Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Want the deliciousness of chicken pot pie without the hassle?  This is super quick & easy if you have already cooked chicken and some baked potatoes on hand! 

2 TBS butter
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped (or pureed)
6 cups chickens stock (or 6 c. water & 2 TBS Better than Bouillon paste from Costco)
2-3 cups chopped veggies  or frozen mixed veggies or leftover steamed veggies
1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 baked potatoes, cubed
1/4 c. flour, corn starch or tapioca starch
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp to 2tsp salt (to taste, depends on your chicken stock)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground sage or poultry seasoning

Melt butter in a large pot.  Add garlic & onions and saute until onions are translucent.  Add the chicken stock.   Add any hard veggies  and simmer until soft (depends on what you're adding, carrots & celery take longer - probably at least 20 minutes)  Add frozen veggies (such as beans, carrots, corn, etc) so they will cook for about 5-7 minutes. Mix the thickener (flour or starch) in 1/2 c water in a jar.  Put the lid on and shake it.  Now add the chicken, potatoes, and any leftover steamed veggies. Bring back to a boil and then slowly pour the thickener into the soup while whisking.   Simmer until soup gets thick (may need to add more thickener depending on your soup.) Season with salt, pepper & sage or poultry seasoning. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pad Thai Noodles

The whole family LOVES this.  That's saying something. Plus it's super quick and an easy way to get lots of veggies into a meal.   

12 oz pad thai (flat rice) noodles
2 T butter
1 lb chicken
4 TBS oil, divided
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch green onions
4 eggs
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 T fish sauce
3 T Sweetener - agave, apple juice concentrate, etc
1/2 T soy sauce
1 T lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
2 c. bean sprouts

1 c. matchstick carrots
1/2 head cabbage, shredded (or chopped in thin slices)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. crushed peanuts

Get all the ingredients ready first so you can make this smoothly.  This part takes about 10 minutes:

1 - Put large pot of water on stove, turn on high
2 - cut up chicken
3 - Slice green onions and get garlic ready to press
4 - Mix sauce:   Combine vinegar, fish sauce, sweetener, lime juice and red pepper flakes.
5 - Wash/chop or shred any veggies you want
6 - Chop peanuts

Now begin the assembly.  This will take another 10-15 minutes

1 - Take your boiling pot of water off the burner.  Add the package of noodles.  Put the lid on the pot and let it sit for 8-10 minutes (set timer.)
2 - While noodles are sitting, heat butter in electric skillet (or wok).   Toss in chicken and fry until no longer pink inside (5-6 min)
3 - Remove chicken to a bowl.  Heat up 2 TBS oil and press the garlic into the oil.  Add sliced green onions.  Stir for about 30 sec - 1 min until fragrant and softened.  Add bean sprouts, carrots & cabbage and stir for 1-2 min.
4 - Remove veggies to the bowl with chicken.  Add 2 TBS oil to skillet and then crack the four eggs into the hot oil.  Use a spatula to chop the eggs up as they cook.  Cook until no longer runny (3 min or so)
5 - Drain the noodles.  Add noodles, chicken/veggies, sauce, peanuts and cilantro to the skillet  Stir it all together and heat another 3-4 minutes.

Could easily make this vegetarian without the chicken.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quinoa Salad for Beginners

I HATE the smell of quinoa when it's cooking.  It smells terrible.  I can rarely ever eat something made of quinoa right after cooking.  That's why I usually cook it, then refrigerate it, then make something out of it.  

Anyway, this is one delicious salad!  My 1, 3, 11 &16 year old kids all love it.  The 6, 8 & 18 yo didn't dare try it.  This recipe is very forgiving, you can pretty much just throw in what you have. 

4 cups cooked, refrigerated quinoa
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped celery, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, peppers, cilantro, parsley (all or any combination)
1/4 c. chopped green onions (or other onions)
1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken (or omit, it's good either way)

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. olive or sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt

Mix dressing.  Mix quinoa & veggies.   Pour dressing over salad and stir.  Add extra salt if needed. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Canning With Kids: Applesauce

My kind neighbor let us pick their apples so we ended up with about 2.5 bushel, yeah!  Currently, a 1/2 bushel of apples is about $17-$20 from the nearby fruit stands, so I was very grateful.  I added the neighbor's apples to the 1.5 bushels I already purchased.  We canned for 5 hours and ended up with 30 quarts of applesauce and about a 1/2 bushel left for eating. 

Here's how to do it. Read all directions before beginning to ensure you've got everything!

An hour or so before you start - wash the lids & jars in the dishwasher.

Step 1. Fill one side of the sink with water.  Add apples to wash them. 

Step 2. Set the kids to chopping.  Give them a cutting board & knife.  Cut the apples in fourths, cutting out any bad parts like worm holes.  Leave skin, stems, core, etc on.  Send younger kids out to play with the 6 year old watching them. 

Step 3. In a large pot (mine is 12 quarts), put about 1-1/2" of water on the bottom.  Add apple pieces to this.  When it's really full, put the lid on and set it on the stove on med-high heat.  Bring to boil, and boil about 40 minutes until apples are soft. 

Step 4. Keep on washing & chopping apples while boiling apples.  Set up a food strainer (victorio strainer is the kind I have.) 

Step 5.  When apples are soft, drain the water out.  Put soft apples in the top of the food strainer and set the kids to work pushing the apples in on top and turning the handle. 

Step 6.  I keep washing & chopping apples while the kids are making the applesauce. I get the water bath canner ready to go by adding water to the bottom and putting it on the stove to start boiling.

Step 7. Get a small pot and put an inch or two of water in it. Add the lids and start it boiling.

Step 8.  Hopefully by now, the kids have 6-7 quarts of applesauce made.  Get a towel out and set a couple hot jars from the dishwasher on it.  Put a canning funnel in the first jar.  Scoop the applesauce in the jar, leaving a 1/2" head space.  Tap the jars on the towel to help them settle.  You can use a table knife to help the applesauce settle and avoid air bubbles.  

Step 9. Wipe the top of the jar with a paper towel so no residue remains. Get a lid from the pot of boiling water (use a magnetic canning wand or if the kids stole yours like they did mine, you can use tongs.) Put on top of the jar and put a ring on. Tighten, but not too much.

Step 10.  Continue to fill your jars until you have enough to fill your canner.  If you have extra jars that won't fit, put them in hot water in the sink so that they stay hot. 

Step 11. If your jars from the dishwasher are no longer hot, you can put them in clean hot water in
the sink. You want the jars hot when you put the hot applesauce in. 

Step 12. Put the jars in the canner and process for the recommended time (see your instructions.) My quart jars had to be processed for 30 minutes in a steam canner because I live at a high altitude.

Step 13. Call all the kids back to continue making applesauce, since they all ran away when your back was turned filling the jars with applesauce Repeat until you've got them all done!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie

This smoothie needs very little if any sweetener at all.  Much better for you than a milk shake!

1 can coconut milk
3 TBS peanut butter
5 TBS cocoa powder
1.5 to 2 frozen bananas
2 cups ice
2 cups water
0-2 TBS agave or honey to taste

Put it all in a blendtec or vitamix blender.  Blend it up and serve!