If you’re like me, when it hits 2pm, I’m dying for something crunchy, salty and satisfying. I love taking something that basically can’t be improved upon and then you do just that. With the addition of a few simple ingredients, salty roasted peanuts are taken to Flavor Town, y’all! I’m a huge fan of spicy, so adding in the chipotle chili powder gives the peanuts a kick without blowing your sinuses out, LOL.
A new study shows that kids who snack on peanuts and peanut butter at least 4 times a week are less likely to be at risk for obesity. So this is a game changer when you pack it in their lunches!
Easter was never my favorite food holiday because I’m not a huge fan of ham. The thick, spongey, salty ham that everyone serves? Not my jam, ham. So now that I’m hosting the holidays (most of them, anyway) I get to pick out what I want to cook! And that means changing it up a little and getting creative. I partnered with some really awesome brands this week to showcase scrumptious ideas you can bring to your Easter table.
Minute Rice’s Mutli-Grain Medley includes 4 gluten free grains including quinoa that is so easy to make! Try substituting chicken stock for water in this recipe for a boost of flavor! (Try using apple cider or juice instead of water and then adding fresh fruit and nuts for a yummy breakfast idea too.)
What I love about this dish is that there is so much flavor and texture– little bits of feta and mint totally elevate the Mediterranean vibe.
Minute Rice Greek Stuffed Tomatoes
A Greek inspired rice combination with garlic, feta, currants and mint.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 2 quart baking dish. Prepare Multi-Grain Medley according to package directions, substituting chicken or vegetable stock for water, if desired.
Place a mesh strainer over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes (as you would a jack-o-lantern), reserving the tops, and scoop the flesh out into the bowl using a spoon. Using the same spoon, press as much of the tomato mixture through the strainer as you can and discard the remains. Add the cooked rice into the tomato mixture as well as the garlic, oregano, parsley, mint, feta, currants or raisins and cinnamon and stir to combine.
Lightly salt and pepper the insides of the tomatoes, stuff each one with the rice mixture and place into the prepared baking dish. Put the tops back on each of the tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are almost collapsed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Instead of traditional ham, beef up your Easter dinner with tenderloin. I partnered with the Georgia Beef Board to showcase this showstopper dish- beef tenderloin in a shiitake mushroom cream sauce. It tastes so exotic and it couldn’t be easier to make! Plus, 3oz of beef has less than 200 calories and is packed with protein, B12, zinc and iron.
The shiitakes give the sauce an earthy, rich flavor, and the cream is thickened over medium heat until it’s velvety smooth! I always keep Dairy Pure cream and half-and-half in my fridge– not just for my coffee, but for cooking, y’all! Dairy Pure’s Purity Promise means that there are never any artificial growth hormones in their products and they’re cold shipped from your trusted dairy.
Beef Tenderloin with a Shiitake Mushroom Cream Sauce
Tender beef tenderloin with an earthy, sherry cream sauce
Dry off beef tenderloins and sear on both sides with melted butter. Make sure the pan is very hot.
Cook off in a 425 oven for 15-20 minutes until meat is medium rare.
For the Shiitake Cream Sauce
Saute shiitakes in 1 Tb butter on medium heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
Add sherry and crank up the heat-- coat mushrooms and cook down sherry until almost completely absorbed.
Add cream and tamari and bring to a simmer. Turn down heat to medium and let sauce thicken.
Serve with steaks.
By Parker Wallace
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
When you’re whipping mashed potatoes, add in some half-and-half for super smooth, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes!
For dessert, look no farther than the iconic Lindt’s Gold Bunny. It’s the perfect centerpiece to any Easter celebration, for favorite traditions, whether filling baskets, decorating tablescapes, or creating new holiday memories with family and friends with a Gold Bunny Easter Egg hunt!
Even more awesome, this is the only bunny that gives back…Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks for the 8th year to raise funds for the cause, and now through Easter (March 27), Lindt will donate 10 cents to Autism Speaks for every 3.5 oz Bunny bought.
How cute are those little gold bunnies? They make a great table decoration for your Easter spread as well….not to mention, they’re EGGceptionally delcious! Happy Easter!
This is delicious on so many levels– the layers of spicy, sweet and savory are elevated by the combination of textures with the velvety soup and the crunch of the peanuts! It could literally double as a sauce for chicken, beef, pork or shrimp. It’s also so decadent, that you can serve it with a simple salad and call it dinner. The “wow factor” comes from creamy peanut butter which is folded into the soup, while a can of full fat coconut milk adds to the exotic feel and taste!
