Thursday, October 29, 2015

Good, Simple Recipes for a Friend

To my friend who asked for some good, simple, relatively healthy meals that she can make, I post here some of my favorites, with extensive notes about adapting them to her own tastes.   It took me half the evening to choose these and I kept adding to it.   I imagine I make each of these at least once a month, some more than that.   We also make "baked" chicken in a crockpot (here's the original non-crockpot recipe) a lot and then eat it with rice and gravy then turn leftovers into gumbo, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, quesadillas, chicken noodle/tortellini soup, and the like; many of my friends just buy roasted chickens from the grocery store.

For more ideas, see my blog's sidebar --with my favorite soups, vegetarian meals, and slow cooker meals (with some practice, you can adapt all slow cooker meals to the stove, really), plus holiday favorites.   There are hundreds of recipes on my blog.

These are just a beginning.

I actually usually make this as a frittata now, essentially leaving off the pie crust, which we never really need unless we're serving it for company.  Given to us by a French co-worker of Mama's, the amounts are pretty flexible.  You can use spinach instead of broccoli, or leave out the greens completely; often we add handfuls of leftover ham.  Three of the four of us like it best with Worcestershire sauce.  There are never any leftovers, but it does keep nicely and can be eaten cold.

1 pie crust (or half of my pie crust recipe, below)
4-5 eggs up to as many as 8 eggs, if a lot of add-ins or people to serve
1/3 cup sour cream
8 oz. Colby or cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (do not grate/shred)
2 cups add ins,  frozen broccoli florets, cooked and drained til less wet
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place pie crust in pie plate, crimping edges.  

Mix all ingredients.  Pour into prepared pie shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes until middle is set and crust is golden.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Mommy Hungry

Versatile Chinese-inspired Sauce
I use this either as the base of a stir fry (which is how this recipe is written up) or, without the stock, as a marinade for chicken to bake in the oven (350F until done, I often cook it over a bed of green beans)

1 cup stock (for stir fry only)
1/4 cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce (works with teriyaki, too)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
(you can add a little sugar if you like it on the sweet side)

Saute chosen vegetables and protein in olive oil, adding garlic and ginger.  Then simmer them in the above sauce until tender.  Serve over rice or even noodles.

adapted from Katie Workman, The Mom 100 Cookbook

Welsh Rabbit, or Rarebit
We've been eating this a lot more recently, with sourdough bread.  Goes well with soup instead of grilled cheese.
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons ale or milk
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (or Coleman's powder made into 1 teaspoon mustard)
4 slices of toast (doesn't have to be Sally Lunn bread, just any sliced loaf)
Worchestershire sauce to taste

Melt cheese with ale or milk and mustard over stove.  Pour over four slices of toast on an edged baking sheet.  Broil until brown and bubbly.  Remove to plates and score tops and drizzle Worchestershire sauce (without scoring, it just rolls off).  Eat immediately.

Mama Hungry

Spaghetti Pie
This has long been my go-to meal to take to people in need.  With or without the broccoli, this is a nice meal--sometimes I serve it with meatballs (usually store-bought frozen meatballs.)  It keeps and reheats well.

4 cups cooked spaghetti (about 1/2 pound uncooked)--I'm using whole wheat
1-10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli, thaed and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, warmed in the microwave
chopped parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 350F and coat 9" springform pan (I'm using a foil pie plate) with nonstick spray.

Stir the spaghetti, broccoli, cheeses, egg, and Italian seasonings together in large bowl. Scrape in pan and level the top.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Cool about 5 minutes and then remove sides of springform pan. Cut into 6 wedges. Serve with marinara and parsley.

Weight Watchers Eat! Play! Move!

Best Easy Pasta Sauce--Tomato
Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
I just discovered this recipe recently and love it!  So easy, so bright.  Even keeps beautifully.

Via Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.
Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Easy Pasta Sauce--Creamy
Make this quickly in the pot where you cooked the pasta while it drains in the colander.  We've added asparagus, peas, ham, chicken, whatever you like.  
1 egg
1 T milk
1 T butter
¼ c cheese--can be Parm or Mozz 
(can add asparagus, peas, chicken, ham)
Heat ingredients in pot until smooth.  Toss with pasta.

