White Beans with Leeks and Thyme ‘Slow Cooker Friday’ Stew or Soup

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That ended up being quite a long title, but the ingredient list is all the shorter to make up for it. And yes, I realize it’s not Friday ūüėČ

Shorter days and all the holiday activity can leave you tired and sleepy. It’s darker earlier and after the hustle and bustle of the holidays most don’t feel like doing as much as on a sunny summer evening. Add to that the weeks of overindulgence that usually lead up to the end of the year, the lethargic feeling that comes with it and you know you really don’t want to cook at all. But luckily to your aid comes the slow cooker! After a long week of work or entertaining, you deserve to come home to a meal that’s good, good for you and won’t break the bank! Prepare in the morning and decide if you want soup or stew on your way home! (Sorry there are no picture of the soup, we were too hungry and it was dark out, but let me tell you, it was yummy)

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I used a 2 qt size round cooker for this recipe. Makes 4 servings if you add some Chicken Sausage Patties on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb dry white beans ( I have used both baby lima and regular dried lima beans) rinsed
  • 1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, (from about 2 stalks) cut into rounds and cleaned well*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cube Rapunzel (no salt added) bouillon
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cups water
  • (optional) pancetta or speck as a topping or chicken sausage patties as a side

* Leeks can trap a lot of dirt, so submerge the cut rounds in cold water and move pieces around with your hands, changing the water a couple of times if necessary until no more ‘sand’ collects on the bottom

imageHere served with a nice slice of 10 grain sourdough for a vegetarian dinner (resuscitate your sourdough starter in the back of the fridge, you will need it for this yummy bread, recipe coming up soon)

Directions

  1. Rinse beans well, then layer into the slow cooker and add 3 cups of water.
  2. Add the cleaned leeks, salt and thyme sprigs.
  3. Turn your slow cooker to high and wait 5-6 hours until beans are fully cooked, adding water if necessary. (On low the recipe will take longer, about 8-9 hours)
  4. When you get home, either serve as is, or add another cup of water and using a hand held blender, puree the beans and leeks until smooth, adding more water if you like a thinner soup.
  5. Cook some chicken sausage patties until nicely browned and serve along the stew or cook a slice or two of Pancetta or Speck, crumble and top your soup with it

imageCopyright © 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Chicken Sausage Patties

Chicken Sausage PattiesSausage can be a mixed bag of tricks. Store bought it often contains a lot of fat with¬†the flavor that we all want. But if you want to control fat and sodium content, blending up your own patties (unless you know of a great source that makes chicken sausage from just breasts) is often the only choice. It’s quick and cheap and oh so versatile! Trim all visible fat from the chicken breast prior to making these.

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless chicken breast half, coarsely chopped (1/2 to 3/4 pounds)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons scallions or onion to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika, sweet
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper pieces, red and green (about 1/4 pepper each)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper, (optional, to add some spice)

Directions

  1. Pulse all the ingredients except the peppers in the blender until chopped, but not pasty
  2. Stir in the pepper pieces and using a table spoon, form into 2-3″ patties.
  3. Cook in a hot skillet until cooked through and nicely browned. (Or bake in a 375¬ļF oven)
  4. Can be made in advance and frozen. When needed just pop in the microwave or defrost and heat in the toaster oven.

Serve as a side with soup or White Bean Stew with Leeks and Thyme

Copyright © 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Warm Winter Salad

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Now that the holidays are coming to a close, and New Years is staring to wave at us with all its new beginnings and good resolutions. Why not indulge in something reminiscent of comfort food, but without the guilty pleasure price tag? This salad is just right for that. Sustaining enough to not leave you looking through the cookie jars in the break room, but nourishing and light at the same time. It’s a salad for those that don’t like salad. Like my one friend that doesn’t see why anyone would want to eat ‘crunchy water’. This would even work for her, a no greens salad!

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And of course, where would we be with our healthy living resolutions if it were not going to be convenient? So this one packs neatly into a jar, dressing and all. When ready, just shake, remove the lid and heat up ( I like mine warm), or enjoy cold!

imageper serving you will need:

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp chick peas (cooked or canned)
  • 5 small mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 small zucchini, diced into cubes
  • 3-4 tsp roasted garlic dressing
  • 2 cup mason jar

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Directions

  1. Prick sweet potato with a fork, wrap with 2 paper  towels, drizzle some water on the paper towel for moisture and microwave until soft and cooked through. (Alternately use  some leftover roasted sweet potato, peeled) Once cool enough to handle, peel and cube and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Heat a teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet, add mushrooms to pan and quick sauté for 1 minute. Set aside to cool. Add zucchini to pan, and sauté for another minute, set aside to cool completely.
  3. Layer ingredients into a  2 cup mason jar in the following order:
  • creamy roasted garlic dressing
  • sweet potato
  • chick peas
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • lid

You can assemble this salad completely and store in your fridge for up to 4 days!

