Friday, January 25, 2013

Spicy Veggie Soup

You're lookin' at an accidental surprise dish, here. You see, Mr. Wonderful is doing a cleanse diet thingy and I just couldn't make him another green smoothie or salad. It's just SO COLD OUT! We recently started getting organic produce from a weekly co-op and it was heavy on the bell peppers this time. So, naturally, we've been having lots of veggie omelets and fajitas. But I STILL wasn't using them fast enough. So, this pot of yumminess was a little on the spicy side with 1 1/2 large red bell peppers and 1 or 2 large yellow peppers. But it was surprisingly good! Especially when you throw in every other vegetable you have lyin' 'round, "stone soup" style! (One of my favorite childhood stories, by the way.) I would have liked to have put cabbage in here as well, but I didn't have any to speak of and a random experiment soup such as this didn't warrant a whole trip to the store. And experiment it was, and not a planned meal to blog, which is why I don't have an ingredient shot, but I did take this picture (below) of everything before it cooked down, because it was just so colorful and purty.

What you need:

2 onions, sliced
1 1/2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 large yellow bell peppers, diced
1 medium leek, sliced
10-12 baby carrots or maybe about 3 large carrots, sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes, with juice
2 kale leaves, chopped
2 collard greens leaves, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
3-4 T. dry onion soup mix (watch out for MSG. Bad news. Every brand at every store that I've tried has it. Even the ever-popular Lipton. The only one that I've found that doesn't is in the Winco bulk section. So check labels. It won't flat out say, MSG, by the way. It will say monosodium glutamate. Sneaky little devils.)
5 C. water

How you make it:

Toss everything in a pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil and cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. Stirring occasionally. (I probably let this cook down for a couple hours because I was busy doing other slave, er, I mean, mom duties.)

Ladle out 1/2 to 2/3 of the soup into a blender and purée. Pour back into the pot and mix together.

Of course, if you don't like things spicy, there's no reason this has to be. Go very easy on the peppers, and you're good to go!

Now I think there are MANY variation possibilities with this one. You could add some lime juice and cilantro, any sort of beans, chicken, shrimp, you name it. But if you want to stay cheap and all veggie, this "stone soup" was a nice surprise success.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quinoa Pizza Bites


I had been dying to try this recipe for weeks now ever since I ran across it on Frugal Living NW, who got it from Fit Sugar. Pizza doesn't happen around here much anymore since we have 3 (sometimes 4) out of 5 people who avoid dairy. Plus, these were so tempting because I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate quinoa and these looked so healthy and full of protein. I made some changes by adding italian sausage (because I had 1/2 pound leftover from making soup), sun dried tomatoes, and sautéing the onion (I have a weird problem with eating onion that hasn't been sautéed. And don't get me started on raw onion!! That's been a major obstacle in my enjoyment of meatloaves and the like....)

(Marinara sauce not pictured.)

What you need:

1/2 pound italian sausage, or you could use pepperoni or any other meat topping if you prefer. (or leave out the meat altogether, for vegetarian.)
1 C. uncooked quinoa
2 large eggs
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 1/2 C. real mozzarella and 1/2 C. non-dairy Daiya brand and split the mixture into two batches, making half non-dairy, which actually came out quite good!)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 C. fresh basil, chopped or 2 T. dried
1/2 C. sun dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp. salt (could use 1/2 tsp if not adding sausage or pepperoni)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
Pizza sauce for dipping. (One of my favorite, funny, and adorable, I might add, chefs, Chef Fabio, has a fabulous and easy marinara sauce recipe.

How you make it:

Cook the quinoa (rinsing it first!) by boiling it with 2 C water in a covered pot. Once it's boiling, simmer for 15 minutes and then take it off the heat and keep it covered for another 5-10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown the sausage in a skillet then add the onion and sauté with it, till the onion is cooked down and tender.
In a medium size bowl, mix the sausage mixture together with the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients, except the pizza sauce.
Spoon into mini muffin tin (greased if not using sausage), filling each cup to the top and press down to compact.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. The original recipe says to cook for 15-20 minutes, but mine were not even close to done at that point and went longer. Probably because of the added weight and fat of the meat. And actually, the non-dairy cheese ones took even longer at 40-45 minutes. But I had heaped those pretty big in the tins.
Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

THESE.WERE.FABULOUS. No joke. What a great snack or meal combined with a salad!

