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Posts tagged ‘frugal organic recipes’

White Bean and Sausage Stew

This post could also be called “How I fed my family of five a hearty meal with amazing ingredients for $10.00 and still had leftovers”, but it’s not.

“White Bean and Sausage Stew” seemed a bit more appropriate.

My CSA recently announced that dried beans are now an optional box add-on. This is so exciting to me because I love me some beans! I had never, ever cooked white beans before (I know, it’s terrible) so I opted for the “organic white garden beans” in last week’s box. It was time to experiment.

I did some research, sorted through some recipes, talked to my Chef friend and combined ideas to come up with what I think is one of the tastier CSA creations I have cooked up. 🙂 I also love that the beans, scallions (green onions), thyme and rosemary are all local items from my CSA. I meant to throw in some kale from my box and totally forgot. Furthermore, had I planned ahead, I could have ordered some stewed heirloom tomatoes in my box in place of the grape tomatoes. Next time.  This time around, here’s how it came together:

Ingredients:

1 pound of white beans

1 large or 2 small scallions

2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 large sausage of your choice (I used Whole Foods’ chicken jalapeno sausage…about 1/2 pound)

4 slices of bacon, chopped and cooked crispy

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Start with your beans. My bag had 2 pounds of beans, and I used roughly half of it. I forgot to soak them last night so I soaked them this morning for about 4 or 5 hours.

A  couple hours before I wanted to serve dinner, I set them to simmer  with 1 sliced large scallion (if yours are small, maybe slice two), 2 bay leaves and some pink himalayan sea salt. I added enough water so that there is about an inch of water over the beans and simmered for about an hour.

beans1

Make sure you use a pot larger than you think you need. I had mine in a saucepan at first, but these beans foamed up something crazy and spilled over. Nice.

Once beans were in a proper sized pot, I pulsed about a cup of grape tomatoes in the food processor until chopped well. You could slice them in half if you like them chunkier or puree if you don’t want chunks at all. It’s up to you.

I then cooked up one chicken and jalapeno sausage from Whole Foods. It’s seriously a half pound sausage so I only needed one. I didn’t cook it all the way through, just toasted it up on all sides so that it would hold together when I sliced it for the stew.

Once beans are fairly tender (this was about an hour and 15 minutes in for me), add the tomatoes, sliced sausage pieces, thyme and rosemary.

beans2

Cover and simmer for another 45 minutes or until desired thickness is reached, stirring occasionally.

While it simmered, I cooked up some nitrate free/uncured bacon (ends and pieces from Trader Joe’s is a great deal!) and (confession time), some corn bread. Yum.

I served it up hot with crispy bacon and buttered corn bread. It doesn’t get much better.

beans3

Wait, yeah it does…leftovers tomorrow.

GRAIN FREE PIZZA! (Yes, Really! Purple Pesto Too!)

I am so excited about this, you have no idea.  I have officially (perhaps accidentally) made the world’s most delicious pizza, and it’s not on the list of forbidden foods.

Also, that is an exaggeration. Nothing beats Me-n-Eds pizza. I miss it so much. This may be the world’s most delicious grain free pizza, however.

I will still claim this is a victory, and victory is sweet.

I have tried a few grain free pizza crust recipes and was not terribly impressed. Then I found one made from tapioca flour and it was decent. Then I ran low on tapioca flour and substituted half of the needed amount of tapioca with arrowroot and OMG it was perfection.

When made with tapioca flour, it had a certain pie crust quality to it. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but the arrowroot allowed it to be a bit more cracker-y, which I really, really liked. I will be saving the original recipe, however, to make the pie crust topping for my favorite  chicken pot pie soup. I thought I was going to have to go without it this winter…there is hope once more. 😉 I love beautiful accidents. For the original recipe, go HERE.

Back to the pizza.

I made a very simple but delicious pizza using some delicious CSA items the other night. Cracker crust, purple pesto (recipe to follow), sliced chicken breast tossed with some of the pesto, mozzarella cheese and bell peppers.

I started with the pesto. I really might cry when my CSA stops offering the purple basil. It’s so incredibly flavorful and yet more mild that its italian counterpart.  I’m obsessed. To make the pesto, I gathered the following:

purplepesto1

4 cups purple basil leaves (this was two bundles for me)

1/2 cup raw almonds (cashew would work beautifully too, but they are on our “forbidden” list right now)

2 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 tsp real salt (any salt you have will work, this is just the one I have been using.)

at least 6 TBSP cold pressed olive oil

In a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds until they are fine and almost powdery. Then add the basil, and pulse until combined.  Add garlic and salt and continue to pulse or blend until all is combined. Drizzle in olive oil until pesto is at the desired consistency. I like mine to have enough oil to be spreadable. I probably used about 1/3 cup of olive oil in mine. Keep in mind, from here on out, and I never professed to be a food photographer.

purple pesto done

I will admit to you that it’s not a very pretty color. It sort of looks like potting soil. The taste is so worth it though, trust me. I also love to use almonds or cashews in pesto because pine nuts are so darn expensive. Also, this pesto does not call for parmesan cheese, so its vegan approved. 🙂

Set the pesto aside and get to work on the pizza crust now. 🙂

For the crust, you will need:

1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/3 cup raw shredded parm cheese (I love TJ’s)

4 TBSP of refined coconut oil or other high-heat oil such as high-oleic sunflower

1 TBSP water

1 organic egg

Combine all ingredients. It will be sticky and kind of gummy.

