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Healthy Living

Secret Ingredient: Easy to Cook Videos

Connections Area Agency on Aging is happy to present our easy-to-cook series, Secret Ingredient. Please join us every other week as we showcase new nutritious and delicious recipes from our monthly Healthy Living newsletter.

Lemon & Herb Spatchcock Chicken
1 4 lb. chicken, whole
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pan and potatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
1 lemon
3-4 B sized or 2 russet potatoes
1 bulb or few cloves or 2 Tbsp minced garlic
Start by taking a large cast iron pan, or other baking dish, drizzle olive oil on surface.
Place in oven and set to 400 degrees to preheat the skillet with oil.
Zest and juice one lemon. Place zest aside, save juice in bowl and save lemon halves.
Cut potatoes into quarters or evenly sized pieces.
Cut garlic bulb in half, or peel 3-4 cloves set aside 2 Tbsp minced garlic.
Mix herbs together into small bowl.
Prepare chicken by removing backbone with kitchen sheers.
Flip chicken with breast or skin side up and with heel of hand, press down on breast bone until
it snaps and flattens.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to lemon juice, add seasonings and mix well.
Spread mixture over both sides of chicken.
Carefully remove hot skillet from oven.
Place seasoned chicken breast side down onto hot oil to sear for 1-2 minutes.
Flip over.
Add potatoes, garlic and lemon halves around the chicken.
Place back into 400 degree oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until thigh reaches 165
degrees internal temperature or leg easily separates from thigh.
Let rest 5-10 minutes and enjoy. 

Enjoy!

Monster Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup peanut butter

3 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

4 1/2 cup oats

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups mini M&Ms candies

1 cup chocolate chips (mini fine too and dark, semisweet, milk or combo) 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and overlap parchment paper onto a 9x13 rimmed sheet pan.

-In stand mixer (or can use hand mixer) whip butter and sugars and peanut butter 2-3 minutes until fluffy and light.

-Add eggs and vanilla and beat 2 more minutes, scraping sides halfway through.

-Add oats and baking soda, mix to combine.

-Add chocolate chips, and 1/2 of M&Ms (1 cup) and mix on very low speed until just combined.

-Scrape dough onto parchment covered sheet pan.

-Spread to even out; can use pan release on hands to do this.

-Sprinkle remainder of M&Ms candies over top and press down with spatula/turner.

-Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until middle is puffy but not brown; edges will be light brown.

-Cool for 45 minutes or more before cutting.

-Enjoy! Cut into 24 medium to large or 48 small bars. Freeze nicely.

Italian Sausage & Tortellini Skillet

1-pound Italian Sausage (ground or links with skins removed)

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion.

1 tsp chopped garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles or diced tomatoes. (don’t drain)

1 cup chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2 or cream or milk

1 10oz package fresh cheese tortellini ( in produce section of supermarket)

2 cups fresh spinach or kale or 1 cup frozen spinach (well-drained)

Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated for garnish.

 

Place a skillet (with lid ready) on medium heat.

Drizzle olive oil into hot skillet.

Add onions and sauté until softened and browning.

Add chopped garlic and stir in quickly for 30 seconds or will burn.

Add sausage and break apart, stirring well until browned.

Stir in salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Pour in broth and cream and stir well.

Add tortellini and submerge into the liquid.

Spread spinach around on top of all ingredients.

Add lid to skillet and continue to cook on medium heat 7-10 minutes until pasta is soft.

Serve with parmesan garnish.

Goes well with a crusty bread or garlic toast to soak up the extra broth.

This recipe is VERY versatile. You can substitute out many of the ingredients as noted above in the recipe.

Can also double broth and cream to make a soup.

Please try this; one of our go-to recipes for years!

Enjoy our Previous Recipes with Videos

  • Which is a better value for the cost?

  • Korean Ground Beef Bowl with Broccoli Bowl

    1-pound lean ground beef
    3 cloves garlic, minced.
    1 green onion, thinly sliced.
    Sesame seeds for garnish

    Sauce:
    1/3 cup soy sauce
    1/3 cup orange juice
    ¼ cup brown sugar
    2 tsp sesame oil
    2 tsp corn starch

    Steamed broccoli
    Steamed rice

    Optional: ginger (fresh or ground) sriracha sauce, red pepper flakes or Thai chili sauce

    Brown ground beef in skillet in a small amount sesame and/or olive oil. Break up beef into small pieces while browning.
    Add minced garlic and stir.
    Add optional ingredients listed along with sauce mixture and pour over beef, stirring and simmer for 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Serve over rice with steamed broccoli.

  • Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake

    Don’t even hesitate to give this a try! It is AMAZING!
    She says it makes grown men weep!

