So, I realize it has been pretty much forever and a day since I told you I would post an awesome recipe “tomorrow.” I apologize for that. Life got away from me. Just pretend that today is tomorrow, mmmkay? Thanks!
So, here is the promised recipe. Sadly, I was such a slacker that I think the receipt must have been thrown away, so I don’t have a price for you. Suffice to say, it was rather expensive, as shrimp tends to be. However, it made a TON of food, so that probably offset the cost quite a bit.
Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo
4 T. olive oil
16 oz. pkg. frozen okra (surprisingly it is easy to find in the frozen section)
2 white or yellow onions, diced small
1 complete pkg./stalks celery, diced small
16 oz. pkg. smoked spicy sausage (I used Hillshire Farms–if you can find andouille sausage, use 1 lb. of that), sliced into rounds
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into small pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
10 c. chicken broth/stock (I used 10 c. water & chicken base–about 2 T.)
2 t. salt (or more to taste)
1 1/2 T. Cajun seasoning (plus more for the rice & to season the shrimp & chicken) 1 T. Creole seasoning
1 t. Gumbo File (if you can find it-if not, leave it out)
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 T. fresh parsley (for garnish)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 lb. raw, deveined and tail removed shrimp
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
4 c. cooked rice
Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 T. lime juice
In a medium sized pan, begin making the dirty rice by adding 2 c. water and 2 c. rice to a pot. Season water/rice with 2 T. fresh parsley, about 1 t. cajun seasoning, and 2 T. lime juice. Cook as normal and keep warm until ready to serve soup.
In another medium sized pan, make the brown roux by adding the butter and flour to the pan. Cook on medium/high heat until the butter and flour mixture begins to brown. Continue cooking the roux until the roux becomes the color of a dark caramel (to be real authentic you continue cooking the roux until it is dark like chocolate–somewhere between caramel color and chocolate will be fine). Once the roux is done, add the chicken broth to the roux and mix well until combined. Set aside.
In a LARGE soup pot, add 2 T. of the oil with the onions. Saute until onions begin to be tender and soft. Add the frozen okra and continue to saute until okra begins to break down and become soft and slimy looking. Add the celery and green peppers to the onion/okra mixture (you may need a little more olive oil if the veggies are sticking too badly). Continue to saute until all of the vegetables are soft. Once they are tender, add the chicken stock to the large pot of vegetables and simmer while you are cooking the chicken and shrimp.
In the pot that the chicken stock/roux was in, add a little more olive oil and get the pan up to medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and saute until they are nearly cooked through. Season the chicken heavily with Cajun Seasoning. When the chicken is done, add it to the large pot. To the same pot that the chicken was cooked in, add the sausage rounds and warm until golden brown. Add the cooked sausage to the pot. Bring the small pan once again to medium/high heat and add another 2 T. of oil. When the oil is hot, add the raw shrimp that has been cleaned, tails removed, and de-veined to the pan. Saute in the oil until the shrimp begins to be opaque and pink. Season shrimp as well with Cajun Seasoning. When the shrimp is cooked, add that to the large soup pot.
Now that everything is in the large soup pot. add the diced tomatoes (if you don’t like chunks you can puree the tomatoes first), and then add all of the seasonings. Let the soup simmer on low/medium until it begins to thicken and the meat is completely cooked (about 10-15 minutes).
When ready to serve, place about 1/4-1/2 c. of dirty rice in a bowl. Ladel 1-2 c. of soup on top of the rice. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
This dish is AMAZING! The kids all raved about it and my non left-over eating family had leftovers! They loved this dish so much that my six year old requested it for dinner for her sixth birthday party!
