Monday, September 26, 2011

Quinoa & Lentil Salad

I made a bunch of quinoa and lentils the other day and this recipe uses up the last of my quinoa. It is really filling and great for a quick lunch, espeically since quinoa packs such a protein punch.

2 cups soaked and cooked quinoa
1 cup soaked and cooked lentils
1 1/2 to 2 cups soaked and cooked black beans
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed and thawed
1 tomato finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

For dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil, try this one
3-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
Sea salt & pepper to taste

How To:
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and lentil mixture and mix well.

This actually takes a little bit of time, at least 20 minutes due to all the chopping. But, it makes a very large batch that you could store in the refrigerator and have lunches or dinners for a week.

Soaking--Quinoa, lentils, and the black beans should all be soaked to maximize the nutritional benefits. Soak quinoa 12 hours, lentils seven hours, and black beans for 24 hours -- all in warm water with whey, or buttermilk, or lemon juice or vinegar, etc. After soaking, cook and store for future use. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Breakfast Cassarole

This is a "make-over" recipe of a favorite breakfast of my husband's that seems so unhealthy in its original form that I cannot imagine the horror one's body feels after eating it. This version improves on the original version vastly by switching out all of the processed ingredients for real food ingredients. You will not miss the junk ingredients in the least bit.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chicken and Stuffing Bake

This recipe is from my new favorite blog - the Joy of Clean Eating. I was looking for a way to use up leftover cooked chicken and found this Chicken and Stuffing Bake, which I modified only slightly.

About 0.75 to 1 pound cooked chicken (or turkey), cubed
2 cups cream of mushroom soup (NOT THE CANNED KIND, click link)
4 to 6 ounces swiss or gruyere cheese, shredded
6 slices whole grain bread, I use Ezekial brand, cubed
2 T organic butter from grass-fed cows, moo
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp salt free poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetarian)
A little olive oil (about 2 T)

First toast your cubed bread (in oven on a baking dish at 300 for 20-25 minutes or in a toaster oven, your preference). When done, you'll want to change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute celery and onion in the olive oil and butter. When onion is clear, about five minutes, add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the broth, boil, then reduce heat and simmer about a minute or two. Turn off the heat and fold in the bread cubes.

In a 9x13 dish, layer chicken then sprinkle cheese then pour the soup and then spoon the "stuffing" over top and spread evenly. Cover with foil and bake uncovered 15-20 minutes.

Comments: This serves about four to six and if you had leftover turkey or chicken and cream of mushroom soup already made and frozen in the refrigerator, this would be a super easy, super fast dish. As it is, with all the cutting and chopping I think this took me an hour to make, plus cook time, but I also made the cream of mushroom soup too. This serves four to six and we all really liked it, especially my husband. My brother in law was over and ate with us and he said he liked it too. It is a nice, warm comfort food.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Black Bean & Pork/Chicken Enchilada Cassarole with Ranchero Sauce

Looking for an excellent comfort food recipe with nourishing ingredients? Look no further. Don't let the long ingredient list keep you from trying this one. Most are the spices included to season the dish. Also, you could make your ranchero sauce in advance and freeze and then this would be a super quick and super easy meal to make.

About 1/2 pound cooked pork or chicken, diced -- use leftover if possible, and more or less than half a pound. You'll want enough for one layer
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 cups water
1 small to medium onion chopped and divided (about 1/4 cup to sprinkle)
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups broth, low-sodium organic if possible (any flavor, I used vegetable)
1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste, no added salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (about one lime juiced)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups "Mexican-style" cheese, grated (I used a chipotle cheddar I found, but use whatever you can find in your store)
10-12 corn tortillas, the small ones
Olive oil

How To:
1. Prep Chilis: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the ancho chiles and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Boil, reduce heat to low and simmer five minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Set aside.

2. Make Ranchero Sauce: Add onion to olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until soft, add garlic and salt. Cook another five minutes until lightly browned. Add broth, oregano, paste, and cumin. Cook about 5-8 minutes until thickened, stirring occassionally. Then pour entire pot into a blender, add chiles and reserved liquid. Blend until smooth (remove center piece in lid to allow steam to escape, but cover with a towel so the hot liquid does not splatter). Stir in lime juice and cayenne pepper. This is your ranchero sauce.