You could easily make these with any pizza topping ingredients you prefer. I want to add mushrooms and bell peppers next time, for sure!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Golden Winter Soup

I'm Baaaaaaaack!!! Aren't you so excited?!? Wow! No new recipes in over a year. Well, sorry. 2012 was full of hospitalizations and surgeries and new food allergies, oh my! All recipes will be dairy-free in addition to gluten-free! Yahoooooo! I will soon be updating the archives with adjustments to recipes to reflect dairy-free substitutions. Well, except maybe the cheesy chickeny chicken enchiladas. I can't imagine those being ANY good with dairy-free "cheese" and the like.
But anyway, let's get things rolling again, with THE BEST winter-y soup you'll ever eat. Full of hearty vegetables with a hint of sweetness from the butternut squash. And so fast and easy, you won't even believe the awesomeness of yourself when you make it.

(Sorry, no ingredient picture. I misplaced my planning-ahead-blogging-groove and didn't get a shot in.)

What you need:

2 T. non-dairy butter or olive oil
5 C. cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 C. cubed peeled russet potato
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 C. sliced leek (about 2 medium) Leeks are the bomb, yo. If you're new to purchasing them, they basically look like huge scallions/green onions. And have a similar smell/taste.
4 C. low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 C. coconut milk (canned)
Fresh chopped chives for garnish, optional

How you make it:

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in coconut milk. Cover and keep warm.
I used my Ninja blender and it was large enough to handle blending the whole pot in one batch, so you may not need to do it in two batches depending on what you're using.
Garnish with chives. We like to eat this alone as a whole meal itself, but you could serve it with some sort of bread and/or salad as well.
Well, hope you enjoyed my return to the blog! And hopefully we'll be seeing some more to come. I already have some great recipes lined up!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ginger Citrus Roast Chicken

What can I say about this refreshing roasted chicken dish?? I love it so so so so much. So super juicy, light and flavorful and easy and inexpensive to make. I can't remember where I acquired it. But here you go.

(Ingredient picture MIA. Weird.)

What you need:

5 T. oil or butter, melted
3 lemons or 4 limes
2 oranges
3 T. grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper
1 whole chicken (about 4-5 pounds)

How you make it:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Grate the zest of 1 orange and lemon and then quarter them. Pat the chicken dry and place in roasting pan. Mix 1 T. grated ginger with the citrus zest. Rub the mixture in the chicken cavity with some added salt and pepper if wanted. (Remember to pull out the weird chicken parts they throw in the cavity. Ew, I hate those.)  Add the quartered lemon and orange inside.
Juice the remaining lemons and orange and add to the remaining 2 T. ginger and also the oil/butter. Brush the mixture over the chicken.
Cook in oven for 15 min., breast side up.
Baste the chicken and reduce heat to 375 F and continue cooking for 30 min.
Turn the chicken over on its breast and baste again and cook for another 30 min.
Verify that's it's done by checking for the juices to run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the breast. Or with a meat thermometer that it's reached 170 F.
Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 15 min.

Great over a bed of spinach!! With some sort of potato dish on the side. :) There you have it. It's my go-to whole chicken recipe. Bam. Delicious.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Easy As Anything Homemade BBQ

Whoa. I'll be updating this pic the next time I make it. It's so dark down there in the crockpot, I guess. I hope this isn't too unappetizing!

Now this is a recipe for BBQ meat and the sauce. We've used it for pork or beef in the crockpot. I personally like pork a little better, but it's so so so yummy either way. You have to plan ahead a little bit as you'll see if you read on. But it's so low-maintenance once you get it going, it's worth planning ahead for. Oh, how I hate that I ended that sentence in a preposition! But I'm leaving it since that's how I would have said it, if I were talking.

The meat's in the crockpot already here and the onion is chopped. I forgot to take a pic the night before.

What you need:

These amounts make a a lot. You could use a 2.5 pound piece of meat and half the sauce recipe. But I'd just make the whole amount of sauce and freeze half for another time, if it were me.

5 pounds of pork or beef roast (I used some pork "Country-Style Ribs" 'cause it was on sale, so just had to pull out some bones after it cooked and before the sauce.)

1 C. chopped onion

1/3 C. oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 C. sugar

3 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 C. ketchup

1 C. water

1/2 C. lemon juice

2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

1 tsp. liquid smoke

How you make it:

The night before, cut roast into halves or quarters to fit it all in a crock pot. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce to low and continue cooking throughout the night.

In the morning, remove meat from pot and discard juices. Remove unwanted fat (and bones if using country style ribs, like I did).
Break meat into somewhat smaller chunks, but DO NOT SHRED.
Return meat to crock pot and pour in about 3 C. of barbeque sauce. (*See below for sauce making instructions)
Cover with lid and cook on low for the rest of the day.

Before serving, add remaining barbeque sauce, if meat is too dry. Stir thoroughly.

To make the sauce: (makes about 4.5 C.)
Sauté onions in the oil until golden. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
For a thicker sauce, reduce or omit the water.