After slaving away at the stove tonight (pictures and recipe of which will come tomorrow), my children all raved about the dinner. Hurray!!! Most had seconds. Some had thirds. I even had to tell those that went back for fourths that they needed to make sure they left enough for their dad, who won’t be home until late tonight. That really doesn’t happen very often! A little while after dinner was over, my elder son came to me and asked, “Do you know what Ethan (little brother) and my most favorite dinner ever was?” I responded, “Tonight’s dinner?” He responded in the negative. ”Mushrooms in brioche?” Again, no. ”Chicken noodle soup?” Wrong again. I went through a long list of the meals that I could remember them really liking. Finally, I told him I gave up. Do you want to know what their favorite meal was?
“When you cut slits in the hot dogs to make legs and we had hot dog octopuses and dipped them in ketchup.”
Seriously, kid? That was your favorite meal? I often spend HOURS in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, sauteing, braising, baking, broiling, simmering, pouring everything I have into healthy, wonderful meals for my kids, and their favorite was a boiled hot dog cut to look like an octopus.
Good to know.
March’s Vegetarian Times had a section called “Pub Grub,” just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! This recipe came from that section. Unfortunately, they don’t have the recipe on their website, so as usual, I’m left telling you that I’m sure someone else has violated their copyright and put the recipe online, but I’m not going to. You should really subscribe to the magazine anyways, because it’s awesome!
Honestly, I didn’t eat this. I failed to pay attention to the amounts listed in the recipe. For example the recipe calls for three small red potatoes, then adds (1 1/2 C.) after that. I only put “3 small red potatoes” on my shopping list and I was lucky to get 3/4 C out of the ones I bought. The same thing happened with the carrots, parsnips and leeks. The way I made it, it barely made 6 servings. Which was okay because I fed it to my six kids and not a single one finished it. I thought it looked delicious, but they apparently didn’t like it. I can’t tell you if I liked it or not. So, I guess not kid friendly (what…you think the lager in it should have given it away? Alcohol cooks out, I swear!)
Total Cost: $19.34
Cost per serving: $3.22 (I’m only counting it as 6 servings instead of the 8 the original recipe claimed)
It’s another great recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen!
Wow! Absolutely Wow! This meal was simply amazing! All six of the kids ate the entire bowl! That NEVER happens! I wasn’t sure what to think of the recipe initially. Coconut milk in chili? Weird. However, I love coconut. I love curry. I love chili. I figured it was work putting it together to see how it turned out! I’m so glad I did!
Oddly enough, my husband wasn’t a big fan. He usually loves my cooking and the kids don’t, so to have it reversed was a little strange.
The coconut milk wasn’t as strong as I was concerned that it might be. It didn’t taste like curry, which I was happy about because it was supposed to taste like chili, not curry. The only thing I wasn’t fond of was the sweet potatoes, but that’s just because I don’t like sweet potatoes.
Red Lentil Thai Chili
Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15 oz can lowfat coconut milk
28 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!
Instead of cooking the onions and garlic in oil, I used a bit of vegetable broth. This eliminated the fat from the oil.
I served this on top of a combination of brown and white rice that I tossed with a little bit of lime juice and cilantro. This was SUCH a great idea! (I’d like to pat myself on the back for it, but I got the idea from one of the comments on the recipe page.)
Yum! Go make it…now!
Price per serving: $2.58
So, I’m sure I’ve mentioned my
not so little crush on Gordon Ramsay before. Along with risotto, people are always screwing up scallops on Hell’s Kitchen. There’s just something about, “The scallops are like RUBBAH! You overcooked them, you DONKEY!!!!” that makes me swoon just a little bit…
Oh wait…where was I? Oh yes…scallops. I’ve never eaten a scallop. After visiting Whole Foods to purchase some for our next meal, I realized why…$22.99/lb!!! Granted, they were wild caught, sea scallops, not the farm raised bay scallops, so they were AWESOME scallops, but still…yikes! I needed over two pounds of them! 32 scallops (four for each of us) cost $46.90! Crazy.
Anyways, in Bon Appetit magazine, I found a recipe for Coriander Scallops with Orange-Ginger Dressing and decided to give them a try! The following recipe serves 4. I doubled it to feed my family of 8.
