Panzanella Winter Salad

We hosted a private group for a cooking class and wine tasting this weekend. This salad was a big hit!  We served it with our MVP shredded chicken.

6-8 servings

IngredientsIMG_6684
For Dressing:
6 T. vomFASS Vinagre Viejo de Montilla red wine vinegar
2 T. vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Gold
2 T. maple syrup (or sugar free maple syrup)
1 T. Dijon mustard
½ C. vomFASS Federico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground vomFASS Peppercorn Mix, to taste

For Salad:
4 C. toasted croutons (See recipe below)
½ small red onion, thinly julienned
1 12 oz. package cubed butternut squash
1 10 oz. package shredded Brussels sprouts
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Viola’s Mediterranean Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix, to taste
6 oz. baby spinach (or more, if desired)
½ C. blue cheese crumbles
½ C. dried Cranberries or Sour Cherries

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together Federico extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Place croutons and onion in the salad bowl and pour ½ cup dressing over all of it so it softens up slightly.

Combine Garlic extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add butternut squash cubes and toss. Turn out in a single layer on a baking sheet (foil covered for easy clean up). Roast for 10 minutes.

Add shredded Brussels sprouts to the same mixing bowl and toss in any remaining oil and seasonings. Spread in a thin layer over the top of the baked squash on the baking sheet. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes or until squash is cooked and Brussels sprouts are slightly crispy.

Place squash, Brussels sprouts, spinach, blue cheese, and cranberries in the serving bowl with croutons and red onion. Add more dressing to salad and gently toss. You may not use all the dressing.  Reserve extra for tomorrow’s marinade or salad.

Croutons
½ Loaf of French, Italian or gluten free bread (great way to use bread that is a couple days old)
¼ C vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ tsp. Viola’s Mia Mama seasoning or vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix

Directions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.Cut bread into 1 ½ to 2 inch cubes. Add oil and seasonings to a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss until bread is coated with seasoning. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Pour into a single layer onto sheet pan with sides. Put into oven and toast for 10 15 minutes, or until golden. Watch closely to prevent burning.

MVP Shredded Chicken

There should be a drum roll to introduce this recipe! It gets my vote for Most Versatile IMG_0298Player (MVP) recipe for quick, easy, delicious and healthy meals, even on my busiest days!

This shredded chicken recipe SO versatile in several ways.

  • Infinite number of flavor options
  • Wide variety of delicious ways to use it
  • Different methods you can use to prepare it
  • Cook once, eat now, and use in recipes over the next few days and weeks
  • Method is applicable to any protein, including chicken, turkey, pork, beef or game

The combination of oil, vinegar and spice adds flavor, obviously. In addition, the oil helps keep the meat moist and the vinegar helps tenderize – and then, of course, the health benefits of good quality olive oil, vinegar and spices are a huge bonus! See the notes below for alternatives to the basic recipe.

Shredded Chicken – Instant Pot Method

Ingredients

1 C. low sodium chicken broth (or more if you want extra broth at the end for soup)

IMG_5956
Loaded Lettuce Boats with shredded chicken

1 T. Viola’s Blackening/Southwest seasoning
1 T. vomFASS Smoky BBQ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, medium size

 

Directions

Place broth, oil, vinegar and seasonings into Instant Pot and blend. Add chicken and turn to coat with liquid. Place lid on cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure and start counting down. Once the cook time is over, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, using quick release to finish. Open the lid and drain most of the liquid (save for soup!), but leaving enough liquid to keep the chicken moist. Shred the chicken breasts with the remaining liquid in the pot, or transfer to a bowl for

IMG_5895
Shredded Chicken and Veggie Soup

shredding. See notes below for variety of uses.

 

Versatility notes:

Infinite number of flavor options

With vomFASS oils, vinegars and spices at your service, it is SO easy to change the flavor this recipe to use in different cuisines and with different proteins. Here are just a few pairing ideas to launch your creativity. Drop a note in the comments with your favorite vomFASS flavor combo suggestions! 

  • Ginger Sesame Oil, Plum Balsamic and Asia Tandoori spice blend
  • Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aceto Balsamico Gold, Viola’s Feta Seasoning
  • Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey Balsamic, Garlic Pepper Whole Blend

Wide variety of delicious ways to use it

IMG_4463
Stir Fried Veggies with Shredded Chicken

Having shredded chicken or other protein prepared is a fantastic short cut to really great meals all week long. It is great in soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizza, lettuce wraps, stir fries, egg bakes, tacos, nachos, enchiladas – if you can imagine it, you can use it!

