Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mixed Rice Pilaf

1 cup mixed uncooked rice (wild rice and brown rices)
3 cups broth or water
Sea salt & pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 T olive oil
A few sprigs of chopped fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring broth and a little salt to a boil. Add rice, cover, and cook until rice is done (anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes, approximately). Water should be absorbed, but if not, drain. Just before the rice is done, toast the walnuts in a saute pan. When done, add the rice, golden raisins, and chopped parsely to the saute pan. Cook and stir until raisins are heated and all is mixed together.

Prep time on this is very minimal, cook time (hands off) is about an hour.

Comments: The boys didn't like the raisins in this recipe, but I thought they were a nice addition. Regarding the rice, we used a brown/wild rice mix that we can get pre-made at the bulk bins in the grocery store. The difficult part is trying to cook this so all the different kinds of rice are done at the same time. The brown rice usually takes less water than the wild rice and cooks about the same amount of time, maybe a little less. For this reason, I did not estimate the correct amount of water when I cooked this and had to drain a little. Your option would be not to use a pre-made rice mix and cook the brown and wild rice separately and combine at the end or just use brown rice. I really liked the mix, and despite the irritation with having to drain, will probably use this again.

This would be a great dish to make with the basic dinner or to make for lunches during the week (lunch consisting of the rice pilaf and a side of vegetables). This would be very easy to heat quickly at work.

Almond Crusted Fish

Fish like this is always a big hit and it's very easy to do.

1 lb fish filets of your choice, I like to use Dover sole, grouper, or local catfish, etc. (check out this website for guidance when buying fish)
1 cup breading of your choice (use 1/3 to 1/2 parts ground almonds or other ground nut; then for the rest try oat flour or ground flax seeds or sprouted bread crumbs, etc.)
1 pasture egg whisked with a splash of water or whole milk
1 tbsp seasonings of your choice (try sea salt, ground pepper, Italian seasonings)
Lard and/ or tallow and/ or ghee for frying, click the links for sources

How To:
1. Wash and cut fish into preferred sizes, if necessary.

2. Dip into egg/water mixture, then into bread crumbs, covering the filet completely. Fry in lard until done (when fish is flaky), flipping once - time will depend on the thickness of the fish you use.

3. Remove from pan to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess cooking grease.

You can use any type of nut and then you will have yourself a fancy-sounding meal. For example, use almonds for Almond Crusted Sole. Or macademia nuts for Macadamia Nut Crusted Catfish. See how impressive that sounds? Just adjust based on what you have in the house. We always keep soaked and dried nuts in the house and when we need to make a breading, simply grind them up in a Magic Bullet.

This takes about 10 minutes prep time and then cook time will vary depending on the size of pan you use (how many "batches" you need to make). This would serve about four to six, depending on portion size.

Dilled Baby Yellow Summer Squash

2 medium sized baby squash
1 sprig fresh dill
Sea salt & pepper
Olive oil

Wash and slice squash. Add to saute pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and dill (chopped). Cook over medium heat until done, about 5 minutes.

This recipe is very fast, about 5 minutes prep and 5 minutes cook time.

Comments: My husband loved this. I also thought it was very good.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homemade Windowpane Potato Chips

These homemade chips are a lot of fun and so pretty too. This recipe is based on a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, with minor modifications. Here is the link to their original version.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cauliflower Au Gratin

This recipe is modified slightly from a recipe from Ms. Scratch.Love. This is so good, you will not believe that it is cauliflower!

Sauteed Easy Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe
garlic powder
minced onion
salt & pepper
hot seeds
olive oil

Steam broccoli rabe (cleaned and chopped roughly) for a few minutes in water, drain. Transfer to saute pan, sprinkle with seasonings, and fry in olive oil for a few minutes until done.

