on the right foot!
Here are some recent ideas for deliciousness:
My genius sister-in-law told me she likes to use quinoa or couscous to make a cold salad – she cooks the grains in broth, cools them and then adds whatever a person might like in a pasta salad. I know! Genius!
Also, I’ve been using baked sweet potatoes in anything I think my daughter might eat. I steam carrots, cauliflower or other gently-colored veggies and puree them with the sweet potato. Little Cowgirl has never eaten so many vegetables disguised as sloppy joe and meatloaf. I’ve always hidden veggies in her food, but the sweet potato is so packed with nutrients and so SWEET it makes us both happy. (oh, and don’t tell her. She is very partial to a completely beige diet, and anything that crunches and isn’t from a chip bag might make her vomit.) I am on a mission to use this new idea for replacing anything calling for brown sugar – my original sloppy joe recipe (from my sweet mother-in-law) calls for it but the sweet potato was an easy swap.
Remember last year’s Lenten Miracle Soup? (Thank you for reminding me about it, Darlene.) This year I had another soup success – but more for ease than flavor. On Thursday I made chicken in a crock pot for lunch. I sliced potatoes, onions and carrots into the bottom of the crock, cranked a few turns of “zesty seasoning mix” into it and covered everything with a whole chicken and water. After we ate I boned the chicken and saved the small scraps. Then I chunked the veggies into smaller pieces and put then in the fridge with the little chicken scraps and the broth. On Friday, I took the dish out, skimmed the solidified fat off the top, heated it up and stirred in a bit of potato starch to thicken it up. We ate the soup with biscuits and shredded cheddar.
What’s been happening in your kitchens?
I mentioned something to a friend the other day about making soup from stock (we were actually discussing whether or not it’s okay to make soup from a meat-based, although meatless, stock for Lent. I vote yes.) and she asked me how I find time to make stock. It is really such a cinch, so I wanted to share with you how I keep stock available.
I like to make chicken stock, beef stock and vegetable stock. Whenever I cook a chicken or a roast, the first thing I do after eating is to start the stock (this way it can make while I’m doing the dishes). I bone the chicken or cut up the roast, then place the bones and scraps in a big pot with whatever kind of spices I’m feeling like. It’s even better if the meat was cooked in a big pot in the first place, so then I’m not dirtying another dish AND it will be full of the richest drippings already.
I run the pot 2/3 full of water and turn it on high until it boils, then let it simmer for an hour or so. I let it cool for awhile on the countertop, then I pour it into jars with screw-top lids (like empty spaghetti sauce jars – I know, why don’t I make my own marinara too? IDK!). I put them in the fridge. Overnight, the fat will separate, raise to the top and solidify. I scoop it out with a spoon the next day, label it with masking tape and stick it in the freezer. Whenever I want to use it I can take it out and pop it right into the microwave if I’m in a hurry.
The only difference with vegetable stock it how I prep for it. I keep a ziplock bag in the freezer, in which I throw scraps wether they come off the cutting board or a plate after a meal is finished.
These stocks make delicious rice and soups. Plus they are a heck of a lot cheaper (and healthier) than anything you can buy to use in it’s place. It’s not gourmet, but close enough!
I made one of my favorite dishes for lunch today and wanted to share it with you.
After cooking a pot roast, drain the drippings into a jar and put in the fridge. Slice the roast for sandwiches or leftovers and store the nice slices however you like. Then chunk up all the little or fatty pieces left and toss them back in the pot. Put the pot in the fridge by the drippings. (If you made veggies with the roast, chop up the leftovers and keep in the pot with the roast pieces.)
The next morning, get up and put the pot on the stove. The fat will have risen and solidified in the drippings – dip it out with a spoon and dump the liquid in the pot. If you were without leftover veggies, chop up whatever you have on hand that sounds good. I didn’t have leftovers today, so what I had on hand was a red potato, a russet potato, half a red bell pepper, the end of a purple onion, mushrooms I clearanced (yes, I know that’s not really a word but it just sounds so good!) that I roasted and froze, barley, sweet corn from the freezer and a bouillon cube (MSG free).
Add enough water to make however much broth you like. I like a lot! I usually thicken it a bit with cornstarch or flour the last 30 minutes before we eat. It tastes best if it simmers for a long time so the flavors can really blend. I served it today with toast and cheese, berries and apples. It’s not fancy, but close enough!
It is warm and satisfying on a snowy day at our farm.