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Tuesday night is girls’ wine club, and I always try to make something that everyone, even my grandsons, will like.  The local market had frozen plantains on a BOGO sale, so my menu inspiration started there!  The chicken was cooked in the crock pot all day.  When I got home,  I shredded the chicken, I put the rice in the rice cooker, and heated up the black beans.  It’s more appealing to the eye if you serve each component up separately, but with our gang, I put it all back in the crock pot on warm so it stays ready to eat until everyone is ready to eat.  I put the plantains in the oven late, after the other food was ready, so not the best planning I’ve ever done!

Chicken, yellow rice, black beans and plantains

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 pouch Frontera fajita sauce

6 c. cooked yellow rice

2 cans black beans

2 pouches frozen plantains

Olive oil to cook the plantains

Cook thighs in fajita sauce in crock pot on low 8-9 hours.

Cook rice in rice cooker and meanwhile heat up black beans in a saucepan.

Cut up or shred the chicken and add in the rice and beans, and keep warm in crock pot.

You can either make the plantains while the rice is cooking, or after you’ve put everything in the crock pot.  I bought frozen, like I said, that was on sale.

Toss frozen plantains with oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet.   Bake at 400 F until plantains are golden and crispy.  It took 25 – 30 minutes.

Plantains

 

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Today is my oldest son, Austin’s 30th birthday.  We will be celebrating all day, starting with quiche and berries!

 

I made four different quiches – three vegetarian and one with chicken apple sausage.

I set up an assembly line and made them all at once.  The following is the basic recipe for one quiche.

1 pie crust

5 eggs

1/4 large sweet onion

1/2 c. carrot matchsticks

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt or salt mix

1/2 tsp. herbs of choice (I used rosemary and thyme)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 c. sour cream (I used tofutti for my son, Donovan, who can’t have dairy)

1/4 c. milk (I used almond unsweetened)

1/4 c. cream cheese (again, I used tofutti)

1/2 package veggie shredds or shredded cheese of choice

1 package frozen vegetable of choice, cooked and drained – I used broccoli rabe, broccoli, and asparagus.

8 oz. cooked meat instead of or in addition to veggies – optional – I used apple chicken breakfast sausage.

Cook onion and carrot in olive oil, seasoned with salt and herbs, until softened and slightly browned.  If you’re making more than one, cook enough for all of them and save the pan for cooking the meat separately if you’re trying to keep any of them meat free!  Meanwhile:

Get pie crust ready.  I used 2 refrigerated and 2 frozen, since I only have two pie plates!Crust immaculate

Set out bowl to place cooked, drained veggies in.  Top with onion/carrot mixture, sour cream, cream cheese, shredded cheese, 5 eggs (per quiche) and blend.

Pour blended fillings into pie crusts.

Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean.

Many quiche recipes call for baking the crust first.  Totally not necessary!  These were a huge hit!

 

 

 

 

Okay, I confess, I didn’t set out to make a deconstructed rice bowl.  If I’d thought of that, I would have hard-boiled some eggs and served it in a bowl.  Next time!  And there will be a next time.  This dinner was yummy.

Sausage, Brown Rice, Roasted Veggies, and Salad

6 Cups cooked brown rice.  I always use a rice cooker and season with a salt blend and a spoon of duck fat (purchased at my local market).

1 Medium onion, chopped roughly.

2 lb. smoked sausage (I used smoked turkey sausage)  Lots of possibilities here!

1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick and tossed with olive oil and salt or other seasoning blend.   I used Italian, but rosemary and thyme would be good.

2 ob. baby portobello mushrooms, cut in half, and tossed with olive oil and salt or other seasoning blend.  I used onion salt and a pepper blend.

1 can beans of choice, drained and rinsed.  I used cannellini beans.

This meal is so versatile, you can season and imitate different international cuisines.  Use garam marsala, or five spice, curry, or coriander with lime zest, etc.  You get the idea.  Take it whatever flavor direction you want.

I served this with Banh Mi veggies I always keep on hand, and it was a huge hit.  I also put together a salad kit.

https://vickidelbrouck.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/chicken-and-biscuits-banh-mi-fusion/

 

First cut up the veggies and toss with oil and seasonings.  Tasting it raw is the only what to make sure it’s not underseasoned.

Put rice in rice cooker next, as it will take longer than the rest of the foods.

Heat olive oil in skillet and cook onions over low 5-10 minutes, while you cut the sausage into semicircles.

Once the onion is softened, put sausage in on top of it and put on a lid.  It will take about the same amount of time as the rice for this to caramelize nicely.

Put the squash and mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

When the rice is nearly done, and just a little liquid remains in the bottom, unplug and stir in beans.  Place lid back on to keep warm while squash and mushrooms finishes.

I really wish I’d thought of the rice bowl angle earlier.  A nice egg on top would have been the bomb!

Cauliflower was on sale!  I decided to make Cauliflower Steaks, after reading raves about them for years.  Daniel brought me some rosemary and oregano from his garden, which added such a nice, fresh element to the oil mixture I brushed the cauliflower with.   I served it with a simple chicken cutlet and salad.

cauliflower steak.jpg

Spray baking sheet with coconut or olive oil. Cut cauliflower into slices, trying to keep them intact so they look like tree silhouettes.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Mix together olive oil, chopped rosemary and oregano.  Brush both sides of the cauliflower steaks, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes, turning about half way through.  Sprinkle with Parmesian (I used vegan) and serve!  Yum yum!

