FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
Browsing Veggies

Cauliflower “Rissoto”… a healthy Italian makeover: Day 75 of my 90 Day Food Journey

March20

Well, It’s been a loooong journey… but it’s still going. To say that I am busy right now is an understatement. I WISH WISH WISH I had more time to post everyday. Mostly because it helps stay me focused on what I’m eating and how my body and mind are changing for the better, but life happens while you’re making other plans, right? I have so many things I want to talk about, and about 10 draft posts waiting to be written, but I’m going to put up a quick post about a fantastically healthy dish my husband made the other night… Because at the end of the day – I hope to remember, inspire, and share our healthy food choices. So here it is…

Cauliflower “Risotto”

deliciously created by ForkandBeans.com

This dish is vegan, grain and gluten-free.  Good start.  Zeke made it pretty close to the original recipe and I loved it.  BUT I have made a few changes to this recipe as I think I would have loved it even MORE if it had these tweaks.  My changes are in bold in case you want to omit them and try it the Forks and Beans OG way.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 medium head of Lightly Steamed cauliflower, chopped in a food processor (or your VITAMIX!)
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained, divided (I prefer Great Northern Beans) we used Garbanzo/Chick Peas
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb sundried tomatoes (we used Oven Roasted Tomatoes now on sale by the jar at Costco – thank you Costco – I will always love you)
  • 1 Tb capers (I love capers like they are candy – I added about 1/4 cup to my plate  – I may have an olive problem)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • toasted pinenuts, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 Tb olive oil on medium heat until warmed. Place the shallots, garlic, and thyme inside and saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.
  2. Place 1/2 the can of beans and vegetable broth into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes!
  3. With an immersion blender (or if you do not have one, use a regular blender or your Vitamix!), gently blend all of the contents together in the pot until creamy and smooth.
  4. Add grated cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, remainder beans, and spinach. Cover with a lid and allow to heat through for a good 5 to 15 minutes. Waiting to throw the spinach in until 5 min before you’re ready to serve.
  5. Add the capers before you serve and garnish with toasted pine-nuts.

The main thing I want to stress about this dish is that if the cauliflower is raw it really doesn’t feel like Risotto.  It’s still GREAT, but I don’t think it should be called Risotto because then your brain in disappointed.  If the cauliflower was lightly steamed before chopping and THEN steamed longer at the end I am confident that it would be truly a perfect Faux Risotto.

 

This dish is very similar in flavors and texture to an amazing NON-vegan dish I have made many times in the past By Giada De Laurentiis: Veronica’s Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce.
Giada’s has cheese – a LOT of cheese, and also takes a long time to make. It’s very prep heavy. I have made it for many people many times and everyone loves it, but I don’t make it that often anymore, because there’s no time for all that prep AND I am no longer eating cheese. Details, details. Honestly, I have missed this dish, but NO LONGER!! Because the Cauliflower Risotto gives me the exact same Italian fix and comfort food feelings that I need and crave!! I am so excited about this. Thanks to my husband for continuing on the hunt with me for great new healthy, vegan food we can easily make at home.
Try this!! You will be amazed. I promise. I was.

The journey is NOT over yet…. Stay with me!

D-

Husband Rating 4 stars:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star stars : “It’s a pretty good replacement for Risotto”
Kid Rating 2 smiley faces: “Thumbs up Papa! this is so yummy! Mommy, can I have a banana? ”

Someone finally got Kale Chips right…

October22

I got this recipe from another site – here: A Cup Of Jo: The Best Kale Chips
They were the best I’ve had/made yet! Thanks A Cup Of Jo!  I’ll keep this one on hand… here on my blog.

You’ll need:
A bunch of kale (either curly or lacinato—they’re both good, but texturally, I prefer curly), center stems removed, washed and dried thoroughly
About 1 tbsp. sesame oil or olive oil
1 to 2 tsp. soy sauce
About 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Tear the kale into large pieces and place them in a bowl. (NOTE: I have to stress how important it is that your kale is dry. Otherwise, the chips will turn out soggy.) Next, add the oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, and toss it all together with your hands. You want each piece to be glistening, but not so much that any of the oil or seasoning pools at the bottom of the bowl. You can also taste a piece at this point. It shouldn’t be too salty, because the taste will condense in the final chip. Feel free to add a little more soy sauce if you’d like, though.

