Monday, May 30, 2011

Homemade marinara sauce

  • 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, half chopped and half diced
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 3 tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.) Add olive oil to large pot set over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook till clear. Add chopped onions and celery to pot and cook for about 6 minutes.

Whenever I make sauces or soups, I dice half the onion and cook that half first.
That way they get REALLY well cooked and pretty much disintegrate into the sauce/soup.
It's a flavor thing.

2.) When onions and celery are cooked through, add chopped mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add in the salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning and stir well. Cook till fragrant about 2 minutes.

4.) Add in chopped tomatoes and cook till veggies have released most of their water content. When sauce is liquid, turn up heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let sauce simmer, covered, for about 20 more minutes or until all the tomatoes have cooked down to a sauce consistency.

5.) ENJOY!

Good but could use a lot more improving. For instance tomato paste would have been good to thicken this up... the sauce came out kinda watery. Little more salt and little less herbs. And throw in some red pepper flakes to kick it up a notch and it would be good to go! I'm gonna try this one again for sure!

Check out how big these mushrooms were!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet and Salty kabocha

Kabocha. I love it! I've eaten it a ton of times but never gave it a thought to prepare on my own. Kabocha is a Japanese squash closely related to the pumpkin and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was a small pumpkin. Taste/texture wise it is just like pumpkin so can easily be substituted in recipes. These recipes (yup - I'm giving out two recipes today!) are not meals, but rather appetizers or side dishes. Both are easy and use very minimal ingredients.

- 1 kabocha, quartered
- olive oil spray
- salt and pepper
- cinnamon and stevia

1. Being extra careful and using the sharpest knife you have, quarter the kabocha.
2. On two of the quarters (so half of the kabocha) spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On the other half, spray with olive oil.
4. Bake all quarters in a 400 degree oven for 30 - 45 minutes, or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
5. After baking, sprinkle cinnamon and stevia on the half of kabocha
that only had the olive oil spray.
6. ENJOY both versions of kabocha with any meal!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pumpkin pie oatmeal

  • 1 cup old-fashion oats
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana, mashed up
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. stevia/agave (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp. maca powder (optional)
1.) Combine milk and oats the night before and store in the refrigerator.

2.) In the morning, microwave oats enough to warm them but they shouldn't need cooking due to the long milk bath. Add all other ingredients to warmed oats.

3.) Mix and enjoy!
I love pumpkin! And I love oatmeal! So this was super yummy and really convenient if made ahead of time. I usually double the recipe which makes enough oatmeal to last me three to four servings. I think a little more sweetness and pumpkin pie spice would have been perfect!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quinoa egg bake

(this recipe makes 8 servings)

  • 0.5 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 8 eggs
  • 1.25 cups milk
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme (0.5 tsp if using fresh thyme)
  • 0.5 tsp. salt
  • 0.5 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • cooking spray

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.  Wash quinoa and drain well and in a large bowl, whisk together quinoa, eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.

2.) Stir in spinach then pour into baking dish.  Cover tightly with foil and shake dish so quinoa settles on bottom of dish.

3.) Bake until just set, about 45 minutes.  Remove cover and sprinkle with cheese.  Return to oven and bake uncovered until cheese is golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes.

4.) Cool about 15 minutes then slice and serve.

This was really good and even the boyfriend liked it!  Couple of things I would change next time:
  • I would soak the quinoa in water for about an hour or two before making this dish.  The quinoa was actually cooked perfectly, but I like my quinoa on the softer side so this is only a preference.
  • Before baking, I would use a spoon or fork to gently stir quinoa mixture around in the baking dish.  This should allow the quinoa to settle in a more even thickness on the bottom of the pan and disburse the seasonings more evenly.  Because I used dried thyme, it floated to the top and kind of massed together in the center of the dish so when you ate a slice of the quinoa bake, the pointed end of the slice had lots of herb flavoring, but not so much as you worked your way to the outside of the slice.
I'll definitely be making this again and probably add different kinds of veggies.