Garlic Prawns and Scallops - In the Thermomix

I had been craving prawns and decided to try Tenina's Garlic Prawn Recipe. I made that decision while I was at the shops but wasn't exactly sure what ingredients I had at home. I ended up having most of what I needed but had to improvise a little bit when I didn't have everything.  Also, Rory and I love scallops so I added those!  Here is my modified version.  PS ... this is done entirely in the Thermomix.


 


6 largish cloves of garlic
25g extra virgin olive oil
10 green prawns, shelled and deveined (I can buy them this way at my fish shop!
35g dry sherry
a pinch of pepper
35g cream
lemon juice, to garnish
a few branches of parsley, to garnish
 

Put garlic and olive oil into Thermomix bowl and chop 4 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of bowl and saute 5 min/Varoma/speed 1.  Add prawns and cook 5 min/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1 with MC off. Add scallops, sherry, pepper and cream and cook 2 min/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1 with MC off.  While this is happening, chop your parsley.  Stir through when cooking is finished.  I served this over a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lemon.


Fish Tacos - The Low Sodium Way

My cousin Liz (Jill, at the time) posted her fish taco recipe a few (like six!!) years ago.  It has been a favorite in our house ever since.  Rory wanted to have them the other night so I set about making them low sodium.  It wasn't difficult.  The high sodium portions are the tortillas and the mayo but I made both of those from scratch so no problem!

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I'll list the ingredients in bold in the actual recipe ... There's a few steps but they are easy and I'll put them in the order I recommend ...

Put rice in rice cooker (or cook on stovetop)  I do two cups of rice

In a bowl, mix ¼ cup lime juice, 1 TBLS water, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp chili powder.  This is your marinade.  Cut flakey white fish (I do two fillets for our family of four) (and I use Snapper) into into taco-sized pieces, about 1 ½” x 2 ½” (thin pieces work best).  Add to marinade and let stand.

Mix ½ cup homemade mayo,  ¼ cup cream, 1 clove garlic, and pepper to taste. You can add 1-2 Serrano chilies, seeded too if you want, but I don't.  Liz blends all this in her blender but I don't mind it chunky so I just mix it with a spoon.  Pop it in the fridge until you are ready to serve. 

I made the dough for the tortillas in the Thermomix but you could mix it by hand.  370g flour, 180ml lukewarm water, 40g olive oil, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder.  Add to TM bowl, blitz speed 5 for 10 seconds.  Knead setting for 2 minutes.  Tip dough out, roll into big ball then divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll with rolling pin and set aside.  Fry in hot, dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  (Roll out a tiny one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash!)

In shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder and 1 tsp chili powder. Add water until a thick batter forms.

When your rice is finished cooking, mix in the juice of one lime and a handful of fresh coriander.

You can decide whether to cook the fish or tortillas first.  I had help ... Rory cooked the fish while I cooked the tortillas.  If I had to do it on my own, I would have cooked the tortillas first.

Fry tortillas in a preheated (on medium low heat), dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it forms bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  I always make a tiny one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash.  Place tortilla's in a stack under a clean tea towel until ready to serve.

Grab your marinated fish.  Dredge each pieces in flour then coat liberally with batter and shallow fry (you can deep fry but I never do!) until golden. (It is okay if your fish does not get completely opaque, if your pieces are thin enough, the lime juice will have already cooked them) Drain on a paper towel.

To serve ... top tortilla with rice, fish and sauce.  I often sprinkle with extra coriander.  And Rory adds Sriracha to his.


Breakfast Burritos ~ The Low Sodium Way

One wouldn't think that it was very difficult to eliminate the majority of sodium from a diet, but I'm here to tell you that it's harder than it sounds!  My biggest difficulty has been bready things ... you just can't find them on the shelves without high levels of sodium.  That's no bueno for this girl!  I've been a bit slack what with Christmas and New Years and the kids being on holidays.  But now that those are all but finished, I'm getting back on track.  I'm going to be revamping our favorite recipes into Low Sodium versions.  Tonight's breakfast burritos were a perfect start!  I loved having a big win!  And though there was no bacon involved, the homemade 'sausage' was a very tasty and quite acceptable substitute. 

