Archive for May, 2009

Sweet pepper chili stew

Is it chili? Is it a stew? I have no idea, really. It started because I wanted beans.

Sweet pepper chili stew:

1 can kidney beans (i used dark red)
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans (or some other white beans)
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow sweet onion
1 anaheim chili
1/8 cup dried lentils
at least 1 cup chicken broth (or veggie broth)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon wochestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low for at least an hour. Add more broth if it looks too thick, you actually want it just a little on the thin side, because it will soak up some more liquid as it cools.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese, a bit of minced fresh cilantro, and/or a dollop of sour cream on top.

If you don’t have all of the spices I used, just use whatever you have that sounds good. If you want a more chili taste, add more cumin.

Anaheim peppers are only slightly spicy, so feel free to use a hotter pepper if that’s what you like.

I don’t have a picture of this, because it’s kind of ugly. But it is tasty!


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Cocoa Nuts

I love dark chocolate. Feel free to use milk chocolate if you prefer.

Cocoa Nuts:

2 cups almonds (I used roasted/salted almonds)
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar (you can find this on the baking aisle near the artificial sweeteners)
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon powdered sugar (I didn’t have any, so I had to use regular sugar)

Put the nuts in a bowl and add the nectar. Mix until thoroughly coated. Add the cocoa and mix until coated. Add powdered sugar to taste.

cocoa nuts

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Granola Bars

I’ve been trying to find a good way to make a chewy granola bar for years. I tried several years ago for Falcon Ridge, but they involved a lot of flour and sugar, and they seemed almost more like granola cakes.

Most of the recipes that I’ve found call for lots of sugar and/or corn syrup. I wanted to find something a bit better for me, though I held no delusions that I would find something actually low in calories and fat…that’s just not the nature of the granola bar beast.

What I came up with today is really good. It’s a recipe that can be played with, if you don’t like almonds, use some other nut, or leave them out. Like raisins more than craisins? That’s cool. Don’t want dark chocolate? Fine with me.

Granola Bars

2 cups granola (I used a hemp granola from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smart balance peanut butter, but I think that next time I’d actually use almond butter)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup crasins
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup agave nectar (you can find this at any grocery store in the aisle with all the alternative sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

In a small sauce pan heat the peanut butter, agave, vanilla, and honey until boiling. Let boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t let it burn. Pull it off the heat after a couple of minutes boiling.

Mix the granola, flax, wheat germ, and almonds together in a large bowl. Add in the peanut butter mixture. Being careful not to burn yourself, mix it all together. Immediately press it into an 8×8 pan lined with foil or parchment. Press down firmly all over and then press some more. You want it pretty compressed. Then sprinkle with chocolate chips and press those in (your hands are going to get chocolaty, I can’t help that).

Let cool completely and then slice into bars of whatever size you like. It helps to dip the sharp knife into a cup of hot water before you slice.

Here is a little cooking tip: if you spray your measuring cup with non stick spray before you put honey in, it will help keep the honey from sticking to the cup.

granola barsgranola bar

granola bar

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Fancy-Pants Veggies

A few years ago Zach and I went to a friend’s apartment for Easter dinner. One friend had made greenbeans with a great sauce on top. I loved them so much that I emailed and asked for the recipe. She called them Fancy Pants Greenbeans. In an effort to eat more veggies, I added carrot and corn to the recipe last night. You could add any other veggie that floats your boat. I bet that some chopped up bell peppers would be good. Probably broccoli, if you like that sort of thing.

I cut this recipe in half last night, but here it is in full.

Fancy-Pants Veggies

2 lbs fresh greenbeans
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 can corn
1/2 cup butter
4 Tbs flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup light cream
grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup almonds (blanched)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Ritz crackers

Cook the veggies.

Bring the butter to a simmer then add the flour. Pour in the broth and cream and simmer until they thicken. Crush the crackers in and add almonds and cheese. Then stir in the veggies.

If it is too thick, add some extra broth. Make sure to heat the broth first, especially if you used fresh Parmesan, and not the powdery stuff. Otherwise it may separate.

I didn’t have any almonds last night, so I used chopped pecans instead. I also used 1% milk, because that’s what I had on hand, and it’s better for me anyhow. I also used whole wheat Ritz.

