Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chorizo Salad

Maybe you can tell, I bought Choriza this week and we have been using it in a variety of delicious ways! I found a great Spanish imported Chorizo with no MSG, nitrates or artificial anything. And it tastes great, so a little bit can go a long way.

Serves 2
mixed greens
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup black beans, cooked
2 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 pound of Chorizo, diced and cooked
1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa
tortilla chips - optional

Throw it all together for a delicious salad, top with salsa instead of dressing. Crumble some tortilla chips on top if you want a little more crunch!

Butternut, Black Bean, Chorizo Tacos

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Serves 2-4
1 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded (or other winter squash)
1 red bell pepper, roasted
1 or 1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked (Tip: save money and avoid potential BPA in cans, use dried beans)
  - cooking dried beans -
1/4 pound Chorizo, cooked and diced or crumbled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (Tip: use the stems of cilantro too, they also have great flavor!)
2 Tb lime juice (fresh or from concentrate)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
corn tortillas
shredded cheese - optional

1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, seed and bake squash in a glass baking dish with 1 inch of water at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Till very soft.
Let squash cool. Then scoop it out of the skin.
2.  In a large sauce pan, mash the squash, then add other ingredients up to tortillas and mix together. Warm ingredients together on the stove.
3.  Serve squash, bean, Chorizo mixture in warmed tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and salsa. Add more cilantro and another splash of lime if desired.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coconut Curry Shrimp over Greens

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free
Serves 4 - 5
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 inch of ginger root, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
2 tsp red curry paste (dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water) - more or less depending on spice preference
1 16 oz can of coconut milk
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 regular potato, chopped (peel if desired)
2 medium carrots, chopped
6 to 8 oz. shrimp, pre-cooked
1/4 cup dried coconut, shredded or chipped
fresh greens
fresh lime for juice (optional)

1.  In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil till translucent, add ginger, garlic, black and red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add curry paste, coconut milk and potatoes. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, till potatoes are soft. Then add carrots, simmer for about 10 more minutes (so carrots are still a bit crunchy). Add shrimp and simmer till warm. Add coconut and stir.
3.  Serve over fresh greens. Sprinkle with lime juice if desired.

Tilapia with Chorizo Topping

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Serves 2
2 Tilapia fillets
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 T. olive oil
1/8 or 1/4 pound Chorizo sausage, cooked and chopped
(I used a precooked variety of Chorizo, natural with no MSG or nitrates)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (divided in half)
1/8 cup lime juice
6-8 green olives

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Place fish in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and ground pepper then add all other ingredients (only 1/2 of the cilantro) to the top of the fish.
3.  Bake for 10-15 minutes till fish is fully cooked.
4.  Serve with remaining fresh cilantro

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fruit and Granola Crisp

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

1 1/2 - 2 cups homemade granola
5 cups fresh fruit (ex: raspberries, blueberries and rhubarb or apples and pears)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 to 1 cup cane juice crystals or sucanut (depending on sweetness of fruit and your sweetness liking)
1 T corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot

1.  Mix together: fruit, cinnamon, sweetener, and starch
2.  Spread fruit mixture on the bottom of a pie pan and top with granola
3.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Fruit should bubble and granola lightly browned when done.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5 Day Meal Plan - Mediterranean Taste

When you plan meals for the week consider meals that go well with one another so you can use up ingredients and even use leftovers with the next meal. Below is a sample meal plan with notes for use.

5 Day Meal Plan
Monday - Butternut Squash, Carrot and Apricot Stew
Serve with rice. 1/4 cup uncooked rice per serving.
If you make the whole recipe, you may have leftovers. Use the leftovers for lunch during the week.

Tuesday - Red Lentil Soup and Fresh Veggie Salad
Prepare Garbanzo Beans for Wednesday's dinner (Cook 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans to be used for hummus and Thursday's salad. Dried Bean Cooking Directions.)

Wednesday - Hummus Wraps
If there is leftover Lentil soup it will go well with the wraps. Save about 1/2 of the hummus for Friday's Hummus Pizza.

Thursday - Mediterranean Chicken Salad 
Cook an extra chicken breast and use it shredded up on the Hummus Pizza. Use up your veggies...saving enough to top your hummus pizza on Friday.