Prepare 2 pieces of parchment paper the same size as your pizza pan ( you can trim the edges later)

BRUSH BOTH PIECES OF PARCHMENT WITH OLIVE OIL. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU WILL END UP WITH A STICKY MESS.

Scrape the batter/ dough onto the first piece of parchment (on the greased side.) Now lay the other piece, greased side down, onto the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the crust out into a circle.

Peel the top piece of parchment off and discard. Put the crust, parchment and all, onto your pizza pan.

Carefully, with the back of a spoon, spread your purple peso over the entire thing. You will use about 1 cup. Reserve the rest for later.

purple pesto spread

Now, top with cheese.

purple pesto cheese

If you would like meat on your pizza, sautee some thinly sliced (about 1/4 in thick strips) chicken breast in a bit of butter or refined coconut oil. (I used 2 chicken breasts) Season with salt, garlic, and then about 1/2 cup of your pesto. Once cooked, add to the top of your pizza, along with whatever other goodies you want. I added some bell peppers from my CSA box. 

purple pesto chickenpeppers

Trim excess parchment off of the edges and Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400*.

purple pesto pizza slice

 

ENJOY!

Chile Verde Anyone?

Oh, Chile Verde, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

 

I’ll spare you the ways. I will just say this. I love it. A lot.

I rarely make it, but I’m not sure why. It is such an easy thing to make! I guess, maybe, I just don’t eat pork very often, but when Sprouts had pork roasts on sale last week, I decided it was time. This was affirmed when I looked a the available produce list for my CSA this week. Chilies, tomatillos, onions, garlic…It was like the stars aligned! 😉

Technically, chile verde is made with a mild chili in addition to spicy ones. Chilies like new mexico hatch chilies or poblanos. My CSA didn’t have anything of the sort of the list. I didn’t have any, nor was I deterred by the lack of specific peppers. I just went with it. You can too.

The process is simple, and the results are magnificent. I made a double batch so that I could freeze some…feel free to cut the recipe in half. 🙂

I started with just a few ingredients:

chileverdeingredients

1 onion

4 jalapenos

2 chilies of a less spicy variety (I used santa fe)

If you have poblanos or hatch chilies, add four of those as well. 🙂

6 cloves of garlic

3 pounds of tomatillos, husked removed

High-heat oil, such as refined coconut oil or high-oleic sunflower

sea salt

2 tsp cumin (not pictured, lol)

2 cups of water or broth

2.5-3 lbs boneless pork sirloin roast, cut into 1 inch cubes

**Brown cow yogurt lid on your floor is optional.**

And now, the process:

Puree the onion, or chop fine.

Sautee in the oil.

cvonions

While onions are cooking, pulse the peppers and garlic in the food processor or blender. You can chop these too, but I prefer not to touch either one. It always results in me screeching in pain because I touched my eyeball or frustrated because I can’t get the garlic smell off of me. 😛

Once they are ready to go, set them aside.

In the oil/onion mix, add the meat. You are not looking to cook the meat at this point, just get things cooking together.

Add the chili/garlic mix. Stir to combine.

cvonionspepperspork

While this is cooking (over medium heat) get your tomatillos blended up. 3 pounds of tomatillos was equal to my cuisinart food processor being filled twice.

Once they are  good and pureed, dump that into the pot too.

chileverdetomatillos

At this point, add your water or broth, cumin, 2 tsp of salt, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then drop the heat to med/low, cover, and let simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  I’d like to see you use that many commas in such a short paragraph.

I let mine cook down for about 2 hours, stirring about every 10-15 minutes.

It will thicken up quite a bit!

I served it with “upcycled brown rice”  (and a wooden spoon.)

chileverderice

CSA box MAGIC.

Good quality, fresh, nutritious food is not an impossible thing to attain. With proper planning, smart shopping, resourcefulness, and aligned stars, you too can eat like a king. 🙂

Baba Ganoush & Tabouleh Salad

Summer has definitely arrived. I don’t know about you, but I really hate summer for so many reasons. Hot, disgusting weather, poor air quality (at least where I live), bugs, high electric bills…ugh.