Comments: My grandma always made broccoli rabe and, if you haven't had it before, be prepared for a slightly bitter, distinctive taste. I really love it, it makes me think of my grandma and growing up, and I will eat it hot, cold, on bread, etc. My grandma traditionally made it by boiling the broccoli rabe until done. In the meantime, cook a little fresh chopped garlic in olive oil until just browned and toss with cooked broccoli rabe, salt, pepper, and hot seeds. Delicious. My aunt, however, makes it by just cooking all in the saute pan and skipping the boiling/steaming step. Hers is delicious as well. I would be embarrassed to tell either of them that I used garlic powder and minced onion on mine tonight, but in my defense, it tastes good (not as good, but still good) and is very fast and easy.

Up until a few years ago, broccoli rabe was not even available in this area and now they have it on a semi-regular basis, although the check-out person can never figure out what the code for it is. You may see it at your grocery store labeled as Chinese Broccoli or Rapini, and I believe that's the same thing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

French Toast (More Nutritious Version)

4 slices of your favorite no-sugar added bread (I like Ezekial 4:9 brand and used the cinnamon raisin variety today)
2 eggs
1/4 cup 1% or no-fat milk, or a little less
Cinnamon (about a teaspoon, your preference)

Mix the egg, milk, and cinnamon and dip bread slices into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Cook over medium heat until done, about 5 minutes per side. Serve as-is or with real maple syrup, or agave syrup, or spread with nut butter, no sugar added jelly, or fruit, etc.

Comments: Since school has been cancelled the last couple of days due to the incredibly cold weather, I have been trying out a variety of breakfast ideas. I grew up in Germany and my best friend for a few years was a French girl named Kim who taught me how to make French Toast. Every time I spent the night, we would cook this for breakfast. Over the years, I always made French Toast the same way. This recipe is pretty much the same version, modified only a little to make it more nutritious.

Two slices served with leftover chicken sausage. Drizzled with a little real maple syrup.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Banana Bread

1/2 cup 1% milk (or other unsweetened milk alternative)
2 T ground flaxseed
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (see comments below**)
1/2 cup almond flour
1 heaping t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or olive, or coconut)
1/2 to 1 T honey
1 heaping t of vanilla extract
3 to 4 very ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups mashed)
1/2 cup dried nuts or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9x5 baking pan (I used olive oil). In a large mixing bowl combine milk and flaxseed and set aside. In a medium bowl combine flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Blend vanilla, honey, oil, and bananas into the milk & flax mixture until combined well. Stir in dry ingredients but don't over mix. Add nuts or fruit if using. Spread batter in greased pan and bake about 40 - 45 minutes until browned. Let cook in pan for 10 or 15 minutes.

** Regarding the flours used, I made another loaf this morning only I substituted 1/2 cup quinoa flour for 1/2 cup of the spelt flour and I did not notice any difference in flavor. I think next time I will try more quinoa flour for the spelt (moving toward gluten-free), although quinoa does have a stronger flavor so I should urge caution. However, I do encourage you to try your own flour substitutions and if you find any combinations that are very good, please share your results with me.

About 10 minute prep time yielded a very tasty banana bread. I used pecans in mine. This was a really delicious banana bread. Mine took 45 minutes to cook until done, but you might start checking prior to that because it seemed like a long time to cook. I inserted a knife into the middle starting about 35 minutes and if definitely had a ways to go.

Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties

1 pound ground chicken breast
About 1/2 peeled and diced medium apple (gala or other red)
2 T olive oil
2 T minced onion
1 - 2 T maple syrup
1 t garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 - 3 t dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 to 1 t sea salt
2 T ground flax seeds

Mix all ingredients together, form patties with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup meat mixture and saute in pan over medium heat. Approximately 5 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through.

Very quick prep time, about 5 minutes and then cook time.

Comments: This is the first time I made this recipe, which is modified from several I found online and in books. It is very quick and easy and I was suprised at how good this sausage tasted (and that it really tasted like sausage!)... I would not change a thing about the way I made it this time. A word of caution, I did not measure my seasonings and tried to approximate the amounts above, so just use your best judgement. You could probably easily sub in ground turkey meat and I think if I wasn't making this for a six-year old to eat, it would taste good spicy - with hot seeds or some cayenne thrown in.

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