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So I made this last night for dinner and as always it was a HIT! My toddlers ate it!  I was really really thrilled! It’s super super easy to make and it’s made with ingredients almost everyone already has on hand! The reason I use spicy Italian sausage is because it comes already fully and incredibly well seasoned. So, you don’t need to add any more spices, just salt and pepper. Of course you CAN use mild sausage, but it won’t be as spicy and you may want to add some fennel and red pepper (optional) to kick up the flavor of the soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5-3lbs spicy Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 extra large onions, diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-5 medium carrots, diced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes + 1 28oz can water
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 quarts  (8 cups) chicken broth
  • 2 cups blackish green french or brown lentils (brown are my fav)
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

1.   In an extra large pot (6-8 quarts), add 2 tbsp of olive oil and turn your burner to medium/medium high and allow the pan to warm up.

2. If your family likes medium to large chucky bits of italian turkey sausage in their soup then just slice it into rounds and cut in half. I love taking it out of the casing and breaking it into crumbles like you would any ground meat. Removing it from the casing also disperses the spices into the  soup better, making it stronger flavored.

3. Brown your sausage chunks or crumbles until golden brown and remove from the pot and set aside.

4. Add onions, celery and carrots to pot and scrap up all the browned bits (fond) on the pan. Later add the garlic and keep cooking until garlic is       fragrant and onions and celery are translucent.

5. Once the onions, celery, carrots and garlic have become fragrant and translucent, add the diced tomatoes. water, tomato sauce, chicken broth and lentils. Bring the pot to a boil.

6. Once soup is boiling, skim off the scum that sits on the surface of the soup. Reduce your burner to medium/medium low so that the pot keeps a slow soft simmer where the bubbles are bearly breaking the surface. Leave it uncovered for 30-45 minutes, keep testing and tasting until the lentils are soft to the bite. Enjoy!

Meal Planning Ideas: Serve wtih crusty whole grain peasent bread, salad and fruit w/ creamy ricotta cheese and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

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Spicy Peanut Sauce w/ Crazy Veggie Slaw
Ingredients:
Sauce Ingredients:
¼ cup peanut butter (natural, no sugar added kind)
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
¼ cup coconut milk (lite is fine, if you prefer or substitute water or any kind of milk (dairy, soy or rice. etc)
¼ cup water
red chili flake to taste
1 clove crushed garlic
Optional Sauce additions:
sesame oil
curry paste
rice wine vinegar
fish sauce
grated ginger
shallots sauteed till brown in oil
Worcestershire sauce
Veggies for slaw:
1 large head cabbage, thingly sliced/shredded or
1 10oz pkg pre-shredded cabbage
1-½-2 cups shredded carrots ( however much you have on hand)
1-½ cup red bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin (from freezer, thaw)
½-1 cup grated zucchini
½-1 cup grated fresh broccoli stalks
Optional Additional proteins:
Left over grilled chicken, baked/marinated tofu, left over grilled salmon burger, shrimp or anything else you might have left over you need to use up.
Serve on the side: Whole grain bread, fresh sliced stone fruit/strawberries
Procedure:
For Sauce:
1. Combine all ingredients with a whisk in a small bowl or small sauce pan- save on clean up, adding the water last.
2.Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble and thicken.
3. Experiment with this sauce adding a teaspoon at a time of one the optional additions and tasting as you go. Serve hot or cold.
For Slaw:
1. Defrost sliced bell pepper from freezer under running water. Drain. Or if using fresh bell pepper slice into bite sized pieces.
2. In a separate bowl while red peppers are draining combine shredded cabbage, carrots, zucchini and broccoli stalks.
3. Once red pepper has drained cut into bit sized pieces and add to shredded veggies.
4. Add the additional proteins, if using to veggie slaw mix. If using plain firm tofu, marinade some of the tofu in the peanut sauce for about ½ an hour minimum or more.
5. Add spicy peanut sauce and mix well to cover all the veggies starting with 1 cup and slowing adding more as needed so the veggies are moisten but not drowning. Reserve remaining peanut sauce on the side incase anyone at the table wants more sauce on their salad.

This spicy peanut sauce with crazy veggie slaw is a great way to clean out your crisper,  eat more healthful cruciferous veggies, colorful vitamin packed bell peppers, carrots, and green onions. And the BEST part about this is all you need is a knife or food processor, a sauce pan a little heat melt and meld the ingredients and toss with the shredded ingredients.

