Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Batch Cooking

It took a little longer then expected but I have healthy, homemade, frozen, easy to access food in my freezer again. I made a batch of marinara, chili and vegetable soup. 

I used our recipes that DH and I had created on the marinara and chili. The Chili Recipe turned out awesome. The jalapenos and anaheim peppers were spicy and made the chili more flavorful then usual. I substituted chicken broth for the beer in that recipe and left more seeds and ribs in the peppers.

The red sauce recipe I had made a few years ago was good, but I guess my tastes have changed some. I spiced it up with more oregano, pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and omitted the meat in my original recipe.

The vegetable soup is my latest, soup-er easy recipe. I love making soup, and eating soup, and now freezing soup. It is my ultimate comfort food.  The recipe I made up is basic, so depending on how I feel, I can toss in some cooked chicken, or a hand full of noodles or more veggies.

Vegetable Soup
4 carrots sliced into medallions
4 ribs of celery sliced into soup style pieces
1 onion diced
4-5 cups of broth (or water with bullion)

Heat a stock pan, spray with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add carrots, celery and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes.  

You dont want the veggies over cooked because when you freeze them, and re-heat the soup they will be even softer. 

Cool soup and freeze in baggies. 

Re-heating all of these dishes is simple. I put the baggy in the microwave on defrost for a couple of minutes, then break the food up into piece in a pan, cover with a lid and heat on low. When I want to add noodles to the soup, I toss an handful in while defrosting the soup. They are usually done all at the same time. Pretty simple and convenient. 

One recipe I didn't have time to make was homemade tomato soup. DH isn't a big fan of tomato soup, and  I have acid issues, so I didn't prioritize making it this time. It is very tasty though and great with noodles as well.

Tomato Soup
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of water
1-2 tsp. onion powder
1-2 tsp. of basil

Put all ingredients in a stock pan, warm through. 

You can add more seasonings if desired, I also use 1-2 tsp. of tomato bullion is I think the soup needs more flavor.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's a Veggie Tale

Well it all started with a few meat free meals a week here at home. Now it seems we are a few meat included meal kind of house hold. I guess healthy eating is contagious. I haven't posted any recipes for a while, but I have been having a great time cooking lately. I have been using the grocery sales to determine what I will cook. 2 weeks ago there was eggplant and bok choy on sale. I found a great healthy eggplant parm to make and a bok choy with glazed tofu recipe.


Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy

They were so delicious that I put both recipes on repeat and made them for dinner the next week too. I was also busy making "sun"dried tomatoes out of 5 pounds of sweet, red, summer tomatoes. To finish off the week I finally made chicken curry. DH and I have wanted to try curry for ages. I had some at an event downtown a few weeks ago and told myself it was time to make it at home. It was sooo good and will be a re-peat-able meal for our house.

This week I am heading towards more new recipes. For DH's lunch I made Fake Bacon BLT's. They are made with tofu that you crisp and smoke like bacon, lettuce, juicy tomatoes, olive oil mayo and toast, DELICIOUS! DH raved about how great his sandwich was. On the agenda for the rest of the week I have Mexican squash, a giant zucchini I picked up from the farmers market on Saturday and I am planning on making a large batch of chili to freeze. I love having homemade food just a defrost away. Then on the days I cant cook, we don't have to sacrifice health.

I didn't create my new favorite recipes, so I am giving props to the people who did. I did make a few adjustments on the recipes but not many. I only cut back on the oil and cheeses to make things a bit healthier. The curry recipe uses a fattier piece of chicken, I am not down with that so I used boneless, skinless, chicken breast instead.

Glazed Tofu with Bok Choy

Eggplant Parmesan

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rosemary Lime Tequila Chicken

This is my new favorite way to have chicken. I have my concerns with chicken. 1st of all I never want it to be under cooked and 2nd of all it can be so bland pan fried. This recipe eliminates both of those problems. You brown it in the pan but braise it the rest of the way through which makes it tender and OH SO flavorful.

Rosemary Lime Tequila Chicken

2 Chicken Breast
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 lime juice or 
1/8 cup lime juice with 1/8 cup tequila
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
Salt and Pepper

 Pound the chicken breast flat, to about 1/4 inch. Salt and Pepper the chicken.

Pre-heat your pan on medium heat, spray with non-stick cooking spray and add chicken. 

Brown both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. 

Mean while, measure your broth and tequila (if using) and squeeze your lime juice.

Once the chicken is browned, add the liquid and rosemary. Simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed. 

You'll end up with a flavorful glaze on the chicken. Don't cook past this point.

Side Dish Time
In trying to keep the house cooler, I decided to create a dish with microwaved potatoes. Some time ago, I was wondering about potatoes. I didn't know if I peeled the spud, how it would bake. So I had made naked (skin peeled) baked potatoes in the oven. The potatoes make their own skin when you cook them. It is actually kind of neat. The reason behind all of this is that when my Dad brings me potatoes from the farm, they are really dirty. Sometimes I cant get all the dirt off of them without scrubbing off the skin. So figuring out a way to cook them with removing some of the skin really helps. This was part of my inspiration for this recipe.