 

 

Lucky’s (the sip and stroll store) had some beautiful sockeye salmon on sale that called out to me!  My surrogate daughter Beth, who is vegetarian, was over.  I wanted to make a hearty  side for her to join us!  We all loved the rice, and the lentils and garbanzo beans provided her with a little protien.  The color is not as pretty when you cook the veggies in the rice cooker as opposed to stir frying them and adding them in at the end.  It is, however, much easier to throw it all in the rice cooker and walk away!  It tastes yummy, but if I was having guests, I would opt for the stir fry method for prettier presentation.  I threw together some things I had on hand for the marinade and it was a hit!  The non-fish eaters had boneless chicken with the same marinade and said it was good too.

Rice and Lentils with Salmon

Marinade salmon filet in a mixture of Italian dressing and balasamic glaze (2 to 1 ratio), with a little minced ginger added.  My marinade was about 2 Tbsp. dressing, 1 Tbsp.  balsamic glaze and 1/2 tsp. ginger for each serving of fish.  The filet was 1.2 lbs. and I cut it into three servings.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F and start the rice in the rice cooker, because it will take about twice as long as the salmon will.

For the rice:

2 C. brown rice

1/2 C. wild rice

1/2 C. dried lentils

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 bag broccoli slaw or other coarsely chopped vegetables

3 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. seasoned salt or other seasoning blend

6 C. water

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Combine all except garbanzo beans and cook in a rice cooker (one of my favorite small appliances!).  It will take about 40-45 minutes, so set the timer for 20 minutes, then put the salmon in the oven in a shallow baking dish, pouring remaining marinade over it.

When the liquid in the rice cooker was almost gone, I stirred in the garbanzo beans.  My rice cooker has a tendency to overcook towards the end, causing some of the rice to stick and over cook, so I usually stir in a little olive oil while there’s still a little liquid left to keep this from happening.

 

 

Leftover roasted potatoes are the star of this quiche. The bacon and onions don’t hurt either!

 

2 Immaculate pie crusts

1/2 pound bacon

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 to 4 cups leftover roasted potatoes cut into small cubes

10 eggs

One package mozzarella shirts vegan cheese

One half cup tofutti sour cream

Cook onion and bacon until bacon is crispy. Place in pie crust in pie pans sprayed with coconut oil. Combine remaining ingredients and pour into pie shells. Bake at 320F for 45 minutes.

 

 

I had some Pearl couscous and was inspired to mix it with some broccoli slaw I had on hand.  The result was so yummy and so easy, I will definitely serve it again!

20180709_195231

Just cook the Pearl couscous according to directions, let it cool and then mix it with the broccoli slaw. Yummm.

We have a new favorite condiment – Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Aioli.  They recommend using it with crab cakes or fish.  The Fresh Market had a Little Big Meal deal with crab cakes, so I decided to give it a try.  It was an instant hit!  We use it on our burgers, and tonight I cooked chicken breast cutlets coated in it.  Yummmmmmm!

Lemon Aioli

Every 4th of July, there is a parade that passes my house.  This year for the first time, my grandsons got to see their Uncle Elliot take part!  Elliot’s dream.

The brunch was cheesy apple grits and apple crescent casserole, two family faves!

July 4 brunch

Top photo:  Apple Crescent Casserole

2 tubes crescent dough

2 apples, cut into 8 pieces each

4 eggs

1 c. almond milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 c. sugar or agave

Core and cut apples into 16 wedges.

Wrap each piece of apple into a wedge of crescent dough and place into 13 x 9 casserole dish sprayed with coconut oil.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile mix  eggs, mil, vanilla, and sugar or agave.

Crescent dough should be golden at this point.  Pour egg mixture over crescents and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with vanilla yogurt as a topping.  Yummy!

Cheesy Apple Grits:

4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar or agave

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. quick cooking grits

4 eggs

2 c. shredded cheese (I used Veggie Cheese)

1/2 c. almond milk

1 apple, thinly sliced

Heat water with sugar or agave and salt.  Once at a rolling boil, add grits gradually and cook until thickened.  Add in shredded cheese and stir until melted.  Temper with milk and add in eggs.  Once blended, pour into a prepared 13 x 9 baking dish and top with apple slices.  Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes.

Ideally, this goes into the oven prior to the first phase of the crescent casserole, so they can finish up together.

This is also delish with vanilla yogurt as a topping.

Our 4th was fun!   My grandsons got to see their Uncle Elliot in the parade with the local fire department, and had fun collecting and eating the candy!

 

 

I baked a carrot cake cheesecake for Olivia’s birthday.  Dairy free so Donnie could eat it.  It was soooo good!

20180626_194029

Carrot Cake:

2 C. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. calt

1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

4 eggs

2 C. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 C. oil

2 C. shredded carrots

1 C. raisins, soaked in rum, drained

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

1 C. chopped nuts (optional)

Spray a 13 x 9 cake pan.

Whisk dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs for 2 minutes and add sugar and vanilla.  Add oil.  Blend in flour mixture a little at a time.

Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into cake pan.

Cheesecake:

2 containers daiya or tofutti cream cheese

1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C. non-dairy yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

Blend ingredients until smooth and spoon evenly over carrot cake batter.

Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Top with berries, if desired.

 

 

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