I partnered with The Georgia Peanut Commission this month for National Peanut Month to create a series of scrumptious recipes with peanuts and showcase them on TV shows across Georgia, which happens to be The Peanut Capital of the World! Peanuts are such a versatile nut– they can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and dessert so easily. Plus, they help power your day with loads of protein! In addition to their monounsaturated fat content, peanuts feature a number of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health. They are good sources of vitamin E, niacin and folate.
This is also the perfect time to really celebrate the hard working 3500 peanut farmers in Georgia, dedicated to an industry that provides over 50,000 jobs! Stay tuned for utterly yummy recipes over the next couple weeks and make sure to hashtag #parkersplate if you post your versions on social media!
Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham is always a crowd pleaser!
Nothing says the holidays like a spiral sliced ham! Specifically, when you don’t have to bake, baste, roast or slice it! I partnered with Smithfield for my recent holiday entertaining segment on Atlanta & Company and I almost had to fight to take MY ham home, since so many folks on set were eyeballing it! The classic spiral sliced ham is in their signature red wrapper, but they now have 7, yes, 7 flavors: Hickory Smoked, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar Bacon, Caramel Apple, Crunchy Glaze, Pecan Praline and Orchard Peach.
Let me repeat– there is BROWN SUGAR BACON available and PECAN PRALINE…Wha-what??! OH yeah, baby. Tasting this ham transports me back to my Grandma Ronnie’s kitchen when she would serve our Christmas ham with her famous raisin sauce. It was so fragrant, rich and just melted in your mouth– I can still picture her stirring her saucepan and adding her secret ingredient– currant jelly!
In Ronnie’s kitchen
Smithfield hams are available at your local Walmart and other retailers. What I love about these hams is that they are affordable and easy to prep, so that means you can spend more time with your guests, and less time working in the kitchen!
The combo of Grandma Ronnie’s raisin sauce with Smithfield’s Spiral Sliced ham will bring major holiday CHEER to your table!
Ronnie's Raisin Sauce for Ham
A fragrant, sweet and savory sauce for your holiday ham.
Chocoholics Beware: Dangerous combo of rich chocolate cake, bacon jam and candied bacon.
It’s hard to even give this cake a description that does it justice. Meat Candy Cake? That just sounds wrong! Then again, a lot of people would assume that combining bacon and chocolate is wrong. If that’s the case, then how does something so wrong turn out so right? So delicious. So unforgettable. So ridiculously divine.
I’m not even a dessert person. Or a chocoholic. This cake is what I like to call, the “Get up at 2am and stand over the sink eating it with your hands” kinda good. I’m really proud of how this turned out, because typically, flourless chocolate cakes tend to be so rich that you can only really manage a couple bites before it’s too much. Well folks, there’s never such a thing as too rich when you combine chocolate with bacon. Correction: when you combine chocolate with chocolate bacon jam and candied bacon. Oh yes. This is bacon’s wet, chocolate dream. See that glossy ganache?Hidden underneath is a layer of chocolate bacon jam so it hits your palate just right– the perfect combination of sweet, smoky and salty.
I discovered bacon jam last year when I was experimenting with recipes for a segment on The Weather Channel. I made a cranberry bacon jam which I slathered on whipped sweet potatoes. It was crazy good. Sam Champion said so himself….(watch at :34 in!)
These yummy bites have 3 cooling ingredients: mint, cucumber and chili pepper
I love a food challenge, so when my producer from The Weather Channel called and said, “Can you put together a segment on foods that cool?” I said, “COOL! Yes, I can!”
One of the most interesting things I found in my research is that surprisingly, hot chili peppers are a cooling food….they make you hot initially, but sweating detoxifies and ultimately cools you down. Cucumber is the most water dense solid food— a whopping 96% water! And mint is soothing and cooling as well. What do you get when you combine all three with some high quality beef? Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups. Plus, they’re low carb– no wontons in this recipe! The presentation is gorgeous and the bites are so yummy!
Traditionally, Chicken Tikka Masala is marinated in a yogurt blend to tenderize the chicken. I didn’t have any on hand, so I made do without and the finished product tasted so authentic and delish! When I was at the farmer’s market the last time, I picked up a box of Chicken Tikka spice mix— normally I always mix my own spice mixes, but this looked so, well, authentic, I decided to give it a shot.