Friday - Hummus Pizza
Use leftover chicken from Thursday for a pizza topping. Make sure to start the crust early. It needs to rise for an hour to an hour and a half.

Below is a grocery/ pantry check list for the needed ingredients:
Pantry/ Refrigerator/ Spice Rack  Staples (I usually have these ingredients on hand)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cinnamon
  • allspice
  • cumin
  • crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • saffron (look for it in a spice shop or Trader Joes)
  • red lentils (2 1/2 cup)
  • rice (1 - 2 cups)
  • dried garbanzo beans (1 cup) 
Canned Goods/Dried/Pantry Items
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots or prunes
  • 8 - 10 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • Greek olives*
  • tortillas or flat bread (for wraps)
  • ready made pizza crust or: 2 T active dry yeast and 2.5 to 3 c. whole wheat flour for making your own crust
  • 1 head or Romain lettuce
  • 12 oz spinach
  • 3-4 yellow onions (4 if you want onion on your hummus pizza)
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 bag/ bunch of carrots
  • 1 lime for fresh juice (or bottled lime juice)
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • I zucchini or eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper*
Dairy and Meat
  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • feta cheese 

* optional ingredients

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

ingredients: specific amounts vary depending on how much salad you want to make
Romain lettuce
carrots, cleaned and chopped
garbanzo beans, cooked 
Greek olives (if desired)
feta cheese (if desired)
1/2 chicken breast per serving
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
dressing: equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar

1.  Cut chicken into small pieces. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes till meat is cooked. Add seasonings to meat.
2.  Prepare salad vegetables.
3.  Serve salad with desired amounts of veggies, top each salad with chicken, olives, feta  and dressing

Hummus Wraps

Simple and tasty dinner, not a lot of time in the kitchen.

flour/corn tortillas, or flat bread
hummus (recipe to make your own)
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, sliced or diced
feta cheese (if desired)
greek olives (if desired)

Spread hummus thinly over tortilla or flat bread, then simply add the other ingredients to make a delicious wrap.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Butternut Squash, Carrot and Apricot Khoresh (Stew)

Inspired by and adapted from: Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen 

"You can crock pot it!"

Serves 6-8
1 T coconut oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 T freshly grated ginger

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup water or broth
1/2 cup soaked red lentils (optional)
6 chicken legs or thighs (optional)

1/2 cup dried apricots (you may substitute prunes and/or whole pitted dates)
4-5 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 tsp saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
garnish with fresh celery tops, cilantro or parsley

Heat coconut oil in a pan. Saute onions in oil for 5 minutes. Add butternut squash, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Add chicken and/or lentils, squash, water or broth. Bring to a simmer. (If cooking in crock pot...then add the spice mix, protein, squash and liquid to the crock pot and turn on high. Add remaining ingredients and cook about 4 hours on high till done!)  If not using crock pot continue with instructions:

Add apricots, carrots, lime and saffron. Simmer 30-40 minutes till chicken is cooked, squash is tender and flavors are combined.

Serve with white or brown Basmati rice if desired.

Baked Leg of Lamb

from: Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen 

A delicious celebratory meal! Sunday was Mother's Day and Ezra's dedication service at church...what a day for celebration! And the baked lamb was a mini celebration in itself.

5-6 pounds leg of lamb (grass fed is better if possible)
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 T. sea salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. turmeric
2 onions, sliced thinly
2 t. ground rose petals
1/4 cup rose water
1 t. dried or 1 inch freshly grated ginger
1/2 t. Cayenne
1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. cumin
1  1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4  t. ground saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup lime juice
zest of three oranges
1 T honey
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 T. rosemary

Ezra enjoyed the oranges after they were zested...what a fun, juicy ball!

Ready to sit the the refrigerator over night.

