Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seasoning for Everything!

2 Tbs. salt
1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp. granulated onion
2 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed as finely as you can with your fingers
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes, crushed finely with your fingers
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed as finely as you can with your fingers
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed as finely as you can with your fingers

Mix everything in a plastic zip bag (or some other tightly-closeable container) and shake well.

This is great on mixed root vegetables, in soups, in salad dressings, and anything else you would use salt and pepper on. I usually toss vegs or whatever I'm cooking in a little olive oil, and then I pour some of this mix over it and toss again. (For instance, I bake the root vegs at 350 F. for 45 minutes to an hour. It smells great, and it makes a great comfort food!) Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet-ish Broccoli Salad

I'm eating this for breakfast, although I realize that most people would eat it for lunch or dinner. Fortunately for me, it's great any time of the day!

This makes one serving--Steve prefers "regular" breakfast food! Ha! You can double or triple the vegetables for more servings. The dressing will need to be added and stirred, adding more if it's needed, to maintain a crunchy consistency.

And finally, I used my mini-chop for the broccoli and carrots. Bless the inventor of this gadget!

4 large broccoli florets, chopped
4 baby carrots, chopped
2 Tbs. thinly sliced green onion
6 grape tomatoes
small handful of raisins (I would use cranberries here for Chelsea; she hates raisins.)
6 walnut halves, broken up into 3 or 4 pieces each--small chunks
1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. agave nectar (you could also try pure maple syrup, and this can be doubled for a sweeter dressing.)
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine broccoli, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, raisins, and walnuts in a small bowl.

Whisk together the olive oil, dijon mustard, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour about 2 Tbs. on salad. Taste and add more, if you'd like.

I thought this tasted great--and I'm not a big sweet-eater!! Ha! I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stuffed Delicata Squash

I usually use one of the vegetarian "sausages" in these types of dishes, so I thought I'd try a vegetable-only dish. We liked it! I will say here that I used one of those "mini chop" things to chop everything, and I bought pre-sliced mushrooms. I don't want to really "slave over a hot stove;" I just want it to taste like I did! Ha!

Serves 2 without a side dish or salad. It would probably serve 4 with rice pilaf and a salad!

1 Delicata squash
1 small onion, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced (or a couple of shakes of garlic powder. I know.... ;))
1 zucchini, 1/2 inch dice
1 crookneck squash (aka "yellow squash"), 1/2 inch dice
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 handfuls of spinach leaves (I used baby ones, so I didn't have to chop them up)
dried basil, 1 tsp. - 2 tsp. (depends on how much you like basil!)
Salt--about 1/2 tsp.
Pepper--about 1/4 tsp.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the Delicata squash in half lengthwise. Spray an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with an oil spray. Add water to about 1/2 inch. Put the squash in, cut side up, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees until you get the rest of this put together, about 30 minutes, or so.

Chop, or dice, the onion, and mince the garlic. Put them into a skillet with a little olive oil on medium-low heat. Stir the onion and garlic to coat them with the oil. While that's cooking, dice, or chop, the squashes. Add them to the skillet, and stir everything together. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until they're beginning to soften, 15 minutes maybe? 20 minutes? Anyway, longer than just a couple of minutes! Ha! Add the mushrooms, and cook until they've released some of their water, but they're still firm. Add the spinach, basil, salt, and pepper, and stir.

Take the squash halves out of the oven. They will probably not be completely cooked; that's good. Spoon your stuffing from the frying pan into the squashes, re-cover with the foil, and return to the oven, lowering the heat to 350 degrees F. In 45 minutes, it's done. In an hour, the water has evaporated completely, and the juices from the vegetables have started to burn onto the bottom of the baking dish! Ha! It's still good here, but the clean-up is worse! Ha!

I love experimenting! LOL! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waldorf Salad PLUS

Steve said he wanted salad for dinner, and for whatever reason, neither lettuce nor spinach appealed to me. This doesn't happen very often, mind you!

