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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 9 Enchiladas

Don't be a chicken! I think the biggest reason why I know how to cook is so simple. I'm not afraid to fail. I try things and sometimes they aren't great. I have cooked often enough to be able to salvage most meals even if they aren't exactly what I envisioned.

Today, I tried something new and it turned out pretty darn good. :-) I have made enchiladas a lot of times but I always buy the canned enchilada sauce. Thanks to the lovely internet, I found this recipe: Ten Minute Enchilada Sauce and found that I had enough of the ingredients to try (also, I know that self-rising flour is just flour with baking powder and salt, so could substitute). I also did it in the microwave because I was hungry and ten minutes seemed like a lot of minutes.

I had some rice and beans and also some refried bean dip in the fridge so I mixed those together, warmed them in the microwave and wrapped them in a tortilla, covered them in the sauce and threw it in the oven for about ten minutes. Delish!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 8 - Stretching Chicken

When I recommend to people that they eat chicken thighs and leg quarters (because they are juicy and delicious!) I realized that I forget to tell them *how* to eat them.

First, why should you stretch the chicken?
Meat Consumption
"Let's start here: Average Americans eat WAY too much meat, in my opinion, and I am in pretty good company in that opinion. Nearly every organization that deals with health and nutrition agrees that a serving of meat should be between two and four ounces and some groups think even less! I wrote a whole post about it :-)"

So how do we meet those recommendations most days? Taking what appear to be single serving size pieces and turning them into family servings:
Look, two thighs= two servings, right?

Yum, two delicious servings...

But wait! When you take the meat off the bone, it magically turns into enough for a family!

Bonus, you get bones and skin to make a small pot of crock pot stock!

Look! 2 cups of rice, 16 ounces of frozen vegetables, and about 1 1/2 pounds of cooked chicken (about 2 cups). Six - eight very hearty servings!

So good!

So, go forth and stretch your chicken!

Meat Consumption - Seriously Americans?

 Let's start here: Average Americans eat WAY too much meat, in my opinion, and I am in pretty good company in that opinion. Nearly every organization that deals with health and nutrition agrees that a serving of meat should be between two and four ounces and some groups think even less!

Go to most American restaurants (including ones I love!) and you will not find ANY meat options that fall within the recommended guidelines. Even the kids' menu items usually have more meat than is recommended for an adult portion! No one can possibly feel good after eating a 16 ounce steak? Right? A pound of meat in one sitting! Even the "dainty" portion of a half pound is so much. Do I do it sometimes? Yup. Do I feel sluggish and a little icky after? Yup.

American Health Association
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans and Nuts: 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish; 1/2 cup cooked dry beans; or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

San Francisco Chronicle
Consuming around 46 grams of protein per day if you're female and 56 grams per day if you're male will meet your protein needs, whether you get your protein from meat or from plant sources. A 3-ounce portion of meat contains 21 to 24 grams of protein. Three 3-ounce meat servings per day would supply all your protein needs, but this much meat could include a large amount of saturated fat, which could increase your risk of heart disease.


There is a ton of awesome info here, including a nifty calculator for how much you should eat a day (mine is below), but their total protein recommendation is between 4 and 6.5 ounces PER DAY!

Daily Food Plan

Eat these amounts from each food group daily. This plan is a 1800 calorie food pattern. It is based on average needs for someone like you. (A 39 year old female5 feet 3 inches tall, 135 pounds, physically active less than 30 minutes a day.) Your calorie needs may be more or less than the average, so check your weight regularly. If you see unwanted weight gain or loss, adjust the amount you are eating.
6 ounces
2.5 cups
1.5 cups
3 cups
Protein Foods
5 ounces

Harvard School of Public Health

I like these even more than the government guidelines and the website is super.


