Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chopped-worthy dinner dish

I feel like tonight’s dinner was almost Chopped worthy. It had a variety of ingredients that I wouldn’t normally think to combine but it worked. Here’s what went in it: 

Sweet potato puree
Gala apple
Frozen mire poix
Cajun seasoning
Almond milk
Brown rice
I made a sauce that I put over the rice. It was inspired by a soup recipe in a magazine, but I didn’t feel like soup, I wanted something a little heartier. 

First I made the brown rice. 

I chopped one peeled gala apple and combined it with a little bit of olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic. If I hadn’t already browned my chorizo a couple nights ago, I would have put the apples and garlic in with the chorizo. However, since the sausage was already done, I sautéed apples and garlic for just a little bit, then added about half a bag of frozen mire poix and some Cajun seasoning. 

Then I added the browned chorizo and sweet potato. I had some cubes of frozen sweet potato puree in the freezer leftover from when I made chili a couple weeks ago. I threw four cubes in the pot with the apple and veggies. I tossed in a couple tablespoons of almond milk to the sauce. 

I brought everything to a simmer and let it thicken a little bit. Then I spooned it over the brown rice. 

It turned out pretty yummy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Breakfast casserole...GF and vegan

I love other bloggers that post gluten-free recipes. They make me happy. A friend - thanks, Dee - posted a gluten-free oatmeal casserole on Facebook. I'm not saying it is the same as a hashbrown casserole with eggs and cheese and sausage and all that jazz, but it's got to be better for me, right!?

So I tired it out. I followed the recipe closely this time, but next time I'll make a few changes. Here the blog that had the original recipe is below. The recipe I will post will include the changes I will make next time. I baked this, then put it in the fridge. Each day for the past few days, I've cut a piece and warmed it up in the microwave. It only takes about 1 minute, 30 seconds to be warm and yummy.


Baked Oatmeal Casserole
2 cups gluten free oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup fruit - I made it with mixed berries last time, I want to try it with diced apples or diced peaches
2 cups almond milk
1 "flax egg" (1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp water. Mix together then let sit about 5 minutes until it gels a bit)
3 tbsp melted vegan "butter" or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Spray casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients together. Place the oat mixture in the casserole dish. Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients over the oats. Bake for about 35-40 minutes.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips before serving if you prefer.

I thought the chocolate and bananas in the original recipe were too overpowering. I think this would be awesome with apples and butterscotch chips though....

The mother grain

Quinoa...have you tried it yet? It's good stuff. I tried quinoa for the first time a little over a year ago and now we always have it in the house.

Quinoa is technically a seed rather than an actual grain, but you can use it in just about any recipe that calls for rice or oats. It has a nutritional profile that is very close to milk - with more protein than other grains. I have friends that use it in place of meat in tacos. Since quinoa takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it or mix it with, you can make it just about any way you want.

I had a bag of sugar snap peas and baby carrots in the fridge that I hadn't figured out what to do with. I've been eating out a lot the last several days so I felt like I needed to stick to the veggies today.

So for breakfast, I had GF baked oatmeal, Shakeology with a banana for lunch, an apple for a snack and for dinner I made a Asian quinoa salad with a cup of miso soup.

Asian Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 ready to steam bag sugar snap peas and baby carrots (or other veggies of your choice)
3 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Bring water and quinoa to boil in a medium sized pot. Reduce heat to low and cover for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and leave covered about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam veggies and mix with tamari, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Add quinoa and toss. I tossed some sliced scallions on top and added some sriracha for heat as well. I bet the leftovers will be even better for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rough week...good weekend

This past week was a tough one. A week ago, last Sunday night, something with the steering broke on my van. That's bad enough, but toss in the fact that we've only had one working vehicle that we can use for the last several months. In both of our names we actually own several vehicles - two mini vans, a cargo van, a two-seater convertible, a 15-ft box truck...but only one of those mini vans is operational in such a way that it can be used for the family.

So anyway, we had a crazy busy week with me going to Chicago on Friday, Annyka having a judo trial on Wednesday and the normal getting to school and work each day to deal with. Did I mention I've also been nursing a muscle strain in my back all week?

I did get to take my little trip to Chicago though and see a good friend who lives across the country now and got some rest. Plus I was also able to purchase another vehicle so hopefully this week will be a little better - I have two doctors appointments, we have judo and a spring music performance.

So I only cooked once all week last week. Thursday night I had enough time to make tomato soup.

I came across a recipe for an easy tomato soup and decided to try it. Of course I doctored it up a little bit. The rest of the fam got garlic bread as well. I think I'm going to make some pasta to have with the soup tonight.

Easy Tomato Soup

1 24-oz jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
24-oz of chicken broth
1 15-oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
10 oz baby spinach, torn
olive oil

In a large pot, saute the onion in a little olive oil until transparent. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add mushrooms and spinach. Stir for about a minute. Add pasta sauce, broth and beans. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.