Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grilled cheese and avocado!!!

Today reading Facebook I saw a friend's post that said she had eaten a grilled cheese sandwich with avocado for breakfast.  It sounded so good, I had it for lunch!

I just melted some butter in my cast iron skillet.  I places two slices of Ezekiel Bread in the butter and topped the bread with mild cheddar cheese.  Once warm and once they had sopped up some butter, I put together the two slices of bread/cheese together like a sandwich and cooked until the cheese was melted and the bread browned.

After I took it off the heat, I added avocado slices and almond butter, salted, reassembled the sandwich and enjoyed.

A quick, easy lunch!!!

Chicken soup!!!

You will find out this winter that chicken soup is one of my favorite things to make.  Friday I went to Whole Foods and bought stuff for chicken soup .... just a bunch of things I felt like eating - a whole chicken, carrots, onion, celery, already chopped cabbage, and sweet potatoes.  I had a jar of roasted garlic at home.

When I got home, I melted butter in the pot over medium heat and added four, small, roughly chopped onions.  I cooked the onions until they were caramelized (very brown).  Then I added a lot of garlic, the chopped carrots and celery.

I rinsed the chicken and added it to the pot, then filled it with enough water to cover the chicken.  I brought it to a simmer and simmered for about an hour.

After an hour, I removed the chicken, let it cool, then took off all the meat.  I put the bones back into a metal strainer (actually the steamer out of my pasta pot), then put the basket into the soup to let the bones simmer longer.

Several hours later, I added back the chicken and added the diced sweet potato and the chopped cabbage.  I let it cook about a half hour longer.

The picture is what it looked like when I added the final ingredients.  It was sooo good!!  And I made enough to last a few meals.  I did not put a lot of seasonings into this one.  With the sweet potatoes and the caramelized onions, it tasted sweet.  If you must have herbs, I would add thyme, but I think all it really needs is just a little salt.

Beet salad!!!

Sorry I've gotten behind on posting .... I'm certainly not behind on EATING!!!!!

I have to post a picture of a beet salad I had at Oceanaire, a restaurant in Indianapolis -

On the bottom are roasted red and yellow beets.  They are topped with thinly cut apples and gorgonzola cheese.  Wow!!!!  It was SO good!!!!  I am going to try to duplicate this.  Yum!  I will let you know how it goes ......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buffalo steak!!

I'm eating a lot of buffalo lately because it's much higher in iron than beef.  Heme iron from meat is more readily absorbed than iron supplements or iron from veggies, so I include a lot of red meat in my diet.  Buffalo is a very healthy red meat.

Yesterday I needed an iron boost, so I bought a bison ribeye.  I took my cast-iron skillet, melted some butter, and placed the steak into the melted butter (after rinsing the meat, of course).  I topped the steak with organic roasted garlic out of a jar.  I cooked for 5-6 min., flipped, then 5-6 min. more.

I cooked mine on the floor of the 450 degree oven to avoid having to clean up splatters on the stove-top, but it can also be cooked on med. heat on a regular stove.

It was perfectly med. rare and tasted GREAT!!!!  I had a glass of Layer Cake shiraz with the steak and some dark chocolate for dessert.

I made buffalo chili for the kids (same as last time, so the recipe is already posted), and hubby was out of town.  I had the leftover chili for lunch, ti was great, too!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Tonight we're all eating in shifts because of everyone's activities.  Those of us who are at home together, eat together.

I usually use corn tortillas for enchiladas, but I was shopping at Kroger today and they don't carry organic corn tortillas.  We won't use non-organic corn because almost all of it is GMO, so I used tortillas I had at home.  I needed to use them up anyway .... they were a mix of Ezekiel, spelt, and organic wheat.

I like La Preferida authentic beans.  They are made with lard so have a wonderful flavor.  I never use non-fat beans ...  ewww.  :-D  I also used organic, grated cheddar cheese and enchilada sauce.  Whatever brand of enchilada sauce is fine, just be sure you can pronounce all the ingredients.  ;)

This is soooo easy!!  Just open the cans of beans, place the beans down the center of the tortillas (be sure to use enough, this is the filling), then roll up the tortilla.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Use a baking dish that is large enough to hold all your enchiladas, but small enough that the enchiladas fill up the dish.

Top with enchilada sauce.  Bake at 350 until warm, about 30 min.  Take out of oven and top with grated cheddar.  Heat for an additional 5 min, take out of oven and let cool for 5-10 min.  Serve.

I made two dishes ..... one for the first shift that has already eaten, and now the second dish is in the oven cooking so it will be ready for the others who are eating later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beer can chicken on the grill!!!

It's been such a beautiful week with weather in the 70's that we decided to grill out.  Cooler temperatures are not the only reason people don't grill out in the late fall ..... it also gets dark early!!  So, yes, we felt like we were cooking out past 10 PM, but it was worth it.

Beer can chicken is GREAT!!!  The beer keeps the chicken very moist and the spices make it very flavorful.  I bought whole, organic chickens from Whole Foods, two of them because I'm always feeding a crowd.

Now, when you grill, it's "man's work", LOL, so my husband had to rinse the chickens, then he held them while I poured safflower oil over them.  He rubbed the oil all over the chicken to coat it.  Then I sprinkled Todd's Bayou Dirt over them generously.  Next, you open the beer, pour out (or drink) 1/3 of it.  Then you stand the chicken up on the beer can.

We took the chickens outside to the already fired-up grill.  We use a charcoal grill and use real charcoal, not that chemical-laden regular stuff.

While we were walking out, I asked my husband if he poured out a third of the beer ..... he stopped walking, and said he hadn't even OPENED THE CANS!!!!  LOL!  So we went back inside, he stabbed the cans with a skewer through the opening in the top of the chicken.

Then we put the chicken on the grill and it took about an hour to cook.  Use a meat thermometer to be sure you bring the chicken up to a safe temperate.  And as always when grilling, take all the plates/utensils that touched the raw meat inside and wash.

While the chicken was cooking, I cooked about 8 slices of bacon and put on some green beans.  I used two bags of the thin kind (not french cut) from the freezer case.  I poured both bags into the pot, poured over some beef broth I had in the refrigerator, then filled the pot with enough water to just cover the beans.  I threw in a couple slices of raw bacon for flavor.  I brought it to a boil, then simmered in the 250 degree oven (or just turn down the heat on a regular stove).

I also cut about 8 potatoes in half, skin on, placed them in another pot, covered them with water, and brought it to a boil.  I simmered the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until a fork would easily break them when stabbed.  I left the potatoes in the hot water until the chicken was done.

Once the chicken was done and hubby was cutting it up into parts, I poured off the hot water from the potatoes.  Added a little less than a stick of butter (it was what was on the butter dish), the previously cooked bacon that I had cut into small pieces, a tub of gorgonzola cheese pieces, about a tsp. of roasted garlic out of a jar, and then mashed the potatoes with a hand masher.  I added whipping cream (the kind that comes in a milk carton), as needed. I think it was about 2/3 of the pint container.  This is my own version of a recipe I saw on the Food Network.

On the table, there was a sliced loaf of pretzel bread and some butter to go along with dinner.  This is a wonderful dinner .... very tasty.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lunch - polenta and sun-dried tomatoes

Today for lunch, I sliced some pre-made polenta, browned it in melted butter in a skillet, then topped it with sliced sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in olive oil.  Be sure to drizzle on some of that tasty olive oil!  Mmmmm.

I'll have to tell you about my cast-iron skillets!!!  I love them!!  They're the best!  Next post .....

Lunch - quinoa and beans

Yesterday for lunch I had quinoa and beans.  I used the red quinoa.  I don't know that it tastes any different, but I thought I'd try it.  I always buy the pre-rinsed.  It's only pennies more expensive and is worth it to save the hassle, otherwise you have to rinse it to prevent it from tasting bitter.