Ingredients:

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4-1 cup peanut butter (natural, no sugar added kind)
  • 3 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon unsulfered molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1-1.25 cup coconut milk (light is fine, if you prefer or substitute water or any kind of milk (dairy, soy or rice. etc)
  • 1 cup water
  • red chili flake to taste
  • 3-4 clove crushed garlic

Optional Sauce additions:

sesame oil
curry paste
rice wine vinegar
fish sauce
grated ginger
shallots sauteed till brown in oil
Worcestershire sauce

Veggies for slaw:

  • 1 large head cabbage, thingly sliced/shredded or 1 10oz pkg pre-shredded cabbage (organic is best any variety green, red or napa cabbage)
  • 1-½-2 cups shredded carrots ( however much you have on hand) or half a package of pre-shredded carrots (about 3oz)
  • 1-½ cup red bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin (from freezer, thaw)
  • ½-1 cup grated zucchini
  • ½-1 cup grated/julianned fresh broccoli stalks or 1 pkg broccoli slaw
  • 2-3 green or spring onions (green and white parts), finely chopped.

Optional Additional proteins:

Left over grilled chicken, baked/marinated tofu, left over grilled salmon burger, shrimp or anything else you might have left over you need to use up.

Procedure:

For Sauce:

1. Combine all ingredients with a whisk in a small bowl or small sauce pan- save on clean up, adding the water last.

2.Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble and thicken.

3. Experiment with this sauce adding a teaspoon at a time of one the optional additions and tasting as you go. Serve hot or cold.

For Slaw:

1. Defrost sliced bell pepper from freezer under running water. Drain. Or if using fresh bell pepper slice into bite sized pieces.

2. In a separate bowl while red peppers are draining combine shredded cabbage, carrots, zucchini and broccoli stalks.

3. Once red pepper has drained cut into bit sized pieces and add to shredded veggies.

4. Add the additional proteins, if using to veggie slaw mix. If using plain firm tofu, marinade some of the tofu in the peanut sauce for about ½
an hour minimum or more.

5. Add spicy peanut sauce and mix well to cover all the veggies starting with 1 cup and slowing adding more as needed so the veggies are
moisten but not drowning. Reserve remaining peanut sauce on the side incase anyone at the table wants more sauce on their salad.

Serve on the side: Whole grain bread, fresh sliced stone fruit/strawberries

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zucchini_flower
So for the last few weeks we have been getting tons and tons of  zucchini summer squash and carrots, by the BOAT LOAD. I have not been able to keep up with the supply and now my fridge is over flowing!!!

I have so much on hand I have come to realize I cannot use it all up  before it goes bad. So I went in search of recipes and ways to preserve  this harvest so that I can use it later to make zucchini breads, muffins and casseroles during the winter months.

According to pickyourown.org there are two ways to store and or preserve  zucchini summer squash:

If you want to store/preserve grated zucchini for chocolate zucchini muffins, zucchini carrot cinnamon yogurt muffins, zucchini bread,
zucchini pancakes or anything recipe that you would use grated zucchini here’s how you would preserve it:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a steamer insert that can sit inside the pot
  2. Grate the amount of zucchini you would like to preserve. Just enough to drop into the steamer basket.
  3. Once the pot is steaming drop the zucchini into the steam basket for 1-2 minutes, until translucent.
  4. Pack the steamed and grated zucchini into containers or zipper plastic bag in the sizes that you might use most in baking ( 1-2 cup per container/bag).
  5. Cool by placing them in containers of cold ice water.
  6. Once cool, label, date, seal and freeze.

For sliced zucchini/summer squash for casseroles or simple steamed veggies as a side dish:

  1. Get a large pot of boiling water ready ( about 2/3 filled). And get a large bowl of ice and water ready to recieve the squash after blanching. To stop the cooking
  2. Wash the squash, cut it into 1/4-1/8th inch rounds and drop it into the boiling water. only slice as much zucchini/summer squash that would fit into your bowl. Zucchini/Summer squash oxidizes if its left out too long. Set your timer for 3 minutes.
  3. Once three minutes has passed using a slotted spoon grab the zucchini/summer squash and plung it into the ice water bath in the bowl.  Add more ice as needed to keep the squash cool.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3. Once you have started your next batch of zucchini/summer squash. You can do this up to 5 times for each with the same water. Refill water as needed to keep pot 2/3 full.
  5. Once the zucchini in your ice water bath as cooled your squash (about 5 minutes ) drain the squash in a strainer for 2-3 minutes to dry them as much as possible.
  6. Once the squash is thoroughly drained pack these babys in  ziploc bags or a vaccum sealer bags. For ziploc bags get as much air out as you can and seal until almost closed then using a straw to suck the remaining air out and then seal closed.