Striped Potatoes
2 baking potatoes
Your favorite mashed potato ingredients (I used garlic powder, salt and pepper, a bit of soy milk and a bit of sour cream)

Wash and peel out strips in the potatoes.

Microwave potatoes until cooked. The potatoes I used where pretty big, so I cooked them for 6 minutes, turning over once. 

Let the potatoes cool so you can touch them then slice them length wise.

Scoop out the center of the potatoes into a bowl.

Make your mashed potatoes.

Return the filling to the hollowed potato "skin".  I used a sandwich bag that I cut the corner off of to pipe in the mashed potatoes. It's a fun way to fill them and they turn out pretty.

After they are filled you have a few options. You can top them with cheese and melt it.  I sprinkled paprika on them.

Ta-da! You have a tasty, pretty darn easy chicken and potato dinner. 


So I got a little thirsty while cooking and decided to make a mojito for myself. They are such a refreshing summer drink!

Virgin Mojito

Mint leaves
Lime juice
Sugar or sugar substitute
Club Soda

Put mint leaves in a glass.

Sprinkle sugar over top.

  Squirt lime juice over top and muddle.

Add ice and club soda. Give it a good stir and enjoy! I did :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baked Tofu

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love baked tofu. I actually crave it! Tofu is like cheese, but instead of being made from animal milk it is made from soy milk. 

DH and I both really like tofu and it is a great source of protein. I try to keep some in the fridge ready for snaking. DH likes it after a work out as a protein boost and I like it as a protein replacement. 

Here's how I make baked tofu.

1 brick of tofu
Soy Sauce
Garlic Powder

Open tofu package and slice into pieces as shown.

Put slices of tofu on a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Put another layer of towels over top. 

Add weight to the tofu and let the water press out for an hour or so.

Remove the weight and top layer of paper towels from the tofu and drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.

I slice the pieces in half again, then put on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Then bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turn over tofu and bake for 15 more minutes. 

The result is tasty tofu treats. These are delicious plain, or dipped in marinara or hummus. 

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Inspired by my local market having Roma tomatoes on sale for 3 pounds for 99 cents, I made the equivalent of Sun Dried Tomatoes. These are oven dried tomatoes and they are wonderful. 

A few pound of tomatoes
A bit of Kosher Salt

Wash and dry your tomatoes.

Slice the tomatoes in quarters in as even sized slices as you can. Remove and stems and hard cores. Sprinkle them with a tiny bit of salt. 1 teaspoon per 2 pounds. You dont want them salty, the salt helps a draw the moisture out of the fruit.

Put the slices of tomatoes on a baking sheet covered with paper towels.

Let them rest and dry on the towels for an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place tomatoes on baking sheets with plenty of room between them.
Bake them for 3-4  hours. Keep and eye on them and when they are curling at the edges and feeling dry to the touch, they are done.

Let them cool and then store in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a month.

These are so delicious. They taste like sweet tomato fruit leather. DH and I use them in pasta, on pizza and to snack on. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Bountiful Basket Experience

While visiting my parents in Idaho this past weekend I was able to experience the joy of Bountiful Baskets. What a lovely experience it was. Being such a produce lover I was exhilarated with the bounty of fruits and vegetables. In one of the baskets my Mom bought there were a couple of pounds of tomatillos, cilantro and peppers and I was truly inspired to create a salsa from these ingredients. Here is the recipe I made.

Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa

  • 2 pound tomatillos, husked and halved
  • 1 white onion, peeled, sliced, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-2 jalapenos, sliced in half and de-seeded
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeƱo's on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. 
Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicago Seven

Last weekend we were craving pizza. Out of no where DH says "lets make a Chicago Seven Pizza". We Googled the ingredient list and ran to the market for the supplies we didn't have. I have to tell you, it was the most delicious  pizza I have had in a long time. I have been eating mainly a veggie and fish diet since my 30 days of stomach flu, so it was likely the meat and veggie combination that made it taste so great to me. 

1 pizza dough
Pizza sauce (we used a quick homemade sauce)
Mozzarella Cheese
Mushrooms - sliced
Red Onions - thinly sliced
Red Peppers - thinly sliced
Black Olives
Sausage (we used lean turkey burger seasoned like sausage with steak seasoning : fennel, peppers, etc. DH is great at compromising with me on fatty food. Our sausage was turkey burger but we used regular pepperoni.)

Roll the dough out and fit it to the pizza pan.

Cook the faux sausage in a pan.

Prepare your pizza sauce.

Clean and slice all the veggies.

Put a thin layer of sauce on the pizza dough.

Sprinkle mozzarella on to the sauce. Putting it here it acts like a glue for the ingredients.

Put on pepperoni slices.

Add sausage pieces and black olives.

Put a layer of red onions on the pizza.

Then add sliced mushrooms...

And sliced red peppers.

Bake at 425 degrees until toppings are cooked and the cheese is melted, typically 12-17 minutes.


The result is a delicious, steaming hot Chicago Seven Pizza!  This recipe will definitely be a repeat in our house :)