Recipe: Hot Honey Ginger Carrots!

This recipe is so easy and so tasty. You probably already have some (if not all) of these ingredients in your kitchen.

We get carrots in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box every week, and with a few extras we have hanging around in our fridge, I make these weekly.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of carrots
  • 2 T oil of your choice, I used Yasukochi Farms Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Yasukochi Farms Honey
  • Pinch Ground Ginger
  • Pinch Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in a cold oven. Pre-heat to 425 degrees.
  2. While the oven and pan heat, peel and cut into spears or bite-sized pieces, and toss carrots in oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast carrots in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring mid-way.
  4. Once the carrots are cooked, toss in a bowl with honey, ginger, and pepper flakes, as serve right away.

These carrots are so good. If you don’t want the heat from the pepper flakes, omit them. The honey and ginger plays nicely with the natural sweetness from the carrots.

Veggie Loaded Zuppa Toscana Recipe!

I’ve posted my copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe before and it’s good, but this recipe is better! Heartier, more filling, and best yet- Loaded with Veggies. We got all of the veggies from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. To learn more about these awesome produce boxes, check out my post here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of Italian Sausage (hot or mild, your choice)
  • 3 T. crumbled cooked bacon (I like the kind from Costco)
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces (I left the skin on- it’s up to you)
  • 1-quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bag triple-washed spinach
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (or 12 oz milk of your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, cook and crumble Italian Sausage
  2. Add in bacon and heat  until sizzling
  3. Add butter, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic, and herbs/bay leaf- cook until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, and scrape brown cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add Potatoes, cook on medium with the lid on the pot until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
  7. Remove lid, turn the stove up to high, add spinach. Stir and incorporate the spinach until wilted.
  8. Turn the stove down to low, add milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove Bay leaf prior to serving.

This makes 10-12 servings. Serve with bread of your choice. I like to top with a little parmesan cheese.

Notes/Substitutions:

  • If you prefer Kale, substitute for the spinach and add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and it freezes well.
  • If you are a vegetarian, substitute 2 cans of rinsed/drained cannellini beans in place of the Italian sausage (or meat-free Italian sausage), and use crumbled vegetarian/vegan bacon. Use Vegetable broth, and 12 oz. alternative milk (I like almond or hazelnut for this recipe). Add in 1/2 t. Fennel Seed, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (to mimic the flavor of Italian sausage) when using beans.

 

Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

Family Recipe: DIY Salad Bar

The post is dedicated to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes… RIP.

One of our family favorite restaurants pre-pandemic was Souplantation. So many great veggie and salad options all in one place. This summer I’m trying to find easy, simple lunch options for the family, so this week I’m making a salad bar.

It might sound like a lot of work, but I spend about an hour a week prepping veggies as soon as the CSA box arrives, so it’s just a slightly different prep this week.

First I got out our Rubbermaid reusable containers and lids, and I chopped the various ingredients. At lunchtime, I’ll set all of the containers out, and put the salad greens in a large bowl that is nestled in a baking dish full of ice to keep the greens crisp.

If you are having a salad bar for your July Fourth celebration, consider using a cold ingredient caddy like this one.

It keeps the components cold and at their preferred temperature for an extended period of time.

Here are just a few of the ingredients that we’ll be featuring in our DIY salad bar:

  • Salad greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, butter bibb lettuce, mixed greens, kale)
  • Radishes
  • Brocolli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Red onions
  • Green apples
  • Strawberries
  • Beets (raw or pickled)
  • Bell pepper or other sweet peppers
  • Pickled veggies
  • Capers
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese cubes (or crumbled feta or goat cheese)
  • Diced ham or diced turkey breast lunchmeat
  • Croutons
  • Salad Dressing- I like this vinagrette, and this one, and this ranch.

What do you like on your salads?

Recipe: Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

I saw a video online someplace (I want to say Facebook, but it could have been on Reddit too), and it showed how to make tomato bisque using freshly roasted tomatoes.

I was excited to try it since we’ve been getting tons of big tomatoes in our CSA box over the past two weeks and I had them sitting on the counter.

This recipe is simple, but it does involve a few steps and does take some time.

It’s worth it in my opinion.

Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Tomatoes, tops cut off. If the tomatoes are not a uniform size, cut them in half /into large uniform hunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (approx 16 oz) chicken or veggie stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon each: Basil, Rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half and half
  • dash red pepper flakes (optional)
caramelized onions…. mmmmm

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. Place tomatoes/tomato hunks on an oiled-up baking sheet. Brush tomatoes with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  2. Roast tomatoes for 35-45 minutes.
  3. While tomatoes are roasting, melt butter in a stockpot, and over medium/low heat saute onions. in the last 10 minutes of cooking the onions, add the garlic and stir frequently to keep from burning. You will need to stir frequently.
  4. Place tomatoes in with onions, and add stock, and all herbs/seasonings, EXCEPT the bay leaf and red pepper.
  5. Using an emersion blender, blend soup until it’s smooth.
  6. Now that soup is smooth, add bay leaf and simmer for 30-45 minutes on low.
  7. Add half and half, stir well, add red pepper if desired.
  8. Serve topped with croutons.
This is what roasted tomatoes look like in a lonely stockpot.

Note: If you don’t have an emersion blender, pour tomatoes and onions into a blender and pulse until smooth.

This recipe does not make a ton of soup, as most of my soup recipes do. This recipe takes time, but it’s so good. It’s worth the time and effort for sure.

I recommend my 4-way grilled cheese to go with this soup too!

5/10/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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Last week on Tuesday night our fridge started acting up, and by Wednesday afternoon, it was no longer blowing cold air. the fan was broken. Thankfully we have the extended warranty, so they came out Thursday afternoon and repaired the fridge (replaced the fan).

As a result, we lost most of the food in the fridge, including all of the condiments. The meal plan for the rest of last week was scrapped.

I hit up the store to replace what was lost, but I wasn’t able to replace all of it, for some reason, there are some food shortages, probably because some items are made overseas and there are some countries that are seeing surges in Covid Cases as of late.

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes each week, and that really gives me an upper hand when it comes to meal planning for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: Kids take lunch to school. I eat leftovers. Everyone rejoices.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Take out (It was Mother’s Day after all)
  • Monday:   Big Ol’ Salad, fruit, protein shakes
  • Tuesday:    Salsa Chicken, Rice, roasted veg
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night (nuggets, fruit, crackers, milk)
  • Thursday:  Steak, potatoes, roasted veg
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Meal o’ Snacks and /or leftovers

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Fresh Fruit and Veg Delivered to Your Door with Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

A bunch of you saw my unboxing pics on Instagram yesterday of my  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, and the incredible large bouquet of flowers.

The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Fuji Apples
  • Navel oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Salad Mix
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Russet Potatoes

 

 

And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.

Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!

No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).

If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.

What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:

  • Last night we had roasted asparagus.
  • I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
  • I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
  • I made a Marinated Salad
  • Tomorrow I’ll make a big fruit salad for a few upcoming meals
  • I’m planning on making a big baking sheet of roasted veggies for lunch- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram!

The strawberries got gobbled up last night at dinner.

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month will kinds of recipes and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For more information on Yasukochi Family FarmYasukochi Family Farms, check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook.