Friday, September 28, 2012

Greens And More

With the change in seasons I am making sure to use greens in my meals while they are still available at the grocery store. Perhaps it because I live in Illinois but during the fall & winter I have a very difficult time finding any kale, mustard & collard greens, swiss chard, and purslane at the grocery store. I find this surprising because the growing season for most of these greens is from July-December.

One 12 inch Skillet
I TBSP Canola Oil
Equal Parts Cleaned/Diced Kale, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, & Purslane (Optional)
1/2 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
1 Package Nasoya Organic Cubed Firm Tofu Rinsed/Drained (or Other brand)
1 TBSP Tabasco Chipotle Sauce ( I have not found any substitutes for this unless you make your own)

Heat Oil On Medium High Heat
Add in Everything And Saute Till Greens Are Slightly Wilted and Peppers are Soft

Ready to Cook

Jewish Cajun Whole Chicken in Slow Cooker/Crockpot

Cool Fall weather always make me crave chili's, soups, stews, braised meats, and slow cooker/crockpot meals. While most people tend to only use their slow cooker/crockpot in the Fall and Winter, I actually use mine all year long, I really depend on it when it is super hot, I do not use my oven much in the summer at all. The reason I call this Jewish-Cajun is because so many Jewish & Cajun meals have carrots and onion as the base for there meals, I did not have any celery or I might have used some, but I am not sure how celery would have held up so many hours in a slow cooker/crockpot.

1 6 Quart Programmable Oval Slow Cooker/Crockpot
1 Large Onion Quartered
12 Ounces Frozen Sliced Carrots
Fat Free Cooking Spray
3.5 - 5LB Whole Chicken, Rinsed, Patted Dry and Insides Removed
1 TSP Canola Oil
Small Bowl for Mixing Spices
1/8 TSP Sea Salt
4-6 Whole Garlic Cloves or Minced Garlic Equivalent
2 TBSP Morton & Basset Cajun Spice Blend (Love these as they are Salt-Free, No MSG, No Irradiation)
If you can't find this brand then use equal amounts paprika, celery seed, garlic, basil, cayenne, white pepper, thyme & parsley to make your own rub for this chicken.
3 TBSP Lighthouse Freeze Dried Poultry Herb Blend (Love these Herbs as they are Salt-Free)
This is Usually Cheaper in Store then there website, and you can usually print coupons from the site as well
If you can't find this brand then use equal parts dehydrated onions, thyme, sage, marjoram, spring onions, garlic, & rosemary to make your own herb blend

Spray Slow Cooker/Crockpot Bottom and Sides With Cooking Spray
Place Quartered Onion on Bottom of Slow Cooker/Crockpot
Spread Frozen Carrot Slices on Top Of Onion
Rub Canola Oil All Over Dry Chicken
Cut a Slit in Each Section of Chicken And Stuff It With the Whole Garlic Cloves or With Minced Onion
Mix your spices in Small Bowl
Rub Spice Mixture All Over Chicken
Place Chicken Upside Down in Slow Cooker/Crockpot on top of Carrots &a Onion
Cook on Low for 7-9 Hours Depending on Whether You Use a 3.5 or 5 LB Chicken

The carrots & onions actually make a little broth with the juices of the chicken after cooking.
If you like you can save the bones and use them to make a stock or spaghetti sauce for the future.

Banana Protein Smoothie Popsicles

There are plenty of already made smoothies one can buy in the grocery store in the refrigerated & frozen sections and mainstream brands, (Dole, Silk, Odwalla, Naked) keep coming out with more, unfortunately they are loaded with Sugar, Sodium, Preservatives and Ingredients I have no clue what it is, I have made it a personal mission of mine to try and eat the least processed food as possible.

Having a Vitamix allows me to make smoothies all the time, to be honest I make smoothies every day, sometimes I make extra and put my leftover in a Tuperware drink container in my refrigerator to have later in the day, other times I pour my extra into a Popsicle mold and freeze it so I can have my smoothie as a Popsicle later. I was at Bed Bath & Beyond over the summer and I found a Popsicle mold to make 4 Popsicles on clearance and then I used my 20% of Coupon to get it really cheap. This recipe is for making one shake to drink and using the extra for your Popsicles.

Equipment Needed
One Popsicle Mold for 4 Popsicles
One Vitamix or Equivalent
One Cup of Non GMO Organic Unsweetened Soymilk or Other Type
1-2 TBSP Ground Flaxseed
2-3 Small Ripe Bananas
Two Scoops Organic Non GMO Brown Rice Protein or 99% Lactose Free Whey Protein
2-3 One Inch Squares of Left-over Pumpkin Cornbread or a Granola Bar
8-10 Ice Cubes

Add Everything in order listed above to the Vitamix
Follow Vitamix Instructions for Blending
Pour Into Your Drink Container and Drink Some Now and Then Pour The Rest Into Your Popsicle Mold
Freeze and then enjoy when you want within 2 months

Monday, September 24, 2012

High Protein Saute

Having Arthritis, Small Fiber Neuropathy, Fibromylagia and other Health Issues make cooking and meal preparation a continual struggle and challenge. Despite this I still strive to make my meals as healthy for me as possible. Many people with my issues just give up and go out to eat on a daily basis, order take out weekly, or buy prepared foods from a delivery service (Schwans, Nutri-System, etc). For me I can't take the chance of getting sick with all my food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies, not to mention the exorbitant cost of these types of programs. It very easy to put everything in my Vitamix, press a button and make a meals or meals, or throw everything in a Slow Cooker, press a button and let it cook for me. The same can be said for putting everything in a casserole dish for the oven or everything in one skillet.