Different methods you can use to prepare it

If you don’t have one, or don’t want to use your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, there are certainly other cooking methods that will provide similar results. You just need to do a little research on Google in cookbooks to determine the appropriate cooking time. Use a slow cooker, a dutch oven on the stove top, or a covered pan in the oven. We would love to hear how you prepare this, so please share the method you used how it worked in the comments!  

Eat now, and/or use in recipes over the next few days and weeks

In addition to using it for a meal today, package into amounts that you will use for one meal. Keep some liquid with each package. Refrigerate up to three days. Freeze up to one month. I usually package in a plastic zipper back or a glass container with tight sealing lid and use a sharper (on tape for the glass container) to note the type of protein, flavor and date on the package. I recommend removing the protein from plastic before defrosting, if you are using a microwave oven.

Method is applicable to any protein, including chicken, turkey, pork, beef or game

Adjust cook time for type of protein, size of pieces or roast, and amount you are cooking. I recommend over-cooking for this recipe, versus under-cooking, for easier shredding. As mentioned above, use Google or your favorite cookbook for help on estimating cook time.

Now all that’s left is to make it and enjoy! Please share your favorites with us as a comment below! 

IMG_3743
Tamra Kramer, Optavia Health Coach and Owner, vomFASS TwinCities

Cheers to easy, delicious and healthy cooking and eating! 

Tamra

 

 

My passion is teaching people how to cook easy, delicious and healthy meals at home with quality olive oils, vinegar and spices, and coaching people along their health journey. Looking for support with starting your own health journey? Check out my Optavia website for more information.
 

Summer Harvest Veggie Menu

This salad recipe has no proportions indicated because it is completely scalable to the number of people you are feeding. For a single serving, I use a combined total of about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of veggies, an ounce of cheese, 1 – 5 oz. can of tuna, and a total of about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. For the vinaigrette, use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil, season with mustard and spices to your taste. Adjust the contents and proportions to what you like to eat. Really, you can’t mess this up. You can do it!!! 🙂

Not Quite Nicoise Salad

Ingredientstuna salad oil vinegar vomfass mall of america

Spring greens or baby spinach
Tomatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
Green beans, steamed for 3 minutes and chilled
Red onion, sliced
vomFASS Olives, with pimento
Feta Cheese, cubed or crumbles
Canned tuna (or chicken)

Vinaigrette made with these vomFASS products:

Honey Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dijon Mustard
Viola’s Mediterranean Fish Seasoning
Pyramid Sea Salt

Directions

Toss salad ingredients together. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together. Combine with salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

Veggies of choice: eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, radishes, garlic, etc.

Pyramid Sea Salt
vomFASS Pizza Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti or di Famiglia

Directions

Slice veggies into ½ inch to ¼ inches, depending on density of vegetable. Combine olivegrilled veggies olive oil vomfass mall of america oil and sea salt in a large bowl or pan. Add veggies and toss gently until lightly coated. Place on grill mat on a 425 degree grill, or spread in a single layer onto a pre-heated sheet pan. Roast or grill at 425 degrees, turning halfway through to get a slight char on each side. Time varies from 10 – 30 minutes, depending on types of veggies and desired char.

Enjoy as a side dish (Drizzle with Aceto Balsamico for serving), cool for an antipasti plate with the remoulade below, enjoy as a healthy snack, blend into a dip (see recipe below), add to a salad, or make them into soup!

Roasted Veggie Remoulade

Ingredients

¼ C. plain Greek yogurtroasted vegetables with remoulade vomfass mall of america
¼ C. mayonnaise
1 T. capers, rinsed and chopped
½ T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
2 tablespoons vomFASS Dijon mustard
vomFASS Sea Salt and Viola’s Pepper with Herbs, to taste

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients. Serve in a small bowl on a platter with roasted veggies.

 

Roasted Veggie Dip with Flatbread

Ingredients

2 C. roasted veggies (see recipe above)
7 T. vomFASS Pizza Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 t, vomFASS Vingre Viejo de Montilla (Spanish Red Wine Vinegar)
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped (unless garlic is in roasted veggies)
vomFASS Sea Salt and Viola’s Pepper with Herbs
2 t. Viola’s Smoked Paprika (spicy or sweet)
1 t. Viola’s Cumin

3 6-inch pitas, flatbread or cauliflower pizza crust

Directions

When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop vegetables and transfer to a food processor along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped with some texture remaining. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to serving bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, stir together paprika, cumin and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut each pita or flatbread into triangles. Arrange triangles in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Lightly drizzle with remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with spice mix. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve dip at room temp with pita chips or flatbread.

A fine pickle

Today’s milestone was our first Facebook Live cooking class, and I made pickles! The late summer bounty has farmers markets bursting at the seams. For a foodie like me, August is a little like Christmas. I look forward to fresh local produce all year, and then BOOM – it’s here and gone in a swallow.