On 1 or 2 baking sheets (with or without parchment paper), lay the pieces out flat.

Bake 6 to 7 minutes. (Note, however, that these aren’t hard figures because I know my oven is hotter than average. I’ve seen times ranging from 6 minutes to 12, so the first time you make these, keep a close eye on the chips. You want to take them out before they’re completely crisped—they’ll still be a little soft in the middle.) You may need to experiment a little with the timing to get it right.

The Quickest, Easiest, and Healthiest BURGER you can make from The Quickest, Easiest, and Healthiest LEFTOVERS!

June8

If you saw and subsequently tried my previous post about a basic Macro Meal… you inevitably made too much. Don’t feel bad – this is a common problem with such a basic meal.  You think there’ s NO WAY in Bend that food is going to fill you up so quickly and for so long… so you overdid it.  You threw in 3 carrots instead of one.  The entire bunch of Kale instead of a few leaves and then you excitedly made 2 cups of rice because it’s so cheap – what’s the difference? Right?  Face it – you got overzealous and were feeling really good about the prospect of feeling really good.  I know how it goes…  I am always SO gung ho because we love that meal so much, and it makes us feel SO happy and healthy and wise…. then the next day… the day after that… and the dreaded day after that… I can’t bear the idea of opening the fridge to see what’s in there to eat, let alone eating leftovers AGAIN!!!! So before you let that “kids are starving all over the world” guilt kick in and then hover shamefully over the sink shoving perfectly good food down the garbage disposal, try this one out!

Deena’s “Macro Burger” in 10 easy steps.

1.)  Get out your Food Processor.
2.)  Throw everything in there – beans, rice, veggies, tofu, temphe… all of it.
3.)  Pulse.
4.)  Add olive oil if the mixture is too dry or bread crumbs if it’s too wet (you’re looking for burger consistency somewhere in the middle)
5.)  Mold it into small patties that will fit perfectly onto your whole grain organic bun (preferably one without added sugars) or toast.
6.)  Fry in a skillet with a little Safflower or Sunflower oil – An Iron skillet works great for these and there’s no worry about how long to cook them – just cook until it looks good to you and you think it’s burger worthy.  Everything is already fully cooked so you really can’t screw this part up!

  
7.)  Add whatever you would normally have with burgers ie: sauteed mushrooms and onions, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, condiments, sauces, WHATEVER!
8.)  Don’t tell you’re family it’s leftovers.
9.)  Enjoy
10.)  (This is my favorite and most ironic part)  FREEZE the leftovers!!! The leftover burger leftovers reheat great anytime you need a quick meal!!  I often put them in my sons lunch the next day – he thinks it’s fun times.

London would not sit still for this picture. But this WAS his second burger and he was all hopped up on health.

 

Now you are the star of the kitchen and your family just ate the healthiest burger you can possibly ever have. Win win win win win! It’s like being in Vegas without the cigarette smoke.  Right?
As always I can’t stress enough – don’t be afraid… I figured this out by just throwing stuff in and giving it a literal whirl. They are slightly different burgers every time because you’ll never have the exact same ingredients twice, but they always work and they are always good.

Try it out and tell me how it goes!
D-

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star“Can I pour my Agave BBQ Sauce all over it?  Then yes, 5 stars.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces  “Mommy – can you make them look like Chicken Nuggets?”  He has no idea what that actually means.

The Quickest, Easiest and Healthiest meal you can make from scratch!