One 12 Inch Skillet
One TBSP Canola Oil
One Bunch of Kale Rinsed, Drained, Cubed
One Red Pepper Diced
One Onion Diced
Eight Ounces Mushrooms Diced
One TBSP Garlic Minced
2.5 Ounces Wild Salmon From the Pouch
2.5 Ounces Wild Mercury Free Tuna in Water
One Package Organic Cubed Firm Tofu Rinsed & Drained
One TBSP Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce
Dash of Sea Salt
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
One - TwoTBSP Tabasco Chitpotle Sauce

Heat Oil on Medium
Add in Everything And Saute Till Done

Ready to Cook

Ready to Eat

Spinach Mushroom Skillet Meal

Continuing with my trend for not making any omelettes or frittatas, here is another skillet meal where you cook all you ingredients and then add in your egg whites. Most of the items I make are 95-99% homemade but because of my arthritis there are certain kitchen tasks that are just to difficult for me to due anymore. I buy garlic already minced up in the jar, I buy sun-dried tomatoes either in a package dried or in a jar with oil, I buy roasted red peppers in a jar as well. I buy lots of frozen cut-up vegetables because it is cheaper and easier for me to work with.

12 Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
8 Ounces Sliced Portebella Mushrooms
One Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Roasted Red Pepper Strips
8 Ounces Chopped Steamed Spinach
1 TBSP Freeze Dried Chives
Dash Sea Salt
Dash Ground Black Pepper
1 Ripe Avocado Cubed
1/4 Cup Steamed Peas
1-2 TBSP Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Enough Egg whites to cover pan underneath vegetables

Heat oil on Medium
Add in Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Spinach, Peas, Salt, Peppers, Chives And Cook
Pour in Egg white to cover bottom of pan underneath vegetable, let set
Add in Avocado & Sauce and cook until done

Cornbread Guacamole Skillet Meal

I have said this before, but it bears repeating, centuries ago there must have been some Italian lineage in my Family DNA despite my being current knowledge of my relative being of Russian/Polish and Jewish, I do not waste food. I always use everything I can when cooking  food and then I find another use to make with my Original meal. This recipe uses fresh ingredients, one of my many leftover homemade cornbread recipes  and some already made food to create a new recipe. I gave up trying to make the perfect omelette and any omelette period, too much work, now I just make any egg dish by cooking all my ingredients, then adding in my Egg whites as I never use any egg yolks. So every things becomes a semi-frittata, because mine are not as thick and I do not use milk or egg yolks.

One Twelve Inch Skillet
1 TBSP Canola Oil
8 Ounces Sliced Shitake Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Diced Roasted Red Pepper (I use Mezzeta from the Bottle because I could print coupons)
1 Diced Onion
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
5 Manzilla Diced Olives ( I Used Goya because I could print coupons)
Dash of Ground Black Pepper
Dash of Sea Salt
4 Ounces Steamed Chopped Spinach
1 100 Calorie Package of Wholly Guacamole
Left Over Cubed Cornbread
Enough Egg whites to Cover Skillet ( I cooked everything & then add in Eggwhites to Skillet)
I used Crystal Farms Allwhites Egg whites poured straight from the carton. I never buy shell eggs.

Heat oil in skillet on Medium
Add in Onion, Garlic, Mushrooms, Olives
Add in Sea Salt & Pepper
Cook Until Soft
Add in Egg Whites to cover pan, cook until bottom is set
Add in Peppers, Spinach, Cornbread, & Guacamole, cook a few minutes

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hemp Cornbread

Being Gluten Free and refusing to spend big money on already prepared Gluten Free items and regain massive weight with those prouducts, has forced me to continually experiment and create Gluten & Dairy Free recipes that are edible, tasty, and not super pricey to make as well being something that others will eat besides me.

I have found the easiest baking recipes for me to be ones where I use a base of cornmeal and then a gluten free flour along with a Dairy Free Milk Alternative. All the cookbooks and Blogs I have read in the last 10-15 years never use cornmeal at all for baking or for breading items, the ones I have read all seem to rely on using 5-6 individual Gluten Free Flours to make an All Purpose Gluten Free Mix, ie: (Sorghum, Potato, Tapoica. Amaranth, Brown Rice, & Almond Meal). I simply do not have the budget to pay $3-4 per 12-16OZ Package for each one of these and then mix them to bake one item. It is much more economical for me to just get a 1 or 2 LB container of Cornmeal and then use Rice Flour to bake something. Almond Meal on its own can run $15-20 for a 10 Ounce Container.