Pickling can extend that feeling at least a month or a year, if you want to go all out and preserve your pickles. But today, we went the quick, easy and delicious in the blink of an eye route. Pickling is easy and flexible. When I was testing my recipes, I didn’t have enough of one vinegar – so I used four different ones to make the first batch of dill pickle chips, and they were delicious. You can also use either one of these brines to pickle onions, squash, beans – really any kind of veggie, and even fruits!

Ingredients

Cucumbers, thickly sliced, enough to fill two pint jars

1 C. water

¾ C. vomFASS White Balsamic

¼ C. vomFASS Sherry Reserva Vinegar

1 T. kosher salt

1 T. vomFASS Game Mix/Pickling seasoning

1 sliced jalapeno pepper

2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2-4 heads of fresh dill

Directions

Add dill, garlic and cucumber slices in a bowl that just fits them or two pint jars. Heat water, vinegar, salt, and seasoning in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Immediately pour brine over cucumbers. Cover bowl or jars. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving. Pickles can be stored in their brine in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Cauliflower Pickles

Ingredients

1 T. vomFASS Game Mix/Pickling Spice

1/2 tsp. Viola’s cumin seeds

1 C vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar

1 C. vomFASS Ginger Grape Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

1 C. water

5 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled

One-half small yellow onion, julienned

1 T. Sugar or Stevia crystals

2 T. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. Viola’s ground turmeric

One-half head cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch florets (about 4 cups)

5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal (about 2 cups)

One-half red bell pepper, cut into strips (about 1 cup)

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, cut into strips

Directions

Pack the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and onions in a 2-qt. heat-resistant glass bowl with lid or in clean canning jar(s).

Put the pickling spice and cumin in a saucepan and toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, salt, and turmeric to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.

Pour the hot brine over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to a month.

For canned pickles:

Pack the vegetables into clean pint jars. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. If you have extra brine, strain it and distribute the solids among the jars. Wipe the jars’ lids with a damp cloth before putting on the lids. Secure the lids with screw bands tightened by hand.  Process for 10 minutes, following the instructions in this “Canning Basics” guide. Store the pickles for at least 2 but preferably 7 days or longer before opening. Refrigerate after opening.

Delicious + Nutritious Tuscan Bean Soup

It’s January and its Minnesota. A healthy, delicious soup is just the comfort food your fitness goals and the weather call for! This Tuscan White Bean, Sausage and Veggie Soup will feed a family or provide a few meals for one or two! Skip to the end to read my “quick and easy” note, which was the path I chose for our Mediterranean Lifestyle cooking class tonight! This soup pairs beautifully with a Chardonnay (sparkling or still) or Pinot Noir.

Ingredients

2 T vomFASS San Domenico Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pound Italian sweet or spicy sausage, casing removed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, diced small

2 large potatoes, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Viola’s bay leaf

2 (15 ounce) cans white cannelini beans

2 small bunches of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped

8 C. low-sodium chicken stock (read the label to find one that doesn’t have sugar and a bunch of other stuff you don’t want in your soup!)

Violas Feta Seasoning, to taste (at least a couple teaspoons!)

vomFASS Herb Vinegar, to taste

Directions

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and brown, stirring occasionally to break into smaller pieces, approximately 10 minutes.

Add onion, carrots, potato, and bay leaves salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and beans; cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add kale and cook until slightly wilted. Add chicken stock, season and cover with lid.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer for about 45 minutes, although a bit longer is completely fine. The soup will thicken as the potatoes begin to release their starch into the soup. Serve with a splash of Herb Vinegar.

Vegetarian option: eliminate sausage; replace San Domenico EVOO with vomFASS Smoky BBQ EVOO.

Fast and easy: Use pre-cooked Italian sausage (I used Chicken Italian sausage from Fresh Thyme Market), and pre-minced garlic. Add all ingredients, including olive oil, to crock pot or pressure cooker and cook as appropriate to appliance type. I used an Instant Pot on High Pressure setting for 6 minutes. Don’t forget that pop of Herb Vinegar right before eating!

Even Skinnier: Replace potatoes and carrots with a variety of other veggies, such as chopped or spiralized zucchini, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, celery, fresh fennel, or tomatoes.  Reduce cooking time to adjust for higher water content veggies.

Easy Risotto and Fish Dinner

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes, and it’s so easy to make it new each time using different veggies, olive oil flavors or seasonings. And it’s a great way to use left-over grilled veggies this summer! And of course Minnesotans love easy new ways to prepare their fresh catch of Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass or Pan Fish. No problem if you don’t have access to fresh Minnesota fish. This preparation works equally well on Halibut, Cod or Salmon!