So, I just decided to make Waldorf Salad and call it quits, but of course, it didn't work out that way! Ha! Here is our dinner salad for this evening. We both really liked it, and I hope you do, too!

Serves 2-4, meal or side!

1 large, crisp apple (I used a Red Delicious; they're just now coming into season, so they're good!)
2 stalks of celery, cleaned and sliced
2 medium cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise about 1/4 inch thick
3 green onions, thinly sliced
24-30 red flame grapes, halved lengthwise
2-3 handfuls of walnuts, depending on how much you like them!
Bleu cheese crumbles (they can be "optional," but they really add a flare to this!)
Mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup?
Dijon mustard, about a tablespoon?
Olive oil, maybe a tablespoon or two--enough to thin the dressing to make tossing easier.

Chop the apple, toss it into a bowl, and add the celery, cucumbers, green onions, and grapes.

Dressing: combine the mayo, mustard, and olive oil in a small bowl. The dressing needs to be pretty tangy to offset the sweetness of the fruit, so add more mustard if I've misjudged my own addition. Obviously, this is "to taste!" Ha!

Toss the dressing with the fruits and vegetables. Add the walnuts, and toss again. I just served it on salad plates without further prep; it would look great on a bed of greens, and you could add extra dressing to seep down into the greens, too. However you serve it, toss some bleu cheese crumbles on top of it! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jicama, Apple, Cucumber, and Nut Salad

Serves 2-4 (meal or side!)

1/4 jicama, peeled and cubed
1 apple, cubed
6 inches of a cucumber, cubed
1/4 red onion, cubed
8 broccoli florets, rinsed and broken into tiny florets
small handful of pecan halves
small handful of walnut pieces
OPT: 3 stalks celery, cubed (adds a touch of salty taste)
OPT: 1 avocado, cubed (adds a creamy texture to individual bites)
balsamic vinaigrette
OPT: mayo on the side

Chop the first 5 ingredients and toss them into a bowl. Add the nuts and the options, if you're using them. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss. Serve on a plate. Add a spoonful of mayo, if you like. Garnish, if desired, with rosemary sprigs! MMMMMM

The "OPTs": adding celery gives it a more "Waldorf Salad" taste and texture. Adding a spoonful of mayo on the side of the plates allows the eater to have some, or not. I liked it, because I could snag a bit on the tip of my spoon and scoop some salad on it, too, and I could do it on alternate bites, so I could enjoy the cleaner taste of the balsamic dressing and still have the mayo that I love! Ha!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chile Rellenos Casserole

I made this a couple of nights ago, but we had a last-minute glitch, so we didn't eat it until last night. It was good, but while I was making it (and confirmed last night), I was thinking that salsa instead of chiles would add a lot of flavor. I really think that, now! Ha!

So, here's what I did, along with the salsa suggestion and a guess as to quantity!

Serves 4

2 cans, 7 oz. each, whole green chiles, rinsed and seeded
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Opt.: 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with canola oil (or olive oil) spray. Lay opened and cleaned chiles in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the bell pepper, shallot, and minced garlic over the chiles. Sprinkle the cheese over everything!

In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, paprika, salt, and pepper with a fork or a whisk. Pour this mixture over the cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes to make cutting easier. Top each serving with cilantro, green onion, and optional tomatoes.

OPTION: Instead of using chiles, red pepper, shallot, and garlic, substitute 1 cup--this is the "guess" part!--of salsa. I think medium would be good--a little zip mitigated by the eggs, milk, and cheese. Finish the dish as directed above, and top with cilantro and green onions. I think this would taste great! AND it would be a lot easier than chopping stuff! Ha! Enjoy, either way!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Portabella Mushroom "Steaks"

Here's another use for marinated mushrooms (based on the "Portabella Mushroom Salad" mushroom marinade below).

You can actually marinate them to imbue them with the flavors of the marinade and end up with a texture similar to meat and a great flavor, and then you can heat them in a skillet and serve them that way over a salad (see "Portabella Mushroom Salad", June 3rd, 2010), or you can serve them on a plate with a baked potato and dressings and a salad or a scoop of peas, or any other side dish you like with steaks.