Everyone has different ways they like to eat this sort of thing. On a bun, for a sandwich, or just as a main dish with sides. We had it as a main dish with roasted potatoes and a veggie I can't remember. Probably green beans or peas or a salad. Oh wait, maybe it was broccoli. Three kids have killed all my brain power. Oh well, I'm not sure what it was! Clearly, I was focused on the yummy BBQ meat and not the sides.
This is so great for a busy fall day when there's not time in the evening to be in the kitchen cooking. That, I like.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Whole Enchilada (Chicken Enchiladas)

Massive tragedy, indeed.

The second time. Stayed in tact, thank goodness!

If you wanna know where the phrase "the whole enchilada" originated, I *think* it was from this incident in my kitchen just the other night. No? Well, it seemed appropriate, anyway. Important note: when deciding between the life of your 18-month-old toddler and the pan of lovingly prepared cheesy, chicken-y heaven, you must sacrifice the pan. It's that simple. (translation: the little one was fastly approaching in his zombie-like toddler walk/run toward the open, hot oven as I was pulling out the pan. As I looked over, juggling the pan in one hand, trying to close the oven with the other and shooting my leg up in the air towards him as a blocking device, down the pan went. And so it goes.) I thought it was still worth blogging, since I know I'm not the only one who's been there. Having put effort into something that just gets instantly destroyed before you get to reap the rewards. That devestation can apply to more than just dinner-making, though. All sorts of life events can seem like that. But I digress....

Anyway, wanna make it?? Here's how. (It really is delicious. After I got over the heartbreak from this attempt, we had a re-do about a week later. So we eventually got to partake.)

This pic shows plain greek yogurt and milk in place of the half and half or evaporated milk.

What you need:

2 T. onion, chopped
1/4 C. butter or olive oil
2 fresh tomatoes, diced (I cheated and used a can, drained.)
2 C. chicken, cooked, diced
1 dozen corn tortillas
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles (I omitted, since Mr. Wonderful doesn't like them. Oh, how accomodating, I am.)
1 pint half and half (can use canned evaporated milk instead, which I did on the re-do)
4 tsp. chicken bouillon (I used Organic Better Than Bouillon)
1 lb. shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, whatever kind you like.)

How you make it:

Dissolve bouillon in half and half for about 30 min.

Sauté onion and tomato in butter or oil, until tender. Mix in chicken and salt and pepper to taste. (I tend to think everything is too salty, so I only add pepper here. Depending on what chicken and bouillon you're using, it might be enough salt as is, but it's subjective.)

Soften tortillas by placing a stack of six or so on a med/hot skillet. Press down on the stack till the bottom one is warm and pliable. You don't want them to break and crack open when you fill and roll them. I just take the bottom one each time to fill. Then I start another stack of six and so on.
Put 2 T. of chicken mixture in center of tortillas and roll. Put rolled tortillas in greased 9 X 13 pan.

Sprinkle green chiles (optional) and cheese over the top. Pour cream mixture over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min. or until top is golden and bubbly.

You might think it's weird that there's no traditional enchilada sauce in this. I don't know what to tell ya. It's just how I grew up with it. I suppose if you must have it, you could use less cream and add in some canned enchilada sauce.

We had this with a green salad, peas and sliced watermelon and cantelope on the side. Of course, this was the re-do night. On "the whole enchilada"-on-the-floor-night....I got mad and pouted. I think the kids and hubby fended for themselves with hot dogs or something. I, actually, (at the insistence of Mr. Wonderful) went out to a Mexican restaurant when the tots were in bed and ordered enchiladas and fresh chips and salsa! And ate it all by myself!! If that's what it takes to get a quiet meal all to myself, I might throw the pan on the floor more often!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Grocery List for Last Week's Menu

YAY!! For a new menu, FINALLY!!! I have to say, I really liked this variety for the week. Nice mix of things. Nothing too similar or repetitive. Happy shopping!

Shopping List for Menu:

1-2 links (or up to half a pound if bulk sausage) Italian sausage
1 C. diced cooked chicken
3 eggs
1.5 pounds of steak
1 pound tail-on peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/2-1 pound ground beef
ricotta cheese
shredded parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
3 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, or fresh broccoli
green pepper
Chinese (napa) cabbage
red bell pepper
sugar snap peas
broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach (Or any veggie combo you want for the lasagna)
20-ounce can of pineapple slices (or fresh pineapple)
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
jar of pasta/marinara sauce
8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
uncooked rice sticks (aka, Asian rice noodles)
box of lasagna noodles or any other noodles you like
dried basil
dried oregano
soy sauce (La Choy is gluten-free)
3 - 3.5 C. chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) bottle of clam juice
brown sugar
chili garlic sauce or crushed red pepper
fresh cilantro leaves