Tag Archives: easy

Mushroom Madness

Along with our oven seared broccoli, mushrooms were on the menu.  CI, again, has the magic method for achieving flavorful, tender mushrooms.  This is our dumb-ed down version.

Slice mushrooms.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.

Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release moisture, approximately 5 minutes.

Turn heat to medium high and cook an additional 8 minutes, until moisture evaporates.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and cook until dark brown, an additional 8 minutes.

Salt/pepper to taste. Serve.

Since  our oven was hot from the broccoli, I threw some grape tomatoes in the oven on a non-stick pizza pan and cooked them until shriveled.

A colorful addition to our veggie trio.


This post is linked to http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-april-27th


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Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Side Dishes

Broccoli–Oven Seared Sensation

Do you have broccoli haters in  your life?  Want to “wow” them with a new treatment that actually makes them long for you to prepare broccoli?  All you need to accomplish this great feat is: a blazing hot oven, smidgeon of salt, sugar and an even smaller smidgeon of pepper.  Are you intrigued?  I hope so.  Broccoli is on the super food list; finding a great way to present it to your dubious eaters is a task worth pursuing.  Don’t you agree?

Roasted Broccoli

One large bunch of broccoli

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Oven prep:  put rack at lowest position; place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack; turn oven to 500 degrees.  Yes, preheat to 500 degrees.

Cut broccoli stems off tops ( separate the tree tops from the trunks)

Peel the stems to remove tough outer sheaf.

Slice into 1/2 inch widths.

Place broccoli pieces into a large bowl. Mix oil with sugar and salt and a dash of pepper and drizzle over broccoli.

Toss with spatula to coat with oil.

Remove HOT pan from oven and quickly dump broccoli onto pan, spreading out the pieces.  It will SIZZLE!

Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes, until broccoli is nicely browned.

Serve to your broccoli haters….they will be amazed at the sweet, mellow flavor of this much maligned vegetable.


This recipe is just one of the reasons I renewed my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.


This recipe is linked to Fight Back Friday @ http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-april-20th/


Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Side Dishes, Vegan

Breakfast Sausage Gravy

Who can resist old fashioned biscuits and gravy?   I think sausage gravy has a reputation of being  difficult to make–not so!!   Try it soon with homemade biscuits, English muffins or potatoes.

Simply Wonderful Sausage Gravy

Your favorite brand of breakfast sausage

Flour (I used white whole wheat, but use what you like best)

Milk/water (whole, half and half, cream, evaportated…your choice again)

In a heavy saucepan, crumble sausage and brown on medium heat.


Sprinkle with flour.  A good ratio would be 1.5 pounds of sausage to 1/2 cup flour.  It’s a forgiving method.  You want the sausage to be coated with flour so it soaks up the fat.

Cook briefly to brown the flour.  Pour 2 cups of milk over the sausage.

Stir as the milk is incorporated into a thick sauce.  Bring to a boil and stir and boil for one minute.  Add additional milk or water to thin as needed to make the sauce to your liking.

A thick, meaty breakfast gravy to serve in just minutes.  Simple, real food for real appetites.

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Filed under Breakfast

Protein Bars–Quick, Easy, Nutrient Dense

Looking for a protein bar?  Are you properly overwhelmed at the offerings?   How about trying to find one that is soy free?  “Good luck!”  Because soy is so cheap and readily available and high in protein per ounce, soy is WAY overused in the protein bar market.  As are artificial sweeteners.  Is there an answer to the need for a quick, tasty protein fix that doesn’t affront you in the natural foods department?  That was the challenge.  We are quite pleased with the result.  Not cookies, but a decent protein bar.  Without soy isolate, which, by the way, I hate :(.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

First, the dry ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup coconut, shredded

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder, if using a protein powder offends you, you could use oat or other grain flour

Then we will use the following for the “wet” ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Greek honey yogurt, full fat

1 cup natural peanut butter

Mix all dry ingredients together and pour into food processor

Process to make into a coarse crumb

Dump dry ingredients back in to large mixing bowl.

Now for the wet ingredients:

Blend together

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Greek honey yogurt, full fat

1 cup natural peanut butter

Whisk until fully incorporated

Pour over processed dry ingredients


it will be a thick batter

Line a sheet pan with foil…I am a big fan of the non stick foil

Pat into pan

Bake for 15 minutes

Cool 10 minutes on rack

Remove carefully from pan and cut into bars  (I use a pizza cutter)

Lift  bars onto baking sheets

leaving an air space between them

Bake another 15 minutes

Cool.  If your peanut butter always needs a chocolate fix, drizzle melted chocolate on the top

Chill to harden chocolate.  Wrap in foil.