I haven't tried this, but I'm assuming you could also grill them briefly (after marinating them) to add that flavor to them, and then add them to salad or to a plate with side dishes.

Portabella Mushroom Salad

I've been playing with a raw food diet, and in the course of this playing, I've learned a couple of nifty tricks to make things taste cooked without any cooking! Woohoo!

One of these is marinating stuff I wouldn't have thought to marinate before. Marinades soften vegetables, so you still get the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes present in uncooked food, and you also get the feel of cooked vegetables in your mouth. For instance, if you take a vegetable peeler and make strips of zucchini (down to, but not including, the seeds) and marinate them, they end up feeling like pasta, but there's no heavy, bloated feeling that accompanies the pasta--at least, for me! Ha!

And the best part is that you can have tasty, feel-good food without cooking--which, in summer, absolutely works for me!

Serves 4 hearty appetites

For the mushrooms:
4 large portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed, caps sliced in 1/4" widths
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Pour the oil, soy sauce, and vinegar into a covered bowl. Shake well to mix. Add the mushroom slices. Shake again to coat. Refrigerate for several hours. The longer they're marinated, the better they taste! And don't worry about soy sauce giving them an Asian taste; when the mushrooms are added to everything else, the flavors blend well.

For the salad:
1 5-oz. bag salad greens
1 5-oz. bag baby spinach
1 beet, grated (I use my food processor--less mess! And beets are optional!)
1 large, or 6 "baby," carrots, grated
1/4 jicama, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Mix the greens and spinach. Divide them between 4 dinner plates. Separately sprinkle the grated beets, the grated carrots, and the jicama over the greens. Top with the green onion slices.

For the dressing:
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/16 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
Add to a covered bowl and shake well to blend.

To serve:
Divide the salad between 4 plates. (See above.) Place the mushroom slices on the salad, spooning a little of the marinade over the mushrooms. Pour some of the dressing over each salad. You can serve this alone or with garlic bread. (Garlic bread isn't considered "raw!" Ha!) MMMMMM!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Better Citrus Salad (and Roasted Asparagus Spears)

Tonight, I roasted asparagus--

2 lb. fresh asparagus, break ends off and put spears into a plastic bag,
squeeze 1/2 a lemon into bag and add
3-ish Tbs. olive oil,
1/4 tsp. salt

Close bag and twirl the top, so it's tight. Holding it tight with one hand, squish the spears so the oil and juice coat all the spears.

Put spears into a 9 x 13 sprayed baking dish, and drizzle oil/lemon juice from the bag over them. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Crisp tender spears. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, if you like. It's really good!

Anyway, back to the salad! I published another citrus salad with herbs and stuff, but this one is much better!

1 pomelo, halved and scoop out the sections, like a grapefruit. (Chelsea looked this up. It's a Chinese grapefruit, ancestor to our ruby grapefruit. Chelsea did this, because Marste and I were on the phone, speculating about which fruits were combined to make this one! Ha!)
1 5-oz. bag fresh spinach
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Equal-ish amount of olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
A very small pinch of stevia powder. One of those tiny spoons that come in the jar of stevia, filled scantly, is about the right measured amount.

Dice the pomelo sections, so the pieces are about 1/2 inch "square." (I realize "square" is a reach, shape-wise!) Add the spinach, avocado, and green onions.

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and stevia--add the stevia a bit at a time and taste in-between. The dressing needs to be not-quite-tart, as opposed to sweet! The pomelo is sweet and in those bites, sweet dressing would be bad! Ha!

Toss the salad with the dressing, and enjoy! Obviously, I served this with the asparagus. It looked like a lot of food, but I didn't have any leftovers! Ha!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fennel and Onion Chicken in the Crock Pot

This is adapted from a 30-minute-meal recipe by the much-loved (or much-hated, depending on who you ask) Rachael Ray. It was an easy thing to do in the CrockPot, and it was SO good.

