Monday, December 19, 2011

Pasta and White Beans

Someone on a message board awhile back mentioned this as a quick, cheap meal, so we tried it tonight. Yummy, healthy, and cheap, what more can one ask for?!?!

Cook 6-8 oz whole wheat pasta of your choice (we used the corkscrews)
Meanwhile, saute some chopped onion and chopped celery (I used one small onion and 3 stalks (is a stalk the whole thing or one "spear"? 3 spears is what I used . . .) of celery) in some butter or olive oil. Add 2 cans great northern beans, drained (make it cheaper, and healthier, by cooking dry beans), and heat through. While it's all heating, go through your spice cabinet and add whatever herbs & spices sound good. I used some adobe seasoning, another seasoning blend that someone gave me, not sure what all is in it, some sage, and some sea salt. When the pasta's done, stir it into the bean mixture and serve, topped with parmesan if you like.

Kids are chowing down on it, so I call it a success :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jam Surprise Muffins

I adapted this recipe from this site.

(Makes 12 muffins)

1 egg
3/4 c milk
1/2 c butter or coconut oil, melted
2 c ww flour
1/3 c sucanat
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Juice sweetened preserves for filling

Preheat oven to 400F and grease muffin pans. Combine flour, sucanat, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl beat egg slightly and add milk and melted butter/oil.  Add to dry ingredients. Stir until just moist (do NOT overmix).

Spoon batter into muffin pan, filling each cup about 1/2 full. Add a spoonful of preserves to each muffin, then top with additional muffin mix.

Bake until golden, about 15-20 min.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Garam Masala Lentil Soup

Adapted from this site:

1 lg onion, chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 c lentils, rinsed
1 c brown rice
8 c water
1 can of coconut milk (14oz)
Salt to taste

In lg pot cook onions an turmeric in oil for about 5 min. Add garlic. Cook about 5 min more. Add water, lentils and rice and bring to a simmer.Turn heat to low and cook until lentils and rice are soft, about 45 min.
Use immersion blender to blend to desired consistency.

Make Tadka:
1/4 c coconut oil
3/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Melt coconut oil in small saucepan. Add spices and stir until you can smell the spices. Don't burn! 

Whisk Tadka into the soup. Add coconut milk, bring back to a simmer, add salt to taste, and serve.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quick Black Bean Soup

Tonight I needed a soup recipe that I could make in, oh . . . 10 minutes! A google for "quick soup recipes" brought lots of recipes from people who have a very different definition of "quick" (80 minutes is NOT quick in my book, thankyouverymuch, much less crockpot recipes! but I digress . . .). One thing that jumped out at me was black bean soup recipes. With canned beans (which I had) they could be quick. But all the recipes I read (2 or 3) had ingredients that someone in my family wouldn't eat. So I used those recipes as a rough guide for proportions and "winged it". . . here's what I came up with:
2-3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic (should have done 3-4, I ended up adding some garlic powder since there wasn't enough garlic, but real garlic is better)
2 c water or chicken stock
3 Tbsp McKay's Chicken Seasoning (eliminate if using chicken stock)
3 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
a "shake" of cumin
a tiny pinch of red pepper
salt to taste
a couple large spoonfuls your favorite salsa

Saute onion and garlic in butter. Add water, chicken seasoning, 2 cans black beans, and seasonings.  Heat through. Use immersion blender to mostly blend the soup. Add last can of beans & salsa, adjust seasonings as needed, heat through. Serve. I would guess sour cream would make a nice garnish on this (I'm not a fan of sour cream on soup, and didn't think to suggest it to dh until he was done).

Sassy & MiniMe both declared it DELICIOUS! If time isn't a factor, cooking dry beans would make it cheaper. Hubby's review was "I can eat it" but he tends to not be a big soup person OR bean person, so that's about all I can ask for from him LOL.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sauteed Chard

My whole family likes spinach, which is great, but greens tend to be high in pesticides, and organic spinach can be expensive, and I've been a complete failure at growing spinach.  I've heard that Chard is easier to grow, so I decided to see what we think of chard.  I combined 2 or 3 recipes, and came up with a winner! But in typical LaRee fashion, it's not a real exact recipe . . . 

