Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vegetable Stock Recipe

Here is an easy way to make a vegetable stock. It is always great to use your own stock in homemade soups, rice, beans or lentils.

I like to do several cooking projects while I'm in the kitchen. It is just a more efficient use of my time. I decided to make some soup stock while preparing dinner. First, I caramelized some diced onion. You can use any type of oil.
Next, I used the leftover pieces of washed celery from my salad. Make sure to trim off the leaves from the celery...they have a bitter taste. I cut up a carrot, minced some garlic and added 8 cups of water. Later, I added the caramelized onion (sorry, forgot to take a picture). Start off cooking the stock at a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. You lose the nutritional value after an hour.
The finished product is the first picture in this post. You can store it in the freezer for later use. I'm putting mine in the refrigerator, and will use it in a recipe next week. Making your own stock is very easy to do, and very economical. Purchase onions in a bag...they are less expensive that way. I wash the carrot, gently scrubbing it but I don't scrape it.

Crock Pot Refried Beans Recipe

This recipe comes from some friends of mine, the Cochrans, and it is easy to make. It makes quite a bit of refried beans, so do adjust the recipe if you don't have a big crock pot.


6 c. pinto beans
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP salt
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can omit or use a vegetarian product)

I already cooked up the bacon for the broccoli salad we had for dinner (see previous post).

I've got plenty of pinto beans in my food storage. These beans should last about 25 years if unopened. I intend to rotate my storage. As I use up a few cans, I'll just drypack more, or you can purchase them by the case from any LDS dry pack cannery. You can even have them shipped to you, go to Provident Living for more information.

Measure out 6 cups of beans into a bowl. Don't put them into the crock pot until they have been sorted and rinsed. I use a small white bowl or paper plate to sort the beans. I pour about 1/3 c. at a time into the bowl and look for any rocks, discolored or shriveled beans. In the picture below, notice the 2 little rocks in the middle of the beans. Take these out.
In 6 cups of beans, here is what I pulled out.... you sure don't want to bite into a rock, so take care when you sort.
After sorting, make sure that you rinse the beans before putting into the crock pot. Rinsing is critical, because there is dust and dirt that you want to rinse off.....don't want that in you food! After rinsing a few times, pour the beans into the crock pot, and cover with water. I added the rest of the ingredients, and stirred. Make sure the beans are always covered with water; check them every couple of hours. Cooking time is 12-24 hours, depending on how old the beans are.

I could use my pressure cooker and just be done with the process, but not everyone has a pressure cooker. I'll be using the refried beans to make a layered bean dip for tomorrow. It is Super Bowl Sunday, so we will have some chips and bean dips, even though we won't be watching the game!

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

For dinner tonight, I made this wonderful Broccoli Salad and served it with leftover risotto, and sweet barbecue chicken wings (got these and used a beer rebate for cheap wings).

The most expensive part of this recipe is the broccoli. I bought the crowns only and paid $1.30 for them. I got just enough for the recipe, which serves 4. The bacon I had only paid $0.50 (after coupon), and have stored it in the freezer. We don't eat much bacon, but it is nice to have on hand if I can get it for such a low price.

When purchasing broccoli, make sure you are getting tight bud heads that are dark green, no yellow. Cut the flowerettes off leaving about 1 inch of stem, and then split these lengthwise to make smaller, bite size pieces.

Dice the celery....

Add each item to the I just dumped in the red onion and celery.

My husband ate the seedless red grapes that I was going to use in this recipe.....yep, major failure to communicate on my part. So, I just did without them. I did add the raisins (which he hates...but I love!) and the sunflower seeds.
I cooked up a pound of bacon, half went into this recipe, and the other half into the refried beans I have cooking in the crock pot (I'll post this recipe later tonight). Isn't this looking yummy?
You can make your own dressing or use ready made. I had gotten Kraft dressing at a great deal a while back, so just used some creamy poppy seed dressing.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

2 c. broccoli flowerettes, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 c. seedless grapes, cut in half
1/2 c. raisins
1/4 c. diced red onion

1/2 c. mayo
2 tbsp sugar,
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Whisk together and pour over salad.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Roasted Rosemary Chicken in a Crock Pot

It all started with a deal on whole chickens at Albertson's this week. They were selling whole chickens for $0.69/pound, which is a great deal. I bought 4 last Saturday; put 3 in the freezer and kept one out. Today was the day for trying out crock pot roasted chicken. You'll notice that this particular chicken was only $3.91.

