Category: Make Your Own


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!

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

When I make boneless, skinless chicken in the crock pot, I always make too much.  I’ve been experimenting with fun ways to use up the leftovers, such as the burritos, egg rolls, empanadas, and now this super easy pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 C. shredded chicken

2 packages frozen mixed vegetables

1 package Simply Potatoes Steakhouse Seasoned Potatoes

1 c. baking mix (such as Bisquick or anything intended to make pancakes, biscuits, etc.)

3/4 c. cashew milk

Rinse the frozen veggies in a colander until defrosted.  Toss with potatoes.  Stir in chicken.  Mine had enough sauce, since crock pot meats are so wet, so I didn’t have to add anything.  If yours is dry or in need of liquid, you can use a homemade gravy by making a roux of butter and flour, and adding chicken broth to it and thickening it.  You can also use one of those handy pouches of sauce they sell nowadays or a canned soup.  These are just a little higher in sodium than we are comfortable eating on a regular basis, but can certainly make life easier in a pinch.

Pour chicken and veggie mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish (such as my Bobby Flay lasagna pan – to which I must bid adieu – a fine crack appeared and I’m not taking any chances!)  Mix baking mix and cashew milk.  If you want to spruce this up, you can add shredded cheese and an egg.  Spread evenly over the chicken and veggies.  Don’t worry about holes, because as you can see, the chicken bubbled up through in some places.

Bake at 375 until a toothpick through the thickest part of the crust comes out clean, and then turn off the oven and leave it in there 5 more minutes to help eliminate doughy parts.

 

 

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Filling:

2 lb. chicken feta spinach sausage, cooked and crumbled

1 large onion, caramelized

1/2 c. spinach (I used longevity spinach from Daniel’s garden)

Olive oil to caramelize onions and cook spinach

1 c. vegan mozzarella shreds

1/4 C. chopped kalamata olives

1 can drained garbanzo beans.

3/4 c. tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. tandoori seasoning

1 tsp. seasoned salt

Caramelize onions and wilt spinach with olive oil and seasonings.

Pulse sausage, olives, garbanzo beans, and sauce in food processor until well combined.

Blend with cooked onions and spinach and place on defrosted empanada dough.

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Seal with water, press edge with fork and place on baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil.

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Brush with beaten egg and bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden.

I intended to use Greek dressing, but had none, so I substituted the tomato sauce.  Yummy.

I bought wrappers in a hurry yesterday, intending to make potstickers when I got home, without realizing I had grabbed egg roll wrappers instead of won ton wrappers.  I googled to see if I could make potstickers out of the egg roll wrappers.  Conflicting information as to how well it would work to use egg roll wrappers to make potstickers made me decide to make egg rolls instead.  I had already made the filling mixture for potstickers, so the filling is more meat and less veggies than I would have used if I’d planned egg rolls from the start.

20180408_203743

1 package Nasoya egg roll wrappers

2 lb. ground turkey

1 large sweet onion, chopped finely

1 package chop salad

2 Tbsp. fresh ginger

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. salt

1tsp. five spice mix

Cook onion in oil until softened.

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Sprinkle with salt and five spice.  Add in chop salad.  Cook over low heat until softened.

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Place veggies in colander lined with paper towels to drain off excess moisture.

At this point, I added the veggies to the meat and stirred in the ginger and soy sauce for the potsticker filling and refrigerated it.  Then I realized I was going to make egg rolls instead, so I cooked the meat mixture and broke it up and cooked the turkey through.  I drained the meat and refrigerated it to cool enough to make the egg rolls.

20180408_115417

I used my mini ice cream scoop and put two scoops on each wrap.  I followed the instructions on the package of how to fold it.  Point down, place filling on center.  Place bottom point up over the filling, then fold in the sides, and roll.  I placed them on a baking sheet brushed with oil.

20180408_200901 (1)

Spray top of the egg rolls with cooking spray or brush with oil.   Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden.

These were great!  Not as much work as potstickers either.  Daniel said they were like potsticker egg rolls.  Makes sense.

These would be a good way to use up leftovers.  The wraps are flaky and crispy.  I have another package and can’t wait to try another variation!

 

I originally intended to serve the veggie “meat”balls I made the day Jeannine was over with coconut curry sauce.  Unfortunately (or as it turns out fortunately) I mistook a pouch of lemongrass basil sauce by Saffron Road for a coconut curry sauce by Imagine.  It was delicious!  I had some orzo on hand and a kale and brussel spouts chop salad, and so I cooked a veggie and orzo risotto type thing inspired by a recipe I saw Chef Jean-Pierre prepare with barley the night Lein, Molly, and I went to his cooking school dinner show.  This one’s a keeper.   Proof that good ingredients and an open mind can lead to phenomenal results!

20180321_204355

I baked the veggie “meat”ball mixture I made for 400 F for 20 minutes.  I used an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size.  When I rolled them, I put olive oil in my hands, so they were coated in a thin coating of olive oil.

Veggie Burgers

They came out nice and golden.

I put a thin layer of the lemongrass basil sauce in a 13 x 9 baking dish and placed the “meat”balls in it.  I spooned the rest of the sauce over them, and baked them at 350F.

Meanwhile, I cooked a Taylor Farms kale chop salad mix that had brussel sprouts in it over low heat, and boiled the orzo with ginger, garlic, and salt in the water.   I seasoned the veggies with 2 tsp. garam masala.  and when the orzo was done and the veggies were softened, I added 2 Tbsp. butter, a splash of red wine, and tossed in the orzo and a can of cannelini beans and heated it through and let it thicken a little.  I didn’t measure anything, but tasted as I went along.

This was far and away everyone’s favorite vegetarian meal to date!

 

 

 

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