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!