RSS

Tag Archives: recipes

Easy Green Sauce for Freezing

We had a huge harvest of tomatillos from our garden this year – definitely enough to make some salsa verde (green sauce) to freeze for use later in the winter. We brought in about 17 pounds.  That’s a lot of tomatillos!

Tomatillos, or husk tomatoes, are in the same family as tomatoes, yet have a completely different flavor and texture.  The fruit is low in calories and has a good amount of fiber, minerals and vitamins, and antioxidants.  They can be a healthy addition to your diet.  My favorite way to use them is salsa verde.

This sauce is great with tortilla chips, as a salsa for tacos, or as a sauce for chicken enchiladas.  And it’s not hard to make either.  Since we had so many tomatillos, I tried making the sauce two different ways: on the stove top, and in the oven. The sauce was great either way.  So if you have some extra from your garden, or get them at the farmer’s market, try it and let me know how you like it.  Enjoy!

Green Sauce for Freezing

Ingredients:

5 lb. tomatillos, husks removed and fruit washed

1 large, sweet onion, cut in wedges

7-8 cloves garlic, unpeeled (for stove top – peel and coarsely chop)

2 ancho peppers, cut in chunks

2 whole jalapeno peppers (for stove top remove seeds and dice)

2 tsp. kosher salt

3-4 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Oven Roast Method:

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Line 2 jelly roll pans with foil and drizzle olive oil on top of the oil.  Husk and wash tomatillos; place on pans.

Peel onion and cut into large wedges.  Add these to the pans, along with garlic cloves, ancho peppers, and jalapenos.

Roast at 400° F for 35 minutes until tomatillos are soft and have turned olive-green.

Remove from oven.  Cool slightly.  Peel garlic and return to the pan.  Remove stems and seeds from jalapeno peppers and return to pan.  In small batches, spoon roasted ingredients into food processor along with kosher salt and cilantro.

Process till smooth, or desired consistency.  Fill freezer containers to within 1/2 inch of top.  Place on lid, label, and freeze.  Makes 5-6 pints.

Stove Top Method:

Husk and wash tomatillos and place in large pan with 1/2 cup water.  Peel onion and cut into large wedges; add to tomatillos.  Peel garlic, chop coarsely and add to pan along with chopped ancho peppers and diced jalapenos

Cook on medium heat 25 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and turn olive-green, stirring occasionally.  Add water in small amounts, only if needed, to prevent scorching.

Cool slightly.  In small batches, spoon mixture into food processor along with kosher salt and cilantro.  Process till smooth, or desired consistency.  Fill freezer containers to within 1/2 inch of top.

Place on lid, label, and freeze.  Makes about 6 pints.

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Cooking, Gardening, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Birthday Dinner Salad

The Birthday Salad

It was birthday time at our house today and I usually ask the birthday person what they would like for a meal that evening.  The requested meal this time, by my husband, was salad.  I found all kinds of good stuff to put into a birthday dinner salad for him.  In his words, this was really good!

On the counter I found a day-old cinnamon raisin bagel.  I figured no one was going to eat it for breakfast, and rather than throw it out later this week I decided to make a little crostini to go with the salad.  Slice the bagel into thin pieces and lay them on a baking sheet.  One bagel  made about 27 pieces.  Melt about 2 Tbsp. of butter (yes, butter) and brush a small amount on each slice.  Top it with a slight sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and then broil for 3-4 minutes till golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven, turn the slices over, and repeat the procedure on the other side.  Broil about a minute till golden brown.  Watch closely to prevent burning.

Crostini made from a day old cinnamon raison bagel

In the freezer I found some salmon – not enough for a main dish by itself, but I thought it would make a lovely addition to our salad tonight.  So out it came.  After it defrosted I sprinkled on a little dill weed, sea salt, and fresh lime juice.

Salmon waiting to be cooked

For the salad, use a variety of lettuce and spinach, about 1 c. of golden grape tomatoes – halved.

Lettuce and tomatoes

One purple carrot from the garden – cut in small pieces

Purple carrot. Isn’t it pretty?

And 1 cucumber – peeled, halved and sliced.

