Wednesday, January 25, 2012

italian dressing

Homemade dressing is not only tasty but easy on the budget!

what you'll need:
  • 1 cup of vinegar (I used white)
  • 1 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. honey or sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
how you'll do it:

get all of your spices ready

measure all of them into your dressing bottle

add oil and vinegar

Shake it up and viola--you're done! Now wasn't that easy? You may want to add more honey/sugar to offset the bitterness of the vinegar so just do it by taste. Stay tuned for the recipe for California Caviar that will feature this dressing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

meatless chili

I'm all about trying something new (as you can tell from that Butternut Squash Soup recipe ;) ), and sometimes it works out for the best! I found a jewel when I tried this meatless chili recipe. It's a mix of taco soup and chili, but without meat or pre-packaged spices. And you know it's good when Ryan, a so-so fan of chili, LOVED it and kept asking for more! I hope you enjoy this super easy recipe just as much as we do!

what you'll need:
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can diced green chili peppers
  • 1+ Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • plenty red pepper flakes, to your liking
  • (could also add cumin & paprika, but I didn't have either)
how you'll do it:

get all of your cans and spices ready

empty all of your cans into big pot on stove or crockpot

add all spices, and then extra chili powder :)

  • if you are cooking on stove, bring to hard boil for about 5 minutes, and then turn heat down to med-low for 30 minutes to 1+ hours. (the longer it cooks the more flavorful it becomes, but can be ready to eat after 30 minutes)
  • if you are cooking in crockpot, cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4

     Top with sour cream, cheese, and chips, or savor the flavor and eat it plain :)

    The above ingredient quantities made about 6 bowls, so if you are looking to make more, just add one more can of everything and increase the spices accordingly.

    • use different types of beans, like black beans or great northern
    • add ground turkey

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    vegetable soup

    This hearty soup is perfect for a cold winter night. It's a great soup not just for its nutritional value from all the veggies, but because you can basically clean out your fridge/pantry of all those vegetables you have left over that you don't want to go to waste. I tweeked this recipe from Alton Brown on The Food Network for this recipe according to the veggies I have on hand.

    what you need:
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 2 cups chopped carrots
    • 2 cups chopped celery
    • 2-3 baking potatoes, chopped
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup corn
    • 1 cups frozen peas
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 quarts vegetable broth
    • salt, pepper and spices*
     how you'll do it:

    heat olive oil on med-low in a deep pot and add onion and spices. cook 7-8 min

    add carrots, potatoes, and celery; stir occasionally for 5 min

    add vegetable broth and bring to a mild boil
    reduce heat to low and add tomatoes, corn, and peas
    cook on low for about 30 min. until veggies are tender

    remove from heat and add additional spices to taste if needed

    Viola! Top with Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese for a richer flavor. I hope y'all find this recipe easy and tasty like I did! And I hear rumors of snow again for this week, so it's the perfect time to try this one.

    *Spices: I used black pepper, Mrs. Dash (dark green lid), Nature's Seasoning, chives, Italian seasoning blend, sea salt, and a little basil. And I added some dill at the end.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    butternut squash soup

    If you like to try new things, then this soup is one for you! Its unique flavor and smooth texture is bound to make your taste buds begging for more!

    what you'll need:
    • 2 Tbsp. butter (I used olive oil)
    • 1 small onion
    • 2 stalks of celery
    • 1 medium carrot (I used a few handfuls of baby carrots)
    • 2 medium potatoes
    • 1 medium butternut squash
    • 1 32 oz. vegetable broth
    • salt and pepper to taste

    how you'll do it:

    cut open the squash and clean it out (yuck! it's so slimy)
    it should look cleaned out like this

     tip: cut the squash into cubes, then cut the skin off each piece
    i put all of the cut veggies in one big bowl

    put olive oil in pot and top with veggies, cook for 5 minutes stirring continually

    cover veggies with broth, lower heat to about 3-4 and cook for 40 minutes

    blend until smooth by either transferring soup to a blender or using a hand blender
    the final product should be smooth like this

    Viola! And there you have it.

    You should know:
    • The squash is VERY tough and takes longer to cut up than you may expect.
    • You should use gloves when handling the squash so as to not have an allergic reaction on your skin (common problem that I found out about the hard way).
    • I liked this soup on the first bowl, but towards the end of it I was forcing myself not to think about its consistency. Ryan didn't really like it at all. It's definitely not a good soup to make a whole meal out of (whoops..) but would be great for an appetizer or first course!

      Sunday, January 8, 2012

      zucchini chips

      These super tasty, crispy, crunchy, yummy chips will make you not want to share! For real, they are so good! I made these one night when we had turkey burgers and that was a great choice. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and I hope you benefit from the tweaks I made in the recipe!

      what you'll need:
      • 1-2 zucchinis
      • 1/2 cup 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
      • 1 cup 1/2 cup cold milk
      • 1/4 cup 1/2 cup bread crumbs
      • 1/4 cup 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      • black pepper (and Mrs. Dash) to taste
      [*Side note: the reason I am recommend changing the amounts called for is because I had way too much batter left over and not enough coating.]

      how you'll do it:
      • preheat the oven to 425*
      line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray
      cut zucchini into slices; I made mine about 1/4 in. thick
      in one bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, pepper and Mrs. Dash

      in another bowl stir together milk and flour until combined
      *don't over stir

      dip zucchini slices in batter

      then dip batter-covered slices in crumb mixture

      place on cookie sheet

      bake for about 25-30 minutes or until brown, and flip halfway through

      Yummy! I sure hope you made enough to share and enjoy! Be sure to not forget to spray the aluminum foil with non-stick spray (like I did!) or you won't be able to flip them halfway through or enjoy both sides of the zucchini ;)