Some of our favorite recipes at LifeWorx:
Sweet Corn Quesadillas
8 small (or fajita-style) tortillas
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Monterey Jack
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups corn kernels (fresh, or frozen and thawed)
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
sour cream and salsa (optional)
Heat oven or toaster oven to 400° F.
Brush one side of each tortilla with the oil. Turn the tortillas over and top with the Monterey Jack, onion, corn, jalapenos, and cilantro. Sandwich with the remaining tortillas, oiled-side up.
Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the quesadillas to a foil-lined toaster-oven tray. Bake, turning once, until the cheese melts, 6 to 8 minutes total. Serve with the sour cream and salsa (if using).
Maple French Toast from scratch
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. butter or oil
8 slices dense bread
1/4 cup grated maple sugar candy
Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a shallow bowl or pie plate.
Heat the butter or oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
Soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture, turning once. They should be saturated but not falling apart.
Brown the bread in the skillet, turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Then sprinkle grated maple sugar candy on the top and turn. Cook for 1 minute.
Sprinkle the other side with maple sugar and turn once more. Now both sides of the toast should have a crisp, sugary coating.
Add butter to the pan between each batch. Allow the toast to cool for a minute before serving. Serves 4.
A Red Velvet Cake with a Surprising Ingredient
8 ounces fresh beets
7 ounces fine dark chocolate (70%)
4 tablespoons hot espresso
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Scant 1 cup superfine sugar
Crème frâiche and poppy seeds, to serve
Lightly butter an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the base with a round of baking parchment. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Depending on their size, they will be tender within 30 to 40 minutes. Young ones may take slightly less. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.
Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don't stir.
When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once. Cut the butter into small pieces -- the smaller the better -- and add to the melted chocolate. Push the butter down under the surface of the chocolate with a spoon (as best you can) and leave to soften.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.
Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks. Do this quickly, mixing firmly and evenly so the eggs blend into the mixture. Fold in the beets. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa.
Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a cake tester or toothpick too -- if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.
Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold. Serve in thick slices, with crème fraîche and poppy seeds.
Old Fashioned Chili
In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook beef until brown. Drain and return to pot. Stir in onions, bell peppers and jalapenos and cook until tender. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste and kidney beans with their liquid.
In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes with the chipotle peppers until smooth. Stir into the pot with 3 cups of water.
Combine the remaining 1 cup water with the flour in a jar and shake to combine. Pour into the chili and stir in the vinegar. Simmer about 45 minutes before serving.
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (dark meat or 93 percent lean or less)
3/4 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese (3 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
kosher salt and black pepper
Heat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grate. In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, Gruyère, and garlic (do not overwork the meat). Form the mixture into four ¾-inch-thick patties and make a shallow well in the top of each. Season the patties with the chili powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Grill the patties, turning once (do not press or flatten), until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160° F, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve on rolls with the desired toppings.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper. Finely chop the flesh on the stem end; set it aside. Remove the seeds and white pith from inside the peppers. (If the peppers won't stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface.)
Put a steamer basket (or a colander) inside a large pot and add an inch or so of water. Place the peppers in the basket. Bring the water to a boil and tightly cover the pot. Steam the peppers for 8 minutes. Remove the peppers with tongs and set them on a wire rack to cool.
Combine the reserved chopped pepper, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet. Brown the meat over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
Drain any visible fat from the pan, then return it to the heat. Add the rice, broth, tomato, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it, tightly covered, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the egg and the 1/3 cup of Parmesan.
Heat the oven to 375° F. Lightly oil a large baking or casserole dish and pour in 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce. Using a large spoon, scoop about 3/4 cup of filling into each pepper. Set the stuffed peppers into the prepared pan, so they are evenly spaced and surrounded by sauce. Spread a spoonful of the remaining sauce over the top of each, to keep the filling moist, and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake the peppers until they're heated through, about 35 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the tops with Parmesan. Serve the peppers hot, in pools of tomato sauce.
Shrimp and Leek Pasta
3/4 pound gemelli, fusilli, or other short pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise then crosswise
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp (raw)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup heavy cream
10 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and lemon zest and cook, tossing frequently, until the shrimp is opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes more.
Add the cream and ½ teaspoon salt to the pasta in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and the spinach and toss to combine.
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound), rinsed and patted dry, sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 bacon strip
3 slices sandwich bread, roughly torn into small pieces
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
13 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling over the meatballs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Place the chicken and the bacon on a plate and freeze to chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bread, chili powder, cayenne, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have fine bread crumbs. Divide the bread crumbs between two medium bowls. Set one bowl aside and stir the milk into the bread crumbs in the other bowl.
Add half the chilled chicken and all of the bacon to the food processor and pulse to combine into a rough mixture. Add the milk-and-bread-crumb mixture to the food processor along with the egg, onion, garlic, and Parmesan and process until very well combined (the mixture will be almost creamy). Add the remaining chilled chicken cubes to the food processor and pulse just to combine. Divide the mixture into about 30 small meatballs. Place the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and roll the meatballs through the reserved bread crumbs to lightly and evenly coat the surface.
Drizzle the meatballs with the oil and broil until they're cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
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