3. Make Cassarole: Using about 1/2 cup of the ranchero sauce, cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan and line with half the tortillas. Sprinkle on beans, chicken or pork, onions, and half the cheese. Cover with sauce, about half what you have left. Top with the remaining tortillas, the rest of the sauce, and the rest of the cheese. Cook uncovered about 15-20 minutes.

This is modified from a vegetarian dish in the October 2011 Cooking Light magazine. I added meat (for my husband) and we had this pork tenderloin to use up. I also eliminated the steps in the original recipe that made this actual enchiladas. The "cassarole-style" is much easier to make. We also served with sauteed poblano peppers on top and over short-grained brown rice and this was SO delicious.

This looks kind of complicated, and did take more time than I usually like to spend. The original recipe says 55 minutes hands on, but I think that is way over-stated and perhaps I save a lot of time with my version by not actually making enchiladas, but just layering the ingredients. I think it was 30 minutes hands on and then the 15 minutes of cooking. Also, the original recipe I followed says you can make the ranchero sauce a day or two ahead to save time (or even freeze), and that really is the part that takes up most of the time. I also keep a few containers of this ranchero sauce in my freezer for an easy dinner when we are short on time.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cinnamon & Spice Butternut Squash

For those of you that are a little nervous about trying squash, this is the recipe for you! So delicious--my six-year old LOVES this side dish.

1 butternut squash (cut off ends, slice in half, remove guts, peel, and chop into large chunks about 1 inch)
Maple syrup, grade B is great to use - a light drizzle
Raw honey, try to find a quality local source - a light drizzle
Ghee - 3 tablespoons dribbled
About 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
About 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp organic butter, try to find a quality local source, diced and sprinkled on top

How To:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, add butternut squash to a 9x11 baking dish. Drizzle maple syrup, honey, and olive oil. Dribble on the ghee. Sprinkle the cinnamon and pumpkin pie space and top with the small amount of butter. Bake uncovered about 45 to 55 minutes until soft, stirring a couple of times while cooking.

Other than the giant pain of peeling and chopping the butternut squash, this is super easy. I cannot tell you exactly how much maple syrup, honey, and olive oil to drizzle on top, but less is more. You really won't need much. Very, very tasty. If you don't have the organic butter, eliminate altogether.

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This recipe was submitted to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pan Cake with Apples

See pear variation below.

1 large apple, diced
1 T ghee (optional, if you don't have ghee or organic butter from grass-fed cows, eliminate this ingredient)
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste (optional)
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9x12 baking dish. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except apples with a hand mixer. Then add apples and stir to combine. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 to 25 min until toothpick comes out clean.

Comments: This is very easy to make and we served with turkey bacon, turkey sausage, and a little maple syrup on top. This was supposed to have pears in it (2 pears peeled and diced) but I sent my husband out to get the pears and he came back with sausage. So anyway, I had an apple on hand and made another old fashioned apple "pan cake".

Variation - I made it again this morning with two pears, diced, and I also sprinkled extra cinnamon on top as well as chopped pecans. This variation almost turns it into a dessert. It is very good.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ham & Cheddar Bread Pudding

8 slices whole grain bread with seeds, like Ezekial Genesis 1:29 Sprouted Grain and Seeds
A little butter (to grease ramekins)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese on hand)
1/3 cup diced onions (white, green, red)
3/4 cup whole milk (raw is great if you have it)
1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (homemade stock or low-sodium, organic store bought)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3 - 4 ounces cooked ham, diced (no added nitrites/nitrates, lower-sodium if possible)
3 large pasture eggs
4 tsp sour cream or greek yogurt mixed with a sprinkling of thyme and chives or other fresh herbs (optional garnish)

How To:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice bread into cubes and place onto a lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted (turning once). Alternatively, toast bread and then slice into cubes. Remove from oven and let sit to cool for a couple of minutes.