Now with carrots and cucumbers

If you have red peppers you can try grilling them.  Peel, slice, and add them to the salad for a little more interest.

Peppers on the grill

To cook the salmon, wrap it loosely in foil and grill for 5-7 minutes or till done.

Lifted the foil a bit to check the salmon

To finish the salad, core and dice one apple, drizzling the pieces with lemon juice to prevent browning and add to the salad. Top it with 2-3 Tbsp. of feta cheese and salmon pieces, drizzling some fresh lime juice on top.

Almost done!

Serve with the cinnamon raisin crostini.  For dressing I let everyone choose their own.  My favorite, however, was a simple raspberry balsamic vinegar.  This made a tasty, healthy salad the whole family liked.  Hope you enjoy it as much as they did!

The Birthday Salad

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

 
7 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Cooking, Family, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes from the garden

Tomatoes are a fantastically versatile vegetable, which is good considering the amount of ripe ones I have in the garden right now.  Ranging from marble-sized to softball-sized or larger they can be eaten raw or cooked in a number of ways.  There’s nothing like popping into your mouth a fresh from the garden cherry tomato, or a thick slice of a garden fresh heirloom tomato.  They can be used fresh as is, stuffed, or added to salads or sandwiches.  Cooking them just expands their usefulness.  Baked, broiled, grilled, fried, sautéed, or roasted – there are many methods to explore with this wonderful summertime fruit.

And when the crop is abundant it’s time to think of how to preserve it.  One of my favorite ways to preserve tomatoes for use in the winter is to take my excess cherry and grape tomatoes, roast them with some garlic and basil, and freeze it for later.  The result is delicious.

In my last batch, most of the tomatoes I used were cherry or grape, but I did add a few Roma and slicers to thin it out a bit as it can get pretty thick otherwise.  This is a healthy recipe that’s easy, fairly quick, and good tasting.  Enjoy!

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

8 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4-5 cloves garlic, or more if desired

8-10 large basil leaves

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt

4-5 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges

1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Remove stems and wash tomatoes.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and larger tomatoes in wedges.  Line 2 jelly roll pans with foil and drizzle olive oil on the foil.

Foil lined pan with olive oil

Spread out the oil and put cherry tomatoes on the foil, cut side up.  Place wedges on the foil, cut side up.

Peel garlic and place on the pan among the tomatoes.

Wash basil and add to the tomatoes, gently tearing the larger leaves.

Sprinkle the pan of tomatoes, garlic, and basil with balsamic vinegar and kosher salt.  Drizzle a little more olive oil on top.

Tomatoes and all the toppings

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are tender.

Remove from oven and blend together in a food processor till desired consistency.

In the food processor

Sauce will be thick.  Freeze in bags or  plastic freezer containers.  Makes about 3 pints.

Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Cooking, Gardening, Nutrition, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recipe Redo – Zucchini bread

We still have plenty of zucchini here, so I decided to try zucchini bread again.  Unfortunately it can be pretty high in added fat and sugar – not exactly what we’re looking for in a healthy diet.  I took a recipe I found in an old cookbook I had on the bookshelf called America’s Best Recipes – A 1989 Hometown Collection, and since I’d already made it as written I decided to try a few changes.  The original recipe had good flavor, but was a bit greasy and pretty high in sugar.  So I worked with it and reduced the amount of added sugar and oil, and substituted whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour.  All in all these changes saved 40-60 calories, and 3-6 gm fat per slice – depending on how many slices you cut.  Changes in sugar and carbohydrate was small, only about 2-4 gm.  The resulting bread had good flavor and texture, and was much less greasy. I may change it further still to reduce the amount of sugar a little more, but here is the current recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c.+ 2 Tbsp.  canola oil

1/2 c. applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 c. shredded zucchini

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 c. almonds, chopped

Beat eggs in a large bowl until well beaten.  Add sugars, oil, applesauce and vanilla, beating well.  Combine cocoa, flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Add flour mixture to egg batter, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in zucchini and almonds.

Pour batter into two well-greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  Let sit for 10 minutes while oven preheats.  Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.  Let bread cool 10 minutes and then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  Yields 2 loaves.