Pasta e Lenticchie
One of my all-time favorite recipes.  So easy, so quick, so versatile--but is it a pasta or a soup??!  
5 cups water
3/4 cups lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound pasta--pretty much any shape works, though the smaller is better (even broken spaghetti)
1 teaspoon or more Italian seasoning (also, for non-Italian taste, I've used Sweet Curry Powder and Garam Masala, too.  Works great.)
optional:  I often add greens, either frozen or fresh (kale is a favorite), to equal approximately 1 1/2 cups when cooked (best if it bite-size pieces.)
optional:  Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top after (or cooked with part of the rind)

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, add the lentils, and cook, covered over medium-high heat, until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the salt and the pepper. Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.

Add greens, either frozen or fresh.

Add pasta. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to the point of being cooked.

When pasta is cooked to taste, add seasonings of choice and serve, perhaps with a garnish of Parmesan cheese.

Mommy Hungry via "Molto Mario" Batali

Milk-Can "Cowboy" Supper
We all like this and think you could substitute corned beef or even chicken pieces for the kielbasa; I'm not even sure we use that much sausage.
adapted from Cook's Country

2 lbs. kielbasa, cut into big chunks about 1 1/2-2" long (we used 2 kinds, one more peppery than the other)
6 red potatoes, washed but unpeeled
1 small cabbage, cut into wedges and unstacked
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 onion, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 ears of corn (I put in 4 frozen ears and it worked wonderfully)
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
10 sprigs thyme (or not)
2 bay leaves
1 green bell pepper, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the kielbasa in a little oil until browned all over (about 6-8 minutes on medium high.)  Remove from pot (I used a Dutch oven.)  Layer ingredients in pot in this order, bottom to top:  red potatoes, cabbage wedges (unstacked and all spread out flat), baby carrots, onion, garlic, and corn.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper; add bay leaves and thyme.  Distribute kielbasa on top and pour in chicken broth.  Bring to boil, cover, and simmer approximately 15-20 minutes.  Add green bell pepper on top and cook 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender (use long skewer to test doneness.)  Remove to serving platter and discard bay leaves and thyme.  Enjoy!

Mommy Hungry's Rice-Cooker Mujadara
I know you don't have a rice cooker, but maybe try adding these items to a regular pot of rice, with lentils and onions stirred in later.  Delicious meal on its own, also good in wraps or with hummus or falafel.

2 cups white rice
2 cups cooked lentils (brown or whatever)
1/4 teaspoons cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2-4 onions
1-2 tablespoon oil (grapeseed, olive, whatever)

Place rice, lentils, cumin, cinnamon stick, garlic, pepper, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt in rice cooker.  Add water according to machine temperament (my takes about 2 cups for this; Ar-Ma Hungry's hint is to add enough water to cover the rice plus the thickness of one finger horizontal on top of the rice--it works!).  Set to cook white rice.

Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet.  Add onions, sprinkling 1 teaspoon of salt on top, and cook on medium-low to medium heat.  Watch onions and only stir occasionally in order to let them brown.  If they get to dry, add water.  Cook til brown and sweet, about 45-60 minutes. 

When lentil-rice and onions are done, stir together and season to taste.

Mommy Hungry

Chickpea Stew with Couscous
I have several versions of stews like this; another one has Yukon gold potatoes instead, green beans, and carrots, plus some coconut milk, instead of the peppers and zucchini.
1 medium onion, diced 
3 garlic coves, minced 
2 cups vegetable broth 
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini 
1 large sweet potato, peeled, in 1/2" dice 
1 cup diced red bell pepper 
1 cup diced green bell pepper 
1 cup diced, peeled tomato, canned or fresh, with juice 
1 teaspoon cinnamon* 
1 teaspoon ground coriander* 
1/2 teaspoon cumin* 
pinch cayenne (we omitted this) 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1 tablespoon lemon jice 
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained, or 1/2 cups homemade 
2 cups couscous 
2 tablespoons minced parsley or cilantro (I leave this out) 
*I substituted 2 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's sweet curry powder for this and it was wonderful. 

In a large pot, combine onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth (in fairness, I used a little olive oil to get in my daily guidelines for WW). Cook over moderate heat until liquid evaporates and onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, sweet potato, bell peppers, tomato, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, sat, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups broth and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until vegetables are just tender, about 5 more minutes (nope, took almost 15+). Stir in chickpeas and cook until chickpeas are hot. Keep stew warm. Serve over couscous. Garnish with minced parsley. 

Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish

Potato and Greens Soup
Love this soup.  