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I used a few kitchen gadgets to accomplish this but you could totally make these without those gadgets ... it just might take you a bit longer than it took me.  There are lots of components, none of them complicated ... and no real measurements, it depends on how many you are cooking for ... you'll work it out !

Potatoes:  Spiralize potatoes.  (You could also chop or chip or whatever!) Shallow fry in hot olive oil til crispy.  Set aside.

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Breakfast "Sausage": 
To 500g pork mince add 1&1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp crushed sage (I would have used fresh if I had it), 2 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp fresh rosemary (chopped), 1 TBLS brown sugar, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.  Mix.  You could make these into patties but I just tipped the meat as it was into the hot pan that I had just cooked the potatoes in.

Eggs:
Scrambled. Do these at the end so that they are hot when you serve

Tomato Salsa: For this one I diced two tomatoes, 1/4 of a red onion (finely diced), 1 clove of freshly minced garlic, 2 handfuls of fresh coriander,  pepper and the juice of one lime. Mix.

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Flour Tortillas
: I made the dough in the Thermomix but you could mix it by hand.  370g flour, 180ml lukewarm water, 40g olive oil, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder.  Add to TM bowl, blitz speed 5 for 10 seconds.  Knead setting for 2 minutes.  Tip dough out, roll into big ball then divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll with rolling pin.  Fry in hot, dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  Note to self: make a small one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash!

Top the tortillas with whatever combo of the above ingredients you want ... we add Avocado and Sour Cream too. Fold it up and eat it ! So good !!




Pecan Pie Energy Balls

I got a Thermomix for Christmas. Having been diagnosed with high blood pressure last year, I have had to make a lot of dietary changes ... basically needing to make EVERYTHING (processed) from scratch. I kept thinking that a Thermomix would really help me do that! I was given the opportunity to borrow one from a friend for a few weeks to see they are really all that they are touted to be. They are ... and more! And now, one lives in my kitchen. I'm still learning how to use it to it's full capacity but I use it A LOT!

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One thing I've been wanting to make is energy balls and when I saw a few recipes for Pecan Pie flavoured ones, I HAD to try them.  (I didn't use any one recipe but a  combination of a few.) I've made these a few times since!!  They are amazing.  Or should I say amazeballs? You know, since they are balls ... No?  Ok ... forget I said that.

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Now ... you don't need a Thermomix to make these.  You could totally make them in a food processor. (You might want to do the nuts and dates separately and then add everything else?)

Thermomix measures in grams (right in the machine!!) so I'll put the measurements in grams ... sorry, you'll just have to grab out your kitchen scales!

350g pitted dates
65g rolled oats
30g pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use my homemade vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
180g pecans

Chuck them all in the Thermomix together ... 12 seconds on speed 7. 
Roll them into balls.  
And that's it!!

Keep in fridge.  Not that they keep very long ... they get gobbled up pretty quick in this house!


Double Choc Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

Seriously? Cream Cheese in a cookie? When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be good!  I was so confident of it's potential goodness that I doubled the recipe!  I'm glad I did!  We now have 60 of these little beauties in our freezer ... ok, maybe not quite 60 as we ate a number of them straight out of the oven ... but many many delicious cookies are packed in little ziplock bags ready for our lunches!
 
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One of my pet peeves with baking cookies is that they always flatten.  These, they didn't budge, not even a little bit!  AND I LOVE THAT! 

Here's how I made mine ... 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
115g cream cheese, softened
1&1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup organic (if you like) raw sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 &1/2 cups bakers flour (any flour will do) 
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
a couple pinches of salt
250g white choc chips
250g milk choc chips

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  

In your mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together.  Add sugars and beat some more.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Make sure everything is well combined.

Add remaining ingredients, minus the choc chips.  Mix until just combined.  Don't mix too hard or your cookies will be tough.  Now stir in the choc chips. 