Because I talk so much about food cost, it is easy to assume that I eat less meat to save money. The truth is that it is a happy accident that eating healthier is also cheaper. Plus, I can spend more money on beautiful vegetables if I'm spending less on gooky meat. :-) Most of the recipes I make have either beans as the protein or about 3 ounces of meat, usually chicken. Even Paige, who is definitely my biggest meat fan is satisfied with those portions.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 7 Pam's Tuna Dip

My step-mom, Pam, made this (with assistance from her sous chef, my dad) for us last year. Since then, if I need something delicious or something to remind me of Florida, this fits the bill. It is nice and fresh tasting and can be spicy if you dip down into the wasabi, or be mild if you take it just from the top.

1/2 lb raw ahi tuna (I buy it frozen, because, Missouri, ya know...), diced
1 shallot, small diced
1 roma tomato, small diced
2 T capers, rough chopped
2 T fresh parsley (I had basil on hand, so that's what I used in the picture)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 avocado, small dice
1/2 cup mayonnaise

3-4T wasabi

Line the platter with the wasabi. Mix all the other ingredients except the fresh parsley. Place on top of the wasabi and top with the parsley. Serve with ridged potato chips like Ruffles.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 6 IHOP Griddle Cakes

This is a copycat recipe that I have used for at least eight or nine years and it is always a big hit! I don't even know if IHOP still has Griddle Cakes. I think this is where I got it Top Secret Recipes but it was a long time ago, so who knows?
All that was left on Lucille's plate :-)

1 1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1/3 cup Cream of Wheat
1/3 cup sugar
1t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon (not in the original recipe, but I add cinnamon to most everything)
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (I use soymilk with a splash of apple cider vinegar and let it sit until is starts to curdle)
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil today, but you can use whatever you have)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Mix the egg, oil, and buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients. Spray or brush a griddle or pan with oil, heat to medium. I have made these all sizes, just do what you like. I think that very large pancakes feel more like you are eating at a restaurant, but I also like bite-size ones for snacking.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Recipe of the Day-ish 5 Rice and Beans

This is not a strict recipe. It's a story about my dinner tonight.

Rice and beans is among the most versatile dishes and very hard to mess up, really! When I think of rice and beans I first think of a spicy, red pepper heavy dish, then, secondly, I think curry, but what I have figured out is that seriously, ANY seasoning works for this! Today we have a very simple version. It was destined for a potluck so I wanted to make it palatable to lots of people, including kids.

I pulled one sandwich bag of the par cooked beans described on Day 2 from the freezer and finished cooking them with garlic, Jane's Krazy Salt, chicken bouillon, and pepper. Then I cooked 1 1/2 cups of rice with olive oil, diced onions (previously prepped in the fridge),salt and pepper and about a cup of diced carrots (also previously prepped in the freezer). When they were both cooked, I added two small tomatoes (diced) and some more olive oil and Jane's Krazy (I love that stuff!). It is really perfect for a summer meal where strong flavors seem like too much. I planned on adding some basil from the yard at the very end, but forgot and just ate it as is (maybe some basil will make it to the leftovers). This made easily five large servings or at least ten as a side dish. 

How do you cook this? I use and love my electric pressure cooker. I understand not everyone has one so you can use a crock pot and let it cook all day; a rice cooker; pot on the stove; covered casserole dish in the oven; really whatever is easy for you.

The recipe is this: take some beans, take some rice, add some vegetables, add the first seasonings you see, dump it all together, enjoy.

Any requests for this series of recipes? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Recipe of the day-ish 4 - Granola

The measurements on this are pretty flexible and you can add as many or few additions as you like.

1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar (honey, white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, agave or combination of whatever you like)
3 cups oats
1-2 t cinnamon
pinch salt
wheat germ, flax, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate, whatever!

Boil the sugars and oil until they are foamy and completely combined, about 3 minutes. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove.

Add the oats, cinnamon, and salt, stir. If you are using flax or wheat germ, add it now. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten out a bit. Bake at about 200* for 15 or so minutes, until the edges just start to turn brown. Turn the oven off and leave the granola in the oven overnight or at least 4 hours. Add any other additions and put in storage container with lid. It should break into some small and some larger chunks. If there are no chunks it will still taste delicious, but that probably just means you needed to cook the sugars a little longer.