Beef/Pork Soup . . . OMGosh.

Beef Pork Soup

OMGosh. Awesome soup today. I made chicken soup for Wadly yesterday, which smelled fabulous, and beef/pork soup for me today. Amazing beautiful nummy soup

Prep: Make bone broth. Wadly gets huge intact beef leg bones from our local butcher. He whacks them apart into big chunks using a dedicated chop saw which gives both marrow and cartilage for bone broth. Roast the bones for 1 hour at 400 deg. Place in crock pot with 1/4 c apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns and fill to the top with filtered water. Let sit for one hour, then cook on low for 3 days. Bottle the broth. Freeze in pint jars until needed. Wadly gets multiple bones at a time and stores them in the freezer in clean pet food bags with a zippered top (reuse/recycle/re-purpose) and cuts them up when I’m ready to run a new batch of broth.
 
Prep: Black beans. Clean and rinse, add to crock pot, 5.5 cups water, 2 cups beans, sea or Himalayan salt, 1/2 c orange juice, 1/2 onion. Cook for 6 hrs. Drain off liquid and freeze in wide mouth pint jars until needed.
 
Prep: Canned diced tomatoes . . . run a 16 oz can through the blender. It’s about 1 pint of tomato sauce. Most blender rings will fit a small mouthed pint jar. I dump the 16 oz can into the pint jar, spin on the blade/ring and blend it for about 30 secs. Instant tomato sauce.
 
Dice meat (2/3 beef / 1/3 pork, hamburger and ground pork works just fine, 1.5 to 2 lbs). Sautee in a couple tbsp of butter. When it no longer looks like raw meat add spices. Oregano or marjoram/ thyme/rosemary/crushed red pepper, black pepper, a bit of sea salt (not too much). Add 1 cup bone broth. Add 1 cup tomato sauce. Let it simmer for a while. The acid from the toms add tenderness, the bone broth adds nutrition and flavor. The spices (use what suits you) adds flavor.
 
While that’s doing its thing . . .
 
Cut up three good sized mushrooms, sautee in butter.
 
Peel and dice 2 carrots (about 3/4 cup)
 
Dice onion (about 3/4 cup)
Dice zucchini (about 3/4 cup)
 
Add one more vege. I used asparagus as it’s what I had. Pick something you like. Squash, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Same thing, about 3/4 cup. The stronger the flavor of the vege, the more it will change the flavor.
 
When all the parts are ready, add them to a 6 quart or larger stew pot. Add an additional cup of bone broth, the rest of the tomato sauce and let it stew until the carrots are tender.
 
Ready to go in the freezer

Turn the pot off and stir in the pint of black beans. The result is a chunky almost stew-like soup loaded with nutrition and flavor. Serve with rolls, bread, salad . . . whatever your favorite side is. Store what’s not used in pint jars in the freezer for when you need a quick and nutritious meal.

OMGosh stir fry

I’ve got a new super fast stir fry.

I bought a new gadget. I got a Zoodle from Amazon for $11. OMGosh. Game changer.

New fav meal. Oriental(ish) pork stir fry. OMGosh.

Thin-slice pork. Marinate it in sesame oil, basalmic vinegar and ground candied ginger (not available commercially, you’ll have to make your own – dehydrate candied ginger and run it through a food processor to grind it up).

Use the Zoodle to noodlize zucchini and rutabaga (yeah, new fav veg). Thin slide onion and break up into “noodles”. Add thin-sliced green pepper and some bamboo shoots (comes in a can).

You’re gonna need two frying pans, one for the marinated pork and one for the veges.

Add butter and sesame oil to both pans. Stick the veges into one and the pork into the other. Once the pork is most of the way done add the pork pan to the veges pan. When the veges are al dente the cooking us done!

OMGosh!

Burger Bowl!

In my continual search for really good food I can eat, I’ve discovered . . . Hamburger Bowl!

I have two version (with or without avocado) and they’re both wonderful. Those of you who eat carbs and bread/buns/etc. won’t think it’s so great, but for me . . . few carbs and no grains . . . it’s awesome!

On medium low, cook diced mushrooms and diced bacon in a 6″ skillet with a teaspoon of butter.

While that’s cooking dice a roma tomato and a slice of onion (choose the one you like, I’m using the basic yellow). Add two heaping teaspoonfuls of Farman’s Dill Pickle Relish in a bowl, add the diced onion and tomato and warm it in the microwave. Don’t COOK it, just get it warm so it doesn’t chill the hot ingredients. For my puny little microwave I use 55 seconds on cook, stir, then back in for another 15 seconds.

When the bacon and ‘shrooms are done or nearly done add the raw hamburger. The shape isn’t important, it’s getting chopped up when it’s done cooking. (I buy hamburger in bulk and package it in snack bags in the freezer for easy use. I get the amount of hamburger I need when I need it at a lower cost.)

When the hamburger is nearly done, dice up the hamburger and add 3/4 cup of black beans (drained and rinsed). Stir the beans into the mix. once it’s all heated up lift out the goodies (leave all the fat in the pan) and add them to your bowl of warmed and diced goodness.