I recommend pairing this meal with a juicy, slightly off-dry white or rosé wine, such as Brand Weissburgunder, Sentio Pinot Grigio, Fausse Piste Oyster Sauce, or even a Prosecco or Cava from vomFASS at Mall of America. Enjoy!

easy recipes fish risotto olive oil vomFASS Mall of America

Easy pan-fried or grilled fish 

Ingredients

vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS BBQ Fish Seasoning
Fish fillets of choice (I used halibut this time) 1 per person
vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, to taste

Directions

Heat a sauté pan with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Add fish fillet(s), fish recipe vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food not over-crowding the pan. Grind BBQ Fish Seasoning over the fish. Sauté until golden. Flip once and finish sautéing until golden on the second side. Turn off heat under pan and allow to continue cooking with ambient heat just until fish is flaky and no longer translucent in the middle. Don’t overcook, as it results in a dry, tough fillet. To grill, use aluminum foil as your “pan” over medium heat. Serve with a drizzle of Calamansi Balsam Vinegar.

Risotto with Asparagus Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6 – 8  asparagus spears, washed, tough ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces
½ medium onion, diced
1 t. minced garlic
2 T. vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for drizzling)
vomFASS Sea Salt, to taste
vomFASS Peppercorn Mix, ground, or to taste
1 T. butter
2 T. vomFASS Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 C. Arborio rice
½ C. dry white wine (such as vomFASS Sentio Pinot Grigio)
4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
½ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated (we like Cheese Brothers Parmesan, from our friends at their Mall of America store)

Directions

Heat a large sauté pan (I like using cast iron for risotto for consistent heat) with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until slightly softened, about two minutes. Add asparagus and sauté a couple more minutes, just until tender-crisp. Finally, add garlic and sauté just a minute more, reducing heat as needed to keep garlic from burning. Use a slotted spoon to remove veggies from pan and set aside.

Heat butter and Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the same pan over medium heat. Add rice and stir to coat the grains, sautéing for a few minutes until rice becomes slightly golden. Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add about ½ cup of stock and ½ teaspoon salt to the rice. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently. Each time, cook until the mixture is a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the sautéed veggies and salt and/or pepper to taste, if needed. Off the heat, add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve with a drizzle of Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
 

Olive Oil & Vinegar for Breakfast

The most surprising things people learn in our cooking classes is that oil and vinegar aren’t just for salads. We use them as flavor and wellness enhancements to every meal of the day + snacks and beverages! Today we share two recipes that will perk up a yogurt parfait with flavorful, lasting energy to get you through the morning. Make a double batch and package some in half-pint jars to give as a cute and healthy gift!

Honey Lemon Granola

Lemon Honey Granola Recipe vomFASS Mall of America
Layer plain Greek Yogurt with Honey Lemon Granola and fresh berries for a flavorful and satisfying breakfast! And if you’re lucky enough to get it served to you by an attractive attendant, more power to you!

Ingredients

2 C. gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
½ C. sliced or slivered almonds, walnut pieces or other favorite nuts or seeds
2 T. brown sugar, packed
Light sprinkle of vomFASS Sea Salt
¼ t. vomFASS Cinnamon
2 T. vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. vomFASS Forest Honey
2 T. white sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract (we used our homemade vanilla extract made with vanilla beans and aged rum)
¼ C. Dried fruit, such as raisins, craisins, chopped apricots, etc. (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, honey and white sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat stirring constantly with a whisk to dissolve sugar. Once mixture comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla.

Pour hot mixture over oats mixture. Stir well. Spread granola on prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir mixture once or twice during the baking time. Remove granola from oven. If you want to add dried fruit, do so now. Cool granola completely. For smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools. When cool, break granola into desired size. Store in an airtight container.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Almonds (or other nuts!)

IngredientsYogurt Parfait Granola Glazed Almonds Breakfast Recipe vomFASS Mall of America

2 C. Almonds or other nuts
¼ C. vomFASS Honey Balsamic Star Vinegar
2 t. vomFass Grape Kernel Oil
light sprinkle of vomFass Pyramid Sea Salt, ground

Directions

In a nonstick skillet (I like to use cast iron for this, for even heat), bring honey balsamic and oil to boiling over medium heat.  Stir in nuts. Lower heat and cook 3 minutes stirring constantly until liquid evaporates. Sprinkle salt over nuts.  Cook a few more minutes, stirring constantly to keep from scorching, until nuts are well-coated. Remove from heat.  Spread nuts onto parchment paper.  Cool completely.  Break nuts apart.  Store covered tightly at room temperature. Enjoy as a snack, on salads or on a yogurt parfait, as pictured.