Monday, June 3, 2013

Healthier Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are not usually considered healthy. You use a sauce that is high in sodium & sweeteners, maybe also packed with other preservatives. These are healthier, though. Making your own sauce is much healthier & tastes so good.

1lb lean (90/10 or leaner) ground beef
1lb ground turkey
1 large can tomato puree
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
¼ onion, minced
paprika, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
4Tb low sodium Worchestershire sauce
3-4 Tb red wine vinegar
Buns or rolls

Brown meat in large saucepan. When almost fully browned, add garlic & onions. Cook for a few minutes more. Then, add in all seasonings & herbs, tomato puree, vinegar, & worchestershire sauce. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes. Spoon onto buns or rolls. Enjoy, and remember a fork. These live up to their name.

Made by my 9 year old.

Best Grilled Chicken Sandwiches Ever

With the hot weather lately, I wanted sandwiches & other lite fare this week. I don't want to use the oven, though I don't mind if we have to grill, or use the stove.

We started the week with simply awesome grilled chicken sandwiches.

I cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in have, so they wouldn't be so thick. While my husband grilled them, he brushed on an herb sauce I made. The chicken was then put on toasted buns with tomato slices, romaine lettuce, sauteed onions, and cranberry herb mayo. We had corn & grilled asparagus on the side.

There were fantastic!

Herb Sauce:
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 squirt of ginger in a tube, about 1-1½ tsp
handful fresh basil leaves
handful fresh parsley leaves
handful fresh chives
few shakes of Acai infused red wine vinegar

Put above ingredients in blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet), and puree. 
Pour into grill safe bowl and add:

½c water
juice from 1 lemon

Stir. Brush on chicken while grilling.

Cranberry Herb Mayo:
½  small jar mayo
handful dried cranberries
handful fresh chives
handful fresh basil
handful fresh parsley

Finely chop cranberries & herbs. Stir into the mayo. put in fridge until ready to use. 

Special Birthday Meal

For my birthday last month, we had a delicious meal:

Coq au Vin

Roasted asparagus, corn on the cob, and Saffron mac & cheese

Single servings of eggless Tiramisu

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vegetable Soup with Tortellini

I started by making a veggie stock, using pieces from the vegetables I cut up for yesterday's stew. I also added a piece of crystalized ginger, smashed garlic, & some fresh ground pepper. I got the stock started right after I woke up, so it had plenty of time to cook.

With a few hours until mealtime, we started chopping the veggies. My kids both helped with this one.
3 carrots, peeled
6 stalks of celery
6 baby bellas
3 cloves garlic, smashed
white onion (again, onion isn't very popular here, so a little goes a long way)

Once all of that was chopped & tossed into the pot, we added seasonings.
fresh ground black pepper
dill seed

I don't measure, but would say it was 1/4tsp - 1/2 tsp of each. Next, I strained the stock straight into the pot of veggies. Then, we covered, turn burner on low, and let it cook.

An hour later, we added a bag of frozen spinach. Put the lid back on, and let it continue to cook.

30 minutes after adding the spinach, we started another pot of water for the tortellini. We used store bought, frozen tortellini (I didn't feel like making homemade). I didn't add the tortellini to the soup, as I don't like to reheat soup with noodles in it. Instead, I added the noodles to the bowl & poured the soup on top. This soup was not a complete hit. My husband didn't like the texture of the spinach or the celery (he is very picky about cooked vegetables). My son didn't like the texture of the spinach. My daughter just didn't like the mushrooms (neither did my son or my husband). However, they all enjoyed the soup. My son was the only one who didn't finish, as he got full. My daughter and I both went back for seconds.

Guinness Beef Stew

I was planning to make beef stew for dinner. For some reason, I suddenly decided that I wanted to add Guinness to it, So, I sent my husband to the store for some Guinness, and I made Guinness beef stew for dinner.