May18

The meal in this picture is the standby – go to – get centered and back on track meal in our house, that we try to eat at least once a week if not more. It’s basically a standard plate from a Macrobiotic diet. If you don’t know about Macrobiotics, don’t worry… You wont turn into the six million dollar man, or the terminator, or R2D2 if you eat this. It’s not a fancy as it sounds. It’s actually the exact opposite. Thanks to our very good friends James, Allison and Lydia Taylor, we were turned on to and subsequently adopted a Macrobiotic approach to life when I became pregnant with my son in 2008.  Over the last 4-5 years I have learned A LOT about the fundamentals and principals of Macrobiotics – both the food and the lifestyle, and it has served our family incredibly well.  But you don’t need to know any of that to eat this easy simple HEALTHY meal. So don’t worry about it too much. Just eat!! If you love it and it speaks to you every time you eat it, then you can look for more information on your own or email me and I’ll help you with what I know.  Here is all you need to know right now:  Macro=BIG   Biotics=LIFE.  This meal is about eating food that is full of “Big Life.”  Why? Because there is nothing in it except whole foods that are steamed or simmered. Clean clean clean.  Give your body a rest from the barrage of oils, salts, seasonings, sauces, etc. that you find even in healthy, organic, vegan food.  This is the highest octane food your body can eat and it will LOVE you for it.  Trust me – we prove it to ourselves every time we eat this meal…

Here are the basic elements of a simple, balanced plate of macrobiotic food:

  • Organic BROWN Rice (Brown short or long grain is the most basic and common.  But Sweet brown or Brown Basmati are also good)
  • Organic dried Beans that have been soaked and slow cooked (IE: NOT canned or microwaved!!) I used lentils here because I didn’t have time to soak anything and they cook pretty fast – around 30 minutes, but you want to try to soak dried beans overnight  if you can plan it out.  Try Adzuki Bean, Mung Beans, Chickpeas, Black Soybeans… There are so many great beans!  Just try some out – who cares!  It’s one time.
  • A Variety of Steamed Veggies – I have super basic veggies on this plate (for fear of scaring you away)  Broccoli, Carrots, Purple Cabbage, Kale, Onions (always throw an onion in – they are SO GOOD FOR YOU!!!).  But here are some other great choices that will expand your palate and up the health (make you feel good!!) Diakon Radish, Lotus root, Parsnips, Bok Choy, ANY AND ALL leafy greens, Winter Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Turnips.  Basically – if they don’t sell it in Safeway, Vons or Costco, try it.  It’s most likely something your body desperately needs. And try to stay away from night shades for this meal: spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or anything in the nightshade family.  Why?  Eh – It’s complicated.  If you REALLY want to know Google it.  You’ll get tons of info!!!
  • Organic Fermented Veggies like sauerkraut, or Kim-Chi. ( I buy these.  I know you can make them pretty easily, but they take many days to ferment.  I have only ventured into this world once and it was an inedible disaster.  One day I will try again, but for now I buy it.)
  • Additional Organic Protein optional like Sprouted Tofu or Temphe cut into bite size chunks or pieces.
  • Bonus Items if you think you can’t handle it THAT plain can be lemon, Nato Miso, Tekka (miso condiment), Apple Cider Vinegar or Umoboshi Plum Vinegar, Olive Oil lightly drizzled.  I usually stick to Lemon and Tekka on everything, but I love the other items I listed too.  My 3 year old will eat a plate full of leafy greens if they have lemon juice squeezed on it, so you can too!!

There are many many many incredible foods that fall into a macrobiotic diet, but this is not that site (although I think sometimes it should be) I posted this meal for two reasons only:

  1. It’s the quickest, easiest meal I make all week.
  2. It’s the cheapest, cleanest, most balanced and nutritious combo of foods I know of and it always makes us FEEL good.

Don’t worry about how you cut or prepare any of it.  It’s very hard to screw up steamed veggies.  I usually start with the things that take longest to cook and throw the rest in one by one as I clean and cut them.  (ie: carrots, then the onions, then brocolli, then cabbage, lastly the greens, tofu doesn’t need to be cooked so I just heat it real quick after I turn off the stove)  As long as you don’t overcook everything they are perfect.  Same with the rice and beans.  Just double the water to the dried amount, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes (45 for rice.)  Always wash your grains and beans before you cook them.  If you have time to soak the rice too, go for it – it makes it extremely easy for your body to pull out nutrients and digest it efficiently, making it great fuel for your body.