In a large bowl, combine bread, most of the cheese (reserve a small amount to sprinkle on top), onions, milk, broth, pepper, ham, and egg yolks (lightly beaten). In a small bowl, whisk eggs with a fork about 30 sec. and then gently fold into bread mixture.

Spoon one-fourth bread mixture into each of four (7 oz) ramekins coated with cooking spray (or greased otherwise). Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Top each with sour cream or greek yogurt when serving.

Comments: This recipe is a modified version of one from the September 2011 edition of Cooking Light magazine. If you have ghee or organic butter from grass fed cows, add a tablespoon to your bread mixture. Otherwise, don't worry about it. This was a great recipe to kick off fall weather, very much a comfort food. We all enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baked Cinnamon Pears

2 pears (of a softer variety), peeled, cored, and rough chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
A drizzle of pure maple syrup (about 2 tsps total)
1 T almond flour
2 T pure organic butter from grass-fed cows, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add pears to an oven safe baking dish. Drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle with diced butter, cinnamon, and almond flour. Bake covered for 15 minutes or until pears are warm and soft and butter is melted.

Comments: Very delicious! Great fall recipe. Super fast.

Terrible picture below, just pulled from the oven.

Beef Stir Fry

My husband loves it when I make this dish, which is super fast to make and tastes so very good. It is also a nice change of pace from the standard chicken fare.

One pound beef for stir frying (we like this flank steak for this recipe)
2-3 cups assorted chopped vegetables such as zucchini, onions, spinach, mushrooms, onion, pepper, baby corn, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, carrots, yellow squash, etc.
About 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice seasoning
About 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper
Soy sauce, naturally fermented, to taste (about 2-3 tbsp at least...), try this
Rice wine vinegar, about 1-2 tsp (start with less), to taste
Sesame oil
1-2 tbsp Grade B maple syrup (optional)
If you would like a thicker sauce:
1/4 cup cool broth or cool water or soy sauce (or a combination)
Abt 4 tsp arrowroot powder
**Combine in a little glass and add at the end.

How To:
1. In a saute pan (cast iron or stainless steel), over medium heat, cook beef in sesame oil until browned. Season with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and 5-spice powder. You should have a decent amount of liquid in the pan, but if not, don't worry about it. We'll add some in the following steps.

2. While the beef is cooking, chop and prep the vegetables, add them to the pan, and season with more soy sauce. If you don't have much liquid in the pan (and you would like more of a sauce), add a little beef stock (or chicken stock or water with a little more soy sauce).

3. Saute and adjust seasonings, as needed, until vegetables are crisp cooked--about 5 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup, if using, and stir to combine. If you want to thicken the sauce, slowly add the broth/arrowroot mixture (described above) and gently stir. You should notice the sauce getting a little thicker after stirring a bit.

4. Serve over rice or soba noodles.

If using bean sprouts, add at the very end, after making broth. All canned items should be rinsed before adding. Try serving over brown rice, we make two cups and usually have a little rice left over, or soba noodles. This serves 4-6 people.

This is very, very good! Easy to make other than lots of chopping going on. Probably takes about 20-30 minutes total. Super fast! Also, this is a great article from the Nourishing Gourmet that will help you select a good soy sauce.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice (or your rice preference)
3 tbsp. naturally fermented soy sauce, divided, like this one
1-2 tsp. white wine (pick one you like to drink)
3 boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock, make your own
1/8 cup rice vinegar and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar to make 1/4 cup
4 1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder, like this one
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sesame oil, like this one
1 tsp. hot chili oil, you can make your own
1 large bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 tbsp. chopped (soaked & dried) cashews

How To:
1. Make Rice, Marinade, and Sauce: Prepare rice. In the meantime, combine 1 tbsp. soy sauce and white cooking wine with the chicken and set aside at room temperature. In another bowl, combine broth, vinegar, 2 tbsp. water, arrowroot, sesame oil, and remaining 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Set aside at room temperature.

2. Cook Chicken & Combine: When rice is about 10 minutes from being done, heat sesame oil and add chicken. Cook until done. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring frequently until bell pepper begins to soften--2 to 3 minutes. Add broth-vinegar mixture and stir until sauce thickens, just a few minutes. Add cashews on top and serve over rice.

