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. . . AND I WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT

. . . AND I WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT.

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OUR FREE WILL vs. DEPENDANCE

OUR FREE WILL vs. DEPENDANCE.

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GUMBO GRAVY OVER STONE-GROUND GRITS

I started my process of thinking through the menu for this cooking class with the idea that I was going to make shrimp and grits.  As I pursued recipes and thought about the best thing for the class (and something I had never made before) I came up with this “Gumbo Gravy of Stone-Ground Grits”.  It is sort of a shrimp and grits on steroids!  I love the gumbo-ish texture to it and the stone-ground grits will convert many would be otherwise . . . grit haters!

Let’s start cooking!

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GUMBO GRAVY OVER STONE-GROUND GRITS

PREP: 15 minutes
Crockpot time: 2.5 hours
SERVES – 6 or more

Ingredients
•    1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
•    1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
•    6 ounces andouille sausage, diced
•    Vegetable cooking spray
•    2 teaspoons vegetable oil IMG_5507
•    1 cup diced sweet onion
•    1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    3 tablespoons Browned Flour
•    1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
•    1 cup sliced fresh okra
•    2 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
•    Slow-Cooker Stone-ground Grits
•    Garnish: sliced green onions

Preparation
1. Toss shrimp in Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl.
2. Cook sausage in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add oil, onion, and next 2 ingredients; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle Browned Flour over sausage mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chicken broth, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until thickened. Add shrimp, okra, and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Serve over grits.

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That’s all there is to it now . . . ENJOY!

Thank you as always for reading and for your support.

Kris

For more information about upcoming cooking classes and idealic lodging in the fabulous Flint Hills VISIT OUR WEBSITE!

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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LIGHT THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING WITH CRISPY GREEN BEAN APPETIZER

The last cooking class at The Lark Inn was “Lady’s Tea”.  We just had a fabulous time!  We enjoyed wonderful teas, special appetizers, finger sandwiches and various types of scones.  My next several postings will be sharing those recipes with you!

Light Thousand Island Dressing with Crispy Green Bean Appetizer

This recipe makes for a very nice dipping sauce for veggies and as we discovered at one of our “cooking class after parties” a very nice dipping sauce for nearly everything!  It will pack a little bit of heat with the chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce.  I only used one and the heat was perfect tending on the almost too warm side.

Ready?  Let’s get started!

Light Thousand Island Dressing with Crispy Green Bean Appetizer

PREP: 15 minutes

SERVES – 10

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 3 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 8 oz fresh or frozen green beans

Directions

Dressing:

Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the chipotle in a blender; pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the relish and bell pepper.

Green Beans:

Prepare a large mixing bowl with iced water.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Drop the green beans into the boiling water for 2 minutes.  After two minutes of boiling immediately remove the green beans and place them into the icy water.  This will stop the cooking process of the green beans, retain the vibrant green color and preserve their crunchiness.

Arrange your dressing in a small glass or dish with the green beans in a fun and creative arrangement.

ENJOY!!

Thank you as always for reading and supporting these postings.  What a blessing it is to do what I love to do and be able to share it with others!

Kris

For information about our next cooking class at The Lark Inn Guesthouses or a fabulous get-a-way/cooking weekend in picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas please, VISIT OUR WEBSITE.  We’ll see you there!

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GARLIC SAUTE’ED GREEN BEENS

This recipe is a favorite of mine,  Not just because it is so simple to prepare, but because it is so simple to prepare AND it has such a nice and unique flavor.  Green beans have been getting a bad rap for quite a while now, and I have to say, that bad reputation has been well deserved by those mushy green things that came sliding out of a can on to many peoples’ plates through the years.  Well, these green beans are far from mushy and they will delight you!

Now remember, this recipe is from our recipe book: Wedding Week at The Lark Inn” and we were preparing meals for masses of people.  This recipe will serve 15.  For something more for your family simply divide the quantities by 3.

OK no that’s out of the way, let’s get started!


Shopping List:

3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans

4 Cloves of Garlic

Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.

 Hint:  Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!).  If they only bend, they are too ripe.

Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)

Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.

When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente

 Tip:  For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente.  This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy.  You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”

When finished, remove from the skillet and serve

Serving:

We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction.  I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . you can work through this!

Wine:

With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette,  either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

For more information about our scheduled cooking classes or customizing a  cooking class of your own, please visit my web site at www.TheLarkInn.com

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SPINACH CHICKEN SALAD

 This is a fabulous chicken salad . . . and pretty too.  We made this in my December cooking class and the spinach makes it light enough to go well any time of year.  On the other hand, the chicken is heavy enough that it can hold it’s own in the Winter or Fall.  it’s appearance is festive regardless of the time of year or event.  ENJOY!