I put the whole bag of quinoa in my rice cooker with almost 4 cups of water, and 3 cups in the bottom reservoir.

Once it was done, I doused it with olive oil and some butter (I like them together because it's a bit creamier than just olive oil).   I rinsed a can of salad beans and served those on top of each serving of quinoa.

Quick, easy, and healthy!!  High in fiber, protein, and iron!

Pot roast, attempt #1

Last Friday hubby and I went to Whole Foods for their wine tasting.  I love it both for the tastes of wine and the samples of food.  This time they had a pot roast at the meat department station.  It was SO good!!!  I picked up the recipe because I knew I had to make it at home!!!

Yesterday was the day ..... I got online and went to Whole Foods website.  I found this recipe -

I went to the store and bought all the ingredients.  I bought 2 3/4 pounds of meat, half grass fed beef, half buffalo.  I bought the already cubed kind because that's how I like my pot roast.  I don't like making a whole roast, though maybe I should try it that way sometime.

I bought 7 large carrots, a bag of potatoes, two cans of tomato paste, and two boxes of beef broth, all organic.

I mixed 6 tbsp flour (more than double because there's more surface area with the cubed meat), 3 tsp. dried thyme, and some salt and pepper, heavy on the salt.  I also added garlic powder.  I didn't see the garlic cloves the recipe called for, but I thought that it needed garlic and that this was a good place to add it.

I rinsed off the meat cubes.  My husband used to work at a grocery and a few times worked at the butcher shop in the grocery .... he says ALWAYS, ALWAYS rinse the meat, so I do.  Then I put the meat cubes into the flour mixture and stirred it around.

I heated up some oil in the pot I was going to cook the stew in, added the meat, and browned as directed in the recipe.  I scraped the bottom of the pot.  Because both grass-fed beef and bison are low in fat, there was nothing to pour off.

I cut up all the veggies as directed (Wow!  I followed directions with that part!!) and added them, the broth, and the tomato paste to the pot and stirred.

If I had a crock-pot, I would have put all the ingredients there, but since I'm using my Aga, I left them in the large, cast-iron pot.  I put it in the 350 degree oven because I made it at lunch time and not in the morning.  I would have used a lower temperature if it had been the morning.

I checked on it about 3:00 because I needed something to eat before I went to teach pilates.  I could eat it, but the veggies were still crisp and the meat still firm, not what you want for pot roast, but it tasted great!!

My husband was supposed to feed it to the kids about 6:15 when two of them got home from band.  He saw me making this at lunch, but I guess I never told him to EAT IT!!!  So ...... it sat in the 350 degree oven until 7 PM when my daughter got home from teaching her pilates classes (yes, we both teach pilates!!).

When I found out at 7:45 that hubby didn't feed it to the kids and called home to see if they ate it (you can't smell food cooking in the Aga because it vents outside, so they wouldn't have known it was there), my daughter said yes, and that she put it back into the oven she got it out of instead of just the warming oven, so it continued to cook.  Argh!  But she did comment that it was GREAT!!!  They LOVED it!!

I got home about 8 PM, and by then it had cooked a bit too long.  It tasted wonderful, but lets just say, I was glad I was not having dinner guests because by this time it was not pretty.  The meat had fallen apart so much my husband thought it was a vegetarian dish.  Five hours earlier, the meat was not cooked enough, so next time maybe 3 hours less cooking time, two hours more than what it was at 3, haha.

Oh, and on top of all this, when I was gone, I found the REAL recipe for the pot roast I liked at wine tasting in my purse.  NOT the same recipe at all!!!!  Next week, be looking forward to the pot roast I liked at Whole Foods!  Tonight's dinner, leftovers.  :)  Leftovers are great because in combination with not teaching pilates today, I have the whole day to get my painting project done!!!