Grab your baking sheets and line with baking paper.  I used a small ice cream scoop and was able to fit 15 cooking on each long rectangular tray.  Next time I think I'll fit more as they don't spread AT ALL! 

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  You want them to start to brown but just a little bit.  Remove to a wire rack.  Make sure you eat a few straight out of the oven ... but not all of them, remember, this makes 60!!

Save some to get you through the week, and freeze the rest, ready for school/work lunches!!


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Blueberry Surprise (Banana Bread with Blueberries)

Blueberry Surprise (Banana Bread with Blueberries)


I found this recipe in a book a friend gave me that had short stories followed by recipes. (Yes, she knows me well!) We almost finished the loaf before I remembered to take a picture. I did not do the step of lining the pan with waxed paper, but the bread stuck to a greased loaf pan. So next time I will do it.



          Recipe in story of the same name by Wanda E. Brunstetter

1/3 c butter, softened
2/3 c honey (I substituted Karo syrup)
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ¼ c flour
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
¼ t baking soda
1 c blueberries

Cream butter and honey until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add bananas and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, mixing thoroughly. Fold in blueberries.

Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at  350˚ for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, remove from pan, and gently pull away the waxed paper.

 

Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad - original plus my version

I've been working on using up some free food we were gifted and have stumbled across a few ingredients I don't normally use.  One such ingredient was canned black eyed peas.  Scoured the internet for easy and yummy sounding recipes (cause I don't have time for anything besides easy...and yummy is a must!).  I found this great looking recipe for Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad and decided to try it.  I think the original recipe would be tasty...but there were a few ingredients I didn't want to purchase on this weeks grocery budget - so I modified it...a lot!

If you want to try the original:

- 1 15-19 ounce can beans such as chickpeas, black eyed peas, or kidney beans, rinsed
- 2 5 to 6 ounce cans chunk tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 large red bell pepper, finally diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups mixed salad greens

Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt in a large bowl. Add salad greens; toss to coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Top each with the tuna salad.

If you want to try my version:

My version - seems to be a hit!
In one bowl: 
Make tuna salad from 4 cans chunk tuna, drained.   I used mayo, mustard, and dill pickle relish (when I make it again I'll probably do more tuna cause it went quick! and none for seconds)

In another bowl combine: 
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 can of  black eyed peas, rinsed
- 1 large red bell pepper, finally diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tomatoes finely diced
- 1/2 cucumber, finely diced
- a couple shakes of dried parsley
-  a couple shakes of dried rosemary
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

I thought it was a little bland, so added a little bit of green olives diced with some of their juice, a little sprinkle of sugar, and a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar, and the last little splash of balsamic dressing from the fridge...when I make it again I think I'll just go with the balsamic dressing and make it easier!

On each plate, layer mixed salad greens, a generous helping of the veggies (with some of the juice), and top with a scoop of tuna.  

I served garlic/cheese toast beside.

Happy Pantry Cooking!

Easy Baked Custard

If you like creamy, custardy desserts - this is a MUST try.

My mom used to make this pretty frequently when I was a child, but I haven't made it in years.  An excessive amount of eggs sent me hunting for things to make using lots of eggs without having to make a run to the grocery story.  Thus, I rediscovered this gem.

If my aunt hadn't needed her other hand to take the picture, I think this would have gotten two thumbs up!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Cream together:
- 2 tablespoons soften butter
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Add 6 eggs, one at a time, blending well after each egg.

Slowly and briefly stir in:
-2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla

I just added all of the milk and vanilla to my two cup wet measuring cup, turned my mixer down to one notch above stir, slowly poured the milk mixture in, and turned the mixer off as soon as I'd finished pouring.

Place one large pan, a couple medium/small pans, or individual custard cups into bigger baking pans (I used my 9x13 pans) and fill with custard mixture.  Add an inch or two of hot water to bigger baking pans.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F (without opening oven) and bake until knife comes out clean - approximately 45 minutes.  I've never tried the individual custard cups, so don't know if that would take less time.

I like to eat it chilled.