PREP: 30 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

RESTING TIME: 30 MINUTES

SERVES – 6

Ingredients:

4 BONE-IN SKIN-ON CHICKEN BREASTS, POACHED WITH HERBS AND AROMATICS

1-2 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME

1 TEASPOON PEPPERCORNS

¼ CUP CELERY TOPS AND END PIECES

3-4 TABLESPOONS CRANBERRY HORSERADISH SAUCE (OR 3 TABLESPOONS WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE* AND 1 TABLESPOON HORSERADISH SAUCE)

½ CUP SLIVERED ALMONDS (TOASTED)

½ CUP CHOPPED CELERY

SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER TO TASTe

¾ CUP MAYONNAISE

Directions:

  1. 1.     After poaching chicken, discard the skin and bones and cut into bite-size pieces**
  2. 2.     Combine cooked chicken with the cranberries, cranberry horseradish sauce, almonds, celery, salt and pepper.  Add the mayonnaise and mix well.
  3. 3.     Chill until serving time.

 

* recipe to follow for Whole Cranberry Sauce

** To poach chicken: place chicken breast (with bone and skin) in cold water to cover with fresh thyme, peppercorns and celery.  AS SOON AS IT STARTS TO BUBBLE/BOIL TURN OFF THE HEAT!!! Cover and it will continue to cook for ½ hour.

If you would like to learn more about the Lark Inn Cooking Classes or crafting a custom cooking class for you or your organization, please visit my website.

Thanks for reading!

Kris Larkin

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ROASTED FISH WITH CHUNKY ROASTED PEPPER SAUCE

This is a nice recipe I like to make, especially if I am short on time.  It goes together easily, is light and is very satisfyining as something different from my normal fare.  Enjoy!!

 

PREP: 15 MINUTES

ROASTING TIME: 10 MINUTES

OVEN TEMPERATURE: 425 DEGREES

SERVES – 4

POINTSPLUS VALUE:  5

 

Ingredients:

1 (12-OUNCE) JAR ROASTED RED PEPPER, DRAINED AND CHOPPED

16 PITTED BLACK AND/OR GREEN OLIVES COARSELY CHOPPED

¼ CUP CHOPPED FRESH BASIL

1 TABLESPOON SHERRY OR RED-WINE VINEGAR

1 TABLESPOON CAPERS, COARSELY CHOPPED

1 GARLIC CLOVE, MINCED

4 (6-OZ) HALIBUT OR COD FILLETS ABOUT ¾ INCH THICK

2 TEASPOONS OLIVE OIL

½ TEASPOON SALT

½ TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER

Directions:

  1. 1.      PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 DEGREES. SPRAY A SHALLOW ROASTING PAN WITH NONSTICK SPRAY.
  2. 2.      TO MAKE THE SAUCE, TOSS TOGETHER THE ROASTED RED PEPPER, OLIVES, BASIL, VINEGAR, CAPERS, AND GARLIC IN A SERVING BOWL.
  3. 3.      PLACE THE FISH IN THE PREPARED ROASTING PAN; BRUSH WITH THE OIL AND SPRINKLE WITH THE SALT AND PEPPER. ROAST THE FISH UNTIL JUST OPAQUE IN THE CENTER, ABOUT 10 MINUTES. SERVE WITH THE SAUCE.

 

NUTRIENTS PER SERVING:  215 CALORIES, 6G FAT, 6G CARBS, 1G FIBER, 33G PROTEIN

 

FILLING EXTRA:  ADD A 15½ OUNCE CAN OF RINSED AND DRAINED CANNELLINI BEANS TO THE ROASTED PEPPER SAUCE. THIS WILL INCREASE THE POINT VALUE BY 1 POINT

 

THANKS FOR READING

Kris

 

For more information about Kris Larkin at her gourmet cooking classes in the heart of The Flint Hills of Kansas see her web site.

 

 

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WINTER RATATOUILLE DIP WITH TOASTED WHOLE WHEAT PITA CHIPS

WINTER RATATOUILLE DIP

This is a really simple recipe and it is great for an appetizer to have ready when your guests arrive.  It saves great.  when the party is over, put it in the fridge to use later.  One thing my husband, Pat and I like to do is use the Ratatouille in an omelet for breakfast . . . FANTASTIC!!