    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    12 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese but must be softened)
    ½ cup sugar
    ¼ cup coffee liquor or ¼ cup more whipped cream
    2 Tbsp cocoa powder
    1 tsp instant expresso powder
    1 tsp vanilla
    3 packages Tate’s chocolate chip cookies or other very thin chocolate chip varieties
    Semi-sweet &/or white chocolate for shavings and curls for garnish

    Prepare a springform pan with parchment lining.
    In mixer bowl with whisk attachment, add all ingredients except cookies and chocolate for shavings/curls.
    Mix on low speed, then increase speed once combined until stiff peaks form. Don’t overmix.
    Place cookies on base of pan, breaking some as needed to fit across the entire base of pan.
    Spread around 1/5 of the whipped cream mixture over the cookies to cover, smooth out.
    Add another layer of cookies and more cream alternating layers until you reach the very top of the pan. Smooth off with a spatula.
    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably at least 12 or overnight.
    Remove wrap and release spring form rim. Carefully transfer to a plate if desired.
    Sprinkle chocolate shavings over and add curls to center.
    Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and rough chopped (don’t peel or seed)
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    1 tsp ground ginger
    ¼ tsp ginger
    1/8 tsp cloves
    1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

    Core and rough chop tomatoes and add to cooking pot.
    Add remaining ingredients and place on stove on high heat.
    Stir often until boils.
    Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until thickens.
    Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
    Pour into jars. Keeps well in refrigerator for 10 days or freezes well.
    Makes a great gift!
    Enjoy with feta, goat, or mozzarella cheese on toasted bread or crackers.
    Many enjoy it as a condiment on a hamburger or hot dog.

  • Cheddar Biscuits

    1 cup buttermilk*

    ½ cup or 1 stick butter

    2 cups flour

    ½ tsp baking soda

    2 tsp baking powder

    1 tsp sugar

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded.

    ¼ cup chives

    Line 1 sheet pan with parchment and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    Melt butter in microwave.

    In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients, add cheese and chives.

    Pour melted butter into buttermilk to mix, add to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

    Turn onto a floured surface and gently knead for 30 seconds, fold and turn until no longer sticky.

    Flatten out with hands to around 2-inch height.

    Use biscuit cutter or glass to cut circles out of dough and place on baking sheet.

    Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

    Brush with a bit more melted butter and serve!

    *or place 1 Tbsp vinegar in a measuring cup and pour in milk until measures 1 cup.

  • You don't have to turn on your oven to make a delicious twice baked potato. Adding broccoli makes it a meal. Make one!

    Easy Twice Baked Potato

    Recipe for 1 serving:

    1 med to large Russet potato
    1 tsp butter
    1 tsp Ranch Salad Dressing
    1 tsp sour cream or plain yogurt
    ¼ cup steamed broccoli
    ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1/8 tsp garlic powder
    1/8 tsp onion powder
    Bacon bits
    Chives
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Poke a few holes in potato with fork.
    2. Micowave around 8 minutes or bake in oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes
    3. While potato is still hot, hold with paper towel or dish towel and slice off long edge.
    4. Scoop out potato and place into a small bowl.
    5. Add butter, sour cream, Ranch dressing, pepper (salt if needed) garlic and onion powder.
    6. Stir well, then fold in broccoli and ½ of the cheese.
    7. Place mixture back into the potato skin, piling high.
    8. Sprinkle top with remainder of cheese, bacon bits and chives.
    9. Reheat in microwave until cheese is melted and potato is heating through or place back into oven to melt cheese and heat potato through.

    Enjoy!!

  • World’s Best Apple Pie

    The reason it is the world’s best? Cardamon and cooking apples before baking. A labor of love and worth all your time and effort!

    1 pie crust (2 or double crust) homemade or purchased.

    5 pounds apples (around 15 med apples) Gala, Granny Smith and Golden delicious (use all 3)

    1 lemon, zested and juice.

    ¾ cup white sugar

    ¾ cup brown sugar

    1/3 cup flour

    ¼ tsp salt

    1 ½ tsp cinnamon

    ¾ tsp nutmeg

    ½ tsp cardamon

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg and 1 Tbsp milk for brushing crust

    1 Tbsp sugar for crust

    1. Zest 1 lemon

    2. Peel, core, and slice apples.

    3. Place in bowl and add juice of the lemon.

    4. Place skillet with high sides on medium heat.

    5. Add apples, white and brown sugars, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon.

    6. Stir carefully to combine.

    7. Cover and stir every 3-4 minutes until apples are fork tender.

    8. Add vanilla.

    9. Pour apple mixture onto sheet pan to cool- fastest in freezer or frig.

    10. Preheat oven with a sheet pan inside to 425 degrees.

    11. Place one pie dough in bottom of pie pan.

    12. Add cooled filling.

    13. Add lattice top if you like. (see video for instructions)

    14. Refrigerate while oven preheats.

    15. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar before baking.

    16. Place pie on hot sheet pan in oven and bake 15 minutes.

    17. Cover rim with crust protector or aluminum foil.

    18. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes.

    19. Let pie cool before slicing.

  • Egg Nog Bread

    2 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    ½ cup butter, melted
    1 c egg nog
    2 tsp rum flavoring
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup egg nog
    2 ¼ cup flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp nutmeg

    Beat eggs, sugar.
    Add melted butter, rum, vanilla and egg nog to combine
    Add flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; mix just until smooth.
    Pan spray or grease 1 loaf pan and add bread batter and level off.
    Bake 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

  • This casserole is made with simple ingredients and is a delicious way to use up leftover ham.