Lentil Curry

Lentils. I have to confess that the thought of eating lentils has never filled me with glee. Mostly I find them bland and vaguely repulsive – suitable only for vegans who have already sold their taste buds to the devil in exchange for a sallow, unhealthy appearance. 

But, people argue passionately, they are so high in fiber and protein! And nutrients! 
To which I reply with an emphatic, “whatever.” Because no matter how excruciatingly healthy something is, I’m not going to actually eat it unless it tastes good.

This story has a point (and a recipe) somewhere, I’m pretty sure.

I’ve had a bag of green lentils in my pantry for about six months. My sister gave me a sausage and lentil soup recipe that I’ve been meaning to try but as it is summer here in the US, I’m not in a raging hurry to fix soup for dinner.

Instead, I stumbled upon a lentil curry recipe that I had at least half of the ingredients for. And Oh.My.Gosh you guys. This is amazeballs. You can find the actual recipe here (which I imagine is pretty good). The following recipe is what I actually did.

I guess the moral of this story is, don’t judge a food by its terrible vegans.

And the other moral would be, go easy on the cayenne or you’ll kill your children mouths.

And the final moral goes a little something like: seriously, make this and get it in your face asap!


LENTIL CURRY
Serves 8
1 bag (about 2 ½ cups) lentils, rinsed well
1 medium onion, diced
3 T butter (or oil)
1 ½ T garam masala
2 generous T cumin
A few good shakes of cayenne pepper (next time I will do one gentle shake)
1 T minced garlic
1 t sea salt
1 can tomato sauce
1 can coconut milk
Cilantro/coriander leaves for garnishing
Rice for serving

  1. Cook lentils according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant and golden. Add all the spices (garam masala, cumin, cayenne, garlic and salt) and stir fry for 1-2 minutes (add a little vegetable oil if it looks too dry). Add the tomato sauce, stir and simmer until smooth.
  3. Add the lentils and the coconut milk. Stir to combine and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.
As with all curries, it is even better the next day!






Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

YUM!

In crock pot or ziplock:
- 3lbs boneless skinless chicken
- 1 tablespoon paprika (I just sprinkled in a bit)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder (I just sprinkled in a bit.  Could use minced cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 bottle favorite BBQ sauce

Day of cooking:
- add 1 cup of beer

Cook time: 6 to 8 hours LOW

Serving suggestion: Shred chicken and serve on kaiser rolls.  Great topped with cole slaw

Optional: If sauce too soupy (mine was), strain sauce into a small pan, add thickener (such as corn starch) and boil till the sauce reaches desired consistency.

Baby approved!

Crock Pot Freezer Meals Part 3

Here are a few more of my favorite crock pot freezer meals (click here for Part 1 and Part 2)

QUINOA CHILI

In crock pot or zip lock:
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can rotel
- 4 (16 oz) cans black beans
- 16 oz frozen corn
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (can use fresh minced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- OPTIONAL: 2 large chicken breasts

(I eyeball the spices and adjust to the taste buds of my family)

Day of cooking:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth

Cook time: 6 to 8 hours LOW

(if used chicken, shred it before serving)

Serving suggestion: cheese, sour cream, favorite chili toppings.


BLACK BEAN AND CHICKEN TACOS

In crock pot or zip lock:

-  1 lb skinless chicken tenders or breasts
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can rotel
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Cook time: 4 to 8 hours LOW

Serving suggestions: Shred chicken and serve with corn taco shells and favorite taco toppings and/or slaw.

For slaw:
- 1 1/3 cups shredded red cabbage
- OPTIONAL: 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste


KOREAN BEEF TACOS

In crock pot or zip lock:
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- OPTIONAL: 3 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar (also called rice wine vinegar)
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Mix well then add:
- 6 pounds beef

Cook time: 6 to 10 hours LOW  (remove sauce and thicken on stove.  Replace sauce to serve)

Serving suggestion: soft corn or flour tortillas, sour cream, and slaw (also good if you fry the soft corn tortillas)

For slaw:
- 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- couple pinches of salt
- - pinch red pepper flakes
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- OPTIONAL: 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

To toast sesame seeds, heat a small pan over medium heat.  Add the sesame seeds and stir for about 4 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic.  Remove immediately and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Add onions, mix and let stand about 15 minutes.  Combine remaining ingredients, reserving sesame seeds until just before serving.  Can be made a few hours ahead and kept in fridge, sans sesame seeds.