Stir it all together and eat it with a soup spoon. OMGosh good! Heads up, this is more than will fit in a regular soup bowl.

When doing the avocado version I wait until everything’s mixed together and add the diced avocado to the top. Yummy stuff!

Personalized spice mixes

SpiceMixesI use a lot of spices and herbs when I cook, and I cook a lot of the same stuff all the time.  Rather than opening 4-6 different spice/herb bottles to season something I started using the empty bottles to make the mixes I use all the time.

The spicy pork seasoning is BBQ Boys mix with doubled ground onion and ground garlic.

The S&R is a steak and roast mix with rosemary, thyme, black pepper, onion and garlic.

The marinara is the spice mix I use for the tomato sauce I use for anything requiring tomato sauce.

I also have an apple mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and xylitol I use for apple compote and apple custard I make for Wadly.

I’m sure I’ll being adding more mixes to my array.  Having premixed organic spices speeds cooking and ensures the taste stays consistent across the dishes I make.

No soy/sugar non dairy creamer

Having food allergies makes life very interesting in a way that cannot be appreciated by those who don’t have food allergies. I’m not saying that in a disparaging way, just as a fact. Anyone with food allergies is nodding their head at this point.

Given soy and milk allergies, finding a coffee creamer that works is a challenge. In researching creamer alternatives I found a recipe using water, vanilla, raw cashew butter and medjool dates. My recipe is an outtake of that recipe.

In trying the above recipe there were a few things I didn’t care for. Using water instead of coffee as the liquid made no sense. It waters down the coffee which to me is counter-productive. I didn’t find the vanilla added anything. If I’m adding anything extra it is organic cacao powder with another date to counter the bitter.

My most pleasing recipe, sans cacao powder, is 1/3 cup raw cashew butter (organic), 3 medium to large medjool dates (organic) and about 1/2 cup fresh coffee as the liquid. Mince the dates and blend it all together until the dates are liquefied. According to what I’ve read this should stay fresh and viable in the fridge for 3 days. I use about 1/3 of the above in my gigantic cup with fresh brewed coffee. Mmmmm.

Awesome Chocolate Waffles/Pancakes

This recipe uses zucchini from my aquaponic bed. I’m getting enough zucchini to be able to eat a whole one a day, sometimes two a day. Woot!

ChocWaffles
Mmmmm.

These are SO awesome!  Fresh zucchini, coconut flour, eggs, cacao powder, medjool dates, butter and baking soda.


2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini
2 eggs, 2 medjool dates, 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini

In a pint jar add 1/2 grated fresh zucchini, 2 large organic eggs (warmed in hot tap water before opening), 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 medjool dates (pit removed).  Spin on the blender attachment and run on lowest setting until everything is chopped and mixed.


After blending
After blending


Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.
Cacao powder, coconut flour and baking soda added and blended.

Spin the top off and add 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tbsp cacao powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Spin the top back on and blend until the powdered ingredients are integrated.

Step4
Cook and serve with butter. Mmmmm.

Chunky Chicken Soup

Chunky chicken soup
Chunky chicken soup

This is a fast and simple recipes.  If you’re like me and mostly just cook for yourself and maybe another, you will love this one.

Wadly got a nice buy on some boneless skinless chicken thighs.  I like thigh meat as it’s tastier and juicier.  Already boned and skinned means no fuss . . . though this recipe would work with skin on and bone in and it would work for chicken breast if you don’t mind less tasty.  If you go the whole thigh route, fillet it out a bit so it’s not so thick and put it skin down.  The skin and bone will add flavor.

Cut a handful of baby carrots in half lengthwise or peel a whole carrot and cut it in diagonal slices just under 1/4″ thick.

Cut two 1/4″ slabs of zucchini.  I cut off the length I want and then cut it in lengthwise slices.

Chop some red and green pepper.  You’ll also need a 1/4″ thick slice of onion.  Don’t dice the onion.  Cut it into big chunks.

Take the stem end off a roma tomato and slice it open.  Don’t cut it in half, just make a single slice up the side and a few short slices in top and bottom so you can lay it out flat.  Pull the middle bit out and rough chop it.

Melt a generous tablespoon of butter in a small pan (I use the really small cast iron skillets for a lot of the “just me” stuff).  Turn the pan down to really low, the low side of simmer.  This won’t take long to cook and cooking it slowly will make the chicken super tender and keep the veges from becoming mush.

Put the two slabs of zucchini down side by side in the middle and arrange the carrots around them.  Sprinkle the onion and peppers on the top.  Stick the chopped bits of the tomato on top.

Place the chicken on top.  Don’t cut it up, just lay it over the top of the veges.

Sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper on top the chicken.  Lay the tomato skin side up over the top of the seasoned chicken.

Cover and cook slowly until the carrots are tender.  Lift the skin off the tomato and discard.  Lift the chicken out and cut it into big pieces.  Return to the pan, stir and pour into a bowl.

This soup is simple, fabulous and no fuss and the perfect meal for a dreary spring day.  You can bump the flavor a bit more by adding a couple tablespoons of your favorite “with chicken” wine if you’re feeling posh.

Enjoy!

Orange and ginger creole?