    Ham & Swiss Casserole

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

    6 oz dry egg noodles
    1 cup sour cream
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup diced onion
    2 cups diced ham
    8 oz shredded Swiss cheese
    paprika/parsley flakes to garnish

    1. Cook noodles per package instructions. Drain, Rinse and sit aside.
    2. While noodles are cooking. Place sour cream and eggs into a mixing bowl and stir well.
    3. Add onion, ham and cheese, mix well.
    4. Stir in cooked noodles and place mixture into a greased 9x9 or 7x10 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle top with paprika and parsley.
    5. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
    Serves 3-4 nicely.

    If you would like to oven roast broccoli along with this casserole just place broccoli, fresh or frozen onto a small sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil over broccoli and bake until begins to brown and softened. Remove from oven and drizzle with lemon juice. Enjoy!

  • Italian Sausage & Tortellini Skillet

    1-pound Italian Sausage (ground or links with skins removed)
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/2 cup diced onion.
    1 tsp chopped garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 tsp Italian seasoning
    1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles or diced tomatoes. (don’t drain)
    1 cup chicken stock or broth
    1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2 or cream or milk
    1 10oz package fresh cheese tortellini ( in produce section of supermarket)
    2 cups fresh spinach or kale or 1 cup frozen spinach (well-drained)
    Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated for garnish.

    Place a skillet (with lid ready) on medium heat.
    Drizzle olive oil into hot skillet.
    Add onions and sauté until softened and browning.
    Add chopped garlic and stir in quickly for 30 seconds or will burn.
    Add sausage and break apart, stirring well until browned.
    Stir in salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
    Pour in broth and cream and stir well.
    Add tortellini and submerge into the liquid.
    Spread spinach around on top of all ingredients.
    Add lid to skillet and continue to cook on medium heat 7-10 minutes until pasta is soft.
    Serve with parmesan garnish.

    Goes well with a crusty bread or garlic toast to soak up the extra broth.

    This recipe is VERY versatile. You can substitute out many of the ingredients as noted above in the recipe. Can also double broth and cream to make a soup.

    Please try this; one of our go-to recipes for years!

  • Monster Cookie Bars

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 cup peanut butter
    3 eggs
    1 Tbsp vanilla
    4 1/2 cup oats
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 cups mini M&Ms candies
    1 cup chocolate chips (mini fine too and dark, semisweet, milk or combo)

    -Preheat oven to 350 degrees and overlap parchment paper onto a 9x13 rimmed sheet pan.
    -In stand mixer (or can use hand mixer) whip butter and sugars and peanut butter 2-3 minutes until fluffy and light.
    -Add eggs and vanilla and beat 2 more minutes, scraping sides halfway through.
    -Add oats and baking soda, mix to combine.
    -Add chocolate chips, and 1/2 of M&Ms (1 cup) and mix on very low speed until just combined.
    -Scrape dough onto parchment covered sheet pan.
    -Spread to even out; can use pan release on hands to do this.
    -Sprinkle remainder of M&Ms candies over top and press down with spatula/turner.
    -Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until middle is puffy but not brown; edges will be light brown.
    -Cool for 45 minutes or more before cutting.
    -Enjoy!

    Cut into 24 medium to large or 48 small bars. Freeze nicely.

  • Lemon & Herb Spatchcock Chicken

    Lemon & Herb Spatchcock Chicken
    1 4 lb. chicken, whole
    2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pan and potatoes
    1 Tbsp dried oregano
    1 Tbsp dried thyme
    2 tsp dried rosemary
    Salt and pepper
    1 lemon
    3-4 B sized or 2 russet potatoes
    1 bulb or few cloves or 2 Tbsp minced garlic
    Start by taking a large cast iron pan, or other baking dish, drizzle olive oil on surface.
    Place in oven and set to 400 degrees to preheat the skillet with oil.
    Zest and juice one lemon. Place zest aside, save juice in bowl and save lemon halves.
    Cut potatoes into quarters or evenly sized pieces.
    Cut garlic bulb in half, or peel 3-4 cloves set aside 2 Tbsp minced garlic.
    Mix herbs together into small bowl.
    Prepare chicken by removing backbone with kitchen sheers.
    Flip chicken with breast or skin side up and with heel of hand, press down on breast bone until
    it snaps and flattens.
    Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
    Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to lemon juice, add seasonings and mix well.
    Spread mixture over both sides of chicken.
    Carefully remove hot skillet from oven.
    Place seasoned chicken breast side down onto hot oil to sear for 1-2 minutes.
    Flip over.
    Add potatoes, garlic and lemon halves around the chicken.
    Place back into 400 degree oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until thigh reaches 165
    degrees internal temperature or leg easily separates from thigh.
    Let rest 5-10 minutes and enjoy.

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