2-4 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch chard
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt to taste

Melt 2-4 Tbsp butter in large cast iron skillet.  Add onion, and cook till soft. While onion cooks, cut the stems out of the chard, and chop. Add to skillet. Saute until soft. Meanwhile, chop chard leaves. Once stems & onions are cooked, add chard and cook till wilted (if needed add a little water). Remove from heat, add garlic, lemon juice, and salt.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mock Orange Julius

I've had this recipe on my "to try" list for quite awhile now, but I had alot of excuses . . . it seems like a summer thing to me, but oranges aren't in season in the summer and lots of other yummy fruits are. I don't have an ice maker and am HOPELESS at keeping ice cubes filled. . . I don't generally have buttermilk in the house, and don't use it enough to be worth making  . .

So finally, today, I put my thinking cap on and adapted the recipe to how things are in our house!

about half a can frozen orange juice concentrate
several spoonfuls plain yogurt
a little more than one can (from the OJ) milk
a little maple syrup (actually this time, I had some powdered sucanat still in the blender from last time I made it, so just used that for sweetener, but if it wasn't already there, it would be easier to sweeten with maple syrup, it doesn't need much sweetening though)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

Dump it all in the blender & blend it up. Adjust ingredients as needed for taste. Enjoy a yummy, nutritious version of an orange julius for breakfast, or a snack or whenever!! I'm thinking this will make a quick, not-too-messy breakfast or lunch if we need to eat in the car. I also want to try making this ahead & freezing it, to take in lunches, it can keep the rest of our food cold, and then be an icy drink (or possibly still frozen enough to eat w/ a spoon) at the end of our meal.

Since I know that fresh squeezed orange juice is healthier than OJ concentrate (or store-bought, pasturized orange juice), I'm thinking next winter, when we can get, if not local, at least in-season oranges, I'll squeeze some of them and freeze the juice, then it will be frozen and ready to use in this, and other smoothies, etc.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Overnight Granola

I love granola. And I love the convenience of dumping some in a bowl with milk and calling it breakfast. BUT I don't love the price or ingredients of most store-bought granola. And I found with most "normal" granola recipes, I would get busy and forget to stir it, and it would burn. Or I would never get around to making it because it requires a day when I'm home all day to actually be there TO stir it as needed . . . then I came across this recipe. Finally, a recipe that doesn't require babysitting! I can throw this together at bedtime if need-be, though I typically try to have the older girls make it after supper.

Here's the recipe with my changes.
1/2 c Sucanat
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c butter (you can use all coconut oil, I found we prefer the flavor if we use some butter)
1/2 c honey (can substitute maple syrup for some, or probably all, of this if you prefer)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
7 c oats (or replace some of the oats with seeds, nuts, etc. . . whatever you like in your granola)

Combine sucanat, oils and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over oats in a large bowl, stir until well coated. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 375 for 10 min. Stir. Return to oven, TURN OVEN OFF! Leave in oven overnight.  Yum!

Warm Chocolate Breakfast Pudding

This is my adaptation of this recipe. But for some reason, when I make it, it turns out to be a soft pudding, not a drink. We all like it just fine that way!

3 c whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 c maple syrup
3 T Sucanat
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 T arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all but the butter and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over med. heat, stirring, until it begins to thicken. Once thick, remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract and pour into mugs.  This recipe fills 3 mugs with a little leftover, so it works well for the 3 girls and I for breakfast. Sassy & MiniMe each gets a full mug and I start Little Bit out with whatever won't fit in the 3 full mugs, but often give her some of mine as well.

I also scramble the leftover egg whites with browned butter, and sometimes some onion, and give some of that to Little Bit. MiniMe often eats some of it as well, and if there's any left, I get it LOL.