Nutritional info per slice (cut into 1/2 inch slices – 18 per loaf for a 9 inch pan): 118 calories, 5 gm fat (5.2), 17 gm carbohydrate

Nutrition analysis determined using the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Basil and Tomatoes with Bruschetta

It’s midsummer and my basil plants outside are big, bushy, and beautiful.  I love fresh basil and look for ways to use it in the summer when I have a lot of it around.  Combine with tomatoes and a couple other ingredients, and bruschetta is on the menu.

I don’t really have a recipe.  It’s more of a “method” of making it.  Place thinly sliced french bread on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place under the broiler and toast till golden brown.  Remove from oven and flip over.  Repeat the olive oil and garlic process on the plain side and then top lightly with shredded parmensan.  Return to broiler until golden and remove from oven.

For the topping dice up fresh roma tomatoes into a bowl.  I used seven roma tomatoes last night.  Add a few cloves of fresh garlic, minced.  Add sea salt per your taste preferences and mix in a bit of virgin olive oil.  A generous amount of chopped fresh basil goes in next. To finish it off, add a few splashes of basalmic vinegar.  Serve with the bruschetta slices and top with shredded parmesan.  Enjoy!  My family did. 🙂

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Cooking, Recipes

 

Tags: , , ,

Zucchini, zucchini, and more zucchini

Zucchini.  Mention it to any gardener and the first thought is “What will I do with all of it?”  Zucchini is easy to grow; and it’s prolific – very prolific.  Dare to grow more than one and you may end up feeding your neighbors as well as yourself.

One hill of this abundant squash can produce more than even one family might eat by themselves.  But don’t let that deter you.  Low in calories, fat, and sodium, and filled with other good-for-you nutrients – zucchini is a healthy choice.

So what can you do with zucchini?  Here are a few ideas for using that bountiful summer squash:

  1. Raw – dice and add it to fresh salads, or cut in strips to enjoy as a finger food.
  2. Zucchini bread – tastes great, but watch the amount of added oil and sugar.  Too much and a healthy vegetable turns into a high calorie alternative.
  3. Stuffed – stuff it with your favorite fillings and bake.
  4. Sautéed – lightly sauté strips or slices in olive oil with peppers, onions, and other types of summer squash.
  5. Freeze – shred it and freeze to use later in the year in zucchini bread, quiche, or other mixed dishes.
  6. Grilled – lightly brush both sides with olive oil.  Season as desired.  Grill and enjoy.
  7. Share – give some to your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers and let them enjoy this versatile summer vegetable.

Here’s what I tried at home last night:

Grilled Zucchini with Pesto

1 medium sized zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices

Pesto (I used homemade, but you can find and use store bought)

Slice zucchini length wise into ¼ inch slices.  Rub enough pesto on both sides of each slice to coat.

Grill on low to medium heat, 5-7 minutes on each side, until tender.  Enjoy!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Nutrition, Recipes

 

Tags: , , , ,

Keeping it Cool with Mint Water

It’s midsummer and hot outside – really hot. Keeping cool and staying hydrated on these hot days is important.  And that can be challenging if you’re not inclined to drink water regularly during the day. A refreshing way to add interest to your water is to flavor it. One of my favorites is mint water. It’s healthy. It’s refreshing. And best of all, it’s easy to make!

Chocolate Mint

Apple Mint

I usually grow several different kinds of mint each year and combine them to make a mint infused water.  Here’s how:

1.  Select a large handful of leaves from your favorite mint plant. I used a combination of chocolate mint, apple mint, and mint mojito. Wash thoroughly. Slightly bruise or tear the leaves and place on clean square of cheesecloth.

2.  Tie with a clean length of kitchen string.

3.  Place in a clean glass pitcher or jar and fill with cold water. Cover tightly and place in the fridge overnight or place outside in the sun in a safe location. I usually place mine on the front porch and let it sit for a couple of hours in the hot sun.

4.  Bring inside and serve immediately over ice, or chill in the fridge untill ready to serve. Plan to use it within a day or two.

5.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Nutrition, Recipes

 

Tags: , ,