Crock Pot Freezer Meals Part 2

Here are a few more of my favorite crock pot freezer meals (click here for part 1

CHEESY CHICKEN

In crock pot or zip lock add:
- 2lbs boneless skinless chicken (thighs, breasts, or combo)
- 2 (10.5oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 (10.5oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Cook time: 8  to 10 hours LOW

Serving suggestion: over rice or noodles.

Optional variety: add a little spice or frozen broccoli...can garnish with shredded cheese.







SAUSAGE LENTIL SOUP

Brown:
- 12 to 14 oz sliced kielbasa sausage
- 1 onion diced
-  3 garlic cloves minced (can use more or less to taste.  Sometimes when I'm in a hurry I just use garlic powder)

Add browned meat mixture to crock pot or zip lock along with:
- 2 cups lentils
- 2 carrots (peeled and diced)
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes

Season with favorite Italian spices (I use parsley, oregano, and basil)

Day of cooking: add 2 quarts of water to crock pot.  (can use less if you want it less soupy)

Cook time: 4 to 5 hours HIGH or 8 to 10 hours LOW

Serving suggestion: fresh bread or rice

Serves: 6


SAUSAGE AND BEAN SUPPER

Brown:
- 1lb sausage (can use ground turkey and season)
- 1 onion diced

Drain meat and add to crock pot or zip lock along with:
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1.5 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 can rotel
- 1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

Cook time: 4 to 8 hours LOW

Serving suggestion: shredded cheese over rice

Serves: 4 to 6




Crock Pot Freezer Meals Part 1


I keep forgetting to take pictures of these - so I haven't been posting the recipes.  Finally decided to just post the recipes and try and remember to upload pictures later!

A few notes:
1. Any of these can be assembled in the crock pot the day of.

2. If you assemble the ingredients ahead of time and put them in the freezer, they can be put in the crock pot frozen or you can thaw them out prior to putting them in the crock pot.  If you want to just throw everything in froze (EASY PEASY!), put the zip lock in some hot water for a few minutes to get the bag unstuck from the ingredients.

3. For easy morning prep, label your zip locks with the name of the recipe, cooking time, and any extra items that need to be added to the crock pot.  This is also super helpful if you forget to start the crock pot in the morning and ask you 16 year old son to do it when he's home from school on his lunch hour...not that I would have ANY experience with that ;-)

4. I've found most of these recipes online, and have modified them to my families tastes.  Feel free to follow to a T or be creative!

5. I've found that when stocking the freezer with meals, it's best to chose a few recipes with lots of chopping and a few that don't involve much chopping that way you can do a bunch without killing yourself.


 TERIYAKI CHICKEN

In crock pot or zip lock add:
- 2 lbs bone-in or boneless chicken (I like thighs, but you can use whatever kind your family prefers)
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or more depending on how much you like garlic! If I'm in a hurry, I just use garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- OPTIONAL: 1 can pineapple chunks

Day of cooking: Add 1/2 cup chicken broth

Cook time: 8 hours LOW

Serving suggestions: cooked white or brown rice and green veggies (can top with sesame seeds)

Serves: 4 to 6


BBQ RIBS

In crock pot or zip lock add:
- 2 lbs boneless ribs (I've also used bone in and it was yummy!)
- 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Cook time: 8 to 10 hours LOW

Serving suggestions: mashed potatoes, veggies, or favorite BBQ sides

Serves: 4


SALSA CHICKEN

In crock pot or zip lock add:
- 2.5 to 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken (breast or thighs or combo)
- 16 oz jar of favorite salsa
- OPTIONAL: sprinkle in some cumin and lime juice to kick up the flavor

Cook time: 6 to 8 hours on LOW

Serving suggestions: use as meat for rice bowls, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, or burritos

Serves: 4 to 8 or more, depending on how it's used after cooking



Freezer Lunches

I've been making burritos of various kinds (mainly breakfast and rice and bean) for a while now.  The boys all love how easy they are to pull out for lunches or snacks before/after practices.  Lately, I've made the discovery that leftovers are too difficult to pull out of the fridge to eat, but stick them in a tortilla and BAM lunch!  Here's a little tutorial on how I do it.

