Zucchini Noodles

Last year I planted an entire zucchini plant just to have enough zucchinis to spiralize. Having lots of zucchini noodles mixed in with some whole wheat pasta makes it easy for me to get my boys to eat zucchinis and squash. Plus they are really pretty. I bought a spiralizer just for zucchini noodles. Some day I’ll use it for some other veggie. But look how pretty these noodles are!

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Zucchini noodles are quite wet, so when you cook them, the water will start to pool at the bottom of the pan. Just tip it so the water all goes to one side and spoon it out periodically.

Tonight I used about 8 medium size zucchinis/squash. Cooked them down over medium to medium-high heat, added just a little whole wheat pasta, some sauce, and some meatless “meatballs”, which was enough for 4 hungry people to eat with some leftovers. Delicious!

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Vegetarian soup with wild rice

About 6 months ago, a co-worker shared a super delicious soup with me that included wild rice that her sister harvested from the boundary waters of Minnesota. She created this recipe herself and I found it was a great chance for me to use different veggies I was getting from my CSA: carrots, kale (or any other leafy vegetable), onions, garlic, and white beans (I use cannellini).

The recipe is incredibly simple:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, sliced in thin circles
  • olive oil
  • 8 cups good veggie broth (you could use chicken broth. I use Better than Bouillon)
  • Can of cannellini beans (I used dried ones from my CSA and cooked them), drained and rinsed
  • Bunch of fresh kale, chard or collards (you could likely also use spinach), torn or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Chopped tomatoes (quantity to taste. My 5 year old hates tomatoes, so I usually leave them out)
  • 3/4 cup wild rice

To prepare:

  1. Saute onion, garlic, carrots in 1-2 tabs olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste
  2. Add broth, beans, kale, tomatoes and rice.
  3. Cook until rice is cooked (depends on the rice)

I hear that an Instant Pot makes this even easier. But I don’t have one (yet)!IMG_8439

Super simple green beans with lemon, garlic and parsley

The bean plants in our garden have been doing very well this year (this is seriously one of the easiest plants to grow). My two year old loves going out to pick the beans with me (which means I pick them, since the poor plant would be torn apart if he tried, hand the beans to him, and he puts them into a bowl). He loves pointing out all the beans I need to pick. In our case, we grew purple, yellow and green beans, which I think makes it even more fun for him.

Since we had a bunch of beans this week (though only enough for a half recipe of what is listed below), I wanted a quick and easy weeknight meal to make with them. I paired this recipe I found on epicurious with some extra firm tofu that I grilled on the stove (in a grill pan) with sweet chili sauce. Delicious! My husband especially liked that they were cooked in a pan with the garlic afterwards, which gave them a really nice taste with the garlic. I personally loved the lemon rind (which my son also got to help me grate)!

Green beans with garlic, lemon and parsley

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Place beans in bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.

Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add beans; sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon peel. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to platter.

bean sorter

Notice that he sorted all the green beans on one side and purple and yellow on the other. Rather than a bean counter, I have a bean sorter!

green beans

Quick and healthy saag (Indian spinach recipe)

I love Indian food. Let me say that again: I love Indian food. What I don’t love is that often times it takes a long time to make and often times it has more butter and cream in it than I care to admit. This recipe was one that I got from an Indian woman in Ft Collins who taught a cooking class through Ft Collins’ recreation office. I loved her recipes because they were quick to make and significantly more healthy than the Indian food you often get at restaurants. Oh, and my toddler loves them too.

For this recipe you could make paneer (cheese) by curdling milk, squeezing the whey out, etc. I just don’t have the time for that these days, so instead, I pan fry extra firm tofu using a little bit of oil, cutting the tofu into smaller chunks, and pan frying over a medium to medium high heat. I’ve found this helps get most of the water out of the tofu and makes it quite tasty and perfect for this recipe (or to use in a stir fry).

The recipe calls for either fresh or frozen spinach. It said one bunch. After cooking up a pretty large bunch of spinach, I felt it wasn’t enough, so I used a bunch of kale and added it to the recipe as well. I couldn’t tell on taste at all. Maybe next time I’ll use all kale instead if I have it!

saag and tofu

Yet again, I forgot to take a picture until after my family had eaten almost the whole thing!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Spinach (2 bunches or 2 cups chopped frozen spinach. I would bet you could use even more). I had one bunch of spinach and one of kale and that worked great.
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tabs oil
  • 2 cloves garlic,chopped (I use bottled and minced)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 green chili (which I forgot when I made it)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp garam masala (you can find at places like the Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of turmeric