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in resealable bag with mallet
16 sea scallops, side muscles removed
8 cups mixed baby greens
1 navel orange, peel and pith removed, cut between membranes into segments
Whisk juice concentrate, vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, ginger, and cilantro in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Place crushed coriander seeds on plate. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper, then press both sides in coriander to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook until golden brown and just opaque in center, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.
Divide greens, orange, and scallops among 4 plates. Drizzle dressing over.
My kids aren’t big fans of salad, so they only ate about half of the greens, and some of them only ate 2 of the 4 scallops, but the rest really liked them. My husband thought they were AMAZING. As for me, I thought they were good. I don’t think they were worth the cost, though. I’m glad I made them at least once, just so I can say that I’ve done it!
I think my biggest problem with eating them were that every time I took a bite, all I could think was that I was eating a creature that was once happily moving about the ocean, and now is dead on my plate. Yeah, not the most appetizing thought. Oddly enough, it is one that was shared by my 5 year old daughter the other night as she ate crab. “I feel bad for the crab. It used to be alive and happy, now it’s dead and I’m eating it. That’s sad.” I may have a little vegetarian in the making. lol
Cost of meal: $62.35
Price per serving: $7.79
Long ago and far away…okay, so when I had five fewer children…my husband took me to a nice restaurant in Mountain View, CA. Now, my memory may be skewed because I was 20 years old and up until then, Olive Garden was about as nice as it got on a date, but it seemed really nice to me. It was called Global Village Cafe. Sadly, it has since closed. Anyways, my husband took me here and I ordered, for the first time (certainly NOT the last…it’s one of my favorites now!) the fillet mignon. Imagine my surprise when it arrived at the table with PURPLE mashed potatoes! Now, I’ve seen a variety of potatoes…russet, red, yukon gold, sweet, etc. Never before had I seen PURPLE potatoes! It completely blew my mind (yes, I’m easily impressed). This meal has always stuck in my mind as one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
So, imagine my excitement when I found purple potatoes at the grocery store the other day!!! Sadly, they weren’t organic, but it was too good to pass up. The rest of the meal was organic, as were the ingredients I put into the mashed potatoes, so I’m giving myself a pass!
Boneless pork chop, pea sprouts and purple garlic mashed potatoes! YUM!
2 1/2 lbs boneless pork chops (10 3/4″ thick chops)
Marinade for pork chops:
1/4 C honey
1/4 C dijon mustard
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C minced garlic
A little secret: when I don’t think ahead for dinner, sometimes I’ll just spoon the marinade over the top of the pork chops before baking them.
Marinade pork chops for several hours (overnight is best) or spoon on top of pork chops. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.
Purple Mashed Potatoes
4 lbs purple potatoes
1 stick salted butter
3 T Hawaiian salt
2 T minced garlic
Boil potatoes until fork tender
Use a potato masher (or if you’re lazy like me, a Kitchenaid mixer) to mash the potatoes, skin and all. Add the butter, Hawaiian salt and garlic and mash until fully incorporated.
Pea sprouts are one of my absolute favorite things to eat. I don’t see them very often outside of oriental markets. I was THRILLED to find organic pea sprouts at Whole Foods the other day!
I sauteed one package of them with 1/2 stick of butter and a little Hawaiian salt.
My kids would have liked gravy on the potatoes. I prefer mine without, so that’s how I served them. They weren’t as thrilled with the color as I was. They just thought they were strange. They ate them, though! (What kid doesn’t love mashed potatoes…purple or otherwise?) I had forgotten to take a picture of my plate before I ate it, so the picture above is of my 3 year old’s plate, which is why there is no sauce on the pork chop. When I cooked the pork chops, a lot of the marinade and juices stayed in the pan and I spooned that over everyone else’s chops. We all also had more pea sprouts.
The kids ate the meal, but didn’t rave about it. Thankfully, my husband did. I thought it was amazing!
