Monday, August 27, 2012

STAR Pesto Chicken

STAR Pesto Chicken
The kids are back in school, it may seem like life is even more hectic than usual.  It is tempting to grab take-out when time is precious. However, making a delicious dinner can be quick and easy.  For this recipe we made the pesto over the weekend and then used it another day. This recipe can be ready in under 35 minutes.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup STAR Pesto (Click Here for Recipe)
2 -3 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil for easy clean-up. Place chicken and pesto in medium bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove from oven; top with tomatoes and cheese. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Great served with pasta or rice
Sunday, August 26, 2012

STAR Fresh Pesto

Fresh Basil
Basil is in season and we just love using it in all sorts of recipes. One of our favorite thing to do with basil is to use it in pesto. It can be used with chicken, fish, pasta, baked potatoes, or use as a spread for sandwiches
Fresh Pesto made with STAR Garlic Infused

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup STAR Family Reserve Olive Oil with Roasted Garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine the basil in with the pine nuts in the food processor and pulse a few times. Slowly add the STAR Family Reserve Olive Oil with Roasted Garlic in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes about a cup.
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Setting up the pan
America's love affair with the cupcake began when mothers started sending children to school with the perfect individual birthday treat for class parties. Bakers and sweettoothed Americans agree that what was once a love for the delicious sweet treats has grown into a national obsession.
We have embraced this love affair and are excited to share with you one of our favorite summer cupcake recipes. We cheated, don't tell anyone, and use a yellow cake mix instead of starting from scratch.

1 can (20 oz) sliced pineapple, drained (cut each ring into four pieces, save juice)
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup Star Grapeseed Oil, plus extra for greasing the tins
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
12 STAR Maraschino Cherries, cut in half
Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease 24 regular-size muffin tin using STAR Grapeseed Oil.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, STAR Grapeseed Oil, eggs and reserved pineapple juice with electric mixer on low speed, 30 seconds. Beat, on medium speed, 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

In small bowl, stir together melted butter and brown sugar. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons butter mixture into each muffin cup. Top each with 2 pineapple pieces. Place cherry half, cut side up, in center of pineapple pieces. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of cupcakes to loosen; invert onto cookie sheet. Serve warm.
Friday, August 3, 2012

Common Myths of Olive Oil

MYTH: Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be green and the greener it is, the better it is!
Reality: Extra virgin olive oils are a variety of yellow to green hues. The color of the oil depends on the type of olive, growing conditions, and the time of harvest. The color doesn’t affect the flavor or quality in any way. Professional tasters actually use blue-tinted tasting glasses so that the oil color does not influence their perceptions.

Myth: You can’t fry with olive oil.
Reality: The key when frying with any oil is to keep the oil temperature below its smoke point. The ideal temperature for frying most foods is between 350° F and 370° F. All olive oils, even extra virgin olive oil, have smoke points higher than this range. And from a flavor perspective,
foods fried in olive oil will be less greasy because the olive oil coats the food rather than absorbing into it. Olive oil also can be re-used for frying up to three times without
compromising flavor.

Myth: Good olive oil must be “First Cold Pressed”
Reality: In the modern era, the term “First Cold Pressed” or “Cold Pressed” actually refers more to a production concept than a literal translation. For thousands of years, olive oil was produced using a “press,” but today this practice is largely replaced by machines that crush the olives. Unlike seed oil production, which uses extreme heat and harsh chemicals such as hexane to extract the oil, olive oil production is completed mainly through physical processes. In fact, the definition of Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil specifically states that no heat or chemicals can be used to obtain the oil. This is where the reference to “cold pressing” originated.

Myth: All oils are fattening, including olive oil
Reality: As with any cooking fat, the key to healthy eating is choosing the best option and using it in moderation. Compared to other cooking oils for example, olive oil contains the highest amount of “healthy” fats, the monounsaturated fat. Consuming monounsaturated fats is shown to help reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol that can cause deposits to form on the walls of arteries and other blood vessels. Butter, on the other hand, is comprised almost entirely of saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease and other health issues. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is produced using only natural physical processes, and contains a host of healthy vitamins and antioxidants. All olive oil is also cholesterol free, sodium free, gluten free, and has no trans fats or artificial ingredients.

Information from the North American Olive Oil Association
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Healthy Grilled Vegetable Pasta with STAR Special Reserve Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Healthy Grilled Vegetable Pasta
Summer vegetables are abundant right now! Here is a great recipe that is healthy, quick, easy and delicious that the whole family will enjoy.

1 lb curly pasta (feel free to use whole wheat or quinoa pasta for healthier options)
1/4 cup STAR Special Reserve Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, more for grilling
1 red onion, halved
1 med eggplant, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 med zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 bell pepper, halved, stemmed, & seeds removed
4 tomatoes, cut crosswise into thick slices
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 tbsp STAR Golden Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper as needed

Click Here to Buy
Cook pasta according to directions.

Heat grill or grill pan to med-high and lightly oil the grill. Lightly brush vegetables with STAR Special Reserve Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  and season with salt and pepper.  Then place vegetables on the grill, turning occasionally, until brown and tender. Transfer to a cutting board when done, and chop vegetables.

Add vegetables to the cooked pasta with 2 tbsp of STAR Special Reserve Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and STAR Golden Balsamic Vinegar. Season with salt and pepper if needed and garnish with parsley.

Leftovers make a great chilled pasta salad!
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