Zucchini Carrot Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins

I was inspired by about.com’s Zucchini Muffins I created my own whole grain, low fat intesly delish muffins perfect for breakfast, lunch or
dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup organic coconut oil or grassfed butter or organic applesauce
  • 2 large pasture raised/free range organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp  vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat organic pastry flour or
    KA’s organic white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Topping:
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp organic sugar

Preparation:

1. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups. Heat oven to 375°.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the oil with eggs, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla extract.

3. Combine the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and  cinnamon; add to the wet ingredients; stirring until blended. Fold in the shredded
zucchini,  carrots and nuts.

4. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or granulated sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12.

Thanks for stopping by to get more tips join us at Tammy’s Recipe’s , Tempt my tummy tuesday !

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greenmpm

Well its been a long long long time since I have participated in menu plan Mondays, but I’m getting back on track and so here is the list of what we have coming up with week plus an excellent recipe for a simple cold gazpacho clean out the fridge soup! And the best part is you just need a blender ( stick or regular) and a knife! Since I have TWO toddlers now my menus have had to simplify A LOT.

So here’s this week’s menu:

Breakfast

  • organic oatmeal w/ dried fruit (dried organinc cranberries, blueberries, raisins or cherries)  & hard boiled egg
  • organic whole grain pancakes with fruit, maple syrup and or yogurt
  • toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with milk
  • poached eggs w/ sprouted grain toasted bread & grass feed butter & fresh sliced fruit
  • mixed left over veggie fritatia w/ herbed feta cheese, sprouted whole grain bread and fruit
  • carrot zucchini yogurt muffins, fruit and morning star sausage patties

Lunch:

  • Dried organic ravioli w/ organic vodka tomato sauce w/ grated pecorino and steamed veggies
  • Gazpacho clean out the fridge soup, crackers/bread , cheese & fruit
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwitches, carrot sticks and apple sauce
  • fingerfood feast (bite sized fruits, veggies and cheese w/ crackers or bread
  • wild salmon or turkey burgers (from freezer), sprouted grain whole wheat buns w/ cucumber sticks and fresh sliced fruit
  • leftover’s

Dinner:

Desserts/Snacks:

  • homemade strawberry yogurt
  • popcorn and mixed nuts
  • string cheese and fruit

Gazpacho  clean out the fridge w/ white beans  soup

Equipment:

  • Hand held blender or regular blender
  • kitchen knife for slicing and dicing
  • clean cutting board

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced/smashed
  • 1 onion, coursley chopped
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • 1-2 green bell peppers
  • 1 28oz can crushed or diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 sliced zucchini or summer squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (organic extra virgin is best)
  • 1/4 cup organic balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 bunches fresh parsley or basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12oz v8 tomato juice
  • 8oz beef or veggie broth
  • 1  14.5oz can white or black beans (optional) or equal amount dried beans, soaked and cooked.

Method/Directions:

  1. Slice and diced all veggies if you have not already done so.
  2. Toss all veggies, paprika, vinegar, v8 juice, beef broth in a tall soup pot, extra large bowl or into your blender’s container.
  3. Puree until desired texture is achieved.
  4. If using beans for added protien drain and rinse beans and toss into soup
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

For more great meal ideas visit Organized Junkies site

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Slow Cooker Thursday

Ingredients:

  • 2.5- 3lbs beef chuck pot roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 medium carrots, halved, quartered and cut into 1″ dice pieces
  • 3-4 small onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp All-purpose flour (AP flour)
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 2 C. dry red wine**
  • 1 can (28oz)Crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 3 springs of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes,peeled*, cut into 1″ dice/chunks
  • 2 handfuls of green beans

Method:

  1. This soup was originally created in a heavy bottomed non-reactive 8 quart pot. A 6 quart pot should be sufficient though. If you have a stovetop safe metal crockpot insert you can use that instead.
  2. Cut the large chuck pot roast into 1-inch pieces, trim any extra thick areas of fat that may be on the beef pieces. Season well with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss to coat all 4 sides of the cubed beef pieces.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high. At first, the beef will give off some liquid, but once it evaporates the beef will start to brown. Cook turning the beef will start to brown.
  4. Cook turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly brown as possible, about 5-6 minutes after the water has boiled off. If the pan starts to get too brown at any point, just turn down the heat a little.
  5. Scoop the beef out of the beef and brown the remaining beef the same way using the remaining butter and olive oil. You may need to do this in 2 to 3 batches at a time. Set cooked beef onto a separate plate or hard sided container to cool
  6. Store the cooked, cooled beef in a hard sided container w/ lid. Once its filled with all of the cooled beef, seal it and place it in the refrigerator.
  7. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook them until they have softened. The liquid they extract should bring up most the yummy brown bits left in the pan from the beef. Add the AP flour to the pan and keep cooking and stiring until you don’t see it any more.
  8. Once the onions and carrots have softened, add the canned diced tomatoes and broth, bring it to a boil. Scraping with a wooden spoon as you go to bring up the remaining browned bits in the pan.
  9. Allow this soup mixture to cool so that it is easy to handle and if your crockpot has a ceramic insert, fill it up using a soup ladel.
  10. Once filled the crock insert, cover it with the lid and clean the soup pot you are done for the night! Put the beef container and crock insert in your fridge, until the next day or when you are ready to cook it.
  11. On cooking day put the stoneware crock inside the crock pot appliance; add the beef and remaining ingredients except the potatoes and green beans as listed into the crock insert and cover it with the lid. Put it on your counter and plug it in; put the cook setting on low and if you have a timer set it for 6-8 hours.
  12. Come back in 6 hours and check the meat..if it is tender enough to shred with two forks, then dice the potatoes and add them in, if not cook for another hour or up to 2 hours more total until the meat is tender; then add the potatoes.
  13. Allow the stew to cook on low for another hour and check them..if they are fork tender add the fresh green beans and allow it to warm through just until it turns bright green and open the crock and make sure it is still tender crisp when you break the bean in half.
  14. Once the green beans are cooked through unplug the appliance, using hot pads or mitts remove the inner crock and let it rest on a heat safe surface.

I did not specify times because every crock pot is different so make adjustments as needed. Also add liquids if needed too. Please be sure to use at least a 5.5-6 quart crock pot or divide the recipe in half if you have a smaller crock pot.

Sandra at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Slow Cooker Thursdays. Go on over for more recipes or to add your own.

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green menu planning mondays

Welcome to the chicken edition of menu plan Mondays! We have chicken coming out of our ears this week!

Breakfast:

Kale and Feta Fritatta
homemade instant oatmeal packets (maple & brown sugar/Blueberries & cream)
Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich
Whole Grain Pancakes w/ mixed berries

Lunch:

Roasted Chicken Salad w/ whole grain roll and strawberries w/ greek yogurt
Grilled Salmon Burgers, Carrot Cumin Chips, sliced mixed fruit w/ greek yogurt
Chicken Salad Sandwich with Roasted tomato garlic soup and cucumber spears
Spinach and Cheese Sandwich with roasted garlic tomato soup and carrot cumin chip
Roasted Chicken with spicy spinach pesto pasta salad w/ mixed sliced fruit

Dinner:

Roasted Chicken w/ roasted mixed veggies, steamed brown rice
Panko Breaded Fish w/garlicky green beans and mushrooms w/ rosemary, steamed brown rice
Chicken Veggie Soup, whole wheat roll, spinach salad, sliced oranges
leftover roasted chicken, braised bok choy w/ garlic & soy, smashed cheesy roasted turnips, sliced oranges
Flatbread pizza, strawberry spinach salad w/ balsamic vinegrette
Grilled salmon burgers on whole wheat rolls, saute’ spinach and garlic, fruit

Desserts/Snacks:
frozen cherry chocolate chip walnut yogurt
nutty oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
homemade strawberry yogurt
popcorn and mixed nuts
string cheese and fruit

For more great meal ideas visit Organized Junkies site

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Garlicky green beans are an easy and healthy side dish to make!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12oz frozen or 3/4 lb of fresh organic green beans
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 clove of garlic, minced or grated, divded
  • 6oz pkg whole organic crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp dried and crushed or one whole fresh sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Prepare the green beans by steaming or defrosting frozen..See note1 below on preparation methods
  2. Add olive oil to a medium or large skillet (depending on how many green beans you are using); heat oil until shimmering but not smoking in the pan.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and one clove of garlic; saute’ until lightly golden brown.
  4. Add green beans, crushed dried or fresh chopped rosemary leaves, salt and remaining garlic and heat until just warmed through.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note 1:

For fresh green beans:

If you are using fresh green beans de-string them, wash and gently steam them until they are just turning bright green and plunge them into a bowl of cold water with ice cubes (aka ice water bath) to stop the cooking. Once beans are cool, drain water and set aside.

For frozen green beans:

Gently rinse the beans in cold water to defrost, drain water and set aside.

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