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Copyright © 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Avocado, Sweet Potato & Corn Salad

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What’s better than a healthy meal? A healthy meal that’s easy to make, tasty AND portable. Here’s another installment in our ‘lunch salads to go’ series. Assembled in a mason jar, layered so the dressing stays on the bottom until needed. Substantial enough to hold you over until dinner time, and when you mix the avocado with the citrus dressing first, the salad can be prepared ahead and will keep for 3 days in your fridge without turning brown.

Makes 1 two-cup jar

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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp minced shallot
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/3 cup sweet potato, cooked, cooled, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn (from a ‘no salt added’ can)
  • 2-3 radishes, sliced thinly
  • 4 slices red, hot chili pepper (optional), diced
  • 3-4 tbsp Citrus dressing

Directions

  1. Toss shallots and avocado with the citrus dressing, then layer into the glass jar, followed by sweet potato, the corn, the hot pepper (if using) and finish with the sliced radish.
  2. Store in the fridge until ready to use, then shake the jar until the dressing mixes throughout, use a fork, eat right out of the jar, or invert onto a plate.
  3. Enjoy.

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Copyright © 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Citrus Salad Dressing

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 lime, juice only
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch to 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Stir honey and salt into lime juice until dissolved
  2. Stir in mustard, then add he olive oil and stir until well blended

Use on salads, particularly anything with avocado, to keep them from turning brown

Copyright © 2012 Simple Healthy Homemade. All rights reserved

Cheesy Cornbread Muffins (gluten free)

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We all know those people that won’t touch anything that says healthy in any of it’s conjugations, and since these days gluten free is in the news a lot, that get’s lumped into that same ‘healthy’ category and they won’t touch it. In their minds for some reason, healthy equals not tasty. But let’s face it, just because you have to adjust your diet, or want to change the way you eat, you do not have to go without and you certainly don’t have to deprive your self. You’re not going to last in your new healthy lifestyle, if you constantly feel that you are forced to live on dungeon food of moldy bread and water. But I digress, we were talking gluten free, which for some can be a healthy choice ¬†for others it is a must¬†(due to various digestion and auto-immune response issues).

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When people first transition from a SAD (Standard American Diet, funny how that works out) to a gluten free life, it can be confusing and disheartening.¬†And¬†let’s take kids for example, they often refuse things that taste different from what they are used to or have a different texture. And frankly some of those gluten free products out there taste just a little better than saw dust, and probably just as good for you. Not that I would know what saw dust tastes like, but I imagine it to be pretty close to that.¬†But trust me you can live a full and healthy life without gluten, without having to go buy the saw dust bread that the grocery store carries or for that matter even set foot into that section of the store.

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Yes, you may have to eat different things, but you certainly have a whole host of choices out there, especially if you are a bit more open minded about what you put in your mouth. For one, there are numerous other cuisines out there that do not rely as heavily on wheat and wheat products as the western diet does. In many Asian countries you could eat all day without running into gluten, many Mexican dishes are gluten free. Many dinners you make at home are already gluten free. And, as I always repeat, make it yourself and you control what goes in it. Some unexpected items have wheat derived gluten ingredients, some salad dressings for example, so read the labels or make it yourself. And if you make corn bread or corn muffins, you get to decide what flour and how much butter you will put in. Gluten free baking can be a bit tricky at first since gluten is what makes the bread have the characteristic holes, well to be exact the gluten forms a sort of ‘web’ that traps the gas and creates the holes. So gluten free flours just don’t do that. And the texture often suffers accordingly, which brings me back to the picky eaters… Well you’re in luck, you can now have corn bread to have with your chili! The texture when they come out of the oven is so light and airy I almost called them corn souffle muffins. Trust me, no one will be able to tell they are gluten free!