Price of Meal: $36.11
Price per serving: $4.51
So, I did it…
I bit the bullet…
I spent a ridiculous amount of money on something I’ve been wanting for a VERY long time…
It comes in the mail tomorrow!
So, I finally got back to a point that I felt my kefir grains were capable of making good tasting, healthy kefir!
When last I left you…
After letting the kefir grains sit in sugar water for a few days (the batch I’ll be showing you in this post sat for three days) you take them out of your cupboard and strain the liquid from the grains. I use a plastic mesh strainer that fits perfectly over my 1 gallon, plastic, pitcher.
I then pour the kefir grains back into the jar they just came from. (These kefir grains are very dark because they’ve been in succanat for the past few weeks)
I then pour my juice of choice (100% pomegranate juice today!) into the pitcher of kefir liquid. The amount you use really depends on the taste you want. The rule of thumb I use for my family is 4:1 kefir to juice. So, with 8 cups of kefir in the pitcher, I added 2 cups of juice. My kids like it very fruity, though. I only use 100% fruit juice and try to stay away from sweeter juices like apple, grape, etc. We’ve used cranberry, blueberry, pomegranate and lemon. (I use considerably less juice for lemon!)
Give it a good stir, then pour it into your bottles!
I use these bottles:
Close them up and you’re ready for a second ferment! Notice that I did not fill the bottles up all the way! There is a chance of them exploding, so I try to leave the neck completely empty.
Put them back in your cabinet (along with the new mason jars of kefir grains with sugar water, as demonstrated in my previous post) and leave them there for 12 hours. You can maybe go to 18. I wouldn’t do any longer than that in those bottles because, as they continue to ferment, pressure builds, and you don’t want a mess on your hands! (My grandpa had a closet that smelled like beer because his bottles of beer exploded during the fermenting process…the smell NEVER went away!) The reason I use those jars instead of mason jars is that the mason jars aren’t air tight and they lose a lot of their fizz. My kids like really fizzy kefir! Plus, they’re easier to drink from!
After 12 hours, throw them in your fridge. The cold will keep them from fermenting further, and my family prefers them cold!
There you have it. Enjoy!
So, I have been searching for a healthy, quiet, clean, won’t go bad, snack for my three year old to eat during sacrament meeting at church. Apples get kinda gross if I forget them in my purse. Crackers make a crumbly mess. Orange slices are juicy and messy, goldfish crackers aren’t healthy…and on and on and on. Introducing, the perfect snack:
She LOVES this. It doesn’t make a mess, it’s ridiculously good for her, it won’t go bad if she doesn’t eat it and I forget it in my purse for a few days…win, Win, WIN!
Seriously, go out and buy them and try them with your kids!
So, I realize I left you all hanging (HA! Like how I act like I have a huge reader base?) about the water kefir many moons ago. Sadly, this post isn’t going to sum up the water kefir because I also left the grains hanging…which turned them into a sludgy, gross mess. Oops! So, I started over and am currently in the growing phase. I’m almost to the point that I’m ready to put them in juice and bottle it up, so that post WILL be coming soon…promise!
In the mean time, I have still been cooking for my family, but not writing it all down, or saving receipts. Life just got in the way. (I hate it when life gets in the way of the internet, don’t you?) I’m also currently without internet on my main computer, forcing me to type this out on my phone, which is no fun. (See how much I love you? I’m willing to use my phone to post to you all!)
So, off to Whole Foods tomorrow for my week’s worth of groceries. This time I WILL save the receipt AND write down what I’m making. You may even get a picture or two now that I have this handy dandy new phone that takes pictures and everything!
Oooh, I forgot to mention that there is a new health food store coming to town! Sunflower Market (or something like that)! I like “homier” stores. Whole Foods feels a bit too commercial for my liking. What can I say…I spent a good deal of time in Santa Cruz, where there is a co-op on every corner! I’m hoping Sunflower Market will satiate my desire for a co-opy feel. Yes, it’s a word! I’ve never been in one, though, so we’ll see when it finally opens (April, 2011). I have high hopes!