Always wash your whole chicken under running water in the kitchen sink. Pull out all of the giblets, heart, neck, etc. I toss mine, but if you're into using them for pet food or whatever, go for it. I sprayed my crock pot with olive oil cooking spray....just makes for easier clean-up.

I had some celery and part of an onion in the refrigerator, so, I washed the celery, snapped the pieces in half, roughly chopped the onion, and tucked them into the cavity of the chicken.

My next step was to walk out the front door and snip some fresh rosemary from the bush by the front walk. Handy! This picture shows the rosemary sprigs and the rosemary olive oil that I have. After washing it, I tucked the rosemary into the cavity of the bird, pulled back the skin at the neck, and tucked some rosemary in there also.

I poured a little of the olive oil into a small cup, and brushed the entire bird with it.

In the picture below, you can see where I tore the skin trying to get the rosemary in....I'm not very patient.

I cooked the bird for 8 hours on low. You can speed it up by cooking it on high for 4-5 hours.

In the picture below, you can see how the skin is cooked and the rosemary is showing. Can I just tell you how fantastic this smelled!?

I gently lifted the chicken out of the crock pot, where it all fell nicely onto the platter and immediately fell off of the, the aroma was fantastic. Sorry I forgot the picture of this. I did get a picture of the salad that I served with it....iceberg, spinach, blood orange (cut up), poppy seed dressing, slivered almonds and red onion.

I also cooked up a package of yellow rice. I love yellow rice, and it is such a great color to add to the plate. I used my small rice cooker, just because it is so easy.

Below is a picture of the plate served up. It was really delicious, and if I wasn't trying so hard to watch what I'm eating, I would have had seconds and thirds! Both the dark and white meat were very moist and yes, I'm repeating myself, delicious! I hope that you'll give it a try!

Because Albertson's sale ends tonight, I rushed back out and bought 8 more chickens. Into the freezer they will go until I make another crock pot chicken!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Martha Stewart's Carrot-Cake Cookies

I usually try and post healthy food choices on this blog, but it was very chilly yesterday, and I was in the mood to bake. This cookie recipe from Martha Stewart ( got it from Everyday Food, Holiday Issue 2006) is fantastic. I can eat 1 or 2 of these cookies, and not feel like blowing the whole diet. Here is the recipe:

8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (note: I used 5 TBSP and it turned out great)
1/2 c. packed light-brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c. packed finely grated peeled carrots
1/3 c. dried currants (I used raisins)

Preheat oven to 350* Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugars, then mix in the egg yolk. Add the dry ingredients and mix. Since I used less butter, I used the Rachel Ray method of using my hands to mix. Here is a picture of the cookie dough.

Make up some frosting using:

4 oz. softened cream cheese
2 TBSP softened butter
1 /4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Here is a picture of them just out of the oven, transferred to a cookie cooling rack. Bake for about 10 minutes.

And here are some frosted. I served these to the 2 guys that were here to clean my carpet. They thought that Martha came up with a really good recipe!

If you are in the mood to bake, you will love these!

Ginger-Cumin Infused Carrot, Zucchini and Chickpea "Pasta"

This delicious recipe comes to us from Natural Health magazine. I really enjoyed this as my dinner entree last night. This could be served with some rice, which I will make up and serve next time I make this dish.

Here is the recipe:

2 large zucchini or 1 large zucchini and 1 large yellow squash
2 large carrots
1 can chick peas, drained
1 medium onion
2 TBSP olive oil
1 c. organic, low sodium vegetable broth
1 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

First, using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini and carrots into long, fettuccine-like strips. Set aside.

Next, using a mandolin, slice the onion into very thin pieces.

Separate the pieces, and heat them in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, zucchini and carrots. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Don't overcook. You'll notice that I used chicken broth, which is what I had on hand.

Add chickpeas, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. I notice I forgot to include the picture of this.

Simmer until done, and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve hot. I thought this was so delicious. Like I said, I think it would pair well with some cooked rice. I didn't have a zucchini, so just used the yellow squash. I also cut the recipe in half and it turned out great. I think I forgot to half the amount of broth....didn't bother me! I hope you'll try this and let me know how you liked it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Southwest Lentils and Rice Recipe

Lentils are a great addition to your food storage. When served with a grain, such as brown rice, they make a complete protein. I like to cook my lentils (I love the red lentils) along with the brown rice in my rice cooker. You don't have to guess if you are burning the bottom of the pan with a rice turns out perfectly!