The Recipe:
Serves 4-6
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used frozen from Trader Joe’s)
1 large head of fennel, sliced (or 2 small-medium heads)
1-2 medium onions, sliced (you’ll want about as much onion as fennel)
3 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs bacon bits or chopped cooked bacon (optional)
2 tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cups dry white wine (I used chardonnay)*
1 cup chicken broth
½ tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

*If you don’t want to use the wine, you can use 2 ½ cups (total) of chicken broth. But the wine adds a LOT to the dish, just FYI.

Put the sliced onion and fennel in the CrockPot and top with the frozen chicken. Sprinkle/pour/distribute the remaining ingredients (liquid last) over the vegetables and chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. (If the chicken is thawed, cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.)

The best way to eat this? With a generous serving of bread and butter and a glass of the wine you used in the meal. YUM.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Corn Soup with a Mexican Twist

I love corn soup. I don't love the potatoes that some people seem to feel HAVE to be in it! I realize that potatoes have potassium and other stuff, but that stuff is mostly in the skin, and the skin is NEVER in the soup! Ha! And I can do without the carbs!

So, I found a recipe in a magazine that called for all fresh stuff, and the listed prep time was 6 HOURS! I'm just not that dedicated. So, using the "spirit" of the idea, I came up with this! We all really liked it, so I'll share!

3 large poblano chiles
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles, drained and rinsed well. (Less rinsing results in more heat!)
2 tsp. sea salt
4 large garlic cloves, minced (I used 4 frozen cubes!)
2 lbs. frozen corn, thawed
2 medium zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
4 cups water
1 tsp. oregano leaves, crushed
Sour cream

Heat the broiler. Put the poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet (with sides!) Roast 4 inches from the heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until blackened, turning once. (I did this on "low" broiler heat.) Put poblanos in a covered bowl for 30 minutes, so they can "self steam" their skins loose. Then peel, stem, and seed them. (The layer just beneath the outer skin will also be black, but it does not need to be discarded, too!) Cut them into 1/2" dice, and set them aside.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, diced green chiles, and salt. Cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the corn kernels and cook until the garlic is soft (or melted! Ha!). Add the zucchini and 4 cups of water. Simmer until the zucchini is cooked, between 5 and 10 minutes, or so. Add the poblano pepper pieces and the oregano, and stir. Heat for a few more minutes to blend the flavors.

Remove about 1/3 of the pieces--leave as much broth in the pan as you can!--and set them aside in a bowl. With an immersion blender (a little hand blender you can stick in things to puree them!), or in a regular blender, working in small batches (so the heat doesn't blow the lid off and make a horrific mess--voice of experience! Ha!), blend to smooth--or mostly so--the remaining broth and corn mixture. Add the removed 1/3 of the corn mix back in, stir, and either turn the heat off, and wait to eat later, or return the pan to the heat until it's as hot as you like it!

To serve, ladle into cups or bowls and top with dollops of sour cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Citrus, Spinach, Avocado, and Herb Salad

Okay, I'm having you chop the herbs before the avocado! The title sounded better with "avocado" first! Ha!

I've had some kind of flu for 5 weeks! I still have no stamina, so this is easier than it looks to fix! Ha!

1 navel orange and juice
1 red grapefruit and juice

Peel these with a paring knife, and section them by cutting alongside each membrane. Put the sections into a large bowl, so you have tossing room for more than just this! Add enough plastic wrap to press down across the sections and still reach the top of the bowl and fall over the sides.

About 1/2 5-oz. bag fresh baby spinach. (I used between 2 and 3 ozs. for the two of us.)

Place it on top of the plastic wrap.

2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
6 large leaves of basil, rolled together and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. salt

Add these to the spinach.

1 small to medium avocado, peeled and diced
Add this to the spinach and herbs. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate it.

A tablespoon, or 2, of olive oil
Have a lemon wedge standing by, just in case!

To serve: slide the plastic wrap from between the layers. Add the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, if there's not much juice from the fruit. Toss to mix.

Serves 2 as a side dish, or it serves one for a meal! Either way, it's good!