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Ingredients

  • 6 oz Neufchatel Cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese) softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup potato flour ( or use your gluten free flour mix of choice)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour ( or gluten free flour mix)
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup grated Mexican cheese mix or cheddar
  • 1 or 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 375¬ļF and prepare muffin tins (line with paper or grease well)
  2. Stir the softened cream cheese until smooth, then add the sour cream, milk, egg and sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients, cornmeal through baking soda, add the salt then add everything to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture. Stir until blended, adding a little more milk if dough is too thick.
  4. Last mix in the cheese.
  5. Fill your muffin cups (makes about 12 standard size) and bake in the pre heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.
  6. Have them with campfire chili , snowstorm venison chili or as snacks anytime

imageOh and ¬†Remember this?¬†I finished it!¬†Finished and ready for gifting! On to new shores…

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© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Thai Beef Salad to go

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Last Tuesday it snowed and today it’s 65F! Crazy weather for a 4th of December. If I were back home, I’d be making ‘Gr√§ttim√§nnli’ tomorrow, so they are ready for December 6th, and it was a firm plan, but how could I follow through when it is SUMMER outside? So instead I am going to mix things up and post a take along salad recipe. Most folks don’t eat badly because they want to, but because they fail to plan. With this series of recipes I am hoping to help you battle the lunchtime rush and have some healthy options on hand. I was going to start with a winter salad, something that can be warmed up, since I am not a huge salad eater in the winter, but seeing that it is summer today…

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You need a two or four cup glass mason jar per serving. The jars seal well, are BPA free, re-usable forever and stack the salad items so the dressing stays away from the more delicate items until you’re ready to eat. For this one I suggest extra greens, beyond what fits the 2 cup jar. So either pack them in a little bag or go for the bigger jar (added weight). Take a fork along, shake it up and eat right out of the jar (bigger jar only), or bring a bowl and you have a fantastic lunch everyone will be eyeing.

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Ingredients

Dressing (makes enough for 3 servings)

  • 1 tbsp garlic (about 1 clove), minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp dark sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (this is the oriental kind, it’s dark)
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2-3 tbsp Thai fish sauce ( I prefer tiparos brand)
  • This will make enough for 2-3 servings

Per Jar you will need:

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced grilled steak
  • 1/2 medium tomato, cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp julienned carrot
  • 2 packed cups of greens (spring mix, romaine or anything hardy works well)
  • some sliced chillies and crushed peanuts as topping (optional)

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Directions

Make Dressing: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge and use within a week.

Then make the jars:

  1. Into each jar layer the ingredients in the following order: the steak, then pour 4-5 tsp of dressing over top, follow with tomato wedges, carrot, and greens.
  2. Top with some chilies if you like to spice up your life and crushed peanuts if desired. Close the lid and store in the fridge until ready to go!

Note: The dressing makes enough for 2-3 servings, so why not make dinner, and a jar for tomorrow? Or have a side salad with dinner and make 2 jars for y’all to take to work.

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© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Gluten Free Pumpkin Crêpes

What better start could there be for a brisk fall day, than adding pumpkin to your crêpes on a Sunday any morning? And when you come back from running errands, your house still smells like pumpkin pie!

Make sure you keep these fairly thin as they tend to stay more moist than regular pancakes, too thick and the center will be more like pumpkin pie filling: namely dough-ey

These ‘cr√™pe-cakes’ were fine too. Any thicker though I have not had any luck with…

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 /2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup chick pea flour/ besan
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients, then add everything else
  2. Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and quickly coat the inside with a bit of coconut oil, using a crumpled up paper towel.
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the heated pan and tilt to coat the entire bottom of the skillet. Cook until bubbles show through and the batter stops looking shiny, then gently turn them over to cook the other side. (These are pretty delicate, so do make sure your skillet is non stick and cook them enough before attempting to flip over.)
  4. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the crêpes hot on a plate in the preheated oven or stick them in the toaster over (heat before, then turn off and put the plate in it)

© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Santa Fe Chicken Soup

Nothing like a spicy south western soup to warm you up on a chilly day. Specially if you have no electric and you don’t know when it’s coming back. Was hoping to post my pumpkin cr√™pes-cakes (they are like in between a pancake and a cr√™pe) but it’s a little easier making soup in the dark (or candle light that is) than making pancakes. Plus it’s kinda okay to have leftovers and eat it a few times without much additional effort. Reheating pancakes without electricity? Not so much.

Since this crazy storm that called itself Sandy came through, the lucky ones have just been out of power, some fared much worse… Since I am usually lucky, I just lost power but am able to keep the freezer stuff alive thanks to my small but potent generator. Kinda silly, but I also have the laptop hooked up right now so I can type this, and to take some of the classes for a certification I am working on, can’t tell you more right now. Soon, I promise. So where was I? Oh, I am saving the pancakes for tomorrow, and I am making some soup!

When everything shuts off, and it’s starting to get cold outside after this storm, having hot soup in your belly makes you happy. No, frankly it’s just because I like soup, a lot, in fact I might be a soup addict, if there is such a thing. But a warm belly should never be underrated, just sayin’. So being trapped inside, I made another soup ūüôā The recipe makes a lot, like for 6 to 8 people, but in this case for one. But it’s so super delicious, I wouldn’t mind eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a few days!