What to do with leftover mashed potatoes and peas?  Mix them up...

Top with leftover meat and some shredded cheese...

OR take some sausages out of the freezer (I get manager's special meat, so I often have little bits of various things) and pan fry and top the mash with the sausages and cheese.  Wrap them up and put them in foil or a Ziplock. And freeze!

Another thing I sometimes get cheap with the manager's special meat is ground sausage.  Brown it and add to cooked scrambled eggs (today I did 1lb meat to 12 eggs...but any ratio works).

Place the mixture in tortillas along with salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream.  Wrap up and place in foil or Ziplocks. And Freeze!!

What to do with leftover beef and cream cheese?  Cut them up.

Add to scrambled eggs and mix up.

Place mixture in tortillas and top with favorite salsa.  Wrap up, foil/Ziplock, and Freeze!!

Leftover sausage and bean mixture?  

Add to tortilla with cheese and sour cream.  Wrap, foil/Ziplock, and Freeze!! 


Today I also pan-fried hot dogs and two hamburger patties, and used up the ends of some lunch meat packages and sliced cheese.  

All said, I completely filled the freezer box with easy, ready-to-grab lunches with just a couple hours of work and I used up leftovers!  That's a successful day!

Corn Dog Muffins

Was looking for some recipes that would freeze well and would give some options for lunch boxes besides sandwiches.  Found this one and it is a hit!  And so fun!


Makes 42 to 63 muffins (I like lots to freeze, but you could easily cut the recipe in half...another fun option would be to use mini muffin tins for fun finger food for a party)

Ingredients:
4 (8.5 oz) boxes of cornbread mix
4 T brown sugar
4 eggs
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 packages of hot dogs cut into pieces (interestingly the cheaper the hot dog the better the muffins!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Lightly grease muffin tins

In a large bowl, stir together cornbread mix and brown sugar.  Add cheese and mix.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.  Combine egg/milk mixture with dry ingredients and gently stir until moist.  Fold in cut up hot dogs.  Spoon mixture into muffin tins (~2/3 full).

Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve or let them cool and package them up for the freezer.  I usually wrap them in foil in packages of two.

Crock Pot Lasagna

No stove for over three weeks?  No problem!  OK...slight problem, but we made it through thanks to the microwave, electric griddle, and of course - the crock pot!

Discovered this recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna Soup and made a few modifications that ended up making it much more like a baked pasta dish than soup.  The FANTASTIC thing about this recipe is that you don't have to brown the meat or cook the pasta - it really is a one pot recipe!

You can see the original recipe here.



Serves 6-8 (if you're feeding normal people...I fed 4 with one small portion left over - but that included two very hungry men!)

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef or turkey (I only partially thawed the meat before adding it to the crock)
3 cups broth (I used chicken)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (I used my garlic press)
1 T dried parsley
1 T dried basil
1 onion, chopped
1 - 28oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 - 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup V8 juice (or any vegetable juice)
1 lb uncooked pasta shells
1/2 t white pepper (or black...I just like white better)
1/4 t salt
1 cup water
Shredded mozzarella cheese to top

Directions:
Mix diced tomatoes and tomato paste in crock pot.  Add broth, garlic, onion, V8, and spices and mix.  Add meat and give it another stir.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.

When there's 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time left (depending on how soft you prefer your noodles), add the water and noodles.  Stir.  Replace lid and finish cooking.

Serve topped with cheese.