1) Remove ends of spinach, separate the leaves and wash thoroughly. Drain completely (I use a salad spinner). If using frozen spinach, thaw for a few minutes or microwave for 2 minutes

2) Place a 2 quart pan on the heat (I do it on medium). Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, add the spinach leaves and cover the pan to allow the spinach to steam until tender. Remove from heat

3) Grind the steamed spinach leaves to a coarse paste in the blender and set aside

4) Chop the onion finely and the green chili finely

5) Place the same 2 quart pan on the heat (medium to medium high). Add 2 tabs-ish of oil (you can likely add just one, if you want). Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and allow to spurt (mine never really spurted, but basically cook for a couple minutes). Add the turmeric

6) Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until light brown (hard to tell when this happens with the turmeric in there, but basically 4ish minutes). Add the blended spinach and chopped chili and mix. Add the garam masala and cumin powder and salt to taste. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and steam this for 2-4 minutes (I added the pan fried tofu in right before this so it could all steam together).

Eat! And eat! My toddler loves tofu (must be the texture), so this was a great way to get him to eat some greens at the same time.

Tortilla Espanola with kale

One of my favorite foods ever is a tortilla Espanola (with the ~ on top of the n). I have been to Spain many times and it’s so simple flavor-wise, but so delicious. Typically they have potatoes, onions and eggs. And salt. And that’s about it (though the potatoes and onions and likely cooked in olive oil). I have been wanting to try cooking one recently, but didn’t really take it seriously until I was told our CSA was going to have lots of kale this week (as it turns out, they didn’t send us lots of kale, just one bunch). But, I had already found this recipe on epicurious and was sold.

It did use a fair number of dishes (the one downside of it). I likely could have avoided one bowl by reusing the bowl that was used to cool the kale down for mixing up the eggs and such. But this really did turn out beautifully. I ended up turning up the heat a little compared to their recommendations (of low and moderately low), but only by a little bit.

Best part of this recipe? Even my toddler loved it! Next time, I do hope I get lots and lots of kale since the one bunch was clearly not enough in it. I could have had 4 times as much (at least). Here’s hoping I get more kale soon!

tortilla espanola

I forgot to take a photo until after the family had devoured most of it…

Recipe:

  • 1 lb boiling potatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (their recipe said 1 cup, but I read the reviews and everyone said 1/2 was plenty. They were right!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lb kale, center ribs discarded
  • 7 large eggs

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 1/4 cups). Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then reduce heat to moderately low and cook potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Blanch kale while potatoes cook:
Cook kale in a 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain again, squeezing handfuls of kale to extract excess moisture, then coarsely chop.

Add kale to potato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain vegetables in colander set over a bowl, reserving drained oil, and cool 10 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl, then stir in vegetables, 1 tablespoon drained oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add 1 tablespoon drained oil to skillet, then add egg mixture and cook over low heat, covered, until sides are set but center is still loose, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes.

Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is not sticking (if it is sticking, loosen with a heatproof plastic spatula). Slide tortilla onto a large flat plate, then invert skillet over tortilla and flip it back into skillet. Round off edge of tortilla with plastic spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 10 minutes more. Slide tortilla onto a plate and serve warm, cut into wedges.

Herbed turkey (or chicken) burgers

We have been trying to find healthy recipes that our 17 month old son will also be interested in eating. We also want to introduce him to lots of new tastes. He likes lots of different ethnic foods and we love when we have time to cook those, but yesterday I needed something really quick and easy. I made herbed chicken burgers using this recipe. I couldn’t find thigh or leg turkey meat at my local store, so I used chicken instead. These were so flavorful, I didn’t feel they even needed any condiments, however we did put on some delicious green zebra ketchup that we had jarred up already from last season. The combination of all the herbs in the burgers along with the herbs in the ketchup made for quite a delicious meal that even my son was asking (well, signing using baby sign language) for more!

 

Making your own seasonings

I had never really thought much about the fact that taco seasoning was really just a combo of a bunch of other spices until my friend, Alexa, pointed it out to me. So, from there I worked on finding a really tasty recipe that I could create using fresh spices (which luckily we have numerous shops where we can purchase these locally. I recommend Savory Spice Shop).

I have found a recipe that I really love and it’s so easy to make. I usually make about 4 or 5 times this recipe and then store some for making taco meat later. I just brown up some ground turkey, chicken or beef (you could even use ground meatless) and then add 2-3 tablespoons of this with about 2/3 cup of water and let simmer for 5 minutes. Easy as pie! What I really like about this recipe? It uses cocoa powder. Yummy!