Another nice thing to try is switching up the grain.  Instead of brown rice, which after a while gets too repetitive, try quinoa, millet, or barley.  And a great trick I learned early on is that you don’t have to refrigerate grains for a least 24 hours after they have been cooked.  So I cook them whenever it’s convenient and leave them covered in the pot on the stove until I am ready to serve it.  They are usually very good at room temperature and I love that I don’t have to clean another dish or put it BACK in the pot to reheat it.  It’s a time saver.  I do the same with beans as well.

Side note for emphasis: NEVER use a microwave to cook your food and ALWAYS buy organic.  Please.

Try it!!  You will be amazed at how easy it is and how happy you feel afterward.
Happy Clean Eating!
D-

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star“You’ll love how good I feel after you eat this dinner.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces a magical combination of food that makes him clean his plate every time.

Sweet Potato Chips

January8

SUPER easy side dish that’s fun, satisfying, and healthy…

This is another one of my “What the F am I going to make for dinner tonight” babies.  It’s as simple as it looks…

Preheat oven to somewhere around 375-425° depending on how much time you have, how crispy you like things, how thick you cut your potatoes, how fat your potatoes are, etc…  As always – don’t be scared.  It’s just food. You can always get it perfect the next time.  Cut however many Sweet Potatoes will fit on your cookie sheet into discs as shown above.  Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper (if you have and use this) place as many chips as you can flat on the sheet.  Baste the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or Herbamare (I frequently use this instead of sea salt. You can buy it at Whole Foods and other Health Food Stores.)  Bake for about 15 minutes then carefully flip over and baste the other side with olive oil, sprinkle with more salt (if you want) and put back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes or until they are soft enough or crispy enough for you – however you think you will enjoy them best!

I served these with a big salad. We were stuffed. There was no mess to clean up either. Bonus!!
Let me know if you make them and what YOU did different or how you served them.

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “ I can eat these all day long.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “I want to eat all of them.  I don’t want to share ANY.”  (But he did)

Enjoy!
D-

My Mom’s (Cooking) Vegan(?) Eggplant Salad!

September20

My beautiful Mom is the wizard of all wizards in the kitchen!!  She has been whipping up amazing meals from scratch just about every night of the week since I was a kid.  I don’t ever remember a time when my mom had any trouble in the kitchen… with anything.  She’s a Culinary Savant.  She’s confident, fearless, and intuitive, and you can taste it in everything she makes.  She also taught me everything I know… that is until I went vegan and was forced to leave her in the meat & dairy farm dust with all that animal protein floating around everywhere.  Achoo.  Sorry Mom.

But LATELY Mom (AKA Diane) has taken to cooking with considerably less meat and animal products throughout the week.  Which is funny and strange because for the first time in my natural born life my mom is calling ME for quick answers and tips on how to prep and combine things instead of the usual other way around.  I know this won’t last long because she is now sending me her vegan recipes that worked out well so that I can try them.  Lucky you – here is one of her latest from the Diane Fonteboa No-Meat Test Kitchen straight out of the San Fernando Valley, California… totally vegan, totally satisfying, totally original and delicious!
Roasted Eggplant with Brown Rice and White Beans
1 large eggplant-peeled & cut into squares
2 cups cooked /chilled brown rice
1-Sm. roasted red pepper, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 can Cannelini Beans-washed & drained
Red onion, diced- you decide how much I used about 2 tbs
2 tbsp dice Italian parsley
Place eggplant on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
Cook at 400 for about 20 min. or until golden brown.
While that is roasting, in a large bowl add all other ingredients and mix together with your favorite vinaigrette.  Toss the eggplant in just before serving.  It is so good when crispy.
Serve with my fabulous wheat bread…..oh wait I haven’t given you that recipe yet!!!
Enjoy!!!
I would only like to add that my mom grows her own (mostly organic!) veggies including Eggplant so hers will be better by default. Unless you are harvesting your private crops too, and I hope you are.  Organic organic organic!!  Makes everything a little bit better.