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch leeks, thoroughly rinsed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (or veg stock)
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 white or yellow potatoes (about 3 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/4 cubes
1 bunch arugula or other bitter greens such as curly endive or escarole (I usually use kale), washed

Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the leeks and stir well. Cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and bring back to a simmer. Cook until tender but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Ladle about 3 cups of soup into a blender (don't fill more than halfway). Hold the lid on with a dish towel to prevent splattering, and blend until smooth. Return pureed soup to saucepan, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer. Season to taste.

Stir in greens. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted and bright green, and serve immediately.

Martha Stewart Living

Winter Vegetable Soup

Another favorite soup.  

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-14.5 oz cans Great Northern beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potato (about 10 oz)
2 1/2 cups water
2-14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (I like it better with kale)

Heat oil in Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach; cover and cook 5 minutes.

Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2003 (3 pts a cup)

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples
The kids love this dish; I prefer my pork chops broiled in the oven with salt and pepper, but c'est la vie.
2 thick pork chops, about 7 oz each (I've used all kinds of pork chops, even thin)
3-5 large apples, peeled and cored and cut into wedges (thick or thin)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add the apples and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side.  

You can either add pork chops and cook thoroughly or just do the apples and pork separately.  Serve immediately.

Rozanne Gold, Kids Cook 1-2-3

Mama Hungry's Quick Pan-Fried Fish
Sis even likes this and she doesn't much like fish.  There are lots of variations on this, with capers, lemon, teriyaki, tomatoes and onions . . . . 

Heat skillet and then add oil.  Saute selected mild white fish filets; when the filet begins to brown, flip it and sprinkle with salt/pepper or better yet generous amounts of Wildtree Scampi seasoning.  (Sometimes, you can broil the fliet, skin-side down rubbed with a little bit oil, on a greased baking sheet til cooked--don't flip.)  Can deglaze with lemon juice or concoct a great teriyaki glaze.

For Optional Teriyaki Glaze:  Meanwhile, reduce 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce in saucepan over medium low, adding 1 Tablespoon sugar, chopped scallions/shallots, garlic as desired.  When fish is done, drizzle with teriyaki glaze.  Kids lap it up.

Mama Hungry

Dutch Baby Pancake
Breakfast for dinner--the kids love this with the sauteed apples from the pork chop recipe above.  I have to double it to feed all four of us, though.  Never any leftovers.

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a 9" nonstick cake pan, shallow baking dish, or skillet with an ovenproof handle.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. Then use a fork to beat together the eggs, oil, and milk until smooth. Stir until well-blended.
Add the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Stir until a smooth batter forms. A few lumps are okay. Pour the batter into the greased dish.
Bake the pancake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F. Bake until the pancake is very puffy and lightly browned all over, about 5-8 minutes.
Note: it will deflate upon leaving the oven, so be sure the kids get a look before you take it out! Also, it is easiest to cut with scissors.
C is for Cooking: Recipes form the Street

Our Favorite Roast Vegetables
Our favorite side is some kind of roasted vegetable--broccoli, carrots, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, green beans, kale, yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes (recipe below plus 1/4 c brown sugar and a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon)

Simply preheat oven to approximately 425F, toss veg in olive oil and sprinkle with salt (can add garlic powder and/or parmesan cheese, too), and bake til desired crispiness.  Usually about 30 minutes, shorter for kale and  longer for potatoes (which I do at 375F.) 

And finally . . . . 

Simple Crusty Bread
This bread goes well with everything.  Make a batch of dough, keep it in the fridge til you want bread, bake accordingly.  It's actually easier than the directions, which include if you're baking the dough off immediately at room temperature or bringing it out of the fridge.  Once baked, though, this bread doesn't stay good for long, because there is no fat in it (one day, maybe two.)

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (in the little brown jars, keep in fridge)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan (or throw ice cubes on the bottom of your oven) and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. (Nobody waits.)

Yield: 4 loaves.
Variation: If not using stone, stretch rounded dough into oval and place in a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, an extra hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Place pan on middle rack.

Dr. Jeff Hertzberg, 
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

This is a great, simple brownie recipe.  Gotta have at least one dessert.
Makes 24 brownies

One 12 oz. package (2 cups) Semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
½ cup butter
3 eggs
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

In large, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt 1 cup chocolate chips and butter (for best results, melt butter then add chocolate chips and melt—prevents chocolate sticking to saucepan); stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Add eggs; stir well. Add flour sugar, baking soda, and vanilla; stir well. Stir in remaining (unmelted) chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Spread into greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 18-22 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares.

used to be on Nestle Chocolate Chip bag

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