PREP: 5 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 10 MINUTES

SERVES – 9 SERVINGS OF 1/3 CUP EACH

POINTS PLUS VALUE: 1

Ingredients:

2 TEASPOONS OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

1 CUP (1/2”) CUBED EGGPLANT

1 CUP (1/2”) CUBED BUTTERNUT SQUASH#

½ CUP (1/2”) CUBED PARSNIPS

½ CUP DICED ONION

1 (14.5 OZ.) CAN DICED TOMATOES WITH BASIL, GARLIC AND OREGANO, UNDRAINED#

¼ TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER

¼ CUP CHOPPED FRESH BASIL

Directions:

  1. 1.     Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add eggplant and next 3 ingredients; sauté 6 minutes or until vegetables are browned.
  2. 2.     Stir in tomatoes and pepper. Cook, uncovered, 3 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.  Stir in basil.

Calories 54: fat 1.1 g, Protein 1.5g,Carb 10.6 g, Fiber 1.7 g. sodium 190mg., Calcium 24 mg

#NUTRITIONAL BONUS: A rich source of antioxidant carotenoids, winter squash helps fight the inflammation associated with assorted metabolic disorders it also has a whopping amount of Vitamin A which supports eye health and helps fend off infections.

Processed tomatoes products not only retain most of their nutrients, but they also actually contain more bio-available lycopene than their raw, fresh counterparts.  Lycopene has been linked to the reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

TOASTED WHOLE WHEAT PITA CHIPS

 

PREP: 4 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 6 MINUTES

OVEN TEMP: 450 DEGREES

SERVES – 4 (6 CHIPS)

POINTSPLUS:  2

Ingredients:

2 (6 INCH) WHOLE WHEAT PITAS

COOKING SPRAY (I USE OLIVE OIL)

½ TEASPOON CUMIN

¼ TEASPOON SALT

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Separate each pita into 2 rounds- cut each round into 6 pieces. Arrange pita wedges single layer on a baking sheet.  Coat wedges with cooking spray and sprinkle with cumin and salt.

Bake for 6 Minutes or until brown.

 

Calories per serving: 86, Fat .9, Protein 3.2, carb 17.7, Fiber 2.5, Sodium 318mg, Calcium 7 mg

That was simple wasn’t it?  If you would like to learn more about our cooking classes check out our website.

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HEARTY LENTIL AND INTALIAN SAUSAGE SOUP

This past weekend we had two cooking classes at The Lark Inn. Both classes cooked the same menu and I am always amazed ad how different God makes us all.  Both classes we delightful and just because of the different personalities in each class and how they interacted with one another each class had it’s own distinct dynamic and personality.  I guess that’s just one of the many reasons I love teaching these cooking classes.

Back to business.  One of the recipes we fixed was HEARTY LENTIL AND SAUSAGE SOUP.  I have always loved Lentil soup but . . . when you add the Italian sausage to it WOW!  The flavor just goes into a whole new dimention.  In addition to beinga great tasting soup , lentil soup is super (souper) healthy, packed full of fiber, very filling and only 6 points on the Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012 program.  Did I mention hearty?

Now that I have completed my sales work . . . here it is . . . you be the judge!


PREP: 10 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 35 MINUTES

SERVES – 6

POINTSPLUS VALUE: 8

Ingredients:

2 TEASPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

½ CUP CHOPPED CARROTS

½ CUP CHOPPED CELERY

½ CUP CHOPPED YELLOW ONION

2 TABLESPOONS FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

½ POUND SWEET OR HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE, CASINGS REMOVED

1/2 POUND MUSHROOMS (SUCH AS WHITE, CRIMINI, SHITAKE, PORTOBELLO AND OYSTER) CHOPPED

1 CUP (ABOUT 7 OUNCES) DRIED FRENCH OR BROWN LENTILS, PICKED THROUGH AND RINSED

2 ½ CUPS BEEF BROTH

2 ½ CUPS MUSHROOM OR LOW-SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH

1 CUP CHOPPED TOMATOES, WITH THEIR JUICE

1 CUP DRY RED WINE

PINCH RED PEPPER FLAKES

1/4 POUND BABY SPINACH, THINLY SLICED

½ TEASPOON SALT

GROUND BLACK PEPPER

1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED THYME

6 TEASPOONS GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE FOR GARNISH

Directions:

1)      Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  Add sausage and cook, breaking into small chunks, until it begins to brown.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms have released most of their liquid.  Add lentils, beef broth, mushroom or chicken broth, tomatoes and their juice, wine and pepper flakes; cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

2)      Add spinach and salt and pepper, stir well and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more; stir in thyme.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan.

 

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 380 calories, 18g fat, 32g carbs, 10g fiber, 18g protein

 

If you enjoyed this positing, please subscribe . . . there is a lot more to come!

 

Also visit my web site for the latest schedule for our gourmet cooking classes in The Flint Hills of Kansas!  www.TheLarkInn.com

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