I still ended up with too much sauce. But I think I may not have had the full amount of greenbeans by the time I snapped the ends off of them all, and got rid of the really ugly ones. Harris Teeter didn’t have great greenbeans this weekend.

fancy pants veggies

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I hate beef. You’ll probably never see a beef recipe on this site, so if you’re a beef lover, this is as close as you’re going to get. You can easily change out my ground turkey for your beef. It’s better for you with turkey! My dad has tried to perfect a vegetarian version of meatloaf using chickpeas. I don’t think he’s succeeded yet, though.

Cheesy meatloaf:

1 – 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (I use the 7% fat stuff, anything less is dry)
1 egg
1-2 slices bread (I used a hotdog bun, because I had extra)
Tablespoon paprika
1-2 teaspoons celery seed
4-5 tablespoons wheat germ (optional, but it’s really good for you)
1-2 cloves garlic (I use the jarred stuff)
Onion flakes (or diced fresh onion)
Shredded cheese

Break the bread up into a bowl and add a splash of milk, let sit for a minute or two.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the turkey, bread, wheat germ, celery seed, paprika, onion flakes, garlic, and the egg. Stir in some shredded cheese. You can use a little or a lot, depending on how cheesy you want things to be. I used a cup or so.

Spread the turkey mixture out onto a cutting board, and cover with a thin layer of salsa. Roll up into a loaf shape, and place in a loaf pan.

Cook on 350 for 45 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of extra cheese and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve with ketchup or salsa.

meat loaf 5.2.09meat loaf 5.2.09meat loaf 5.2.09meat loaf 5.2.09


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Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich

This may seem like a boring topic for a cooking blog. Bacon, egg, and cheese is pretty basic, right?

Mostly I just want to show you these cool things that Char and I found at the grocery store the other night.

Sandwich thins

I’m not a huge fan of sandwiches. I don’t really like sandwich bread. But these are some sort of cross between bread, pita, and those weird cracker things that come in a pizza lunchable. I actually got these to make little pizzas, but then I got hungry at lunch yesterday and decided to make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. The cool thing is that they seem to not be too bad for you or me. 100 calories each, whole grain, full of fiber and vitamins.

I’m not going to give you a really detailed recipe, here. But here’s the gist:

Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich:

2 slices turkey bacon
1 egg
1 slice cheese
1 sandwich thin
salt to taste.

Toast the sandwich thin. Cook the bacon (you could use veggie bacon). Cook the egg. Put the bacon, egg, and cheese on a sandwich thin.

Quick lunch.

bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich 5.2.09

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Tortilla Roll-ups

The tortilla roll-ups are a long-time hit with many of my friends. They started when we had a girls’ weekend in Rochester, and Dove wanted to find something that would be easy to eat while sitting beside the pool. Since it was going to be hot, she wanted to find something cool. So after a big of searching, she found taco roll-ups on Falcon Ridge that summer Nichole made a TON of them, and we ate them for lunch pretty much every day. I’ve made them for parties since then, and now Steven loves them, too.

What follows is a version of the original taco roll-ups that I made for lunch last week. I added spinach to them to give them a bit more nutrition.

Taco Roll-ups

1 package large tortillas (I used spinach tortillas)
1 package frozen spinach in cream sauce (or you could use the stuff without cream sauce)
Chunky salsa
1/2 package cream cheese (or neufatchell), softened
1 packet ranch salad dressing mix
Shredded mexican cheese mix

As per usual, I have no idea how much I used of most of the ingredients. So just guess based on the pictures below.

Heat the spinach until it is no longer frozen, and then drain off some of the cream sauce. If you’re using spinach without cream sauce, then squeeze out the excess water.

Mix the cream cheese, spinach, ranch (I used slightly less than one whole package), and salsa (Maybe 3/4 cup?) together in a bowl. I also added a bit of garlic and paprika to this, but it’s not necessary.

Spread on each tortilla and top with a handful of cheese. Roll the tortillas up and place in the fridge overnight.

The next day, cut each roll into 1 inch slices (bigger or smaller is fine).

spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09

spinach taco roll-ups 4.26.09

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