Comments: This is a really delicious dish. You can add more hot chili oil and even chili peppers if you like a spicier dish. However, with a six-year old in mind, I try to keep the heat level low. He thought it was a little spicy but still ate three helpings when I made it for dinner tonight, and he hates chicken. Ha!!

Mini Spiced Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cups turbinado sugar (or maple sugar)
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup spelt flour
2/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
the juice from one lemon
the zest from one lemon, including some for garnish

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 and line 48 mini muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl - add the sugar, buttery spread, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar and beat with a hand mixture on medium until smooth and fluffy.
  • In a medium bowl - combine flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a small bowl - combine milk and yogurt.
Beginning with the flour mixture, alternately fold flour mixture and yogurt mixture into egg mixture making three additions of flour and two additions of yogurt. Fold only until flour is smooth and just combined. (For the record, I actually dumped mine into the bowl in three sets and mixed with the hand mixer and all went well, but the instructions above are the "official" way to add the ingredients together).

Spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp batter into each cupcake liner (you'll have 48 total) and bake in center of oven for 12-14 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least an hour, but you can remove from the tin after 15 minutes.

In the meantime, in another bowl, combine the frosting ingredients, reserving a little zest to sprinkle on top. Blend together and frost cupcakes with about 1 tsp of frosting, top with zest and serve immediately.

Note - Cupcakes are best when iced just befor serving. Keep icing refrigerated and store cupcakes in a sealed container in a cool, dark place up to two days.

This recipe is modified from Clean Eating August/September 2011; however, their recipe uses 2 cups of a gluten-free flour blend, which I would have used if I would have had it on hand. Also they use maple sugar flakes instead of turbinado sugar, but I only had the sugar. I have to say, I normally wouldn't have made a dessert with so much added sugar, but was looking for a treat and I think these were really nice. The boy loved them and was very unhappy only being able to have two.

This post was shared on Tasteful TuesdaysTasty Tuesdays, and Melt in Your Mouth Mondays. I also linked this recipe to a cupcake blog carnival but accidentally forgot to copy the link here. If that is your carnival, please leave me a comment and let me know where I should link because I cannot remember, for the life of me, where it was! Ugh, so sorry.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spaghetti in a Tomato Sauce with Carmelized Onions

1 8 ounce package corn spaghetti (or alternative non-flour pasta). I like DeBoles brand.
3 T olive oil
1 small onion sliced thinly
1 package mushrooms
1/4 cup dry white wine or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 6 ounce can of tomato sauce
Pepper to taste, salt for water
About 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each of basil and oregano (to taste, add slowly)
Fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese, optional

Saute onions in olive oil until carmelized, about 15 minutes. After about ten minutes add mushrooms. When done add wine and/or chicken broth (if you don't have any wine, use all broth, or vice versa). Add can of sauce and swish the can with about 1/4 water, add. Simmer, season to taste.

In the meantime, when the mushrooms and onions are about done, start your water for the pasta. I added my spagetti to the salted water after breaking it into thirds. Prepare as per directions on package. Your sauce can simmer until the pasta is done.

When pasta is done, drain well. Serve combined with sauce, sprinkle with cheese if desired. Serves about four.

Comments: Pasta is in fact one of my favorite foods in the world and I try to enjoy it occasionally. My husband does not really care for a non-meat pasta, so it is a rare treat for me and the boy. I made this easy dish with items on hand in the house and it was very good. If you have not yet tried the corn pasta, there is really no noticeable taste difference (or texture difference) in this dish--or when served with any rich pasta sauce.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brie with Caramelized Onions and Raspberries

This is a delicious appetizer that is very quick to throw together. I try to keep brie in the house for just this recipe.

Ghee or butter
Approximately 1/2 lb brie, sliced to 1/4 inch
1 small onion, thinly sliced
About 15 raspberries
1/4 tsp ground rosemary
2 tbsp basil, chopped
Pepper to taste

Sans raspberries (it is good this way too)

How To:
1. Saute onions in ghee (or butter) over medium heat until caramelized. Stir in rosemary, basil, and pepper.