A nice supply of additive free, natural protein bars.

Quick fix for the on-the-go crowd.

This recipe would lend itself to all sorts of changes (different dried fruit, seeds, etc)…I choose what I had on hand.  Adapted from http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/homemade-protein-bars.html

This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/03/real-food-wednesday-3142012.html



Filed under Breakfast, Eating well, Snacks

Falling for Sweet Potatoes

“Sweet potatoes” Do you think of Thanksgiving dinner, whipped up with marshmallow topping?  Or have you joined the foodies who are always finding a new way to add these nutrition power houses to your diet?  In 2008, Cook’s Illustrated published a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes that changed how we most frequently eat sweet potatoes, forever.  With their science editors and multiple testings, they came up with a method that insures, every time, perfectly tender, over-the-top sweet potatoes.  They are even good cold from the frig for a healthy snack!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes

Trim ends, peel and slice into 3/4 inch rounds

Toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

2 tablespoons oil…..I used coconut oil, which out of my cupboard, looks like this:

Into my microwave for 10 seconds to liquify.

Pour oil over potatoes and stir to coat each slice.

Line a baking sheet with foil , spray with PAM and spread slices on sheet.


Cover tightly with foil.


Place in cold oven on middle rack and turn oven to 425 degrees.  Bake 30 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully remove foil covering.

Place back in oven for 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown on top.

Remove pan from oven and flip slices over.  Return to oven to brown remaining side, 18 to 22 minutes.

When you love the way they look :); take the pan out and let them cool 5-10 minutes.


Who knew healthy could taste so good?






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Filed under Eating well, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegan

Mexi Chicken Soup

Storm clouds move in and soup season begins.  We have already had INCHES of rain and October has hardly started.  Soup is certainly one of the only things that improve the rainy day doldrums.  Something warmly spicy seemed appropriate for the first soup of the season.

Mexi Chicken Soup

One medium onion

2 tablespoons bacon fat or oil

6 carrots

4 chicken breasts

7 oz can green chilis

12 oz jar roasted red peppers

1 tablespoon chili powder

4 cups fire roasted diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

1 15 oz can black beans

1  15 oz can corn

Parsley flakes

Chop onion…I like to slice thinly on my mandolin and then chop.

Since I had six carrots to shred, I pulled out my Kitchen-Aid shredder…it’s way fun to use as you can see…

Heat bacon fat in dutch oven.  Add onion and saute until soft and translucent.

Stir in shredded carrots and continue to cook until carrots are tender.

Cut chicken breasts into chunks.

Chop green chilies.

Do the same for the red peppers.

If you are feeling especially thrifty, you can throw the onion and carrot peels and chicken bones into a pot with water and make some hurried broth.  Boil for about 30 minutes and drain, reserving broth.

Add the peppers and chicken to the vegetables along with the chili powder.  Stir over heat until chicken is no longer pink.

Meanwhile……..drain corn and black beans.

When you are satisfied the chicken looks done, pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, black beans and corn. Heat until almost boiling.

Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve as is or top with sour cream and cheese for a richer soup

Salt and pepper to taste.

Warm and satisfying…..welcome, Fall!


This post is part of Pennywise Platter


Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Main Dish

Simple Carnitas Made Melt-in-Your-Mouth Delicious

S. strikes again with a fabulous find on the web for making carnitas.  As I have mentioned in this blog, burrito beans are a mainstay in our kitchen.  Adding pork made the “carnita” way, has leveled up (as my gaming sons would say!) our bean meal considerably.  I like to double/triple the recipe to make sure we have lots of leftovers.

Simple  Carnitas

3 pounds pork butt or shoulder ( I use Costco Pork Shoulder @ $1.65–a bargain)

Cut into thick slabs.

Place in dutch oven and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt.

Cover with 3 cups water and 1 cup orange juice.  Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, 2 hours without stirring.

Turn up the heat to medium high for the magic.  Continue to cook and stir. Watch closely; adjust your heat until the meat is cooking but not scorching. The fat will melt away and you will be left with tender, melt-in-your delicious meat in about an hour.

So simple you won’t be tempted to go to your favorite local Mexican restaurant again.  Promise.


This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays

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Filed under Gluten Free, Grain Free, Main Dish