1 Loaf Pan
Cooking Spray or Parchment Paper
1 Mixing Bowl
1 1/2 Cups Yellow Corn Meal
1 1/2 Cups Rice Flour
3/4 Cup Splenda
1 1/2 TBSP Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Apple Pie Spice
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Egg Whites
1 Cup Vanilla or Plain Hemp Milk

Add All Dry Items to Bowl
Add All Wet & Mix
Pour Into Grease or Parchment Line Loaf Pan

Soup With Greens And Grains

Whenever there is a brisk fall chill in the air making soup, chili or some type of stew are my go to meals. It just seems like one's body craves heartier food when it is colder outside then when it is warm. As many of you already know, I am all about one pot meals, whether it be in my Crockpot, Dutch Oven, Skillet or a Casserole Dish. I try to use whatever I have in refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets to make a comprehensive meal that will last a few days or even more which then allows me to freeze my leftovers.

One 5-6 Quart Dutch Oven
1 TBSP Canol Oil
One Pound Isernio's Italian Chicken Sausage Roll
4 Cups Very Low Sodium Chicken Stock
One Bunch Broccolini Cleaned & Cubed
One Diced Onion
1-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
1-2 Cups Steamed Brown Rice
1 Sweet Potato Steamed And Shredded
1-2 TBSP Franks Red Hot Sweet Chili Sauce
1/4 TSP Sea Salt
1/4 TSP Ground Black Pepper

Heat Oil on Medium in Dutch Oven
Add in Onion & Sausage And Cook
Add in Stock, then Add in Everything Else
Cover and Simmer on Low for 20 Minutes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Broccolini Scallop Saute

Many people as well as myself have always been confused if Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe and Rapini are all the same. From what I have found many Chef Sites or Blogs have said that Broccoli Rabe and Rapini are the same but Broccolini is completely different. Broccoli Rabe is nutty & quite bitter so it is always best to cook it and not eat it raw. Broccolini is a cross between Broccoli and Chines Kale, but is somewhat similar in appearance to asparagus and is often bundled the same. It is sweet with the flavors of Broccoli & Asparagus. Broccolini can be sauted, steamed, stir-fried, or boiled. Less is more when cooking Broccolini as it is a tender & delicate vegetable.

One 12 Inch Skillet
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
8-12 Ounces of Frozen Small Bay Scallops Thawed (Whatever Size You Find)
One Package of Brocollini
1 TBSP Sesame Seeds
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 Diced Onion
1-2 TBSP Kikoman Takumi Collection Garlic & Green Onion Sauce

If you prefer toast your seseame seeds in the skillet before heating the Oil
Heat Oil on Medium in Skillet
Add In Everything And Cook Until Scallops Are Opague And Can Be Cut Easily, Onions Should Be Soft And Broccolini Should Be Tender But Not Mushy
Anywhere from 5-10 Minutes

Gluten & Dairy Free Raspberry Muffins

Baking items Gluten Free is much easier if you use milk and eggs and have unlimited money to purchase Gluten Free Flours, and Orgran No Egg Egg Replacer or Ener-G Egg Replacer, but when you can't use the traditional items and live on a very tight budget it is not so easy. In the last 10 years I have read numerous books, blogs & websites devoted to Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free and much more. I have experimented over the years with using Brown Rice Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, Almond Meal as well as Coconut Flour. I have used Soy Milk, Coconut Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Oat Milk, Smart Balance Extra Protein Fat Free Skim Milk and some efforts have been good, others not so much, some are better then good, but that is always subjective to the person eating the final products. I have found that Coconut Flour is not the easiest to work with because you can only use this for 1/4 of regular flour and then need to make lots of tweaks for a moist baked good with other Gluten Free Flours, and more liquid. For this recipes I needed to keep adding more liquids in the form of Soy Milk and Egg Whites and I wound making 24 Mini Muffins and then 9-10 Regular sized muffins. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to continually check your muffins because Coconut Flours bake much differently. The top and middle takes longer to bake with Coconut Flour and your bottoms may get a little more done at times. I only have Silicon Liners for my 12 Count regular muffin pan so I sprayed my 24 Count mini muffin pan. Coconut Flour Has Higher Fiber so it is very dense and you might want to use a mixer unless you have lots of hand-strength which I found out the hard way I no longer do.

Mixing Bowl
1 24 Count Mini-Muffin Pan
1 12 Count Regular Size Muffin Pan
Silicon Muffin Liners
Cooking Spray

1 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Rice Flour
2 TSP ground Cinnamon
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/2 TSP Xanthan Gum
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract or Pure Vanilla
9 Egg Whites
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add Milk As Needed To Thin Batter. I used Unsweetened Soy Milk

Line 12 Count Muffin Pan
Spray Mini Muffin Pan
Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees

Add All Dry Items to Bowl
Add All Wet & Mix
I use a Small Gravy Spoon to Add Batter to my Muffin Pans
Bake Mini Muffins till Done 15-25 Minutes
Bake Regular Muffins Till Done 20-40 Minutes

Regular Size

Mini Ones