Found this at the Farmer’s Market
So glad I did! If you make your own mix, there are a ton of recipes out there— it’s usually a blend of cumin, coriander, ginger, mint, garam masala, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. I did a little research on the origin of Chicken Tikka Masala, (I used to be news reporter, so color me curious!) and this is an interesting tid bit from the Food Detective’s Diary:
To fathom the extraordinary fable of Chicken Tikka Masala, we should travel to 5000 years ago when tandoor clay ovens were invented. Locals were beginning to raise chickens at the same time and realized both made an awesome combination. But the small bite sized pieces which we now call ‘Tikka’ came into existence- thanks to the nitpicking of an emperor, Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in South Asia was so sick (or afraid) of choking on the chicken bones, he ordered his Punjabi chefs to remove the bones before cooking the meat in the tandoor. The resulting delicacy was called – Joleh, Persian for Tikka.
I squeezed the juice of 4 lemons, mixed with the spice mix, added a few squeezes of ginger and garlic paste from my favorite Gourmet Garden products and cut up an onion. Then, I sealed it all in a ziploc and let it marinate for 3 hours. Boom.
You could skewer the chicken and grill it, but #aintnoonegottimeforthat so I threw those bad boys on my stove top skillet and in 10 minutes they were done. That fast, that perfect! I served it with some roasted potatoes and asparagus— my man was HAPPY. And so am I, to share the recipe with you!
I recently discovered the deliciousness of fresh fennel soaked in a little lemon and olive oil. It makes the licorice flavor a bit more subtle and is such a a great accompaniment to a rich meal. Just use a veggie peeler and slowly shave the bulb. It’s a bit high maintenance, but worth it! I use a peeler like this to make a job a bit easier. The addition of cut up Honeybell pieces, some red onion and mint takes this salad to a whole new level of awesome. Keep it chilled in the fridge until serving…you won’t even need dessert.
I had the chance to spend the day with the family who runs Countryside Citrus, in Vero Beach, Florida. They were featured in my segment for The Weather Channel and taught me so much about the history of this unique fruit….(It’s a hybrid between a grapefruit and a tangerine, by the way!) You can’t walk through the grove without picking and eating the Honeybells at every turn….OMG. Delish.
The Countryside Citrus Honeybell Grove in Vero Beach, Florida.
I’m a bourbon girl at heart. Especially in the winter, there’s nothing better than the smoky, deep flavors of a good bourbon cocktail. My favorite dark spirit is Makers Mark– it never disappoints. Thanks to my friend Tyler, a very talented mixer of bourbon cocktails, I have this recipe to share. I added in the Honeybell juice and peel– and it really brings a fresh, light element to the drink. I also bought those nifty sphere ice cube thingies that make for a gorgeous cocktail!
Honeybells are only in season in January, so there are literally less than 2 weeks left to order them. Go to Countryside Citrus and treat yourself!! I spent the day with the talented family who runs the Countryside Citrus business while I shot my segment for The Weather Channel at their grove in Vero Beach, Florida. They are so humble and taught me everything about the Minneola Tangelo, aka the Honeybell! It’s the love child of the grapefruit and the tangerine…the juice is so sweet. I seriously am freaking out about how awesome they are. You’ll be bragging on them too as soon as you try this cocktail and my other Honeybell recipes!
Learning about Honeybells from Rusty Banack, owner of Countryside Citrus in Vero Beach, Florida.
Pour bourbon, Honeybell and lemon juice, Aperol, and Amaro Nonino over ice. Shake and pour into glasses (this should fill 2-3 high ball glasses). Add a splash of GM and put in a slice of Honeybell peel. Bottoms up!
Bacon. Jam. Now that’s my jam. OMG. Seriously, y’all, you’ll never go Smuckers again. You’ll want to put this on EVERYTHING, from toast to tacos. OMG. Sweet, caramelized bacon meets cranberries. You can make it without the cranberries and it’s just as (if not more delicious) but since we’re cooking with cranberries this week, it is a perfect addition to the bacon jam. Enjoy! To order the incredible cranberries showcased in my “What’s in Season” segment on AMHQ, check out Cape Cod Select who ships cranberries all year long!
Lay out individual slices of bacon on a rimmed bacon sheet and press brown sugar into each slice from top to bottom.
Cook at 250 for an hour, turning over at the half way mark.
While bacon is cooking, chop onion in slices and cook in 2 Tb of butter in a saucepan on low/medium heat for 30 minutes until soft and caramelized. Add sherry and crank up heat until alcohol cooks off, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Let cool.
Once bacon cools, combine all the bacon, the onion and the cranberry sauce in the food processor and pulse until bacon is completely combined with onion and cranberry.
Top onto sweet potatoes, or serve with turkey or beef.