Mom and my Niece Scarlett... NOT cooking.

Thanks Mom – and I’ll be needing that bread recipe next.  I had it last time we were in California and I know it’s a five star rating all over the place with both boys and me.  Do I see a regular guest blogger in the future??  I hope so!!
D-

Two-Timing me with a Kabocha Squash.

September4

My husband is having some kind of crazy love affair with Kabocha Squash.  Every time we see it in Whole Foods he acts like it’s his long lost lover from college who performed private strip tease dances for him in his dorm and then did his laundry.  He practically cradles it romantically when he sees it – he gives it so much love from the bin to the cart to the bag to the house to the cutting board to the stove/oven to the plate, it’s embarrassing.  He LOVES Kabocha.  If I was the jealous type I would NEVER let that bitch back in my house.  But actually, I think she’s pretty nice myself.  So when she’s in season, we buy her any chance we can get.

We started eating Kabocha when we were eating a macrobiotic diet a few years back.  Our good friends and food mentors, J & A Taylor, had us over for dinner one night and the rest is history…  I have found that not only do most people not have a clue what Kabocha Squash is, but they are afraid to try it when they learn about it.  Silly.

Here are a few pictures I took of the Kabocha I used today – (I always forget to take pictures until after I have half eaten something or already chopped it up a bit – sorry.  Google Images is great for things like this if you need more detail)

So, Kabocha is a squash, or a pumpkin, or a potato… okay – it’s definitely not a potato I just like to type in threes.  Either way it is SO easy to make and SO good for you!!  You can cut it in quarters and roast it in the oven just like you would an acorn squash or spaghetti squash.  You can cut it into chunks and steam it.  That’s always a super healthy and easy way to eat just about any Veggie.  I sometimes pressure cook it and then mash it up with Earth Balance “Butter” (This is Zeke’s favorite way to eat it – he refers to this as “Squash Squash.”  He’s clever, and corny) Or you can cut it up and roast it with other delightful goodness like I did tonight.  As usual, I took a crappy picture AFTER we ate.  Blogging in my kitchen is usually an after-thought.  I’m working on this.  Here’s what I did – it was SERIOUSLY delicioso:

Let’s call this: Roasted Kabocha with Fresh Fig

-1/2 of a Kabocha Squash, gut the seeds and peel the green stuff off.  You CAN eat the green stuff but I don’t like it – my husband thinks Kabocha can do no wrong and he emphatically claims to like the green stuff.  But he is still in the honeymoon phase.  Trust me – peel it.
-1 produce basket of fresh RIPE figs (about 10-15??)
-2 to 3 yellow onions – cut in large chunks
-2 to 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
-1 to 2 tablespoons of dried Oregano (I never measure – but don’t overdo it – just add some flavor to enhance the Fig)
-1 tablespoons of dried rosemary ground up in your hands as much as possible (I think fresh rosemary would also be great, but I still wouldn’t use too much)
-Salt to taste
-3 to 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a roasting dish or pan and bake in a preheated oven at 400° for about 45 min to an hour. Check after 30 minutes and stir everything up to coat it evenly.
I added chopped up tofu in the last 15 minutes and it was a hit with the boys. You might be able to add Tempeh into it in the beginning for an alternate healthy, high protein version. I will try that next time… Zeke is also having an unreasonable love affair with Tempeh these days, but that’s another post.

Side note: I recently learned from a local farmer that Kabocha and most hard shelled squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc…) need at least a month to properly cure once cut off the vine.  That means you can, and should, buy and store squash for two to three months from the time it was picked to get the best flavor and the most nutrients out of it.  If you know when it was cut then you can wait a few months to use it.  If you don’t know when it was cut then you can still let it sit (room temp) for at least a month before you have to worry.  We didn’t do that this time because I couldn’t bear to listen to Zeke romance the squash for another second.  But I did buy two small Red Curry Squash and I don’t plan on eating them anytime soon!!