First, I cut up the vegetables.
4 carrots, peeled
2 parsnips, peeled
4 stalks of celery, washed
4 large red potatoes, washed
6 baby bellas, washed & stem removed

I tossed all the veggies in a large pot & added seasonings.
parsley, dried
thyme, dried
pepper, fresh ground
sage, dried

Then, I diced the garlic & onion.
part of a large white onion (onions aren't the most popular ingredient here, so I don't use a lot)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed & diced

I sauteed the onion & garlic in a little butter, until just before the onion carmelized. Then, I added them to the veggies.

Next, I prepared the meat.
1/4 c flour
pepper, fresh ground to taste (you could add salt, too, but I rarely add salt to my dishes)
1 lb lean beef stew meat

Put flour & pepper in large Ziploc bag. Add meat. Shake to cover. Then, I browned the meat in a pan with some olive oil. Once it was browned, I added the meat to the pan. Next, I poured half a can of Guinness into the pan from the meat & the other half into the pot with veggies & beef. I cooked the Guinness for a few minutes to loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, then added to the veggies & beef. I then added enough water to cover all the veggies, put the lid on, and cooked on low heat for 3 1/2 - 4 hours.

It was thick, chunky, & delicious. We had biscuits with it. This was a very satisfying meal, very filling. The kids had both been wary of trying it, due to the Guinness (they assumed the Guinness would add an unappealing flavor). The Guinness, while you can tell it's there, does not negatively impact the flavor at all. My son, who does not like potatoes or parsnips, liked both of them in the stew, and ate every bite (trust me, if you knew him, you'd know that is a huge thing). My daughter and husband weren't fond of the mushrooms in it, because they have some strange thing about the texture of cooked mushrooms. Overall, though, it was a hit, and everyone loved it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Corned Beef Hash

When I was a kid, my parents fed us corned beef hash from a can. It is a strange substance that is somehow simultaneously disgusting & delicious. It looks & smells like dog food, and it is mushy & overly salty. It should nauseate you to even think of eating it. However, it is somehow also delicious and hard to say to no to. We didn't have it often, probably due to how completely unhealthy it is, so it was a special treat for us.

Well, I decided to make my own corned beef hash. I figured it has to be healthier & better tasting than the canned stuff. So, for lunch today, we had eggs, bacon, and homemade corned beef hash.

It was really quite simple to make. It just took some left-over corned beef (I used about a half a corned beef):

Some potatoes (I cheated & used a bag of frozen hash browns):

I seasoned it with fresh ground pepper, thyme, and parsley. I also sauteed some onion & sweet peppers. We picked up these bags of small sweet peppers for snacking - red, yellow, and orange - and I used one of each. Last week, I cooked some of them whole, on the grill pan, to go with the feta burgers I made. They are the perfect size for snacking, on the side of burgers & sandwiches, and for chopping when you only need small amounts of pepper. Anyway, we have picky eaters here, so the onions & peppers were separate, so only those who wanted them had them.

Lunch was delicious. As much as I love creating new recipes and making fabulous gourmet dishes, I also love the simple, homey, comfort foods, like this.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Soup

I made a soup for dinner to celebrate the Autumn Equinox. Obviously, since it was for the Equinox, I wanted it to be full of foods indicative of Autumn.

1 1/2 butternut squash - peeled & roughly chopped
1 acorn squash - peeled & roughly chopped
2 pounds fresh sausage - crumbled
1/2 white onion - chopped
2 small - medium sweet potatoes - peeled & chopped
2 cartons (26oz each) of chicken and/or vegetable stock
6-10 cups of water
fresh sage - chopped
pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp parsley

Put in stock pot, cover, and cook on low.
After 90-120 minutes, add:
3 carrots - chopped
4-5 stalks of celery - chopped

We add the carrots & celery so close to the time it is finished so they don't get overcooked.

Cover & cook for another 30 - 45 minutes. Add noodles before serving, if desired.

This was a delicious & very filling soup. I used sweet Italian sausage, which gave it a little kick. The flavors all meshed very well together. All the flavors were very suggestive of autumn. It went from being rather hot to rather cold here in the span of a week or two. So, a hot soup was a perfect meal for our Equinox celebration this evening (today's high was 59F & we have a frost advisory for tonight).