I haven’t posted in a while.  It has been a busy couple of weeks.  We finished staining the deck, painting the house, and mom had a total reverse shoulder replacement with bone grafting.  Dinner has been healthy, but nothing really new and inspiring.  Now I am going back to work after a week of vacation and I have to figure out how to cook healthy meals while I am not home home and mom can not help out.  (My commute to work is about 1 1/2 hours each way.  Also, we are short handed, so I am taking on more responsibility which means less time to putter around with cooking.)

So, for my first crock pot creation this past weekend I made a chicken cacciatore -esque dish.  I served it over brown rice instead of pasta.  All the veggies and herbs are from my CSA except for the celery.  The recipe below was just a little too much for mom and I.

2 small-medium onions, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 rib of celery, chopped

2 – 40z boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 c. chicken stock

fresh basil

fresh oregano

fresh parsley

Arrange sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot dish.  Put the chicken breast on top of the onions.  Place tomatoes, green peppers, and celery on top of the chicken.  Pour the chicken stock over the top.  Put fresh basil, oregano, and parsley sprigs on top.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Mom and I both enjoyed this served over brown rice.

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Let me begin this post by saying – if you don’t have couscous in your pantry – you should really go out and get some.   It whips up easily in five minutes and I actually have a notebook where I keep notes on what I can do with couscous (it has numerous entries).

Here is a link to the couscous I always have on hand: RiceSelect Tri-Color Couscous (available at Wegmans).

And now to the recipe…

Ingredients:

1/2lb ground beef

3 medium carrots

1 cup of yellow and green beans, chopped up

1 small kousa (marrow) squash

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini

 

 

1 medium sweet yellow onion

1 ear of corn (remove the kernels with a sharp knife)

2 tomatoes

1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce

1/2 jar of water

fresh sweet basil and Greek oregano

1 c. couscous

Shredded Italian Blend Cheese

 

Directions:

In a pot (I used my favorite IKEA pot) brown the ground beef over a medium flame.  Chop up some fresh basil and oregano (use as much or as little based on your tastes) and put in with ground beef.  While the ground beef is browning start to chop up the veggies.

Chop up the veggies in order of the recipe and add to the pot in that same order.  When you add the carrots (first veggie) turn the flame down to medium low and add about a 1/4 c. of water.  Once all the veggies are in the pot, add the 1/2 jar of sauce 1/2 jar of water combination.  Turn the flame back up to medium high and bring to boil.

When the mixture starts to boil, pour in the cup of couscous and mix thoroughly.  Turn off the flame and cover the pot.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Fluff up the mixture with a spoon or knife and put on plates.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top (adjust to your preference) and enjoy!

So, I tried to keep our July 4th festivities as healthy as possible this year.  I ended up cooking way too much food for us, so right now we are living on leftovers (ergo no new recipes for a few days).  Here is a sampling of what I made:

Tomato Basil Salad

2 cups of small tomatoes, halved (cherry, grape, any other small variety)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

4 Tbsp Wegmans Basil Vinaigrette dressing

Put tomatoes and basil into a small bowl.  Pour the dressing over the tomato basil mixture.  Let marinate in refrigerator over night.  Serve either by itself or on top of lettuce.

 

Herbed Pita Chips

These were awesome – even my brother, who is a hardcore potato chip fan, enjoyed them.

3 pita breads

extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

Parmesan cheese

dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375.

Split pita breads in halves by cutting along the outside edge of the pita round.

 

Rub the inside of each pita with olive oil.

 

Cut each round into 8 wedges.  Set aside.

Place 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, and 1 tsp. oregano into a zip top bag.  Shake to combine ingredients.  Place pita wedges in 8 at a time.  Shake until oiled side of each wedge is coated.  Arrange wedges, coated side up, on baking sheets and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until pita wedges are golden and crisp.

 

Repeat the above steps until all pita wedges are coated and crispy.

Enjoy!

It is July 4th weekend and thought turn to picnic food.  Even though I was running around all over day (Farmer’s Market in the morning was enjoyable, but the rest of the day was insane), I still felt in a festive type of mood.  So I made this salad which was easy and delicious.  There was originally a recipe similar to this on the Real Simple website, but I changed it to my tastes and what I had available.

Ingredients

1 bag of American Pride Pasta (or any other 14 oz bag of novelty pasta)

1 1/2 cups fresh sweet peas (bought this morning at the Farmers Market)

2 scallions, sliced really thin and pulled apart

handful of chopped fresh basil

12 oz can of tuna packed in water

Wegman’s Basil Vinaigrette dressing

 

 

Cook pasta according to directions.  Strain.  Run under cold water and let drain.

In a large bowl combine pasta, tuna, peas, scallions, and basil.  Mix well.

Pour in dressing until it coats the pasta.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!  And have a happy 4th!

 

 

So, between my CSA veggies and my visit to the East Aurora Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, I had a plethora of veggies to choose from for Saturday’s meal. So, this is what I picked out to work with:

 

  • 2 bundles of baby Swiss Chard
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 6 small peppers of various colors
  •  3 locally grown tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  •  3 fresh sweet basil leaves
  • 2 Greek oregano stalks
  • Also 2 cilantro ice cubes from the cilantro I grew last year.

I also used some long grain rice.

First, make rice (1 cup dry) according to directions.  While the rice is cooking, chop up all the veggies and herbs and put in a bowl. ( I was in a lot of pain from my PT in the morning, so I just used the food processor – so everything was finally chopped.)

Once the rice is done cooking according to the package directions, mix in the vegetable herb mixture.

Let the rice cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes.

I also picked up a package of the goat cheese chevre  that I like.  This week I decided to try the garlic and dill flavor.

I decided to make some spinach pies that I had picked up at the Lebanese bakery to go with the rice.  I spread some of the chevre on top and served it along with the rice.

It made for an enjoyable and satisfying meal.