Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jambalaya, Cheapified

I'm not sure if you can call it Jambalaya without any seafood and with only one type of meat, but I'm sticking to the title anyway. Feel free to add ham and shrimp to the recipe, I just wanted a cheap and simple version so I messed with the recipe I got from Mal. It turned out really well though and doesn't taste like most other things I make, so it will probably be in our regular recipe rotation now.

1/2 lb kielbasa sausage
1 onion
1/2 cup celery
1 green pepper
3 cloves garlic
28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
black pepper and red pepper to taste

Chop sausage, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic. Saute sausage for a few minutes and then add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic. Saute another few minutes, stirring. Feel free to add more butter or oil if it's dry. Dump into a buttered 9x13 casserole dish. Using the same saute pan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 minutes. Pour over sausage and vegetables in the casserole dish and stir until combined. Cover with foil and bake at 350' for an hour or until rice is cooked.

Note: Feel free to substitute whatever aromatic vegetables you have on hand for the mirepoix (I used carrots instead of the celery in the pictured meal). I've gotten pretty cavalier with my mirepoix lately and it's always fine. Also, if you want to add more meat, add ham at the beginning with the sausage and shrimp about 10 minutes before the rice is done - or you can cook the shrimp separately and add it once it's out of the oven. Thanks SC via Mal!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

4 cups broccoli
1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic (or less)
1 TB chervil (may sub parsley)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
4-5 cups milk
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup flour (whole wheat ok)
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp mace
Parmesan cheese for garnish (opt.)

Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Discard hard stem pieces. Peel any other stem pieces you include. Steam broccoli for 15 minutes, or until starting to soften. In a skillet, melt half of the butter and add the garlic to saute. Add broccoli and chervil and cover to cook for 10 minutes or until very soft. While cooking, add egg yolk to 2 cups of the milk. Melt remaining butter in a sauce pan and add flour. Mix well and add the egg/milk mixture slowly. Add cardamom, mace and white pepper and continue to stir until thick. When broccoli is soft, mash it in the skillet until well crushed. Add broccoli to the saucepan and stir. Add milk until soup is the desired consistency. Once heated thru, serve with grated Parmesan cheese as a garnish. Note: I've made this recipe with half asparagus, half broccoli and it works well if the asparagus are chopped small. Otherwise, there are long stringy nasties in the soup.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This is one of my new go-to dishes because I always have these ingredients on hand and it's not too hard to put together. I'm still working on a good whole wheat pastry crust. For now, I'm just subbing whole wheat and butter in for my regular pie crust recipe and it tastes good even if it's not remotely 'flaky'.

9 inch pie crust
2 TB butter (or more)
1 onion, diced
3-4 cups raw spinach
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
4 eggs
1/4 cup yogurt
pinch nutmeg
few leaves fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375'. Butter a pie pan and line it with the pie crust. Spread cheeses out on pie crust. Saute onion in butter until almost translucent. Add the spinach and saute until cooked. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the yogurt and seasonings until well mixed. Dump the spinach and onion mixture into the pie crust on top of the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over it and put in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, or until set.

Note: you can pretty much substitute everything in this recipe with other ingredients. Use any cooked vegetable that sounds good to you instead of the spinach. I would suggest no more than 2 cups of whatever you use. Cauliflower actually works really well. You can also sub out different cheeses. I suggest making sure whatever you use will melt well though. You can sub sour cream or cottage cheese for the yogurt. And feel free to use whatever fresh herb you have an excess of. Below is pictured from left to right: spinach sundried tomato, spinach Parmesan, and mushroom Gruy√®re.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hummus and Whole Wheat Naan

I've been making hummus and naan a lot lately. It's such an easy solution for lunch because I can make everything ahead of time and it lasts well in the fridge. I usually serve it with cucumbers, tomatoes, and kalamata olives.

3 cups garbanzo beans
2 1/2 TB tahini
1/2-1 tsp salt
2+ cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
juice of 2 small lemons (or less)
1 cup olive oil (or more)

Combine all but olive oil in food processor and turn on for a few seconds to mix. Drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream until it's to the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings as desired (garlic, salt, tahini, lemon juice or cumin). Everyone has their favorite flavor combo and honestly it's never the same twice when I make it. It's just whatever you're in the mood for. After you've made it a few times, you'll recognize when it's the tahini flavor you're missing or if you need more lemon.

