More food

Jan. 18th, 2010 06:57 pm
I'm full. I cooked up some taco dinner tonight. Taco night is easy--just plop cheese, meat, refried beans and other stuff in bowls, cook up the seasoned meat, and you're done.

Last night I made a simple two-step meal from the The $7 a Meal Healthy Cookbook: 301 Nutritious, Delicious Recipes That the Whole Family Will Love --the Texas Mash-up. At least, that's what I'm calling it.

  • 2 baking potatoes--boil and mash, but don't add milk or butter
  • 1 lb of ground meat (or tempeh or meat substitute)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped up
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup or so of low-fat sour cream
  • 1 16oz bag of frozen mixed veggies--broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. I was fortunate to find it in the store: it's called the "California mix".
  • 1/4 c beef broth (I didn't have any on hand, so I just used some chicken broth--I would have used veggie broth if I had some of that)

In a *large* skillet, heat up some olive oil, start cooking the chopped onion until it becomes translucent. Minced garlic is good, too.
Add the meat or meat substitute, brown it.
Add in the taco seasoning packet, incorporate it into the mixture.
Add the veggies, allow them to heat in the pot for a few minutes.
Add in the broth and sour cream and the smashed up potatoes.
Mix it all up together-potatoes, meat, veggies, sour cream, everything.

Scoop the mixture into an 8x8 baking casserole dish (I used my glass Pyrex) and stick it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400F until it heats through.  Oh yes. You might want to top it with some Parmesan, as the recipe calls for, or sharp cheddar, which is what *I* called for!

I think it came out pretty good. Mermaid tried a little bit, but didn't like it. Tall Boy wouldn't even try. But Mermaid's friend who was staying overnight went back for seconds. There is currently 2 cups of left-over in the fridge now. I'll have it for lunch tomorrow. I still have two slices of the turkey meat loaf I made three days ago. I put those in the freezer today.

Surprisingly, even with the potatoes and the sour cream, this Texas Mash-up's calorie count was only ~340 calories. And it was very filling, too!
I've been in a cook book frenzy, it seems. Last week I bought a copy of <a href="Cook This, Not That!: Kitchen Survival Guide  and although it has some flaws (check the amazon site for a particularly good review of this book) it does have a couple of kick-butt recipes that I've tried out so far.

On page 206 I tried out the Hearty Lasagna, which, when split into four rather substantial pieces, totals about 430 calories! That is a little high even so, but it can be tweaked.

The original recipe:                                                  My version:
1 15 oz container of part-skim ricotta                    the ricotta stayed
1/2 bunch of fresh basil                                           I bought the basil, but realized it tasted slightly licoricey, so left it out
2 links of chicken sausage                                     I had 1/2 lb of ground turkey left-over from the night before-browned it w/garlic
1/3 c of 2% milk                                                         used skim organic milk instead
2 garlic cloves                                                            used minced garlic with the ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes                             threw some of that in, too
2.25 c tomato sauce                                                 I used almost 24 oz of Ragu sauce with enough left over for Tall Boy for his pasta
8 no-boil lasagna noodles                                      Barilla flat no-boil noodles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan                                        kept that the same

Now, I also added a pinch or two of dry rosemary leaves (crumpled up) into the ground turkey, and that added a subtle taste. I've no idea what it would have tasted like with the sausage, but generally, unless you're very picky, sausage has a lot of fats and sugars in them to make them taste better to the American public.

Once the turkey was cook I mixed it in directly with the ricotta, the milk, a little more garlic, and the red pepper flakes. NO EGGS.

Spread about 1/2 c of the tomato sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 pan, layer two noodles, then the ricotta mixture, then some more sauce (I dribbed and drabbed it on with each layer), then another layer of noodles, and so on. I can't remember how many layers I finally finished the lasagna off with, but it filled my glass 8x8 casserole dish up to the top, so, it turned out fine.

The oven went on at 425F. The lasagna goes in for 20 minutes *with a foil cover*. After 20 minutes, take the foil off the top, and let it cook further for 15 minutes more.  The top of the lasagna has this terrific toasty top of crisped up Parmesan.

The 4x4" sized piece I ate was amazingly filling. I topped my piece with the fresh basil, and really really liked the added flavor. The Guy hates anything that tastes the least bit like licorice, so it was a good thing I left it out; but it was just fine as a topping. According to the directions, you would add the fresh basil into the ricotta mix.

A note--look carefully at the brand of ground turkey you buy, because apparently, some manufacturers of the stuff like to add in fatty parts of the bird, and that raises the fat content up high, obviously.

****next paragraph is about my dissatisfaction with the way animals are treated by the meat industry and my own discomfort in contributing to it***

The Guy and I are increasingly uncomfortable eating meat, and we're pretty much in agreement that I'm going to start getting our meat at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods from now on. Frankly, if I could figure out a way to convert a lot of the recipes I have so that I use much less to NO meat at all, I'd be happier than I am now about contributing to the inhumane lives and deaths of animals that have to go through the US's current butcher system.

Dinner tonight, which got raves from Tall Boy (who rarely raves about food):

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts lightly salted and lightly sprinkled with dried oregano and a very light sprinkling of ground coriander on both sides, then browned in a skillet with oil tempered minced garlic (for a light added taste that wouldn't overwhelm the other flavors).

Jasmine rice, and some mixed frozen veggies.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about how the chicken turned out, but everyone else snarfed it down, and, as I said, Tall Boy kept raving about how good the chicken was. It was SO GOOD, in fact, he refused ketchup which he always uses with any meat that I cook (except taco meat).

And there you go!

Folks, this is most awesome.

It's an adaptation from a recipe on, which featured only white beans. My adaptation came out sweet and spicy at the same time, and it was gone by lunch the next day.

1-2 cups Chopped or shredded precooked chicken (I used leftovers that were lightly salted/peppered, covered with a little honey, and cooked in the oven)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves diced garlic
2 tbls oil (I used canola)
1 can diced tomato
1 c. of salsa
1 can white beans--drained and rinsed
1 can black beans--drained and rinsed
chili powder
cayenne pepper
ground coriander seed

The original amounts for the spices were ~1 teaspoon for each, but I did it to taste. You  know your own taste, so add however much heat you think you can stand!

Heat the oil in a pot, add the onion and garlic, let it go until the onion goes clearish. Add the spices now if you want: it flavors the oil and the onion and garlic, but I didn't do that. Put the rest of the ingredients in, in no particular order. Heat until simmering. The salsa and the can of diced tomato should add more than enough liquid. If it's too thick, add some chicken broth or another can of diced tomatoes (or more salsa!).

And that's it! Simple, yet awesomely tasty!   You could turn this into a vegetarian dish by adding very firm tofu, or meaty mushrooms.
I don't remember if I've posted this recipe before, but it's fantabulous!

Source: 5 ingredient meals (better homes and gardens special interest magazine)
Prep time: about 30 minutes
Cook time: depends on thickness of fish
Servings: 4ish

1.25 lbs white fish: tiliapa, orange roughy, etc
1/4 c fresh cilantro-chopped up or ripped (better)
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp lime peel finely shredded (I haven't added this: it's a nice touch, but it tastes just as good without it)
1 tbsp lime juice...fresh is best, but the bottled stuff if just as good, too

1. Rinse fish and pat it dry. Cut into four serving sizes, if necessary. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Grill or bake fish until it flakes.

3. In a bowl, stir together the cilantro, the butter (melted) and the lime juice and peel. Spoon mixture over the fish after you've taken it out of the oven/grill. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

It's simple, it's fast, and it's incredibly yummy, especially if you love cilantro and citrusy flavors.



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