BLT Pizza


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I LOVE trying new pizza recipes.  When I found this recipe, I knew it was one we needed to try.  I did exactly what she said to do, except I added red onions and I didn't measure at all.  That's one of the best things about making pizza ... you can just throw whatever you want on top.  No measurements needed.

Ingredients:
Dough - use your favorite recipe or store bought.  (There are a few recipes on the beans blog that you could try.  I'll be posting my go to recipe soon ...)
Alfredo sauce, I used store bought but you could totally make it if you wanted to
Tomatoes, sliced
Red onion, thinkly sliced
Bacon, cooked
Rocket (arugula if you are in America)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

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Method:

It's not complicated.

Roll out your dough and spread alfredo sauce on it.  Top with tomatoes, red onion, bacon and mozzarella cheese. 

We cook our pizzas in a outdoor pizza oven but you can do it in the oven on 200C/390F for about 10/20 minutes.  You just want the dough to be cooked through and the cheese to be melted and golden.

Top cooked pizza with arugula.

Delish.

Oven Fried Chicken


I found a recipe somewhere but the only real part if it I had all the ingredients for was "heat oven to 400 degrees." So I won't bother posting the link. 

This is how to make a delicious, moist, crunchy baked chicken with random ingredients. 

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups panko bread crumbs 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, marjoram, basil, oregano and cilantro)
3 cloves minces garlic
2 T oil
2 capfuls vinegar
1 egg
Pinch sea salt


First, preheat your oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a greased wire cooling rack in baking pan. 

Pound chicken until uniform thickness. Be sure to stick it in a ziplock first so you don't get hit in the eye with chicken juice. And don't worry if you don't seem to own a meat mallet, just borrow a hammer from your spouse. 

I think the original recipe called for mustard. But let's suppose you left your mustard on a camping trip. Clearly you should substitute mayonnaise. But let's further suppose that your hammer-loaning spouse left the mayo out in the back yard all night and you threw it away. Clearly you must get out your trusty stick blender and make some. Break the egg into a glass jar, realize you don't have any lemon juice. Decide that vinegar is an acid too and dump some of that in the jar. Add a pinch of salt and a 1/2 cup oil. Realize you only have a couple tablespoons of oil. Proceed undeterred. The resulting stick blended creation will not be mayo but will be...something white. Add herbs and garlic, put in a bowl. 

Mix together panko crumbs and cheese. Put in another bowl. 

Dredge flattened chicken in wet bowl. Press into crumb bowl, gently shaking off excess crumbs. 

Lay chicken pieces on wire rack and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Bask in the praise of your delighted family. 

Easy Cole Slaw


Shred one head of cabbage and two or three carrots (peeled) into a bowl and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup mayo, 4 Tablespoons sugar, and 2 Tablespoons white vinegar.  Add to cabbage mixture and stir until combined.  If it doesn't look goopy enough for your taste, mix up some more dressing.  You can also adjust the vinegar to taste. 

It's always nice to let it marinate in the fridge for a little bit, but not necessary.  I sometimes make it and just stick it in the fridge while I make the rest of dinner.

Super easy (especially if you have a food processor or shredding attachment to your mixer) and very yummy!

Cherry Pomegranate Frozen Margarita



I thought I had posted this here before but apparently not.
So ... here you go !!
The fabulous cherry margarita !

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Here's what you need ...

1 tablespoon Tequilla
1 tablespoon Triple Sec
2 tablespoons Pomegranate Juice
A handful of Frozen Fruit
Ice
Sugar, for rim

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Yeah, that's blueberries not cherries.
The cherries weren't in a box anymore.
The box looked better for the photo !

Ok ...
Here's what you do.
Put all the ingredients into a blender.
Blend.
Done.
If it's not thick enough, add more fruit.
If it's too thick, add more pom juice.

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When Rory makes mine, he rubs lime around the rim and dips it in sugar.
But, usually he's making himself a normal margarita so already has limes cut open.
When I made it the other night, I didn't want to cut a lime just for that so I just used water.

Mmmmmm ... might have one tonight ...

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