I served the pot roast with Whole Foods pretzel bread and butter.  Yum!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quick dinner

Today we all went for a long walk to enjoy the beautiful fall.  All of us were beat when we got back plus it was close to dinner-time, so I went to Whole Foods and looked at their prepared food case.

I bought a sweet potato/potato mix and corn fritters there.  I bought an already prepared, raw meatloaf from the butcher, and some frozen, french cut green beans in the frozen foods.

I came home and put the meatloaf in the 450 degree oven.  Remember, my stove is always on, I thought it would cook faster in the hot oven, and with the soft heat of the Aga the increased temperature won't cook it all wacky.  In a regular oven I would cook it as directed.

I put the corn fritters and potatoes in a greased, Pyrex baking dish.  They are warming in the 350 degree oven.  To grease the baking dish, I just poured in a little olive oil, then rubbed it around with a small paper towel.

After about 20 minutes, I will start steaming the green beans in a pot with a steamer under the beans.  I will cook them for about 20 min. because I like green beans a little on the soft side.

I will butter both the potatoes and the beans.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Buffalo chili!!!

I have been anemic lately (long story, but basically they were out of my iron supp so I tried another one that didn't work), so I've been eating more buffalo because of its high iron content.  It's lower fat, calories and cholesterol than beef, and it's higher in protein, iron and B12.

I browned then drained 2 1/2 pounds of ground buffalo in a large cast iron pot.  I added chopped onions (2 small) and carrots (a couple handfuls of baby carrots).  When meat was brown and veggies softened I added two 28 oz. cans of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and four cans of Westbrae chili beans (rinsed).  Also, chili powder and chipotle powder.

I heated it up and let it simmer for a few hours, it can be stovetop but I put it in my 250 degree Aga oven.

The kids had theirs over top of corn chips topped with grated pepper jack cheese.  I had mine with just chili and pepper jack.  YUM!!  And a very easy dinner to make.  It's unnecessary to cook for as long as I did, but the flavors do seem to be better if you can.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


So today I was busy painting all day (and I will be busy with this project for the next couple weeks), and I didn't make it to the grocery.

I thought, "Great, I'll make pancakes!"  But no such luck, but I did have a bag of oatmeal.  I use Bob's Red Mill oats.  I put 4 cups in a pot with 8 cups cold salted water.  I heated it to a simmer while stirring so it didn't stick to the bottom.  Then I lowered the heat and let it cook a while longer.

We ate it with real organic butter, grade B maple syrup (it has more flavor than grade A), some had a touch of milk.  Very tasty and everyone loved it!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Taco night!!!

I've been out of town, so haven't been cooking lately.  It was so nice staying at my friend's house and waking up to warm coffee every day.  Why is coffee so much better when someone else makes it???  LOL!

So, tacos ..... I bought blue corn tortilla hard taco shells from Whole Foods.  Also, grass-fed beef, refried beans, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, cilantro, garlic-cilantro salsa, and grated pepper jack cheese (almost all of that organic).  I had a cucumber left from the ones we bought at the farmer's market a couple weeks ago.

I was taking a pilates class at 6:30 and my kids didn't get home until about then, so I browned the ground beef before I left and put it in the warming oven.  I took the refried beans out of the can into a cast-iron pot and put it in the 250 oven to heat up while I was gone.  The Aga makes things more convenient to make things ahead of time, but you make everything basically the same way even if you don't have one.  :)

To brown the ground beef I just put it in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and used a spatula to break it up while it was cooking.  I salted it and added some chipotle seasoning and cumin.  When it was cooked, I blotted it with paper towels because there was little liquid to pour off and I could see it was greasy.

When I cooked the beans, I added a little bit of water to them so they were easier to stir.  Once they get warm, they are easier to stir, so not a lot of water.  You can also heat these up on the stove-top, but be sure to keep stirring so it doesn't stick to the bottom .... and if they start to "boil" they splatter all over the place.

Be sure to chop up the veggies small.  I let everyone assemble their own, it's just easier that way.

This is one of our favorite dinners!!  And it's SO easy to make!