You know what I love about summer though? All the wonderous things coming out of the ground. Strawberries anyone? How about Heirloom tomatoes and basil? Yeah, it almost redeems my $400.00 PG&E bill.

My CSA, The Farmer’s Daughter, provides awesome food year round, but there is NOTHING like the summertime CSA boxes.

Here is a look at what I got this week:

If only you could smell it, seriously.

If only you could smell it, seriously.

Heirloom tomatoes, basil (caprece anyone?), mint, parsley, eggplant & zucchini is what I chose this week. Love that I can *choose* what I get in my box!

As soon as I saw the list of available items this week, I was struck by the word “eggplant.” I have heard myself people say that they don’t get eggplant in their boxes because they either don’t use them, don’t know HOW to use them, or just don’t like them. I am about to change your mind on that. I felt challenged by the eggplant…like it was some sort of mission for me to conquer. I would order the eggplant…and I WOULD USE IT!

I instantly thought of baba ganoush when I saw it. If you like hummus, you will likely enjoy baba ganoush. Being that I am off beans of all kinds right now, it seemed like the perfect way to quench my hummus craving. 🙂 Baba Ganoush made me think of Tabouleh salad, so I scanned the produce list and picked out several items for that. Mint, parsley, tomatoes…oh yes.

One problem: I am off grains too. Tabouleh is made with bulgur, which is essentially poached, crushed wheat. Obviously contraband for me. Then I thought about the fact that I had been making cauliflower rice…maybe I could pull this off!

And so, I give you, grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, raw tabouleh salad!

I started out with this:

helllooooo gorgeous!

helllooooo gorgeous!

Four heirloom tomatoes

One head of organic cauliflower (yeah, obviously not local…sorry ’bout that.)

2 bundles of organic parsley

1/2 of a bundle of organic green onions

1/4 – 1/2 cups chopped organic mint(depending on how much you love it)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp of sea salt

1/2 cup of good quality cold pressed olive oil, such as Bari.

Technically, There should be a peeled, chopped cucumber in there too, as I have never seen a tabouleh salad without one, but I had two issues with that. One, I didn’t have a cuke, and two, I *hate* cucumbers. If you are a cucumber lover, toss one in…I hear it’s delicious. 😉

I chopped the cauliflower into florets, cutting off the stalks. I added the cauli and the green onions to the food processor and pulsed until the cauliflower resembled something small and grain-like. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the heck out of it.

tabouleh 1

It took 65 pulses. I counted for you. I ended up with this.

tabouleh 2

Dump your cauliflower “bulgur” and green onions into a large mixing bowl. Next, core and seed the tomatoes, and chop fine. Add to the bowl. Pulse the parsley and mint (or chop fine if you don’t have a food processor) until the herbs are very fine also.  Dump the herbs into the bowl. Sprinkle the mix w/the salt and drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over it all.

Now, mix.

Here, I display how to use fancy equipment to combine the ingredients:

High-Tech.

High-Tech.

Now, pour it into a serving bowl and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to merry and develop. 🙂

taboulehfinalni

While your salad is in the developing process, get to work on your baba ganoush.

First, take three medium-sized organic eggplants. Prick them several times w/a fork  and roast them over your gas burner, turning frequently, until evenly charred. If you do not have a gas burner, (and do not feel like pulling at the bbq to do this), don’t worry about it. It’s not a *necessary* step, but the smokey flavor sure is nice. Once charred (or not), put the eggplant on a cookie sheet and  into a 350* oven for 20-25 minutes until a knife can be poked into them w/out resistance.

Collect your ingredients:

babganoushingredients

3 roasted (and possibly charred) eggplants

1/2 cup organic parsley

1 TBSP cold pressed olive oil (Again, I like Bari)

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

3 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/3 cup tahini (That Cedar’s brand was amazing, seriously!)

It’s a simple process. In a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one), Add the tahini, salt, lemon juice, parsley, crushed red pepper, olive oil and garlic cloves. Then, peel the skin back on the eggplant, and scoop out the pulp. Add eggplant to the processor/blender. Pulse several times until creamy.

Garnish w/parsley (or in this case, mint, because I used all my parsley between the tabouleh and the baba ganoush, lol), a bit more crushed red pepper,  and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve w/pita chips or veggies. I made these grain free pitas, chopped them into triangles, and toasted them up to make chips.

babaganoushfinished

The flavors of summer are some of the best. Don’t miss your chance to eat plenty of fresh, delicious ingredients this time of year. You will never regret the time you spent in the kitchen to create yummy food. You also won’t break the bank on these dishes, which is good, considering your air conditioner is out to bankrupt you.

Don’t forget to look into CSA’s in your area. It’s a fab way to save a few bucks, nourish your body, and support your local farmers all at the same time.

Eat up and enjoy!

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