One of the unspoken mandates for celiacs is really tasty food to compensate for all we can’t partake.  Of late I’ve been marinating everything . . . hamburgers, steak, pork or chicken and it’s been wonderful.  I thought I’d share, both the recipe I use for my creole seasoning (pork or chicken) and the twist it got this morning.

My creole seasoning is spicy but not too spicy if you like spicy.  Use only organic seasonings.  If you haven’t gone organic with everything you can, herbs is a must for where to start.  When an herb is dried the flavor is concentrated, but so are any chemicals ON the herbs.  Go organic with your spices and herbs.

  • 2 tbsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp pepper
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic (powder)
  • 1 tsp onion (powder)

This mix is just a tablespoon or two more than will fit in a recycled spice container so plan for the extra you’ll have to store if you can’t use it right away.

This morning’s deviation from the norm included freshly grated ginger (micro-grated) and fresh squeezed orange juice.

For a single serving, squeeze the juice of 1/3 of an orange into a bowl.  Add grated ginger (1 tbsp?), the diced pork (or chicken) and shake a couple teaspoons of the creole seasoning over the top.  Mix thoroughly and set aside while you prep the veges.

I’m a little short on ingredients this morning.  For those of you who read my blog, you’ll know that’s not unheard of.   This morning’s stir fry had zucchini, onion and mushroom.  With a bit of bell pepper it would have been even better, and it was awesome!

Make sure you saute the mushrooms separately until thoroughly browned so they come out tasting like mushrooms.  Once all the veges are cooked set them aside.  Add more butter and a tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan.  Pour in the marinade laden meat.  As soon as it looks nearly done, return the veges to the pan.  Stir to incorporate and it’s done.

If you’re a thickened sauce person, spoon out the chunks and thicken the broth. 

This is lovely, full of flavor, healthy and a quick fix.  

Portable crisper

Portable crisper
Portable crisper

I eat a lot of vegetables. Because I am a fuss-less person I’ve come up with a way to get my veges out of the fridge without spending forever pulling them out of a drawer, stacking them on the counter, whack off what I need only to stick them back in the fridge again every time I cook. This portable crisper sits on top the glass shelf that is the cover for the existing crisper in my fridge and, with the handy handle molded into the front of the drawer, allows me to pull it out of the fridge with one hand.  It contains most if not all of the veges I need.

This crisper is the drawer and glass shelf from a small portable fridge. With the addition of a brass piano hinge and some aquarium sealer, a piece of washable non-skid shelf liner for the inside and very little effort, I have streamlined and shortened my prep time.  The lid fits flush against the top preserving the moisture in the veges.

The paper sack is cut down from a large grocery sack and holds mushrooms at the perfect humidity to keep them fresh.  Strong smelling veges like onion are zipped in plastic but everything else is pre-cleaned, unwrapped and ready to use.  A cut-to-fit non-skid shelf liner keeps the veges up off the plastic bottom to avoid accumulation of moisture where veg and plastic meet.

Current content of the crisper include zucchini, yellow squash, onion, celery, mushroom, red and green pepper.  The larger build-in crisper contains overflow and backup stock.

Breakfast Frittata

2013-10-4.jpg
Shrimp frittata with peppers, onion, zuccini, chevre and fried baked potatoes on top

If you’ve never had a frittata, I’m going to recommend you try one. They’re very easy to make and delightfully flexible. I go through periods where I want seafood, other times when my preference is for breakfast-y stuff.

Today my frittata had sausage, bacon, Danish Havarti, chevre, zucchini, onion and asparagus. Oh, and hash browns on top though next time I might try potatoes O’Brien instead. The pictured frittata has rounds of baked potato

Frittatas aren’t fast food, but they are quality food and can be as simple or complicated as you choose with everything you need in a single dish.

To make a frittata, prepare the filling. For delicate seafood you can choose to lightly precook or not as you choose. If you don’t precook the seafood, make sure you bake it long enough to completely cook it and expect the result to be a little moister than using precooked seafood (drain it before you put it on the plate).

Prepare your meat. If you’re using anything except seafood, precook. If I’m having both sausage and bacon I will cut them up reasonably small and cook them in the same pan until done. Saute the vegetables in butter until tender. I cut my zuccini in small (smaller than 1/4″) cubes, fine-dice the onions and cut the asparagus in small rounds (1/8″ cuts). If you find you like bigger pieces of vegetables, you have the freedom to make it your style. I’ve used peppers (I didn’t today because I’m out), broccoli, cauliflower, carrots (not the best), red and green peppers and mushrooms (not today, I’m out).

If you’re making a single serving frittata, use one or two eggs. Beat them a bit and add your cheese and sauteed meat and veges. Pour the mixture into a small (6″) frying pan that’s been heated and buttered. If you’re adding hash brown, sprinkle the cooked hash browns over the top. Pop it in your over (or toaster over) at between 325 and 350. How done you would like it is totally up to you. You can cook it just until the egg is set or you can cook it until it’s brown on top. Instead of hashbrowns you can add cheese. Or tomato. Or . . . This is a dish that never has to be the same twice and it’s easily delicious.

I think I’d better go shopping. I’m out of a lot of things . . .