Note: you may use canned garbanzo beans but I usually soak mine the day before in water and cook them overnight in a crockpot so they're ready for lunch. Cooked beans freeze well too so you can do a big batch all at once. Also, tahini is sesame seed butter. You can find it in most grocery stores in the ethnic food section. I'm going to try to make my own once this jar runs out. I'll keep you posted if it works out.

Whole Wheat Naan
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup yogurt
1/2-1 cup filtered water
2 TB olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

Combine flour, yogurt, water, olive oil and honey in a big bowl. If it's too dry to mix well, feel free to add a little more water. Let sit overnight, covered. The next morning, mix in yeast, baking powder, salt and any additional water if necessary to make the dough workable. Let rise for 2 hours (I don't really knead it other than mixing in the ingredients). Form into 8 balls of dough. Preheat a large skillet over med-high heat while you roll out the first dough ball. It doesn't have to be round or pretty. Just roll it out. Grease the pan if necessary with coconut oil or butter and put the dough in the pan. Cover with a lid until the naan starts to bubble, or about 2 minutes. Flip it and cook the other side, uncovered. Meanwhile, roll another dough ball out so it's ready to go when the first one is done. Continue until they're all cooked. Serve warm. Note: I use hard white wheat for these. You can also skip the soaking step by putting all the ingredients together and letting rise for 2 hours before rolling out and cooking.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Black Bean Brownies

I found this recipe online last week and now I can't stop making brownies. It's a problem. They're delicious. And they're even pretty healthy. Seriously. Just try the recipe. They're not just yummy for health food. They're actually really good.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garbanzo Beans with Swiss Chard

I was looking for something new to do with Chard and found this recipe. I was surprised at how well the flavor combo worked. Next time I make it, I'll either roast the beans at least 2 hours in the oven or do them ahead and let them meld overnight. They were just starting to take on the flavor of the oil by the end of the 45 minutes. But I was hungry so we ate. Definitely a keeper though - and cheap to make.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Zucchini is starting to show up in my csa bag, so omelets are on the menu. My dad always makes them really thin - like egg tortillas. I love them this way.

5 eggs, well beaten
breakfast meat (bacon, sausage, ham etc.)
veggie (zucchini, sauteed spinach, peppers, mushrooms, etc.)
onion (green onions, red onions, etc.)
cheese (cheddar, chevre, etc.)
salt and pepper

Chop all fillings. The fillings listed are just to give you some ideas. Use as many or as few as you'd like. One of my favorite combos is bacon, zucchini, green onion, and cheddar. I like to saute the veggies before they go in the omelet as my omelets don't cook very long. If I'm using red or yellow onions, I will saute them with the veggies so they're nice and soft.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt about a tsp of butter in the pan and pour about 3/4 of an egg worth of beaten egg into the pan. Immediately pick up the pan and 'swish' the egg around so it coats the bottom (and up the sides a little bit) of the pan. Pour out any egg that doesn't quickly 'set' or continue to swivel the pan around until it all gets absorbed. Put pan back down on burner and sprinkle cheese in a straight line from one side of the pan to the other. Sprinkle remaining toppings. You probably don't want more than 1/3 cup of toppings per omelet or they may be too big.

When the omelet seems done (once the cheese is melted usually - it may only be 30 seconds or so if your pan is really hot), use a spatula to help peel up one corner of the egg. Pull it over the filling with your hand, using the spatula to help encourage the egg to come up off the pan. Note: this is a quick movement - don't get burned. Once half of the egg has been folded over the toppings, move the pan over a plate and use the spatula to finish rolling the omelet over and onto the plate. Repeat until you've used up all your ingredients or your eggs are gone. Serve hot with toast and juice.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Easy Guacamole

Yup, that's the Monkey's chubby little hand going in for more guac. She can't get enough of the stuff. I like my guacamole to taste like avocados so I make the super simple version.

1 really large avocado
juice of half a lemon

Yup. That's it. Scoop out the avocado from the skin. Squeeze lemon juice over it. Mash well with a fork. Add salt to taste, adjusting as necessary depending on how salty your chips are. Add more lemon juice if you feel like it. Eat with chips.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dehydrated Strawberries

I've been having fun with my dehydrator lately. These are some strawberries I did this week. They really shrink down a lot. I've done about 3 batches worth now and still only have about 1 1/2 quart mason jars filled.

They are really yummy though. I'm surprised how much flavor gets packed in. I think these will be fantastic come December when strawberry season is long gone. It's just hard not to eat them all immediately.

I just washed the berries, cut the tops off and sliced them onto the drying racks. Nothing added. You have to pay extra for that if you buy them at a store. It boggles the mind.

mmmm Bacon