2. In the meantime, clean raspberries and pat dry. Slice brie and arrange both halves on plate.

3. Cover brie with caramelized onions, when done, and arrange raspberries on top. Serve with whole grain or flax crackers.

Comments: Quick, easy, and pretty appetizer. Very tasty treat. My dad liked this a lot (huge surprise since he's so picky)! It is really good without the raspberries too. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Zucchini Bites

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise - remove seeds and pulp, dice about half finely and discard the rest
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 small onion, red or yellow or white, diced finely
4 ounces mushrooms (half a package), diced
3 T panko bread crumbs
2 T grated parmesan cheese
About 3 T olive oil, divided as below
About 2T parsley, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease (with olive oil) an oven safe baking dish. Cut the zucchini "shells" in fourths or thirds - bite sizes. On the stove top, saute the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms over medium heat in the olive oil (2 T) about ten minutes. Add parsley (1T) and the garlic near the end and cook until very fragrant.

Turn off heat and add the vinegar, about 1 T olive oil, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Stuff into the zucchini shells and bake for about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Comments: Easy prep, makes 6 to 8 "bites" depending on the size of your zucchini.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Simple Brown Rice and Beans

2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked brown rice, I used short grain
About 1 T olive oil
1 can beans of  your choice, I used red, rinsed and drained (about 15 ounce can)
1 can Ro-tel

How To:
Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add rice, beans, and Ro-tel (I drained most, but not all, of the juices from the Ro-Tel). Cook till heated through and serve.

Comments: I read a really fabulous article by Dr. Hyman about fiber that inspired me to try to incorporte more of it in our daily lives. I was surprised to read from various sources online that women should be getting about 25+ grams a day and men even more. However, we also had football practice tonight and my husband worked late, so I wanted to make something quick and easy. I came up with this very simple dish that was so good I did not even add any other seasonings. In the can of red beans, there was 17.5 grams of fiber and the Ro-tel added 2.5 grams for 20 grams total. In the brown rice, there was about 7 grams.

My husband said he would eat it every day for lunch he enjoyed it so much and our six-year old liked it as well. It is a little spicy from the Ro-tel, but not very much. ***If you don't have Ro-Tel or don't want to use the Ro-Tel, use a can of diced tomatoes and a small can of diced chiles--this was my original intent, but I did not have the diced tomatoes in my cupboard so used the Ro-Tel instead, which turned out very vell. Anyway, you may have to add a little seasonings with the diced tomato/green chilis combination and I recommend rinsing and draining the green chilis.

The Best Breakfast Protein Shake Ever

1 serving size of Rice Protein Powder (I use Nutribiotic brand and one serving is a heaping tablespoon)
1 tbsp organic flax and borage oil (I use Barleans brand)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 tsp psyllium husks powder (I use Yerba Prima brand)
1 tbsp nut butter (I use Kettle almond butter)
About 1 cup filtered water, to desired consistency
Just under one cup (a "scant" cup) of organic frozen non-citrus fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, etc. (I use strawberries)
About half one frozen banana

Combine the above in a blender and mix at high speed. Enjoy! For added benefit take a probiotic supplement and fish oil supplement before drinking (or cod liver oil, butter oil, or etc).

Despite what you would think, this shake is really very delicious. I cannot taste the rice protein or psyllium husks. This recipe is from Dr. Hyman's Ultrametabolism book and detox box. I highly encourage you to pick up the book--it changed my life for the better and I believe there is beneficial information in this book for everyone. I am a HUGE FAN and Dr. Hyman is my nutrition hero. :)

Also, you can mix and match ingredients. Sometimes I include the psyllium husks and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I will use a different nut butter. Also, try using hemp oil in place of the flax oil (you can read about some of the benefits of hemp oil here).

With some minor prep work, this shake can be less expensive and easier to pull off than you would initially expect. Purchase fresh fruit, peel/ cut and freeze in advance and purchase the other ingredients on a staggered time frame, adding as you go (I would buy in this order - rice protein powder, flax seeds, flax oil, nut butter, and then psyllium husks based on what is important to me and what I think makes the shake taste good).

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