Ingredients

  • about half a grilled or roasted chicken *
  • 4-6 cups of water
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-4 chilies and 1 tbsp sauce from 1 can of ‘chilies in adobo sauce’
  • 2 whole ears of corn (or use about 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen, canned or fresh kernels)
  • 1 small bag of dark red kidney beans**, frozen (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 heaping tbsp pan or masarepa (pre cooked corn meal)
  • 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
  • lime slices and tortilla chips for serving

*or use 4 cups of good quality chicken stock and some leftover grilled or roasted chicken meat

**I cook my own beans and freeze them in serving size bags for later use. Much cheaper and less sodium than canned and much more flavorful. Also feel free to use black beans to make it more southwestern like I intended, I only had kidney beans left.

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot cover the roasted chicken with water and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until the meat starts to fall off the bones. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
  2. Add the ears of corn to the hot stock until defrosted, then remove and slice the kernels of, return to the soup. (If using kernels, just add)
  3. Add the beans
  4. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet and cook the garlic until golden, then chop and add the 2 chilies in adobo and the tablespoon of sauce¬†(use more if you’re friends with the devil and like it HOT)¬†and the can of tomatoes and cook until reduced and starting to thicken. Add to the soup pot.
  5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones, chop and return back to the soup
  6. Remove about 1 cup of liquid from soup, set aside to cool slightly then stir the ‘pan’ into it until dissolved and no lumps are left (it will thicken) then stir back into the soup and bring to a simmer. Cook until the soup has slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Serve garnished with a slice of lime and some tortilla chips on the side.

© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade

Herbed Yellow Tomato and Lentil Soup

imageFinishing my last bowl of soup, I thought it might be time to share this one with you instead of keeping it all to myself. Using the last tomatoes from the garden. Oh no, they have not been out on the vine for a while now. I had to pick them a while back when we were expecting a hard frost, even though they were hard and green as a granny smith apple. But oh wonder, after a couple of weeks, (yes folks, it took that long) they started to turn yellow and even a little red/orange in some spots, I guess because they remembered they were Pineapple tomatoes after all. But knowing that the flavor would not be a sun-ripened version of tomato, I decide soup might be a good bet. And since they are probably less sweet than their sun-ripened cousins, I pondered, maybe creamy would be the way to go? But I also did not want to make it too heavy or rich and full of fat, well I think I struck the balance just right, but judge for yourself. I have eaten the entire pot of soup (serves 4) over the past week, all by myself, there was no sharing here, I admit ūüėČ

imageBy the way, I bet this would be even better with real ripe tomatoes

As I write this, it is very calm outside and very hard to imagine that there is a storm brewing that might outdo last years Halloween Snowstorm. (For those of you not familiar with my area, we don’t usually have snowstorms this early in the year and last year all the leaves where still on the trees, which made the foot of snow into a disaster leaving some of my friends out of power for 2 weeks. I got lucky mine came back on in 2 or 3 days, not too bad, considering. Well this time they are not calling for snow, but a WHOLE LOTTA rain and wind, and for a much longer time) Thank goodness for weather service, or I would have happily packed my bags for a week end hike and ended up blown away ūüôĀ

Instead I might make some more soup tomorrow, and work on one of my little winter projects…

imagePretty, right? You can get the pattern from¬†Pam Powers’¬†website

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Ingredients

  • 5 medium counter ripened tomatoes, yellow or red (sun ripened would work too), chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 rapunzel vegan bouillon cube or 2 cups of vegetable¬†broth
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 medium carrot, grated on the coarse side of the grater
  • 1/2 cup Le Puy (french green) lentils
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • water, 2-4 cups

Directions

  1. Heat some oil over medium high in your soup pot, then add the onions and cook until slightly browned in spots, then add the tomatoes. Add salt, pesto and herbs and cook until the tomatoes render their juices (and it all becomes soup-y)
  2. Add the bouillon cube and about 4 cups of water (or 2 cups broth and 2 cups water) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the rinsed and sorted lentils. Add the sun dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime cook the bell pepper over the grill until blackened, set aside covered or enclose inside a paper bag, and when cooled enough to handle peel the blackened skin off (rubbing it with a paper towel works pretty well), then chop the roasted pepper and add to the soup
  5. Add the cottage cheese and stir until mostly melted.
  6. When the lentils are cooked, season the soup to taste with black pepper and more salt if desired

image© 2012 SimpleHealthyHomemade