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I missed my Kabocha so much. Next time we go to WF’s let’s buy every one they have.”  and   “I actually thought the figs were great in this. I love this dish so much!!”
Kid Rating 3 smiley faces “I don’t like that fig.  But I love these onions and squash squash!”

Quinoa Cabbage Salad

July28

Oh my – this was a total serendipitous, no-plan, thrown together, cleaning out the crisper drawer dish, but MAN was it GOOOOOOOOOOOD!  It’s my new favorite salad of the year.  Here goes:

This was super easy and fast…

Cook 1 cup of Quinoa (Rinse 1 cup Quinoa and add to a sauce pan with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for about 20 minutes.)

Steam 1-2 sliced carrots and thinly shredded Kale (about 4-5 medium sized leaves with steams removed from entire length of leaf)

Shred or cut up about 1/2 head of green cabbage

Shred one carrot

Chop about 1/2 cup of Italian Parsley

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. (Give or take a little on the Quinoa – I didn’t really measure and I had some leftover)

Combine about 1/2-3/4 cup Veganaise with about 1 cup or so of Braggs Liquid Amino Acid.  Whisk to combine well.

Add the dressing to the salad and mix well, leaving some reserve for people like my husband who like to drown their food!

I only served it with fresh corn on the cob, and we were still full! I think it would be great with some fresh baked bread though like this one: Country Style Yeast Free Bread.  Enjoy!!!

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I would have given it a 4 1/2, but there was too much parsley for me.”

Vegan Enchiladas

July28

I WISH I had a picture of all the steps I took to make these little lovelies, but I don’t have any.  I was too busy cooking and eating.  I hate when I get caught up in the moment and forget that I might want to post my creation.  Oh well – use your imagination… They didn’t LOOK particularly special anyway.

Timing: I have made these three times now and I can tell you they came out amazing both times and I did something different each time.  One time I made them for a big dinner party I threw and I made three trays – one for kids (with cheese) , one mild and one super spicy.  They went over huge with everyone in the room.  BUT let me just say – they are time consuming, so get a glass of wine going and don’t be afraid to do everything but assemble early in the day so you don’t put any stress into your food and onto the plate.  Assembly also takes time.  Don’t think you can do whip these up in under an hour.  Give yourself about two to three the first time you make them.

First the sauce: I have learned that sauce is sauce is sauce is gravy.  (Vegan Gray is so easy to make.  I’ll do a post on that soon.) Enchilada sauce is nothing more than regular gravy (however you make it) with the addition of tomato paste, Cumin, Oregano, Chilli Powder and fresh chiles if you want to add more heat.  (My Momma taught me that – I called her with no idea what I was doing and she gave me a quick rundown and I was off… as usual, Mom comes to my rescue in the kitchen.)  I don’t measure. I know that’s not much help, but use your nose.  You’ll figure it out.  And taste it!!  If it’s boring add more spice.  Make the sauce first so it has time to thicken and the flavors can blend a bit.  When you think you have it where you like it, set it on a flame-less burner and come back to it when you’re ready to put the dish together.

The Filling: I always like use whatever I have in the house but I will say don’t use mushrooms – yuk.  I tried that once and pulled them all out once we were eating them.  Here are some basic ingredients: saute diced onions and minced garlic (always – with everything) add chopped up zucchini or other summer squash, corn (frozen is fine, but add it last) carrots (must be cooked first – I usually chop and steam them) black olives, chopped chiles or jalapenos,  if you have and eat Kale put it in – small shredded Kale is great in stuff like this – you can’t taste it but your body loves you for it.  Saute away until everything is soft and cooked well through, add some of your sauce to start getting it juicy and looking like pot pie filling, add chopped cilantro when your mixture is done cooking and cools off just a bit.  Turn off burner and set aside.