You can make your lentils and rice recipe any "flavor" that you want. Both lentils and rice have mild flavors, so you can add any seasonings you want to get the desired result. I choose to make a southwest style.

First, don't forget to measure your lentils, then put them on a white paper plate and pick off all of the things that looks out of place. See my post here on how to do this. Pictured below, I show where I rinse the lentils. I just used my rice cooker pot, filled it halfway with water, pour the dirty water this a few times.

Southwest Lentils and Rice

3/4 c. lentils
3/4 c. brown rice
1-2 tsp. Blend It Up Southwest Seasoning (or add cumin, chili peppers, etc)
4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion and 1 clove garlic, diced and sauteed in olive oil

Add all ingredients to rice cooker. It will cook for about 30-40 minutes and then switch to warm.

Here are the rinsed lentils with the brown rice.

Add the rest of the ingredients, put the lid on the rice cooker, then push the cook button. It will take 30-40 minutes to cook.
Here is a picture of the Blend It Up Southwest Spice Blend. You can go to their web site to purchase it here.
Serve the cooked lentils/rice with shredded lettuce, grated cheese and chips. You could also add some sour cream and salsa.

Another way to serve the lentils/rice is to fill taco shells with the mixture and add diced tomatoes, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, etc. I didn't have any tomatoes, but that would've made a great addition. Avocados/guacamole would be a great addition.

Some helpful hints
  1. Keep your brown rice stored in a cool place. I have my brown rice in both the refrigerator and freezer. If you aren't going to use your brown rice up within 6 months, definitely store it in the freezer. It keeps it from becoming rancid.
  2. Lentils store extremely well, but it is best to store them in a cool, dry location also. A basement food storage is ideal. I no longer have a basement food storage area, but have them in my pantry, which is cool and dry.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Healthy Snacks

I managed to get a few pictures taken before the workers arrive. Let's look at some healthy snack ideas today. It is always a good idea to have a small amount of protein type food to hold off hunger between meals. I like to eat a few almonds or walnuts in the afternoon. Here I have a small baggy of cinnamon almonds (Trader Joes) mixed with some dried blueberries. This is great to have in your purse when doing errands, or in your office desk drawer.

Jicama is a favorite of mine because it is low calorie and crunchy! Forget chips, slice up some jicama! If you must, dip it in some ranch dressing. You will find jicama in the produce department of the store. It makes a nice addition to salads also.

Sugar snap peas are another crunchy snack that tastes great. I put a baggy full of these in my purse, too. They will be great to snack on or to eat with lunch.

An apple or carrot sticks are wonderful also, but remember to mix it up a little. Happy healthy snacking!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Art City Trolley Salad Recipe

Do you want to eat a delicious, restaurant quality salad, yet be in the comfort of your own home? This is a wonderful salad to enjoy, similar to what is served at the Art City Trolley in Springville, Utah.

Here is the recipe:

1 small head of romaine
1/2 bag of baby spinach
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds,
small can of sliced olives
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
4 -6 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 c. sugared slivered almonds
1/2 red onion, diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
poppy seed salad dressing

I arranged all of the ingredients on the lettuces with dressing. You might want to toss all of the ingredients just before serving so everyone can see how pretty it looks. Serve with a nice artisan bread.

If you haven't sugared almonds before, just put a couple of teaspoons of sugar in a frying pan, and dump the almonds on top. Stir constantly while cooking over med-high heat until the sugar melts and the almonds are thoroughly coated with sugar. Pour onto waxed paper and spread out. Let cool and break into small pieces. Keep in an air tight container until ready to use.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Recipe

I wanted to show you how this turned out....Baked Blueberry Oatmeal. First of all, I used an 8x8" pan, so I had to bake it for another 15 minutes to get the center cooked. Next time I will use a jelly roll pan and watch it determine baking time. This is really very good, and very filling. What is not to like about oatmeal, blueberries and cinnamon? I served it hot with milk....mmmmmmm. I still have some, so it will be another morning's breakfast. Thanks to my blogging friend, Trish, for sharing the recipe. It is posted at recipezaar here. Let me know how you like it by posting a comment.