1.  Rinse lamb. Pat dry. Make 10 slits all over the lamb. Insert a peeled garlic clove in each slit.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.
3.  Place lamb in baking  dish and score lamb to absorb seasonings. Rub spice paste all over lamb, cover, let sit for at least 2 hours (up to 2 days) in the refrigerator.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover lamb with foil and roast 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Baste occasionally. Uncover the lamb for the last 30 minutes of baking. Use a meat thermometer   to make sure it is done.
5.  Garnish with rose petals. Serve with rice.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Carrot Khoresh (Stew)

From: Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen 

4 Servings
1 cup slivered orange peel
3 T olive oil
1/2 pounds lean grass fed chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound carrots, scraped and sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp fresh grated root or 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp saffron, dissolved in 1 Tb hot water
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup pitted prunes (optional)

1.  To remove bitterness from  the orange peel, place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.   Heat 3 T oil in a pan and saute chicken and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add carrots, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, saffron water, and orange peel and saute for a few more minutes.
3.  Add orange juice and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours over low heat. Stir occasionally.
4.  Check for tenderness of chicken and carrots. Adjust seasoning if needed. Keep warm till ready to serve.
5.  Serve with saffron steamed rice, brown or white rice. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5 Day Meal Plan - Southwest Flair

When you plan meals for the week consider meals that go well with one another so you can use up ingredients and even use leftovers with the next meal. Below is a sample meal plan with notes for use.

Example 5 Day Meal Plan
Monday - Black Bean Soup
Save leftover soup for Thursday dinner. The soup will be the spread for the burritos.

Tuesday - Santa Fe Rice
Save leftover rice for Thursday as filler for the burritos.

Wednesday - Mango Salsa Chicken and Quinoa
Cook four chicken breasts instead of two. Then you can use the leftover chicken for Friday's dinner and save some time in the kitchen.

Thursday - Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos
This burrito is a delicious combination of leftovers and whatever fresh ingredients you want!

Friday - Mango Chicken Salad
Use the extra chicken from Wednesday and make a delicious salad. Use up whatever extra veggies you have. You can even put quinioa or rice on the salad if you want.

Below is a grocery/ pantry check list for the needed ingredients:

Pantry/ Refrigerator/ Spice Rack  Staples (I usually have these ingredients on hand)
  • Taste Adventure Black Refried Bean Mix 
  • dried black beans 
  • rice 
  • Quinoa 
  • garlic
  • bag of yellow onions 
  • Lemon or Lime Juice
  • Salsa
  • cumin 
  • crushed red pepper 
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes 
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 avocado*
  • bunch of cilantro
  • bunch of scallions
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño(s) 
  • 2-3  mangoes
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 12 oz  fresh spinach
  •  head of Romain lettuce
Canned Goods/Pantry Items
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • flour or corn tortillas
  • tortilla chips*
Dairy and Meat
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese*
  • 4 chicken breasts

* optional ingredients

Mango and Chicken Salad

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Romain lettuce
Fresh spinach
various veggies of your choice (bell pepper, scallions, carrots, broccoli, ect)
1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 mango, diced
1-2 chicken breasts
oil and vinegar dressing (equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
avocado (optional)

Prepare vegetable salad and top with: cilantro, mango, chicken, avocado and dressing

Mango Salsa and Chicken

olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup sherry or dry white cooking wine
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 or 1/2 jalapeño (depending on your spice tolerance) 
1 mango, diced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
2 chicken breasts, chopped into pieces
salt and pepper

1. Prepare quinoa or rice to serve with Mango Salsa Chicken. 
2. Saute garlic in olive oil. Add sherry, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook on medium heat till chicken is done. About 10 minutes.
3. Add scallions, lemon juice, mango, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, mix together. Add spinach, cook till spinach is barely wilted. 
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Serve over pasta, rice, polenta, or quinoa. 

Santa Fe Rice

Santa Fe Rice - Serves 4
1 cup rice
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more depending on taste preference)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2  bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen or fresh corn (optional)

1.  Bring 2 cups of water to boil, add rice, then turn water down to a simmer. Cook for required time (20-40 minutes depending on type of rice).
2.  While rice is cooking: saute onion in olive oil about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and red pepper . Cook for 2 more minutes.
3.  Add onion mixture, salt, tomato sauce, and black beans, and corn if desired to rice. Stir together and heat through.
4.  Serve warm, topped with cilantro, fresh bell pepper (optional: diced avocado...or whatever else you like). Also good with corn tortillas or tortilla chips. Top with extra salsa if desired.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Baby GIRL blocks!

My first set of baby blocks for a little girl! Since I started making these blocks in about December I now have some baby girls to make blocks for. Yipee!