This makes a quick, filling breakfast that make my children think they're getting "dessert" for breakfast!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spinach Ricotta Pasta

A week or two ago I read a blog post that mentioned making a dish that was penne pasta, spinach, and ricotta cheese, but didn't actually give the recipe. So tonight I decided to try to re-create it . . .

1 lb whole wheat pasta (choose whatever shape you want, spirals worked well)
chopped fresh spinach (not sure how much I had, needed more . . . as much as you have, remember fresh spinach cooks down a LOT)
15 oz ricotta cheese
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
salt to taste
shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in salted water.  During the last minute or two of cooking, add chopped spinach to cook it. Drain the pasta and spinach and stir in ricotta cheese, garlic and salt.  Garnish each serving with shredded parmesan cheese.

Lentil Cups

I've been meaning to try this recipe for awhile now, finally got around to it today . . . here's my version:

2 c cooked lentils (I added a bunch of random herbs & spices while they cooked, should have added more, or some after cooking, or both . . . )
2 eggs
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
a few chopped carrots (didn't have bell pepper, wasn't fond of the carrots, will probably try other veggies in the future)
1 sm onion, chopped
handful of spinach, chopped
4 oz feta cheese crumbled (I was going to use shredded cheddar but saw the feta in the fridge from yesterday and figured I'd use it instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Stir all ingredients together. Spoon mixture into muffin pan (mine made 10, but since all ingredients were pretty approximate, my guess is it will vary). Bake for 20-25 minutes, let cool some in muffin pan before removing (ask me how I know LOL).

Verdict: Little Bit & L were only so-so on it. Though I think Little Bit's biggest problem was she saw a muffin pan coming out of the oven and was expecting cupcakes or muffins LOL. A wasn't feeling good today so only took a bite of mine, thought it was good though. I had meant to salt the lentils after cooking (one site suggested that salting prior to cooking would make the lentils tough), and forgot. These definitely needed salt, and as mentioned above, more herbs/flavor to the lentils. But definitely have promise! They're infinitely adaptable too. Whatever veggies, cheeses, etc need using up, here's a way to use them AND they're portable!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greek Salad

I decided to try this recipe for lunch today.  But I was kind of lazy about it all, here's what I did:

1 large English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
juice from one lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
a "glurg" of olive oil
a couple "shakes" of dried oregano, dried thyme and dried dulse

Stir it all together. I'm sure it would be better if we'd let it chill and the flavor meld for awhile, but we were hungry, the big girls & I scarfed down the whole thing. Yum!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bean Dip

I was planning to have guacamole & chips for lunch, but when I went to make it, the avocados had gone bad (grumble, grumble), so . . . i decided to do bean dip instead. Couldn't be bothered with a recipe, so here's what I did . . .

1 can black beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large spoonfuls plain yogurt (used a tablespoon (the silverware kind, not the measuring kind) and plopped 2 big spoonfuls in)
2 large spoonfuls mild salsa (see above)
a shake of adobo seasoning
a shake of chili powder
a sprinkle of salt
a small handful of chopped fresh cilantro

Whiz it all up in the food processor. Taste and adjust as desired. Gobble it up with chips!

About half-way through her serving, L said "this is good! It tastes better than it looks" when I laughed & said "yeah, it's not very pretty is it?" she said "no, I was kinda scared to try it . .. " hee hee. A said she'd prefer it without the chili powder (or less), but both girls are happily eating it, so we'll call it a win :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Creamy Potato Soup

Last week, A wanted to make supper, and after looking at what we had in the house and some recipes, we decided on this one. We didn't notice much cheddar flavor to it, even using our favorite SHARP raw cheddar, so we'll just call it creamy potato soup.

2 onions
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 lg potatoes, chopped
6 c water with vegetarian chicken seasoning as per the package (mine is 1 Tbsp seasoning per cup water)
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
baco-bits to garnish

Melt butter and olive oil in sopu pot. Saute onions. Add potatoes, water and chicken seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add thyme. Simmer 15-20 min. Remove from heat and add garlic, yogurt, cheese, salt and pepper. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency.  Garnish each serving with baco bits if desired.