
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 orange bell pepper (or a mix of yellow, orange, green), seeded & sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • 12 (6-inch) Corn or flour tortillas
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the steak to the skillet and cook until browned, but still rare, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir-in the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, or until mushroom wilt and release moisture. Add the bell pepper and sprinkle the lime over everything. Allow to simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peppers should be only tender, not soft. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of Fajita Mix Seasoning and a couple tablespoons of water; stir well to coat with the seasoning and cook another minute. Taste and add more seasoning, as desired. If pan seems too dry add a little more water.
  3. Warm flour tortillas in the microwave for 1-2 minutes in a tortilla warmer to soften or in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds each side. Warm corn tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds on each side to soften. Fill the warmed tortillas and garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
Notes & Suggestions
The beef can be prepped and frozen in advance. The remaining ingredients can be prepped up to three days in advance. Stir in 1 cup of cherry tomatoes with the peppers for a pop of color.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Condiment, Appetizer, Garnish
Serves / Yields: 6-12
  • ⅓ yellow onions, chopped fine
  • ¼ Serrano pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ green pepper, chopped fine
  • ½ yellow chili pepper, mild, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. Place onion, peppers, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop fine. Cut stems off of cilantro just below leaves. Add tomatoes and cilantro to processor and pulse to chop slowly so that tomatoes do not become too small.
  2. Remove from processor and squeeze fresh lime over mixture, stir well. Add salt and stir well. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Notes & Suggestions
For spicier flavor use whole Serrano pepper. For milder flavor use more tomatoes or less peppers.

Posted on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet Penny Wise Platter Thursday
Real Food Fiesta Blog Carnival

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Fajita Seasoning Mix with Mesquite Smoke Thu, 24 Mar 2016 19:08:51 +0000

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 Fajita Seasoning

This is my go-to seasoning for fajitas, tacos, burritos, refried beans and dips.

I purchased fajita and taco seasoning mix for years until I made it a habit of reading labels. Making my own, there was no longer any reason to deal with undesirable ingredients like Monosodium Glutamate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent), Caramel Color, or Ethoxyquin (preservative).

Not only can you avoid these unnecessary additives, this simple Fajita Seasoning recipe makes it easy to create a custom blend to suit your taste—spice it up or tone down the kick for kids.

One ingredient that sets this recipe apart is the mesquite smoke powder, available at specialty spice shops or online at The Spice House. A small jar lasts a long time and adds a unique smoke flavor to this mix, as well as sauces and marinades too. Alternatively, you can use a splash of liquid smoke to the wet ingredients of a recipe as a substitute, but I like having it mixed in and ready to go. We often double the recipe and store it in a small mason jar so it’s handy when I need it.

Depending on the level of heat in the chili or chile powders, this recipe is medium in spiciness. For more mild spice, omit the cayenne and only use mild chile powder, such as Ancho.

What’s the difference between chili powder and chile powder?

Chili powder often includes a blend of paprika, cumin, garlic powder or salt. Chile powder is ground dried fruit of a single chile. Chile powder comes in many varieties, including Ancho, Chipotle, Anaheim, Guajillo, Pasilla, Aleppo, and more. There are numerous combinations you can try for a unique Fajita Seasoning all your own.

Find our Skillet Beef Fajita Recipe here.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fajita / Taco Seasoning Mix
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Seasoning, Spices
Serves / Yields: 3 Tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (non-GMO)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or a combination of chile powders (see note)
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon mesquite smoke flavoring powder (see note for substitute)
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a small jar until well combined. Store in an air tight container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of meat, to taste.
Notes & Suggestions
If powdered mesquite smoke flavor is omitted from the dry ingredients, substitute 2 teaspoons liquid smoke by adding to the wet ingredients of a recipe. Single chile powders can sub for the chili powder i.e. a combination of Ancho and Chipotle chile powders.

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