Monday, June 23, 2014

Kitchen Towel Hack

Fold the edges of the towel in to the center.

Hang the towel over the oven door handle.  Gather the front portion and rubberband.

Twist the rubberband into a figure eight.  Feed the back part of the towel through the back circle of the rubberband.

Startin with a corner, pull the front part of the towel through a napkin ring.  Position the napkin ring over the front part of the rubberband.  Tweak the towel so that it is hanging evenly with the napkin ring hiding the view of the back part of the rubberband.

Skillet Shepherd's Pie


When making this recipe, I use every burner, but it is relatively quick to make.  The mashed cauliflower topping comes from Melissa Joulwan but is doubled.  Serves 6.

Meat & Vegetable Filling:
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef (lamb is better)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • stalk of celery diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 pkg. frozen peas & carrots, cooked following pkg. directions OR steam 2 cups of thinly sliced carrots until soft and 2 cups of frozen baby peas, cooked 
  • 2 cups frozen petite whole beans broken into smaller pieces (can cook peas and beans together in same pot)
Topping:
  • 2 16 oz. pkg frozen cauliflower or 3 12 oz. bags, cooked until very soft in separate pot
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP dried chives

Cook filling vegetables according to package directions in one pot.  At the same time, cook the cauliflower in a separate pot until very soft.  While vegetables are cooking, brown ground lamb in a large skillet with onion and spices.  When browned, place meat in a colander over a bowl to drain of fat.  Drain filling vegetables and mix meat and vegetables (except cauliflower) in the skillet.

In small saucepan, heat the coconut milk, oil, garlic, chives, and salt & pepper until the oil is melted and the spices simmer for at least a minute.  Drain cauliflower and blend with coconut milk sauce until smooth using a stick blender.  Spread mashed cauliflower over the meat & vegetables in the skillet and garnish with more pepper and dried chives.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dilled Lemon Chicken and Roasted Vegetables


Chicken:
  • 2 1/2 lbs. or large package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • minced garlic to taste - up to 6 cloves or 1 T.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • Optional garnish - sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a 9x13 or larger baking dish, combine the olive oil, zest, and spices.  If desired cut the chicken thighs into two pieces where the meat is thinner.  Stir or toss the chicken in the olive oil mixture until evenly coated.  Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then add the lemon juice to the pan and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

Vegetables:
  • 3-4 red peppers cut into bite-sized pieces (Cut up as many peppers as can fit into roasting pan in a single layer)
  • 1 bunch asparagus - snap off woody ends and snap spears into bite-sized pieces OR another vegetable of your choice such as julienned zucchini or yellow squash, cauliflower florets, or snap peas (8 mins.)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Add the peppers to a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper,  toss to coat, and spread in an even layer.  Put the peppers and the chicken in the oven at the same time.  Roast the peppers for 15 minutes, then remove quickly to stir.  If using zucchini or yellow squash, add to the pan at the 15 minute mark & toss with the red peppers along with a bit more olive oil and salt & pepper if needed.  Roast the peppers for 15 minutes more, or until blackened in spots.  If using asparagus, toss with the peppers during the last 10 minutes so that the pieces will retain some crispness.

Serve the vegetables on a platter with the chicken arranged on top.  Pour the juices over all and garnish the chicken with green onion if desired.  (Or just serve it in the roasting pan!)

I derived the method of roasting the chicken from this Rachel Ray recipe.  To use chicken breasts instead of thighs, I recommend following the original recipe as far as adding some chicken broth or white wine with the lemon juice at the end.

Serve with favorite starch such as mashed cauliflower or potatoes, quinoa, rice, or couscous


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eggroll Skillet

A fellow homeschooling mom, Debra Pearson, graciously allowed me to post this crisp and flavorful recipe that she created which has become a regular in my family's meal rotation.   The recipe calls for a ground pork and ground shrimp combination, but I most often just use 1 to 1 1/2 lb. ground pork or ground turkey alone.  

Serves 6  (My ginormous wok makes the amount appear small in the photo.)

Ingredients

1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. shrimp, peeled & de-veined
1 small green cabbage, shredded finely
1 large carrot, julienned
1 stalk celery, finely chopped on the bias
1-inch of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 or 4 green onions, chopped
Coconut oil
Coconut aminos or Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Tamari
Toasted sesame oil
S&P

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp until they are of similar consistency to the ground pork. Combine the meats in a bowl until well mixed. Preheat a large skillet to med.-high and add 1 to 2 Tbsp oil. Fry the meat mixture until no longer pink, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Remove the meat to drain, wipe out the skillet, and add another Tbsp oil. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the remaining veggies and stir fry them until glossy but not limp. Return the meat to the skillet and heat through. Season with about 2 Tbsp  aminos or tamari, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, drizzle with toasted sesame oil, and serve.  


My youngest, though not a picky eater, has developed an aversion to coconut aminos.  The rest of us added the sesame oil and aminos to our individual servings, and he ate his tucked in a lettuce leaf wrapper with ketchup--more like a breadless bierock.  (His grandma gave us this single plate, and since he set the table, he chose it for himself...and this is not all that he ate!)


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pesto Turkey Burgers

 Disclaimer:  I am not a food photographer.  After making dinner for my family of six, I'm more interested in eating than lighting and staging.  However, I recently started using Pinterest as a virtual recipe box, and a picture is necessary for a pin.

A recipe for basil-zucchini turkey patties served as my inspiration, but I thought that the addition of zucchini spread the pesto flavors too thin.

Ingredients
1 cup packed fresh basil
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
olive oil to drizzle
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey 

In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients except the turkey with enough olive oil (sometimes I use some water as well) to form a coarse paste.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the pesto into the turkey by hand and form the meat into small to medium-sized burgers. I layer the patties on a plate, separating the layers with waxed paper.

Grill the burgers, or fry them in a nonstick skillet, approximately 3 minutes per side. 

Double the recipe if serving more than six.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Leon Salad

 Serves 6 as main dish salad

Ingredients:
3 heads romaine hearts, chopped, rinsed & dried
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 c. garbanzo beans
1 c. black olives, sliced
1-2 pkg. salami (I use kitchen shears to cut the layered meat in strips and then into squares.)
Optional: mozzarella cubes  

fresh lemon juice, olive oil & black pepper to taste

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to taste with black pepper if desired. 

I often make an individual serving of this salad for lunch, just eyeballing the amounts.