Tortillas: Of course you want to use corn tortillas for Enchiladas, but I personally don’t make them. I’m assuming you don’t either, so – open your tortilla package up and get a wet dish towel.  Put 4-5 tortillas in the towel and wrap them up so they are completely covered.  Put them in the microwave for I think 30 seconds or so on high.  You just want them warm enough that they are soft and wont break or tear when you roll them up.  This is the only thing I have used a microwave for in about 10 years, so I really don’t know the full technique.  I also recommend that if you have time and want to steam them DO THAT!  Always avoid that creepy, mysterious “cooking” box if possible (how does it do that??).  Use the batch that you just steamed right away.  Spoon some filling into the tortilla, roll it up so the stuff isn’t falling out but also isn’t too tight to have any food inside, put the seam side down in a large baking pan so it won’t pop open, repeat until you have either no filling or no tortillas left.  Put sauce down on the bottom of the pan before you start filling the tortillas.  Not too much, just enough so that the tortillas are covered and juicy all around. Line them up as close as possible together and generously apply tons of sauce on top.

The Oven: Put your lovely pan of happiness in a preheated oven at about 350°. Bake about 20-30 minutes or until it looks bubbly and yummy.  If you must add cheese on top, use a combo of shredded Jack, Pepper Jack and Cheddar and you only need it on top.  Don’t worry about adding it inside each tortilla – there wont be room anyway.  Sprinkle the cheese on top before it goes in the oven and let it get bubbly and crispy.  But trust me – we didn’t miss it.  And why not give your body a break from the non stop barrage of dairy you load up on everyday??

Serve: If you like sour-cream with your enchiladas I encourage you to try either plain yogurt (SO much better for you) or plain soy yogurt (even better yet!) We used to be sour cream addicts and now we use these two things as replacements and don’t miss the sour cream at all… unless your referring to the pounds we no longer see on the scale.  I also like to make  black or pinto beans and mash them up with a little almond milk  (makes them feel and taste like re-fried beans without any added oil, or fat – so yummy and easy.)  I also serve this with brown rice that I have sauteed up with a little of my enchilada sauce so it’s wet and Mexican (that sounds a bit X-rated, but it’s not THAT good).  Sprinkle a little finely chopped cilantro on the whole plate and wait for the praise!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “You could serve these in any gourmet Mexican Restaurant and they would stand up to anything else there.”

Orzo Salad

May4

This was a quick salad I made with random items in the fridge (where 50% of my ideas come from) when my mother in law was over and I hadn’t planned out any food because I too busy with the Whopping Cough.  Suddenly I realized it was the middle of the day and there was nothing to eat for lunch.  So I threw this big pasta salad together with fresh veggies and pantry stuff in about 15 minutes.  Super easy and it was so good I made it the following weekend for a BBQ we were invited to.  Here’s what I did:

Boil one package of Orzo Pasta, drain, rinse, throw in a big salad bowl.

While the pasta is boiling, put a steamer pot over the water and quickly steamed cut up carrots (2 or 3 medium), and broccoli (about 1 cup cut up small)… throw those in.  (or steam them separately – cut them small, thin, and evenly so they cook fast)

One cut-up yellow (red, green, whatever) bell pepper

3/4 cup chopped Kalamata Olives

Cheese of your choice – I used low fat string cheese because that’s what I had in the house – I just cut it into bite sized rounds.  about 1 cup or so.  Whatever ratio you like.  It’s a salad – who cares?

2-3 leaves of finely cut up Kale.  Health it up – you won’t even taste it and it looks great!!

mix together with some olive oil and red wine vinegar.  I also added sea salt, and Braggs 24 seasoning (love that stuff).

The longer it sits the better.  Overnight is great, but eat it cold or right after you make it when it’s still slightly warm. The thing is – put whatever you want or like in this, and do whatever you want with it.  It’s salad.  Be adventurous.  Great replacements are vegan cheese or Ume Plum vinegar, Sesame Oil, rice pasta… the list goes on.  I imagine every time I make it will be a slightly different dish.  But the above ingredients worked great the first time!!

Remember: ALWAYS USE ORGANIC EVERYTHING!!!  If you have the money to buy diet pills, fancy face creams, detox powders and $150 jogging shoes, you can buy organic food.  It’s more important for your health than anything else you will spend money on!!!

Husband Rating 5 star:  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Yum.”

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