Its officially Soup Season! Its my favorite go to lunch, a steaming bowl of soup and a sandwich really hits the spot on cold days. I really love when I can go out to the deep freeze and grab a soup pack and have lunch or dinner on the table in an hour, or in the crockpot in minutes. Several readers were curious how I make freezer packs from recipes, here is how I break it down.
Posts Tagged ‘Peppers’
One of my favorite movies is the OLD Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Always one to be attracted to the silly and whimsical, Willy Wonka has been one of my favorite characters, played so adeptly by Gene Wilder. He has such delight in the simple pleasures of life and finds ways to share those simple delights in fantastical ways! And yet, behind that silliness, there is such a deep and complex person who cares so much for others. And then there is sweet, innocent Charlie! It is so easy to love him and his genuine, tender personality. And of course, the basis of the movie is a love of chocolate. And I LOVE chocolate!
Green juice does not have to be scary! My mind tends to see green and go straight to yuck, but the trick is to add an extra organic green apple or make it red by adding an organic beet, leaves too! Try to limit the beet and apple… while it will sweeten your juice, remember there is sugar in sugar in there. Green juices detoxify, give you iron and magnesium when you use kale, chard and dark leafy greens.
I love, love, love potatoes. No really- hubby vs. a beautiful, loaded, baked potato I honestly don’t know which would win my affections. (rest assured kids vs. potato? I would of course choose the kids). The potato is so versatile- it can be the star of the show or take a supporting role. It can be all gussied up and glamorous or beautifully simple and elegant. It can be slim and healthy or full of tantalizing fat with flavors that haunt my dreams (yes, I dream of food- DON’T JUDGE). I have yet to meet a potato I didn’t like.
Of course, even knowing all of the fabulous ways a potato can make a dinner table appearance I found myself falling into a rut. OK- I didn’t notice the rut, hubby bluntly pointed it out as I was serving potato- leek soup for the umpteenth time. I’m sorry- when I see potatoes and leeks in the basket my mind immediately pairs them in the delicious, creamy, comfort food known as soup. And while I would be happy eating soup every day I decided to honor his not-so-subtle request for something that was NOT soup.
One problem- I still had potatoes and leeks…a lot of them. So I did what I always do in times of culinary dilemma. I rolled up my sleeves, got into the kitchen, and started playing around. What I came up with was a slightly spicy casserole that both used up my produce and allowed hubby to feel free from the clutches of a soup rut.
I started by slicing my Yukon Gold potatoes nice and thin and then slightly browning them in olive oil and putting them into a glass baking dish. You could probably skip this step but as one of hubby’s biggest complaints was texture, it helped to ensure a bit of a bite.
I made a nice gluten-free sauce by cooking the finely chopped leeks in some butter (in the immortal words of Julia Child “You could leave it out but you’ll be sorry”), tossing in some roasted red bell pepper and roasted hatch peppers, stirring in sorghum flour and spices, and then whisking in chicken broth and of course- cheese. That got poured over the potatoes and topped with yes, more cheese, and it all came together in one creamy casserole that was NOT soup. The slightly spicy southwest flavors combined with the comfort of potato and the recipe was definitely a hit. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did.
A couple that I know just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The key to their success? Well, according to the husband their happy marriage is all because his wife has packed him his lunch every work day for their whole married life. At first, this revelation made me feel really…guilty. I can honestly say that in 13 years of marriage I have never sent my husband off to work with a homemade lunch. Sure, this has meant he has some extra candy machine visits or drive-through stops, but how can I squeeze in making lunch for a man who leaves the house at 5:45 each morning? Already I have a house to clean, meals to cook, four kids to home-school, and sometime in there I have to get a shower (really, won’t he appreciate a clean wife more than lunch?) The old man’s marriage advice was fresh in my mind when I saw pictures of layered, jarred salads on the Bountiful Basket’s Facebook page. These seemed healthy, fresh, and most importantly easy. And so, in an effort to keep our happy marriage happy, and armed with an arsenal of salad-in-a-jar recipes, I have decided to try packing lunches this year.
The last two months have brought about great changes in my kitchen. We have recently discovered that many of my 7-year-old’s chronic pain issues are due to numerous, severe allergies- both food and environmental. I was already committed to having a “non-processed” pantry and she was already gluten-free so I thought I had the home-cooking lifestyle down pat. But the discovery of allergies to all grains, many fruits and vegetables, and to other basics including olive oil and raw local honey, really set my mind whirling. So much of what I thought was healthy was in fact hurting her. Though I was truly grateful to finally get some answers for my girl I felt depressed, overwhelmed, and totally ill equipped for the task at hand. But, being a somewhat plucky, hard-to-keep-down kind of gal, I quickly got over my pity party and did the best thing I could do. I started to research and started to get into the kitchen and experiment.
In the 1930′s, cattle ranchers on the vast ranch lands of South and West Texas inadvertently began one of the most popular traditions in Western cuisine. The ranchers would often allow beef to be butchered for the workers during round-ups and drives. Unwanted parts such as the head, hide, and trimmings (including pieces known now as “skirt steak”) were given to the Mexican cowboys. The vacqueros would use these pieces to create many different meals including menudo, barbacoa de cabeza, and what we now know as fajitas. They would slice and marinate the unwanted skirt steak, grill it over an open fire, and fold it up into a tortilla with beans and whatever vegetables they had. Over time, adventurous American cowboys sampled the meal and soon the tradition of using up the skirt steak for fajitas took off. (Only the most adventurous cowboys sampled the menudo and barbequed head and those two meals were left in the dust of comparative obscurity.)
Last Monday I contributed for the Guacamole add on, and started to dream about rich, creamy guacamole. On Saturday I picked up my Guacamole pack and looked through the bag; avocados, green onion, jalapenos, cilantro, limes and another bag. Inside that bag was a treasure that I was not expecting; dried Chipotle peppers. By the time I got home I had lost interest in the avocados and my sights were firmly set on those wonderful aromatic chipotles. In my conventional basket were 4 big ripe tomatoes, BINGO…Fire Roasted Salsa! It took a couple days before I had time to make the salsa, by then I had remembered the avocados and guacamole.